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Written Answers

Volume 447: debated on Friday 16 June 2006

Written Answers to Questions

Friday 16 June 2006

Transport

A127/A13

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people have been (a) killed and (b) seriously injured on (i) the A127 and (ii) A13 between the M25 and Southend in (A) each of the last five years for which figures are available and (B) 2006 to date. (77503)

The number of people killed or seriously injured in personal injury road accidents that have been reported to the police, on the A127 and A13 between the M25 and Southend in each of the last five years from 2000 to 2004 (the latest year for which figures are available), is given in the following table. Main results on personal injury road accidents reported to the police in 2005 will be published shortly. Figures for 2006 will become available in summer 2007.

Severity of casualty

Fatal

Seriously injured

(i) Number of killed or seriously injured casualties on the A127: 2000-04

2000

3

43

2001

5

52

2002

2

27

2003

11

51

2004

6

35

(ii) Number of killed or seriously injured casualties on the A13 between its junction with M25 and the junction with A127 in Southend town centre: 2000-04.

2000

2

32

2001

7

41

2002

4

40

2003

7

49

2004

4

36

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff in his Department did not achieve an acceptable mark in their annual report in each of the last three years; and what percentage this represented of the total number of staff in each case. (75103)

Across the Department for Transport, including its agencies, the number of staff who received markings indicating that performance was not acceptable or that objectives were not achieved were:

Number of staff

Percentage of total staff

2003-04

65

0.6

2004-05

79

0.7

2005-06

1?

1?

1 Figures not yet available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people over the age of 55 years have been recruited into his Department in each of the last three years. (77420)

The Department for Transport and its agencies have recruited the following number of people over the age of 55 over the last three years:

Number

2005-06

218

2004-05

161

2003-04

105

The Crown is an equal opportunities employer and aims to recruit, retain and promote the best available people. Applications are welcome from all qualified individuals regardless of their sex, gender identity, disability, marital status, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, age, religion or belief, employment status, working patterns, caring responsibility and trade union membership, union office or trade union activities.

Leominster Train Station

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to include Leominster train station on the Access for All Station List; and if he will make a statement. (78366)

The Access for All Station List published on 23 March 2006 details the stations that the Government have asked Network Rail to assess for improvement in the first phase of the 10 year Access for All programme up to 2009.

In due course we will draw up a list of stations for the next phase of the programme from 2009-14. Leominster will be assessed for inclusion alongside the other stations which have not been improved as part of the first phase.

M4 Widening

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions are under way on plans for M4 widening schemes. (76963)

The draft South East Plan contains a proposed infrastructure framework, including a proposal for widening the M4 between Junctions 5 and 8/9. The Highways Agency is in discussion with the South East England Regional Assembly and other regional stakeholders about this.

In the South West the M4 Junction 18 eastbound climbing lane scheme was opened to traffic in November 2005. There are no other widening plans at present, but the Greater Bristol Strategic Transport Study is examining possible widening of the M4 and publication of its recommendations is imminent.

Marine Environment

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria are used to identify Marine Environment High Risk Areas. (77664)

I refer the hon. Lady to my answer of 8 March 2006, Official Report, columns 1519-21W to the hon. Member for St. Ives (Andrew George).

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons the Isles of Scilly are no longer a Marine Environment High Risk Area. (77665)

The Isles of Scilly have never been designated as a Marine Environmental High Risk Area (MEHRA). Although Lord Donaldson’s report “Safer Ships, Cleaner Seas” suggested a number of areas that he felt might be identified as MEHRAs, some of these subsequently did not meet the criteria, based on environmental importance along with accident frequency and pollution risk from shipping. Only those areas which scored highly both in terms of environmental sensitivity and in terms of risk from shipping qualified as MEHRAs.

Consequently, the written statement from the former Secretary of State for Transport on 13 February 2006, Official Report, columns 58-59WS, announcing the locations of the MEHRAs, did not include the Isles of Scilly.

Nuclear Waste

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which London railway lines are used for the transportation of nuclear waste. (75851)

The Department does not hold this information. The transport of radioactive material by rail is a highly regulated activity that is carried out in accordance with stringent national and international regulations. The intention of the regulatory system is to ensure that these shipments are safe irrespective of the route chose.

Plymouth-Saltash Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average daily flow of passengers was from Plymouth to Saltash in each of the last five years, broken down by mode of transport. (71885)

Information for rail is not collected in the form requested. Based on analysis of ticket sales data, the average number of daily passenger journeys made by train from Plymouth to Saltash in each of the last five financial years is estimated to be as follows:

Journeys

2001-02

14

2002-03

10

2003-04

10

2004-05

9

2005-06

9

The information requested is not available for other transport modes.

Treasury

Correspondence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will reply to the letter of 12 April from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire on Interest in Possession Trusts. (78041)

I expect to be in a position to write to the hon. Gentleman in about a week's time in the light of the forthcoming debate in the Finance Bill Committee on inheritance tax provisions to which his letter refers.

Student Loans

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the amount of outstanding student loans that will be written off over the next 30 years; and if he will make a statement. (75865)

I have been asked to reply.

Borrowers are required to repay student loans only when their income reaches the relevant income threshold; and loans are written off when borrowers reach the relevant age threshold, after 25 years, become permanently unfit for work, or die.1

At the end of the 2004-05 financial year our estimate was that, in England and Wales, £620 million of the £12.4 billion of outstanding income contingent maintenance loans and £420 million of the £1.5 billion of outstanding mortgage style loans would be written off. We do not estimate write offs which will occur specifically within the next thirty years as loans (particularly where borrowers do not reach the threshold) could have a longer lifetime.

1 Income contingent loans will be written off after 25 years (instead of at age 65) for students receiving them for the first time from September 2006. Mortgage style loans will not be written off while arrears remain outstanding except in the case of death or disability.

Sunscreen (VAT)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost in VAT revenue forgone of reclassifying sunscreen as a preventative medicine rather than a cosmetic. (77526)

The VAT treatment of sun protection products is no different from the VAT treatment of medicines. VAT is not charged on medicines and sun protection products when dispensed by a pharmacist on the prescription of a registered doctor. When otherwise supplied by retail sale they are chargeable with VAT at the standard rate.

Tax Credits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of new tax credit claims, renewals and change of circumstances were decided within five working days of receipt in each year from 2003-04. (75773)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has Service Delivery Agreement targets for deciding tax credits claims, renewals and changes of circumstance within five working days. The performance for 2003-04 was published in the former Inland Revenue's Annual Report for 2003-04 and HMRC's Annual Report for 2004-05. These Reports are available on the HMRC website, www.hmrc.gov.uk. Indicative results for 2005-06 will be published in the spring Report in due course.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many claims there have been for tax credits in Birkenhead constituency at the latest available date; and how many were (a) overpaid and (b) underpaid. (78022)

Estimates for 2003-04 and 2004-05 of the numbers of in-work families with tax credits awards, including information on overpayments and underpayments by constituency, based on final family circumstances and incomes for 2003-04 and 2004-05 are published in “Child and Working Tax Credits. Finalised Awards 2003-04 Geographical Analysis” and the “Child and Working Tax Credits. Finalised Awards 2004-05 Geographical Analysis”. These publications and provisional estimates for the number of in-work families by constituency with tax credit awards as at selected dates in 2005-06 are available on the HMRC website at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-geog-stats.htm

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the average tax credit overpayment in each region of the United Kingdom in 2005-06. (78126)

The information requested is not available.

Estimates of numbers and values of overpayments or underpayments for 2005-06 awards at 5 April 2006 will not be available until after family circumstances and incomes for 2005-06 have been finalised.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many people in Wales have received overpayments in (a) child tax credits and (b) working tax credits in (i) 2004 and (ii) 2005; what the average overpayment was to such people; and if he will make a statement; (78289)

(2) how many people in Wales have received underpayments in (a) child tax credits and (b) working tax credits in (i) 2004 and (ii) 2005; what the average underpayment was; and if he will make a statement.

Estimates for 2003-04 and 2004-05 of the numbers of in-work families with tax credits awards, including information on overpayments and underpayments, based on final family circumstances and incomes for 2003-04 and 2004-05 are published in “Child and Working Tax Credits Finalised Awards. 2003-04. Geographical Analyses” and the “Child and Working Tax Credits Finalised Awards. 2004-05. Geographical Analyses”. These publications and provisional estimates for the number of in-work families by region with tax credit awards as at selected dates in 2005-06 are available on the HMRC website at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-geog-stats.htm.

We do not produce statistics separately for child and working tax credits.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many overpayments of (a) child tax credits and (b) working tax credits to people living in Wales were clawed back in (i) 2004 and (ii) 2005; and if he will make a statement. (78298)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his latest estimate is of the amount of tax credit overpayments in (a) 2003-04 and (b) 2004-05 which will be recovered in each year from 2004-05 to 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. (78411)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave him on the 8 June 2006, Official Report, columns 861-62W.

Zimbabwe

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the value of (a) UK imports from Zimbabwe and (b) UK exports to Zimbabwe (i) was in each of the last three years and (ii) has been in 2006. (77692)

The information is as follows:

Value of the trade in goods for UK imports from, and UK Exports to Zimbabwe from 2003 to 2006 (year to date)

£ million1

(a) Imports

(b) Exports

2003

58.3

29.3

2004

47.8

26.0

20052

43.6

22.1

20062, 3

5.5

5.3

1 Value of goods declared.

2 Data are provisional and subject to update.

3 2006 data are for January to April.

Source:

HM Revenue and Customs - Overseas Trade Statistics

Home Department

Asylum/Immigration

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what account his Department takes of (a) a local authority’s performance in implementing the Hillingdon judgment and (b) the availability of appropriate welfare support when placing asylum-seeking children with local authorities. (76643)

I have been asked to reply.

The DfES collects annual statistics through the National Data Collection exercise on the number of children, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC), who become looked after and the age at which they cease to be looked after. These figures show how local authorities are supporting looked-after children who are UASC.

Neither the Home Office nor the Department for Education and Skills places children with individual local authorities. However, immigration service and National Asylum Support Service officials do make referrals to local authorities of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who appear to them to be children in need, within the meaning of the Children Act 1989. Where there is any doubt about the identity of the responsible local authority, this takes place in accordance with guidance that has been agreed with the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS).

The Home Office in partnership with DfES and relevant local authorities intends soon to consult on how consistent standards for the accommodation and support of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children might best be developed. The Home Office in partnership with DfES and relevant local authorities intends soon to consult on how consistent standards for the accommodation and support of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children might best be developed.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average cost was of detaining an individual in an immigration removal centre for one week in the latest period for which information is available. (76491)

The average direct cost (not including overheads) of holding an individual in an immigration removal centre for one week is £812.

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter of 4 April from the hon. Member for Aylesbury (reference B9272/6) about the application for leave to remain of Mr. S. K. of Aylesbury (case reference K426659). (76345)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby of 10 March in respect of the case of Ms Jane Okah Agwola. (76697)

Criminal Justice Act

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many additional probation officers will be recruited in the London area to provide increased supervision of defendants following the implementation of the custody plus provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. (76867)

[holding answer 12 June 2006]: In September 2004, prior to the start of the Act’s implementation, staffing in the London probation area stood at 2,459. By April 2006 it had risen to 2,759. The area is looking at further increases to take account of work arising from the Act and its other responsibilities.

Most of the sentencing provisions in the Criminal Justice Act were implemented in April 2005. We are working towards an implementation date of autumn 2006 for custody plus but we shall not go ahead unless we are satisfied that the national probation service can cope with the additional work.

Defendant Anonymity

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the granting of anonymity to defendants in certain cases in some EU member states and the implications for open justice. (77477)

None. Open justice is a fundamental principle of our criminal justice system which requires no support from comparative research. Nor would research into the practice in other EU jurisdictions necessarily be of assistance in forming a view on this issue, as defendant anonymity needs to be considered in the context of individual countries’ criminal justice systems generally.

Departmental Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much his Department has spent on IT systems in each year since 1997; what the purpose of each system is; what the outturn against planned expenditure of each system was; and what the outturn time for implementation against planned time was. (41322)

Since 1997 the Home Office has spent the amounts in the following table on its IT systems.

The increases over the years reflect an increasing usage of, and reliance on, technology to support all aspects of the Department's business. In addition, step changes reflect increases in scope of the central figures. For example, the creation of the National Probation Service in April 2001 brought probation IT costs within the scope of the Department's IT expenditure for the first time. New major IT contracts in the core Home Office and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate have also affected the profile of expenditure.

Detailed project information on: purpose; outturn against planned expenditure; or outturn time for implementation against planned time, for each IT system cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate costs.

£

1996-97

12,373,764

1997-98

12,079,231

1998-99

15,405,567

1999-00

20,662,396

2000-01

53,910,051

2001-02

63,783,017

2002-03

124,750,696

2003-04

133,633,252

2004-05

159,019,624

Departmental Security

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which companies have contracts for providing security at his Department’s premises. (73669)

The companies which currently have contracts for providing security at the Department’s premises are as follows:

Capita

Carlisle Security

Chubb Security Personnel Ltd.

First Security Group

Group four Securicor

ICTS Ltd.

Legion Security

OCS

Pegasus Security Group

Taylormade Investigations Security Services Ltd.

The list does not cover buildings where the Home Office is the minority occupier of premises and a contract has been placed by another Government Department as the major leaseholder with responsibility for perimeter security.

Illegal Immigrants

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many employers in the West Midlands have been prosecuted for employing illegal immigrants in each of the last 10 years. (75378)

The Court Proceedings database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform shows that in the last 10 years there has been one prosecution in the West Midlands for employing illegal immigrants and this occurred in 2004.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Immigration and Nationality Directorate will reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood, of (a) 4 April 2006 on behalf of Tafie Ahmed Saleh (Home Office reference number S1123081, acknowledgement reference B9194/6) and (b) 9 January on behalf of Mr. Tamburai Chirewo and Mrs. Tamari Chirewo (Home Office reference C1140345). (76468)

The information is as follows.

(a) The Immigration and Nationality Directorate wrote to my right hon. Friend on 13 June 2006.

(b) The Immigration and Nationality Directorate wrote to my right hon. Friend on 13 June 2006.

Miscarriages of Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many outstanding applications for compensation are being considered by the Independent Assessor to the Home Secretary on Miscarriages of Justice, broken down by the number of years the case has been under consideration. (76921)

There are currently 27 cases with the Independent Assessor for final assessment of compensation. Of those, two were submitted to him more than two years ago, two others more than one year ago. Those four applications form part of a large number of applications that arose from a series of quashed convictions relating to a wide-ranging fraud case. There are complex and overlapping issues affecting the whole group. All the applicants involved, including those who made final submissions, have been asked for further information in relation to their application. In a number of cases replies have not been received. The remainder were submitted to him within the last 12 months. Of those, 12 were submitted within the last three months, three between three and six months ago, seven between six and nine months, and one, also arising from the complex fraud case referred to, between nine and 12 months.

The four cases referred to the Assessor more than one year ago have all had interim payments awarded by him, and of the remaining 23 which were referred within the last year, 20 have had interim payments.

A further 109 cases have had eligibility confirmed by the Home Secretary. In these cases final submissions have not been made by the applicants and information regarding the level of compensation being claimed is awaited from the applicants or their representatives, before final assessments can be considered by the Assessor.

Mohammed Hussain

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement on the use of restraint on Mohammed Hussain in Rainsbrook secure training centre between July and August 2005; (77137)

(2) whether oxygen was provided to Mohammed Hussain following an incident of restraint at Rainsbrook secure training centre between July and October 2005; and if he will make a statement.

Police

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) police officers and (b) police community support officers were employed by each police force in each of the last five years. (75902)

The available information is given in the table. Community support officers were introduced as part of the Police Reform Act 2002 so data are only available from 2003 onwards.

Community support officer strength (full-time equivalent)1 by police force area, (2003-05)

Police force

March 2003

March 2004

March 2005

September 2005

Avon and Somerset

0

45

139

146

Bedfordshire

0

12

37

43

Cambridgeshire

6

57

87

92

Cheshire

2

50

81

77

Cleveland

37

77

98

86

Cumbria

0

0

17

19

Derbyshire

0

0

43

43

Devon and Cornwall

19

51

74

75

Dorset

6

8

47

56

Durham

10

28

69

72

Essex

10

86

179

193

Gloucestershire

0

54

72

62

Greater Manchester

160

173

269

264

Hampshire

0

0

26

23

Hertfordshire

14

46

98

135

Humberside

0

0

20

20

Kent

0

59

105

103

Lancashire

77

110

161

159

Leicestershire

28

41

103

119

Lincolnshire

29

38

75

78

London, City of

0

0

14

14

Merseyside

40

72

170

161

Metropolitan

513

1,463

2,144

2,053

Norfolk

12

33

68

67

Northamptonshire

12

10

39

38

Northumbria

0

51

130

143

North Yorkshire

0

52

75

69

Nottinghamshire

10

56

113

112

South Yorkshire

14

59

125

125

Staffordshire

0

7

63

62

Suffolk

0

15

34

33

Surrey

21

56

115

102

Sussex

22

83

228

231

Thames Valley

0

7

98

109

Warwickshire

11

25

56

56

West Mercia

8

57

81

86

West Midlands

0

39

219

247

West Yorkshire

70

265

394

433

Wiltshire

15

23

41

38

Dyfed Powys

0

5

25

24

Gwent

30

45

77

81

North Wales

0

0

46

61

South Wales

0

59

107

116

Total 43 forces

1,176

3,418

6,261

6,324

1 Full-time equivalent includes those on career breaks or maternity/paternity leave. Note: This table contains full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number. Because of rounding, there may be an apparent discrepancy between totals and the sums of the constituent items.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many DNA profiles of individuals (a) under and (b) over 16 years old living in North Somerset are held by Avon and Somerset constabulary; and how many have not been convicted of a criminal offence in each case. (73985)

There are an estimated 67,556 individuals who have a DNA profile on the National DNA Database (NDNAD) taken by Avon and Somerset constabulary, of which 1,994 are currently under 16 years of age and 65,562 are 16 years or over (as at 30 May 2006). Information held on the NDNAD is available on a police force area basis only and although the DNA sample in these cases was taken by Avon and Somerset constabulary, the individuals to whom the sample relates will not necessarily be resident in Avon and Somerset.

Data on whether these individuals have been convicted or acquitted of a criminal offence are held on the police national computer (PNC) but not on the NDNAD.

PNC data are available for 60,521 individuals only, of which 1,490 are under 16 years of age and 59,031 are 16 years or over. Of the 1,490 persons who are under 16, 1,243 have not been convicted of an offence and of the 59,031 persons who are 16 years or over, 15,824 have not been convicted of an offence. (It should be noted that for the purposes of these data, cautions are included as non convictions.)

The difference of approximately 7,000 individuals between the NDNAD records and the PNC records is largely accounted for by the fact that, until recently, records for persons who were acquitted of an offence were removed from the PNC, but retained on the NDNAD. It is not possible to provide a breakdown of the ages of these 7,000 who were acquitted as the records are no longer available.

Prisoner Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 18 May 2006, Official Report, column 1220W, on prisoners, (1) how many (a) pregnant and (b) mobility impaired prisoners have been transported in cellular vehicles in each of the last five years; (76434)

(2) how many complaints have been made in each of the last five years about the transportation of (a) pregnant and (b) mobility impaired prisoners; and what the nature was of each complaint;

(3) on how many occasions in each of the last five years (a) pregnant and (b) mobility impaired prisoners have not been assessed by prison operational managers and health care professionals prior to transportation; and if he will make a statement.

There is no requirement in the contracts for contractors to record separately the movement of pregnant and mobility impaired prisoners. Information on the transport of pregnant or mobility impaired prisoners in cellular vehicles is not recorded centrally.

There are a number of methods by which prisoners may make complaints. These are to prison staff at the establishment or to the senior operational manager as well as to Prison Service HQ. Complaints may also be made by prisoners under transport to the contractors. It has not proved possible to separate out complaints made by or about pregnant or mobility impaired prisoners from available records.

All prisoners should be assessed as being fit for travel by a health care professional before being transported. Guidance has been issued to all women’s prisons to remind them of correct assessment procedures and there is a strong presumption that pregnant prisoners should not travel in cellular vehicles. A similar presumption applies to the transport of mobility impaired prisoners.

Prisons

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he is taking to avoid moving prisoners between establishments as a result of overcrowding, with particular reference to those who are participating in education programmes; and if he will make a statement. (77246)

[holding answer 13 June 2006]: Prisoners are usually transferred when their security category has been changed, to enable them to meet the requirements of their sentence plan, for compassionate reasons, as part of their preparation for release and for operational security reasons. High population levels can also lead to prisoners being transferred to establishments with a greater number of vacancies.

Existing guidance requires prison governors to consider family contact issues and the education and training needs of individual prisoners before moving them, and to move them to prisons which can most suitably meet their work and training requirements.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) are developing new learning and skills delivery arrangements. These include plans to ensure educational records are available electronically when prisoners transfer between establishments.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to bring into use temporary pre-fabricated units to address prison overcrowding; and if he will make a statement. (77247)

[holding answer 13 June 2006]: There are no plans to accommodate prisoners in temporary units such as the modular temporary units used in 2002.

Victims of Crime

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures are in place to prevent convicted criminals contacting (a) the victims of their crimes and (b) the relatives of their victims. (76782)

Various arrangements are in place to reduce the risk of unwanted contact from offenders, including:

Victims or their relatives who receive unwanted contact from offenders in custody may contact the National Offender Management Service victims’ helpline. Helpline staff will forward concerns to the relevant prison governor to consider and take action as appropriate.

The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 places a statutory duty on the Probation Service to provide services to victims of crimes committed by specified offenders. Prior to such an offender being released from custody, victims receiving services under these arrangements will be asked if they wish to make representations about conditions that might be attached to an offender’s licence. Conditions which relate to victims, might for example, include non-contact with the victim or members of their families or a geographical exclusion zone into which the offender is not allowed to travel. Breaches of these conditions can result in the offender’s recall to custody.

Young Offenders

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many of the 10 to 17-year-olds who received a custodial sentence for breach of an antisocial behaviour order received a (a) concurrent and (b) consecutive custodial sentence for other matters in the period between December 2003 and September 2005; (77715)

(2) how many 10 to 17-year-olds received a custodial sentence for breach of an antisocial behaviour order in the period between December 2003 and September 2005;

(3) how many (a) antisocial behaviour orders and (b) individual support orders were issued to 10 to 17-year-olds in the period between December 2003 and September 2005;

(4) how many antisocial behaviour orders issued to 10 to 17-year-olds were breached in the period between December 2003 and September 2005.

[holding answer 15 June 2006]: Antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) breach data are currently available for the period from 1 June 2000 to 31 December 2003 for ASBOs issued since 1 June 2000.

The number of ASBOs issued at all courts to persons aged 10 to 17, as reported to the Home Office by the Court Service, from 1 December 2003 to 30 September 2005 is 2,085.

Individual Support Orders (ISOs) were introduced under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 as from 1 May 2004 and are available at the magistrates court for ASBOs issued on application only to persons aged 10 to 17. Between 1 May 2004 to 30 September 2005, of the 789 ASBOs issued on application at the magistrates court to 10 to 17-year-olds, 31 persons also received an ISO.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what alternatives to prison for convicted non-violent young offenders are available to the courts. (78652)

The range of non-custodial sentences available to the courts includes Referral Orders and Action Plan Orders for less serious and first time offenders through to the Community Rehabilitation Order and the Supervision Order, which are more robust and to which can be attached the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP).

Leader of the House

Legislation

To ask the Leader of the House which Private Members' Bills were drafted by his Department in each Session since 1997; and which subsequently received Royal Assent. (77840)

To ask the Leader of the House (1) which Government Bills sponsored by his Department remain to be introduced during the 2005-06 Session; (77841)

(2) which Government Bills sponsored by his Department he has bid for in the next Session of Parliament; and if he will make a statement.

The Queen's Speech of 17 May 2005 and subsequent announcements have set out the Government's legislative priorities for this Session. Any further announcement relating to the legislative programme for the current session would be made at the appropriate time.

As Chair of the Cabinet Committee on the Legislative Programme, I am responsible for discussing with colleagues the Government's legislative priorities for the next Session. The outcome of those discussions will be set out in the Queen's Speech later this year.

Culture, Media and Sport

Braille/Audio/Large Print Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to increase the number of (a) Braille, (b) audio and (c) large print books, newspapers and magazines available in the UK. (73656)

We have been facilitating discussions among publishers, authors, the Royal National Institute of the Blind, and the National Library for the Blind on a project to investigate the possibility of transforming published material into formats accessible to the visually impaired.

Currently, a feasibility study is under way and results will be reported back to a Steering Group, chaired by DTI officials, shortly.

Commonwealth Institute Building

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent representations she has received from the Commonwealth Institute regarding the future of the Commonwealth Institute building. (77644)

There have been a number of representations from the Commonwealth Institute on the future of the Commonwealth Institute building since November 2004. The most recent is a letter from the Chairman of the Trustees of the Commonwealth Institute dated 30 May.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what organisations she has consulted regarding the future of the Commonwealth Institute building. (77656)

The future of the Commonwealth Institute building has been the subject of discussions with a number of Government Departments and the Commonwealth Institute. On 6 June I met the chairman and chief executive of English Heritage and my officials have met representatives of the Twentieth Century Society. Additionally representations have been received from a number of other organisations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 8 June 2006, Official Report, column 788W, on the Commonwealth Institute building, what representations she has received from English Heritage on the future of the Commonwealth Institute building. (77698)

I met the chairman and chief executive of English Heritage on 6 June to discuss the Commonwealth Institute building. During that discussion English Heritage raised a number of concerns. The meeting was constructive and discussions are ongoing.

Departmental Advisers

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the Answer of 22 May 2006, Official Report, column 1408W, on departmental advisers, what the reason was for the increase in money spent on travel and subsistence for special advisers between (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06. (77195)

The increase in travel and subsistence expenditure over the last year is because the Department gained an additional Special Adviser, making three in total, in connection with the Secretary of State's additional responsibilities for Women, humanitarian assistance and the Olympics.

Ministerial Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was spent on foreign travel by her Department in each of the last eight years. (76055)

Departmental expenditure for overseas travel and subsistence by officials is shown in the table.

Regarding Ministers’ visits overseas, since 1999 the Government have published, on annual basis, the total cost of all ministerial overseas travel and a list of all visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500. This information is available in the Library. Information for the financial year 2004-05 was published on 21 July 2005, Official Report, 158WS. Information for the financial year 2005-06 is in the process of being collated and will be published shortly.

All official travel is undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code and Civil Service Management Code.

Overseas travel and subsistence costs by officials

£

2005-061

289,007.64

2004-05

279,710.59

2003-04

235,210.16

2002-03

195,442.41

2001-02

129,164.75

2000-01

188,337.76

1999-2000

193,742.97

1998-99

151,307.28

1 Subject to finalisation of the annual resource accounts.

Olympic Games

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 12 June 2006, Official Report, column 935W, on the 2012 Olympics, when she expects to announce the constituencies to be visited as part of the 2012 Olympics roadshow. (78116)

As soon as details of the roadshow itinerary are finalised, a list of the locations to be visited will be made available on the Department’s website (www.culture.gov.uk). We expect this to be within the next week.

Taking Part Survey

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 11 June 2006, Official Report, column 483-84W, on activity levels, when the new national Taking Part survey first expects to report; and what criteria it will use to make an assessment of participation levels. (78234)

First results from the Taking Part survey were published on the Department’s website on 15 December 2005.

To date, three reports have been released on the survey results. These can be accessed at: http://www.culture.gov.uk/global/research/taking_part_survey/survey_ouputs. htm.

Two of the reports released so far have provided provisional baselines on the Department’s public service agreement target 3 (PSA3). The third report looked more generally at participation and attendance across activities within the Department’s remit.

For the two PSA3 reports participation levels are assessed against the definitions of the PSA3 target agreed with HM Treasury. These differ by type of activity and frequency for each sector. Full details are given in the technical note which is available at http://www.culture.gov.uk/about_dcms/publicservice agreements.htm.

In the third more general report the same criteria have been used except for arts and sports sectors. Full details of this difference are included in the report which was published on 24 March 2006 showing provisional results from the first six months of the 2005-06 survey.

Education and Skills

Asylum-seeking Children

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps his Department takes to ensure that (a) the Hillingdon Judgment and (b) Local Authority Circular (2003)13 are applied by local authorities responsible for unaccompanied asylum seeking children. (76641)

The Department collects annual statistics through the National Data Collection exercise on the number of children, including unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC), who become looked after and the age at which they cease to be looked after. These figures show how local authorities are supporting looked after children who are UASC.

Adherence to the framework set by statute, regulations and guidance, including that relating to Local Authority Circular (2003)13, together with making appropriate responses to judicial review and other case law judgments, are matters that are the responsibility of local authorities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funding is available from central Government to support local authorities in the discharge of their obligations towards asylum seeking children. (76642)

Since 2004-05, my Department established the UASC Leaving Care Grant to assist those authorities facing increased financial pressure arising from the impact of the Hillingdon Judgment. Local authorities which support substantial numbers of such young people are eligible to receive funding through the grant, to assist towards meeting the costs of supporting additional numbers of “former relevant children” under Section 23C of the Children Act 1989.

In addition, the Home Office has, for a number of years, provided specific grant support to local authorities which support unaccompanied asylum seeking children aged under 18.

City Academies

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of children who attended city academies in the latest period for which figures are available had been statemented for special educational needs, broken down by academy; and if he will make a statement. (75371)

The available information is given in the table.

Final figures for 2006 are expected to be available by the end of June.

Academies: number and percentage of pupils with statements of special educational needs (SEN)1. Position in January each year: 2005 and 2006 (provisional).

2005

2006 (provisional)

LA name

Establishment name

Number (headcount) of pupils

Number (headcount) of pupils with statements of SEN

Percentage of school population with statements of SEN2

Number (headcount) of pupils

Number (headcount) of pupils with statements of SEN

Percentage of school population with statements of SEN2

Barnet

London Academy

1,199

53

4.4

1,252

53

4.2

Bexley

The Business Academy Bexley

1,379

76

5.5

1,013

51

5.0

Bradford

Dixons City Academy

3n/a

3n/a

3n/a

1,082

16

1.5

Brent

Capital City Academy

911

20

2.2

969

26

2.7

Bristol, City of

The City Academy Bristol

1,095

41

3.7

1,181

42

3.6

Doncaster

Trinity Academy

3n/a

3n/a

3n/a

1,233

29

2.4

Baling

West London Academy

1,129

26

2.3

847

24

2.8

Greenwich

St. Pauls Academy

3n/a

3n/a

3n/a

634

42

6.6

Hackney

Mossbourne Community Academy

218

9

4.1

423

21

5.0

Haringey

Greig City Academy, Haringey

712

5

0.7

4n/a

4n/a

4n/a

Hillingdon

Stockley Academy

584

19

3.3

669

10

1.5

Hillingdon

The Harefield Academy

3n/a

3n/a

3n/a

538

14

2.6

Kent

The Marlowe Academy

3n/a

3n/a

3n/a

559

16

2.9

Lambeth

Lambeth Academy

184

12

6.5

358

12

3.4

Lewisham

Haberdashers' Aske's Knights Academy

3n/a

3n/a

3n/a

710

24

3.4

Lewisham

Haberdashers' Aske’s Hatcham College

3n/a

3n/a

3n/a

1,334

23

1.7

Liverpool

The Academy of St. Francis of Assisi

3n/a

3n/a

3n/a

567

7

1.2

Manchester

Manchester Academy

726

7

1.0

795

18

2.3

Middlesbrough

Macmillan Academy

3n/a

3n/a

3n/a

1,461

7

0.5

Middlesbrough

Unity City Academy

1,123

32

2.8

1,075

27

2.5

Middlesbrough

The King’s Academy

1,042

95

9.1

1,097

94

8.6

Northamptonshire

Northampton Academy

1,244

33

2.7

1,281

41

3.2

Nottingham

Djanogly City Academy Nottingham

1,580

5?

5?

1,628

5?

5?

Salford

Salford City Academy

3n/a

3n/a

3n/a

560

6

1.1

Southwark

City of London Academy (Southwark)

361

22

6.1

574

28

4.9

Southwark

The Academy at Peckham

1,079

39

3.6

1,132

49

4.3

Walsall

Walsall Academy

630

17

2.7

755

24

3.2

1 Excludes dually registered pupils. 2 The number of pupils with statements of SEN expressed as a percentage of the school population. 3 Not applicable. 4 Not available. Provisional data, outstanding survey return. 5 One or two pupils, or a rate based on one or two pupils. Source: Schools’ Census

Degree Subjects

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many higher education institutions offered (a) mathematics, (b) physics, (c) biology and (d) chemistry-related degrees in (i) 2004-05 and (ii) 2005-06. (75292)

The latest available data are shown in the following table. Data for the academic year 2005-06 will become available at the beginning of 2007.

Number of HE institutions with students enrolled on first degree courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology in 2003-04 and 2004-05

2003-04

2004-05

Mathematical Sciences1

106

106

Of which:

Mathematics

105

102

Physical Sciences2

116

116

Of which:

Physics

68

61

Chemistry

82

80

Biological Sciences3

125

125

Of which:

Biology

111

110

1 Mathematical Sciences include disciplines such as statistics and operational research in addition to mathematics courses.

2 Physical sciences include disciplines such as geography, geology, materials science, forensics and archaeology in addition to physics and chemistry courses.

3 Biological Sciences include disciplines such as microbiology, biochemistry and molecular biology in addition to biology courses.

Notes:

Figures are on a snapshot basis as at 1 December each year.

Source:

Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)

Disability Access

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether any building in his Department falls short of disability access regulations. (72995)

The Department for Education and Skills occupies a total of five buildings in London, Sheffield, Darlington and Runcorn, none of which fall short of disability access regulations.

Primary Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many primary schools there are in England with fewer than 100 pupils; (76844)

(2) how many primary schools there are with fewer than 100 pupils in each local education authority area.

[holding answer 15 June 2006]: The information requested is shown in the following table.

Maintained primary schools1, 2 : number of schools with less than 100 pupils3 as at January 20064

Local authority area

England

2,540

201

City of London

0

202

Camden

1

203

Greenwich

0

204

Hackney

0

205

Hammersmith and Fulham

0

206

Islington

0

207

Kensington and Chelsea

0

208

Lambeth

0

209

Lewisham

0

210

Southwark

0

211

Tower Hamlets

0

212

Wandsworth

0

213

Westminster

0

301

Barking and Dagenham

0

302

Barnet

1

303

Bexley

0

304

Brent

1

305

Bromley

6

306

Croydon

0

307

Ealing

0

308

Enfield

1

309

Haringey

0

310

Harrow

0

311

Havering

0

312

Hillingdon

0

313

Hounslow

0

314

Kingston upon Thames

0

315

Merton

0

316

Newham

0

317

Redbridge

0

318

Richmond upon Thames

0

319

Sutton

0

320

Waltham Forest

0

330

Birmingham

2

331

Coventry

0

332

Dudley

0

333

Sandwell

0

334

Solihull

0

335

Walsall

1

336

Wolverhampton

1

340

Knowsley

3

341

Liverpool

3

342

St. Helens

1

343

Sefton

1

344

Wirral

3

350

Bolton

2

351

Bury

3

352

Manchester

1

353

Oldham

2

354

Rochdale

1

355

Salford

1

356

Stockport

0

357

Tameside

2

358

Trafford

0

359

Wigan

2

370

Barnsley

4

371

Doncaster

2

372

Rotherham

1

373

Sheffield

2

380

Bradford

4

381

Calderdale

8

382

Kirklees

18

383

Leeds

5

384

Wakefield

6

390

Gateshead

5

391

Newcastle upon Tyne

2

392

North Tyneside

0

393

South Tyneside

2

394

Sunderland

0

420

Isles of Scilly

0

800

Bath and North East Somerset

10

801

Bristol, City of

6

802

North Somerset

9

803

South Gloucestershire

10

805

Hartlepool

1

806

Middlesbrough

0

807

Redcar and Cleveland

1

808

Stockton-on-Tees

2

810

Kingston Upon Hull, City of

3

811

East Riding of Yorkshire

37

812

North East Lincolnshire

1

813

North Lincolnshire

13

815

North Yorkshire

164

816

York

3

820

Bedfordshire

46

821

Luton

1

825

Buckinghamshire

42

826

Milton Keynes

15

830

Derbyshire

109

831

Derby

1

835

Dorset

31

836

Poole

0

837

Bournemouth

0

840

Durham

59

841

Darlington

1

845

East Sussex

26

846

Brighton and Hove

0

850

Hampshire

42

851

Portsmouth

2

852

Southampton

4

855

Leicestershire

57

856

Leicester

0

857

Rutland

4

860

Staffordshire

64

861

Stoke-on-Trent

1

865

Wiltshire

58

866

Swindon

1

867

Bracknell Forest

0

868

Windsor and Maidenhead

5

869

West Berkshire

15

870

Reading

1

871

Slough

0

872

Wokingham

2

873

Cambridgeshire

23

874

Peterborough

0

875

Cheshire

43

876

Halton

3

877

Warrington

2

878

Devon

125

879

Plymouth

1

880

Torbay

1

881

Essex

51

882

Southend-on-Sea

0

883

Thurrock

1

884

Herefordshire

40

885

Worcestershire

52

886

Kent

55

887

Medway

2

888

Lancashire

96

889

Blackburn with Darwen

2

890

Blackpool

0

891

Nottinghamshire

44

892

Nottingham

3

893

Shropshire

55

894

Telford and Wrekin

2

908

Cornwall

93

909

Cumbria

120

916

Gloucestershire

66

919

Hertfordshire

34

921

Isle of Wight

14

925

Lincolnshire

91

926

Norfolk

137

928

Northamptonshire

52

929

Northumberland

67

931

Oxfordshire

61

933

Somerset

76

935

Suffolk

85

936

Surrey

44

937

Warwickshire

17

938

West Sussex

37

1 Includes middle schools as deemed.

2 Provisional data—returns from six primary schools are known to be outstanding. No estimate has been made for missing data.

3 Based on the full-time equivalent number of pupils. Part-time pupils are counted as 0.5.

4 Provisional

Source:

Schools’ Census

Science Courses (Higher and Further Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many science courses have been available in (a) higher and (b) further education establishments in each year since 1997 in (i) England, (ii) each English region and (iii) the Tees Valley. (73654)

Information on the numbers of courses offered by institutions is not held centrally. The following tables show the number of students enrolled on science courses since 1997.

Undergraduate students1 enrolled on science courses2 Government Office Region3 1997-98 to 2004-05

Region of institution

1997-98

1998-99

North

27,970

29,850

North West

62,540

66,125

Yorkshire and Humberside

51,645

54,420

East Midlands

36,450

37,350

West Midlands

44,090

45,300

East Anglia

9,165

9,765

South East

79,960

79,645

South West

36,235

38,170

Greater London

81,760

83,735

Total English Regions

429,815

444,360

The Tees Valley

6,005

5,740

Region of institution

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

North East

30,435

31,600

31,090

34,740

36,130

36,285

North West

68,570

70,760

71,000

77,570

82,135

81,925

Yorkshire and Humberside

55,725

56,095

56,105

64,210

62,235

62,320

East Midlands

36,190

37,345

38,410

42,850

46,895

46,470

West Midlands

46,315

47,995

49,500

54,595

57,415

57,350

Eastern

33,890

33,065

34,680

39,900

39,095

42,080

South East

52,620

53,370

54,200

59,815

103,220

110,420

South West

38,770

39,785

41,330

45,010

47,355

47,550

Greater London

89,715

93,975

98,040

105,845

106,410

109,870

Total English Regions

452,230

463,990

474,360

524,540

580,885

594,270

The Tees Valley

7,310

9,020

8,450

10,360

11,070

10,655

1 Based on a snapshot count of students, as at 1 December each year. 2 A new method of allocating students to subject groups was introduced in 2002-03, the main effect of which was to increase the number of students allocated to specific named subjects and decrease the number of students allocated to "Combined Subject" courses. This will have contributed to the rise in science enrolments between 2001-02 and 2002-03. Science includes medicine/dentistry, subjects allied to medicine, biological sciences, veterinary sciences, veterinary science, agriculture, physical sciences, mathematical sciences, computer science, engineering/technology and architecture. 3 The classification of Government Office regions was revised in 2000-01. Merseyside has been included with the north west. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) student record. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.

Learning Aim Enrolments in FE in Science and Mathematics Area of Learning for 2002-03 to 2004-05

Enrolments by Region

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

National Office

25,394

716

674

East England

50,529

41,182

38,906

East Midlands

39,945

30,263

29,877

Greater London

86,676

72,696

64,060

North-East

35,756

30,567

27,992

North-West

85,789

75,601

68,740

South-East

81,984

71,333

69,410

South-West

42,660

38,143

40,495

West Midlands

70,339

58,726

54,783

Yorkshire and Humberside

52,353

50,926

45,789

National Total

571,425

47U.153

440,726

National Total—All FE Enrolments —All Subjects

8,249,256

7,872,271

7,845,818

Enrolments at Tees Valley Local LSC

2002-03

Tees Valley

14,669

2003-04

Tees Valley

12,515

2004-05

Tees Valley

12,475

Note: FE learning aim enrolments on aims classified as being in the 'Science and Mathematics' area of learning are given. Area of Learning is used rather than sector subject area as there are more historical data using this classification. Local office classification is based on the relation between providers and their lead LLSC. Data are not supplied for prior to 2002-03 as the definitions of programme areas and how to count learners changed at that point. Source: Learning and Skills Council (LSC) Individualised Learner Record 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2004-05

Student Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students have contacted the Student Loans Company with queries relating to student loans due to a change in employer in the tax year for each year since 2002; and if he will make a statement. (75321)

The information requested is not available. While the Student Loans Company does record information at individual account level, it is unable to break down the total number of contacts from borrowers to this level of detail.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to cut carbon dioxide emissions; and how regularly those steps will be reported on. (77679)

We announced on 12 June that we are taking another important step when it comes to greening Government, by committing to make by 2012 the Government office estate carbon neutral and committing to reduce Government’s total emissions from buildings by 30 per cent.

This action is consistent with the new UK climate change programme, published in March 2006, which sets out the Government’s commitments at international and domestic levels to meeting the challenges of climate change. It also includes a commitment to introduce a new annual report to Parliament on the level of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK and the steps the Government have been taking to reduce these. The first report is expected to be issued in spring 2007.

The UK’s climate change programme 2006 is available on the Defra website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/uk/ukccp/pdf/ukccp06-all. pdf.

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he will reply to the letter of 16 March from the hon. Member for Aylesbury to the former Minister of State for Environment and Agri-Environment about climate change on behalf of Mr. T. R. of Princes Risborough. (76342)

I apologise for the delay in replying to the hon. Gentleman's letter. A response will be issued shortly.

Departmental Blog

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the start-up cost was for his departmental blog; how much he expects the blog to cost each year; and if he will make a statement. (77140)

The initial start-up costs for the Secretary of State's blog were met by the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Costs of transferring the blog to DEFRA (including design, text and administration changes) have amounted to approximately £1,250. Ongoing costs for hosting and support would amount to some £900 a year on the current basis. There will be further ongoing administrative costs, consisting of a percentage of an existing member of staff's time.

Electrical Goods

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to promote and support the use of dynamic power management devices in fridges, freezers and other electrical household white goods. (76749)

The Government are aware that a number of dynamic demand control devices have been or are being developed by manufacturers as a potential means for reducing the peak load demand on the power grid.

We are currently investigating, via a small scale test carried out by the Market Transformation Programme (MTP), what effect these devices have on the operation of cold appliances.

For further information on the MTP, please go to: http://www.mtprog.com/

Fruit and Vegetable Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of the (a) 5 A Day and (b) school fruit and vegetable scheme. (68844)

I have been asked to reply.

The annual Food Standards Agency's consumer attitudes survey is used to track 5 A DAY awareness and consumption. The survey shows knowledge of the 5 A DAY message has increased from 43 per cent. in 2000 to 67 per cent. in 2005, while those claiming to have eaten at least five portions of fruit and vegetables the previous day has risen from 26 per cent. in 2000 to 30 per cent. in 2005.

The national foundation for educational research (NFER), in partnership with Leeds University, was commissioned by the Big Lottery Fund to carry out an evaluation of the school fruit and vegetable scheme. Results published in September 2005 demonstrated that children ate significantly more fruit while participating in the scheme. The results showed that increased consumption of fruit was not sustained when children's participation in the scheme came to an end. However, there was some evidence of increased knowledge of healthy eating, particularly in children from deprived areas.

We will be working to integrate the scheme more closely with other healthy eating initiatives in schools, to provide opportunities to maintain the behaviour change achieved by participation in the scheme.

Fungaflor

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when a replacement for Fungaflor will be licensed for use in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. (76752)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given on 12 June 2006, Official Report, column 892W.

Home Energy Conservation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to review the guidelines to energy conservation authorities on complying with the requirements of the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995, as set out in paragraph 9.24 of the 2003 Energy White Paper; and if he will make a statement. (76255)

We welcome the progress that local authorities have made in delivering their Home Energy Conservation Act reports to date. However, we recognise that more needs to be done in order to make further progress and have committed to reviewing the existing guidance and identifying how improvements can be made. The review will be launched this summer and will be concluded by the end of this year.

Hydroschemes

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what criteria the Environment Agency uses to assess the environmental consequences of hydroschemes; what conclusion it came to on the Littlecombe site, Dursley; and on what basis. (76042)

The Environment Agency assesses each scheme on its own merits and has produced a guidance document entitled “Hydropower—A Handbook for Agency Staff”, which is available to the public on request. It contains guidance for developers on the type of information they should consider as part of their responsibility to take account of the potential environmental impacts of hydroschemes.

The Environment Agency has not reached a conclusion about hydropower at the Littlecombe site, Dursley. Although it has discussed hydropower and what the developers would need to consider, the Agency has not yet received specific details or a consultation.

Water Framework Directive

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made by the Environment Agency in establishing river basin district liaison panels; and who are expected to be appointed as panel members. (74451)

The Environment Agency is in the process of establishing River Basin District Liaison Panels as part of stakeholder engagement and partnership working under the Water Framework Directive. The agency is putting in place one Liaison Panel for each River Basin District in England. Each panel will comprise the key organisations who are responsible for implementation, and others who can represent the public interest and help in driving behavioural change.

Water Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to generate competition in water services. (76633)

The Water Act 2003 introduced competition in water supply for large users. Licensed water suppliers are now able to compete with statutory water companies to supply customers with a consumption of at least 50 million litres per year. The Act provides a mechanism to alter the customer consumption threshold. A review of the threshold will take place in 2008 to consider the impact of the regime on drinking water quality, environmental protection, customer service and prices for eligible and other customers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who is responsible for (a) setting leak reduction targets and (b) monitoring performance against those targets in the south east; and what assessment his Department has undertaken of the financial and technical tests used to monitor the performance of water companies. (76634)

Leakage targets are set and monitored by the Economic Regulator, Ofwat. They require water companies to compare the cost of reducing leakage and the value of the water saved, including any associated environmental and social costs and benefits.

In March 2003, the tripartite group of Defra, the Environment Agency and Ofwat published the report, “Future approaches to leakage target setting for water companies in England and Wales”. This sets out the best practice principles in the economic level of leakage calculation. Ofwat assesses the water companies’ economic levels of leakage analyses against these principles.

As well as analysing the companies’ economic assessments, Ofwat also monitors their annual performance in managing leakage. This is done through an annual submission to Ofwat known as the June Return. Through this return the companies provide a full reconciliation of how all treated water put into supply is used, including the volume lost to leakage.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers water companies have to take action against those people who are observed to be wasting water; and whether there are proposals for further such powers. (76743)

Water companies have powers under section 75 of the Water Industry Act 1991 and within the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 to take action if they consider water supplied by the company is being wasted or is likely to be wasted. There are no current proposals for further such powers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether provision has been made for transporting excess water in the North to the South and South East. (75373)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what research his Department has undertaken into the costs of (a) a national grid for water and (b) moving water through river systems; (75357)

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the cost of moving water between water authorities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the cost of establishing a national water grid. (75856)

The concept of a national water grid has been raised many times in the last 30 years and was has never been considered remotely viable. It was most recently discussed at the Secretary of State's meeting on 1 June with representatives of water companies and the water industry regulators. It was rejected by all those present on the grounds of its disproportionate and unjustifiable cost, both for the environment and for water bills, compared with the benefits such a grid could deliver. This stance was informed by a recent desk study undertaken by the Environment Agency, which will be published later this summer.

A good deal of water is already transferred within water companies’ areas of operation to give individual companies greater flexibility to meet local shortages. Longer distance links have long been established between, for example, Wales and the West Midlands and South East Lancashire, the Lake District and Lancashire, and from the Fenland watercourses to Essex.

The Environment Agency, in consultation with Ofwat, is able to propose to a water company that it enters into a bulk supply agreement with another water company, where it is necessary to secure the proper use of water resources.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) maximum usable water volume and (b) actual usable volume for water in each water supply company region was in each financial year since 1997. (76453)

The Water Services Regulation Authority (publicly known as Ofwat) publish data annually on the amount of water supplied by water companies.

Maximum usable water volumes are best indicated by the distribution input (total volume of drinking water put into the supply system per day). Actual usable water volumes are best indicated by the water delivered (total volume of drinking water delivered per day). Figures for each water supply company region in each financial year since 1997-98, in megalitres per day, were reported as follows:

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

Anglian

Water delivered

1027

1002

1000

987

986

1000

1001

990

Distribution input

1200

1146

1140

1134

1159

1150

1174

1163

Dwr Cymru

Water delivered

715

695

681

682

674

676

670

667

Distribution input

987

949

930

899

894

883

876

869

United Utilities

Water delivered

1610

1560

1548

1554

1559

1573

1599

1551

Distribution input

2083

1977

1947

1935

1933

1952

1984

1953

Northumbrian North

Water delivered

657

654

634

634

631

618

609

599

Distribution input

789

111

758

750

754

736

732

719

Northumbrian South

Water delivered

437

431

432

421

431

427

439

425

Distribution input

492

480

478

466

476

465

481

464

Severn Trent

Water delivered

1632

1632

1645

1634

1637

1612

1655

1626

Distribution input

1918

1869

1878

1868

1870

1929

1967

1925

South West

Water delivered

374

366

364

356

372

375

390

394

Distribution input

445

434

431

429

445

447

459

456

Southern

Water delivered

531

520

518

514

528

524

527

513

Distribution input

603

588

585

578

598

595

599

586

Thames

Water delivered

1982

1892

2049

2089

2107

2141

2179

2140

Distribution input

2665

2481

2553

2600

2765

2842

2874

2809

Wessex

Water delivered

310

304

304

302

308

306

318

313

Distribution input

402

387

376

373

374

368

379

372

Yorkshire

Water delivered

1042

1013

1031

1032

1070

1059

1061

1055

Distribution input

1338

1285

1283

1274

1307

1299

1297

1287

Bournemouth and W. Hampshire

Water delivered

139

134

141

138

138

141

148

147

Distribution input

158

154

158

154

154

158

165

164

Bristol

Water delivered

263

255

250

248

252

246

247

241

Distribution input

308

301

292

289

297

292

293

287

Cambridge

Water delivered

63

61

61

61

62

63

65

65

Distribution input

73

71

70

71

72

73

75

75

Dee Valley

Water delivered

63

63

63

62

62

63

63

61

Distribution input

71

71

71

70

69

70

69

68

Folkestone and Dover

Water delivered

46

43

43

43

45

44

44

40

Distribution input

52

49

49

49

51

50

50

46

Mid Kent

Water delivered

140

139

142

138

139

138

145

143

Distribution input

164

159

161

156

158

157

166

163

Portsmouth

Water delivered

153

151

158

154

158

156

165

159

Distribution input

177

174

181

176

179

177

186

180

South East

Water delivered

310

306

316

315

320

322

343

339

Distribution input

394

382

387

378

375

376

394

391

South Staffs

Water delivered

285

276

275

278

283

281

287

279

Distribution input

344

331

330

329

334

331

338

332

Sutton and East Surrey

Water delivered

141

137

139

138

145

145

154

146

Distribution input

157

152

154

153

160

160

169

161

Tendring Hundred

Water delivered

27

25

25

25

25

26

26

26

Distribution input

32

30

30

30

30

30

31

30

Three Valleys

Water delivered

714

705

721

738

768

765

801

780

Distribution input

832

811

816

829

871

864

899

877

Wild Boar

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is regarding the hunting of wild boar; and if he will make a statement. (75912)

There are no specific legal restrictions on shooting wild boar. However, the person doing the shooting must be authorised to do so on the land concerned, have an appropriate firearms certificate, and comply with other relevant firearms provisions.

Wild boar are feral animals, with general protection under the Protection of Animals Act 1911. This protects captive animals (including animals in traps) against unnecessary suffering, and the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996 offers further protection against specific cruel acts, such as “impaling”, “stabbing” or “beating”.

A public consultation on future strategies for managing wild boar in England concluded on 6 January 2006. The consultation documents are available on the Defra website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/wild-boar /index.htm

Responses to the consultation will help to formulate a long term management policy to be announced later this year.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Ascension Island

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much import duty has been charged on goods entering Ascension Island in each year since 1976. (75457)

Import duty on goods entering Ascension Island has only been levied since the introduction of a system of taxation in April 2002. Since that time total duties collected in each year are as follows:

£

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Tobacco

0

76,751

79,114

81,007

Alcohol

335,607

246,509

174,910

230,100

Fuel

72,000

73,500

74,165

174,429

Total

407,607

396,760

328,189

385,537

Grand total

1,518,093

1 2005-06 subject to year end adjustments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much export duty has been charged on goods leaving Ascension Island in each year since 1976. (75458)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 9 May 2006, Official Report, column 185W, on Ascension Island, if she will place a copy of the Workmen’s Protection (Ascension) Ordinance in the Library. (75463)

A copy of the Workmen’s Protection (Ascension) Ordinance has been placed in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many sites on Ascension Island“no longer necessary for the purpose of the operation of the Long Range Proving Ground”, as set out in Article IV (Provision of Sites), point 1, of the Bahamas Agreement 1956, the UK Government have ceased to provide for that purpose since 1976. (75464)

Two. The United States’ use of the “National Aeronautics Space Administration” site ceased in the early 1990s. Part of that site was then re-released and renamed in 1997. It was finally relinquished in March 2001.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will list the acquisitions that have taken place on Ascension Island since 1976 of private property to allow rights of way to the United States Administration as permitted in Article III (Rights of Way) of the Bahamas Agreement 1956. (75466)

There have been no acquisitions on Ascension Island since 1976 of property to allow rights of way to the United States Administration as permitted in Article III (Rights of Way) of the Bahamas Agreement 1956.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many motor vehicles belonging to the United States Administration not used for purposes connected directly with the establishment, maintenance or use of the Long Range Proving Ground have paid taxes or fees relating to registration or licensing for use on Ascension Island since 1976 under Article XIII (Motor Vehicle Taxes) of the Bahamas Agreement 1956. (75467)

Base Leases (United States)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which bases leased to the United States as listed in Treaty Series No. 2 (1941) Cmd. 6259 and Treaty Series No. 65 (1950) Cmd. 8076 are still leased to the United States. (75459)

None. In 2002 the Government and the Government of the United States terminated the 1941 Leased Bases Agreement.

Burma

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she is taking to secure a binding resolution on Burma at the United Nations Security Council; and if she will make a statement. (78100)

We support all action by the United Nations which will help initiate a genuine process of democratic reform in Burma. We therefore support current proposals for a substantive discussion of Burma at the United Nations Security Council which we hope will lead to a resolution.

Coalition Information Centre

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many individuals are employed in the Coalition Information Centre; and what the budget was for this unit in each year since 2001. (77726)

The Coalition Information Centre (CIC) was formed in October 2001 and later changed its title to the Government Communication and Operations Centre. The unit had nine to 10 staff for most of its existence, rising briefly to some 28 during the Iraq conflict, before being wound up in May 2003. The majority of costs were staff salaries, paid by staff members home departments. Other costs covered accommodation and infrastructure and these were absorbed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Total budgets could be obtained only at disproportionate costs.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with representatives of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on (a) support for victims of rape, (b) prosecution of rapists and (c) prevention of further rapes. (76826)

The UK frequently raises with the Congolese Government our concerns about wide scale sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In February, we and international partners formally presented President Kabila with a dossier cataloguing major abuses carried out by Congolese armed forces, including rape and sexual violence. We demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice. A UK-drafted Resolution on DRC adopted at last year’s United Nations General Assembly made clear that the Congolese Government must act decisively to reduce sexual violence.

We are supporting humanitarian agencies in providing medical assistance to victims of sexual violence, particularly in Eastern DRC. This includes funding the construction of a new wing at a hospital in South Kivu that treats rape victims. We also support the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Gender Based Violence pilot programme. Through our local peace-building programme, we aim to tackle the underlying causes of sexual violence.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff in her Department did not achieve an acceptable mark in their annual report in each of the last three years; and what percentage this represented of the total number of staff in each case. (75119)

Under the Department’s performance improvement procedures introduced in October 2004, unacceptable performance has to be addressed as soon as it occurs rather than waiting for the appraisal cycle to complete. Central records record cases of poor performance current at the end of the appraisal year. The number of staff who did not achieve an acceptable mark in their annual report over the past three years was as follows:

Number of staff

Percentage

2002-03

47

0.7

2003-04

37

0.6

2004-05

21

0.4

Annual report markings for 2005-06 financial year are not yet available.

Rigorous Performance Management is one of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s management priorities. New training for all senior managers in performance management was introduced in the last year.

India

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the attack on two Christian women in Nadia Village, Madhya Pradesh, India by Hindu extremists. (78140)

We are aware of media reports of this attack. We understand from our high commission in New Delhi that the Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Dr. Balram Jhakar, met the victims and has asked the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police to send him details of the incidents and a report on action taken. The case has also been registered with the police. Our high commission in New Delhi will continue to monitor the situation.

Sudan

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence there is of continuing direct help from the Government of Sudan to the Janjaweed. (76039)

We believe that the Government of Sudan continues to have close contacts with the leaders of the so-called Janjaweed and to tolerate their activities. The UN Secretary General’s report on Darfur on 19 May this year made several references to armed tribesmen supporting the Sudan armed forces in attacks against civilians in Darfur.

Under the Darfur Peace Agreement the Government of Sudan must draw up a plan to disarm the Janjaweed and to implement it within six months. We call on them to do so.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she is taking to help prevent the spread of Janjaweed attacks from Darfur into Chad. (77694)

We are aware that Chadian rebels and Darfur militia continue to mount cross-border attacks into Eastern Chad from Darfur, which has led to the displacement of 50,000 Chadians. We are also aware of reports of Darfur rebels continuing to be supported by Chad. We are pressing the Government of Sudan to neutralise and disarm the Janjaweed and expel foreign fighters from Darfur as soon as possible, as required under the Darfur Peace Agreement. We are also pressing both Governments to fulfil their obligations under the Tripoli Agreement.

Uganda

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps (a) the Government and (b) the international community are taking towards bringing the conflict in Uganda to an end; and if she will make a statement. (76897)

The UK, along with other members of the international community, is strongly supportive of efforts to resolve the long-running Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency and address the humanitarian problems in northern Uganda.

The UN has an important role to play. The UK was actively involved in securing the two recent UN Security Council Resolutions, 1653 and 1663, which have condemned the activities of militias and illegal armed groups such as the LRA.

The UK is encouraging the Ugandan Government to accept the appointment of a Special Envoy on the LRA. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development raised this with President Museveni on 16 May when they discussed the role a special envoy could play in achieving greater regional co-operation on the LRA issue.

We have welcomed the establishment by the Government of Uganda of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) to improve the humanitarian situation in northern Uganda. The JMC is currently developing an action plan to take this work forward and our high commissioner in Kampala and Department for International Development Uganda are both closely involved in this.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the effects of the Movement Act in Uganda on (a) the February 2006 multi-party elections and (b) its implication for the Ugandan multi-party political system; and if she will make a statement. (77467)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave him on 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 345W, and to the reply given by the former Minister for Trade my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz), on 6 March 2006, Official Report, column 1179W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response she has received from the Uganda authorities to the written statement of 29 May 2005 regarding (a) establishment of the rules for multi-party competition and (b) separation of the organs of state from the Movement in (i) law and (ii) practice; and if she will make a statement. (77471)

On 29 April 2005 our high commission in Kampala issued a press release which reaffirmed the elements we considered necessary to achieving a legitimate process of political and constitutional change in Uganda. These included establishment of the rules for multi-party competition and separation of the organs of state from the Movement in law and practice.

In that statement we made clear that we were concerned by several aspects of the transition, including that insufficient progress had been made towards establishing a fair basis for a multi-party system. We therefore decided then to withhold £5 million of budget support (out of a total of £40 million for the financial year).

We have not received, nor would we expect to, a formal response to our press release. We have of course maintained a high-level dialogue with the Government of Uganda on all aspects of the transition to a multi-party system in the run up to the multi-party elections in February 2006. I will arrange for a copy of the statement to be placed in the Library of the House.

Whaling

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) she and (b) her predecessor has had with Ministers from countries which are members of the Commonwealth on whaling; and if she will make a statement. (78036)

Whaling is not part of the Commonwealth agenda and was not raised at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting last year.

Australia and New Zealand share the UK’s view of whaling and co-operate bilaterally at official level.

Communities and Local Government

Council Tax

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average level of council tax has been in rural areas in each year from 1997 to 2005. (78207)

The average level of band D council tax in rural areas since 1997-98 is tabled as follows. A district is classified as a rural area if it falls within category “Rural-50” or “Rural-80” of the rural definition and local authority classification published by Defra in 2005 (www.statistics.defra.gov.uk/esg/rural_resd/rural_definition.asp).

£

1997-98

715

1998-99

740

1999-2000

796

2000-01

850

2001-02

904

2002-03

994

2003-04

1,127

2004-05

1,198

2005-06

1,248

2006-07

1,288

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the additional council tax revenue raised by local authorities as a result of setting second home council tax discounts lower than 50 per cent. in 2005-06. (78283)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Kidney) on 4 May 2006, Official Report, column 1803W.

Fire Services College

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Fire Services College provides (a) training courses and (b) access to the college's library and online information and development resources to fire services in (i) the Crown dependencies, (ii) overseas territories, (iii) the Republic of Ireland and (iv) Commonwealth countries; and how much is charged by the college for those services to fire services in each category. (76270)

The primary customer of the Fire Service College is the United Kingdom fire and rescue service. It has provided training to representatives from the categories of countries listed as follows: Crown dependencies and overseas territories, the Republic of Ireland and Commonwealth countries.

Charges for training are a commercial matter for the Fire Service College. It will depend on the number of people to be trained, the requirements of the course and the duration of training.

On-site access to the Library and Information Resource Centre (LIRC) is available to all staff and students (including all overseas students on study courses) of the Fire Service College. The Library and Information Resource Centre has Membership options for UK and Republic of Ireland Fire and Rescue Services, corporate and individual customers, and organisational membership can cost between £260 and £600 per year, depending on the size of the organisation and the services provided. It does not currently offer memberships to other overseas customers.

Foreign Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was spent on foreign travel by her Department and its predecessors in each of the last eight years. (76935)

The former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) and the new Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) were created following the machinery of government changes on 29 May 2002 and 5 May 2006, respectively. The following table sets out the total expenditure on foreign travel for the former ODPM and DCLG (excluding the Government offices). Details of expenditure by predecessor Departments prior to the 2002-03 financial year could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

£

2002-03

251,162

2003-04

241,014

2004-05

245,360

2005-06

377,623

2006-07 (to date)

29,129

All travel by civil servants and Ministers is conducted in accordance with requirements of the Civil Service Management Code and the Ministerial Code and Travel.

Housing Development

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to prevent excessive land banking by housing developers. (66426)

I have been asked to reply.

The Barker Review of Housing Supply considered the issue of land banking in assessing competition in house building, and did not find evidence of excessive land banking by house builders.

The Review did make recommendations designed to make the planning system, and its arrangements for releasing land for housing, more responsive to demand, in the interests of improving housing affordability. Draft Planning Policy Statement 3 published earlier this year is designed to achieve these objectives.

The Office of Fair Trading periodically reviews the house building sector. If there is evidence of anti-competitive behaviour which was against the consumer, including excessive land banking by house builders, OFT may consider the case for a reference to the Competition Commission.

The Department is concerned to ensure that there is proper competition in the house building sector and that land banking or the holding of options do not operate as a barrier to entry. We are continuing to keep this under review to ensure that greater land supply results in increased house building.

Local Strategic Partnerships

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to increase the powers available to local strategic partnerships. (77107)

LSPs, outside those areas receiving neighbourhood renewal funding, are currently entirely voluntary and therefore do not have any powers of their own.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (now Department for Communities and Local Government) undertook a consultation “Local Strategic Partnerships: Shaping their Future” from December 2005 to March 2006 which looked at the future of all LSPs, focusing on their role, accountability and capacity. As part of this consultation we proposed formalising the role of LSPs and ensuring the involvement of key agencies through establishing duties to co-operate with the local authority on named local delivery agencies. The results of the consultation are now being evaluated and decisions on whether this legislative option will be pursued will need to be taken in due course.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local strategic partnerships are chaired by (a) an hon. Member, (b) a councillor, (c) a directly-elected mayor and (d) a representative from the (i) public sector, (ii) voluntary sector and (iii) business sector. (77181)

Outside areas receiving neighbourhood renewal funding, LSPs are voluntary partnerships and hence are not monitored on an individual basis by the Department. However, we do evaluate all LSPs on a national basis and therefore are able to give indicative answers to these questions. The last evaluation of LSPs was conducted in 2004 (National Evaluation of Local Strategic Partnerships: Report on the 2004 Survey of all English LSPs ODPM 2005). This indicated the following split in LSP chairs:

Percentage

Elected members

46

Local authority officers

7

Other public sector agency officers

16

Private sector representative

11

Voluntary and community representative

11

The question as to whether MPs or directly-elected mayors chaired LSPs was not specifically asked.

Portland PR

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what meetings officials in her Department have had with representatives of the public relations company Portland PR; what contracts Portland PR has with her Department and agencies for which she has responsibility; and what the nature of the contract is in each case. (70042)

There is no record of any meetings between Department for Communities and Local Government Officials and representatives of Portland PR.

Public Sector (Funding)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will list the 10 non-public sector entities that have received the largest total sum of payments from her Department and its predecessor in each of the last five years. (71788)

The Department of Communities and Local Government was formed in May 2006. Formerly this Department was the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister which was formed in May 2002.

The following lists in alphabetical order the 10 non-public sector entities that have received the largest payments from the Department in financial years 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06.

2003-04

Ashdown House Ltd.

Balfour Kilpatrick Ltd.

BNFL plc Instruments

Building Research Establishment

Carat Ltd.

Land Securities Properties Ltd.

Marshall Specialist Vehicles Ltd.

Professional Protection Systems.

Regus (UK) Ltd.

Respirex International

2004-05

Ashdown House Ltd.

Building Research Establishment

Carat Ltd.

Land Securities Properties Ltd.

Marshall Specialist Vehicles Ltd.

Mitie Managed Services Southern

National telecommunications Ltd.

PA Consulting Group

Regus (UK) Ltd.

Scout Solutions Projects Ltd.

2005-06

Ashdown House Ltd.

Carat Ltd.

Hytrans Systems

John Dennis Coachbuilders

Land Securities Properties Ltd.

Marshall Specialist Vehicles Ltd.

Mitie Managed Services Southern

Mott Macdonald Ltd.

PA Consulting Group

Serco Government Consulting

Information for 2002-03 was recorded jointly with the Department for Transport and expenditure figures cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate costs.

Right to Buy

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department issues to local authorities on whether sections 185 and 187 of the Housing Act 2004 apply to right to buy purchases completed prior to January 2005. (76249)

[holding answer12 June 2006]: The Department issued a letter to local authorities on 18 January 2005 providing guidance on the changes to the right to buy under the Housing Act 2004, including the application of sections 185 and 187. No further guidance has been issued.

Solicitor-General

Gerson Report

To ask the Solicitor-General how many civil servants were employed in the Law Officers’ Departments before the Gershon Report; what net reductions are proposed in the Gershon Report; how many reductions have been made; and how many civil servants are expected to be employed in the Law Officers’ Departments in the Gershon target month of April 2008. (74288)

It is unclear whether the hon. Member includes in his request the CPS. The information requested on the numbers of civil servants employed in the Law Officers’ Departments is given in the following table which includes the CPS:

Department

Numbers employed before the Gershon Report

Net reduction proposed in the Gershon Report

Reductions already made

Number expected to be employed in April 2008

Crown Prosecution Service

7,336

0

0

8,249

Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office

Established 18 May 20051

Serious Fraud Office

264

0

0

2

Treasury Solicitor's Office (including Attorney-General’s Office and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate)

816

36

10

780

RCPO replaced the former Customs and Excise Prosecutions Office which was required to reduce 10 posts. It achieved this through natural wastage in 2004-051

SFO staff numbers have risen to 330 employees to date in accordance with staffing plans agreed in Spending Review 2004. There was no headcount target for April 20082.

The increase in CPS staff reflects agreed additional resources to improve performance by delivering the new statutory charging scheme, the No Witness, No Justice initiative, by recovering more criminal assets and extending the use of CPS advocates in the Crown and magistrates courts.

TSol continues to recruit staff as business demand continues to grow but the introduction of efficiencies ensures that the growth in headcount is lower than the growth in business.

Staff Development

To ask the Solicitor-General 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. (68986)

The Law Officers’ Departments are committed to developing their staff to their full potential and to the benefits that are achieved from holding away-days and team-building exercises. However, identifying details of such expenditure for the many offices of the Crown Prosecution Service would incur disproportionate cost. Figures for the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO), Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Treasury Solicitor’s Department (TSol) and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) in 2003-04 to 2005-06 are shown in the following table.

£

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Department

Awaydays

Team-building

Awaydays

Team-building

Awayday

Team-building

RCPO1

5,310

995

SFO

0

0

19,269

0

0

0

TSol

12,478

0

52,763

0

11,535

0

HMCPSI

20,785

0

16,632

0

15,470

0

Attorney-General’s Office

0

0

0

0

0

0

1 RCPO was established 18 April 2005.

Work and Pensions

Access to Work

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much of the Access to Work budget for the last five years has been claimed by organisations in Stoke-on-Trent, North. (68315)

Access to Work funds individuals and not organisations. The information requested is not available. However, the Access to Work spend for all customers is in the following table.

Access to Work actual spend for all customers in the West Midlands

Spend in £

2002-03

5,125,978

2003-04

4,859,918

2004-05

5,007,797

2005-06

4,193,397

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how much his Department plans to spend on the Access to Work scheme in each year to 2010; (75168)

(2) how he plans to extend the Access to Work scheme.

Access to Work spend has increased from £14.6 million in 1997-98 to £59.5 million in 2004-05. DWP has allocated £62 million in 2006-07 for Access to Work, and this programme is now helping some 32,000 disabled people to move into or retain jobs they might otherwise lose because of their disability.

No decisions on funding have been made beyond 2006-07.

Last month I asked Jobcentre Plus to withdraw Access to Work funding in respect of people directly employed by Government Departments. The Departments will still be able to use Access to Work expertise in determining appropriate workplace adjustments, however, the adjustments will be funded from their own resources. This decision will take effect from October 2006 and is in line with practice in my Department since 2003 and with the recommendations of the Prime Minister’s strategy unit report ‘Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People’.

The savings realised by this change will be re-invested in the programme, and, as a result of this change, support for disabled people will be more greatly focused towards those disabled people who work for small and medium sized employers.

Benefit Fraud

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were (a) convicted and (b) acquitted of benefit fraud offences in each of the last three years, broken down by type of offence; how many of those convicted of each type of offence in each year were sentenced to (i) immediate custody and (ii) other disposals, broken down by type of disposal; what the (A) mean average and (B) longest individual custodial sentence imposed in each year was for each type of offence; and if he will make a statement. (73442)

Information regarding types of offence, types of sentence and the length of custodial sentences is not available. The available information is in the following table.

Number of people convicted and acquitted of benefit fraud (excluding housing benefit and council tax benefit)

Convicted

Acquitted

2003-04

9,091

113

2004-05

8,573

97

2005-06

8,858

136

Source:

Fraud Information by Sector (FiBS)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many local authority benefit fraud investigators have (a) commenced and (b) completed the Professio