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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 3 March 2014

House of Commons Commission

City of London Remembrancer

Mr Watson: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross representing the House of Commons Commission, for what reasons the City of London Remembrancer is allowed access to the Floor of the House; if the Commission will remove this right of access; and when the right of access for the Remembrancer was last reviewed. [189513]

John Thurso: The City of London Remembrancer has no right of access to the Floor of the House. The Remembrancer is one of some 15 Roll A Parliamentary Agents who work with the promoters of private Bills. Parliamentary Agents are entitled to observe proceedings from the Under Gallery in the Chamber, that is, the visitors' seats "under the gallery" facing the Speaker, for the purposes of their work. Other visitors may also sometimes sit in the Under Gallery.

The Commission has no plans to remove the Remembrancer's access to the Under Gallery nor that of any other Roll A Parliamentary Agent. There has been no recent review of the Remembrancer's right of access.

Portcullis House

Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross representing the House of Commons Commission, what the cost was of replacing chairs in the Portcullis House atrium in the last 12 months. [189365]

John Thurso: The cost of 300 new chairs for the Portcullis Atrium was £32,955 excluding VAT. These chairs were bought to replace the existing chairs which were beginning to fail. The old chairs that are still usable will be reused where possible, such as in the refurbished Members' Centre.

Prime Minister

Gambling: Rehabilitation

Jim Shannon: To ask the Prime Minister if he will meet the hon. Member for Strangford and a group of problem gamblers to discuss steps to take to address this issue. [189710]

The Prime Minister: The Minister for Sport, Tourism and Equalities, my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Mrs Grant), has policy responsibility for these matters and I have asked her to consider this issue. The Government take matters of problem gambling very seriously and the Minister regularly meets a number

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of stakeholders to discuss their concerns. These stakeholders include problem gambling charities, faith groups and the Gambling Commission.

Syria

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Prime Minister whether in the event that the Geneva Peace Talks failing, it will continue to be his policy to rule out a further vote on military intervention in Syria. [189488]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the right hon. Member for Doncaster North (Edward Miliband) on 4 September 2013, Official Report, column 308.

Culture, Media and Sport

Arts Council England

Gavin Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures her Department has in place to ensure that the Arts Council is making appropriate and effective use of Government funds and that it is accountable for the expenditure it makes. [188705]

Mr Vaizey: The Arts Council Chair is accountable to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Maria Miller). Ministers and officials have regular meetings with Arts Council leaders to discuss issues. A management agreement is in place, and settlement letters from the Department set the strategic priorities that Ministers want the Arts Council to achieve.

As an arm’s-length body of Government, the Arts Council operates in accordance with the principles of HM Treasury’s Managing Public Money, and other best practice guidance issued by Government. The Arts Council operates under the jurisdiction of the parliamentary ombudsman and accounts directly to Parliament on occasions that Parliament requires. A Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry into the Arts Council is currently under way.

Broadband: Rural Areas

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will discuss with her counterparts in the devolved Administrations how best to co-ordinate approaches to the roll-out of superfast broadband in order to maximise benefits for rural communities across the UK. [189742]

Mr Vaizey: I wrote to the First Minister for the Northern Ireland Assembly on 25 February 2014 setting out the allocation of a further £7.24 million to support broadband improvements in Northern Ireland, which will need to be matched with funds from local sources. Our respective officials are working together on the process to confirm the funding and to support a new Northern Ireland project. This follows on from the £23.5 million project announced by the Northern Ireland Executive on 7 February which includes funding of £4.4 million from DCMS. We have similar arrangements in place for other parts of the UK.

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Career Development

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proportion of civil servants in her Department who were promoted in each of the last five years were (a) male and (b) female. [189138]

Mrs Grant: The proportion of civil servants in DCMS who were promoted in each of the last five years and were (a) male and (b) female were:

Percentage
Calendar year(a) Male(b) Female

2009

1

1

2010

1

1

2011

33

67

2012

56

44

2013

40

60

1 Not known.

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proportion of civil servants in her Department who were promoted in each of the last five years were identified as (a) white British and (b) from any other ethnic minority group. [189158]

Mrs Grant: The proportion of civil servants in DCMS who were promoted in each of the last five years were (a) white British and (b) other ethnic minority were:

Percentage
Calendar year(a) white British(b) other ethnic minorityNot declared

2009

1

1

1

2010

1

1

1

2011

50

17

33

2012

89

0

11

2013

90

0

10

1 Not known.

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proportion of civil servants in her Department who were promoted in each of the last five years were identified as (a) disabled and (b) non-disabled. [189178]

Mrs Grant: The proportion of civil servants in DCMS who were promoted in each of the last five years were (a) disabled and (b) non-disabled were:

Percentage
Calendar year(a) Disabled(b) Non-disabledNot declared

2009

1

1

1

2010

1

1

1

2011

0

67

33

2012

11

78

11

2013

0

70

30

1 Not known.

Gambling

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what estimate she has made of the number of people in (a) England and (b) the London borough of Havering who suffer from gambling addiction; [189025]

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(2) what provisions her Department makes available to those suffering from gambling addiction; [189026]

(3) what steps her Department is taking to ensure that the research being undertaken by the Responsible Gambling Trust into fixed odds betting terminals is a fair assessment of the situation. [189041]

Mrs Grant: The Health Survey for England, published in December 2013, estimates that between 149,000 and 214,000 individuals are identified as problem gamblers. This is equivalent to approximately 0.5% of the adult population in England. Assessment of problem gambling levels by local authority area is not available. Support to those suffering from gambling addiction is provided through a system of voluntary contributions by the gambling industry, overseen by the Responsible Gambling Trust. The Government are confident that robust mechanisms are in place to ensure the integrity of the Responsible Gambling Trust's research programme. All aspects of the research programme will be rigorously peer reviewed and transparent to the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, the Gambling Commission and Government.

Maternity Leave

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proportion of civil servants in her Department who were on maternity leave in each of the last five years returned to work. [189058]

Mrs Grant: The proportion of civil servants in DCMS who were on maternity leave in each of the last five years and have returned to work were:

As at 1 April to 31 March each yearProportion of civil servants who returned to work after maternity leave (percentage)

2009-10

100

2010-11

100

2011-12

100

2012-13

90

2013-14

1100

1 Projected return of 100%. Of those currently on maternity leave, all are expected to return.

There were over four times the number of women on maternity leave in 2012-13 as there were in 2009-10.

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proportion of civil servants in her Department who had been on maternity leave were still employed in the Civil Service (a) six and (b) 12 months after their return to work in each of the last five years. [189118]

Mrs Grant: The proportion of civil servants in DCMS who had been on maternity leave and were still employed in the civil service after their return in each of the five years is:

Percentage
 Proportion of civil servants who have taken maternity leave and were still employed:
As at 1 April to 31 March each yearSix months after their return to work12 months after their return to work

2009-10

100

100

2010-11

100

100

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2011-12

100

100

2012-13

90

90

2013-14

1100

1 Projected return of 100%. Of those currently on maternity leave, all are expected to return.

There were over four times the number of women on maternity leave in 2012-13 as there were in 2009-10.

Maternity Pay

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the standard level and duration is of contractual maternity pay paid to civil servants in her Department. [189078]

Mrs Grant: Under the Department's Maternity Policy, the standard level and duration of contractual maternity pay paid to civil servants is up of 39 weeks paid maternity leave (Ordinary Maternity Leave) and 13 weeks unpaid maternity leave.

Nurseries

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many workplace nurseries (a) directly operated by her Department and (b) operated by a third party on her Department's property there were at (a) 5 May 2010 and (b) 5 February 2014; and how many such nurseries are expected to cease operating in (i) 2014-15 and (ii) 2015-16. [189098]

Mrs Grant: There were no workplace nurseries directly operated by DCMS at 5 May 2010 or at 5 February 2014.

Tourism: Floods

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to support the tourism industries affected by the recent floods; and if she will make a statement. [188816]

Mrs Grant [holding answer 26 February 2014]: There is a £2 million package of support for tourism businesses in flood affected areas. This will deliver practical help and advice on the ground, as well as a focused marketing campaign to help boost trade for Easter and early summer. Further details are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/2-million-puts-boots-on-the-ground-to-help-tourism-businesses-affected-by-floods

A promotional push abroad to reassure overseas tourists that Britain is open for business is also being planned by VisitBritain for later in the year.

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions she has had with tourism bodies to discuss the floods. [188817]

Mrs Grant [holding answer 26 February 2014]: As Minister for Sports, Tourism and Equalities, I have met with both VisitEngland and VisitBritain to discuss the

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effects of the floods on tourism. Officials have also attended two meetings of the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group, which comprises representatives from across the sector, to assess the impact of the floods on tourism businesses. These discussions informed the development of the £2 million package of support announced on 1 March, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/2-million-puts-boots-on-the-ground-to-help-tourism-businesses-affected-by-floods

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether she attends Cobra meetings on flooding in connection with her tourism responsibilities. [189379]

Mrs Grant: The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Maria Miller), has not attended Cobra meetings to discuss the recent flooding. However, as the Minister for Sports, Tourism and Equalities, I have met with both VisitEngland and VisitBritain to discuss the effects of the floods on tourism, while my officials have attended meetings of the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group to assess the impact of the floods on tourism businesses. These discussions informed the development of the £2 million package of support announced on 1 March.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Apprentices

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the Government's current definition of apprenticeships is for the purpose of reporting on apprenticeship starts and achievements. [189626]

Matthew Hancock: For the purpose of reporting apprenticeship starts and achievements all apprenticeships reported on the individualised learner record (ILR) are included in the number of reported starts and achievements. Apprenticeships can also be delivered through the Employer Ownership Pilot, which are reported separately.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he plans to amend his Department's definition of an apprenticeship as a result of the recommendations set out in “The Future of Apprenticeships in England: Implementation Plan”. [189627]

Matthew Hancock: The Deregulation Bill is currently in Committee stage. It contains provisions to amend the Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 in order to implement the Government's reforms as set out in “The Future of Apprenticeships in England: Implementation Plan”, including changes to the legal definition.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the role of the Sector Skills Council will be in the formulation of the apprenticeships frameworks set out in “The Future of Apprenticeships in England: Guidance for Trailblazers”. [189628]

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Matthew Hancock: Our reforms are focused on putting employers in the driving seat of apprenticeships in future, so employers will lead Trailblazers. Where employers agree collectively, they are free to involve other organisations to support their work.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills for what reasons grading was introduced as an essential feature of future apprenticeships frameworks. [189629]

Matthew Hancock: We are introducing grading into new apprenticeships, which will be based on employer designed standards. The introduction of grading is designed to encourage apprentices to strive for excellence and maximise the value of an apprenticeship in the labour market. Grading allows those who excel to be recognised when they achieve their apprenticeship.

Arms Trade: Trade Promotion

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which export promotion teams which include Ministry of Defence or military personnel (a) in UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation and (b) elsewhere promote the (i) Eurofighter Typhoon, (ii) combat ships, (iii) submarines and (iv) complex weapons. [189015]

Michael Fallon: There is only one Department responsible for the promotion of defence and security exports: UK Trade & Investment Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO). It does this with support from a number of other Government Departments and industry. In addition to its geographically organised staff and regionally based personnel, UKTI DSO includes the following product-specific teams:

Combat Ships—Global Combat Ship Integrated Export Team, including representation from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Industry; and

Typhoon—Typhoon Project Team.

In addition, UKTI DSO and MOD personnel participate with industry in the Joint Export Management Team for the promotion of exports of complex weapons. There is no team dedicated specifically to the promotion of submarine exports.

Business: Co-operation

Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will adopt the proposal recommended in the British Chambers of Commerce Skills and Employment Manifesto for Government to work with universities to incentivise a greater focus on the development of foreign language skills and overseas mobility. [189051]

Mr Willetts: I very much welcome the contribution of the British Chambers of Commerce in taking steps to encourage a greater focus on the development of foreign language skills and overseas mobility.

The Government are committed to increasing outward student mobility and encouraging students to gain international experience through work, study or volunteering placements. This is why Government are supporting a sector led UK strategy for Outward Student Mobility, to increase the number of UK students who access international placements as part of their degree programmes.

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Through the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Government make funding available to ensure the supply of language courses. HEFCE also provides support for students wishing to spend a year of their studies abroad, including through the Erasmus scheme.

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will respond to the recommendations of the British Chambers of Commerce Skills and Employment Manifesto. [189053]

Matthew Hancock: I very much welcome the contribution of the British Chambers of Commerce to the development of long-term solutions to increasing the skills of the workforce. I would be pleased to discuss the ideas set out in their Skills and Employment Manifesto when we meet in May this year.

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to promote greater communication between the chambers of commerce, businesses, schools and universities. [189003]

Matthew Hancock: Growth hubs are being established by local partners to join up public and private business support, giving businesses a single place to go for assistance in each area. Government support the establishment of growth hubs, driven by local partners including Local Enterprise Partnerships. Other local partners involved include universities, business schools, chambers of commerce, and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Business: Floods

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his most recent estimate is of the number of businesses affected by recent flooding. [188299]

Matthew Hancock: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I am giving to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) today to parliamentary question 186806.

Business: Government Assistance

Dr Wollaston: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what consideration he has given to extending access to the Business Support Scheme to those coastal and fishing businesses affected by the winter storms. [189360]

Matthew Hancock: The £10 million Business Support Scheme is a business hardship fund to help those businesses most hard hit by this winter's flooding, both as a result of tidal surge and exceptional rainfall. The scheme will be administered by local authorities and it is they who will take decisions about which businesses receive funding. Our guidance to local authorities makes it clear that they should provide support to those businesses in flood-affected areas that have suffered either:

direct flood damage to premises, equipment and/or stock, or

those businesses that have suffered significant loss of business as a result of being denied access to their premises, equipment and/or stock and loss of supplies and customers.

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Career Development

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what proportion of civil servants in his Department who were promoted in each of the last five years were (a) male and (b) female; [189134]

(2) what proportion of civil servants in his Department who were promoted in each of the last five years were identified as (a) white British and (b) from any other ethnic minority group; [189154]

(3) what proportion of civil servants in his Department who were promoted in each of the last five years were identified as (a) disabled and (b) non-disabled. [189174]

Jenny Willott: BIS is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for all. It operates a delegated recruitment model and does not centrally collate details of promotions.

EU External Trade

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what comparative assessment he has made of the merits of the (a) investor-state dispute settlement contained in Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and (b) Court of Justice of the European Union as a mechanism for settling investor-state disputes involving EU member states. [189254]

Michael Fallon: The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations are still at an early stage. No text has yet been proposed concerning investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). It is expected that draft provisions will be published by the European Commission in March 2014 as part of its public consultation on the merits of including ISDS provisions in TTIP.

The Government have commissioned academic research to assist it to assess the costs and benefits of including ISDS provisions in TTIP. A copy of this research is available in the Libraries of the House. As part of assessing the case for including ISDS provisions in TTIP, the Government will continue to consider the other remedies that may be available to US investors and the fora in which they may be pursued. The role of the Court of Justice of the European Union in disputes between investors and states is most likely to be restricted to cases where the dispute relates to a point of EU law.

EU External Trade: USA

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the potential effect in the UK of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on (a) regulations on hydraulic fracturing, (b) the use of genetically modified crops and (c) price controls on pharmaceutical drugs. [189256]

Michael Fallon: In regulating hydraulic fracturing, as with other regulation for oil and gas, the UK seeks to reflect best international practice. The UK has long experience in regulating onshore oil and gas and a robust regulatory framework. Negotiations are at an early stage but we think it unlikely that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will have any

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effect on regulation of shale gas activities in the UK or in the EU as a whole. Any regulation changes would be through normal processes. Nevertheless, we hope that the TTIP negotiations will help facilitate access to US exports of gas for the EU including, of course, for the UK.

It is too early in the TTIP negotiations to assess the likely impact in relation to GM crops. The main issue for consideration is the fact that the EU takes longer to authorise the import of GM crops as commodities for food and feed use than the USA takes to clear them for marketing. This has the potential to disrupt trade in both GM and conventional agricultural commodities.

Certain previous trade agreements outline a number of high-level principles in relation to arrangements for controlling the prices of medicines, including transparency of pricing, timely and meaningful communication of decisions and disclosure of determination criteria and methodologies. At this stage we do not expect the TTIP to include any additional obligations in this area.

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the regulatory harmonisation in the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on regulatory standards in the EU. [189258]

Michael Fallon: The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could add as much as £10 billion annually to the UK economy in the long-term. Over half of the projected benefits from TTIP will come from more closely aligning the regulations of the EU and US. This could be through mutual recognition, convergence between legislation, use of international standards, and alignment of future regulations. This should be of particular benefit to small and medium-sized enterprises who find existing barriers most difficult to overcome-for example the costs of having their products checked in both EU and US markets. Consumers should benefit from cheaper and wider range of goods and services.

Both the EU and US have committed to maintaining levels of protection that we already have. The aim is to reduce the levels of duplication that businesses have to go through, rather than reduce high regulatory standards. Both sides continue to discuss how this will be delivered.

EU Grants and Loans: Liverpool

Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the consequence for Liverpool's EU funding allocation of the decision in Rotherham metropolitan borough council and Others v. Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. [189350]

Matthew Hancock [holding answer 28 February 2014]: On 7 February 2014 the High Court ruled on the legal challenge bought by local councils broadly representing the Liverpool and Sheffield city regions to the Government's methodology in allocating European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund in the UK. The Court dismissed the claim in relation to all substantive grounds, which include the challenge to the Government's methodology for the allocation of the funds. Nevertheless, the Government's decisions on these allocations have

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been quashed on the sole ground that BIS had not met its public sector equality duty as part of the decision-making process.

The Government will work as quickly as possible to reconsider the EU Structural Funds allocations in the context of its public sector equality duty. We will then focus on negotiating the detailed programming arrangements with the European Commission so that spending can start as soon as possible in 2014.

EU Law

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether the Regulatory Co-operation Council provided for in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will have a right to override national and EU-level legislation. [189253]

Michael Fallon: Over half of the projected economic benefits of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) come from more closely aligning the regulatory frameworks of the EU and the US to reduce business compliance costs. The negotiations between the EU and the US on this issue are at an early stage, but have already covered particular sectors, as well as horizontal disciplines to apply to all sectors. The Commission's initial proposals have included a Regulatory Co-operation Council to co-ordinate all of the regulatory activity, and at this stage are not proposing that this body should have a right to override national and EU-level legislation.

Industry

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on the creation of industry councils based on the model of the Automotive Council for each of the industrial strategy sectors identified by his Department. [189315]

Michael Fallon: We have established Sector Councils (where they did not already exist) for each of the 11 sectors. Each Council brings together industry representatives from across the sector and Government officials and operates in a way that best suits their individual needs.

New Businesses: Essex

Mr Simon Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of successful applicants to the start-up loans scheme in Essex are based in Chelmsford constituency; and if he will make a statement. [189509]

Matthew Hancock [holding answer 28 February 2014]: Following are the number and value of the start-up loans drawn down by applicants in (a) Essex and (b) West Chelmsford. This is since lending began in September 2012.

 Number of loansValue (£)

Essex

216

1,221,805

West Chelmsford

16

88,745

Of all the loans drawn down in Essex, 7% were made to applicants in West Chelmsford.

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Nurseries

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many workplace nurseries (a) directly operated by his Department and (b) operated by a third party on his Department's property there were at (A) 5 May 2010 and (B) 5 February 2014; and how many such nurseries are expected to cease operating in (i) 2014-15 and (ii) 2015-16. [189094]

Jenny Willott: The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) does not directly operate a work place nursery, nor does it operate via a third party on any of its BIS sites.

Public Houses

Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the case for an independent adjudicator for pubs and pub companies. [189194]

Jenny Willott: In last year's consultation, the Government proposed the introduction of a statutory code of practice and an independent adjudicator to enforce the code to govern the relationship between pub owning companies and their tenants. We received over 1,110 written responses to the consultation and over 7,000 responses to the online survey, which we published in December last year. We are considering the evidence carefully to ensure that intervention is both proportionate and targeted and that includes consideration of the case for an adjudicator. The Government intend to publish a response to the consultation as soon as we can.

Regional Growth Fund

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the report by the National Audit Office entitled Progress Report on the Regional Growth Fund, published on 25 February 2014, for what reason the majority of the Regional Growth Fund is unspent; and if he will make a statement. [189508]

Michael Fallon: £917 million of the £2.6 billion funding allocated in the first four bidding rounds has been paid to Regional Growth Fund (RGF) projects or programmes.

Of this amount, about £326 million is currently with programme beneficiaries who have received endowments and are running a range of schemes mainly aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises. Because the schemes run over a period of years, we would not expect all the money they were given to have been defrayed as yet.

It is expected that further claims totalling £194 million will be paid in March 2014 and the remaining funds (£1.5 billion) are budgeted to be drawn down during 2014-15 and 2015-16 in line with the agreed budget allocations for the RGF.

As the majority of funds for each project are provided or sourced by the applicant rather than from RGF grant, project expenditure can commence as soon as each Offer Letter is signed. Each successful applicant agrees a schedule for payment of grant that matches the milestones and time frame of their proposal.

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Secondment

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many staff in his Department have been part of an (a) inward and (b) outward secondment to businesses or other industry groups in each of the last three years. [189316]

Jenny Willott: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 29 January 2014, Official Report, columns 614-15W.

Skills Funding Agency

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the Skills Funding Agency budget in each (a) constituent part of the UK, (b) region and (c) local authority area is per head of population. [188644]

Matthew Hancock: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on 27 February 2014, Official Report, column 500W, in which I provided a link to the Skills Funding Statement document.

Students: Loans

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what proportion of (a) all students and (b) students from a Muslim background have taken up student loan finance in each of the last three years; [189743]

(2) what estimate he has made of the proportion of students eligible to receive student loan finance who are from a Muslim background. [189747]

Mr Willetts: Figures on the take-up of student loans are published by the Student Loans Company and rely on estimates of the eligible population derived from data collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Estimates of take-up for the years up to and including 2011/12 were published in the Statistical First Release "Student Support for Higher Education in England, Academic Year 2013/14" on 28 November 2013. Data on student loan take-up by religious affiliation is not held by the Student Loans Company.

Data on religious affiliation was collected by HESA for the first time in 2012/13. It was introduced to allow HEIs to monitor their obligations under the Equality Act 2010. The field is not compulsory and was not intended for any onwards use.

The latest figures on student support were published in the Statistical First Release "Student Support for Higher Education in England, Academic Year 2013/14" on 28 November 2013.

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the Federation of Student Islamic Societies on interest-bearing student loan finance. [189832]

Mr Willetts: There have been no recent discussions with the Federation of Student Islamic Societies on interest-bearing student loan finance.

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Young People: Employment

Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will adopt the proposal recommended in the British Chambers of Commerce Skills and Employment Manifesto for government to work with the Chambers of Commerce and local bodies to provide greater employment opportunities and work experience for young people. [189050]

Matthew Hancock: The Government's Inspiration Vision is a call to employers to inspire young people about the world of work, and I welcome the support of the British Chambers of Commerce in helping us implement the vision. The Government launched traineeships to support young people to become ready for apprenticeships and other jobs. The programme includes work experience and work preparation. Our flexible model is based in part on a project set up by St Helens Chamber of Commerce and we encourage other chambers to follow that example.

Home Department

Animal Experiments

Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of changes in the number of animals used in scientific research as a result of the measures published in “Working to Reduce the Use of Animals in Scientific Research”. [188733]

Norman Baker: I am committed to reducing the use of animals in research and the Delivery Plan shows how alternative methods can deliver fast, high quality research that also boosts economic growth. The scientific case for developing new techniques that do not require the use of animals is as strong as the moral one. The Delivery Plan is our starting point for the future and it will pave the way for future practice, both at home and abroad, and will cement the UK's place as an international leader in this field.

The Coalition Commitment to work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research is not concerned with just baseline numbers, but encompasses replacement, refinement and reduction (3Rs) more broadly, putting them at the heart of a science led approach.

Animals: Smuggling

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to ensure that live animals seized by the UK Border Force are correctly and safely re-homed. [189033]

James Brokenshire: Seized CITES protected animals are held at Heathrow's Animal Reception Centre pending re-homing. This is a secure facility and animals are under the care of local authority vets throughout their stay.

For very rare animal species Border Force takes advice from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, (Scientific advisers to the UK CITES Management Authority), on whether they can be re-homed by being placed in established breeding programmes world wide or repatriated to their country of origin.

3 Mar 2014 : Column 607W

For those of lesser rarity Border Force organises re-homing through approved and vetted zoological institutions and reptile and bird societies following completion of security checks. In all cases Border Force ensures there is signed agreement with the re-homing organisation setting out the conditions that apply to all seized animals as these remain the property of the Crown Property. These stipulate that:

seized animals may not be sold, exchanged or otherwise disposed of without the agreement of the Home Office and must be returned if requested;

the Home Office reserves the right to seek confirmation that an animal remains with the holder at any time and that the re-homing conditions are being met; and,

no commercial breeding or trading is permitted.

Border Force is responsible for seizing live animals listed as endangered species under Council Regulation (EC) No. 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora which implements the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in the EU.

Asylum

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to minimise the amount being spent on processing asylum claims. [189039]

James Brokenshire: The cost of processing asylum claims has reduced year-on-year since 2010-11.

The Asylum Casework Directorate is making further improvements to the system with an internal change programme. This will involve standardising and streamlining casework processes (routing cases more effectively, quicker interviews, simple and more concise decisions, etc) across all offices to enable quicker decisions for asylum claimants, while maintaining the quality of decision making.

Asylum: Syria

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of potential logistical difficulties facing refugees from the Syrian conflict applying for asylum in the UK. [188592]

James Brokenshire: The United Kingdom has a proud tradition of providing protection to those who need it and we will give the most careful consideration to applications by Syrian nationals seeking asylum in the UK. But we cannot undertake to consider requests for asylum from Syrians who have taken refuge in neighbouring countries and it is not our practice to grant visas or to in any other way facilitate the arrival in the UK of foreign nationals for the purpose of seeking asylum.

However, given the continuation of the Syrian crisis, the Government have launched the Syrian Vulnerable Person Relocation (VPR) scheme to provide sanctuary in the UK for particularly vulnerable displaced Syrians who are most at risk, prioritising survivors of torture and violence, and women and children at risk or in need of medical care. We are working closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to identify the most vulnerable refugees, and with partners including local authorities to ensure we can provide the specific support vulnerable individuals need when they arrive in the UK.

3 Mar 2014 : Column 608W

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her policy is on whether the Syrian conflict is an exceptional situation in relation to asylum and refugee applications. [188625]

James Brokenshire: There are now more than 11 million Syrians in desperate need of humanitarian assistance; including 6.5 million people displaced inside Syria and more than 2.5 million refugees in neighbouring countries—at least half of them children.

This is why the Government’s response to the Syria humanitarian crisis has been on an unprecedented scale. We have committed over £600 million to help those affected by the conflict. It will provide support including food, medical care and relief items for over a million people including those affected by the fighting in Syria and to refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. We believe this approach will have the greatest impact on refugees in the regions.

The Government also introduced a new Vulnerable Person Relocation scheme in January. The programme will focus on individual cases where evacuation from the region is the only option. In particular, we will prioritise help for survivors of torture and violence, and women and children at risk or in need of medical care who are recommended to us for relocation by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Otherwise, we continue to consider all Syrian applications for asylum on a case-by-case basis in line with our international obligations.

Borders: Personal Records

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost to her Department is of legal expenses arising from arbitration between the Home Office and Raytheon relating to the e-Borders programmes to date. [189351]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 28 February 2014]: The final cost of legal fees in connection with the arbitration will not be determined until the conclusion of the process at which time this information will be disclosed.

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects the process of arbitration between her Department and Raytheon relating to the e-Borders programme to be completed. [189352]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 28 February 2014]: The dispute with Raytheon Systems Ltd is the subject of arbitration. We have recently entered the decision phase and we anticipate, in view of the complexity of the case, that this may take some months to conclude.

Buildings

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the office space owned or leased by her Department is not in regular use; what the total (a) rental and (b) retail value is of all such unused office space; and if she will place in the Library a copy of her most recent departmental real estate valuation. [186868]

3 Mar 2014 : Column 609W

Karen Bradley: 0.26% of the Home Office estate is not in regular use with an estimated rental value of approximately £100,000 per annum. It is all leased with no retail value and has been declared surplus for disposal. A single departmental real estate valuation is not held. However, based on individual valuation reports, the current book value of the estate including leases held on balance sheet is £394.5 million. This omits the 2 Marsham street PFI contract and assets owned by sponsored non-departmental public bodies.

Career Development

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what proportion of civil servants in her Department who were promoted in each of the last five years were identified as (a) disabled and (b) non-disabled; [189185]

(2) what proportion of civil servants in her Department who were promoted in each of the last five years were (a) male and (b) female; [189145]

(3) what proportion of civil servants in her Department who were promoted in each of the last five

3 Mar 2014 : Column 610W

years were identified as

(a)

white British and

(b)

from any other ethnic minority group. [189165]

Karen Bradley: The Home Office introduced standard audited corporate workforce reporting from March 2009 so information is available only for the four financial years from 2009-10 to 2012-13. Information for the current financial year (2013-14) will not be available until mid-April 2014.

The proportion of civil servants in Home Office promoted in the four financial years from 2009-10 to 2012-13 who were (a) male and (b)female is shown in Table 1.

The proportion of civil servants in Home Office promoted in the four financial years from 2009-10 to 2012-13 who were (a) white and (b)minority ethnic is shown in Table 2.

The proportion of civil servants in Home Office promoted in the four financial years from 2009-10 to 2012-13 who were (a) disabled and (b)non-disabled is shown in Table 3.

Table 1: Proportion of promoted civil servants who were (a) male and (b) female
Percentage
Financial year(a) Male(b) Female

2009-10

44

56

2010-11

51

49

2011-12

53

47

2012-13

51

49

Periods covered: 2009-10: 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010. 2010-11: 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011. 2011-12: 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012. 2012-13: 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013. Extraction dates: 2009-10: 1 April 2010. 2010-11: 1 April 2011. 2011-12: 1 April 2012. 2012-13: 1 April 2013. Organisational coverage: Figures include Core Home Office (including UK Visas & Immigration, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force) and the Executive Agencies; Her Majesty's Passport Office and, from 2011-12 onwards, the National Fraud Authority. Figures for 2009-10 to 2011-12 also include the Criminal Records Bureau, which was an executive agency of the Home Office during that period. Employee coverage: Data are based on headcount of all paid and unpaid civil servants, who were promoted within the Home Office during each period. Some employees will have also joined the Home Office on promotion during the period, but we are unable to report on this as we do not know the grades of employees from their previous Department. For context, the proportion of (a) male (b) female employees (current, paid civil servants as at 31 March) for each year is shown in the following table. As the proportions of promotions are worked out across the whole of the financial year, the two tables are not directly comparable, and these figures are provided for information only. Data source: Data View—the Home Office's single source of Office for National Statistics compliant monthly snapshot corporate Human Resources data.
Proportion of current paid civil servants who were (a) male and (b) female
Percentage
 (a) Male(b) Female

March

  

2010

44

56

2011

46

54

2012

48

52

2013

48

52

Table 2: Proportion of promoted civil servants who were (a) white and (b) minority ethnic
Percentage
Financial year(a) White(b) Minority ethnic

2009-10

79

21

2010-11

78

22

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3 Mar 2014 : Column 612W

2011-12

75

25

2012-13

76

24

Periods covered: 2009-10: 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010. 2010-11: 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011. 2011-12: 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012. 2012-13: 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013. Extraction dates: 2009-10: 1 April 2010. 2010-11: 1 April 2011. 2011-12: 1 April 2012. 2012-13: 1 April 2013. Organisational coverage: Figures include Core Home Office (including UK Visas & Immigration, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force) and the executive agencies; Her Majesty's Passport Office and, from 2011-12 onwards, the National Fraud Authority. Figures for 2009-10 to 2011-12 also include the Criminal Records Bureau, which was an executive agency of the Home Office during that period. Employee coverage: Data are based on headcount of all paid and unpaid civil servants, who were promoted within the Home Office during each period and made a positive declaration as to their ethnicity. Some employees will have also joined the Home Office on promotion during the period, but we are unable to report on this as we do not know the grades of employees from their previous Department. For context, the proportion of (a) white and (b) minority ethnic employees (current, paid civil servants as at 31 March) for each year is shown in the following table. As the proportions of promotions are worked out across the whole of the financial year, the two tables are not directly comparable, and these figures are provided for information only. Data source: Data View—the Home Office's single source of Office for National Statistics compliant monthly snapshot corporate Human Resources data.
Proportion of current paid civil servants who were (a) white and (b) minority ethnic
Percentage
 (a) White(b) Minority ethnic

March

  

2010

75

25

2011

77

23

2012

77

23

2013

77

23

Table 3: Proportion of promoted civil servants who were (a) disabled and (b) non-disabled
Percentage
Financial year(a) Disabled(b) Non-disabled

2009-10

4

96

2010-11

5

95

2011-12

3

97

2012-13

5

95

Periods covered: 2009-10: 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010. 2010-11: 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011. 2011-12: 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012. 2012-13: 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013. Extraction dates: 2009-10: 1 April 2010. 2010-11: 1 April 2011. 2011-12: 1 April 2012. 2012-13: 1 April 2013. Organisational coverage: Figures include Core Home Office (including UK Visas & Immigration, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force) and the executive agencies; Her Majesty's Passport Office and, from 2011-12 onwards, the National Fraud Authority. Figures for 2009-10 to 2011-12 also include the Criminal Records Bureau, which was an executive agency of the Home office during that period. Employee coverage: Data are based on headcount of all paid and unpaid civil servants, who were promoted within the Home Office during each period, and made a positive declaration as to their disability. Some employees will have also joined the Home Office on promotion during the period, but we are unable to report on this as we do not know the grades of employees from their previous Department. For context, the proportion of (a) disabled and (b) non-disabled employees (current, paid civil servants as at 31 March) for each year is shown in the following table. As the proportions of promotions are worked out across the whole of the financial year, the two tables are not directly comparable, and these figures are provided for information only. Data source: Data View—the Home Office's single source of Office for National Statistics compliant monthly snapshot corporate Human Resources data.
Proportion of current paid civil servants who were (a) disabled and (b) non-disabled
Percentage
 (a) Disabled(b) Non-disabled

March

  

2010

7

93

2011

7

93

2012

7

93

2013

9

91

Crime

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment her Department has made of the use of the Self Evident app to facilitate crime reporting by victims and evidence submissions by witnesses to the police. [189715]

Damian Green: Forces are responsible for their IT locally and it is the decision of individual chief constables and police and crime commissioners to deploy or promote the apps they think will be of most benefit to operational

3 Mar 2014 : Column 613W

policing in their local area. The Home Office supports this approach and we are working with national policing partners to define information standards which will help developers create apps and software that can operate with police systems.

Equality

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many publications her Department has produced for the purposes of monitoring or promoting staff equality and diversity in each of the last five years; and what the cost of producing such publications was in each such year. [188883]

Karen Bradley: The Home Office produces a discrete publication, known as the annual Employment Monitoring Report, for the purposes of monitoring and promoting staff equality and diversity in line with its legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

Reports are available for each of the last four financial years (2008-/09 onwards) on gov.uk.

The cost of producing this publication is not recorded centrally and estimates could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. This is because each annual publication contains a different level of information, some of which is also contained in other statistical and Transparency Agenda products (and these are not produced for the purposes of monitoring or promoting staff equality and diversity).

Fraud

Mr Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fraud crimes are (a) reported and (b) investigated in each police force area in the UK annually; and how many convictions for fraud there were in the UK in the last year for which data are available. [189008]

Karen Bradley: In the year ending September 2013, 201,035 fraud offences were recorded by the police or Action Fraud in England and Wales. Since 1 April 2013, fraud offences previously recorded by individual police forces have been recorded centrally by Action Fraud. Where a victim contacts the police to report a fraud offence, they will be advised to report it to Action Fraud. This transfer of responsibility had a phased introduction from April 2011 and it is not possible to disaggregate Action Fraud data to police force areas on a consistent basis.

The Home Office does not hold information centrally on the number of fraud investigations in each police force area.

According to Ministry of Justice figures, in 2012 15,862 defendants were proceeded against for fraud offences at magistrates courts in England and Wales and 12,380 were found guilty.

Crime and justice statistics for Scotland and Northern Ireland are a matter for the relevant devolved Administration.

Mr Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make an estimate of the number of economic and fraud crimes reported

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in the last 10 years that remain uninvestigated in each police area due to resource constraints or a lack of suitably qualified personnel. [189009]

Karen Bradley: The Home Office does not hold this information centrally.

Immigration: Appeals

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to ensure her Department's officials are present in all court appeals relating to cases where a person has been refused leave to remain in the UK. [189038]

James Brokenshire: Since 2012, Home Office representation at appeal hearings has increased through the recruitment of staff and the use of barristers.

We have also increased the number of occasions per week each presenting officer spends in court, as well as deploying presenting officers flexibly across the various regional courts to ensure the maximum number of appeal hearings across the UK are represented. Furthermore, we continue to make every effort to ensure that only appropriate cases go before the courts, in order to improve representation and productivity and to promote a more efficient appeals system.

The latest published statistics on representation rates appear in our report to the Home Affairs Select Committee, which can be found at:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/home-affairs/Home%20Office%20Immigration%20Directorates %20written%20evidence.pdf

These show that in the third quarter of 2013 representation at the first-tier tribunal stood at 98% and representation at the upper tribunal was 100%.

Offenders: Foreign Nationals

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many criminal offences by foreign-born nationals were recorded in the London Borough of Havering in 2013. [189037]

Jeremy Wright: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

The Ministry of Justice Court Proceedings Database does not record the nationality of offenders sentenced for criminal offences.

All foreign national offenders sentenced to custody are referred to the Home Office for them to consider deportation at the earliest possible opportunity.

Reducing the FNO population is a top priority for this Government. We are working hard to reduce the flow of FNOs into our prison system and increase the number of FNOs removed from the UK through prisoner transfer agreements (PTAs); the Early Removal Scheme (ERS) and Tariff Expired Removal Scheme (TERS).

Police: Complaints

Mr Charles Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many of the Independent Police Complaints Commission's investigations have been appeals after decisions by the local force in each of the last five years; [189644]

3 Mar 2014 : Column 615W

(2) how many of the deaths identified by the Independent Police Complaints Commission as restraint-related have involved people with mental health issues in each of the last five years. [189646]

Damian Green: This information is not held centrally. The Independent Police Complaints Commission will write to my hon. Friend and I will place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

UK Visas and Immigration

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to appoint a permanent Director General for Visas and Immigration. [189240]

James Brokenshire: We expect to announce the new director general of UK Visas and Immigration imminently.

Treasury

Air Passenger Duty

Nick de Bois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of abolishing Air Passenger Duty bands D and C and moving all countries in these bands into Air Passenger Duty band B. [189664]

Nicky Morgan: I refer the hon. Member to the answer provided on 5 December 2013, Official Report, column 757W.

The hon. Member should note that the Chancellor keeps all taxes under review as part of the ongoing Budget process.

Banks: Scotland

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the head of the Financial Conduct Authority on the number of people employed at the headquarters of those banks and financial services providers registered in Scotland and the number of jobs which have a direct or indirect connection to the headquartering of the banks and other financial services providers in Scotland. [187556]

Sajid Javid: Approximately 100,000 people are directly employed in the financial sector in Scotland and another 100,000 indirectly employed in related professional services. Treasury Ministers and officials meet regularly with the Financial Conduct Authority as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Treasury’s practice to provide details of all such discussions.

Capital Gains Tax

Julie Hilling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many residences valued at over (a) £1 million, (b) £1.5 million, (c) £2 million, (d) £2.5 million, (e) £3 million, (f) £3.5 million, (g) £4 million, (h) £4.5 million and (i) £5 million was capital gains tax paid in each year since 2010. [188961]

Mr Gauke: Estimates of the number of disposals of residential property (land and buildings) by taxpayers with a capital gains liability in 2010-11, the latest year data are available, are given in the following table:

3 Mar 2014 : Column 616W

Value of disposalEstimated number

Over £1 million

1,200

Of which over £1.5 million

900

Of which over £2 million

500

Of which over £3 million

300

Of which over £5 million

200

These data are from a survey. On the grounds of statistical reliability there are insufficient numbers of sample cases in some residence disposal value ranges for which estimated numbers could be deduced to provide all the ranges requested.

Children: Day Care

Lucy Powell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to publish the Government’s response to his Department’s consultation on tax-free childcare. [188351]

Nicky Morgan: The Government will publish their response to the tax-free child care consultation in due course.

Lucy Powell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to publish an impact assessment for tax-free childcare. [188352]

Nicky Morgan: The impact assessment for tax-free childcare will be published when legislation is laid before Parliament, in due course.

Lucy Powell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 24 February 2014, Official Report, columns 27-28W, on children: day care, by what method his Department has determined the estimated breakdown of basic and higher or additional rate taxpayers in receipt of employer-supported childcare vouchers. [189765]

Nicky Morgan: The breakdown by tax rate is estimated using the reported income of families in the Family Resources Survey who had also indicated they received child care vouchers from an employer.

Defence: Procurement

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to reach agreement with the Ministry of Defence on changes to civil service pay and conditions as part of the DE and S plus model for defence procurement; and if he will publish the details of such an arrangement. [188601]

Danny Alexander: Details on the new Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisational structure are planned to be published in April. Further details on pay and conditions will be released in due course.

Diesel Fuel: Theft

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the rural economy of red diesel theft in each of the last three years; [189618]

(2) how many vehicles have been stopped for red diesel theft in each of the last three years. [189617]

3 Mar 2014 : Column 617W

Nicky Morgan: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) fights fraud on a wide range of fronts, from special units performing thousands of roadside checks to raiding laundering plants. HMRC has also recently announced a new marker for rebated fuel, which will make it harder to launder marked fuel and sell it at a profit.

No specific assessment has been made of the cost to the rural economy of red diesel theft. However, tax gap figures published in the document at the following link give estimates of revenue lost to illicit fuel use in the UK:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/tax-gaps/mtg-2013.pdf

No assessment has been made of vehicles stopped specifically for red diesel theft, and such thefts would be a matter for the police. HMRC is committed to combating all aspects of fuel fraud; and this is shown by the total number of vehicles challenged for suspected misuse of all types by their road fuel testing units in the last three years, as highlighted in the following table:

Total vehicle stops
 Number

2011-12

48,757

2012-13

45,305

2013-14 (April 2013 to February 2014)

42,216

Driving: Insurance

Richard Burden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the prevalence of non-reporting of trading figures for car insurance by motor insurance companies; and whether he has assessed if this is in breach of International Financial Reporting Standards 8, Operating Segments. [188620]

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

The appropriate regulatory bodies, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Financial Reporting Council, are not aware of any issues by this business sector. There is no specific requirement for insurance companies to identify separately their car insurance trading figures in financial statements.

EU Law

Mr Redwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many EU directives his Department has 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. [183872]

Nicky Morgan: The Department does not hold a central record of the EU directives it has transposed into UK law since 2010 and also does not hold a central record of all directly applicable EU regulations coming into effect since 2010. Details of all current European legislation are on the Euro-Lex website:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/legis/latest/index.htm

Excise Duties: Fuels

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 16 December 2013, Official Report, columns 433-34W, on excise duties: fuel, what

3 Mar 2014 : Column 618W

the evidential basis was for his statement that liquified petroleum gas is not as environmentally beneficial as natural gas; and on what dates the underlying data were compiled. [185573]

Nicky Morgan: The reduction of the LPG differential by 1 ppl per year is a continuation of the approach set out by the previous Administration, following their recommendation in the 2003 alternative fuels framework. However, as this Government have frozen fuel duty until the end of Parliament, the LPG differential also remains frozen, and is not currently closing by 1 ppl per year. The Government will review the taxation of all road fuel gases in 2018, along with vehicle take-up and the impact of the differential on the public finances.

Limited Liability

Mr Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make an assessment of the effect of limited liability partnerships on levels of organised crime. [182275]

Mr Gauke: Under the 2013 UK presidency of the G8, the Prime Minister committed to action to prevent the misuse of companies and other legal arrangements. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) published the “Trust and Transparency” discussion paper for consultation last year, setting out proposals to improve company transparency; the consultation period has now closed and a full Government response is expected shortly.

Information from law enforcement agencies and others is supporting this work. Any assessment of the effect of LLPs on levels of organised crime is a matter for the Home Office.

Maternity Leave

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what proportion of civil servants in his Department who were on maternity leave in each of the last five years returned to work; [189071]

(2) what proportion of civil servants in his Department who had been on maternity leave were still employed in the Civil Service (a) six and (b) 12 months after their return to work in each of the last five years. [189131]

Nicky Morgan: Please find following table showing the information as requested.

  Percentage
 Staff on maternity leaveReturned to workStill employed six months after returningStill employed 12 months after returning

2008-09

19

100.0

100.0

94.7

2009-10

29

100.0

96.6

93.1

2010-11

22

100.0

100.0

95.5

2011-12

25

100.0

84.0

84.0

2012-13

32

100.0

96.9

96.9

These data are for staff employed by HM Treasury. We have no records on how long they remain in the civil service once they leave employment in this Department.

3 Mar 2014 : Column 619W

Minimum Wage

Yvonne Fovargue: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to collect information on the number of employers who are not compliant with national minimum wage legislation at constituency level. [189569]

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

The Government are committed to increasing compliance with minimum wage legislation and effective enforcement of it. Everyone who is entitled to the minimum wage should receive it. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigate every complaint made to the Pay and Work Rights helpline. In addition, HMRC conducts risk-based enforcement in sectors or areas where there is a higher risk of workers not getting paid the legal minimum wage.

HMRC does not keep statistics at constituency level and collecting information on the number of employers who are not compliant at a constituency level would be very resource intensive.

New Businesses: Females

Guy Opperman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what support his Department is giving to women who want to set up businesses. [184256]

Nicky Morgan: The Government have committed to making the UK one of the best places in Europe to start, finance and grow a business. The Government have taken a number of steps to achieve this objective: cutting the main rate of corporation tax from 28% in 2010 to 20% by 2015—the lowest in the G20; extending the doubling of small business rates relief (SBRR) for a further year from 1 April 2014, reducing the cost by an average of £800 per annum for over 500,000 businesses; and introducing a new £2,000 employment allowance for small business and charities, from April 2013, to reduce their employer national insurance bills.

The UK now has the second highest rate of early stage entrepreneurial activity in the G7. The Government want to ensure that this success is shared equally across genders; this was a key driver for the setting up of the Women's Business Council in 2012 and the publication of an action plan, in November 2013, on supporting women in business.

Access to finance is being improved through, among other things, the creation of the British Business Bank. In addition, the autumn statement announced a doubling of funding to the Government Start Up Loans scheme. A third of individuals who have received loans and mentoring to set up businesses are female, significantly higher than the 18% of women that currently head up a business.

The Government have also identified and trained 15,000 new mentors to support those setting up a business, including 5,000 specifically for new and existing female entrepreneurs.

From autumn 2015, tax-free child care will be introduced for working parents, providing up to £1200 per child per year. This will help many women overcome what can be a significant obstacle to setting up a business.

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Nurseries

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many workplace nurseries (a) directly operated by his Department and (b) operated by a third party on his Department's property there were at (a) 5 May 2010 and (b) 5 February 2014; and how many such nurseries are expected to cease operating in (i) 2014-15 and (ii) 2015-16. [189111]

Nicky Morgan: HM Treasury did not have a workplace nursery on its property at 5 May 2010 or on 5 February 2014.

Rent a Room Scheme

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people claimed relief under the rent-a-room scheme in each of the last 10 years; and what the cost to the public purse of such relief has been. [189735]

Mr Gauke: Individuals with rental income below the level of the rent-a-room tax-free threshold (£4,250) do not need to claim the relief. They simply do not declare these earnings. For this reason, it is not possible to quantify the take-up.

HMRC have published the estimated cost of the relief for 2012-13 and 2013-14 at £90 million per annum. These figures are particularly tentative and subject to a wide margin of error for the same reason.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Julie Hilling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many transactions over the value of (a) £1 million, (b) £1.5 million, (c) £2 million, (d) £2.5 million, (e) £3 million, (f) £3.5 million, (g) £4 million, (h) £4.5 million and (i) £5 million was stamp duty land tax paid in each year since 2010. [188962]

Nicky Morgan: An analysis of annual (calendar year) property transactions by type of property and range of price is published annually in the publication “Annual UK Property Transactions Statistics”. The latest release can be found at this link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/annual-uk-property-transactions-statistics-2013

Stocks and Shares

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with UK and EU financial regulators about the regulation of high frequency trading. [189634]

Sajid Javid: EU member states have recently reached an agreement on the review of the markets in financial of instruments directive (MiFID), which should shortly pass into law. This legislation will comprehensively regulate high frequency trading. The Government, in close consultation with the Financial Conduct Authority, have been heavily engaged throughout the course of the negotiation of MiFID.

3 Mar 2014 : Column 621W

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the potential systemic and operational risks of high frequency trading. [189635]

Sajid Javid: The findings of the Foresight project “The Future of Computer Trading In Financial Markets,” led by the Government Office for Science and sponsored by the Treasury, was published in autumn 2012. This independent and international study involved 150 leading experts and considered, inter alia, the impact of computer trading on the integrity of markets and financial stability.

Tax Avoidance

Mr Prisk: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost of enforcement of the IR35 rules since 2010. [187120]

Mr Gauke: It is estimated that the current cost of the specialist compliance teams administering IR35 is approximately £700,000 per annum. Since April 2011, HMRC has restructured progressively the organisation and number of staff administering IR35. HMRC has no estimate of cost other than the current cost.

VAT

Stephen Doughty: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will estimate the net effect in (a) cash terms and (b) as a proportion of the average annual income of the 2.5% increase in the standard rate of value added tax to 20% on (i) pensioner couples, (ii) single pensioners, (iii) couples with children and (iv) single parents with children; [189308]

(2) if he will estimate how much more value added tax a couple with two children, earning £20,000 a year, have paid in (a) cash terms and (b) as a proportion of their household income following the increase in the standard rate of value added tax to 20%. [189309]

Mr Gauke: I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for Coventry South (Mr Cunningham) on 12 February 2014, Official Report, columns 642-43W.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Animal Welfare: Trapping

Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Livingston, of 27 January 2014, Official Report, column 389W, on animal welfare: trapping, if he will consider bringing forward legislative proposals to put code of practice on the use of snares on a statutory basis or offer otherwise to amend it to improve compliance. [189354]

3 Mar 2014 : Column 622W

George Eustice: We have no plans to bring forward legislative proposals to put the DEFRA code of practice on the use of snares on a statutory basis. My colleague Lord de Mauley has had discussions with key stakeholders with the aim of improving compliance. As part of this we propose to work with stakeholders to update the code shortly.

Butterflies

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the reasons for the recent increase in butterfly numbers; and what steps he plans to take to further increase the number of butterflies. [189261]

George Eustice: Early indications from surveys in 2013 suggest that butterfly numbers were substantially higher than in 2012. This is largely a response to the warm, dry weather conditions last summer, just as the low numbers in 2012 were a response to cooler, wetter conditions. Longer term changes in butterfly numbers are reported in our biodiversity indicator suite which we publish annually.

We are taking a number of steps to increase butterfly numbers. We have an extensive network of protected sites and have established 12 Nature Improvement Areas which aim to restore and connect habitats at a landscape scale. We have encouraged others to adopt this approach voluntarily.

Our agri-environment scheme, Environmental Stewardship, provides incentives for a range of habitat management and creation options on farmland. Our statutory advisory body, Natural England, is working with Butterfly Conservation, an environmental NGO, to support the Farmland Butterfly Initiative. This aims to increase the effectiveness of agri-environment schemes further though improved targeting of management and advice.

Career Development

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what proportion of civil servants in his Department who were promoted in each of the last five years were (a) male and (b) female; [189142]

(2) what proportion of civil servants in his Department who were promoted in each of the last five years were identified as (a) white British and (b) from any other ethnic minority group; [189162]

(3) what proportion of civil servants in his Department who were promoted in each of the last five years were identified as (a) disabled and (b) non-disabled. [189182]

Dan Rogerson: The following table shows the diversity breakdown of staff promoted in core DEFRA in each of the last four financial years.

Percentage
Year ending31 MarchMaleFemaleWhiteEthnic minorityDisabledNon-disabled

2010

42.3

57.7

91.4

8.6

2.1

97.9

2011

48.3

51.7

100.0

0.0

15.8

84.2

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2012

60.0

40.0

93.7

6.3

3.9

96.1

2013

48

52

93

7

6

94

Data for the year ending 31 March 2009 are not available.

We are unable to analyse ethnicity and nationality data together and therefore cannot provide the white British data requested.

Criminal Investigation

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which organisation his Department and its subsidiary bodies use to tackle internal instances of crime, including corruption and fraud; and whether he has designated this organisation or any individual within it to grant authorisation for carrying out directed surveillance under section 28 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. [186710]

Dan Rogerson: Core DEFRA, its executive agencies and NDPBs select appropriate staff to undertake the initial investigation into suspected instances of internal crime, including corruption and fraud. These individuals are from internal functions including Internal Audit and DEFRA Investigation Services (whose main remit is to investigate breaches of DEFRA's regulations by external parties).

There are a number of staff trained to authorise directed surveillance under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) as prescribed by this legislation, principally for the investigation of external breaches of DEFRA regulations (which may include criminal breaches) rather than for internal investigations. Ministers are not involved in this process which is overseen by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners.


Floods

Dr Wollaston: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consideration he has given to extending access to the (a) Farming Recovery Fund and (b) Repair and Renew scheme to those coastal and fishing businesses affected by the winter storms. [189359]

George Eustice: Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 20 February of the Repair and Renew Grant, help will be available for people and businesses whose properties have suffered internal damage from flooding (but not from storms) since the beginning of December 2013. The grant of up to £5,000 will contribute towards improvements to the fabric of their property or premises that would help reduce the impact and cost of any subsequent flooding. The scheme, which only applies to England, opens on 1 April 2014.

The Government's £10 million Farming Recovery Fund is for farm businesses. It will help them to restore flooded agricultural land and bring it back into production as quickly as possible. It will not be extended to coastal and fishing businesses.

Further options are being considered to help fishermen affected by storms.

Floods: Business

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the recent floods on the small business sector; what estimate he has made of the number of small businesses affected by those floods; and what assessment he has made of the potential effect of an increase in serious flooding events on the small business sector. [186806]

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

Since the East Coast surge in early December 2013, over 6,480 properties have been flooded across England. We estimate that in excess of 2,000 businesses have been flooded and more will have been affected by the floods.

The Government have announced a package of support for businesses. A £10 million business support scheme has been established and local authorities have already been advised of an initial allocation of funds. A second tranche of funding, reflecting the latest information, will be allocated in the next two weeks.

Businesses that have been flooded since December 2013 will qualify for 100% business rate relief for three months, regardless of how long they were flooded.

In April 2014 businesses will be able to apply for a new repair and renewal grants of up to £5,000 to contribute to work that improves a property's ability to withstand future flooding.

In addition, the Business Support Helpline (0303 456 3565) is able to direct businesses to support available to businesses and can receive one hour of free support with a business adviser.

HMRC and Companies House have schemes in place to support businesses that due to these exceptional conditions are unable to file their papers or pay their taxes.

Support from non-Government sources is also available, the banks have announced £750 million of support for businesses affected and the Business Exchange website

www.greatbusinessexchange.co.uk/small-business-affected-uk-floods

has a page to enable businesses that wish to provide help to other businesses.

Floods: Housing

Mr Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many houses that have flooded in the current financial year were built on a flood plain; and if he will make a statement. [189200]

Dan Rogerson: DEFRA does not hold information specifically on how many houses have been built on flood plains and flooded in the last 10 years in England, Greater London and Wales. In the case of Wales, flood risk management policy is a devolved responsibility.

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Horses: Exports

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department takes to prevent horses and ponies being exported for slaughter. [189860]

George Eustice: European and domestic legislation permits the export of horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. National legislation currently prohibits the export of ponies for slaughter from GB.

Any consignment of horses or ponies being exported from GB requires export health certification, issued by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA). AHVLA has no record of issuing any export health certificates for consignments of horses where the intended purpose has been declared to be for slaughter.

Marine Conservation Zones

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with organisations representing wildfowling interest about the designation of marine conservation zones. [189259]

George Eustice: The issue of wildfowl and the designation of marine conservation zones was raised with me by local representatives of the RSPB during a recent visit to the SSSI at Hayle in Cornwall. Officials have also met representatives of organisations representing wildfowling interests both individually and at stakeholder events.

Maternity Leave

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what proportion of civil servants in his Department who were on maternity leave in each of the last five years returned to work; [189062]


(2) what proportion of civil servants in his Department who had been on maternity leave were still employed in the Civil Service (a) six and (b) 12 months after their return to work in each of the last five years. [189122]

Dan Rogerson: The following table shows the percentage of civil servants in core DEFRA who returned to work after taking maternity leave:

Percentage
 20092010201120122013

Returned to work

96.7

91.0

84.9

97.1

88.9

Took a career break

1.6

9.0

4.3

2.9

11.1

The following table shows the percentage of civil servants in core DEFRA who were still employed in the Department (a) six and (b) 12 months after their return to work following maternity leave. For employees who have moved to other Departments we are unable to say how long they have stayed in the civil service, and they have been excluded from the calculations.

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Percentage
     2013
 2009201020112012Reached 6/12 monthsNot yet reached 6/12 months

Employed 6 months later

96.7

95.4

92.5

97.1

50.0

48.4

Employed 12 months later

96.6

89.2

92.3

97.1

19.4

79.0