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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 30 April 2014

Attorney-General

Ukraine

Sir Edward Leigh: To ask the Attorney-General whether he has given advice to the Government on whether the removal of President Yanukovich was in accord with the provisions of Article III of the Constitution of Ukraine. [196900]

The Solicitor-General: By long-standing convention, observed by successive Administrations and embodied in the Ministerial Code, the fact that the Law Officers may or may not have advised or have been requested to advise on a particular issue, and the content of any advice, is not disclosed outside Government.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Apprentices

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to Growth is Our Business: A Strategy for Professional and Business Services published in July 2013, (1) what progress his Department has made in (a) developing a clearing house for professional and business services higher apprenticeship applicants and (b) helping small and medium-sized enterprises access this talent pool; [195985]

(2) what progress his Department has made in establishing the effect of school reporting metrics on the prestige of higher apprenticeships as a destination; [195984]

(3) what progress his Department has made in increasing the diversity of entry to the professional and business services sector; [195987]

(4) what progress his Department has made in increasing the number of higher apprenticeships in the professional and business services sector; [195989]

(5) what web-based initiatives have been set up to link professional and business services businesses with the education sector; [195990]

(6) what progress his Department has made in piloting new approaches to improving business and skills system engagement and sharing of good practice; [195991]

(7) how many further education colleges have engaged with business as a condition of achieving chartered status; [195992]

(8) what progress his Department has made in encouraging bodies to find innovative ways of improving employability of young people within the national curriculum. [195993]

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Matthew Hancock: These questions ask about a number of actions related to skills development from “Growth is our business: a strategy for professional and business services”, published in July 2013 as part of Government’s industrial strategy. The strategy was developed in collaboration with the professional and business services sector, focusing on the industry’s agenda for long term growth. It is led by the Professional and Business Services Council.

The strategy reflects two key business priorities in skills development. First, to expand recruitment routes into the sector, in particular higher apprenticeships, to access a wider, more diverse talent pool. Second, to help businesses engage with the education system to raise aspirations and promote work readiness. A business-led skills taskforce for professional and business services has been established. It is developing approaches to implement the strategy and will report progress at the end of this year.

The skills taskforce is leading work to help towards the strategy’s ambitious target to treble the number of higher apprenticeship starts across professional and business services to 10,000 over five years; and to follow progress in the interim, so that the numbers of these apprenticeships can be monitored. As a first step, the taskforce is supporting the London Professional Apprenticeship scheme, which was launched in December 2013, and is now recruiting apprentices and employers to take part. The scheme will pilot the proposal for a “clearing house” to help small firms access higher apprenticeships in professional and business services. In addition, the taskforce is backing new “trailblazer” initiatives, announced in March 2014, to develop employer-driven standards for apprenticeships in several professional and business services occupations.

The skills taskforce is currently researching the metrics for schools’ reporting and their effect on the prestige of higher apprenticeships as initial career destinations. It will consider if more could be done to ensure higher apprenticeships have parity of esteem with higher education.

The taskforce is also mapping current school engagement activity involving professional and business services firms with a view to identifying and sharing good practice.

The new emphasis on wider use of higher apprenticeships across professional and business services should contribute towards a greater diversity of routes into these careers in the years to come; potentially offering opportunities to a wider pool of talent.

The skills taskforce intends to consider how the employability of young people can be supported within the national curriculum, but believes that greater engagement between employers and young people is the best way of improving employability skills.

My noble Friend Lord Lingfield has set up the independent Institution for Further Education to take forward work on a new chartered status quality scheme and is considering the application and assessment process for Further Education providers.

The skills taskforce is exploring how web-based services can support engagement between firms and the education sector, including a planned digital “inspiration” tool being developed by this Department to encourage business-schools engagement.

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Further information on the implementation of “Growth is our business: a strategy for professional and business services” is included in a progress report on industrial strategy, published on 23 April 2014:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/industrial-strategy-early-successes-and-future-priorities

Apprentices: Lancashire

Mark Menzies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of higher apprenticeships in Lancashire. [196486]

Matthew Hancock: Higher apprenticeship starts in Lancashire local education authority have increased from 40 in the 2009/10 academic year to 370 in 2012/13.

The Budget announced £20 million over 2014-15 and 2015-16 for new support for employer investment in apprenticeships in England up to postgraduate level, which will provide apprentices with the technical skills that employers need. This will complement the £80 million funding over 2014-15 and 2015-16 for 20,000 more higher apprenticeships announced in the autumn statement—more than doubling current volumes.

Business: Advisory Services

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to Growth is Our Business: A Strategy for Professional and Business Services published in July 2013, what progress his Department has made in the development of the growth voucher scheme; and if he will make a statement. [195988]

Matthew Hancock: Since its launch in January 2014, the Growth Vouchers programme has attracted over 2,500 applications from small businesses and more than £2.5 million worth of vouchers have been distributed. Vouchers can only be spent on strategic advice in five key areas; raising finance and managing cash flow; recruiting and developing staff; improving leadership and management skills; marketing, attracting and keeping customers; and making the most of digital technology.

We have been working closely with the Professional and Business Services sector and so far over 2,700 private sector business support providers offer their services through a new online marketplace (run by Enterprise Nation), of which over 1,000 are approved to deliver advice under the Growth Vouchers programme.

Providers interested in offering their services should register at:

marketplace.enterprisenation.com/marketplaces/users/new

Businesses wishing to apply should visit:

www.gov.uk/apply-growth-vouchers

Cheshire Employer and Skills Development

Mr O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the evidential basis was of his decision to withdraw Government support from Cheshire Employer and Skills Development Limited (CE&SDL); what assessment he made of the performance of CE&SDL in (a) developing (i) work-based learning and (ii) any other skills, (b) encouraging apprenticeships

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and

(c)

other respects in the period (A) following its founding and (B) at the time it was required to cease its activities; and what representations his Department received for and against its decision to withdraw support. [196162]

Matthew Hancock: The Government did not withdraw funding from CE&SDL. In 2007, at the request of CE&SDL, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) transferred the contract for skills provision from CE&SDL to a successor legal entity, Total People. CE&SDL continued to operate when the contract was transferred to Total People but did not directly receive any further funding nor did it acquire funding as a subcontractor. It was dissolved as a company in April 2014. The Skills Funding Agency, as the LSC's successor, continued to fund Total People, and still does so today.

Both the earliest and latest performance data available demonstrate a mixed picture. Prior to 2007 CE&SDL's performance was below the national average. After 2007, and the transfer of contact to Total People, performance was stronger and sometimes higher than national average.

Neither the Government nor the Skills Funding Agency has received any representations about this organisation.

Consumers

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department has taken to improve levels of customer service in UK businesses. [195935]

Jenny Willott: Well-functioning, competitive markets encourage growth by creating incentives for firms to become more efficient and innovative to compete for customers including through better service quality. Markets can only be fully competitive if consumers are active and confident, meaning that they are willing to challenge firms to provide a better deal, switch between suppliers and take up new products.

That is why this Government have undertaken the most fundamental reform to the competition and consumer landscape in decades to make the UK’s already world class market framework fit for the future. That has included establishing a new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), streamlining the landscape of Government-funded consumer organisations to put Citizens Advice at its centre, and overhauling the UK framework of consumer rights through the Consumer Rights Bill.

Further Education: Greater London

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will name each further education college in Greater London. [196694]

Matthew Hancock: Further Education Colleges incorporated under section 16 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 in Greater London are as follows:

Barking and Dagenham College

Barnet and Southgate College

Bexley College

Bromley College of Further and Higher Education

Capel Manor College

Carshalton College

LeSoCo

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City and Islington College

City of Westminster College

College of North West London

Croydon College

Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College

Greenwich Community College

Hackney Community College

Harrow College

Havering College of Further and Higher Education

Kensington and Chelsea College

Kingston College

Newham College of Further Education

Redbridge College

Richmond Adult and Community College

Richmond upon Thames College

South Thames College

Stanmore College

The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London

Tower Hamlets College

Uxbridge College

Waltham Forest College

West Thames College

Westminster Kingsway College

Further Education Colleges Designated under section 28 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 in Greater London:

Hillcroft College

Marine Society College of the Sea

Morley College

Workers' Educational Association

Higher Education

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what appeals process is in place for alternative providers which unsuccessfully applied to have courses designated under the new specific course designation arrangements; and whether any alternative providers have successfully so appealed. [195760]

Mr Willetts: Applications for specific designation under the new specific designation arrangements are decided by the Secretary of State. There is no appeals process.

Industrial Strategy Sector Councils

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) how many times the Industrial Strategy Sector Council for Aerospace has met since it was formed; [195938]

(2) how many times the industrial strategy sector council for construction has met since it was formed; [195923]

(3) how many times the industrial strategy sector council for the nuclear industry has met since it was formed; [195921]

(4) how many times the industrial strategy sector council for the information economy has met since it was formed; [195922]

(5) how many times the industrial strategy sector council for oil and gas has met since it was formed; [195924]

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(6) how many times the industrial strategy sector council for the automotive industry has met since it was formed; [195925]

(7) how many times the industrial strategy sector council for life sciences has met since it was formed; [195926]

(8) how many times the industrial strategy sector council for professional and business services has met since it was formed; [195927]

(9) how many times the industrial strategy sector council for offshore wind has met since it was formed; [195928]

(10) how many times the industrial strategy sector council for international education has met since it was formed; [195929]

(11) how many times the industrial strategy sector council for agricultural technologies has met since it was formed; [195930]

(12) if he will publish the minutes of all meetings held by his Department’s industrial strategy sector councils since they were formed; [195931]

(13) how many times (a) he or (b) Ministers in his Department attended a meeting of one of the industrial strategy sector councils since they were formed; [195932]

(14) if he will publish the membership of each of his Department’s industrial strategy sector councils. [195933]

Michael Fallon: The Government have worked with industry to establish councils (where they did not already exist) for each of the 11 sectors. Each council is a partnership that brings together industry representatives, Ministers and Government officials, but they operate in a way that best suits the individual needs of the sector. It is for each council to determine whether the membership and the minutes of meetings are published.

The International Education Council has met twice since it was formed. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Universities and Science co-chaired the meeting in September 2013 with my hon. Friend the Minister for Skills and Enterprise also in attendance. The Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise co-chaired the meeting in February 2014. The membership and minutes are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/international-education-council

The Construction Council has met three times since its formation. The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has attended every meeting and I also attended the first. The membership for the council is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/210099/bis-13-955-construction-2025-industrial-strategy.pdf

The Offshore Wind Industry Council has met three times and I attended on each occasion. The membership and minutes are available at:

http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/energy-infrastructure/offshore-wind-energy/working-with-us/offshore-wind-industry-council/

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The Life Sciences Sector Councils includes the Ministerial Industry Strategy Group (MISG) and the Ministerial Medical Technology Strategy Group (MMTSG). These groups have been in operation for many years. However, following the launch of the industrial strategy in September 2012, the groups have both met three times. The Minister of State for Universities and Science and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Quality, my right hon. and noble Friend (Earl Howe), have attended each meeting but there has also been attendance from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, my noble Friend (Lord Deighton), on occasions. The membership and minutes are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/ministerial-industry-strategy-group

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/ministerial-medical-technology-strategy-group

The Nuclear Industry Council has met four times and has been attended by at least one Minister on each occasion (including the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and myself). The membership and minutes are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/nuclear-industry-council#membership

The Information Economy Council has met four times. The Minister of State for Universities and Science has attended three of these meetings and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey), chaired the fourth meeting in his absence. The membership and minutes are available at:

https://www.techuk.org/about/information-economy-council/leadership

The Oil and Gas Council has met four times with ministerial attendance from either the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills or myself at each meeting. The membership and minutes are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/175480/bis-13-748-uk-oil-and-gas-industrial-strategy.pdf

The Agri-tech Council has met four times and has also held a telephone conference. There has been ministerial attendance from both the Minister of State for Universities and Science and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Natural Environment and Science, my noble Friend (Lord De Mauley) at three of the meetings and attendance from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Natural Environment and Science at the fourth. The council’s membership is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/227259/9643-BIS-UK_Agri_Tech_Strategy_Accessible.pdf

The Professional and Business Services Council has met six times since it was formed in December 2012. On each occasion, at least one BIS Minister (the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, myself and/or the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my noble Friend (Viscount Younger of Leckie)) attended. The council’s membership is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/211842/bis-13-922-growth-is-our-business-professional-and-business-services-strategy.pdf

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The Aerospace Growth Partnership has met seven times since it was formed in 2011 with each meeting co-chaired by myself.

The Automotive Council has met on five occasions since the launch of industrial strategy. The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has attended each meeting and I have attended on three occasions. Membership of the council is available at:

http://www.automotivecouncil.co.uk/what-we-do/members

National Careers Service

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 3 April 2014, Official Report, column 744W, on National Careers Service, what assessment his Department has made of the National Careers Service's progress in achieving its key strategic aims for marketing. [196641]

Matthew Hancock: The National Careers Service marketing strategy using targeted on-line activity has been pursued since October 2013.

Through regular market research we have seen an increase in awareness1 of the support the National Careers Service offers since the campaign started from 24% to 29%. All of the targeted groups show a greater awareness than the remainder of those sampled:

Awareness among individuals looking to advance their career has increased by 28% increase to 39%;

Awareness among those who are looking for a better job to support a change in circumstances has increased by 14% to 32%;

Awareness among those who have been or are about to be made redundant has remained broadly the same with 37% aware of the Service.

Over 56% of these three groups are likely to use the Service, compared with only 8% of others surveyed.

1 Both spontaneous and prompted.

Official Receiver

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many disqualification reports were submitted by each Official Receiver's office in the year ending 31 March 2014. [196334]

Jenny Willott: Detailed in the following table is the office breakdown for the number of disqualification reports submitted in the year ended 31 March 2014.

OR OfficesNumber of reports submitted

Anglia

20

Central Midlands

25

East Midlands and S Yorks

29

Greater Manchester

13

Humber and E Yorks

20

Kent

9

London—Essex

5

London—Herts, Bucks

20

Mid West and N Wales

21

North

5

North East

19

North West

20

South Central

9

South Wales

26

South West

7

Surrey and Sussex

24

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West England

17

Total

289

  

PIU

 

North

71

South

36

Total

107

Parental Leave

Lucy Powell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the annual (a) total cost and (b) cost per (i) female and (ii) male employee of maternity and paternity leave. [196413]

Jenny Willott: The Government carried out an analysis of the costs and benefits of providing leave for mothers and fathers in the impact assessment which accompanied its consultation on the administration of shared parental leave which was published in February 2013. This can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/110692/13-651-modern-workplaces-shared-parental-leave-and-pay-impact-assessment2.pdf

The impact assessment reflects the fact that there are costs for both the Exchequer and business associated with the taking of maternity and paternity leave. Business costs include, for example, where employers provide occupational maternity or paternity schemes which go beyond the statutory minimum, and the costs associated with recruiting staff to cover a period of absence.

In relation to Exchequer costs, the Government collect data on the total amount of statutory paternity pay and statutory maternity pay paid to employees by employers and use this to estimate the numbers taking paternity/maternity leave and the size of average, or average weekly, claims. These figures represent the cost to the Exchequer rather than business as statutory payments can be reclaimed by the employer. The latest available figures for the costs to the Exchequer are as follows:

Maternity pay and maternity allowance
 Number of claimants commencing in year 2011/12Total claimed (£ billion)Average claim (2010/11) (£)

Maternity Pay

355,000

2.2

5,890

Source: Expenditure is from employer returns to HMRC and is the average amount recovered by employers. Average claim and spells commencing is based on L2 data (a 1% sample of HMRC National Insurance Contribution records).
 Average number of claimants at any one time: May 2013Total Expenditure: 2012/13 (£ million)Average weekly claim: May 2013 (£)

Maternity Allowance

57,400

395

117.57

Notes: 1. SMP Expenditure is subject to change due to late returns submitted by employers to HM Revenue and Customs. 2. Maternity allowance weekly amounts are the average in payment at the end of May 2013. 3. Maternity allowance claimants exclude a small number of clerical cases and only include those with a successful claim to Maternity Allowance. Source: A combination of DWP accounting data and 5% Administrative Data. Further figures on Maternity Allowance are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/maternity-allowance-quarterly-statistics

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Paternity pay
2012/13
 Number of claimantsTotal claimed (£ million)Average claim (£)

Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay

208,600

50.3

241.25

Additional Statutory Paternity Pay

3,867

5.8

1,218

Note: All figures are estimates using the HMRC CANDIF database. Figures are calculated using a 2% or 3% scan of employer national insurance returns and scaling the results up to create a 100% estimate. Scan conducted in January 2014.

Paternity Leave

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will introduce financial support for individuals who have worked previously but do not qualify for statutory paternity leave and pay because they have recently started in their new position. [195838]

Jenny Willott: The Government have no plans to introduce financial support for individuals who do not qualify for statutory paternity leave and pay because they do not have the required length of service.

Paternity leave and pay were considered as part of a broader examination of family-related leave which led to the introduction of shared parental leave and pay through the Children and Families Act 2014.

It is important to maintain the right balance between the needs of employees to take leave and the needs of employers to have certainty when recruiting and hiring new staff. Paternity leave and pay can be taken immediately from the birth of a child to allow the father to care for the mother and the newborn. This means that unlike annual leave, where the exact dates of the absence can be agreed in advance, paternity leave dates are subject to change.

The 26-week service qualification period allows employers to plan effectively to cover an employee’s absence during the paternity leave period, which would not be possible if the employee had just been recruited.

Unlike paternity leave, maternity leave is a day one right to ensure the health and well-being of both mother and baby. In order to qualify for statutory maternity pay, a mother must have 26 weeks qualifying service (the same requirements as for paternity pay). Those mothers who do not have the requisite service for statutory maternity pay may be entitled to maternity allowance. This is because the benefit system recognises pregnant women and new mothers have a specific need to protect their own health and safety, and the health of their child, by allowing them to take time off work. There is no equivalent paternity allowance or adoption allowance, as there are not equivalent health and safety reasons to do so.

We have committed to a review of the changes to employment law enacted by the Children and Families Act after 2018.

Stationery

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what levels of stock his Department holds of (a) stationery, (b) printer cartridges, (c) treasury tags and other fasteners and (d) other office consumables. [196195]

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Jenny Willott: The information requested is not held centrally and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Staff are encouraged to help reduce waste in the Department by avoiding printing documents unless completely necessary and by reusing or recycling stationery where appropriate. The default setting on BIS printers is to print in black and white and to print double sided. This uses less energy and ink and cuts down on the demand for paper and reduces costs.

UK Trade and Investment

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to Growth is Our Business: A Strategy for Professional and Business Services published in July 2013, whether UK Trade & Investment has produced the marketing plan and collateral. [195996]

Michael Fallon: UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has developed a professional and business services marketing plan in support of the strategy, setting out marketing messaging which will be used to promote the sector at high profile events such as the Liverpool International Festival of Business in July 2014 and the Global Law summit in 2015. UKTI has produced images for use in marketing material under the GREAT campaign, is producing a promotional film and is developing a toolkit for reference and use by UKTI in the UK and overseas as an aid to promoting and supporting the sector. UKTI is working to identify case studies and develop messaging for use by stakeholders in their marketing activities.

Cabinet Office

Digital Government

8. Neil Carmichael: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what steps he is taking to promote digital government. [903757]

Mr Hurd: Online services tend to be faster, cheaper and more convenient, so we want all major Government transactions to be digital by default.

This is not just about the opportunity to save the taxpayer over £1 billion by the end of this parliament, it is about transforming the experience that citizens have of dealing with Government.

Youth Services

10. Ian Mearns: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what steps he is taking to maintain the level of youth services provision. [903759]

Mr Hurd: We are supporting the voluntary sector in offering new learning opportunities for young people through programmes like NCS.

In addition, we will be offering practical support to local authorities who want to deliver high quality youth services in an innovative way—for example by access to our £10 million support programme for mutuals.

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Crown Commercial Service

11. Michael Fabricant: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what progress he has made on developing the role of the Crown Commercial Service; what savings to the public purse he expects to accrue from commercial reform of Government procurement; and if he will make a statement. [903760]

Mr Hurd: The Crown Commercial Service is now a fully operational legal entity providing expert commercial services to the public sector.

It is at the heart of the Government’s Commercial Reform Programme and will continue to drive further savings for the taxpayer and improve the quality of commercial and procurement activity across government.

National Citizen Service

13. Caroline Dinenage: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what steps he plans to take to ensure that a higher proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds participate in the National Citizen Service. [903762]

Mr Hurd: Social mix is at the core of National Citizen Service. We take great care to ensure that all young people, regardless of background, are able to take part in the programme-and we know this is working.

Giro d'Italia

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what support the Emergency Planning College has provided to the planning and preparation for the Giro D'Italia Big Start in Northern Ireland in May 2014; [196661]

(2) how many training courses the Emergency Planning College has provided in Northern Ireland in each year since the college was established; and how many people from Northern Ireland have completed such training courses. [196574]

Mr Letwin: The Emergency Planning College (EPC) has had no requests for direct support of the planning and preparation for the Giro D’Italia Big Start in Northern Ireland in May 2014. The EPC has however delivered a variety of civil protection and resilience planning courses in Northern Ireland for various organisations, including Sports NI.

The Emergency Planning College (EPC) has provided 79 courses on emergency planning and crises management courses to 1170 attendees delivered in Northern Ireland since 2006. In addition to the training provided for customer organisations in NI, the EPC has trained 358 practitioners from NI attending residential training courses at the EPC since 2006.

Government Departments: Drinking Water

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will estimate how much Government departments have spent on filtering tap water for drinking in each of the last four years. [196664]

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Mr Hurd: The information requested is not held centrally. However, as part of this Government’s commitment to reducing waste and driving down costs, we are challenging departments on the need to make savings from facilities management.

Government Departments: ICT

Simon Kirby: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what his policy is on ensuring that Government IT initiatives represent best value for money; and if he will make a statement. [195412]

Mr Hurd: After the 2010 general election, this Government formed the Efficiency and Reform Group to help and support departments in maximising value for money. Although responsibility for projects remains the responsibility of individual departments, we introduced strict controls to provide further scrutiny of spend including on IT projects.

These controls can and have been used by the Cabinet Office to block inappropriate spending. In 2012-13 alone these controls helped us save taxpayers over £500 million from IT, contributing to overall efficiency savings of £10 billion in 2012-13 (the last year for which we have audited figures).

We have clarified our ‘red lines’ for IT procurement—these are designed to encourage competition in the sector, free the Government from longstanding inflexible contracts with IT providers and ensure maximum taxpayer value. These rules include:

we will no longer let ICT contracts over £100 million in value —unless there is an exceptional reason to do so. Contracts should be smaller to ensure the widest possible range of suppliers can compete for them.

we will not give a contract for service provision to a company providing the system integration function in the same part of government. It’s an important way of ensuring we are an intelligent customer.

we won’t extend existing contracts unless there is a compelling case—it’s rare to find any good reason to extend the pricing and technology of the past.

we do not expect to let hosting contracts for more than two years. The cost of hosting seems to halve every 18 months. Businesses wouldn’t sign up for years upon end—and neither should government.

Government Departments: Procurement

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many contracts the Government hold with (a) Johnson & Johnson, (b) Ethicon and (c) BARD; and what the value was of contracts with each such company. [196721]

Mr Maude: Since January 2011, as part of the Government’s transparency programme, details of contracts above the value of £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder at:

https://www.gov.uk/contracts-finder

Non-governmental Organisations: Vetting

Paul Flynn: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what background checks are regularly made on appointees to quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations. [196791]

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Mr Maude: As was the case under the previous Administration, the Government expect all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. As set out in the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies, public appointees are expected to uphold the standards of conduct set out in the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s Seven Principles of Public Life.

Public Sector: Fraud

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer of 17 March 2014, Official Report, column 469W, on public sector: fraud, if he will publish the independent project review of the Counter Fraud Checking Service when it is completed. [195713]

Mr Maude: As was the case under the previous Government, internal policy advice is not normally published.

Trade Unions

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether his Department has any plans to end the employee trade union membership dues check-off system. [196760]

Mr Maude: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 2 April 2014, Official Report, column 721W, to the hon. Member for Leicester South (Jonathan Ashworth).

Church Commissioners

Stationery

Mr Redwood: To ask the right hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what levels of stock the Church Commissioners hold of (a) stationery, (b) printer cartridges, (c) treasury tags and other fasteners and (d) other office consumables. [196198]

Sir Tony Baldry: The Church Commissioners do not keep inventories of stationery items and office consumables, to calculate the stock levels held would incur a disproportionate cost. The level of stock is monitored regularly, and replenished as necessary to meet staff needs.

Communities and Local Government

Empty Property

Mr Robin Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress his Department has made on reducing the number of empty homes in (a) the UK, (b) England, (c) the West Midlands, (d) Worcestershire and (e) Worcester. [196072]

Stephen Williams: Under this Government, the number of empty homes in England has fallen to a 10 year low. The number of long-term empty homes has fallen by around a third from October 2009 to October 2013, and the overall number of empty homes has fallen by around a fifth over the same period.

30 Apr 2014 : Column 701W

There is more to do, yet we have a comprehensive series of policies to get empty buildings back into use and promote brownfield regeneration, as outlined in the answer of 3 April 2014, Official Report, column 780W.

Local authority figures are published on my Department's website, at live table 615:

www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-dwelling-stock-including-vacants

30 Apr 2014 : Column 702W

Statistics on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are published by the devolved Administrations. My Department does not publish regional statistics. The number of vacant dwellings and long-term vacant dwellings, for Worcester, Worcestershire and England, are shown in Tables 1 and 2.

Table 1: All vacant dwellings, Worcester local authority district, Worcestershire and England, 5 October 2009 to 7 October 2013
 5 October 20094 October 20103 October 20111 October 20127 October 2013

Worcester

1,348

1,216

1,261

1,369

1,214

Worcestershire

7,298

7,103

6,983

6,960

6,406

England

770,496

737,147

719,352

704,357

635,127

Table 2: All long-term vacant dwellings, Worcester local authority district, Worcestershire and England, 5 October 2009 to 7 October 2013
 5 October 20094 October 20103 October 20111 October 20127 October 2013

Worcester

579

382

428

476

355

Worcestershire

3,165

2,627

2,475

2,449

1,826

England

316,251

299,999

277,529

254,059

216,050

Local Government

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent progress he has made on the localism agenda; and if he will make a statement. [194875]

Stephen Williams: This Government have been clear about our intention to devolve power, responsibility and decision-making down to the lowest possible level. This vision underpins significant elements of our policy agenda which are transferring power and freedom to both local councils and communities, some of which are noted as follows.

Nearly 1,000 assets of community value have been listed and we have helped 150 organisations to acquire a community asset or obtain significant investment towards doing so. 16 local campaigns for new parish councils are being supported covering local populations of more than half a million people. Over 100 new Our Place areas are starting work within their communities to transform neighbourhood level service delivery. Community share issues have raised over £24 million for community ventures.

Nearly 800 neighbourhood planning areas have been designated, and all 13 plans which have so far reached referenda have passed with significant majorities in favour.

Local authorities are now required to pass a proportion of Community Infrastructure Levy funding to local communities so that they can directly see the benefit of local development.

Over 2013-15 £14 million has been made available for community groups to develop their proposals for Community Right to Build orders or to progress community-led development. Groups can develop their ideas on the development that they want and need in their areas. Applications for this funding continue to rise with around 60 applications received.

In April 2014 four new combined authorities were established, on the request of the councils concerned. These will support the councils to collaborate and work jointly across the wider functional economic areas on economic development, regeneration and transport to support economic growth in the areas of South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Greater Merseyside and Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

The Government want local authorities to be more transparent and accountable to local people for how they spend money, deliver services and take decisions. We will shortly be publishing a revised local authority transparency code extending the breadth of data that local authorities must publish and will make regulations to make publication of certain data a legal requirement. Also, regulations which will allow members of the public including professional journalists to film, photograph, audio-record and use social media to report the proceedings of meetings of local government bodies, and to access documents relating to decisions made by officers under delegation from their local government bodies, are now before Parliament.

Under the business rates retention scheme local authorities now directly retain nearly £11 billion of business rates, instead of returning it to Whitehall.

The Government have also reformed the outdated council housing finance system with the introduction of self-financing in 2012. This has given the 167 council landlords greater freedoms and the ability to plan for the long term to better meet the needs of their tenants and local area.

“HomeSwap” Direct—the national home swap scheme which increases opportunities for social tenants wishing to move through mutual exchange—was launched in October 2011 and since then tenants have made over 18 million searches of ‘partner’ data.

Social landlords are now free to match the length of tenancy to the needs of the household and to use their social housing stock in a way which best meets the needs of their local area. Councils have the freedom to decide who qualifies for social housing in their area and to find alternative solutions for those who do not qualify.

Private Sector

Lucy Powell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many jobs have been transferred from the public to the private sector as a result of privatisations or outsourcing by his Department since May 2010. [195505]

30 Apr 2014 : Column 703W

Brandon Lewis: The Department has not transferred any departmental jobs from the public to the private sector as a result of privatisations or outsourcing since May 2010.

Social Rented Housing

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the net change was in the number of homes for social rent between 1984 and 1990. [196794]

Kris Hopkins: Statistics on the amount of dwelling stock in England by tenure are published in the Department’s live table 104, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-dwelling-stock-including-vacants

Taken together, the private registered provider (housing association) and local authority tenures provide an estimate of total social housing.

Staff

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of his Department's staff excluding non-departmental public bodies were (a) women in top management posts, (b) women, (c) black and minority ethnic and (d) disabled. [196415]

Brandon Lewis: The current proportion of women in DCLG top management posts is 36.8%. While there is more to do to ensure the civil service has the very best possible mix of existing and future talent, I would observe that this is an increase from 33.0% from 2009-10, and is higher than the civil service work force target of 34.0%.

I also refer the right hon. Member to my answer of 17 March 2014, Official Report, columns 398-400W.

Stationery

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what levels of stock his Department holds of (a) stationery, (b) printer cartridges, (c) treasury tags and other fasteners and (d) other office consumables. [196199]

Brandon Lewis: My Department does not routinely record this information in the format requested. However, this Administration have cut spending significantly on office supplies, cutting expenditure from £480,180 (inc VAT) in 2009-10 to £73,738 in 2013-14.

In 2010, we conducted an internal review of the Department’s spend on office supplies which highlighted several opportunities to achieve savings. A rationalised list of stationery items was created which:

reduced the available catalogue of items from around 3,500 to approximately 220;

replaced higher value branded items, with non-branded equivalents; and

adopted recycled printer toners and copier paper.

Significant savings were also achieved by aggregating the spend of all Departments and awarding a single Cabinet Office contract for stationery items and one for

30 Apr 2014 : Column 704W

electronic office supplies (printer toners and other consumables). These contracts were awarded in September 2011 and DCLG were among the first departments to adopt them in November 2011.

As part of our planned move of office accommodation this summer (to share with the Home Office to save taxpayers’ money), stationery across the department will be surrendered and pooled, with the potential to save money by not ordering items locally and preventing a build-up of surplus stationery stock.

I hope this illustrates how every bit of the public sector has the potential to deliver sensible savings on back office costs.

Tell MAMA

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much grant-in-aid his Department has provided to Tell MAMA since May 2010; and what further funding he expects to provide. [194862]

Stephen Williams: Tell MAMA is the first service to record and monitor anti-Muslim hatred incidents and support victims. DCLG provided initial start-up grant funding to Tell MAMA of £395,500 between January 2012 and September 2013. Tell MAMA has subsequently received Big Lottery funding of £255,450 over two years from October 2013.

Wind Power

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) pursuant to the answer of 18 March 2014, Official Report, column 533W, on wind power, what proportion of the anticipated generating capacity of onshore wind projects at appeal stage in the planning system on 1 October 2013 related to applications subsequently recovered by him; [196645]

(2) what proportion of the anticipated generating capacity of onshore wind projects at appeal stage in the planning system related to applications recovered by him in each month of 2013. [196646]

Kris Hopkins: As I have said in my earlier answer, my Department does not centrally hold details of the generation capacity of wind turbine appeals.

As at 1 October 2013, there were 255 onshore wind farm appeals, of which 32 were or have subsequently been recovered.

I can confirm that 17 onshore wind farm appeals were recovered in 2013. This amounts to 6% of the number of onshore wind farm appeals received (280) during that period.

2013Appeals receivedAppeals recovered

January

23

4

February

37

1

March

28

2

April

19

1

May

25

1

30 Apr 2014 : Column 705W

June

27

1

July

19

2

August

26

 

September

24

1

October

14

3

November

17

1

December

21

 

Total

280

17

I also refer the hon. Member to the written statement of 9 April 2014, Official Report, columns 12-13WS, which explains the background to the recovery of these planning appeals.

Education

Children: Social Services

Mr Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children have been removed from their parents by social services in each of the last five years. [196237]

Mr Timpson: The following table shows the number of children who were taken into care in each of the last five years. Children who were taken into care were children who started to be looked after under a care order, police protection, emergency protection order or child assessment order.

Children who were taken into care during the years ending 31 March
 20092010201120122013

Number of children taken into care

8,180

9,580

9,560

10,140

11,100

The information provided in the table is also published in table C2 of the statistical release, which is available online:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption

Domestic Violence

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment his Department has made of the number of UK households which experience high risk domestic abuse; and what assessment he has made of the effect of such abuse on children. [196555]

Mr Timpson: Information about the number of children at risk because of domestic abuse has been collected by local authorities as part of the Department for Education's Children in Need census since April 2013. The first figures will be available from autumn 2014.

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what discussions he has had with the (a) Home Secretary and (b) Secretary of State for Justice on domestic abuse and its effect on children. [196556]

Mr Timpson: Issues relating to domestic abuse are discussed in meetings of the Inter-Ministerial Group on Violence Against Women and Girls, chaired by the Secretary of State for the Home Department. I represent the Department for Education at these meetings, and Ministry of Justice Ministers also attend.

30 Apr 2014 : Column 706W

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what research his Department has commissioned on a potential relationship between domestic abuse experienced by children and low educational attainment in later life. [196558]

Mr Timpson: The Department for Education has not commissioned research on the possible relationship between domestic abuse and a child's subsequent educational attainment. Reports published earlier this year by the Early Intervention Foundation and by Coordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse highlighted the impact on children's wellbeing of exposure to domestic abuse. Though these reports did not focus on later educational attainment, they illustrated potential disruption to children's lives that is likely to affect their education. The Government are committed to safeguarding children from any form of abuse.

Pupil Exclusions: Autism

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 4 March 2014, Official Report, columns 787-88W, on pupil exclusions: autism, whether his Department plans to employ further exclusion advisors. [196705]

Mr Timpson: The Department for Education does not employ any exclusion advisers.

The exclusion adviser referred to in the answer of 4 March 2014, Official Report, columns 787-88W, on pupil exclusions: autism is employed by the National Autistic Society using a grant provided by the Department under the National Prospectus Grants Programme 2013-15.

Pupils: Absenteeism

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what data his Department collects on children missing education; what information schools are expected to record in the Lost Pupil Database, part of his Department's school2school site; and how many pupils' records were held in the Lost Pupil Database on 1 February (a) 2014, (b) 2013, (c) 2012, (d) 2011 and (e) 2010. [196657]

Elizabeth Truss: The Department for Education does not collect data on children missing education. Section 436A of the Education Act 1996 places a duty on local authorities to have arrangements that enable them to establish the identities of children in their area who are not registered pupils at a school, and are not receiving suitable education through a means other than at a school. Local authorities may decide as part of this duty to collect information on children who may be missing education or at risk of doing so. The Department’s statutory guidance to local authorities advises that they must have robust procedures in place to fulfil their legal duty.

The ‘lost pupils database' (LPD) records the transfer records of pupils whose correct destination is not known. Files are retained whenever a child leaves a school for a destination outside the maintained school sector. Examples of these destinations include ‘gone to an independent school’, ‘gone sick’, ‘moved abroad with parents’ or ‘moved on without reason'.

30 Apr 2014 : Column 707W

The LPD is not used by Children Missing Education (CME) officers to record CME data. The primary function of the Department's School to School (S2S) secure data transfer website is to provide schools and local authorities (LAs) with a mechanism for the secure and ongoing transfer of thousands of statutory child-level data files per week to new schools/LAs when children move school.

The details required for the Lost Pupil Database are:

File Name

Source school

Source LA

UPN

Surname

Forename

DOB

Gender

Former UPN

Former Surname

Middle Names

Ethnicity

FSM eligibility

In Care

Care Authority

SEN status

Start Date

Postcode

Sessions Possible

Sessions Attended

Sessions Unauthorised

First Language

LPD records are stored for a minimum of 12 months. The last ‘clear down’ took place in October 2013 which means monthly additions are only held back to October 2012. At 1 February 2014, 15,128 records were held on the system. Records are not removed from the system until the general ‘clear down’, so the figure does not represent pupils missing from education at any given time.

School Meals

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 7 April 2014, Official Report, column 56W, on soft drinks: schools, what proportion of (a) academies and (b) free schools have made a voluntary commitment to adhere to the school food standards regulations. [196756]

Mr Laws: During their review of school food, the authors of the School Food Plan approached several academy chains, including the Harris Federation, the Oasis Community Learning Multi-Academy Trust, and the School Partnership Trust. All agreed in principle to comply with the standards, and representatives from the Leon Foundation will be attending the Academies Show on 30 April with a view to encouraging as many academies and free schools as possible to sign up formally to the new standards.

99% of those academies which responded to a survey by the School Food Trust in 2012 said they were committed to following the new food standards. All academies and free schools signing their funding agreements from spring 2014 are required to adhere to the new, less bureaucratic school food standards.

30 Apr 2014 : Column 708W

Schools: Governing Bodies

Mr Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 7 April 2014, Official Report, column 86W, on schools: governing bodies, how many governors (a) have completed and (b) are expected to have completed National College for Teaching and Leadership training on dealing with performance related pay awards for teachers by 1 September 2014. [196691]

Mr Timpson: From January to April 2014, 3,205 school governors completed the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) training on dealing with performance related pay awards for teachers; 7,200 are expected to complete the training by 1 September 2014.

Governors have held school leadership to account for school performance, including the assessment of overall teacher performance, for some time. With the introduction of performance-related pay, governing bodies will have already approved revised pay policies that set out precisely how their schools will make performance and pay decisions.

To support governors in exercising their responsibilities, the Department for Education issued advice on implementing the new pay arrangements. The NCTL is also providing these free training workshops for governors on performance-related pay and financial efficiencies. In addition, the National Governors Association (NGA) has published guidance on how governors should prepare to deal with pay appeals. We believe that, with this support, most governing bodies will have the knowledge and awareness of the key issues they need to address to ensure that robust evidence-based pay decisions are made this September.

Special Educational Needs

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 3 February 2014, Official Report, column 57W, on special educational needs, which organisations and charities have been consulted on the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. [196572]

Mr Timpson: The consultation on a draft Special Educational Needs Code of Practice was an open consultation and any organisations or individuals could respond. The Department for Education received over 700 responses from a wide range of organisations and individuals including parents; young people; early years; schools; further education professionals; local authorities; health sector professionals and voluntary and community sector organisations, including many from the special educational needs and disability fields.

A short, focused consultation is now being carried out on a revised draft, which takes account of responses to the public consultation and amendments to the Children and Families Bill during its passage through Parliament. A full response to the consultations on the Code of Practice will be published in the next few weeks and this will give details of organisations and charities who responded.

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 4 February 2014, Official Report, column 191W, on special educational needs, when the pilots will launch and finish; and when the findings of such pilots will be published. [196573]

30 Apr 2014 : Column 709W

Mr Timpson: The Department for Education, in consultation with the Ministry of Justice and others, will in the near future be developing proposals for the review of redress and complaint arrangements for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, of which these pilots will form a part. We estimate that the pilots will begin in the spring of 2015 as the first appeals about the new Education, Health and Care plans begin to be heard and that the pilots will last for two years as they build up the evidence on which to base any recommendations. The Secretary of State for Education and the Lord Chancellor must lay a report on the outcome of the review before Parliament within three years of the any of the provisions of part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 coming into force in September 2014. Interim findings from the pilots could be published before the final report on the review.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Sarah Champion: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what guidance his Department has issued to other Government Departments on implementing the Government's commitment to give due consideration to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child when considering new policy or legislation. [903755]

Mr Timpson: The Cabinet Office’s ‘Guide to Making Legislation’, published in July 2013, states that officials in all Government Departments are expected to have regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) before starting the legislative process. A copy of the guidance is available online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/210917/Guide_to_Making_Legislation _July_2013.pdf

It is for individual Departments to determine how best to comply with this commitment in practice. The Department for Education has offered advice to them in a variety of forms in our role of co-ordinating the forthcoming report to the UN Committee for the UK’s fifth periodic review, which will set out the progress which has been made in implementing the UNCRC since the last review in 2008.

Electoral Commission Committee

Electoral Register

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the voter registration rate was for 18-year-olds in each of the last 30 years. [196131]

Mr Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not hold figures on the registration rates for 18-year-olds in each of the last 30 years.

However, it does hold estimates of registration rates for age groups from several studies conducted on the accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers in Great Britain.

30 Apr 2014 : Column 710W

RegisterAge bandRegistration rate (percentage)Study conducted by:

April 2011 (Great Britain)

17 to 18

55

Electoral Commission (EC)

 

19 to 24

56

 
    

February 2001 (England and Wales)

18 to 24

84

EC and Office for National Statistics

    

February 1991 (Great Britain)

18 to 19

88

Office of Population Census and Surveys—Social Survey Division

February 1981 (Great Britain)

18 to 19

87

 

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the answer of 8 April 2014, Official Report, column 193W, on electoral register, if the Electoral Commission will introduce public awards for electoral registration officers who have set best practice in the UK. [196133]

Mr Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that it will consider the idea of awards as part of work it is already undertaking with the UK Electoral Advisory Board and the wider electoral community ahead of the 2015 UK parliamentary general election to explore options for identifying, recognising and sharing what works well in electoral administration.

The Electoral Commission also informs me that it already provides comprehensive guidance, tools and templates for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) which have been developed in consultation with the electoral community and which contain examples of tactics and activities that can be employed by EROs locally. Additionally, in monitoring preparations for the transition to Individual Electoral Registration, the Commission has already worked to facilitate sharing of knowledge and experiences between EROs facing similar challenges, and intends to build on this throughout the transition, supporting timely identification and sharing of what works and what does not.

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the answer of 8 April 2014, Official Report, column 193W, on electoral register, for what reasons the Electoral Commission had previously organised voter registration drives for overseas voters but had not organised such drives for UK citizens who reside in the UK. [196134]

Mr Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that it regularly carries out public awareness campaigns—or registration drives—in the UK. Its guidance to Electoral Registration Officers also highlights ways in which local public engagement plans can increase registration in the UK through targeted local activities.

Overseas Registration Day was a new initiative this year as part of its expatriate registration campaign. Bite the Ballot also established a similar initiative in the UK this year that the Commission supported.

30 Apr 2014 : Column 711W

Given this, the Commission would not look to establish its own separate voter registration day in the UK, as this may be confusing for voters. It is, however, actively working with Bite the Ballot to see what further support it can provide them for National Voter Registration Day next year.

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the answer of 8 April 2014, Official Report, column 193W, on electoral register, if he will place a copy of the responses from electoral registration officers on whether or not they carried out a personal canvass of all non-responders in the Library and on the internet. [196135]

Mr Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that it has published data provided by Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) relating to their annual canvass activity, including data relating to house-to-house inquiries, for each year from 2008 to 2012 on its website at:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/performance-standards/performance-in-running-electoral-registration

As set out in its report ‘Readiness for the transition to Individual Electoral Registration’, which was published in March 2014, the Commission is currently completing a detailed analysis of the data provided by EROs relating to the 2013 canvass and will publish this information on the internet and place a copy in the House of Commons Library once it has been completed.

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the answer of 8 April 2014, Official Report, column 193W, on electoral register, for what reasons the Electoral Commission does not collect data on the number of attainers registered as part of its monitoring of electoral registration officers. [196136]

Mr Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that it reviews the data on registered attainers collected by the Office for National Statistics and, separately, carries out assessments of the accuracy and completeness of the registers periodically.

The Commission also informs me that its current performance standards framework is designed to support Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) in preparing for and delivering the transition to Individual Electoral Registration. The standards seek to ensure that EROs have appropriate plans in place to address the particular challenges in their registration area in order to maximise registration, and that they monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their activities.

The Commission will continue to keep its performance standards framework under review and will consider whether specific information on the number of attainers registered should be included as part of the data it requests from EROs in the future.

Energy and Climate Change

Energy Companies Obligation

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the difference in the number of households

30 Apr 2014 : Column 712W

benefiting from energy company obligation in 2013 and from the carbon emissions reduction target scheme in 2012. [196751]

Gregory Barker: The latest provisional statistics on green deal and the energy company obligation (ECO) showed that around 530,000 measures were installed in 450,000 households through ECO in 2013. The full statistical release can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/green-deal-and-energy-company-obligation-eco-monthly-statistics-april-2014

No information was collected on the number of households benefiting from the carbon emissions reduction target (CERT) in 2012. Around 2.4 million measures (cavity wall insulations, loft insulations and solid wall insulations) were installed in 2012 through CERT, but more than one of these measures could have been installed in some households. We do not hold information on other measures delivered through CERT by year.

When comparing the two years, it is important to bear in mind that the rules for each scheme were different. ECO has focused particularly on the delivery of harder to treat measures which were not the main focus under CERT. CERT delivery in 2012 was also the highest of the five years of CERT as this was the last year of the scheme.

Energy: Housing

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate his Department has made of the required rate of delivery of household energy efficiency measures required in order to meet carbon emissions reduction targets. [196749]

Gregory Barker: The Government published our “Energy Efficiency Strategy” in 2012, and “Fifth Annual Progress Report: Meeting the Carbon Budgets—2013 Progress Report to Parliament” in October 2013, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/65602/6927-energy-efficiency-strategy--the-energy-efficiency.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/249172/CCC5th.pdf

These set the longer term context for delivering energy efficiency measures into the UK’s housing stock, and the potential contribution they can make to delivering our longer term carbon targets.

Floods: Cumbria

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the potential risks posed by (a) flooding and (b) rising sea levels at the Drigg Low-Level Waste Repository in Cumbria. [196653]

Michael Fallon: Radioactive waste management activities are subject to permitting by the Environment Agency under legislation introduced by the Department.

As part of the environmental permitting process for radioactive waste disposal the agency has required the operators of the Low-Level Waste Repository (LLWR) to consider long term coastal erosion at the site and the need for and feasibility of providing sea defences. These issues are assessed within an Environmental Safety

30 Apr 2014 : Column 713W

Case submitted to the Environment Agency in May 2011 which has been subject to review by the Environment Agency over the last two to three years and also the subject of a public consultation between November 2013 and February 2014.

Green Deal Scheme

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he plans to take to ensure that consumers benefit from green deal incentives. [196750]

Gregory Barker: The green deal incentives are being designed to be straightforward for customers to understand and take up.

We will launch a consumer engagement campaign to begin once the incentives become available.

UK Coal

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will place in the Library a list of the land and property owned by UK Coal and its subsidiaries that was previously owned by the National Coal Board and British Coal. [196670]

Michael Fallon: No. A portfolio of land and property was transferred to a predecessor company of UK Coal Production Ltd (“UK Coal”) in 1994. It would be for UK Coal itself to clarify what from that portfolio remains in its ownership.

Home Department

Asylum: Deportation

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 24 March 2014, Official Report, column 16W, on asylum: deportation, to which countries the enforced removals of adults previously classified as unaccompanied asylum-seeking children were made in each such year. [196663]

James Brokenshire: The following table shows the number of enforced removals of adults who were previously classified as Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) for the period January 2009 to December 2013.

Destination20092010201120122013Grand total

Taiwan (Republic of China)

2

8

30

18

22

80

Ghana

5

16

24

7

11

63

Pakistan

6

17

13

7

4

47

India

0

3

17

13

13

46

China

5

6

15

6

10

42

Italy

4

7

17

6

8

42

Kenya

1

2

12

6

10

31

Malaysia

6

3

13

1

2

25

United Arab Emirates

2

6

6

3

4

21

Brazil

0

5

5

4

4

18

New Zealand

0

1

1

5

8

15

Ukraine

1

2

6

3

2

14

30 Apr 2014 : Column 714W

Gambia

1

2

6

0

0

9

Iran (Islamic Republic of)

0

4

1

3

0

8

Germany

1

2

2

0

2

7

Greece

0

2

1

0

2

5

Mongolia

0

2

1

1

0

4

South Africa

0

0

3

1

0

4

Albania

0

0

0

1

0

1

Nigeria

0

0

0

0

1

1

Uganda

0

0

0

0

1

1

Destination field is blank

4

3

10

2

6

25

Grand total

38

91

183

87

110

509

Notes: 1. Destinations do not always equate to final destinations. 2. Data relate to people that were over 18 at time of departures. 3. Figures provided cover the calendar years 1 January to 31 December.

Asylum: North East

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will take steps to ensure that the application for exit costs submitted to her Department by the North East Refugee Service in March 2014 is paid immediately. [196566]

James Brokenshire: The North of England Refugee Service submitted an exit cost claim as a constituent part of a wider claim submitted by the Refugee Council to the Home Office. Negotiations on the claim are under way between the Home Office and the Refugee Council.

British Air Transport Association

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to respond to the letter addressed to the Minister of State for Crime Prevention from the British Air Transport Association dated 7 February 2014. [196642]

Norman Baker: I can confirm that I responded to the British Air Transport Association on the 28 April 2014.

Community Relations

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether her Department plans to implement the Bling-Back scheme recommended in Baroness Newlove's report, Our Vision for Safe and Active Communities, published in March 2011. [196647]

Karen Bradley: There has been a scheme since 2004 whereby a proportion of the proceeds of crime recovered from drug dealers and other criminals are returned to law enforcement agencies. The money returned to law enforcement has been used to support a continued increase in the amounts recovered from criminals and can be invested in community projects.

Crime: Rural Areas

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of trends in the level of rural crime; and if she will make a statement. [196281]

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Norman Baker: Across the country, crime has fallen by more than ten per cent since June 2010.The latest published data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales show that the proportion of adults who were victims of crime was substantially lower in rural than urban areas, and has been falling since 2009/10. According to the 2012/13 Crime Survey for England and Wales, 13.4 per cent of people in rural areas were victims of crime, compared with 20.1 per cent in urban areas.

However, the latest findings from the Commercial Victimisation Survey of crimes against businesses, which looked at crime affecting the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, showed that there were 130,000 incidents of crime against the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector in 2013, affecting just under a third (30 per cent) of premises. Of the six business sectors surveyed in 2012 and 2013, the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector experienced the lowest rate of overall crime (1,475 incidents per 1,000 premises).

The Government recognises that rural communities are vulnerable to certain crimes. The election of Police and Crime Commissioners has given communities, including rural communities, a stronger voice in determining how police resources are allocated to tackle the crimes that matter most to them.

Crimes of Violence: Taxis

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many attacks were recorded against licensed taxi drivers in each year between 2008 and 2012. [196523]

Norman Baker: I regret that the requested data are not available centrally.

Domestic Violence

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if she will bring forward legislative proposals to criminalise patterns of coercive control in domestic violence cases; [195661]

(2) if she will bring forward legislative proposals to criminalise psychological abuse and coercive control; [195662]

(3) if she will bring forward legislative proposals to (a) criminalise a pattern of partner abuse and (b) ensure that the police are not required only to treat each incident comprising such a pattern as a separate crime; [195664]

(4) if she will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce provisions for bringing prosecutions on the basis of a course of conduct in which a person has acted strategically to control, isolate, intimidate or degrade their victim in domestic violence cases. [195666]

Norman Baker: Domestic abuse is already a crime. There are a number of offences that make domestic abuse illegal, including actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm and assault. The cross-Government definition is clear that domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

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Assault can extend to non-physical harm, and this can include psychological, financial, and emotional abuse. Stalking and harassment legislation, which criminalises a course of conduct, can apply to intimate partner relationships.

Last September, the Home Secretary commissioned Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to conduct a review of the response to domestic abuse across all police forces. HMIC published its findings in March 2014, emphasising that the key priority is a culture change in the police so that domestic violence and abuse is treated as the crime that it is, and pointing out that the police use the full range of tools already available to them.

The Home Secretary will chair a national oversight group to oversee delivery against each of HMIC’s recommendations on which I will also sit.

Drugs: Misuse

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to give local authorities greater powers to deal with the consumption of legal highs in a public place; and what support he is providing to councils who wish to put by-laws in place to prevent such consumption. [196379]

Norman Baker: As stated in my answer to the hon. Member of 7 April 2014, Official Report, column 112W, on 12 December 2013 I announced a review by an expert panel to look at how the UK’s response to new psychoactive substances, sometimes inaccurately called ‘legal highs’, can be enhanced beyond the existing measures. The expert panel includes a senior policy adviser from the Local Government Association to inform the work of the panel from a local government perspective, including whether existing by-laws may be used to tackle this damaging trade. This work is ongoing, and the panel is due to report its recommendations by the end of spring 2014.

To support local authorities, the Home Office published guidance in December 2013 setting out the range of legislative tools local authorities can use to tackle the ‘head shops' where these substances are often sold. This was developed in collaboration with the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Local Government Association and the Trading Standards Institute and can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/action-against-head-shops

The guidance covers offences head shops may be committing under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985, and various consumer protection regulations.

The Home Office has also provided targeted support to local authorities with testing of new psychoactive substances through the Forensic Early Warning System, to help them take action against the sale of these products by identifying the contents.

Entry Clearances

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the contribution of the (a) Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa route and (b) Tier 1 (Investor) visa route on economic growth. [193286]

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James Brokenshire: The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) advises the Government on economic issues relating to migration.

On 1 July 2013 the MAC published a “Report on the economic and labour market impacts of tier 1 entrepreneur and investor migrants to the UK” which it had commissioned from the Migration Observatory. The report made a number of findings, although it concluded that it was too early to make a full assessment of the economic contribution of the two routes without further research. The report is available on the gov.uk website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/economic-and-labour-market-impacts-tier-1-entrepreneur-and-investor-migrants

More recently, on 25 February 2014 the MAC published its own report, “Tier 1 (Investor) route: investment thresholds and economic benefits” in response to a Government commission. The MAC concluded that the direct investment required by the route is of little or no benefit, but there is some benefit from indirect spending by investors and their families in the UK (although this is difficult to quantify). The report is available on the gov.uk website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-investment-limits-and-economic-benefits-of-the-tier-1-investor-route-feb-2014

The Government keep all routes under review and are currently considering our response to the MAC’s report on the Tier 1 (Investor) route.