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Written Answers

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 13 June 2006

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 13 June 2006

International Development

Democratic Republic of the Congo

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the work his Department is undertaking in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (72811)

[pursuant to the reply, 24 May 2006, Official Report, c. 1780-81W]: The figure given for DFID’s spend in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2001-02 was £7 million. This should have read £5.6 million, mostly on humanitarian interventions.

An estimate was made for DFID’s expenditure in 2005-06. This was premature, however, as DFID’s 2005-06 out-turn figures have yet to be confirmed but are expected to be finalised by the end of August 2006.

DFID funds available for the DRC this financial year were given as £63 million. The correct amount is £62 million.

I apologise for these errors in the original answer.

HIV/AIDS

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect on treatment of HIV/AIDS in African countries of the departure of qualified doctors and nurses from the developing world for employment in the developed world. (75683)

DFID supported analysis of the human resources for health crises in Africa for the High Level Forum for Health in November 2005. The migration of skilled health workers from poorer African countries to developed countries in Europe, the United States and elsewhere has a significant impact on the capacity of African national health services to deliver HIV and AIDS treatment, prevention and care. However, migration to other more developed African countries and internal migration from rural to urban areas are also important factors. Health worker shortages are exacerbated by AIDS-related mortality among the health work force. The result is an overburdened health work force and weak health systems with inadequate capacity to deliver services.

DFID is working at country level to address human resources capacity and support Governments to implement policies on retention, skill mix and deployment. For example, DFID is supporting the health sector in Malawi—one of the most severely affected countries, with £100 million over five years. About £55 million of this is earmarked for the Emergency Human Resources Programme of the Malawi Government. This programme is aiming to increase recruitment and retention of staff by raising health worker salaries by 50 per cent., providing housing and improving training. This is expected to double the number of nurses and triple the number of doctors in training—while using international volunteers to fill gaps in the meantime. DFID is also funding country HIV and AIDS programmes to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS on the health workers.

DFID is also working closely with the Department of Health (DH) to address “pull” incentives, preventing the targeting of developing countries in the international recruitment of health care professionals within the NHS through the Code of Practice for International Recruitment of Healthcare Professionals.

Solicitor-General

Ministerial Visits (Accommodation)

To ask the Solicitor-General what discounts are available in relation to hotel accommodation used by (a) civil servants and (b) special advisers in his Department. (69011)

The Law Officers’ Departments do not employ special advisers.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) book hotel accommodation for civil servants with First Option through an Office of Government Commerce framework agreement. The agreement enables the CPS, RCPO and HMCPSI to secure specifically negotiated rates and value for money in hotel accommodation. Individual discounts are not available to civil servants under the contract but a rebate is paid at the end of each year.

SFO books hotel accommodation through Expotel under an Office of Government Commerce framework agreement, unless exceptional circumstances apply. The Expotel agreement seeks the best rate within Government prescribed rates and also allows for a subsequent rebate.

The Treasury Solicitor’s Office (TSol) and this Office do not have arrangements which provide discounts but bookings are made within Government prescribed rates except in exceptional circumstances.

House of Commons Commission

Catering Supplies

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what environmental and social sustainability criteria are applied when purchasing food for the House dining rooms. (76016)

Last year, the House of Commons Commission approved and adopted an outline strategic plan covering the five years from 2006 until 2011. This plan explicitly states that the House administration must match current public service standards, including in the area of environmental protection. Food procurement tenders include consideration of bidders' environmental and ethical policies and procedures, but the precise evaluation criteria applied differ according to the nature of foods being supplied.

Refreshment Department (Alcohol Sales)

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what steps the House took to mark English Wine Week. (76800)

The Refreshment Department would have been pleased to support English Wine Week, which ran from 29 May until 6 June. This coincided with the spring bank holiday recess, so that most of the restaurants and bars in the House were closed. It was not considered viable to run a special promotion for the two days the House was sitting during this period.

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if the Commission will take steps to ensure that a Sussex sparkling wine is added to the House of Commons wine lists. (76690)

The Refreshment Department is always pleased to consider new wines for addition to its wine lists. The Director of Catering Services is happy to advise any suppliers how to apply to have their wines included on the House of Commons wine lists.

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if the Commission will take steps to ensure that Harvey's beer is considered for stocking in House of Commons bars during Cask Beer Week in September 2006. (76686)

The Refreshment Department supports the small independent brewers of Britain by offering a guest ale, changed weekly, in two of the House of Commons bars. This scheme does not operate during parliamentary recesses, when the bars are very quiet. It would therefore not be economic to support Cask Beer Week in September 2006 by stocking Harvey’s or any other real ale. I have asked the Director of Catering Services to contact the hon. Member in relation to the prospects for offering Harvey's as a guest ale.

Staff Security Clearance

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what the (a) shortest, (b) longest and (c) average time it has taken over the last 12 months to obtain security clearance for a House of Commons pass for hon. Members' staff working at Westminster; and if he will make a statement. (76008)

In the past 12 months it is estimated that the shortest time it has taken to obtain security clearance for a House of Commons pass has been approximately three weeks, the longest approximately 12 months, and the average approximately one month. This is dependent upon the nature of foreign connections, and the multiplicity of addresses which have to be checked by agencies both in this country and abroad.

As hon. Members have been informed, the Deputy Serjeant at Arms can in certain circumstances authorise the issue of a pass on the basis of satisfactory references pending the receipt of final clearances.

Tours

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will estimate the unit cost of the (a) organisation of a tour of the House and (b) cost of the tour itself; and if he will make a statement. (75997)

In the financial year 2005-06, the cost of organising a Member's guided tour was around £50. Each tour may contain the guests of a single or several Members.

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many tours requested by hon. Members the House provided in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. (76006)

Between June 2005 and May 2006, 7,374 tours were organised for hon. Members of both Houses by the Central Tours Office, covering around 119,000 guests. Some tours contained the guests of more than one hon. Member.

Equal Opportunities

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what percentage of the House's senior staff are of minority ethnic origin; and if he will make a statement. (76007)

As at 31 March 2006, the House had 79 senior staff, 72 of whom have declared their ethnicity. One of these senior staff (1.4 per cent.) is identified as of minority ethnic origin.

The proportion of ethnic minority staff across all pay bands is 19 per cent. The Commission is committed to valuing diversity throughout its workforce, and the board of management has made a commitment in its 2006 corporate plan to monitor the development of a diverse workforce at all levels by establishing gender and ethnic profiles by band and role.

Leader of the House

Departmental Staff

To ask the Leader of the House how many of his staff are (a) under and (b) over 55 years of age. (77323)

The Office of the Leader of the House of Commons currently has 12 staff, with one aged over 55 years of age.

To ask the Leader of the House how many people over the age of 55 years have been recruited by his office in each of the last three years. (77324)

IT Refreshment Scheme

To ask the Leader of the House what the total cost is of the IT refreshment scheme to replace and install new computers for hon. Members; and how much of that cost is to be spent on (a) implementing, installing and administering the scheme, (b) leases of equipment and (c) licensing of software. (75670)

The cost of Members’ IT installation and upgrade programme is borne mainly on the House of Commons: Members Estimate; but some costs are borne on the House of Commons: Administration Estimate which is the responsibility of the House of Commons Commission. The maximum estimated cash costs expected to be paid from the Members Estimate are:

£000

Amount

Administration costs including surveys, storage and porterage

749

Installation charges

646

Equipment costs

3,085

Software costs

1,188

The figures are provisional at this stage, as they depend significantly on the choices Members themselves make about the amount, type and location of the equipment they require.

I understand that the costs borne on the Administration Estimate cannot easily be disaggregated from the other running costs of the Parliamentary ICT Service.

To ask the Leader of the House what percentage of hon. Members have had their leased equipment replaced under the IT refreshment scheme; and if he will list the hon. Members concerned. (75679)

58 per cent. of Members have now received their new equipment. The IT refresh project is being undertaken in phases, and all Members will have been given an opportunity to refresh their equipment before the summer recess, provided forms are returned and survey and installation dates are agreed as set out in the guidance issued to Members. Equipment is loaned and not leased to Members and whether Members choose to use their allowance or not is a matter for them.

Party Political Funding

To ask the Leader of the House when he expects to publish the Government’s response to the Electoral Commission’s report of December 2004 on the funding of political parties. (76559)

The Prime Minister announced on 16 March that there was to be an independent review of the funding of political parties. Sir Hayden Phillips is currently undertaking this review. It would neither be appropriate nor courteous to publish a response to the Commission’s report prior to Sir Hayden Phillips reporting.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Animal Welfare

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average period was between (a) the state veterinary service and (b) his Department receiving urgent animal welfare complaints and the making of a visit to the premises being complained about in the latest period for which figures are available. (76339)

Any complaints received by the Department are immediately passed to the state veterinary service (SVS). The SVS aims to respond within 24 hours of receiving a complaint. The figures for April 2005 to March 2006 show the average response time was 0.5 days.

Biofuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans the Government have to promote (a) the wider use of and (b) research into biodiesel. (75455)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government announced in November 2005 that a Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) will be introduced from 2008 which will require all suppliers of transport fuels in the UK to ensure that a certain percentage of their total annual sales is made up of biofuels. The level of the obligation will rise from 2.5 per cent. in the financial year 2008-09 to 3.75 per cent. in 2009-10 and 5 per cent. in 2010-11. This should ensure that, by 2010, biodiesel sales in the UK will amount to over a billion litres a year—a 20-fold increase from where we are today.

This Department has funded research in recent years into different aspects of biofuel production and use, but none has considered individual biofuels in any detail. Our research has focused instead on the potential environmental and other impacts of significant use of biofuels in the longer term, and on the emissions consequences and economics of various bioethanol and biodiesel blends. Research into biofuels will continue as part of the work the Department has commissioned to develop a carbon and environmental assurance scheme to underpin the RTFO.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is towards the encouragement of biofuels as an alternative energy source. (75892)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government are committed to encouraging the most sustainable forms of biofuels for emissions savings as well as for security of supply reasons. That is why we announced in November 2005 that we will introduce a Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation in April 2008 which will require all suppliers of transport fuels in the UK to ensure that a certain percentage of their total annual sales is made up of biofuels (or, in the longer term, some other renewable transport fuel).

The level of the obligation will rise from 2.5 per cent. in the financial year 2008-09 to 3.75 per cent. in 2009-10 and 5 per cent. in 2010-11. These levels will deliver a significant increase on current sales and will mean that by 2010 the vast majority of UK forecourts will be supplying renewable fuels in the form of biodiesel and bioethanol. The RTFO will deliver real environmental benefits and is projected to save around 1 million tonnes of carbon by 2010.

Bovine Tuberculosis

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent advice he has received on ways to improve the efficiency of testing cattle for bovine tuberculosis. (76330)

The single intradermal comparative cervical tuberculin (SICCT) test is a well-established screening test for TB in cattle and the primary tool for live testing in Great Britain.

The SICCT is approved and recognised by the EU Commission and the International Animal Health Organisation (OIE) as the primary tool for the diagnosis of TB in cattle and other species, by virtue of its overall accuracy, robustness and relative simplicity. This has been demonstrated in several field evaluations conducted throughout the world.

The accuracy of any test is measured in terms of its specificity (proportion of uninfected animals identified as negative) and its sensitivity (proportion of infected animals detected as positive). The specificity for a correctly performed SICCT is above 99 per cent. Its sensitivity is between 77 per cent. and 95 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure adequate numbers of veterinary surgeons are available to test herds for bovine TB. (76331)

We recognise the importance of ensuring sufficient resources are available to carry out bovine TB testing. My officials closely monitor the situation and meet regularly with the veterinary profession.

Last year the Government introduced legislation under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 to enable technical staff in the State Veterinary Service to carry out TB tests. A pilot study into lay TB testing is due to conclude shortly. We will consult the veterinary profession and other interested parties on the results and any proposals to extend lay testing.

End-of-Life Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps the Environment Agency has taken to implement the end-of-life vehicle legislation; (75656)

(2) how many operators have been prosecuted due to failure to apply for a site licence for storing and treating end-of-life vehicles.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has transposed the End-of-Life Vehicles Directive (2000/53/EC) through the End-of-Life Vehicles Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/2635) and the End-of-Life Vehicles (Producer Responsibility) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/263). DEFRA has responsibility for Part VII of the 2003 Regulations, on the keeping and treatment of waste motor vehicles, and these provisions are enforced by the Environment Agency (EA) in England and Wales.

All facilities treating un-depolluted end-of-life vehicles are required to have a permit, a condition of which is that the site in question must meet the minimum technical standards set down in Schedule 5 to the Regulations.

There are currently around 1,100 ‘Authorised Treatment Facilities’ for ELVs. The EA has worked closely with DEFRA, DTI and the vehicle dismantling sector to produce practical treatment guidance. Sites that hold the necessary site licence are inspected by the EA to ensure that they meet required standards. The EA also investigates sites thought to be handling vehicles illegally.

In 2004, the EA took forward 15 prosecutions for offences involving the keeping or treatment of ELVs. The figure for 2005 was 30. There have been 13 in the first five months of 2006. These are cases where ELVs were the main, or a significant proportion of, the waste being handled illegally.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidelines have been issued by his Department to authorised treatment facilities licensed to store and treat end-of-life vehicles. (75657)

‘Guidance for Authorised Treatment Facilities’, a booklet providing guidance on de-polluting end-of-life vehicles, has been issued by the Department and is available from:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/topics/elvehicledir.htm

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will list the operators in North Devon who have been issued with a licence for storing and treating end-of-life vehicles. (75659)

The operators in North Devon who have been issued with a licence for storing and treating end-of-life vehicles are listed in the following table.

Company name (licence holder)

Address

Mr. R. Penfold, South Molton Metals

Pathfields Business Park, Quicks Close, Hacche Lane, South Molton, Devon

Esau's Vehicle Dismantlers, Mr. A. J. Esau and Mr. P. L. Cridge

Adjavin Lane, Clovelly Road, Bideford, Devon

Oxy Ltd., Stoneybridge Vehicle Dismantlers

Stoneybridge, Knowle, Braunton, Devon

James Sherlock BMW Motorcycles

3 Cooks Cross Industrial Estate, South Molton, Devon

Mr. A. C. Poulton, Deepmoor

Deepmoor, St. Giles in the Wood, Torrington, Devon

Mr. G. Holmes and Mr. P. Holmes

No 2 Yard, Patchacott Cross, Patchacott, Seaworthy, Devon

Gilead Foundation Charity

Risdon Farm, Jacobstowe, Okehampton, Devon

Mr. Stephen W. Bolt and Mr. Michael Pilivant

3 Oaklands Drive, Okehampton, Devon

Mr. C. E. K. Patience

29 Yelland Road, Fremington, Barnstaple, Devon

Bedminster Estates Limited

Seven Brethren Industrial Estate, Barnstaple, Devon

Mr. H. and Mrs. E Penfold

Sunnyside, Station Road, South Molton, Devon

In order to treat end-of-life vehicles, licensed sites also need to meet the requirements of the End-of-Life Vehicle Regulations 2003. To do this they need to have the necessary infrastructure in place to be an authorised treatment facility (ATF). The Environment Agency inspects and approves such facilities under these Regulations. At present only those sites listed below are both licensed and authorised to treat end-of-life vehicles.

Company name (licence holder)

Address

Mr. R. Penfold t/a South Molton Metals

Quicks Close, Hacche Lane, South Molton, Devon

Esau's vehicle dismantlers

Clovelly Road, Bideford, Devon

Oxy Ltd. t/a Stoneybridge Vehicle Dismantlers

Stoneybridge, Knowle, Braunton, Devon

James Sherlock BMW Motorcycles

3 Cooks Cross Industrial Estate, South Molton, Devon

There are a number of sites in North Devon that are registered as exempt from the requirement to have a waste management licence under paragraph 45 of the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 (as amended). This exemption allows for the storage of dry ferrous and non-ferrous metals and storage of depolluted end-of-life vehicles. It does not allow for the storage and treatment of un-depolluted vehicles for which a licence would be required.

Export Health Certificates

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of export health certificates have been granted within agreed timeframes in each year since 1997. (76340)

The state veterinary service (SVS) only holds reliable and accessible figures for the period from January to April 2006. Applications for export certificates need to be made 10 working days before export. The following table shows the SVS success rate for timely applications:

Success rate (percentage)

January 2006

99.7

February 2006

99.8

March 2006

99.5

April 2006

99.2

This compares favourably with the SVS's target of processing 95 per cent. of timely applications within the agreed time frame.

Poultry Keepers

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many keepers of poultry with flocks of fewer than 50 there are; and what estimate he has made of how many chickens this represents. (76176)

The June Survey of Agriculture and Horticulture for 2005 shows that there are approximately 21,000 registered poultry holdings in England with fewer than 50 birds. This represents approximately 350,000 chickens, or 0.3 per cent. of the national flock.

These figures only represent poultry kept on registered holdings in England. There are likely to be a significant number of poultry keepers with fewer than 50 birds that are kept on unregistered holdings, including domestic premises. No estimate is available for unregistered keepers.

Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to increase the level of recycling; and what additional resources will be granted to (a) local authorities and (b) the Waste Resources Action Plan to achieve this. (76043)

The review of England’s Waste Strategy, due to be published later this year, will put forward a range of measures to build on recent improvements in recycling. The proposed target increases for household waste recycling are 40 per cent. by 2010, 45 per cent. by 2015 and 50 per cent. by 2020.

Local authorities’ main source of funding for waste management is the environmental, protective and cultural services (EPCS) block of the revenue support grant, distributed by central Government each year. In the last Spending Review (SR2004) the Government announced an increase in the EPCS block of £888 million by 2007-08 over 2004-05. A further £260 million through the waste performance and efficiency grant and £535 million in private finance initiative credits were also made available by 2007-08.

For 2006-07, the Waste Resources and Action Plan (WRAP) has been allocated £10.8 million for market development work, £40 million under the Waste Implementation Programme (to divert biodegradable municipal waste from landfill), £9 million under the Business Resource Efficiency and Waste programme and £5.5 million under the Aggregate Sustainable Levy Fund.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will amend local authority league tables on recycling to give greater weight to waste minimisation. (76687)

[holding answer 12 June 2006]: Local authorities are assessed against a number of indicators on household waste which include the percentage sent for recycling or composting and the total weight collected per head. The Audit Commission publishes information on local authority performance against these indicators each year. This is available from the Audit Commission website:

http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/performance/data provision.asp

Currently, there is no local authority statutory performance standard for waste minimisation. However, as part of the review of England’s Waste Strategy, Defra is looking at what levels and what forms of targets and indicators will, in the longer-term, be the most efficient at continuing the recent improvements we have seen in waste performance. The review will take into account existing policies designed to make waste management more sustainable, and consider how best to present information on local authority waste performance, consistent with sustainable waste management objectives.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of (a) plastic and (b) glass bottles were recycled in each of the last five years. (75564)

Each year the Department publishes its Packaging Data Note (which can be found on the Defra website), giving the overall tonnages of all glass and plastic packaging waste recycled each year. These are shown in the following tables.

Glass packaging waste recycled

Tonnes

2001

766,000

2002

747,000

2003

862,000

2004

1,050,000

2005

1,260,000

Plastic packaging waste recycled

Tonnes

2001

270,000

2002

360,000

2003

321,000

2004

344,000

2005

414,000

2005 figures are subject to confirmation. It is estimated that of the total amount of glass packaging waste recycled in 2004, approximately 75 per cent. were glass bottles. Of the total amount of plastic packaging waste recycled, about 10 per cent. is estimated to have been plastic bottles.

The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2005 place an obligation on producers who put packaging on the market to recover and recycle packaging waste. The packaging targets increase each year and we expect the amount of glass and plastic packaging waste (including bottles) recycled to also increase.

Supermarkets

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department will give evidence to the forthcoming Competition Commission inquiry into the impact of supermarkets on market towns and out-of-town superstores in rural areas. (74503)

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 18 May 2006, Official Report, column 1129.

My noble Friend Lord Rooker, the Minister for Sustainable Farming and Food has since written to the Competition Commission to highlight a number of areas which the Commission may wish to consider as part of its investigation. In doing so, he confirmed that the Department is willing to provide the Commission with any assistance or information it may request. A copy has been placed in the House Library and on Defra’s website.

Waste Facility (Wrexham)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the closure of the agricultural waste collection facility near Wrexham. (76045)

I understand the facility which was approved for the collection of fallen stock was closed on 26 May when council officers inspected the plant after members of the public raised health concerns over the number of dead carcases on site.

The local authority and state veterinary service is now working with the facility to clear the backlog of carcases with a view to reinstating the approval of the site to begin receiving fallen stock again as soon as possible. In the mean time farmers in the area have been given a choice of alternative collectors and a good fallen stock collection service remains available to them under the National Fallen Stock Scheme.

Waste Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of increased incineration of waste on the environment. (75568)

Defra published the independent Review of the Environmental and Health Effects of Waste Management, in 2004, which was peer reviewed by the Royal Society. The review concluded that, based on the evidence from studies so far, the treatment of municipal solid waste—including by incineration—has, at most, a minor impact on human health and the environment. Defra has also recently published a study, “Impact of Energy from Waste and Recycling Policy on UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions”, in support of a review of the Government's waste strategy. This is available on the Defra website:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/strategy/pdf/ermreport.pdf

9 per cent. of waste is currently incinerated in England, but an increase is likely to be needed to be able to meet landfill directive targets, despite big improvements in waste recycling and minimisation. Recovering energy from waste through incineration produces many fewer greenhouse gas emissions than landfilling. Deriving energy from biodegradable waste also helps to offset fossil fuel generation.

The Environment Agency ensures that emissions and other outputs from waste management facilities are within the limits set by the EU and the UK Government to minimise any negative impact. Incinerators are also required to conform to tighter emission standards than other types of combustion plants.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of the UK's waste was (a) recycled and (b) sent to landfill in the last period for which figures are available. (75574)

In 2002-03, the estimated proportion of controlled waste which was landfilled in the UK was 43 per cent. In the same year, the estimated proportion which was recycled or reused was 42 per cent.

This encompasses waste collected from household, industrial, commercial, construction and demolition sources.

Whaling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of whales killed for scientific research in each year since the international moratorium on commercial whaling was introduced, broken down by species. (77385)

Up to 2005 the number of whales taken each year, by species and by country for scientific whaling (since the moratorium was introduced in 1986) are shown in the following table as reported to the International Whaling Commission.

Country

Species taken

Number

1986

Iceland

Fin

76

Sei

40

Rep. of Korea

Minke

69

1987

Iceland

Fin

80

Sei

20

1987-88

Japan

Minke

273

1988

Iceland

Fin

68

Sei

10

Norway

Minke

29

1988-89

Japan

Minke (inc. 5 dwarf)

241

1989

Iceland

Fin

68

Norway

Minke

17

Japan

Minke (inc. 3 dwarf and 1 lost)

330

1990

Norway

Minke

5

1990-91

Japan

Minke (inc. 4 dwarf)

327

1991-92

Japan

Minke

288

1992

Norway

Minke (inc. 3 lost)

95

1992-93

Japan

Minke (inc. 3 dwarf)

330

1993

Norway

Minke

69

1993-94

Japan

Minke

330

1994

Norway

Minke

74

Japan

Minke

21

1994-95

Japan

Minke

330

1995

Japan

Minke

100

1995-96

Japan

Minke

440

1996

Japan

Minke

77

1996-97

Japan

Minke

440

1997

Japan

Minke

100

1997-98

Japan

Minke

438

1998

Japan

Minke

100

1998-99

Japan

Minke

389

1999

Japan

Minke

100

1999-2000

Japan

Minke

439

2000

Japan

Minke

40

Bryde's

43

Sperm

5

2000-01

Japan

Minke

440

2001

Japan

Minke

100

Bryde's

50

Sperm

8

Sei (in error)

1

2001-02

Japan

Minke

440

2002

Japan

Minke

102

Bryde's

50

Sei

40

Sperm

5

Minke

50

2002-03

Japan

Minke (inc. 1 lost)

441

2003

Iceland

Minke (inc. 1 lost)

37

Japan

Minke (inc. 1 lost)

101

Bryde's

50

Sei

50

Sperm

10

Minke

50

2003-04

Japan

Minke (inc. 3 lost)

443

2004

Iceland

Minke

25

Japan

Minke

100

Bryde's (inc. 1 lost)

51

Sei

100

Sperm

3

(inc. 1 lost)

60

2004-05

Japan

Minke (inc. 1 lost)

441

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the UK’s objectives are for the next International Whaling Commission meeting. (77386)

The UK’s key aims are to resist any attempts to end the moratorium on commercial whaling and resist threats to weaken or remove the conservation agenda of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). We will also highlight the cruelty involved in whaling, and promote the adoption of a new whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic. Furthermore, we will strongly urge Japan, Iceland and Norway, to cease their whaling activities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what changes to the present international whaling arrangements a majority of votes at the International Whaling Commission could achieve. (77387)

Although Japan and her allies may, for the first time, gain a simple majority at the next annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), such a majority would not be sufficient to overturn the moratorium on commercial whaling (which requires a ¾ majority). However, it would enable them to determine the IWC agenda, delete certain key conservation items and change the rules of procedure to their ultimate benefit.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who the member states are of the International Whaling Commission; and which are eligible to vote. (77388)

The International Whaling Commission, as of 12 June, has 70 member Contracting Governments: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Finland, France, Gabon, The Gambia, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Republic of Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kiribati, Luxembourg, Mali, Republic of Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Slovak Republic, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, United States.

How many of these member states have voting rights will be determined only at the opening of the next annual International Whaling Commission meeting (IWC58) on 16 June, when it is known whether member states have paid their annual subscription and whether their credentials are in order. Even then the position can change during the meeting.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which member states of the International Whaling Commission are (a) in favour of and (b) against (i) commercial and (ii) scientific whaling. (77475)

Issues are very rarely put to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in such stark terms. As such, the UK Government cannot determine with absolute confidence how each IWC member state might vote on removing the moratorium on commercial whaling or in protest against scientific whaling.

Trade and Industry

AK-47s

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether a consignment of AK-47 type assault rifles has recently been imported from Bosnia into the UK. (75595)

Belvedere Incinerator

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to make a decision on the proposed Belvedere incinerator. (76651)

Building Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what support his Department is giving to the TrustMark scheme in the building industry. (75174)

The TrustMark scheme has been developed jointly by Government, industry and consumer stakeholders to raise standards in the domestic repair, maintenance and improvement sector and to provide better information to consumers. The TrustMark scheme grew out of the Government’s 2001 manifesto commitment to tackle cowboy builders.

DTI licensed TrustMark Ltd. (a not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee) on 19 August 2005 to operate the framework. This involves assessing and licensing compliant membership organisations (“Approved Operators”) to use the logo, and monitoring their continued compliance. Approved Operators can then license compliant members. There are currently 10 Approved Operators (with further applications being considered) and around 6,500 licensed members.

Our aim is that, over time, improved performance as a result of TrustMark will enhance the construction industry’s reputation and improve consumer confidence leading to higher volumes of work and better levels of consumer satisfaction.

DTI is supporting TrustMark Ltd. with a grant of £2 million over two years, ending March 2007.

Criminal Offences

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the criminal offences created in legislation sponsored by his Department since April 2005, broken down by Act. (76911)

The information requested is as follows:

2005

No legislation introduced by my Department received Royal Assent.

2006

Act/section

Offence

Consumer Credit Act

51(1)

Penalty for false information.

In addition to the new offence created under Section 51 (1), it is an offence under Section 39 (1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 for any person to engage in activities for which a licence is required under the Act when he does not have a licence covering those activities and the 2006 Act makes debt administration and the provision of credit information services new licensable activities. Hence, the ambit of Section 39 (1) is extended.

Equality Act

6

Unlawful disclosure of information.

22

Failure, without reasonable to excuse, to comply with an order under subsection (6).

54

Knowingly recklessly making a false statement of the kind mentioned in subsection (4)(a).

73

Knowingly or recklessly making a false statement, in connection with assistance sought from another, that a proposed act is not unlawful.

Schedule 2, paragraph 13

Without reasonable excuse, (a) fails to comply with a notice under paragraph 9 or an order under paragraph 12 (2), (b) falsifies anything provided or produced in accordance with a notice under paragraph 9 or an order under paragraph 12 (2), or (c) makes a false statement in giving oral evidence in accordance with a notice under paragraph 9.

Departmental Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the 10 non-public sector entities that have received the largest total sum of payments from his Department in each of the last five years. (71809)

From 2003-04 the 10 non-public sector entities that have received the largest total sum of payments from the Department were as listed, in alphabetical order, as follows. Information at this level of detail relating to prior years is not held on the Department’s current financial system, and cannot be retrieved without incurring disproportionate cost.

2003-04

AirbusUK

American Express Europe Ltd

Amey Business Services Ltd

AON Ltd

ATOS Origin IT Services UK Ltd

Fujitsu Services Ltd

NPL Management Ltd

PERA International Ltd

Rolls Royce

SEMA Group

2004-05

American Express Europe Ltd

ATOS Origin IT Services UK Ltd

Capita Insurance Services Group Ltd

CPL Fuels

Cushman and Wakefield, Healey and Bake Cushman and Wakefield, Healey and Baker

Fujitsu Services Ltd

Land Securities Properties Ltd

Laser (Teddington II) Ltd

NPL Management Ltd

Syntegra

2005-06

AEA Technology Environment

American Express Europe Ltd

ATOS Origin IT Services UK Ltd

Capita Insurance Services Group Ltd

Fujitsu Services Ltd

NPL Management Ltd

PERA Innovation Ltd

Syntegra

UK Coal plc

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what opportunities exist for people to work beyond retirement age in his Department. (69006)

Staff may retire on reaching the age of 60 or work until they are 65 or retire at any time between 60 and 65 subject to giving three months notice. Staff in the senior civil service may work beyond 60 if there is a business requirement for them to do so. For all other staff the current maximum retirement age is 65 and they are not retained after that age other than in cases of exceptional departmental need.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of the staff in his Department is (a) male, (b) female and (c) disabled, broken down by grade. (69008)

The following statistics refer to Staff in Post at 1 April 2006.

Percentage of staff in post in the DTI

Grade1

Male

Female

Declared disability

Senior civil service

72

28

4

Band C

65

35

6

Band B

55

45

9

Band A

37

63

12

Fast stream

52

48

6

DTI total2

57

43

8

1 Grade bands—the grade structure at the DTI is split into three bands. The equivalent civil service grades are as follows: Band C—senior executive officer (SEO) to grade 6 Band B—executive officer (EO) to higher executive officer (HEO) Band A—administrative assistant (AA) to administrative officer (AO) 2 Including UK Trade and Investment and Office of Manpower Economics Note: Departmental records of disabled staff are solely based on voluntary declaration of disability under the Disability Discrimination Act and not connected in any way to a formal register of disability.

Minimum Wage

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the Department has considered implementing a higher minimum wage in areas where the overall cost of living is higher. (76718)

There are no plans to set different minimum wage rates for different areas or regions. There are often greater variations in pay within regions than between regions, and this would be complex to monitor and enforce. Single national rates are less bureaucratic and more easily understood for all concerned.

Mobile Phones

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of mobile phones in circulation in England and Wales in each of the last five years. (75557)

The Department does not hold the information that my hon. Friend requested nor is it available centrally and to obtain such information would entail disproportionate cost. However, research carried out by Ofcom found that the number of mobile phone subscribers in the UK rose from almost 45 million in 2001 to more than 64 million by the end of 2005.

Sayers Bakery

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what notice of redundancies he has received in respect of Sayers Bakery, Lorenzo Drive, Liverpool; what action he is taking; and if he will make a statement. (76696)

Advance notification of the proposed redundancies at Sayers Confectionery Limited., Lorenzo Drive, Liverpool, has been received. The information was passed to the Manager of Norris Green Jobcentre plus, who has arranged for staff to visit the site to assist those employees who are facing redundancy. The Jobcentre plus offers access to a range of support schemes, from the new deal and the jobseekers allowance through to more focused schemes designed to help those caught up in restructuring. It provides information on job searching; compiling CVs; further education and training for individuals who need to develop new skills; benefits information; etc. The help required is agreed in discussion with the employer, and in liaison with the local Government Office and the Local Learning and Skills Council.

Sunday Trading

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people have responded to his consultation on Sunday trading; and if he will list the persons invited to his stakeholder conference on the subject. (74074)

From 13 January to 14 April the DTI asked for views and evidence on all aspects of extending Sunday shop opening hours. We have received around 1,000 responses. We intend to publish a summary of the responses on the DTI website (www.dti.gov.uk/consumers/buying-selling/Sunday %20Shopping) within three months of the close of this consultation.

On 10 May we held a stakeholder conference, attended by a wide range of stakeholders, where Indepen Consulting Ltd. presented their cost-benefit analysis and participants discussed the assumptions and findings. This was followed by optional forums where we gathered views on the impact on society, the retail sector and employees, and also what can be learnt from international comparisons.

We wrote to around 150 organisations including retailers, trade associations, trade unions, faith groups and groups with an interest in family life to make them aware of the conference. Details of the conference and how to sign up were posted on the DTI website and we also placed an advertisement in a number of retail trade publications. A report of the conference with a list of the organisations that attended, will be published on the DTI website shortly.

Culture, Media and Sport

Casinos

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what methodology the Casino Advisory Panel is using (a) to consider the social impact of new casinos and (b) to assess local opposition to new casinos in its work allocating casino licences. (77062)

The role of the Casino Advisory Panel is to advise the Secretary of State on the areas for the 17 new casinos permitted by the Gambling Act 2005, which will provide the best possible test of social impact, not to measure that impact. The panel is also required to ensure that the areas selected are willing to license a new casino and that they include areas in need of regeneration.

No earlier than three years after the award of the first premises licence, the Government will ask the Gambling Commission to advise on whether the introduction of the new types of casinos has led to an increase in problem gambling or is increasing that risk.

All local authorities who put proposals to the panel were asked to include details of their research into local opinion.

In announcing its short list of casino bids the panel has asked any interested members of the public to write to it expressing their views on the short listed areas, whether in support or in opposition.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations (a) she and (b) the Casino Advisory Panel has received in the last six months criticising the methodologies used by the Casino Advisory Panel in its work. (77063)

There have been no representations criticising the methodology used by the Casino Advisory Panel.

Parliamentary Ombudsman

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list those occasions when the recommendations of a report from the Parliamentary Ombudsman have been (a) rejected and (b) partly rejected by her Department since 1997. (76263)

There were no occasions where the Department rejected or partially rejected recommendations of a report from the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what incentives are available to encourage members of her staff to use public transport for travelling to and from work. (75120)

The vast majority of staff already use public transport. There are no car parking spaces, other than for disabled staff. We provide interest-free loans for the purchase of public transport season tickets and the purchase of bicycles. We are currently upgrading on-site facilities for cyclists.

Tourism

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to promote tourism in South East Essex; and if she will make a statement. (75652)

The Regional Development Agencies have had responsibility for tourism support and promotion at a regional level since 2003. My Department contributes £3.6 million a year towards this in grant-in-aid.

The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) works with the Essex Development and Regeneration Agency (ExDRA), as the body delegated responsibility for promoting tourism in Essex by the county council.

Initiatives that are directly being supported by EEDA include a tourism strategy for Essex which incorporates the Thames Gateway and Haven Gateway areas of the county. In addition EEDA is working with the Arts Council on cultural development and tourism in the Southend borough.

Scotland

Biodiversity

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which Minister in his Department is responsible for monitoring his Department's compliance with its duty under section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to have regard to the purpose of conserving biological diversity in carrying out its functions; and if he will make a statement. (73939)

The Scotland Office have no responsibilities in relation to section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps his Department plans to take to monitor the extent to which public bodies which report to him comply, from October, with their duty to conserve biodiversity in exercising their functions, under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. (74397)

The Scotland Office have no responsibilities in relation to section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many illegal immigrants have been discovered to be employed by his Department in each year since 2001; in what capacities they were employed; how many were discovered as part of a criminal investigation; and what the nature of the charges brought against them were. (73964)

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what incentives his Department offers to encourage staff to share vehicles when travelling to work. (73058)

All staff in the Scotland Office are on loan from the Scottish Executive or the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) and, where appropriate, may avail themselves of the schemes offered by those Departments.

Ministerial Visits (Accommodation)

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on how many occasions Ministers of State in his Department stayed overnight in (a) five star, (b) four star and (c) three star hotels on foreign visits in each of the last three years. (69100)

There have been no Ministers of State in the Scotland Office during the last three years. All travel by Ministers is undertaken in accordance with the terms of the “Ministerial Code” and “Travel by Ministers” which state that when travelling on official business, Ministers are expected to make efficient and cost-effective travel arrangements.

Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will estimate the pension liability of his Department over the next 30 years. (75272)

I refer the hon. Member to the technical note which was placed in the Library of the House on 2 March 2006, Official Report, columns 388-90W, following a response at oral questions by the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Pension liabilities are not estimated for individual departments but for individual pension schemes, as shown in the breakdown of liabilities per pension scheme given in Table 1 of the technical note.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many and what percentage of staff in his Department are making additional voluntary contributions to their pension. (73059)

Members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS) can pay additional contributions to top up their pension either through the Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contributions Scheme (CSAVCS), a money purchase arrangement, or by buying added years of service in the PCSPS. As an alternative to membership of the PCSPS recruits from 1 October 2002 have been able to join a stakeholder arrangement, the partnership pension account.

The number and percentage of staff in the department who are making additional voluntary contributions to their pension as at 31 May 2006 are shown in the following table.

Number

Percentage

CSAVCS

1

2

Added years

3

6

Partnership

0

0

Staff Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the total cost was of (a) staff away days and (b) staff team building exercises in his Department in each of the last three years. (69105)

The staff in the Scotland Office are on loan from the Scottish Executive or the Department for Constitutional Affairs; both Departments provide access to training and development opportunities. The Scotland Office does not hold information in the form requested; however, the total direct expenditure on training was:

£

2003-04

23,482

2004-05

11,123

2005-06(Estimate)

13,370

Communities and Local Government

Community Integration

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to encourage community integration. (76450)

The Secretary of State is developing the Commission on Integration and Cohesion’s scope to ensure that it contributes to the delivery of the new Department’s strategic priorities. We expect to make an announcement about the way ahead before the summer recess.

The creation of the new Department for Communities and Local Government gives a renewed impetus to our work of encouraging integration with its powerful new remit to promote community cohesion, equality and civil renewal along with its responsibilities for housing, urban regeneration, planning and local government.

Council Tax (Pensioners)

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many copies of council tax bills for 2006-07 he has received from pensioners. (65110)

I have been asked to reply.

4,487 copies of council tax bills for 2006-07 have been received by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as at 21 April 2006.

Digital Challenge Competition

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to include the Digital Challenge Competition in the Transformational Government work programme. (75921)

The Digital Challenge competition is an integral part of the programme outlined in Connecting the UK: the Digital Strategy, of which Transformational Government is also a part.

The Digital Challenge competition has the potential to make a real difference to people's lives. There are three overarching criteria for the winning bid which are fundamental requirements and which also reflect the principles outlined in Transformational Government:

Empowerment

The winning bid must show how they will use ICT to give new choice, voice and empowerment to citizens; it should be about enabling citizens to participate in their communities, as well as gaining access to services.

Service Transformation

The winning bid must demonstrate innovation in changing how we offer services to people—using ICT to transform the way services are provided, used and experienced.

Efficiency

Local authorities must show that after year one their initiatives are sustainable and cost effective and be prepared to showcase these to other local authorities in years two and three, acting as the UK exemplar.

The Digital Challenge is supported across government by many departments. Learning and evaluation of the winning bid and runners-up will be used to inform the development of Transformational Government programmes.

Home Information Packs

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the legal status of home condition reports will be; when home information packs are introduced; and for how long the Condition Report will be valid. (73899)

[holding answer 5 June 2006]: The regulations to be laid shortly will specify that Home Condition Reports will be valid documents once they are registered. The regulations will also specify that buyers, sellers and mortgage lenders can legally rely on Home Condition Reports. Home inspectors will be required to have in place suitable indemnity insurance.

The regulations will require that Home Condition Reports must be no more than three months old when marketing begins, but there will be no requirement for sellers to update them after this. We expect the industry to develop cheap solutions for updating packs where the seller wishes to do so.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many home inspectors are in training; what qualifications are required to enter training; and how many home inspectors she expects to have in place in each local authority area in England by 1 June 2007. (73900)

[holding answer 5 June 2006]: As of 30April 2006, over 4,400 potential home inspectors were in training. The current qualification, the ABBE Diploma in Home Inspection, is open to people with different levels of previous experience, but all candidates must satisfy all parts of the Diploma. This includes providing a portfolio of evidence demonstrating the required skills and experience, and passing the ABBE examination.

We have estimated that the number of home inspectors required in England and Wales by 1 June 2007, will be between 5,000 and 7,400. The ‘Report on the Number of Home Inspectors Required from Introduction of Home Information Packs’ published by DCLG on 23 May 2006 shows the number of inspectors expected to be required in each of the English regions and Wales. I have deposited a copy in the Library of the House.

Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average waiting time was for a council property with disabled access in (a) Leeds and (b) the West Yorkshire region in the latest period for which figures are available. (75490)

[holding answer 7 June 2006]: Information in the form requested is not collected centrally and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what plans she has to (a) build and (b) supply council housing for those with serious disabilities in (i) Leeds and (ii) the West Yorkshire region; (75491)

(2) what plans her Department has to improve the provision of council housing for those with serious disabilities in (a) Leeds and (b) the West Yorkshire region.

[holding answer 7 June 2006]: We have a duty to deliver housing appropriate to the needs of those with serious disabilities. Housing Associations are now the main providers of new social housing. Regional Housing Boards recommend the allocation of resources to deliver regional and sub-regional priorities identified in Regional Housing Strategies. The Housing Corporation has invested £3.3 million for 54 new supported housing units in West Yorkshire between 2004-06. For the period 2006-08, £4.2 million has been allocated to provide 95 new supported housing units in West Yorkshire.

In addition, Leeds are delivering through the private finance initiative high-quality accommodation and support services for people with learning disabilities. In addition to specialist provision, we continue to enable people with serious disabilities to live in their own homes if they wish to do so, with the appropriate level of care. Council housing adaptations are resourced through Council's Housing Revenue Account, or from other financial resources available to the local authority. Local authority tenants are statutorily entitled to assistance under the Disabled Facilities Grant programme but the present financial arrangements preclude the ODPM ring fenced fund being used for the provision of such adaptations for LA tenants. In the private sector, each year around 30,000 applicants benefit from a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), which since 1997 has increased from £57 million to £103 million in 2005-06. Leeds allocation for 2006-07 is £1.5 million, a 37 per cent. increase. Provision for suitable accommodation will also be increased through our decision to implement the Lifetime Homes Standard through the new Code for Sustainable Homes.

I also understand that Leeds city council is preparing a Disability Housing Strategy and a Learning Disabilities Strategy (Valuing People), which will set out the approach that the authority needs to take in future years for provision of new housing which meets the needs of the seriously disabled in our communities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people with serious disabilities are on the waiting list for council housing in (a) Leeds and (b) the West Yorkshire region. (75496)

Information in the form requested is not collected centrally and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

Infrastructure (Sussex)

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to ensure timely development of infrastructure to keep pace with housing construction in (a) West Sussex and (b) Mid Sussex. (64450)

[holding answer 19 April 2006]: I have been asked to reply.

Government have increased overall spending in the south east since 2000 by 50 per cent. from £30 billion to £45 billion, including a 244 per cent. increase in housing and community funding, 67 per cent. increase in health, 59 per cent. in transport and 58 per cent. in education.

The South East Plan has been recently submitted to Government and sets out the regional assembly's views on required house building levels in the south east to 2026. This work has been prepared in partnership with local councils, and so takes account of local assessments of need. In its draft the assembly has taken a view of infrastructure requirements across the region, and this will be debated at the forthcoming examination in public. In due course, the Government will give their approval to the final version, which will certainly take into account the issue of infrastructure delivery, on the basis of the best information available at the time.

The Government response to the Barker report included:

a cross-cutting review in the run-up to CSR 07 to co-ordinate infrastructure provision across Departments;

consultation on the Government's response to Kate Barker's recommendation for a Planning-Gain Supplement (PGS) to help finance infrastructure and ensure that local authorities share in the benefits growth brings.

Local Government Finance

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he will announce the local authorities' (a) capital grants for 2006-07 and (b) indicated grants for 2007-08. (46138)

I have been asked to reply.

Information on capital grants issued to local authorities is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much rates support grant was given to Lancashire county council over the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (53372)

I have been asked to reply.

The following table shows the amount of formula grant provided to Lancashire county council for the period 1998-99 to 2007-08, together with the increase year-on-year on a like-for-like basis after adjusting for changes in funding and function. Formula grant comprises revenue support grant, redistributed business rates and, for authorities with responsibility for policing, principal formula police grant. It is not appropriate to show just revenue support grant as the amount for England is dependant on the amount of redistributed business rates available for England in the year.

The large change in the level of formula grant in 2006-07 is due to the transfer of schools funding to the Dedicated Schools Grant.

Previous year's adjusted formula grant

Current year’s formula grant

Change in formula grant

Percentage change in formula grant

1998-99

559.359

578.211

18.852

3.4

1999-2000

578.211

601.844

23.633

4.1

2000-01

601.843

628.203

26.360

4.4

2001-02

624.510

644.495

19.984

3.2

2002-03

623.966

650.639

26.673

4.3

2003-04

680.497

712.003

31.506

4.6

2004-05

691.061

733.177

42.116

6.1

2005-06

740.515

779.547

39.032

5.3

2006-07

215.765

222.766

7.001

3.2

2007-08

222.317

232.482

10.165

4.6

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities make provision for their councillors to hold a budget which they can spend on approved projects and organisations in their own wards. (76274)

The information requested is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in respect of which local authorities the Government are proposing to reduce their support for borrowing for capital expenditure; and if she will make a statement. (76617)

Government support for borrowing by local authorities is issued as part of the Formula Grant Settlement. Formula Grant is unhypothecated and so capital support is not provided as a separate funding stream. The amount issued is calculated on a formulaic basis and therefore the Government do not intervene by reducing support to individual local authorities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the Government's policy is on supported borrowing for capital expenditure by Buckinghamshire county council; and if she will make a statement. (76618)

Government support for borrowing by local authorities is issued as part of the Formula Grant Settlement. Formula Grant is unhypothecated and so capital support is not provided as a separate funding stream. The amount issued to Buckinghamshire county council, as with all local authorities, is calculated on a formulaic basis and therefore the Government do not intervene by reducing support to individual local authorities.

Mixed Communities Initiative

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make a statement on the Mixed Communities Initiative. (76449)

The mixed communities approach is one element of our strategy to tackle concentrated deprivation and create sustainable communities for all. It brings together social, economic and physical regeneration, alongside essential improvements in public services, in order to transform failing communities into ones able to attract and retain households on a wide range of incomes. The Government are currently working with a number of locally led and managed projects in order to develop mixed communities in some of our most disadvantaged areas, while also testing out approaches to encourage mixed communities more widely. One such project is based in Coventry.

Parliamentary Questions

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she will answer question 65110, tabled on 19 April to the Deputy Prime Minister. (73584)

Staff Discipline

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many civil service staff formerly working in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have been disciplined as a result of breaches of rules contained in the departmental staff handbook in each year since 2001; and if she will make a statement. (76238)

Information on the number of disciplinary cases is not collected centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Supported Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effect of the introduction of Supporting People on the safety and security of staff in supported housing. (76226)

Supporting People is a national programme which funds and enables local provision of housing-related support services. The programme went live on 1 April 2003, and brought together a range of pre-existing services and funding streams under a single strategic framework. This included the establishment of national quality standards—the Quality Assessment Framework—which include, among many other matters, ensuring proper procedures for risk assessment and health and safety of staff and against which all of these services have now been assessed.

While no specific assessment has been made by DCLG of the effect of the introduction of Supporting People on the safety and security of staff in supported housing, the Audit Commission national report on Supporting People (published in October 2005) reported that the Quality Assessment Framework has been effective in raising standards.

Defence

Military Units (Oxfordshire)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which military units from (a) the UK, (b) the United States and (c) other nations have been based in Oxfordshire in each of the last five years; and where each unit has been based. (76412)

Bearskins

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent research he has commissioned on whether animals used to provide bearskins are killed humanely; and if he will make a statement. (76169)

The pelts used to provide bearskins are provided by traders operating under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Authorities. Those pelts that are provided are certified under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Details on the manner in which the bears are killed are a matter for the Canadian Authorities. The UK MOD requirement for fresh bearskins has been reduced through the operation of a refurbishment programme.

Defence Intelligence Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 20 April 2006, Official Report, column 767W, on the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre, from which units of the US armed forces the two American personnel are drawn. (76414)

The US Army Exchange Officer is a member of the US Army Intelligence Corp (304th MI Battalion, 3rd MI Brigade).

The US Air Force Exchange Officer is from the Intelligence Branch of the US Air Force.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether each recommendation in the Butler Review related to the Defence Intelligence Staff was accepted by the Government; and what progress has been made in meeting each recommendation which was accepted. (76409)

The Government's response to the Butler Review was presented to Parliament in March 2005 (Cm 6492) and its response to the recommendations regarding the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) is in Chapter 7.

Lord Butler recommended that the relevant work of the DIS should be more closely integrated with the rest of the intelligence community. The DIS is now fully integrated into the central intelligence requirements and priorities process, although with the acknowledgement that the Ministry of Defence remains ultimately responsible for providing the DIS with its direction.

Lord Butler recommended that consideration should be given to the provision of proper channels for the expression of dissent within the DIS. As the Government response indicated, the MOD had already introduced new arrangements for raising issues of conscience and professional concern, including dissent, in order to address (inter alia) the concerns expressed by Lord Butler. The procedure for handling matters of conscience or professional concern was promulgated to staff in a standing instruction in March 2005.

Lord Butler recommended that in future the Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence should be an intelligence specialist. The MOD recognises the advantage of appointing an intelligence specialist to this role, but as the post requires a wider skills base, increased staff development effort, including a leadership programme for members of the DIS, has been introduced and will enable more personnel with intelligence experience to be considered for the post.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which bodies in addition to the Defence intelligence staff constitute the UK defence intelligence community. (76410)

The bodies which make up the UK Defence intelligence community are the Defence intelligence staff, the J2 branch at the permanent joint headquarters (PJHQ) and the single service intelligence organisations. Operational deployments will also have intelligence elements.

The PJHQ J2 branch act in conjunction with the rest of the Defence intelligence community. Each of the single services has an intelligence branch at their respective front line command headquarters. These are N2 (HQ fleet), G2 (HQ land command) and A2 (HQ strike command). The services also have specialist intelligence units to support them, such as the Air Warfare Centre, the Army Intelligence Corps and the RAF Intelligence Branch.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many illegal immigrants have been discovered to be employed by his Department in each year since 2001; in what capacities they were employed; how many were discovered as part of a criminal investigation; and what the nature was of the charges brought against them. (73966)

Records are not kept centrally on how many illegal immigrants have been discovered to be employed by the Department in each year since 2001 and this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Low Flying

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many low flying flights there were in the (a) Highlands of Scotland and (b) South West of Scotland and Anglo-Scottish border tactical training area in each year between 1998-99 and 2004-05. (76237)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 June 2006, Official Report, columns 260-61W.

Psychological Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 18 April 2006, Official Report, column 622W, on 15 Psychological Operations Group, whether any of the operations of 15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group since 1 January 2003, other than training, have been carried out in the United Kingdom. (76413)

15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group have never carried out operations in the United Kingdom.

Submarines

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 25 May 2006, Official Report, column 1993W, on nuclear-powered submarines, what the standard operating procedures are for collecting effluent produced by the warming up process from nuclear-powered submarines using (a) Southampton and (b) other X berths; and if he will make a statement. (76215)

There are no X berths at Southampton. At the Southampton Z berth all reactor warm-up effluent is kept onboard the submarine until such time as it can be dealt with in accordance with the standard operating procedures at either HM Naval Base Devonport or HM Naval Base Clyde. These procedures were described in the answer I gave the hon. Member on 25 May 2006, Official Report, column 1992W, and there is nothing further I can usefully add.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what dates since 1 January 2005 US Navy nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarines have visited UK waters or designated berths; and what the location was in each case. (76289)

US Navy nuclear-powered submarines have visited the following UK designated berths since 1 January 2005:

Plymouth

4-9 May 2005

19-22 October 2005

9-15 November 2005

Faslane

6-16 May 2005

10-17 June 2005

22-29 June 2005

5-12 August 2005

17-19 August 2005

25-29 August 2005

8-11 May 2006

A further visit to Faslane will take place 9-15 June 2006.

During the period there have been no visits to Portsmouth, the Solent anchorages, or to other UK designated berths.

All these visits were by nuclear powered submarines (SSN). There were no visits by nuclear ballistic missile armed submarines (SSBN).

UK Military Airfields

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress with the review of UK military airfields; and when he expects to report the outcome. (75933)

My right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State for Defence announced to the House in July 2004 during his statement on the White Paper on Delivering Security in a Changing World that we would be undertaking an extensive review of our future requirements for airfields. There will not be one single report on the outcome of the Defence Airfield Review as the work is being taken forward through a series of business cases assessing the best configuration, both operationally and in value for money terms, for a number of future aircraft types.

I announced the conclusions of the studies into the basing of Joint Combat aircraft and Nimrod MRA4 aircraft to the House in my statement on 17 November 2005. I will announce the results of the remaining individual studies in due course.

Deputy Prime Minister

Departmental Staff

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what incentives are available to encourage members of his staff to use public transport for travelling to and from work. (75109)

The Government’s policy is to encourage the use of sustainable transport methods.

Pensions

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his role will be in developing Government policy on pensions. (71543)

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out details of the new role he has asked me to undertake in his written answer on 17 May 2006, Official Report, column 985W, and a copy of my letter of appointment has been made available in the Library.

I will be taking the lead in overseeing the delivery of Government business and improving the effectiveness of Government policy across the whole range of policy areas, including delivering key pledges in our 2005 election manifesto. An important challenge will be to ensure a long-term infrastructure is put in place to entrench a new pensions savings culture, where future generations can take increasing personal responsibility for building their retirement savings. We believe the proposals in the Pensions White Paper do this, and I shall continue to play a full role in discussions as we seek a consensus on the way forward on pensions. The hon. Member will be aware that, until recently, I was responsible for ensuring proper regulation of the local government pension scheme. I intend to build on that experience in seeking agreement on sustainable, affordable and fair pensions for the future.

Prime Minister

Sports Relief

To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Loughborough (Mr. Reed) of 7 June 2006, Official Report, column 247, when he took part in the mile run in aid of Sports Relief; and between which points. (77244)

A number of events have been planned by Sport Relief in the build up to ‘Sport Relief Saturday’ which takes place on 15 July. In the coming weeks, I am taking part by running a mile in aid of Sport Relief with 2012 ambassadors and young people. I congratulate hon. Members who took part in the Westminster Mile.

Northern Ireland

Agricultural Crops

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the total value of the agricultural crop in Northern Ireland was in each of the past four years; and what the total value of agricultural subsidies was in each year. (75969)

Gross output is the standard measure of the value of agricultural output. The published gross output figures normally include the value of agricultural subsidies paid on products. In answer to this question the gross output figures for agriculture in Northern Ireland are given with the subsidy on products removed to give a clearer picture of the value of market returns. These figures and the total value of direct agricultural subsidies in Northern Ireland for the last four years are presented in the following table. The figures for 2005 are provisional and may be subject to change as more up-to-date information becomes available.

£ million

Gross agricultural output less subsidies on products

Total direct agricultural subsidies

2002

925.2

248.1

2003

1,026.1

238.5

2004

1,055.8

277.4

2005 (Provisional)

1,048.0

281.7

Animal Cruelty

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many cases of animal cruelty have been reported across the Province over the last three years, broken down by Westminster constituency. (77339)

The number of reported cases of animal cruelty is not held centrally by one agency. DARD records those cases reported directly to the Department (mainly in respect of farmed animals), while other suspected cruelty cases will also be reported directly to the Police Service of Northern Ireland or to animal welfare organisations. However, the PSNI do not collate figures relating specifically to animal cruelty.

Records of the number of cases of animal cruelty reported to DARD, for calendar years 2003, 2004 and 2005 are provided in the table. The information is not recorded by Westminster constituency, but is held by Divisional Veterinary Office area.

Total

DARD Divisional Veterinary Office

2003

2004

2005

Armagh

2

11

8

Ballymena

26

16

14

Coleraine

20

34

24

Dungannon

0

18

17

Enniskillen

13

9

12

Larne

19

18

27

Londonderry

16

7

21

Newry

2

23

17

Newtownards

46

34

25

Omagh

10

3

20

Total

156

175

185

Cattle Identification Offences

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in Northern Ireland have been charged under cattle identification legislation in each of the last five years; and how much was recovered by way of fines in each year. (77095)

The Department referred 65 individuals to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) during the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2006. Total fines imposed by the courts during the period—£72,005.

Number of people charged under cattle identification legislation

April to March

Number

Total fines (£)

2001-02

5

5,275

2002-03

3

1,610

2003-04

19

23,660

2004-05

15

8,530

2005-06

23

32,930

Cross-border Arrangements

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the proposed EU legal instrument for cross-border institutional arrangements. (75422)

The EU Commission has proposed a legal instrument, European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC), to allow public bodies from different member states to create or join an EGTC with the objective of facilitating and promoting cross border, transnational and interregional co-operation in order to strengthen economic and social cohesion. No new powers are confirmed on public bodies by joining an EGTC and member states can withhold their approval of an EGTC if it considers it to be contrary to the public policy of the member state.

Other corporate and European structures can also facilitate such co-operation and the EGTC instrument would offer one more option for cross border co-operation to those arrangements that already exist. This may have operational benefits and can be welcomed. The institutions created under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the North South Cooperation (Implementation Bodies) (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 already facilitate work across the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The current Ireland/Northern Ireland PEACE and INTERREG IIIA programmes are managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and these structures have performed well.

Door-to-door Bus Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the delivery of the door-to-door bus service (a) for Comber and (b) elsewhere in Strangford constituency. (75472)

The Department for Regional Development is currently evaluating tenders for the provision of door-to-door transport services in a number of urban areas and would hope that services would start on a phased basis in September 2006. As part of this scheme Comber is linked with Newtownards and Dundonald as a single contract area.

Through the Rural Transport Fund, the Department for Regional Development provides support to two rural community transport partnerships operating door-to-door services within the Strangford constituency. These are Down Community Transport based in Downpatrick (which also operates in the South Down constituency) and Peninsula Community Transport based in Kircubbin.

Equal Opportunities

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps are being taken to ensure that women are more equally represented in the civil service in Northern Ireland. (76322)

Significant progress has been made in ensuring that women are properly represented, particularly at senior grades, in the Northern Ireland civil service, and this has been reflected in changing compositional figures.

Before advertising a vacancy in the civil service, an assessment is made of the gender balance and where this shows women to be under-represented a statement welcoming applications from women is included in the advertisement. In the period January 2005 to May 2006, welcoming statements were included in 125 advertisements.

The civil service is anxious to make further progress to increase the diversity of the work force in order to make it more reflective of the community it serves. To this end an outreach programme is being devised and in relation to gender an emphasis will be on encouraging more women into occupations that traditionally have been carried out by men.

Forum for Local Government and the Arts

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many times the Forum for Local Government and the Arts in Northern Ireland met in 2005; and where each meeting took place. (76648)

The Forum for Local Government and the Arts in Northern Ireland met once in 2005, on 6 December at the Sean Holywood Centre, Newry.

Household Condition Survey

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will (a) increase the number of households included in the Northern Ireland Household Condition Survey, (b) add energy and income datasets to the Northern Ireland census and (c) include energy and income datasets in surveying for community planning under new local government arrangements. (75588)

The information requested is as follows:

(a) For the 2006 Northern Ireland House Condition Survey the Housing Executive increased the sample size to 7,250 dwellings (compared to 3,000 in the interim House Condition Survey of 2004), making it broadly comparable to the sample used in the full survey of 2001.

(b) No decisions on question topics and content for the 2011 census have yet been taken. Proposals for the 2011 census will be brought forward in a White Paper, probably in 2008, drawing on consultation with users, testing of options and the balancing of competing requirements. The issues of energy and income were raised by users during recent consultation on the content of the next census. A planned census test in 2007 will include a question on income.

(c) Strategic Community Planning Partnerships within the new councils will seek to utilise all available relevant information, data and research to inform how the situation within their localities can be improved for the benefit of all citizens.

Knife Amnesty

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many items have been surrendered to date in each district council area in Northern Ireland since the commencement of the knife amnesty. (76440)

The police have estimated that at 31 May, a total of 320 items were surrendered since the commencement of the knife amnesty and put on show on Wednesday 7 June a number of the items deposited. A definitive count will be made shortly after the amnesty finishes and information will be available in the week commencing 19 June.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to extend the knife amnesty in Northern Ireland in accordance with the amnesty operating in England and Wales. (76444)

The current knife amnesty will not be extended beyond 14 June, but I do plan to re-run the amnesty later this year. This would give an opportunity for the year-long public information campaign to begin to make an impact of changing attitudes.

Playgroups

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many children were not able to obtain a place in the playgroup of their first choice in each of the five education and library boards in each of the last three years. (75543)

The requested information is as follows.

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

BELB

33

51

31

NEELB

209

259

159

SEELB

176

148

179

SELB

205

269

208

WELB

140

The WELB is not able to supply the figures in respect of the 2004-05 and 2005-06 school years.

Promotion Boards

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what promotion boards have been held in (a) each Northern Ireland Department and (b) the Northern Ireland Office in each of the last five years. (70454)

The following are details of general service promotion competitions which have been held in each Northern Ireland Department and the Northern Ireland Office during the period 2001 until 2005.

Promotion board held

2001

Grade7/A, Staff Officer/B2, Executive Officer 1, Executive Officer 11/Band C, Administrative Officer/Grade 1

2003

Deputy Principal/B1, Staff Officer/B2

2004

Grade 7/A, Executive Officer 1

2005

Executive Officer 11/Band C

The following list provides details of all other departmental promotion boards held in each of the last five years ie 2001 until 2005.

DSD (including SSA and CSA) and DEL did not hold any promotion boards in each of the last five years other than general service promotion competitions as shown above.

DFP/OFMDFM

2001

HPTO Civil Engineering Assistant

Principal Statistician

Programmer Analyst

Senior Valuer

Senior Systems Analyst

District Valuer

Valuer 1

Drilling Rig Supervisor

DP Statistician

2002

Assistant Solicitors

Senior Law Clerk

G6 Economist

Service Wide Personal Secretary

Principal Economist

Senior Principal Statistician

Valuer 2

PPTO Civil Engineering

HPTO Mechanical and Electrical Engineers

SPTO Civil Engineer

2003

PPTO Mechanical and Electrical Engineers

DP Statistician

HPTO Mechanical Engineer

Principal Statistician

Principal Economist

SPTO Mechanical Engineer

2004

HPTO Quantity Surveyor

District Valuer

Senior Valuer

DP Economist

PPTO Architect

2005

Principal Economist

Senior Principal Statistician

SPTO Architect

HPTO Architect

SPTO Structural Engineer

HPTO Mechanical Engineer

HPTO Quantity Surveyor

PPTO Quantity Surveyor

HPTO Supplies Officer

HPTO Electrical Engineer

DARD

2001

Inspector Grade II

Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer

Principal Professional Technical Officer.

Senior Professional Technical Officer

Higher Professional Technical Officer

Inspector Grade I

Scientific Officer (Chemistry)

Scientific Officer (Microbiology)

Scientific Officer (Biology)

Senior Principal Veterinary Officer

2002

Divisional Veterinary Officer

Higher Professional Technical Officer

2003

Inspector Group 2

Higher Scientific Officer (Chemistry)

Inspector Grade II

Higher Scientific Officer (Biology)

Higher Scientific Officer (Microbiology)

Higher Scientific Officer (Molecular Biology)

2004

Scientific Officer (Chemistry)

Scientific Officer (Biology)

Scientific Officer (Microbiology)

Senior Professional Technical Officer

Fisheries Officers 1

2005

Divisional Forest Officer

DRD

2001

PTO Electrical Engineering Assistant (Roads Service)

SPTO Civil Engineering Assistant (Water Service)

HPTO Civil Engineering Assistant (Water Service)

SPTO Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Assistant (Roads Service)

HPTO Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Assistant (Roads Service)

PTO Civil Engineering Assistant (Roads Service)

HPTO Civil Engineering Assistant (Roads Service)

SPTO Civil Engineering Assistant (Roads Service)

2002

Senior Scientific Officer (Water Service)

Higher Scientific Officer (Water Service)

Industrial Foreman (Roads Service)

Electrical Foreman (Roads Service)

2003

Scientific Officer (Water Service)

PTO Electrical Engineering Assistant (Roads Service)

Senior Personal Secretary

2004

TG1 Civil Engineer (Roads Service)

SPTO Civil Engineer (Water Service)

Higher Scientific Officer (Water Service)

2005

Scientific Officer (Water Service)

SPTO Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Assistant (Water Service)

SPTO Civil Engineer (Roads Service)

HPTO Civil Engineer (Water Service)

HPTO Civil Engineer (Roads Service)

PTO Civil Engineer (Roads Service)

DOE

2001

PPTO Planner

2002

SPTO Planner

PPTO Planner

HPTO Planner

Grade 6 Planning Manager

SPTO Planner

Scientific Officer (Environment and Heritage Service)

2003

HPTO Planner

PPTO Planner

SPTO Planner

HPTO Planner

2004

SPTO Deputy Chief Examiner (Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency)

2005

SPTO Planner

HPTO Planner

PPTO Planner

DCAL

2001

Mapping and Charting Technician Grade I

Senior Mapping and Charting Officer

Higher Mapping and Charting Officer

Mapping and Charting Officer

2003

Principal Mapping and Charting Officer

Higher Mapping and Charting Officer

Senior Mapping and Charting Officer

2004

Supervisor Grade B (Industrial Competition)

2005

Supervisor Grade A (Industrial Competition)

DETI

2002

G7—Principal Inspector (HSENI)

SO—Area Inspector

G6—Deputy Chief Executive (HSENI)

NIO

2005

HCS Fast Stream Grade 7/A

DE

2004

Personal Secretary Competition

DHSSPS

2002

Principal Pharmaceutical Officer

Public Land Transfers

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much public land in Northern Ireland, has been transferred to the private sector in each of the past 10 years for which figures are available; and at what cost. (64977)

It has not been possible to provide information for the 10-year period as recovery of the required information would be possible only at disproportionate cost.

The tables detail the information requested for the five-year period from April 2001 to March 2006.

Table A: All organisations except NIHE

Period

Number of lots sold1

Total area (Ha)

Total of sale prices (£)

1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002

134

79.44

28,140,738

1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003

162

746.99

26,200,374

1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004

135

2,554.71

21,989,858

1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005

155

86.40

96,550,721

1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006

192

86.47

73,336,411

Total

778

3,554.01

252,617,615

1 In a very small number of cases the information on the "number of lots" or the "total area" is not available, but the total of sale prices is complete in all cases.

Table B: NIHE1

Total of sale prices (£)

1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002

2,650,738

1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003

3,052,978

1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004

1,714,824

1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005

1,728,450

1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006

3,637,524

Total

12,784,514

1 The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) is unable to provide any lot and area details, expect at disproportionate cost. NIHE data are shown separately in Table B.

Roads

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much the Department for Regional Development spent on structural maintenance for the road network in counties (a) Tyrone, (b) Derry and (c) Fermanagh in each of the last five years; and how much the Department has budgeted for structural maintenance in (i) the current year and (ii) the next two years in these counties. (76299)

The Chief Executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the hon. Gentleman in response to this question.

Letter from Dr. Malcolm McKibbin, dated 13 June 2006:

You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question about how much the Department for Regional Development spent on structural maintenance for the road network in counties (a) Tyrone, (b) Deny and (c) Fermanagh in each of the past five years; and how much the Department has budgeted for structural maintenance in (i) the current year and (ii) the next two years in these counties. I have been asked to reply as this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service.

Firstly I should advise that whilst Roads Service does not maintain details of expenditure on a county basis, such information is available on a district council basis. The table below details Roads Service’s expenditure, for the five-year period 2000/01 to 2004/05, on structural maintenance for the nine district councils whose boundaries straddle Counties Tyrone, Londonderry and Fermanagh. Expenditure details for 2005/06 year are not yet available.

Roads Service expenditure on structural maintenance by council area

£ million

District council

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

Omagh

2.5

3.6

4.0

4.9

4.0

Strabane

2.3

2.7

2.9

3.4

3.9

Cookstown

1.3

1.5

1.8

2.5

2.2

Dungannon

2.7

3.1

3.5

5.4

4.0

Derry

2.1

2.2

2.4

3.2

2.7

Magherafelt

1.2

1.5

1.9

2.7

2.2

Coleraine

1.7

2.1

2.3

3.4

2.4

Limavady

1.0

1.2

1.6

2.6

2.1

Fermanagh

2.9

3.1

4.3

5.5

4.6

In providing this information, I should explain that Roads Service does not simply apportion its total structural maintenance expenditure equally across district council areas. Resources available for each maintenance activity (e.g. resurfacing, patching, gully emptying, grass cutting etc) are apportioned to district council areas using appropriate indicators of need. This ensures, so far as possible, an equitable distribution of funds across the country.

With regard to structural maintenance expenditure in the current year and the next two years, I can advise that Roads Service’s structural maintenance budgets are not allocated at the outset of the financial year on a district council basis. Therefore, it is not possible to give an initial budget allocation for 2006/07 for structural maintenance in each district council area as requested. However, expenditure this year, coupled with the Revised Budget allocations, suggests that approximately £170m will be invested in roads' structural maintenance across Northern Ireland in the three years to 2007/08.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the Department for Regional Development Roads Service will outline the options for the route of the proposed dual carriageway between Londonderry and Dungiven. (76367)

The Chief Executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the hon. Gentleman in response to this question.

Letter from Dr. Malco