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Written Answers

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 20 June 2006

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 20 June 2006

Education and Skills

Child Care

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what steps he is taking to promote choice and diversity in the provision of pre-school child care; and if he will make a statement; (78575)

(2) what steps he is taking to assist local authorities to deliver affordable pre-school child care; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what steps he is taking to increase parents’ access to flexible pre-school child care; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 19 June 2006]: The Government are committed to maintaining a diverse and vibrant child care market where providers from the private, voluntary, independent and maintained sectors work together in support of children and families. The new duties in the Childcare Bill will require local authorities to assess child care needs within their area, find out what parents want, and try to meet their needs. This will deliver choice and maintain diversity, responding to the needs of parents who—perhaps because they work atypical hours—are looking for flexible child care.

All three and four-year-olds are currently entitled to 12 and a half hours of free early learning and child care, and by 2010 this will have increased to 15 hours. Parents will be able to use the free entitlement flexibly enabling them to balance work and family life more effectively. From later this year pathfinders will test delivery mechanisms to ensure that parental demand for increased flexibility can be met without driving smaller settings out of business. The findings from the pathfinders will inform the roll out of the extension in hours and flexibility by 2010.

The duty in the Childcare Bill to secure sufficient child care which is eligible under the child care element of the working tax credit will help to improve the affordability of child care by providing greater access for families to the financial support available through the tax credits system. During 2005-06, the level of investment in the child care element of the working tax credit was more than £2.4 million a day, benefiting around 356,000 families. This year the maximum proportion of costs that can be claimed through tax credits increased from 70 per cent. to 80 per cent. We are also tackling high child care costs in London through a pilot programme being run jointly with the London Development Agency and the Greater London Authority which will deliver an additional 10,000 child care places for families on lower incomes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will recommend Hertfordshire’s model for the delivery of Phase 2 child care centres to other county councils and public sector providers; and if he will make a statement. (78578)

[holding answer 19 June 2006]: I understand that Hertfordshire county council is still developing its children’s centres implementation plan. Each local authority has strategic responsibility for developing children’s centre services in its own area. We have issued guidance to help local authorities do this, including examples of good practice. However, detailed plans will be based on an individual authority’s own assessment of the needs of children under five and their families in the area, including the levels of disadvantage they face.

Head Teachers

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) head teachers and (b) deputy head teachers have taken early retirement in each of the past three years. (78574)

[holding answer 19 June 2006]: The information is not available in the format requested.

The following table provides the number of teachers in the leadership group, comprising head, deputy and assistant head teachers, who have retired early (defined as before the normal pension age of 60) on premature, actuarially reduced (ARB) or ill health grounds in each year from 2002-03 to 2004-05, the latest information available.

Early retirements1 of teachers in the leadership group by year and type of award in the local authority maintained sector

Premature

ARB

Ill-health

Total

2002-03

630

490

370

1,480

2003-04

570

720

370

1,660

2004-05

480

830

180

1,480

1 Includes only teachers awarded pension benefits under the Teachers’ Pensions Scheme. Note: Data are provisional. Source:Database of Teacher Records (DTR) and Pensioner Statistical System.

Higher Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many applicants aged (a) 21 to 25 and (b) over 25 had applied for courses in higher education institutions in (i) 2003-04, (ii) 2004-05, (iii) 2005-06 and (iv) 2006-07 in the April before the start of each academic year; and what the percentage change was in each year. (76271)

The available figures are shown in the table. They are taken from press releases issued by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) in April each year which summarise applicant numbers as at 24 March, for each of the age bands of under 21 years, 21-24 years, and over 24 years. The figures reinforce our view that the long-term trend of increasing university applications will continue. There was a larger than expected increase in the number of applicants for entry in 2005 and although the number of applicants for 2006 are down compared to 2005, they are above the numbers for 2004 entry. We experienced a similar dip in applications in 1998 when tuition fees were introduced, but numbers returned to their usual levels the following year and continued upwards thereafter. We expect this to be the trend going forward.

English-domiciled applicants by 24 March of each year, by age

2003

2004

2005

2006

Under 21

Number

240,417

243,710

263,856

253,439

Percentage change

+1.4

+8.3

-3.9

21-25

Number

23,295

23,776

26,248

25,317

Percentage change

+2.1

+10.4

-3.5

Over 24

Number

24,683

25,821

29,452

27,868

Percentage change

+4.6

+14.1

-5.4

Total

Number

288,395

293,307

319,556

306,624

Percentage change

+1.7

+8.9

-4.0

Source: Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) Press Releases.

Post-16 Learning (Medway Towns)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what Government funding has been made available for post-16 learning in the Medway Towns local authority area for each year since 1997, broken down by education provider; and how many young people in the area have attended courses providing key skills for employability. (78273)

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) allocated nearly £108 million to providers in the Kent and Medway area for 2005/06, an increase of more than 5 per cent. compared to 2004/05. This does not include the funding for work based learning or Personal Development and Community Learning (formerly Adult and Community Learning). Information on the individual funding allocations for providers dating back to 2001 is available from the LSC website. Since 1997 this funding has increased nationally by around £2.5 billion—equivalent to 48 per cent. in real terms.

Training for key skills is provided through the Key Skills Support Programme and aimed at post-16 learners. Up to September 2004, a total of 940,000 key skills qualifications had been awarded to over 570,000 individual learners.

Research Assessment

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether he plans to hold research assessment exercises in 2008. (77908)

On 13 June, as part of the launch of the Government’s consultation on future arrangements for higher education research assessment and funding, I announced that the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise would proceed as planned. The panels responsible for assessing individual subjects will be able to make greater use of research metrics alongside or instead of academic peer review if they deem this appropriate, provided that this would not place new data collection burdens on institutions.

University Admissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of A-level students from the London borough of Havering secured a place at university in 2004-05. (75453)

The information requested is not held centrally.

In 2004 there were 1,419 16 to 18-year-old A-level candidates in maintained schools and colleges in Havering local authority.

The latest available figures on participation in higher education by local authority were published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in January 2005. The report, “Young Participation in England”, shows participation rates for young people who enter higher education aged 18 or 19, disaggregated by local authority, for the years 1997 to 2000.

The figures for Havering local authority, and the comparable figures for England, are shown in the table. HEFCE have not produced figures beyond 2000.

Young participation rate (YPR (A)) in higher education in the UK

1997

1998

1999

2000

Year cohort aged 18 in Havering (Number)

2,850

2,970

2,890

2,750

Participation rate for Havering1 (Percentage)

22

20

21

23

Participation rate for England (Percentage)

29.2

28.8

29.2

29.9

1 Participation rates for local authorities are reported to the nearest whole number. Source: Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The report is available from the HEFCE website at: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2005/05_03/

The total number of entrants from Havering for each year since 2001/02 are given in the table.

Entrants to undergraduate courses at UK HE institutions, from the London borough of Havering

2001/02

2002/03

2003/04

2004/05

Aged 18-19

675

690

760

800

All other ages

1,055

1,240

1,270

1,625

Total entrants

1,730

1,930

2,035

2,420

Note: Figures are on a snapshot basis as at 1 December and are rounded to the nearest 5. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

The Department uses the Higher Education Initial Participation Rate (HEIPR) to assess progress on increasing first-time participation of English students aged 18-30 in higher education towards 50 per cent.: the latest provisional figure for 2004/05 is 42 per cent. The HEIPR is not calculated at local authority level.

University Applications

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many university applications have been made by students in the London borough of Havering in each year since the introduction of tuition fees; and if he will make a statement. (75446)

The information requested is not held centrally.

The available information covers the number of actual entrants to higher education, from the London borough of Havering, and is given in the table.

18-year-olds domiciled in the London borough of Havering entering higher education at UK higher education institutions

Academic year

Number

1998/99

440

1999/2000

440

2000/01

450

2001/02

475

2002/03

495

2003/04

540

2004/05

585

Note: Figures are on a snapshot basis as at 1 December and are rounded to the nearest 5. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

University Students

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students normally resident in Scotland are attending university in England. (78864)

The information is given in the following table:

Scottish domiciled enrolments at English HEIs 2004/05

Mode of study

Level of study

Full-time

Part-time

Total

Postgraduate

1,620

3,620

5,240

Undergraduate

5,705

16,125

21,830

Total

7,325

19,745

27,070

Notes: 1. Figures are on a HESA Standard Registration Population basis. 2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5. Source: HESA student record data 2004/05

Defence

African Union

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations he has made to (a) African Union member states, (b) the United Nations and (c) NATO regarding African Union troops' rules of engagement. (66720)

Her Majesty's Government has made no recent representations to African Union member states, the United Nations or NATO regarding African Union troops' rules of engagement.

Army Continuous Attitude Survey

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what factors were taken into account when deciding to omit from the Army Continuous Attitude Survey September-December 2005 (a) question 61a, (b) question 63a and (c) question 66 included in the June-September 2004 survey. (78131)

Questions 61a and 63a were removed from the survey because they were not providing an accurate measure of the levels of discrimination and bullying in the Army, or of the Army’s commitment to issues of equality. They asked whether individuals believed that bullying and discrimination exists rather than whether they had direct experience of such incidents. Responses were therefore likely to be influenced by factors such as anecdotal evidence, media coverage and popular opinion as opposed to personal knowledge. Other questions related to direct experience remain.

Question 66 was replaced by question 39c to give the respondent more opportunity to explain their reasons for not making a formal complaint and to provide a richer source of data for analysis.

Army Recruitment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many applications to join the Army were made in each year since 1998; and how many applicants were successful in each year. (78771)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer he was given on 21 July 2005, Official Report, column 2110, for figures covering the period 1998-99 to 2004-05. Figures for 2005-06 are detailed in the following table.

Number

Applications

36,430

Enlisted

11,450

Note:

Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.

BAE (Kuwait Contracts)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) contracts and (b) variations of contract his Department has entered into with (i) BAE and (ii) its subsidiaries in respect of work carried out in Kuwait between 1 January 2003 and 30 June 2003. (78235)

[holding answer 16 June 2006]: I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence 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. (75105)

These issues are dealt with at local level and to obtain this information from each unit would incur disproportionate cost. However, for those staff covered by the MOD main pay deal (around 66,000 staff) this information is captured at the end of the staff reporting year to inform pay rises.

Figures for the last three years for which figures are available are:

Number

2002-03

140

2003-04

64

2004-05

120

1 Excluding industrial staff who were not recorded in this year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of his staff are (a) under and (b) over 55 years of age. (77275)

The number of staff who are under and over 55 years of age on 1 January and 1 April 2006 are shown as follows.

Headcount strength of staff under/over 55 years of age

January 2006

April 2006

Under 55

70,780

69,690

Over 55

19,000

18,940

Unknown1

20

30

Royal Fleet Auxiliaries1

2,350

2,340

Locally engaged civilians1

16,150

16,790

Departmental total

108,300

107,800

1 information on the date of births of a small number of records, the Royal Fleet Auxiliaries and locally engaged civilians are not available centrally. Note: The values and totals are rounded separately to the nearest 10 and the sum of the rounded data may not equal the rounded sum.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people over the age of 55 years have been recruited into his Department in each of the last three years. (77276)

The number of people over the age of 55 years that have been recruited into the MOD in each of the last three years is shown as follows.

Headcount

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Under 55 when recruited

8,640

6,780

4,410

Over 55 when recruited

940

690

410

Unknown1

20

20

10

Departmental total

9,600

7,490

4,830

1 A small number of staff have no date of birth recorded. Notes: 1. The values and totals are rounded separately so the sum of the rounded values may not equal the rounded sum. 2. These values exclude Royal Fleet Auxiliary and locally engaged civilians.

Gurkhas

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many casualties were sustained by Gurkhas serving with British forces in each campaign in which Gurkhas served since 1976. (72089)

The information is not held centrally. We are consulting potential sources of information and I will write to the hon. Member.

Home Working

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people in his Department have been enabled to work from home in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. (67986)

The Ministry of Defence does not collect these statistics centrally and they could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, the Department promotes and supports a wide range of non standard working patterns, including home working, and encourages managers to accommodate staff requests to work differently whenever it is possible.

Met Office Reports (Oxfordshire)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library reports from the Meteorological Office on the weather in Oxfordshire on (a) 15, (b) 16, (c) 17 and (d) 18 July 2003. (76407)

A summary of the weather in Oxfordshire on the days concerned, together with supporting data, will be placed in the Library of the House.

Parliamentary Questions

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the reasons were for the delay in answering parliamentary question (a) 69450 tabled on 3 May 2006, (b) 68478 tabled on 2 May 2006, (c) 67171 tabled on 26 April 2006, (d) 65234 tabled on 19 April 2006 and (e) 65233 tabled on 19 April 2006 by the hon. Member for Lewes; and when he expects to answer each question. (78238)

Parliamentary questions 69450, 68478, 67171 and 65234 were answered on the 16 June 2006.

I will answer 65233 shortly.

Private Office Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been paid in (a) salary, (b) travelling expenses, (c) subsistence allowance and (d) removal expenses to special advisers in his private office in each of the last five years. (69114)

Since 2003, the Government have published on an annual basis the names and overall cost of special advisers, including the number in each pay band. For information relating to the 2004-05 financial year I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, on 21 July 2005, Official Report, columns 158-61WS. Information on special advisers for the last financial year is currently being collected and will be published in the normal way when it is ready.

Travel and subsistence expenses could be provided only at disproportionate cost. There are no records of removal expenses raised against any special adviser working in the Ministry of Defence during the period in question.

QinetiQ

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total cost was of the legal and advisory fees incurred in the sale of QinetiQ to Carlyle, broken down by year in which they were incurred; and what proportion of the total cost was incurred by (a) his Department, (b) QinetiQ and (c) Carlyle. (76986)

The sale of a stake in QinetiQ to The Carlyle Group was completed in February 2003. Starting in 1998, the overall PPP process included: options studies and public consultation; the division of DERA into QinetiQ and Dstl; the formation of QinetiQ as a limited company; the conduct of the competition resulting in the selection of Carlyle as MOD's Strategic Partner; and the completion of the legal negotiations and due diligence process necessary to complete the transaction. Work on many of these activities was conducted in parallel and they have not been separately costed.

MOD's total expenditure on advisers throughout these stages of process was approximately £17.5 million over 5 years. This includes a cost of approximately £9.2 million for legal advice, broken down by financial year as shown in the following table.

Cost of external legal advice to the MOD on the QinetiQ PPP prior to the sale to Carlyle

£ million

Financial year

Amount

1999-2000

0.4

2000-01

0.7

2001-02

2.3

2002-03

4.5

2003-04

1.3

The remaining £8.3 million covered a range of specialist financial, accounting, banking and other technical advice. In order to provide appropriate incentives, a significant proportion of this total was paid on completion of the sale as a success fee, and was calculated as a percentage of the value achieved at sale. Consequently, it is not possible to accurately attribute these costs across individual financial years.

In addition to these fees, Dstl incurred £1.6 million of general advisory costs and £0.25 million of legal costs relating to its formation.

The legal and advisory costs incurred by QinetiQ and The Carlyle Group are a matter for those two organisations.

RAF Menwith Hill

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people have been stopped and searched at RAF Menwith Hill by the Ministry of Defence Police Agency in each year since 2000. (76293)

The details of how many people have been stopped and searched at RAF Menwith Hill jointly by the Ministry of Defence Police and North Yorkshire Police (NYP) are set out as follows. Such data is not held prior to September 2001.

Stops

Searches

September 2001 to 22 December 2003

236

210

23 December 2003 to 22 December 2004

571

220

23 December 2004 to 13 December 2005

959

419

14 December 2005 to 14 June 2006

344

92

Grand total

2,110

941

Staff Absenteeism

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many working days were lost to his Department and its Executive agencies in each year since 1997 due to staff absenteeism, expressed as the average annual number of absent days per employee; and what the estimated total cost to the Department and its agencies of absenteeism was in each year. (76893)

[holding answer 19 June 2006]: The following tables show the rates of worker sickness absence for non-industrial and industrial civil servants, and the cost of that absence for non-industrials, in the Ministry of Defence since 1997.

Sickness absence rate1 working days per FTE

Sickness absence working days

Sickness absence cost (£ million)2

19973

8.4

573,000

38.59

19983

8.6

571,000

39.28

19994

8.1

538,700

37.23

20004

7.9

520,100

36.64

20015

6

6

6

20024

7.3

465,240

35.11

20034

7.6

480,980

37.99

20044

7.3

469,120

39.39

20053

7.4

475,170

Financial year

2005-063

7.3

464,270

1 Sickness absence rates are based on FTE working days lost. For example, if a part-time employee (working 50 per cent. full-time hours) is sick for seven calendar days, this is five working days lost and 2.5 FTE working days lost. 2 Sickness absence costs for 1997 to 2004 are based on a Cabinet Office defined average daily salary rate for civilian non-industrial staff multiplied by the number of sickness absence working days lost. Comparable salary rates are not available for 2005 or the financial year 2005-06. 3 Rates are from the Annual Report “Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service” which is published by the Cabinet Office. 4 Rates for 1999 to 2004 are from UK Defence Statistics 2005 table 2.36 and are for calendar years (1 January to 31 December). The rates shown have been formed using a standardisation technique which involves adjusting unreasonably long absence lengths and removing obviously incorrect records. 5 There is no sickness absence information for non-industrial Ministry of Defence staff available for 2001 for data quality reasons. 6 No reliable data available. Note: Excludes non-industrial Ministry of Defence staff in trading funds and Royal Fleet Auxiliaries.

Sickness absence rate1 working days per FTE

Sickness absence working days

19972

313.7

337,100

19982

316.3

376,800

19994

12.9

320,900

20005

6

6

20014

14.8

304;900

20024

13.4

259,950

20034

12.5

209,870

20044

13.2

202,780

20054

11.9

176,840

Financial year

2005-064

11.6

170,740

1 Sickness absence rates are based on FTE working days lost. For example, is a part-time employee (working 50 per cent. full-time hours) is sick for seven calendar days, this is five working days lost and 2.5 FTE working days lost. 2 Sickness absence records for industrial staff are not as robust as for non-industrial staff and the early years are marked as provisional. 3 Provisional. 4 Rates for 1999 to 2004 are from UK Defence Statistics 2005 table 2.36 and are for calendar years (1 January to 31 December). Rates for calendar year 2005 and the financial year (1 April-31 March) for 2005-06 are calculated on a consistent basis and will appear in UK Defence Statistics 2006. The rates shown have been formed using a standardisation technique which involves adjusting unreasonably long absence lengths and removing obviously incorrect records. 5 There is no sickness absence information for industrial Ministry of Defence staff available for 2000 for data quality reasons. 6 No reliable data available. Notes: 1. Excludes industrial Ministry of Defence staff in trading funds and Royal Fleet Auxiliaries. 2. Consistent salary rate information for industrial staff are not available on a compile basis to non-industrial staff above to allow the calculation of the cost of their sickness absence.

Territorial Army Commission

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of training courses for a Territorial Army Commission have been cancelled during university holidays because of lack of numbers in the last two years. (78217)

Between September 2004 and March 2006, three TA officer training modules which coincided or partially overlapped with the university holidays were rescheduled or cancelled due to lack of numbers. This represents 1.8 per cent. of TA officer training modules over the period. A further three modules were cancelled which did not coincide with university holidays.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance is provided by her Department for the training of (a) members of the judiciary and (b) the police force in Afghanistan; and if she will make a statement. (75064)

Working with Italy, which retains the international lead on judicial reform in Afghanistan, and other international partners, the UK is helping Afghanistan establish a functional, accessible, equitable and sustainable justice system.

The UK has provided US$500,000 in support of the United Nations Development Programme “Strengthening the Justice System of Afghanistan” (SJSA). The SJSA programme is helping the Government of Afghanistan restructure the justice system to bring it into compliance with the constitution; rehabilitate judicial infrastructure; strengthen service delivery capacity of justice institutions and justice professionals; promote rule of law and improve access to justice. This programme supports the Government of Afghanistan's “Justice for All” Action Plan which provides the basis for the reform of the Justice Sector over the next twelve years.

Through the Global Opportunities Fund, the UK has also funded the Bar Human Rights Committee to deliver training to key actors in the legal sector. The training, delivered in April 2006, to staff from the Ministry of Women's Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Afghan National Police and the Lawyers Association of Afghanistan focused on the re-establishment of the rule of law, women's access to justice, and human rights in international and domestic law.

Germany is responsible for co-ordinating international assistance to the Afghan government's police reform programmes. Since 2002, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has administered almost £5 million in support of these programmes through the Department for International Development/Ministry of Defence/FCO funded Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP). In financial year (FY) 2002-03 the GCPP Afghanistan Strategy contributed around £112,000, in 2003-04 £2.5 million, in 2004-05 £1.6 million and in 2005-06 £760,000. This has funded two UK police trainers at the Kabul Police Academy (2002-06), five UK mentors at the Regional Police Training College in Mazar-e-Sharif (2004-06) and the creation of a Crime Scene Investigation team in Kabul (2003-05). In FY 2006-07 the GCPP will continue to support police reform through the appointment of a Senior Police Adviser to the UK-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Lashkar Gah. The Adviser's role will include the provision of support to local police and justice officials in Helmand as well as identifying ways in which the UK can provide assistance to support the German and US police programmes.

The UK has also allocated £15 million in FY 2006-07 towards counter-narcotics law enforcement in Afghanistan. This funding will help support the Counter-Narcotics Police of Afghanistan, the lead drugs law enforcement agency, and the Afghan Special Narcotics Force (ASNF) through training, mentoring and equipping personnel. The ASNF has caused significant disruption to the drugs trade, forcing traffickers to move drugs in smaller quantities. The ASNF is playing an important role as part of the wider Afghan law enforcement effort against illegal drugs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the progress in the training of (a) members of the judiciary and (b) the police force in Afghanistan; and if she will make a statement. (75065)

Italy has been leading the international community's effort on judicial reform. Training members of the judiciary has been a central focus and progress has been made. Over the past four years a series of training programmes funded by the international community has seen over 600 Afghan judges, prosecutors and lawyers, of whom 42 were women, undergo specialised legal training. These programmes are set to continue with further projects delivering training in legal aid, criminal and commercial law, technical assistance, financial crime, juvenile crime and gender justice to senior judges, law graduates and government officials.

Despite these efforts Afghanistan's justice system still lacks sufficiently qualified officials, adequate legal education and the necessary administrative tools and physical infrastructure. The UK will continue to support both the Afghan Government and our development partners in reforming Afghanistan's justice sector.

Germany has been leading efforts to train and reform the Afghan national police with assistance from the US. Since August 2002, there have been some considerable achievements. Over 50,000 police of all ranks and branches have been trained at the re-established Police Academy and at five regional training centres. A pay and rank review is under way aiming to reduce the current top-heavy structure and raise police salaries in order to attract the best candidates. An international conference on border management and police was co-hosted by Afghanistan and Germany in Qatar in February. It endorsed the findings that replenishment of the Law and Order Trust Fund, used to partly fund police salaries, was critical to the success of police pay and rank reform. We support this finding and the valuable work that the international community, in particular Germany and the US are putting into police training and reform.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what funds her Department has provided to support the training of the police force in Afghanistan in each year since 2002; and if she will make a statement. (75067)

Since 2002, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has administered almost £5 million in support of the Afghan Government's police reform through the Department for International Development/Ministry of Defence/FCO funded Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP). In financial year 2002-03 the GCPP Afghanistan Strategy contributed around £112,000, in 2003-04 £2.5 million, in 2004-05 £1.6 million and in 2005-06 £760,000. This funding has seen two UK police trainers at the Kabul Police Academy (2002-06), five UK mentors at the Regional Police Training College in Mazar-e-Sharif (2004-06) and the creation of a Crime Scene Investigation team in Kabul (2003-05).

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the (a) Secretary of State for International Development and (b) the Secretary of State for Defence regarding the security situation in Afghanistan; and if she will make a statement. (75072)

There are regular meetings at ministerial and official level between the three departments on a range of issues relating to UK support to help establish a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. The security situation remains central to these discussions.

Our dialogue ensures the UK’s efforts in Afghanistan remain on track. The recent deployment of a fully-integrated multi-disciplinary military/civilian mission to Helmand Province demonstrates the importance of a continued cross-government approach.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total UK expenditure on reconstruction assistance for Afghanistan has been since 2002; and if she will make a statement. (75073)

Since financial year 2001-02, the UK has committed over £1 billion in development assistance to Afghanistan. This includes the most recent pledge of £500 million in development aid made at the London Conference on Afghanistan in January 2006.

The UK is the second largest bilateral donor to Afghanistan behind the United States. We also remain the largest contributor to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, having committed £295 million between 2002-08.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate she has made of the reduction in the volume of the poppy harvest which will result from the work of the British and coalition troops in Afghanistan in each of the next four years. (76136)

UK forces in Afghanistan are deployed under the international security assistance force (ISAF) and are not there to take direct action against the drugs trade. They will contribute to the broader counter-narcotics effort by providing the secure environment in which the rule of law can be applied, reconstruction can take place and legal rural livelihoods can be developed. ISAF forces will be able to help with the provision of training to Afghan counter-narcotics forces and will, within means and capabilities, provide support to their operations. They will also help the Afghan Government explain their policies to the Afghan people.

Sustainable drug elimination strategies take time. Bringing about a sustainable decrease in poppy cultivation requires a range of activities including arresting and convicting the traffickers who profit from the trade, and putting in place the development programmes which enable farmers to move away from growing poppy. That is why the UK is spending £270 million over a three-year period on supporting the Government of Afghanistan’s National Drug Control Strategy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of (a) reports of detainee abuse and (b) extra-judicial police actions in Afghanistan; and if she will make a statement. (78910)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Annual Human Rights Report states that Afghanistan remains a country of concern for human rights reasons. We continue to receive reports of detainee abuse and extra-judicial action throughout Afghanistan. While the Afghan Government have made real progress in improving human rights, they currently lack the resources and capacity to deal with all the challenges they face.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), established in June 2002, is an autonomous institution within the Afghan Government set up to monitor human rights abuses and implement transitional justice. It continues to work closely with the Government of Afghanistan and international partners to combat the culture of impunity that has existed in Afghanistan and led to past human rights abuses. Since its inception the Commission has closed some 40 private jails; has had 1,600 people, who were being held illegally, released from prison, and managed eight workshops for prison governors on human rights. Its work is helping the country make a full transition to stability and peace based on democracy and human rights. I am pleased to be able to tell the hon. Member that the UK recently committed US$1 million in funding to the AIHRC.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total UK expenditure on (a) poppy eradication and interdiction, (b) law enforcement and (c) support of alternative livelihoods has been in Afghanistan in each year since 2003. (78911)

Over financial years 2003-04 and 2004-05, the UK allocated the following amounts to poppy eradication, law enforcement and interdiction, and alternative livelihoods in Afghanistan:

£ million

Financial year

2003-04

2004-05

Eradication

1.33

2.25

Law enforcement and interdiction

3.6

8.6

Alternative livelihoods

5.8

10.7

As interdiction and eradication are separate strands of work the figures are not combined; interdiction figures are combined with law enforcement.

A written ministerial statement providing a breakdown of the £87 million spent over 2005-06 will shortly be released. Over 2006-07, £91.7 million will be spent by the UK on counter-narcotics in Afghanistan.

Amazon Deforestation

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans she has for the funding by the UK Government of the Amazon Deforestation Soya Certification project. (78896)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is providing a total of £239,880 over three years, from its Global Opportunities Fund, for the Amazonian Deforestation Soya Certification project in Brazil. This comprises:

£

2004-05

82,360

2005-06

78,760

2006-07

78,760

The project is co-funded by ‘The Nature Conservancy do Brasil’ and aims to help combat deforestation by developing and implementing an independent certification scheme for “forest-friendly” soya, modeled on advances in timber certification in the Amazon, and thematic certification, such as dolphin-friendly tuna.

Burma

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the reported use of forced labour of prisoners in Burma. (78096)

We are aware of reports of the use of forced labour by prisoners in Burma. However, we are unable to confirm the extent of the practice as diplomats and non-governmental organisations are not allowed access to prisons to verify this.

We condemn the use of all forced labour and fully support the efforts of the International Labour Organisation to put a permanent end to the practice.

I raised the use of forced labour and our concerns about the general treatment of prisoners with the Burmese ambassador on 15 June 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the comments made by European Commission staff to MEPs on 21 November 2005 that a UN Security Council Resolution on Burma would not be helpful to (a) the UK position and (b) the EU common position on Burma. (78142)

The European Commission has taken no position to date on any proposal for a UN Security Council Resolution on Burma. At the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 12 June, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs proposed that the EU support current US-led efforts to secure a Security Council Resolution. Neither the Commission nor any member state spoke against the proposal, which we fully support.

China

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the Chinese Government regarding the treatment of animals in China's animal markets. (78434)

The Government take animal rights in China very seriously. We regularly raise the treatment of animals with the Chinese Government, most recently during my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's visit to China in November 2005, as the then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. We also welcome the work that non-governmental organisations undertake with the Chinese authorities to improve standards of animal welfare and to gradually build support for animal welfare issues there.

Family Planning

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on which occasions (a) the UK has voted against and the US has voted for and (b) the UK has voted for and the US has voted against the adoption of measures relating to abortion and family planning related issues by the United Nations since 1997. (77135)

Abortion and family planning related issues crop up explicitly and implicitly in a wide range of UN bodies e.g. the General Assembly’s Third and Second Committees, the Commission on Human Rights, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on Population and Development, the United Nations Population Fund Executive Board, the World Health Assembly, General Assembly special sessions on e.g. HIV/AIDS and on Children.

Within those bodies, abortion and family planning related issues arise in a number of resolutions, often unexpected ones.

Generally speaking, most resolutions on family planning related issues in the UN are passed without a vote.

Few UN resolutions explicitly mention “abortion”. Much of the debate in New York has centred on the phrase “sexual and reproductive health services”. The US often makes an explanation of position after the adoption of such resolutions, to the effect that they do not recognise abortion as a method of family planning or support abortion in their reproductive health assistance.

Given the aforementioned factors, specifying those occasions on which there have been votes, and which way the US and UK have voted, would incur disproportionate costs.

Guantanamo Bay

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the comments by US officials that three prisoners detained by the United States at Guantanamo Bay committed suicide as a public relations gesture. (78926)

The President of the United States has expressed serious concern about the deaths of three detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. We would share his sense of concern and await the results of the investigation into those deaths that has been promised by the US Government.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the UK contribution is to the fund provided by the European Union to the Iraqi Government; and if she will make a statement. (75069)

On 22 May 2006, the European Commission announced its intention to allocate €200 million to Iraq for 2006 to build the capacity of Iraqi Ministries and institutions, to assist the constitutional review process, and to promote good governance and the rule of law. This new contribution comes on top of the €518 million provided between 2003 and 2005. The UK share of these contributions is 17.5 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her EU counterparts about the setting up of a European Commission presence in Baghdad; and if she will make a statement. (75144)

At the 2 November 2004 General Affairs and External Relations Council, EU Foreign Ministers invited the Commission to enhance as appropriate, and with due regard to security, its presence in Baghdad. The Commission intends to open an office soon, which will be based initially in the British embassy in Baghdad. My officials are in close contact with the Commission to finalise the details.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the UK's role is in restoring the Iraqi oil infrastructure; and if she will make a statement. (78905)

UK-sponsored experts and advisers have worked alongside Iraqi, US and World Bank colleagues to help Iraq consider its options to restore its oil infrastructure. UK Trade and Industry has played a role through a UK-Iraq Joint Board on Learning in the Oil Sector. This aims to help repair some of the skill and knowledge gaps in the sector, including the training of English language trainers for the oil industry.

The Government stand ready to further assist the Government of Iraq to restore its energy sector as required.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what technical assistance the UK is giving to the development of the judicial system and the training of judges in Iraq. (78907)

The United Kingdom offers a wide range of support to the Iraqi justice system, including:

training over 260 Iraqi judges, prosecutors, lawyers and justice department officials in human rights, international humanitarian law and independence of the judiciary. This has included training Iraqi trainers to implement humanitarian law training in Iraq;

contribution to an international fund that meets the cost of international advisers to the Iraqi High Tribunal, recruited by the tribunal to provide advice on international law in the trial of Saddam Hussein and members of his former regime;

supporting the development of judicial networks, in particular of young lawyers, in association with the Iraqi Bar Association;

offering support and assistance to help ensure the Central Criminal Court of Iraq has the capacity to uphold the Rule of Law.

The United Kingdom also supports the European Union’s integrated Rule of Law Mission, training senior officials from Iraq’s judicial, police and correctional services in the UK. The courses expose participants to UK working practices, methods of cooperation across the Rule of Law sector, and the importance of an overall approach which integrates respect for human rights.

Israel

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the British Government's policy is on Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank to the 1967 borders and from its settlements within the West Bank; what the Government's policy is on Israel's policy of unilateral withdrawal; and if she will make a statement. (78621)

It remains our position that all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories are illegal and that there should be no expansion of/or construction within settlements, in line with the Roadmap.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear that the priority now is negotiations. These are manifestly the best way to move this process forward. But if negotiations do not take the process forward then other ways to move it forward will have to be found. It is the role of the international community to give negotiations the best chance of success.

We remain committed to the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, and the establishment of a just and lasting peace.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the shelling of the Beit Lahia beach in the Gaza Strip by Israeli artillery; and what assessment she has made of the effect of the incident on the middle east peace process. (78927)

Israel has denied responsibility for the deaths of seven Palestinians on 9 June. However, we remain concerned that Israel's response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip should be proportional. We call on Israel to ensure that civilians, particularly children, are not harmed. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed this matter with Israeli Foreign Minister Livni on 12 June. We also continue to call for an end to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on Israeli targets and for calm in the occupied territories. We support President Abbas's efforts to restore order, using legally constituted security forces.

Laos

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make representations to the Laos authorities on the case of the 10 North Korea refugees held in Luang Prabang detention centre in Laos, who may be handed over to the Chinese authorities. (78904)

We understand the 10 Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea refugees detained in Laos have been released.

Latin America

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the effects of embassy closures on UK influence in Latin America. (78056)

All decisions on our overseas network have been based on the need to align our resources with our priorities, to maximise efficiency and ensure that the UK has a cost-effective and flexible network of overseas representation. The UK continues to engage actively with Latin American Governments, with Ambassadors and their teams making regular visits where we do not have resident representation. We have also appointed honorary consuls in each of these countries. The UK and Latin America share many values and international concerns and I have no doubt that our strong links will continue.

Palestine

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 4 May 2006, Official Report, column 1808W, on Palestine, what factors are being considered in the review of the EU Police Mission in the Occupied Territories; and if she will make a statement. (75070)

The EU Police Mission in the Occupied Territories is under close review to ensure that it complies with the Quartet’s conditions on providing assistance to the Palestinians. The European Commission and member states are in close contact with the Mission, and an EU working group scrutinises the Mission’s regular reports. In addition, there will be a formal six-month review in July 2006.

Sri Lanka

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her assessment is of the implications of the recent decision by the European Parliament to proscribe the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam; and if she will make a statement. (73719)

We welcome the EU’s decision to list the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a terrorist organisation. The EU listing procedure is a means by which EU member states work together collectively to fulfil their obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1373 to freeze the assets of terrorists without delay. The EU has repeatedly urged the LTTE to change their ways, to turn away from violence, return to the negotiation table and pursue peace through political means. It is hoped the listing will help the LTTE to see that they need to change their ways and move away from their path of violence. At the same time, the EU has asked the Government of Sri Lanka to rein in other paramilitary groups from carrying out attacks in Government-controlled areas. The only way forward in the conflict is a negotiated settlement that satisfies the concerns and legitimate aspirations of all Sri Lankans and preserves democracy in Sri Lanka.

Vietnam

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make representations to the Vietnamese Government to call for the release of imprisoned Hmong Protestant leader Ma Van Bay. (77919)

We, with our EU partners, raise human rights issues with the Vietnamese Government at every suitable opportunity. We raised the case of Ma Van Bay, with our EU partners, in Hanoi in May. The EU expressed subsequently our concerns regarding this case to the Vietnamese Government at the latest meeting of the EU-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue in Hanoi on 14 June. We, with our EU partners, will continue to press the Vietnamese to respond to our concerns regarding this case.

Whaling

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times (a) she and (b) her predecessor met representatives from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to discuss whaling over the last 12 months. (78034)

[holding answer 16 June 2006]: There have been no ministerial discussions between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on this issue. Officials from both the Departments, however, work closely throughout the year to ensure our policy on whaling is communicated to countries that are currently members of the International Whaling Commission and to those who have an interest in cetacean conservation. We will continue to work together on these important issues.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with which countries (a) she and (b) her predecessor has discussed whaling over the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement. (78035)

[holding answer 16 June 2006]: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not discussed whaling with any country in the last 12 months. Every year, in advance of the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issues lobbying instructions to its missions to seek support from their host countries for the UK’s position on whaling. The prominent role we play within the IWC ensures no country can be in any doubt as to the importance we attach to whale conservation.

Electoral Commission Committee

Electoral Commission Staff

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission how many (a) public relations and (b) marketing staff the Electoral Commission employs; what the annual wage costs were for staff in each category in the last year for which figures are available; and what the (i) job titles and (ii) functions are of each of these staff. (78294)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not categorise its staff in this way. However, it employs 10 staff whose duties it considers to fall, in whole or in part, within the two areas referred to. They consist of four press officers, two staff dealing with parliamentary affairs, and four staff working on voter information campaigns. Their total annual wage costs in 2005-06 were £116,404, £62,892 and £108,129 respectively.

I have asked the Electoral Commission to write to my hon. Friend with the full details of the job titles and functions of these staff, and to place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

Administration Committee

Broadcast Proceedings

To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee if he will make a statement on the changes recommended by the Committee to the rules on broadcasting proceedings of the House and on filming and photography within the precincts. (79009)

The Committee has recently made a number of recommendations on changes to the rules on broadcasting proceedings of the House and on filming and photography within the precincts. Mr. Speaker has agreed to these changes being made on a trial basis. The Committee will consider in December whether to recommend that they be made permanent.

From the return of the House in October, and for a trial period, a greater variety of shots of proceedings in the Chamber will be allowed than is the case at present, including a greater use of reaction shots in order to illustrate the mood of the House, and the provision of a low-level atmospheric sound-feed during divisions rather than the current complete silence.

From the same time, BBC Parliament will be released on a trial basis from the undertaking previously given to the Broadcasting Committee, to carry live Commons Chamber coverage regardless of proceedings at the same time in the House of Lords, on condition that the freedom to select proceedings in the Lords should be used only sparingly, and that Mr. Speaker should be consulted in such cases. A reporter voice-over will also now be permitted during divisions.

Two new interview points have been identified within the precincts: in the south west corner of Westminster Hall once the current works there have been completed, and on the Green in New Palace Yard, subject in the latter case to a permit from the Serjeant at Arms. Filming pieces to camera of a presenter walking across Central Lobby will also be permitted before 9 am on non-sitting days, similarly subject to a permit from the Serjeant at Arms.

Leader of the House

Select Committee Recommendations

To ask the Leader of the House what actions have been taken by his Department to implement (a) Procedure and (b) Modernisation of the House of Commons Select Committee recommendations since the 2001-02 Session; and if he will make a statement. (77843)

The actions being taken by the Government in response to the reports of the Procedure and Modernisation Committees, so far as they are matters for Government, have been set out in written responses to those reports and subsequent debates on the floor of the House. The following tables give details in relation to each report.

(a) Procedure Committee

Report

Government reply and any subsequent debate

1st Report 2001-02: Making remedial orders: recommendations of the JCHR

Letter to JCHR published in HC 112 of session 2004-05

2nd Report 2001-02: Appointment of Deputy Speakers

HC 1121 of session 2001-02

3rd Report 2001-02: Parliamentary Questions

Cm 5628 Motion and related Standing Order changes debated by the House on 29 October 2002

1st (and 2nd) Reports 2002-03: Delegated Legislation: proposals for a sifting committee

HC 684 of session 2002-03

3rd Report 2002-03: Sessional Orders

HC 613 of session 2003-04 Motion debated by the House on 3 November 2004

4th report 2002-03: Procedures for Debates, Private Members' Bills and the Powers of the Speaker

HC 610 of session 2003-04 Motion and related Standing Order changes debated by the House on 26 October 2004

1st Report 2003-04: Estimates and appropriation procedure

HC 576 of session 2003-04 Motion and related Standing Order changes debated by the House on 12 May 2004

2nd Report 2003-04: Results of sitting hours questionnaire

No response required

3rd Report 2003-04: Joint activities with the National Assembly for Wales

HC 681 of session 2003-04 Related Standing Order changes debated 7 June 2004

4th Report 2003-04: Programming of Legislation

HC 1169 of session 2003-04 Motion and related Standing Order changes debated by the House on 26 October 2004

1st Report 2004-05: The Sub Judice rule of the House of Commons

No response yet required (further work being done by Committee)

1st Report 2005-06: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Letter to Chairman of Committee Recommendations being further considered during passage of the Bill

(b) Modernisation Committee

Report

Government reply and any subsequent debate

1st Report 2001-02: Select committees

Motion and related Standing Order changes debated by the House 14 May 2002

2nd Report 2001-02: House of Commons Reform programme

Motion and related Standing Order changes debated by the House 29 October 2002

1st Report (2002-03): Programming of Bills

Related Standing Order changes debated by the House 6 November 2003

1st Report (2003-04): Connecting Parliament with the Public

Related Standing Order changes and Motion debated by the House on 26 November 2004 and 26 January 2005

1st Report (2004-05): Sitting Hours

Related Standing Order changes debated by the House 26 January 2005

2nd Report (2004-05): Scrutiny of European Business

Under consideration

Transport

Antisocial Behaviour (Trains)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many antisocial behaviour orders have been applied for by the British Transport police in the last 12 months, broken down by (a) Government office region and (b) constituency. (77786)

The British Transport police (BTP) have provided the following information on the number of antisocial behaviour order applications recorded by BTP Area; data is not collected by Government office region or by parliamentary constituency.

Between 31 May 2005 and 1 June 2006 the following number of antisocial behaviour order applications were made by the BTP:

BTP area

Applications

London North

7

London South

32

London Underground

32

North East

8

North West

1

Scotland

0

Wales and Western

0

Car Sharing

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what help the Department is giving to car- sharing schemes. (77812)

Through the local transport planning system and other initiatives, the Department encourages local authorities to set up authority-wide car share schemes and to promote car sharing as part of site specific workplace travel plans.

The Highways Agency is implementing workplace travel plans on the strategic road network and piloting the use of dedicated car share lanes.

Crossrail

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect on the cost of the Crossrail project of re-using (a) the Farringdon to Moorgate section of Thameslink and (b) the disused Moorgate to Liverpool Street mainline station link. (78613)

I understand from Crossrail London Rail Links Ltd (CLRL) that reusing the section of Thameslink running from Farringdon to Moorgate for operational purposes would involve bringing the tunnel up to the surface near Farringdon and returning below ground near Moorgate. This is considered impractical, given that there is not sufficient space for tunnel portals in these areas. Therefore, CLRL has not carried out a cost assessment of this option.

CLRL have informed me that they are not aware of a disused mainline station link running from Moorgate to Liverpool Street.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps will be taken to ensure that listed buildings located at the sites of proposed Crossrail stations are not (a) damaged and (b) demolished. (78614)

We have sought to avoid adverse effects on listed buildings wherever practicable. However, the construction of Crossrail would result in the demolition of two listed buildings and the modification of a further thirteen.

We are in the process of negotiating agreements with English Heritage and the relevant local authority, as appropriate, for those listed buildings that are affected by Crossrail works. These agreements will describe the mitigation required at each location. Impacts from construction works on any listed buildings which are not covered by a separate agreement would be controlled via mechanisms set out in the environmental minimum requirements that will be set for the project. Potential settlement impacts are dealt with in Crossrail’s settlement policy.

For further information please see information paper ‘D18–Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas’ at:

http://billdocuments.crossrail.co.uk/80256FA10055060F/pages/informationpapers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the estimated cost of the Crossrail project is in each year to completion. (78620)

The Parliamentary Estimate of Expense, submitted with the Crossrail hybrid Bill, estimates the total cost of Crossrail at £10.292 billion in Q1 2002 prices. It is not possible at this stage to make reliable estimates of the likely annual cost.

Debt Collectors

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether (a) his Department and (b) its (i) executive agencies and (ii) non-departmental public bodies use the services of private debt collectors. (71076)

The services of private debt collectors are not used by the Department, its executive agencies nor its non-departmental bodies. However, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is to launch a nine-month trial from 26 June 2006 for the use of private debt collectors to recover unpaid continuous registration penalties.

Departmental Chief Accounting Officer

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) name, (b) professional and academic qualifications and (c) relevant experience are of the Chief Accounting Officer of his Department. (76840)

The Principal Accounting Officer for the Department for Transport is its Permanent Secretary, Sir David Rowlands KCB, who has a BA (Hons) Philosophy Politics and Economics (Oxon).

Principal Accounting Officer is a role that the permanent secretary combines with his personal responsibility for the overall organisation, management and staffing of the department and for Department-wide procedures in financial and other matters. The Principal Accounting Officer is assisted in the discharge of these duties by suitably qualified staff and experienced senior managers such as the finance director.

Departmental Hospitality

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will keep a separate record of the amount spent annually by his Department on alcohol for hospitality purposes. (77418)

The Department for Transport does not keep a separate record of the amount spent annually on alcohol for hospitality purposes. Expenditure in the Department is conducted in accordance with the principles of Government accounting. The Department’s policy on hospitality is set out in its staff handbook, which advises that, on each occasion, careful consideration should be given to the need, form and extent of hospitality and whether if it can be justified. Staff are prohibited from claiming alcohol under the Department’s travel and subsistence arrangements.

First Capital Connect

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations his Department has received from First Capital Connect regarding fares on its services. (78624)

Flag Flying

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ensure the Union Flag is flown from his Department’s buildings on every day the offices are open. (77738)

The Department for Transport follows the rules and guidance on flag flying issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. These rules are approved by the Queen on advice from the Department. There are no plans at present to change the number of days flags can be flown from Government buildings.

Government Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Government (a) have agreed and (b) plan to introduce a procurement policy aimed at ensuring that from 2008 the average level of carbon emissions from motor cars it purchases or leases will not exceed 140g per kilometre. (75619)

On 12 June 2006 Government launched new targets for sustainable operations on the Government estate, alongside the Sustainable Procurement Task Force Action Plan. The target for reducing carbon emissions from road vehicles used for Government administrative operations is 15 per cent. by 2010-11, relative to 2005-06 levels.

Great Western Route

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will investigate the reasons for (a) recent delays on the Great Western route and (b) track performance problems in hot weather. (78031)

[holding answer 19 June 2006]: I have held meetings with First Great Western and Network Rail to assess performance. Joint action plans are in place between Network Rail and FGW to address performance issues. These are monitored monthly.

Whether to impose temporary speed restrictions during spells of hot weather is a matter for Network Rail to judge in line with its normal operating procedures.

Industrial Action (Railways)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many working days on the rail network were lost to industrial action in the last 12 months, broken down by region. (77781)

The Department does not keep a record of days lost to industrial action as industrial relations are a matter between individual employers and employees.

Invalid Carriages

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many recommendations of the Final Report for the Review of Class Two and Class Three Powered Wheelchairs and Powered Scooters (invalid carriages) published in July 2005 have been implemented; and if he will make a statement. (76464)

We are considering the recommendations made in the report from Transport and Travel Research Ltd. fully before taking any action on the recommendations.

Legislation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) which Government Bills sponsored by his Department remain to be introduced during the 2005-06 Session; (77845)

(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.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend, the Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Straw) on 16 June 2006, Official Report, column 1431W.

Leominster Station

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria he used in deciding not to include Leominster train station on the Access for All station list. (77672)

The criteria used for prioritising stations to receive accessibility improvements as part of the Access for All programme were published in the Railways for All Strategy; a copy of which is available in the House Library.

M25

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the merits of charging for use of the M25. (78860)

No specific assessment has been made of the merits of charging for use of the M25. The Road Pricing Feasibility Study, published in 2004, considered the merits of a possible future national road pricing system for all roads including the motorway network.

Reduced Fare Tickets

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is towards train operators who intend to limit the use of (a) cheap day and (b) other reduced fare tickets between 1630 and 1900 to and from London; and if he will make a statement. (77468)

Off-peak fares are unregulated, which means operators are free to create fares, withdraw fares, set prices and any time restrictions on a commercial basis, to fill spare off-peak capacity.

Roads

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what work is scheduled to improve the condition of the (a) A12 and (b) A127. (78623)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the carbon dioxide impact of each road scheme which he has approved since 2000 through the local transport plans. (75929)

The Department considers carbon dioxide impacts of road schemes as part of the normal major scheme approval processes. However, information on the carbon dioxide impact of each road scheme approved since 2000 through local transport plans could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has held with ministerial colleagues on the removal of roadside distractions. (77939)

Rochdale/Oldham Loop Line

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to claw back funding from the operators of the Rochdale/Oldham Loop Line following reductions in services over the last four years. (76668)

Northern Rail operates services between Manchester and Oldham/Rochdale. The level of service which Northern Rail operates between these locations is in line with that required by its franchise agreement.

Rural Transport Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many rural bus services have (a) stopped and (b) been suspended indefinitely in each year since 1997. (78204)

The total numbers of local bus service cancellations is given in the following table. It is not possible to identify which of the services cancelled were rural bus services.

Total number of bus service cancellations

Total number of new services introduced

1997-98

4,283

5,081

1998-99

4,385

5,813

1999-2000

6,224

4,718

2000-01

4,533

4,746

2001-02

3,947

5,108

2002-03

3,420

4,537

2003-04

3,271

4,581

2004-05

3,190

4,562

Total

33,253

39,146

Note: GB figures, taken from Traffic Commissioner annual reports

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many bus passenger miles in rural areas were undertaken in (a) 1997 and (b) 2005; and how many of these were supported by public funds. (78205)

The Department does not hold information on passenger miles for all rural areas in the form requested, and it is not possible to identify total local authority support for rural services. However, in 1998, in recognition of the particular needs of rural areas, we introduced specific funding for the support of rural bus services through the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant (RBSG). The grant is distributed to local authorities on the basis of their rural population. Total grant for England has risen from £32.5 million in 1998 to £54.3 million in 2006. The grant has provided for over 2,000 new and enhanced services.

Sex Offenders Register

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether provisions exist to prevent people on the Sex Offenders Register from being allowed on to the Register of Approved Driving Instructors. (79112)

We currently do not check the Sex Offenders Register for Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) applications. Later this year, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) will introduce enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks for all applicants and those already on the register.

In the meantime, one of the conditions for registration is that the applicant is a ‘fit and proper’ person to have his name entered in the ADI register. As part of that assessment each applicant is required to declare any unspent convictions. The ADI registrar, in considering whether the applicant is ‘fit and proper’ takes account of character references and any declared convictions. Extracts of relevant court proceedings are considered where appropriate.

Should the registrar become aware of anything, including convictions, that would call into doubt a registered ADI’s fitness then he can initiate proceedings to remove them from the register.

Special Advisers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 25 May 2006, Official Report, column 1957W, on special advisers, how much was spent on travel and subsistence for special advisers between (a) July and December and (b) December 2005 and the end of the financial year. (77417)

The total amount spent on travel and subsistence for special advisers between (a) July to end December 2005 and (b) January 2006 to the end of the financial year are as follows:

Period

Travel and subsistence costs (£)

(a) July to end December 2005

3,682.48

(b) January to end March 2006

529.68

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

Swindon-Cheltenham Railway Line

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to re-signal the railway line from Swindon to Cheltenham. (77811)

Any plan to re-signal this route is an operational matter for Network Rail and their recently published business plan included £118 million to be spent on signalling on the Great Western Mainline as a whole over the next 3 years.

Weymouth Relief Road

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether he has approved the building of the Weymouth Relief Road; (77774)

(2) what funding has been allocated for building the Weymouth Relief Road in each of the next 10 years.

The Weymouth Relief Road was provisionally accepted for funding through the Local Transport Programme with an agreed contribution of £54.567 million in December 2003, subject to Dorset county council completing the relevant statutory processes and complying with the conditions in our offer of funding.

In July 2005 we invited the South West region to provide advice on the priority it attaches to major transport schemes in the South West, including the Weymouth Relief Road, within an indicative Regional Funding Allocation up to 2015-16. We hope to announce our response to this advice before the summer recess.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans the building of the Weymouth Relief Road to start; and when it is scheduled to be completed. (77775)

Dorset county council, as the promoting authority for this scheme, is responsible for its delivery including completion of the necessary statutory procedures and compliance with the Department's major scheme requirements. We hope to respond before the summer recess to the region's advice on their priorities and suggested funding timescales for this and other schemes within the indicative Regional Funding Allocation for the South West.

Culture, Media and Sport

BBC

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with the management of the BBC as part of the charter renewal process regarding the proposed re-location of BBC departments to Manchester. (78147)

The Department has held numerous discussions with the management of the BBC on a wide range of issues as part of charter review, including on the BBC's proposals to move a significant amount of production outside London, particularly to the north west of England. The Government welcome the BBC's proposals in principle, subject to proper consideration of value for money.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she will announce the new BBC licence fee settlement; and if she will make a statement. (77534)

The BBC’s current licence fee settlement runs until the end of financial year 2006-07. The Government are currently conducting a funding review to determine the level of the television licence fee to apply from April 2007. It will announce the outcome later this year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what account she will take of HM Treasury's forecast rate of growth of household income in determining the BBC's request for a licence fee increase of 2.3 per cent. above inflation; (78112)

(2) what account she will take of the licence fee increase agreed in 2001 in determining the appropriate level of the BBC licence fee in the future;

(3) how she plans to determine affordability in setting the appropriate future level of the BBC licence fee;

(4) what account she will take of commitments to ensure (a) efficiency savings and (b) the prevention of inflation of staff and talent costs at the BBC in determining the future level of the BBC licence fee.

The Government are currently conducting a funding review to determine the level of the licence fee to apply from April 2007. All relevant factors will be considered as part of the review.

Commonwealth Institute Building

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether her Department has plans to bring forward legislation relating to the Commonwealth Institute building; what meetings (a) she and (b) her officials have had to discuss delisting of the Commonwealth Institute; and who attended each meeting. (78379)

Given the Commonwealth Institute's unique role as an international and inter-governmental organisation, whose future is of concern to all 53 Commonwealth countries, Government are considering whether special measures are appropriate in relation to the Commonwealth Institute building. No decisions have yet been taken.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had two meetings with representatives of the Commonwealth Institute. A cross-government working group, which included representatives from the Commonwealth Institute, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development, Department for Education and Skills, and No. 10 met on a number of occasions to discuss Government support for the Commonwealth Institute. The group received advice on the planning process from the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which Minister in her Department is responsible for monitoring her Department’s compliance with its duty under section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to have regard to the purpose of conserving biological diversity in carrying out its functions; and if she will make a statement. (73947)

Under Section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, Ministers and Government Departments have a duty to have regard to the purpose of conserving biological diversity. This has been replaced by a similar provision under Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act which comes into effect on the 1 October 2006. There is no statutory duty to monitor compliance with this duty.

I have responsibility within the Department for sustainable development issues. We have taken a number of steps to benefit biodiversity including:

Signing up to the biodiversity target under the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate.

Continuing to support the work of the Royal Parks Agency, delivered through their biodiversity management plans for each of the eight royal parks.

Departmental Chief Accounting Officer

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the (a) name, (b) professional and academic qualifications and (c) relevant experience are of the chief accounting officer of her Department. (76823)

The permanent secretary, Dame Sue Street, is the accounting officer for DCMS, has an MA degree and her professional career spans over 30 years in the public and private sector. The accounting officer is a role that the permanent secretary combines with her personal responsibility for the overall organisation, management and staffing of the Department and for Department-wide procedures in financial and other matters. The accounting officer is assisted in the discharge of these duties by suitably qualified and experienced senior managers including the chief operating officer who has a degree in economics and is an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Departmental Hospitality

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will keep a separate record of the amount spent annually by her Department on alcohol for hospitality purposes. (77197)

Expenditure in the Department is conducted in accordance with the principles of Government accounting as well as the Department’s internal guidance, including that on hospitality.

In line with this, the Department maintains records of expenditure on overall hospitality. The costs associated with expenditure on alcohol are met from within constraints of delegated divisional hospitality and are not separately identified. I have no plans to record these separately.

Diamond Jubilee

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what preparations are being made to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012. (78586)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is not currently involved in preparations to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Any announcement of plans will be made closer to the time.

Film Licensing Certificates

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what guidance the Government have issued to licensing authorities on their powers to regulate film licensing certificates following the introduction of the Licensing Act 2003. (78300)

Guidance to local licensing authorities on this matter was issued as part of the guidance issued under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003, published in July 2004.

Goodison Report

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many of the recommendations of the Goodison report she has implemented; which recommendations relating to direct taxation she has implemented; and what plans she has to implement the recommendations not implemented to date. (78308)

The Goodison report contains a total of 45 recommendations. Of these, 29 recommendations are directed at a range of bodies, including: my own Department; the various funding bodies; the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA—formerly Resource); the Arts and Humanities Research Council (formerly—Arts and Humanities Research Board); the Trustees of the National Heritage Memorial Fund/Heritage Lottery Fund; HM Revenue and Customs; and 16 recommendations relate to taxation and so are a matter for the Treasury.

The key areas in which the Goodison Report has been implemented are as follows:

my Department's administrative responsibilities for export licensing, the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art, the Government indemnity scheme and the acceptance in lieu scheme have all been transferred to the MLA;

the Renaissance in the Regions programme for regional museums has been extended to all nine English regions;

annual funding for the National Heritage Memorial Fund will increase to £10 million in 2007-08; and

the VAT refund scheme has been extended to university museums and galleries.

Legislation

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) which Government Bills sponsored by her Department remain to be introduced during the 2005-06 session; (77833)

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

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Straw) on 16 June 2006, Official Report, column 1431W.

Licensing Act

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will issue guidance on the licensing requirements for garden fetes and similar events held solely for the purpose of raising money for good causes which include an element of live music and charge a fee for entrance, but at which no alcohol is provided and there is no element of private gain. (77658)

I see no requirement for guidance to licensing authorities covering the circumstances described, since the provision of entertainment at a garden fete or similar event held for charitable purposes is not ‘regulated entertainment’ for the purposes of the Licensing Act 2003. Such an event would therefore be exempt from the requirement for a licence, unless the intention was to apply some or all of its proceeds for the purposes of private gain or to undertake the sale or supply of alcohol.

London Bombings (Assembly Report)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what response she has made to the recommendations aimed at her Department in the London Assembly’s report on the 7 July bombings. (77535)

The Assembly report puts forward one recommendation for my Department. We will provide a full response to the 7 July Review Committee in due course.

National Lottery

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to which organisations New Opportunities funding has been distributed in each Westminster constituency; and which projects were funded. (78548)

The New Opportunities Fund (NOF) has made 1,831 lottery grants, with a total value of over £110 million, in Northern Ireland. It is not possible to list all the recipient organisations and projects, but details of each project can be viewed on my Department's website, searchable at www.lottery.culture.gov.uk, which uses information supplied by the lottery distributors.

The following table gives the number and value of NOF awards in each Westminster constituency in Northern Ireland.

Constituency

Number of awards

Total value of awards (£)

Belfast East

56

1,953,046

Belfast North

114

16,448,626

Belfast South

107

16,190, 263

Belfast West

119

4,854,711

East Antrim

58

746,982

East Londonderry

102

1,661,302

Fermanagh and South Tyrone

144

4,065,440

Foyle

168

8,271,792

Lagan Valley

66

1,644,067

Mid Ulster

141

7,610,417

Newry and Armagh

139

10,320,619

North Antrim

106

12,633,210

North Down

48

1,212,856

South Antrim

84

2,081,065

South Down

90

1,777,694

Strangford

85

9,308,154

Upper Bann

72

2,124,799

West Tyrone

132

7,447,990

Tourism

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what percentage of gross domestic product was accounted for by tourism in (a) Wales and (b) the rest of the United Kingdom in the last year for which figures are available. (78870)

Industry-specific data are only available for Gross Value Added (GVA), not Gross Domestic Product.

In direct terms, tourism contributes approximately 3.7 per cent. of whole-economy value added in Wales. For the UK in total, tourism contributed an estimated 3.4 per cent. of GVA in 2003 (it is not possible to provide a figure for the UK excluding Wales).

These figures were both calculated using tourism satellite account methodology but were derived separately and so are not directly comparable.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which 10 tourist attractions in (a) Cambridgeshire, (b) Peterborough constituency and (c) Peterborough city council area attracted the largest number of visitors in each year since 1997. (77912)

My Department does not maintain central records of visitors to tourist attractions. However VisitBritain and its predecessor have previously carried out periodical surveys of regional attractions. The data available from the surveys covering Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the estimated visitor numbers for the most popular attractions in these areas is set out in the following tables.

(a) Cambridgeshire

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

Imperial War Museum, Duxford

391,388

403,928

399,824

390,611

434,322

382,255

442,772

444,478

King's College Chapel, Cambridge

300,674

285,602

264,565

245,926

209,736

212,244

201,887

21,510

Cambridge American Cemetery

289.845

171,025

84,800

171,109

159,719

175,000

175,00

160,000

Anglesey Abbey, Lode

108,886

118,824

124,526

124,050

132,238

141,651

165,882

160,449

Ely Cathedral

250,000

250,000

91,918

86,707

90,052

86,034

79,221

78,183

University Botanic Garden, Cambridge

100,000

110,000

110,000

100,000

110,000

103,500

127,336

124,885

Peterborough Cathedral

90,000

90,000

80,000

48,700

46,706

48,291

54,153

60,563

Nene Valley Railway, Stibbington

59,363

66,210

66,493

63,278

64,606

1

1

1

Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery

39,000

34,045

31,432

1

1

33,183

31,003

31,088

Sedgwick Museum

23,760

22,437

21,042

21,364

21,014

22,454

1

1

1 No data.

(b) Peterborough

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

Big Sky Adventure Play, Peterborough

105,000

110,391

140,334

1

1

1

1

1

Peterborough Cathedral

90,000

90,000

80,000

48,700

46,706

48,291

54,153

60,563

Nene Valley Railway, Stibbington

59,363

66,210

66,493

63,278

64,606

1

1

1

Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery

39,000

34,045

31,432

1

1

33,183

31,003

31,088

Activity World, Peterborough

80,000

82,000

1

1

1

1

1

1

Flag Fen Bronze Age Centre

1

1

1

1

1

15,490

1

1

Railworld

1

1

1

1

1

3,466

1

1

Thorney Abbey Church

1

1

1

1

1

800

1

1

Thorney Heritage Museum

1

1

1

1

1

743

1

1

Longthorpe Tower

1

1

1

1

1

459

1

1

1 No data.

Trooping the Colour

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how the Government will be represented at this year’s Trooping the Colour. (78861)

Trooping the Colour at the Queen’s birthday parade is organised by Headquarters The Household Division. They do not allocate tickets to individual Members of the Government, but blocks of seats are allocated to the Prime Minister’s Office and to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Ministry of Defence was represented by the Armed Forces Minister.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether the (a) flag of the Commonwealth and (b) personal Commonwealth flag of Her Majesty the Queen will be displayed at this year's Trooping the Colour. (78862)

For Trooping of the Colour, the flags of all 53 countries currently in the Commonwealth are flown in Horseguards Road. The flag of the Commonwealth and the personal Commonwealth flag of Her Majesty are not flown.

Minister for Women

People Trafficking

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what discussions she has had with the Home Office on border controls to prevent the trafficking of young women into the United Kingdom. (75356)

As a Member of the Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking, I work closely with Home Office colleagues to ensure that provision for victims is sensitive to the needs of young women trafficked into the UK for sexual exploitation. All UK immigration officers have been made aware of a best practice toolkit to enable prompt and accurate identification of victims. In addition, immigration officers receive regular intelligence briefings and inter-agency briefings that highlight issues and trends in respect of trafficking.

Communities and Local Government

Brownfield Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 22 May 2006, Official Report, columns 1387-88W, on Brownfield development, if she will break down the 2004 figures in each column by region. (74283)

The information available is from Land Use Change Statistics, shown in the following tables.

New dwellings on previously developed land as a proportion of all new dwellings (excluding conversions), by GOR

Percentage

North East

North West

Yorkshire and Humber

East Midlands

West Midlands

East of England

London

South East

South West

England

1986

39

53

45

38

51

52

76

75

37

51

1987

35

48

39

46

45

46

91

47

37

48

1988

41

51

42

36

46

52

85

54

38

50

1989

45

50

43

41

46

52

87

56

45

52

1990

42

55

44

41

50

53

84

54

42

51

1991

47

55

43

38

49

47

83

55

35

50

1992

56

62

47

37

53

48

89

51

40

53

1993

42

62

51

35

56

52

87

53

36

53

1994

52

57

50

37

49

56

83

48

35

51

1995

50

60

49

38

53

56

84

54

37

54

1996

53

65

51

37

50

53

82

57

35

54

1997

46

58

49

37

56

53

89

54

34

53

1998

50

62

51

35

54

54

92

56

38

55

1999

40

60

50

37

54

58

89

62

40

56

2000

47

68

57

43

55

54

89

62

45

59

2001

45

70

55

48

60

59

90

66

49

60

2002

57

72

63

54

67

58

90

66

48

64

2003

52

72

65

54

70

59

95

65

58

66

2004

61

78

68

54

73

62

95

72

54

69

Source:

Land Use Change in England: Residential development to 2005 (LUCS-21)

New dwellings on previously residential land as a proportion of all new dwellings, by GOR

North East

North West

Yorkshire and Humber

East Midlands

West Midlands

East of England

London

South East

South West

England

1986

20

6

10

25

35

37

27

32

24

26

1987

25

20

16

20

21

25

28

24

19

22

1988

13

10

15

15

15

20

22

28

19

19

1989

6

10

13

14

12

22

25

27

18

18

1990

7

11

15

15

15

25

29

30

21

20

1991

5

10

13

11

11

18

22

24

16

16

1992

6

8

16

13

11

20

12

24

19

16

1993

4

7

12

10

10

16

10

19

15

12

1994

9

6

10

7

8

15

10

16

11

11

1995

10

7

9

10

11

15

9

17

14

12

1996

11

8

10

8

9

13

10

16

15

11

1997

6

7

7

8

11

13

13

16

13

11

1998

3

7

11

8

10

14

13

17

14

12

1999

4

9

9

8

9

17

12

17

15

12

2000

6

13

10

8

11

16

17

19

18

14

2001

6

9

12

10

11

17

17

21

17

14

2002

6

9

12

10

13

15

17

22

18

15

2003

4

9

15

11

14

14

16

22

20

15

2004

10

10

14

9

12

16

13

26

18

15

Source:

Land Use Change in England: Residential development to 2005 (LUCS-21)

Building Regulations

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what inspection is made of enforcement of building regulation by private sector providers. (75667)

Private sector approved inspectors do not have enforcement powers for breaches of the Building Regulations. No formal inspection is made of the work of either the public or private sector as, under the Building Act 1984, building control is a fully devolved service. However, my officials meet with representatives of both sectors to discuss operational and delivery issues, and have helped to develop Performance Indicators and a revised Performance Standards Handbook, both due to be published soon.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment her Department has made of the extent to which private sector providers are used by local authorities to enforce building regulations. (76938)

We have made no such assessment. The statutory function of enforcing the building regulations rests with local authorities. Local authorities may engage private sector professional assistance to help them discharge their day-to-day building control responsibilities, e.g. assisting with plan checking.

Bullying

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many complaints of bullying were made in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in 2005-06; and how many cases were upheld. (78336)

Staff are encouraged to seek an informal resolution of all matters in dispute with the individual and their line manager. Where it is not possible to resolve informally, complaints of bullying are dealt with under the Department’s complaints and grievances procedures. Information on the number of cases dealt with is not collected centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Castle Point Borough Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment she has made of the performance of Castle Point borough council; what steps she is taking to improve the performance of the council; and if she will make a statement. (78176)

A lead official from the Department for Communities and Local Government is working with Castle Point borough council following the council’s assessment as ‘poor’ under the Comprehensive Performance Assessment in June 2004. The lead official advises Ministers regularly on the capability and capacity of the council and following significant improvements over the last year, particularly in the strength of officer and political management, we have recently agreed that formal monitoring meetings will be held on a two monthly rather than a monthly basis.

In December last year the Audit Commission reported that the council were making ‘good progress’.

Departmental Staff