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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 10 September 2014

House of Commons Commission

Clerk of the House

Michael Fabricant: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether each member of the appointment advisory panel for the Clerk and Chief Executive of the House was required to declare previous contacts with external candidates. [207921]

John Thurso: Panel members were not formally asked to declare previous contacts. However, during the interview process and as part of the panel discussion a number of panel members did declare their prior knowledge of external candidates.

Michael Fabricant: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether expressions of interest were invited for persons to serve on the appointment advisory panel for Clerk and Chief Executive of the House; how the membership of that panel was chosen; and if the Commission will publish a list of names of those considered for membership of that panel. [207922]

John Thurso: Expressions of interest were not invited for persons to serve on the selection panel. The members of the panel were chosen by Mr Speaker to ensure political and gender balance and the need for external input. The panel composition was considered by the House of Commons Commission on 16 June. It would be inappropriate to publish a list of those considered and rejected for panel membership.

Michael Fabricant: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what fees were charged by Saxton Bampfylde for the recruitment of the position of Clerk of the House and Chief Executive. [208047]

John Thurso: I refer the hon. Gentleman to my answer of 5 September 2014, Official Report, column 345W, to the right hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr Burns).

Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy

Mr Simon Burns: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what (a) expenses and (b) salary is paid to members of the Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy. [208180]

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John Thurso: No salary is paid to members of the Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy for carrying out their responsibilities on the Commission; to date a total of £3,819.03 in travel expenses has been incurred.

Attorney-General

Energy

Simon Kirby: To ask the Attorney-General what steps he is taking to reduce energy costs in the Law Officers' Departments; and if he will make a statement. [208334]

The Solicitor-General: Since 2010-11 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has reduced its energy emissions by approximately 35%. This has been achieved through the reduction in the size of its estate and various energy- efficiency measures. During the same period electricity prices have risen by approximately 33% and gas by 47%. However, the reduction in usage has meant that total CPS energy costs have reduced by 3% over this period. More details about CPS energy costs can be found on page 20 of its 2013-14 Annual Report and Accounts which is available online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/339509/41097_HC_6_CPS_Print_Ready.pdf

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is committed working towards meeting the Greening Government Commitment targets which started on 1 April 2011 with a baseline period of 2009-10. The SFO is now ahead of all of its targets including those relating to energy costs. This is principally due to a move from its old premises on two sites to a single building on Cockspur Street. More details of the SFO’s performance at meeting its targets can be found in Annex A of its Annual Report and Accounts which is published online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/328727/SFO_AR-2014_SPS-26-6.pdf

Full details of the steps taken by the Attorney-General’s Office, Treasury Solicitor’s Department (TSol) and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and to reduce energy costs can be found in Annex A of the TSol Annual Report and Accounts 2013-14 (HC paper number 1262). This is published online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tsol-ago-hmcpsi-annual-report-and-accounts-2013-to-14

Written Questions

Hilary Benn: To ask the Attorney-General what proportion of named day written questions were answered by the Law Officers' Departments within the prescribed period in the (a) 2012-13 session, (b) 2013-14 session and (c) 2014-15 session to date. [208417]

The Solicitor-General: The information requested is contained in the following table:

 NumberProportion answered on the named day (percentage)

2012-13

116

99

2013-14

129

91

2014-15 (to date)

30

90

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Departmental performance information, for ordinary and named day parliamentary questions, is collated by the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons and submitted to the Procedure Committee. This is published on a Sessional basis by the committee, and includes evidence regarding departmental performance. The monitoring report relating to the 2012-13 Session was published on 13 February 2014 as HC1046. The report covering statistics relating to performance during the 2013-14 Session will be published very shortly by the Procedure Committee.

Prime Minister

Northern Ireland

Lady Hermon: To ask the Prime Minister how many official visits to Northern Ireland he has undertaken since May 2010; and if he will make a statement. [208317]

The Prime Minister: Details of my visits within the United Kingdom are published on the gov.uk website.

Northern Ireland Government

Lady Hermon: To ask the Prime Minister how many meetings he has held at (a) Downing Street and (b) the House with elected representatives from Northern Ireland in 2014 to date; and if he will make a statement. [208320]

The Prime Minister: I regularly meet Members from all parties.

Saudi Arabia

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his Statement of 1 September 2014, Official Report, column 34, what the evidential basis is for his statement that the Saudi authorities have changed their approach on radicalisation around the world; and if he will make a statement. [208049]

Paul Flynn: To ask the Prime Minister with reference to his Oral statement of 1 September 2014, Official Report, column 34, what the evidential basis is for his statement that the Saudi Arabian Government have changed their approach on radicalisation around the world; and whether he considers that such changes have included a change in policy on providing funding for Islamist extremist groups. [208144]

The Prime Minister: The UK and Saudi Arabia enjoy close cooperation in countering the shared terrorist threat against both our countries. The Saudi Arabian Government have condemned acts of terrorism and extremism around the world, and now have in place one of the most advanced de-radicalisation programmes anywhere.

Justice

Belmarsh Prison

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners are held in HM Prison Belmarsh awaiting categorisation. [207874]

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Andrew Selous: The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) policy on prisoner categorisation is set out in three Prison Service Instructions. Policy requires that all prisoners are assigned a security category on a range of factors including the basis of an assessment of the likelihood that they will try to escape and the risk of harm to the public in the event that they succeed in escaping. Once they are categorised, prisoners are allocated to a prison with that or higher category.

The risk assessment that informs the categorisation decision takes into account the nature of an individual’s index offence, length of sentence, history of offending and previous intelligence relating to escape.

The numbers of prisoners awaiting categorisation changes regularly at prisons with a local function as new prisoners are received and assessments are completed. It is possible for categorisation assessments to build up quickly at prisons with 50 to 100 prisoner movements through reception daily. Belmarsh currently has 25 prisoners awaiting categorisation.

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the waiting time is for a prisoner to be categorised at HM Prison Belmarsh. [207875]

Andrew Selous: The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) policy on prisoner categorisation is set out in Prison Service Instruction 40/11 (Categorisation and Re-categorisation of adult male offenders). Policy requires that all adult male prisoners are assigned a security category within four working days of the prison receiving the information required for the assessment.

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average number of days was that a prisoner was held in HM Prison Belmarsh after being categorised as Category D before being moved to another prison in the latest period for which figures are available. [207876]

Andrew Selous: The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) policy on prisoner categorisation is set out in Prison Service Instruction 40/11 (Categorisation and Re-categorisation of adult male offenders). Policy requires that all adult male prisoners are assigned a security category within four working days of the prison receiving the information required for the assessment.

Information on the average number of days that a Category D prisoner is held in Belmarsh pending allocation to a Category D prison is not held centrally or routinely collated so could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Allocation will, in most cases, take longer than the categorisation process as it is based on a more thorough assessment of individual prisoner risks and sentence management needs. This must be completed before a prisoner is transferred to open conditions. It is not unusual for prisoners who have been recategorised to a lower category to be held in a prison of a higher security category pending further assessment; or, for example, where there is need to complete medical treatment or courses.

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Claims Management Services

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the regulation of claims management companies for insurance purposes; and if he will make a statement. [207972]

Mr Vara: The effectiveness of the regulatory response to claims management companies (CMCs) is under continuous review and the Department’s Claims Management Regulator has stepped up action with a series of reforms, as part of wider action to clamp down on bad practice.

No assessment of claims management regulation has been made specifically for insurance purposes. We have introduced tough new rules to prevent bad business practices as well as increasing regulation fees and are introducing large new fines, of potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds, for CMCs which break the rules.

This follows previous reforms to tackle rogue companies, including a ban on CMCs offering cash and other incentives to consumers to bring claims and the banning of referral fees which used to be paid between no-win no-fee lawyers, CMCs and others for profitable claims.

We are consulting on further changes to create an improved, robust system which will deter unnecessary, exaggerated or speculative claims, ensure the genuinely injured can get the help they need, and drive down the cost of motor insurance premiums.

Courts: Correspondence

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will seek to ensure that the courts' administrations when a defendant has been given a custodial sentence do not send confidential information to an address where there is a risk it might be read by unauthorised persons such as a new tenant but instead to a person nominated by the prisoner such as next-of-kin or to the prisoner's legal representative. [208067]

Mr Vara: HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) provides administrative support for a large number of courts in England and Wales. HMCTS sends information by post to the addresses given by the parties to court proceedings. If a party changes their address or commences a custodial sentence part way through court proceedings then they should notify the relevant court of this change and can request that information is sent to a relative or a legal representative. All courts have administrative procedures in place to process changes of address and will update their records accordingly.

HMCTS is reliant on the parties to proceedings providing valid and up to date addresses. It is not possible for HMCTS to check if an address given is correct or if any defendants in criminal proceedings have commenced a custodial sentence, due to the volume of cases handled by the criminal, civil and family courts.

Probation: Essex

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what increase there has been in the salary of (a) Mary Archer and (b) Alan Hubbard for posts connected with probation services in Essex over the last 12 months. [208402]

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Andrew Selous: As a result of our probation reforms, responsibility for probation provision transferred on 1 June 2014 from the 35 probation trusts to the new National Probation Service and 21 community rehabilitation companies (CRCs).

Mary Archer, who was chief executive of Essex Probation Trust, is now the chief executive officer of the Essex CRC. There has been no increase in her remuneration over the last 12 months. Alan Hubbard was previously chair of Essex Probation Trust; he is now a non-executive director of the Essex CRC. His remuneration has decreased, because his new role involves a lesser commitment of time.

Public Records

Sir Alan Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he is taking to ensure that departments meet targets for clearing public records for transfer to the National Archives. [905297]

Simon Hughes: Government Departments are currently in transition from the 30-year rule for transferring records to The National Archives to a 20-year rule, over a 10 year period. The National Archives works closely with Departments to help them meet their targets for transferring records through published statistics and capability assessments.

In March 2014 the Prime Minister commissioned his independent adviser on ministerial standards, Sir Alex Allan, to establish the position across government on the annual release of papers and the ability and readiness of departments to meet the requirements of moving to the 20-year rule. The Government will consider Sir Alex’s recommendations in due course.

Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what discussions his Department had with the Health and Safety Executive before the introduction of the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill; [206699]

(2) whether he expects the bringing into force of the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill will lead to workers taking out personal insurance cover to protect them if they are injured at work; [206706]

(3) what discussions he has had with the insurance industry on the need for the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill; [206712]

(4) what discussions he has had with the judiciary on the need for the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill. [206713]

Mr Vara: The Ministry of Justice discussed the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill with officials from the Health and Safety Executive and senior members of the judiciary prior to its introduction. There have been no discussions with the insurance industry regarding the Bill. There is nothing in the Bill which prevents an employee bringing a negligence claim, or which leaves workers without appropriate remedies when they are injured by the negligent actions of irresponsible employers. We do not therefore expect it to lead to workers taking out personal insurance cover.

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Tobacco: Fraud

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many people were convicted of tobacco-related fraud in (a) Medway, (b) Kent and (c) England in each of the last 10 years; [207998]

(2) how many people received a custodial sentence for selling illicit tobacco in (a) Medway, (b) Kent and (c) England in each of the last 10 years; [207999]

(3) what estimate he has made of the number of repeat offenders for selling illicit tobacco. [208000]

Mike Penning: There are a range of offences dealing with the importation of restricted goods, counterfeiting, fraud and the sale of illicit goods and it is therefore not possible to identify those convictions specifically relating to tobacco. There are high penalties available for these serious offences, for example revenue fraud offences carry a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment. Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for our independent courts.

This Government are committed to stepping up action to deal with this problem. In 2011, HMRC and Border Force published a comprehensive strategy, Tackling Tobacco Smuggling-building on our success, for tackling tobacco smuggling to address the source, supply and demand for illicit tobacco products in the UK. Information on the outputs of the tobacco strategy, case studies, criminal investigations, civil penalties and high profile multi-agency events, can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-tobacco-smuggling-2013-to-2014-outputs

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Apprentices

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she and Ministers in her Department have had with Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on the proposed reform of apprenticeships; what effect those discussions will have on her Department's projects and the work of their supply chain; and whether officials in her Department sit on programme boards managing the reform. [208210]

George Eustice: DEFRA and BIS have regular discussions on a range of skills development issues, including reform of apprenticeships, to ensure that different departmental programmes are complementary and can effectively support growth. The Apprenticeship Trailblazers have had a strong focus on the food industry, with schemes supporting food engineering and butchery skills. I fully support the skills and apprenticeship agenda and regularly discuss this with stakeholders in the food and farming sectors.

Bovine Tuberculosis: Northern Ireland

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to exchange scientific research with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland on tackling bovine tuberculosis; and if she will make a statement. [208227]

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George Eustice: DEFRA actively shares scientific information on bovine TB with the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland (DARDNI). Although DEFRA’s TB research budget does not cover Northern Ireland, DARDNI staff members regularly attend meetings of DEFRA’s TB Science Advisory Body sub-groups and DEFRA shares findings from its research with DARDNI, including research on improving diagnostic tests for TB in badgers. The Chief Veterinary Officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and senior policy officials, also meet monthly to discuss all issues related to bovine tuberculosis, including research findings.

Marine Management Organisation

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will instruct the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to publish the report on the investigation into the potential misuse or misapplication by the MMO of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. [208090]

George Eustice: I do not currently intend to ask the MMO to publish an internal report. The MMO has declared to the Office of the Surveillance Commissioner that due to a differing interpretation of the law some surveillance activity was undertaken that may have required authorisation under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. The Commissioner recognises that the MMO has put improved procedures in place to avoid a recurrence.

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many confidentiality agreements the Marine Management Organisation has sought in respect of third parties in (a) 2013-14 and (b) the current year. [208091]

George Eustice: One agreement was sought and concluded in the current year.

Science: Curriculum

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether (a) she and (b) her predecessor had discussions with representatives of the agricultural and horticultural sectors on the potential effect on skills and recruitment into those sectors of the proposals to remove OCR environmental and land-based science from the curriculum; and if she will make a statement. [207992]

Dan Rogerson: The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), the independent regulator of qualifications in England, consulted recently on proposals for completing the reforms of GCSEs and A levels:

http://comment.ofqual.gov.uk/completing-gcse-as-and-a-level-reform/

including principles to guide the subjects that may be offered in the future. The consultation closed on 30 July 2014 and Ofqual have not yet announced the outcome. These proposals do not remove specific subjects from the curriculum; however, they may have implications for the range of subjects available as GCSE or A level qualifications provided by awarding organisations. The

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removal of some qualifications may be as a result of low take up of specific qualifications or significant overlap of content. As Ofqual is independent of Ministers, and is accountable directly to Parliament, neither the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the right hon. Member for South West Norfolk (Elizabeth Truss) nor her predecessor have therefore discussed the proposals with agriculture and horticulture representatives, although they were able to respond to the consultation directly. I have asked Ofqual’s Chief Regulator, Glenys Stacey, to write to the hon. Member. A copy of her letter will be placed in the House of Commons Library.

Tree Felling

Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the levels of fines and sanctions for the illegal felling of trees were last reviewed and updated; and what steps her Department takes to ensure that fines and sanctions for the illegal felling of trees are kept up-to-date and are effective. [208409]

Dan Rogerson: The fines and sanctions for the illegal felling of trees are laid out in the Forestry Act 1967 (as amended). The Criminal Justice Act 1982 made provision to increase the level of fine when it introduced the standard scale of fines for summary offences.

The Forestry Act 1967 was also amended by the Regulatory Reform (Forestry) Order 2006. This amendment now enables the Forestry Commissioners the option of serving a Restocking Notice on a person who appears to the Commissioners to have committed an offence of felling without a licence.

The Government’s regulation of the forestry sector was last reviewed in 2011 by the Forestry Regulations Task Force. The independently appointed Task Force made a comprehensive review of the regulations that protect and affect the management of woodland. The Government’s response to its recommendations can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/report-by-the-forestry-regulation-task-force-government-response

Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many trees have been illegally felled in England and Wales; how many restocking orders have been issued by the Forestry Commission or other relevant body; how many enforcement notices have subsequently been issued following restocking orders not being completed; and how many prosecutions have been taken forward by the Forestry Commission as a result of illegal felling of trees in each of the last 10 years. [208410]

Dan Rogerson: The following answer is for England only. Forestry is a devolved matter and responsibility for and monitoring of illegal felling in Wales rests with the Welsh Assembly.

The Forestry Commission does not hold records for the number of trees which are illegally felled because it is the volume of licensable timber which is the key consideration in whether any action may be taken. In 2013/14 however, 99.91% of licensable tree felling was carried out with Forestry Commission approval. The other data requested are shown in the table.

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 ProsecutionsCount of restocking notices issued by end of yearEnforcement notices issued in relation to illegal tree felling by end of year

2013/14

0

12

6

2012/13

0

18

2

2011/12

0

16

7

2010/11

0

7

6

2009/10

0

16

2

2008/09

2

18

2

2007/08

2

20

2

2006/07

9

10

2

2005/06

17

14

2

2004/05

11

11

2

Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance her Department issues on the time required to investigate cases where prosecution is being considered by the Forestry Commission for the illegal felling of trees. [208411]

Dan Rogerson: DEFRA does not issue any such guidance. Strict time limits are specified in the Forestry Act 1967 which states that proceedings for an offence of felling without a licence may be instituted within six months from the first discovery of the offence by the person taking the proceedings, provided that no proceedings shall be instituted more than two years after the date of the offence.

Written Questions

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of named day written questions were answered by her Department within the prescribed period in the (a) 2012-13 session, (b) 2013-14 session and (c) 2014-15 session to date. [208424]

Dan Rogerson: The information is as follows.

SessionPercentage of named day written question answered within prescribed period

2012-13

56

2013-14

64

2014-15 (to date)

195

1 Figures for the 2014-15 session cover questions for answer during the period 5 June to 5 September 2014, inclusive.

Departmental performance information, for ordinary and named day Parliamentary Questions, is collated by the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons and submitted to the Procedure Committee. This is published on a sessional basis by the committee, and includes evidence regarding departmental performance. The monitoring report relating to the 2012-13 session was published on 13 February 2014 as HC1046. The report covering statistics relating to performance during the 2013-14 session will be published very shortly by the Procedure Committee.

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Work and Pensions

Employment Schemes

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many work clubs are being run from Jobcentre Plus offices. [208414]

Steve Webb: There are 14 work clubs being run from Jobcentre Plus offices. The role of Jobcentre Plus is to encourage partnership working to set up work clubs and to signpost claimants to them where they exist and where work coaches believe the support offered will help the claimant find work.

Employment Schemes: Young People

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education about ending the Youth Contract Wage Incentive scheme. [208358]

Steve Webb [holding answer 9 September 2014]: The Minister for Employment, the right hon. Member for Wirral West (Esther McVey), discussed ending the Youth Contract Wage Incentive scheme and identified opportunities to help the most disadvantaged young people with the Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 2 July 2014, Official Report, column 639W, on employment schemes: young people, what estimate he has made of how much of the £183.8 million allocated for the Youth Contract Wage Incentive scheme in this financial year will be used by that scheme. [208412]

Steve Webb: The £183.8 million allocation referred to in the answer of 2 July 2014, Official Report, column 639W, on employment schemes: young people, was for the entire Youth Contract initiative as announced at the 2011 autumn statement. Wage incentives are one aspect of the overall Youth Contract that also includes sector-based work academies, a more intensive Jobcentre Plus regime, new enterprise allowance and a number of pilots.

The Department does not publish financial forecast information as it is indicative, for internal management purposes only and is subject to change during the financial year.

Energy

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to reduce energy costs in his Department; and if he will make a statement. [208351]

Steve Webb: DWP is engaged in numerous energy- efficiency projects which can be split into two main types:

(1) Site specific projects: Consumption information is analysed to identify buildings with high usage patterns, which have the scope to offer significant savings from implementing a range of projects such as lighting improvements.

(2) Technical projects: Focusing on energy saving products across the estate such as installation of Passive Infrared (PIR) sensors onto hot water boilers, Thermostatic Radiator Valves

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(TRV), and installation of Automatic Meter Readers which provide accurate, real time energy consumption data facilitating targeted action on high consumption buildings.

DWP's network of volunteer "Environmental Champions" continue their essential role in encouraging colleagues to save energy, supported by an interactive e-learning package for all staff, providing guidance on how to reduce energy consumption.

Growth and Enterprise Committee

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 4 September 2014, Official Report, column 327W, on employment schemes: young people, who represents his Department on the Growth and Enterprise Committee. [208413]

Steve Webb: As with all Cabinet Committees, the membership list for the Growth and Enterprise Committee is published on the gov.uk website. It can currently be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-cabinet-committees-system-and-list-of-cabinet-committees

Jobcentre Plus

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the median length of service of Jobcentre Plus staff was in each of the last five years. [208415]

Steve Webb: The median length of service of Jobcentre Plus staff in 2009/10 and 2010/11 is recorded in the table.

YearMedian Length of Service

2009/10

11 years, 8 months

2010/11

15 years, 1 month

Jobcentre Plus was re-structured and absorbed into a revised Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Operations structure in October 2011. Since that point, it has no longer existed as a separate organisation. This means the information beyond September 2011 is not available.

For completeness, I have included the median length of service of all Department for Work and Pensions staff for the past 5 years.

YearMedian Length of Service

2009/10

12 years, 3 months

2010/11

15 years, 5 months

2011/12

18 years, 1 month

2012/13

17 years, 3 months

2013/14

18 years, 7 months

Length of service is measured as length of service within the Civil Service rather than the Department. The Department’s personnel systems record when an employee joined the Civil Service rather than an individual department or agency.

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The increase in the median length of service between 2009/10 to 2011/12 is consistent with the ending of a significant number of temporary contracts in this period. The removal of their low duration of service caused an increase in the median length of service for the Department.

The decrease in median length of service between 2011/12 to 2012/13 was caused by the incorporation of the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission in August 2012-who had a lower median length of service than the rest of the Department.

Personal Independence Payment

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department has taken to ensure that the personal independence payment application process is accessible to deafblind people who are unable to make a claim over the telephone or complete paper forms. [207966]

Mr Harper: The claim process for personal independence payment has been developed involving claimants and people who support disabled people:

We have met with organisations which represent individuals with sensory impairments on several occasions, including Sense and Deafblind Scotland.

The Implementation Stakeholder Forum was consulted during the development of the process.

The initial claim will be taken over the telephone. If required, someone else can call on the claimant’s behalf to help them make the call. The claimant needs to be present when the call is made.

We recognise that for some individuals with sensory impairments, attending a consultation at an unfamiliar location could create an element of anxiety. We have made it very clear that when attending a face-to-face consultation individuals will be able to bring with them a relation, friend or possibly a professional who supports them, in order to support them or help them manage any anxiety they may feel. In some cases we will also carry out consultations in the individual’s home.

Claim forms, the initial contact, paper guidance and general information is available in a range of formats including large print, Braille, audio and British Sign Language. Additionally if a specialist interpreter is required we would seek to provide one.

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 8 July 2014, Official Report, column 278W, on personal independence payment, what progress he has made since that answer on ensuring that no applicant for personal independence payment waits more than 16 weeks for an assessment. [207994]

Mr Harper: We have been working with the providers to agree PIP performance improvement plans with the aim of speeding up all parts of the process and eliminating backlogs. These improvements are having an effect and we are making good progress.

Television

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spent on the purchase of televisions in (a) 2013 and (b) 2014 to date. [208323]

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Steve Webb: Since 1998 the Department for Work and Pensions occupies the majority of its accommodation under a private finance initiative (PFI) known as the PRIME Contract.

Under the terms of this PFI, the Department leases back fully serviced accommodation from its private sector partner Telereal Trillium. We pay an all-inclusive unitary price, known as the Facility Price (FP), for all our furniture, fixtures, equipment and services provided, including televisions.

There were however, televisions supplied to the Department which fell outside the scope of the contract price; the costs of which are detailed as follows:

(a) 2013: Two televisions at a cost of £487.

(b) 2014 to date: Four televisions at a cost of £1,076.

Universal Credit

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the latest performance rating assigned to universal credit by the Major Projects Authority is. [207970]

Mr Harper: In June 2014, the CEO of the Major Projects Authority (MPA) reported to Public Accounts Committee that the Universal Credit Programme was stable and on track.

Going forward, the MPA Authority reports will give a delivery confidence assessment. The next assessment is due in November 2014,

Written Questions

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of named day written questions were answered by his Department within the prescribed period in the (a) 2012-13 session, (b) 2013-14 session and (c) 2014-15 session to date. [208435]

Steve Webb: In the 2014-15 Session, as at the end of August 2014, the Department had answered 89% of named day questions on the named day.

Departmental performance information, for ordinary and named day parliamentary questions, is collated by the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons and submitted to the Procedure Committee. This is published on a Sessional basis by the committee, and includes evidence regarding departmental performance. The monitoring report relating to the 2012-13 Session was published on 13 February 2014 as HC1046. The report covering statistics relating to performance during the 2013-14 Session will be published very shortly by the Procedure Committee.

Defence

Afghanistan

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many (a) Regular reservists and (b) Army Reservists were called up to support Operation Herrick in each financial year between 2002-03 and 2013-14; [208251]

10 Sep 2014 : Column 607W

(2) how many (a) Regular reservists and (b) Army Reservists are supporting Operation Herrick. [208250]

Mr Brazier: The number of Reservists mobilised in support of Operation Herrick is not held in the format requested, it is held by Operation.

10 Sep 2014 : Column 608W

The numbers are provided in the following table.

OperationDateRegular ReserveArmy Reserve

Herrick 4

May 2006 – November 2006

10

342

Herrick 5

November 2006 – April 2007

10

186

Herrrick 6

April 2007 – October 2007

10

456

Herrrick 7

October 2007 – April 2008

20

775

Herrrick 8

April 2008 – October 2008

30

713

Herrrick 9

October 2008 – April 2009

*

551

Herrrick 10

April 2009 – October 2009

*

569

Herrrick 11

October 2009 – April 2010

10

296

Herrrick 12

April 2010 – October 2010

10

725

Herrrick 13

October 2010 – April 2011

*

615

Herrrick 14

April 2011 – October 2011

10

449

Herrrick 15

October 2011 – April 2012

*

680

Herrrick 16

April 2012 – October 2012

*

477

Herrrick 17

October 2012 – April 2013

*

621

Herrrick 18

April 2013 – October 2013

*

606

Herrrick 19

October 2013 – June 2014

*

475

‘*’ = zero or rounded to zero. Notes: 1, There are currently Regular Reservists and 320 Army Reservists mobilised in support of Herrick 20, (June 2014 – December 2014). 2. Figures have been rounded to 10; numbers ending in 5 are rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

Armed Forces

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many nationals of which countries other than the UK serve in each service of the armed forces; and what proportion of each such service such foreign nationals represent. [207803]

Anna Soubry: The number of foreign nationals serving in our armed forces is shown in the table. The information is presented by the number of foreign personnel by nationality, the number and percentage serving in each of the armed forces and the number within the armed forces overall.

UK Regular Forces1 by declared nationality2 and service at 1 July 2014
 All servicesRoyal Navy/Royal Marines3ArmyRAF
 NumberPercentageNumberPercentageNumberPercentageNumberPercentage

UK Regular Forces

157,490

33,080

89,480

34,940










UK

149,590

95.0

32,360

97.8

82,460

92.2

34,770

99.7










Non-UK

7,840

5.0

720

2.2

7,000

7.8

120

0.3










Antiguan

5

4

4

4

5

4

4

4

Australian

70

0.0

20

0.0

50

0.1

10

0.0

Bahamian

5

4

5

4

5

4

4

4

Bangladeshi

20

0.0

4

4

20

0.0

4

4

Barbadian

10

0.0

5

4

10

0.0

4

4

Belizean

50

0.0

4

4

50

0.1

4

4

Botswanan

20

0.0

5

4

20

0.0

5

4

Cameroonian

130

0.1

5

4

120

0.1

5

4

Canadian

60

0.0

20

0.1

40

0.0

5

4

Citizen of Fiji

1,740

1.1

120

0.4

1,600

1.8

10

0.0

Citizen of Seychelles

20

0.0

4

4

20

0.0

4

4

Citizen of Sri Lanka

10

0.0

4

4

10

0.0

4

4

Citizen of St Christopher (St Kitts) and Nevis

5

4

4

4

5

4

4

4

Dominican

40

0.0

5

4

30

0.0

4

4

Gambian

250

0.2

10

0.0

240

0.3

4

4

Ghanaian

820

0.5

5

4

810

0.9

5

4

10 Sep 2014 : Column 609W

10 Sep 2014 : Column 610W

Grenadian

140

0.1

10

0.0

140

0.2

5

4

Guyanese

20

0.0

5

4

20

0.0

4

4

Indian

190

0.1

5

4

180

0.2

5

4

Irish

520

0.3

60

0.2

440

0.5

20

0.1

Italian

5

4

4

4

5

4

4

4

Jamaican

360

0.2

20

0.1

330

0.4

10

0.0

Kenyan

220

0.1

10

0.0

210

0.2

5

4

Lesotho

5

4

4

4

5

4

4

4

Malawian

190

0.1

10

0.0

180

0.2

4

4

Malaysian

10

0.0

5

4

5

4

4

4

Maltese

10

0.0

5

4

10

0.0

4

4

Mauritanian

5

4—

4

4

4

4

5

4

Mauritian

60

0.0

5

4

50

0.1

5

4

Namibian

5

4

4

4

5

4

5

4

Nepalese

600

0.4

10

0.0

590

0.7

4

4

New Zealander

70

0.0

10

0.0

50

0.1

10

0.0

Nigerian

250

0.2

10

0.0

240

0.3

5

4

Pakistani

20

0.0

4

4

20

0.0

4

4

Papua New Guinean

5

4

4

4

5

4

4

4

Polish

5

4

4

4

4

4

5

4

Rwandan

5

4

4

4

5

4

4

4

Sierra Leonean

40

0.0

5

4

40

0.0

4

4

Singaporean

5

4

4

4

5

4

4

4

South African

710

0.5

100

0.3

600

0.7

10

0.0

St Lucian

230

0.1

10

0.0

210

0.2

5

4

Swazi

10

0.0

4

4

10

0.0

4

4

Tanzanian

10

0.0

4

4

10

0.0

4

4

Tongan

10

0.0

4

4

10

0.0

4

4

Trinidad and Tobago citizen

80

0.0

30

0.1

40

0.0

10

0.0

Ugandan

60

0.0

5

4

50

0.1

5

4

United States citizen

5

4

4

4

5

4

5

4

Vincentian

490

0.3

210

0.6

280

0.3

5

4

Yugoslavian

5

4

4

4

4

4

5

4

Zambian

40

0.0

10

0.0

40

0.0

4

4

Zimbabwean

240

0.2

20

0.1

220

0.2

10

0.0

         

Unknown

60

0.0

4

4

10

0.0

50

0.1

1 UK Regular Forces comprises trained and untrained personnel and excludes Gurkhas, full-time Reserve Service personnel and mobilised reservists. 2 Nationality figures and percentages are based on those with a declared nationality on JPA and excludes those with an unknown nationality. 3 Royal Navy/Royal Marines describes full-time naval armed forces personnel which comprises of the Royal Navy (including the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service) and the Royal Marines combined. 4 Denotes zero. 5 Denotes fewer than five.

Armed Forces Covenant: South West

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which organisations working with veterans in the South West have received money under the Armed Forces Covenant Fund to date. [207533]

Anna Soubry: To date the Government have invested £105 million in support of the Armed Forces Covenant much of which is benifiting or will benefit veterans across the UK. Veterans in the South West have benefited from a range of projects based either in the South West or operating UK wide worth in excess of £11.5 million. We expect further projects in the South West to benefit in the near future and in the long term when the new £10 million Armed Forces Covenant Fund is introduced in 2015.

Projects in the South West are funded via the Community Covenant Grant Scheme and a £35 million LIBOR Fund.

A list of successful projects to date can be found as follows.

Community Covenant Grant Scheme
ProjectDescriptionAreaSum agreed (£)

The Swan Forces project

Support services for vulnerable veterans.

Wiltshire

7,000.00

10 Sep 2014 : Column 611W

10 Sep 2014 : Column 612W

Blandford Museum

Project to record experiences of Service personnel and Veterans.

Blandford, Dorset

5,900

Worldwide Volunteering (WWV)

Full time Volunteering Project Managers to support those who might be going through post trauma recovery or any life-style or career transition process.

Tidworth, Wiltshire

30,000

The Wiltshire Barn Project

Craft-based training, qualification and employment scheme using the medium of manual book binding based in a calm rural setting.

Woodborough, Wiltshire

10,000

Codford Historical Society

To portray the arrival of thousands of Kitcheners Volunteers in the Wylye Valley at the start of WW1 and the effects this had on the local community.

Codford, Wiltshire

4,000

Alabaré Christian Care & Support

To provide support and homes for the reintegrating of veterans back into local life

Longleven, Gloucester

62,600

Alabaré Christian Care & Support

4 bed fully supported accommodation home in Weymouth. The recruitment, training and supervision of a team of 10 volunteers community befrienders.

Weymouth

23,998

Alabaré Christian Care & Support

Recruit and train 10 volunteer befrienders, to support those at risk to secure appropriate accommodation and allow them to re integrate

Plymouth, Devon

11,998

Running Deer C.I.C.

Learning, training, work experience and personal development opportunities on structured training programmes.

Moretonhampstead, Devon

69,570

Alabare Christian Care & Support

A 3 bed supported accommodation home in Salisbury.

Salisbury, Wiltshire

33,705

Splitz Support Service

A programme looking at how to change abusive behaviour.

Wiltshire

20,000

The Royal British Legion

Dedicated facility to meet Case officers.

Gloucester

3,000

Surf Action

Satellite hubs in North Cornwall providing additional beach clinics and support services.

North Cornwall

22,500

Total

  

304,271

£35 million LIBOR Fund-Projects Benefiting Veterans in the South West ( funding for UK wide projects which benefit the South West as also included)
OrganisationBid TitleAreaBid Value (£)

Adjutant General's Corps Regimental Association

Adjutant General's Corps Welfare Caravan

England

28,774.00

British ex-Services Wheelchair Sports Association

Rehabilitation Through Sport

UK wide

66,678.90

Charitable Housing Association

Remodelling CESSA HA’s St George’s Court Sheltered Housing Scheme

England

160,000.00

China Fleet Trust

Holiday Apartment upgrade for injured, wounded and disabled personnel, veterans and families

Devon

50,000.00

Combat Stress

Combat Stress Community Outreach Teams

UK wide

2,000,000.00

Combat Stress

24 Hour Mental Health Helpline

UK wide

200,000.00

Combat Stress

Combat Stress Veterans 24 Hour Helpline

UK wide

575,268.00

Defence Medical Welfare Service

Armed Forces & Veterans Hospital Welfare Service

UK wide

896,296.00

Help for Heroes

Hidden Wounds Programme

UK wide

2,710,500.00

Music in Hospitals

Musical Movements

UK wide

32,400.00

RBL

Family Break Service

England

921,000.00

Royal Marines

Royal Marines Families and Veterans’ Centre

Dorset

2,300,000.00

Shore Leave Haslar

Equipment Procurement and Site Access Project for Gardening Therapy for Veterans.

Portsmouth

13,380.00

The Calvert Trust

Uniting Families with Disabilities

UK wide

183,312.00

The Not Forgotten Association

Adventurous Activities for Serving and ex-Serving Wounded

UK wide

25,000.00

10 Sep 2014 : Column 613W

10 Sep 2014 : Column 614W

The Warrior Programme

The Warrior Programme for Veterans and Families

UK wide

933,149.00

Veterans Outreach Support

Veterans Outreach Support

Portsmouth

414,607.00

Total

  

11,510,394.90

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total budget of the Armoured Vehicles Programme has been in each year since 2010; and what estimate he has made of the budget of this programme in each year up to 2030. [208110]

Mr Dunne: The total budget of the Armoured Vehicles Programme in each financial year (FY) since 2010 has been:

 FY Expenditure (£ million)

2010-11

399

2011-12

391

2012-13

373

2013-14

357

2014-15

463

The estimate of the budget of this programme in each FY of the latest 10 year Equipment Plan up to 2025 is:

 FY Expenditure (£ million)

2015-16

496

2016-17

592

2017-18

885

2018-19

1,047

2019-20

1,301

2020-21

1,534

2021-22

1,667

2022-23

1,717

2023-24

1,667

2024-25

1,294

Figures do not include non-Equipment Programme costs such as fuel, training and consumable inventory.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to procure a class of Future Rapid Effects System Utility vehicles as part of the Armoured Vehicles Programme. [208112]

Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence is no longer pursuing a “Future Rapid Effects System” programme. The capability that the Future Rapid Effects System was intended to deliver is now being delivered through other projects, principally the SCOUT Specialist Vehicle (SV) and the Utility Vehicle (UV). SCOUT is the transformational project that will refresh our entire armoured capability and allow us to remain a global first-tier military force.

A £3.5 billion contract to procure 589 SCOUT (SVs) was announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Michael Fallon) on 3 September 2014, Official Report, column 20WS. The Utility Vehicle programme, including work to define the requirements of the vehicle, is in its early stages.

Army Reserve

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when a decision will be taken on the long-term future of Army Reserve bases which had originally been scheduled to be closed in 2016. [208104]

Mr Brazier: The previous Defence Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), outlined changes to streamline the Army Reserve structure under the Future Reserves 2020 plan on 3 July 2013, Official Report, column 49WS.

The result of this plan was that a number of Army Reserve Centres were identified as surplus to Army requirements and would therefore be closed. Since then plans to pair Reserve units with Regular units have been developed and the Army has undertaken further work to ensure the optimum geographical footprint is in place. This work has taken into account recruiting performance, long-term value for money and the delivery of operational capability. As a result of this work some units previously scheduled for closure will now remain open. Others may also remain open, subject to significantly improved recruiting performance before 2016. Members affected by these changes will be notified at the time and I intend to keep Parliament updated on these changes on an annual basis.

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Army Reserve recruits (a) passed and (b) failed (i) Phase One and (ii) Phase Two training in each year between 2010-11 and 2013-14. [208234]

Mr Brazier: The number of Army Reserve recruits who passed and failed Phase 1 and Phase 2 initial training phases between 2010-11 and 2013-14 are as follows:

 Phase 1Phase 2
 PassFailPassFail

2010-11

900

240

970

50

2011-12

770

490

830

150

2012-13

670

350

640

160

2013-14

600

310

570

190

Failures include those who do not complete a training course due to their own volition, through injury or for compassionate reasons. A recruit may fail a course and then go on to pass a further course in the same year. Additionally a recruit may fail a course more than once in any reporting period.

Figures have been rounded to 10; numbers ending in five are rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

10 Sep 2014 : Column 615W

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many army pensioners have been recalled to service under Section 52 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 since 1997. [208238]

Mr Brazier: No Army Pensioners have been recalled to service since 1997 under Section 52 of the Reserve Forces Act (call out for National danger, great emergency or attack on the UK).

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Army Reserves were in training in each financial year between 2010-11 and 2013-14. [208245]

Mr Brazier: Data are only available from 2012-13 onwards. The average numbers of Army Reserve recruits under training for 2012-13 and 2013-14 are as follows:

Training yearAverage Numbers in Training

2012-13

6,030

2013-14

4,540

Figures provided reflect the average number of Army Reservists holding training positions prior to entering the trained strength. The reduction in numbers in training in 2013-14 is due to a more efficient training system, meaning that recruits complete training more quickly, as well as a data cleansing exercise that was undertaken to remove those who were no longer on strength but were still nominally occupying training positions.

Figures have been rounded to 10; numbers ending in 5 are rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

Army: Recruitment

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what targets for recruitment into the (a) Regular Army and (b) Army Reserve were set in each year between 2010-11 and 2013-14; [208248]

(2) what the target is for recruitment into the (a) Regular Army and (b) Army Reserve in the current financial year. [208247]

Mr Brazier: Recruitment targets for the Regular Army and Army Reserve between 2010-11 and the current financial year are as follows:

 Regular TargetReserve Target

2010-11

6,950

2011-12

7,380

2012-13

7,440

2013-14

7,240

4,900

2014-15

6,860

7,270

Army Reserve recruitment targets were not set until October 2013 following the publication of the Reserves White Paper in July 2013.

Defence Infrastructure Organisation

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the contract for the strategic business partnership between the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and Capita contains conditions on customer facing service and expected response times to enquiries. [208037]

10 Sep 2014 : Column 616W

Anna Soubry: The Strategic Business Partner Contract has obligations to manage all the services managed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation including the service delivery contracts. These contracts include customer service and response times.

The Strategic Business Partner Contract also contains key performance indicators for customer satisfaction.

Energy

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to reduce energy costs in his Department; and if he will make a statement. [208338]

Anna Soubry: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is committed to reducing energy costs.

Details of which can be found in the Sustainable MOD Annual Report for 2013-14 at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sustainable-mod-annual-report-2013-to-2014

Information

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to improve its Information and Information Communication Technology capability. [208408]

Mr Dunne: The Department’s extant Information Communication Technology (ICT) Strategy dated October 2013 is available in the public domain on the Gov.uk website at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/255880/Defence_ICT_Strategy_ 2013_Final.pdf

The departmental lead for Information and ICT in the Ministry of Defence (MOD) is the Information Systems and Services (ISS) organisation. ISS has recently embarked on an ambitious tranformational change programme aimed at enhancing ICT capabilities across the MOD (both in the operational and corporate domains). Technology and Innovation are at the heart of ISS Transformation and our initial focus will be to deliver improvements to the MOD-wide computer network, Defence Information Infrastructure (DII). Other workstreams focus on skills and behaviours; industry engagement and improving ISS’ agility and customer focus.