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Written Answers

Volume 447: debated on Thursday 22 June 2006

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 22 June 2006

Treasury

Breast Cancer

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will authorise the recording of inflammatory breast cancer on death certificates where appropriate instead of a general description of advanced breast cancer. (78986)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the national statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 21 June 2006:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question the recording of inflammatory breast cancer on death certificates where appropriate instead of a general description of advanced breast cancer. (78986)

Guidance for doctors on completion of the medical certificate of cause of death is available at www.gro.gov.uk/medcert/. This guidance follows that set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). It does not dictate or constrain the terminology used by doctors.

All breast cancer deaths are coded to the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code C50, which only identifies the site of the tumour. Neither of the terms ‘advanced’ or ‘inflammatory’ would change the ICD coding of the cause of death.

Although WHO are currently reviewing the ICD, the change proposed in the question would be a fundamental change in the axes used for classification and more crucially, would have no impact on the way that breast cancer deaths were coded and hence reported.

Causes of Death

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) males and (b) females aged 16 to 24 years died as a result of (i) road traffic accidents, (ii) suicide, (iii) sexually transmitted diseases, (iv) drug misuse, (v) alcohol misuse and (vi) murder/manslaughter during each year since 1990. (79500)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 22 June 2006:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many (a) males and (b) females aged 16 to 24 years died as a result of (i) road traffic accidents, (ii) suicide, (iii) sexually transmitted diseases, (iv) drug misuse, (v) alcohol misuse and (vi) murder/manslaughter during each year since 1990. I am replying in her absence. (79500)

ONS routinely publishes numbers of deaths for causes which may be sexually transmitted, such as HIV or Hepatitis B infection. Information is not however normally available from the death certificate on the actual method of transmission for deaths from these causes and so figures for sexually transmitted diseases cannot be provided.

The most recently available information is for deaths in 2004. Figures for deaths in males and females aged 16 to 24 years for land transport accidents, suicide or injury/poisoning of undetermined intent, alcohol-related causes, and assault are shown in the table below for each year from 1990 to 2004. Figures for drug misuse are only available from 1993 onwards.

Number of deaths for males and females aged 16 to 24 by selected causes, England and Wales, 1990-20041

Land transport accidents2

Suicide or injury /poisoning of undetermined intent3

Drug misuse4

Alcohol-related5

Assault6

Male

1990

1,096

615

14

82

1991

973

563

9

77

1992

814

566

12

76

1993

617

549

136

14

93

1994

609

522

204

11

85

1995

589

477

222

12

98

1996

608

446

239

12

96

1997

614

497

260

19

83

1998

497

454

230

19

85

1999

501

433

251

15

100

2000

526

386

208

18

124

2001

561

375

234

26

112

2002

557

342

234

9

98

2003

595

366

141

15

100

2004

546

316

136

12

128

Female

1990

221

117

5

32

1991

240

134

5

46

1992

207

118

3

40

1993

153

115

29

10

46

1994

174

94

38

1

48

1995

148

112

35

1

30

1996

139

114

46

4

32

1997

143

105

43

3

28

1998

139

122

61

3

40

1999

140

108

45

4

27

2000

115

109

60

5

41

2001

124

90

58

3

40

2002

133

91

38

3

31

2003

121

91

41

5

43

2004

131

103

44

4

35

1 Data are for registrations of death in each calendar year from 1990 to 1992 and for occurrences of death in each calendar year from 1993onwards.

2 The cause of death for land transport accidents was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes E800-E829for the years 1990 to 2000, and, for the years 2001 to 2004, the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes V01-V89.

3 The cause of death for suicide (intentional self-harm) or injury/poisoning of undetermined intent was defined using ICD-9 codes E950-E959 and E980-E989 excluding E988.8for the years 1990 to 2000, and, for the years 2001 to 2004, ICD-10 codes X60-X84 and YJO-Y34 excluding Y33.9 where the Coroner's verdict was pending.

4 The cause of death for drug misuse was defined using ICD-9 codes 292, 304, 305.2-305.9, E850-E858, E950.0-E950.5, E962.0 and E980.0-E980.5 for the years 1990 to 2000, and, for the years 2001 to 2004JCD-10 codes F11-F16, F18-F19, X40-X44, X60-X64, X85 and Y10-Y14, where the underlying cause was drug-related poisoning and a drug controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 was mentioned on the death record.

5 Alcohol-related deaths were defined using ICD-9 codes 291, 303, 305.0,425.5, 571 and E860 for the years 1990 to 2000, and, for the years 2001 to 2004, ICD-10 codes F10, 142.6, K70, K73, K74 and X45.

6 The cause of death for assault was defined using ICD-9 codes E960-E969 and E988.8for the years 1990 to 2000, and, for the years 2001 to 2004, ICD-10 codes X85-Y09 and Y33.9 where the Coroner's verdict was pending.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many children aged between 11 and 18 years died as a result of (a) road traffic accidents, (b) suicide, (c) sexually transmitted diseases, (d) drug misuse, (e) alcohol misuse and (f) murder or manslaughter in each year since 1990. (79579)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 22 June 2006:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many (a) males and (b) females aged 11 to 18 years died as a result of (i) road traffic accidents, (ii) suicide, (iii) sexually transmitted diseases, (iv) drug misuse, (v) alcohol misuse and (vi) murder/manslaughter during each year since 1990. I am replying in her absence. (79579)

ONS routinely publishes numbers of deaths for causes which may be sexually transmitted, such as HIV or Hepatitis B infection. Information is not however normally available from the death certificate on the actual method of transmission for deaths from these causes and so figures for sexually transmitted diseases cannot be provided.

The most recently available information is for deaths in 2004. Figures for deaths in males and females aged 11 to 18 years for land transport accidents, suicide only, suicide or injury/poisoning of undetermined intent, alcohol-related causes, and assault are shown in the table below for each year from 1990 to 2004. Figures for drug misuse are only available from 1993 onwards.

It is assumed that most deaths from injury/poisoning of undetermined intent at ages 15 and over are cases where the harm was self-inflicted, but there was insufficient evidence to prove that the deceased deliberately intended to kill themselves. This cannot be assumed in deaths at ages under 15 and therefore deaths from injury/poisoning of undetermined intent are not included when examining suicide (intentional self-harm) in children. The table below shows the number of suicides in children aged 11 to 14, and the number of suicide or injury/poisoning of undetermined intent deaths in those aged 15 to 18.

Number of deaths in males and females aged 11 to 18 by selected cause, England and Wales, 1990-20041

Land transport accidents2

Suicide3 (aged11-14)

Suicide or injury/poisoning of undetermined intent4 (aged 15-18)

Drug misuse5

Alcohol-related6

Assault7

Male

1990

481

2

98

3

31

1991

414

2

93

1

28

1992

352

1

74

2

19

1993

234

5

76

31

3

29

1994

274

5

75

26

1

21

1995

279

1

74

35

1

36

1996

310

3

87

40

2

38

1997

275

2

79

44

8

34

1998

209

1

86

35

3

30

1999

226

2

87

45

2

43

2000

253

2

80

29

2

39

2001

247

3

82

24

5

34

2002

231

3

69

30

2

43

2003

244

0

63

20

3

37

2004

242

3

63

18

1

38

Female

1990

149

0

25

3

11

1991

139

1

31

0

19

1992

131

0

19

1

18

1993

111

2

25

5

1

18

1994

111

2

13

10

0

11

1995

77

4

30

11

0

14

1996

103

0

32

9

2

17

1997

109

3

24

15

0

12

1998

92

2

28

14

1

20

1999

96

0

34

8

1

11

2000

68

1

37

15

1

20

2001

78

2

17

18

1

15

2002

72

2

29

11

0

17

2003

72

3

20

5

1

17

2004

87

2

29

7

1

12

1 Data are for registrations of death in each calendar year from1990 to 1992 and for occurrences of death in each calendar year from 1993 onwards.

2 The cause of death for land transport accidents was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes E800-E829for the years 1990 to 2000, and, for the years 2001 to 2004, the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes VQ1-V89.

3 The cause of death for suicide (intentional self-harm) was defined using the ICD-9 codes E950-E959 for the years 1990 to 2000, and, for the years 2001 to 2004, ICD-10 codes X60-X84.

4 The cause of death for suicide (intentional self-harm) or injury/poisoning of undetermined intent was defined using ICD-9 codes E950-E959 and E980-E989 excluding E988.8for the years 1990 to 2000, and, for the years 2001 to 2004, ICD-10 codes X60-X84 and Y10-Y34 excluding Y33.9 where the Coroner's verdict was pending.

5 The cause of death for drug misuse was defined using ICD-9 codes 292, 304, 305.2-305.9, E850-E858, E950.0-E950.5, E962.0 and E980.0-E980.5for the years 1990 to 2000, and, for the years 2001 to 2004,ICD-10 codes F11-F16, F18-F19, X40-X44, X60-X64, X85 and Y10-Y14, where the underlying cause was drug-related poisoning and a drug controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 was mentioned on the death record.

6 Alcohol-related deaths were defined using ICD-9 codes 291, 303, 305.0,425.5, 571 and E860for the years 1990 to 2000, and, for the years 2001 to 2004, ICD-10 codes F10, 142.6, K70, K73, K74 and X45.

7 The cause of death for assault was defined using ICD-9 codes E960-E969 and E988.8for the years 1990 to 2000, and, for the years 2001 to 2004, ICD-10 codes X85-Y09 and Y33.9 where the Coroner's verdict was pending.

Flight Costs

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) aircraft flights and (b) helicopter flights have been made by him on official business since 5 May; what was the (i) cost and (ii) purpose of each flight; and if he will make a statement. (77261)

The Prime Minister releases details of ministerial travel annually via a written statement to the House. It is expected that information relating to the 2006-07 financial year will be released shortly before the 2007 summer recess.

Minimum Wage (Lewisham, Deptford)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people aged (a) 22 years and over, (b) 18 to 21 years and (c) under 18 years are receiving the minimum wage in (i) Lewisham, Deptford constituency and (ii) Lewisham borough. (79159)

I have been asked to reply.

Earnings data at the parliamentary constituency level are not available.

However, earnings data are available by Government office region. Although it is not possible to estimate the number of jobs paid exactly at the National Minimum Wage, the DTI estimates that in April 2005 there were 28,000 jobs held by employees aged 16 or over in the London region paid a wage within a 5p range of the National Minimum Wage. This estimate is based on data from the Office for National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2005.

NHS Deficits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidance he has given to the Department of Health on the financial recovery of NHS deficits. (79620)

The Treasury agrees budgets with Departments and it is the responsibility of Departments to ensure they remain within these budgets.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health on deficits in the NHS; and if he will make a statement. (79621)

Treasury Ministers and officials have regular discussions with Ministers and officials in the Department of Health as part of the process of policy analysis, development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such discussions.

NHS Funding

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his spending plans are for the NHS in the next two years; and what he expects growth in spending on the NHS to be in each year to 2009-10. (79613)

As published in Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 2006, the spending plans for the NHS are shown in the following table:

£ million

2006-07

2007-08

Resources

79,997

87,062

Capital

5,227

6,199

As the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury announced on 19 July 2005, a second Comprehensive Spending Review, reporting in 2007, will set departmental allocations for the period 2008-09 to 2010-11.

Pension Contributions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate (a) the number of people who received and (b) the amount of income tax relief granted on pension contributions given to (i) basic rate taxpayers and (ii) higher rate taxpayers in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (79309)

Estimates of the annual cost of tax relief on private pensions are available on Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/pensions/7_9_sep05.pdf.

We estimate that around 55 per cent. of tax relief on pension contributions is received by around 2.5 million higher rate taxpayers. But it is not possible to give a time series for this split by taxpayer band.

Poverty Reduction

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department has taken to reduce poverty in Coventry, South since 1997. (79028)

The Treasury has, in partnership with other Government Departments, tackled poverty and promoted economic opportunity through:

Promoting macroeconomic stability

Supporting work for those who can and ensuring that work pays, through the new deals, a national minimum wage and the working tax credit

Providing financial support for groups at particular risk of poverty, such as child benefit and the child tax for families, and the pension credit for pensioners.

Across the UK, these measures have helped lift more than a million people out of poverty since 1997. Tax credits are benefiting more than 420,000 families in the West Midlands region, and in Coventry, South claimant unemployment has fallen by over 30 per cent., youth unemployment has fallen by 63 per cent. and long-term unemployment has fallen by 82 per cent.

Science City Initiative

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider how the city of Durham’s science expertise can be better recognised within the Science City Initiative. (79182)

In the 2004 pre-Budget report and in Budget 2005, the Government supported plans by the regional development agencies (RDAs) to develop six “science cities” in Manchester, Newcastle, York, Birmingham, Nottingham and Bristol. It is for RDAs to take the lead role in identifying science cities and detailed implementation plans, in line with their wider strategies for regional economic development, science and innovation.

Smuggled Illegal Meat

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total value of smuggled illegal meat seized by UK enforcement officials was in (a) the UK and (b) Scotland in each of the past five years. (79358)

HM Revenue and Customs record seizures of illegal meat by the numbers and overall weight rather than by value. Information on the numbers and overall weight of illegal meat seizures is as follows:

Great BritainScotland

Number of seizures

Weight in kilos

Number of seizures

Weight in kilos

2003-04

6,473

69,927

658

1,929

2004-05

10,792

77,087

778

2,1 86

Information on the number of seizures made prior to April 2003 can be found in DEFRA’s Annual Review of Controls on Imports of Animal Products last published in July 2005. Seizure statistics for 2005-06 will be included in the next DEFRA Annual Review of Controls on Imports of Animal Products due to be published next month.

Stakeholder Pensions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average employee stakeholder pension contribution was in each year since its introduction. (79308)

Estimates of the average employee stakeholder pension contribution by tax year since the introduction of stakeholder pensions in 2001 are published in Table 7.10, “Personal and Stakeholder Pensions: Number of individuals contributing and average contribution by status and earned income”, on the HMRC website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/pensions/menu-by-year.htm.

Suicide

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many farmers committed suicide in each of the last 10 years. (79499)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the national statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 22 June 2006:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many farmers committed suicide in each of the last 10 years. (79499)

The most recently available information is for deaths in 2004. Figures for deaths of farm workers and farm owners from suicide (intentional self-harm) or injury/poisoning of undetermined intent are shown in the table below for each year from 1995 to 2004.

Number of deaths from intentional self-harm1 or injury/poisoning of undetermined intent2 in farm workers and farm owners3, aged 20-74, England & Wales, 1995-20044

Number of deaths

1995

54

1996

64

1997

59

1998

72

1999

70

2000

58

2001

55

2002

45

2003

55

2004

42

1 The cause of death for intentional self-harm was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes E950-E959for the years 1995 to 2000, and, for the years 2001 to 2004, the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes X60-X84.

2 The cause of death for injury/poisoning of undetermined intent was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes E980-E989 excluding E988.8for 1995 to 2000, and, for the years 2001 to 2004, the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes Y10-Y34 excluding Y33.9 where the Coroner’s verdict was pending.

3 The occupation coded at death registration is the last gainful occupation of the deceased, as supplied by the informant who registers the death. Occupation is not coded by ONS for deaths of persons aged over 74. ONS Standard Occupational Classification 1990 (SOC90) codes 900, 901 and 160 were selected for data from 1995 to 2000, and ONS Standard Occupational Classification 2000 (SOC2000) codes 8223, 9111, 1211 and 5111 were selected for data from 2001 to 2004.

4 Data are for occurrences of death in each calendar year.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the rate of suicide was among people in (a) areas with a population below 10,000 inhabitants and (b) England in each of the last 10 years. (79498)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 22 June 2006:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the rate of suicide was among people in (a) areas with a population below 10,000 inhabitants and (b) England in each of the last 10 years. I am replying in her absence. (79498)

ONS does not produce suicide rates for areas smaller than local authorities as meaningful figures cannot be calculated for very small populations. The latest available suicide rates for local authorities in England and Wales are for the period 2000-2003 and these can be found on the National Statistics website: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/Product.asp?vlnk=13618

The most recent year for which figures are available for England is 2004. The table below shows rates for deaths with a verdict of suicide or injury/poisoning of undetermined intent in England for the years 1995 to 2004.

Death rates1 from suicide or injury/poisoning of undetermined intent2, England, 1995 to 20043

Rate

1995

9.2

1996

9.1

1997

9.3

1998

9.6

1999

9.5

2000

9.0

2001

8.5

2002

8.4

2003

8.2

2004

8.1

1 Rates per 100,000 population standardised to the European Standard Population.

2 The cause of death for suicide (intentional self-harm) and injury/poisoning of undetermined intent was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes E950-E959 and E980-E989 excluding E988.8 for the years 1995 to 2000, and, for the years 2001 to 2004, the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes X60-X84 and Y10-Y34 excluding Y33.9 where the Coroner’s verdict was pending.

3 Figures are for deaths occurring in each calendar year.

Teenage Pregnancies

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many girls under the age of 16 years (a) became pregnant and (b) gave birth in (i) Bury St. Edmunds constituency and (ii) Suffolk county council area in each of the last 10 years, broken down by age. (79394)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 21 June 2006:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many girls under the age of 16 years (a) became pregnant and (b) gave birth in (i) Bury St. Edmunds constituency and (ii) Suffolk county council area in each of the last 10 years, broken down by age. (79394)

Numbers of conceptions in Suffolk County for the years 1995-2004 (the most recent year for which figures are available), and numbers of maternities in Suffolk County for the years 1995-2005 are shown in the table. Figures for 2004 are provisional.

Information on conceptions is routinely published for local authorities and strategic health authorities. Figures cannot be provided by parliamentary constituency because of the risk of disclosing individual’s information, due to small differences between the parliamentary constituency and local authority boundaries.

ONS does not publish figures by single year of age below the age of 16 by either local or health authority because of the risk of disclosing individual’s information.

Maternity counts are for girls aged under 16 in each year at which either one or more live birth or stillbirth occurred.

Birth figures cannot be provided for Bury St. Edmunds parliamentary constituency for the same reason as provided for conceptions.

Number of conceptions and maternities to girls aged under 16, Suffolk 1995-2005

Conceptions

Maternities

1995

63

14

1996

82

12

1997

89

12

1998

71

12

1999

58

14

2000

62

5

2001

73

12

2002

75

13

2003

93

19

20041

73

12

20052

9

1 Conceptions for 2004 are provisional.

2 Conceptions data are not yet available for 2005.

Vehicle Excise Duty

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) petrol cars and (b) diesel cars there were in each vehicle excise duty band for private vehicles in each of the last four years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. (79310)

I have been asked to reply.

The two tables indicate the number of petrol and diesel cars registered in each vehicle excise duty (VED) band for the years 2002 to 2005.

Table 1 outlines the number of cars whose keepers pay graduated VED. Graduated VED was brought into effect in March 2001. Cars attract a rate of VED dependant upon their CO2 emissions per kilometre driven. There have been a number of changes to the banding system since it was introduced. These are outlined in table 1.

Combined with the new vehicle CO2 labelling scheme and company car tax, graduated VED raises awareness of CO2 and provides incentives for consumers to purchase more fuel efficient vehicles.

Table 2 outlines the number of cars whose keepers pay VED by the old system. Cars that were purchased before March 2001 attract VED according to their engine size. A car with an engine capacity above 1549cc pays the higher rate. Those with engines under 1550cc pay the lower rate.

Table 1: GRAD VED registered cars

VED Band

Emissions (gCO2/km)

Total petrol cars

Total diesel cars

2002

AA

<121

6,508

52,584

A

121-150

728,149

419,201

B

151-165

921,579

206,523

C

166-185

767,145

121,323

D

>185

1,230,804

179,656

2003

AAA

<101

147

204

AA

101 to 120

20,337

107,640

A

121 to 150

1,221,308

651,777

B

151 to 165

1,295,818

346,905

C

166 to 185

1,120,724

205,371

D

>185

1,748,129

319,788

2004

AAA

<101

154

213

AA

101 to 120

39,891

162,611

A

121 to 150

1,691,220

933,605

B

151 to 165

1,657,889

526,889

C

166 to 185

1 ,466,738

283,189

D

>185

2,183,370

487,779

2005

A

<101

163

211

B

101 to 120

59,130

211,168

C

121 to 150

2,117,940

1,205,039

D

151 to 165

1,992,343

760,541

E

166 to 185

1 ,785,602

355,671

F

>185

2,543,108

673,547

Table2: pre GRAD VED registered cars

VED Band (by engine capacity)

Total petrol cars

Total diesel cars

2002

<1550cc

8,220,734

176,990

>=1550cc

9,964,559

2,756,098

2003

<1550cc

7,314,428

166,322

>=1550cc

9,084,579

2,601,601

2004

<1550cc

6,576,637

155,029

<=1550cc

8,360,707

2,461,268

2005

<1550cc

5,819,412

138,479

<=1550cc

7,558,301

2,251,445

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer why there are different levels of vehicle excise duty for diesel cars and petrol cars; and if he will make a statement. (79311)

As announced in Budget 2000, from 1 March 2001 a graduated VED system for new cars was introduced. Under this system, all new cars first registered from that date have the rate of VED payable determined according to their rate of carbon dioxide emissions.

Within each band, there is a £10 discount for cars using cleaner fuels and technology, including those powered by road fuel gas, bi-fuel and dual fuel, and cars using hybrid technology. Within each band, there is also a supplement for diesel cars to reflect their higher emissions of particulates and other pollutants which damage local air quality.

Transport

Bus Drivers' Working Hours

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans his Department has to bring into force the European Union legislation on applying the 11-hour rule to bus drivers’ shifts; (79207)

(2) if he will make a statement on recent changes to the legal and regulatory framework governing bus drivers’ working hours.

There are two sets of rules governing drivers’ hours in the UK. Many bus drivers operate under domestic drivers’ hours rules rather than the EU drivers’ hours rules. This is because buses on routes less than 50 kilometres are specifically exempted from the EU Regulations.

A new EU Regulation on drivers’ hours has recently been adopted by the EU institutions—it was published in the Official Journal in April 2006 and will, for the most part, come into force in April 2007. We expect to consult later this year on any necessary consequential amendments to existing UK legislation.

Although, during negotiation of the new EU Regulation, consideration was given to extending the scope to include buses on routes less than 50 kilometres, this change was not made.

We will keep under review the need to bring the domestic rules into line with the EU rules, but will not be in a position to consult on any such changes before the bulk of the new EU Regulation comes into force next year.

Crossrail

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how the budget of £154 million allocated to Crossrail in 2001 was spent. (78610)

Of the £154 million allocated in 2001, Cross London Rail Links Ltd. (CLRL) had spent £140 million by the end of May 2006. This supported development of the scheme set out in the Hybrid Bill. The most substantial costs have been incurred employing staff, and carrying out transport, engineering and environmental studies.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent on the Crossrail project since its inception. (78615)

Since 2001, Cross London Rail Links Ltd.—the company responsible for Crossrail design—has spent a total of £161 million on the Crossrail project.

Highways Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what salaries are paid to the board of directors of the Highways Agency. (78872)

The salary information for Highways Agency board directors for the financial year 2004-05 is published in the Highways Agency’s annual report and accounts, a copy of which is available from the House Libraries and at: http://www.highways.gov.uk/aboutus/documents/annl_rept 2004 05.pdf.

Marine Environment High Risk Areas

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what criteria the Marine Environment High Risk Areas were determined. (79353)

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

Nuclear Waste Transportation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to consult Colchester residents about the transportation by rail through the town of nuclear waste from Sizewell Power Station; and if he will make a statement. (78958)

The Department for Transport has recently taken over responsibility for making regulations covering the transport of radioactive materials by rail from the Health and Safety Executive. In November 2004 the Department undertook a consultation on the proposals for the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment (Amendment) Regulations 2005, SI 2005:1732. These regulations include provisions for the control of the carriage of radioactive materials by rail.

The consultation document was sent out to over 800 addresses across the U.K. and it was published on the Department’s website. There were three responses from addresses in Colchester but none of these were concerned with the transport of radioactive materials.

Private Members' Bills

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which Private Members’ Bills were drafted by his Department in each Session since 1997; and which subsequently received Royal Assent. (77844)

Members will consider a range of possible subjects before introducing their Private Members’ Bills.

Government draftsmen do draft some Bills in advance which are available as one of the options for Members to consider before they make their selection.

However, Members may make subsequent amendments or revisions to a Government drafted Bill, or use it as the basis for a Private Member’s Bill in the future.

The information requested is therefore not collected.

Rail and Cycle Travel Integration

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans the Government have to improve integration of rail and cycle travel. (79190)

Each train operating company (TOC) is responsible for both their policy on the carriage of bikes on trains and the provision of cycle parking at stations.

The Government have inherited the Cycling Policy document produced in 2004 from the Strategic Rail Authority. This encourages all TOCs to carry folding bikes at all times, to carry non folding bikes wherever possible, while recognising that in peak periods there may be circumstances where it is in the best interests of the majority of passengers not to do so, and to supply cycle parking at most rail stations. The policy recommends to TOCs that they provide sufficient cycle parking at stations so that 95 per cent. of all rail journeys start from a station with adequate cycle parking by 2009. To support this policy the DfT recently funded an additional 2,900 cycle parking spaces at stations where demand exceeded capacity.

As part of our ongoing commitment to bike and rail journeys I am discussing with our advisory body on cycling, Cycling England, how we might further encourage such journeys.

Rural Transport Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many rural rail (a) services and (b) stations have ceased to operate in each year since 1997, broken down by location. (78203)

No rural rail services have ceased to operate since 1997, only two small stretches of passenger network at Maindee Loop (near Newport) in 2005 and Sheepcote Lane Curve in 2004 (near Clapham Junction) have closed.

Four stations have ceased to operate since 1997 and 14 stations have been replaced by either light rail, tram, or a station in a new location.

The four stations which have ceased to operate are:

Etruria in 2005;

Sinfin North, Sinfin Central and Pendleton stations in 1998.

Temporary Parking Exemption Blue Badges

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce temporary parking exemption blue badges for those suffering short-term impairment for less than 12 months; and if he will make a statement. (77112)

Following a review of the blue badge scheme, the Department for Transport has accepted a recommendation made by the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), the Department’s statutory advisers on the transport needs of disabled people, that the scheme should be extended to people with temporary mobility impairments which severely affect their walking ability and are likely to do so for at least 12 months. This reflected the consensus of opinion during the review and there are therefore no plans to extend the eligibility criteria to people with impairments lasting less than 12 months at the present time.

Transport Schemes (Cost-Benefit Ratios)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which major transport schemes agreed over the last two years in London have cost-benefit ratios below 2. (78141)

[holding answer 19 June 2006]: In the past two years the Department has approved two London projects that have a benefit-cost ratio below 2: the fit out of the Thameslink Midland Road box; and the King’s Cross LUL Northern ticket hall. Both projects fall within the medium value for money category (benefit-cost ratios in the range to 1.5 to 2).

The Department does not hold comprehensive benefit-cost information on projects approved by Transport for London.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Rural Disadvantage

18. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the findings of the Commission for Rural Communities’ report on rural disadvantage. (79361)

I welcome the report and its emphasis on meeting the needs of disadvantaged people living in rural areas.

This is the first major output from the Commission for Rural Communities, demonstrating early action on its mandate to act as a watchdog and advocate for rural people and communities, especially those suffering disadvantage.

Household Waste

19. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to reduce household waste. (79362)

Historically, year-on-year, the increase of municipal waste has been reduced to 1.5 per cent. and we have also achieved an overall reduction of waste going to landfill of 10 per cent. since 2000.

The review of the waste strategy has, as one of its prime objectives, to reduce the amount of waste generated in the first place.

Radioactive Waste Disposal

20. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues about the environmental impact of radioactive waste disposal. (79363)

The independent Committee of Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) are currently considering the long-term management options for higher level radioactive wastes. As part of their assessments—which have been open and transparent, and in the public domain—they have considered the environmental impacts of the options. The Government look forward to receiving their final report shortly.

Regional Food Specialities

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to promote local food networks and regional food specialities. (79364)

We are helping to facilitate local sourcing by providing funding to address issues such as distribution, marketing and the encouragement of new outlets and by working with other bodies to highlight and spread best practice. Food from Britain (FFB) takes the lead in the delivery of a national programme of activity to support the quality regional food sector in England which includes many local food producers.

Wild Flowers

22. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action has been taken since May 2005 to protect wild flower meadows and to encourage the planting of wild flowers. (79365)

Earlier this week we published the 2005 highlight report on progress on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. It shows that 22 per cent. of priority habitats and 11 per cent. of priority species are increasing, and that more priority species are showing improved trends, including the Deptford pink.

Energy White Paper

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to paragraph 3.41 of the 2003 Energy White Paper, what steps he plans to take to extend the energy efficiency commitment beyond the domestic sector. (78451)

DEFRA commissioned studies on the possible extension of the domestic energy efficiency commitment (EEC) to those businesses that do not pay the climate change levy.

The Government concluded that the inclusion of small business within the domestic EEC is not practicable at this point. Options continue to be considered, but in the immediate period support for energy efficiency improvement in this sector will continue via other programmes, notably those of the Carbon Trust, as outlined in “Energy Efficiency: The Government's Plan for Action”, published in April 2004.

The Government will introduce further measures to encourage and assist Small and Medium Sized Enterprises to take up energy saving opportunities. DEFRA has commissioned work to examine different policy options. This work will draw on the experience of the EEC mechanism in the household sector in informing our views of the best way forward.

Milk Imports

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much milk was imported in the last period for which figures are available. (79348)

Figures from HM Revenue and Customs show that in 2005, just over 48,000 tonnes of liquid milk were imported into the UK. This represents about 0.4 per cent. of UK milk production.

Sakhalin II Project

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which rivers were crossed with (a) gas and (b) oil pipelines (i) during and (ii) outside the designated winter period as part of the Sakhalin II project. (79334)

[holding answer 21 June 2006]: The designated winter period for crossing rivers as part of the Sakhalin II project is 1 December to 30 April.

Dates on which the rivers were crossed with oil and gas pipelines are available at the Sakhalin Energy website at:

http://www.sakhalinenergy.com/en/project. asp?p=rc_list

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) which rivers were crossed with (a) gas and (b) oil pipelines as part of the Sakhalin II project; (79336)

(2) which rivers were crossed with (a) gas and (b) oil pipelines on non-consecutive construction days as part of the Sakhalin II project;

(3) what the average time period is between the installation of gas or oil pipelines across each river as part of the Sakhalin II project.

[holding answer 21 June 2006]: This information is available on the Sakhalin Energy website at:

http://www.sakharinenergy.com/en/project. asp?p=rc_list

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information he has gathered on the effect of the Sakhalin II project on salmon spawning habitat; and what action he is taking to ensure that there is no loss of such habitat as a result of the project. (79337)

[holding answer 21 June 2006]: The information gathered on the effect of the Sakhalin II project on salmon spawning habitats includes:

Official and ministerial meetings with Shell;

Information included in Sakhalin Energy's River Crossing Strategy;

Monitoring information published by Sakhalin Energy on its website;

Information gathered during site visits carried out by Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), other potential lenders and their independent consultants.

Sakhalin Energy has committed itself to ensuring no net loss of habitat.

DEFRA will be monitoring performance through its close working relationships with relevant departments such as ECGD, who, together with other agencies such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, have commissioned independent monitoring of the project.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of the potential impact of an oil spill on the feeding grounds of the Western Pacific Grey Whale in the event of a major incident at the Sakhalin II project; and what assessment has been made of the potential impact of such a spill on those feeding grounds in (a) summer conditions and (b) winter ice conditions. (79449)

Information on the potential impact of oil spills on the Western Gray Whales' feeding grounds has been included in a number of assessments, including the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company's (SEIC's) Environmental Impact Assessment (2003) and Addenda (2005), and its Comparative Environmental Assessment (2004). A number of reports on this subject have also been produced for meetings of the IUCN (World Conservation Union) Independent Scientific Review and successor bodies, including a report from the Independent Interim Science Group (IISG), which made a number of specific recommendations to SEIC.

SEIC is developing oil spill response plans that will include measures intended to address the potential impact of a spill on the feeding grounds of the Western Gray Whale in different conditions. These will be reviewed by both Russian authorities and an independent international oil spill response consultancy. The former will address compliance with appropriate elements of Russian Law, whilst the latter will assess the adequacy of plans against a number of recognised and robust international standards.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of (a) the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company's oil spill plan response methods and (b) the potential impact of an oil spill on biodiversity in the Sakhalin island area. (79451)

Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (SEIC) is developing oil spill response plans, which must be approved by the Russian authorities before oil production can start. These plans will also be reviewed against Russian and international standards by consultants acting for the potential lenders. We will review the conclusions of this work.

We have kept in close touch with SEIC on the issue of oil spills. In recent meetings with SEIC/Shell we have stressed the importance of having adequate measures in place to address the risks, and of SEIC's implementing the Independent Interim Science Group's recommendations.

Wales

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many of his staff are (a) under and (b) over 55 years of age. (77303)

At 31 December 2005 Wales Office staff were split as follows:

(a) 45 staff (76.3 per cent.) under 55 years of age and

(b) 14 staff (23.7 per cent.) over the age of 55.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people over the age of 55 years have been recruited into his Department in each of the last three years. (77304)

Between April 2004 and March 2005, there were 14 people over the age of 55 working for the Wales Office. This represented a quarter of the staff at the time.

A further member of staff over the age of 55 was recruited in 2005-06, representing 10 per cent. of the total staff recruited during that period.

Information relating to 2003-04 is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Websites

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many websites there are within his responsibilities; and what the total cost of maintaining such websites was in the last year for which figures are available. (79067)

The Wales Office has responsibility for www.walesoffice.gov.uk and its parallel Welsh language site www.swyddfa.cymru.gov.uk.

The cost of running both sites was £5,875 in 2005, with an additional £58.75 charged to renew the domain names.

Private Members’ Bills

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which Private Members’ Bills were drafted by his Department in each session since 1997; and which subsequently received Royal Assent. (78844)

Members will consider a range of possible subjects before introducing their Private Members’ Bills.

Government draftsmen do draft some Bills in advance, which are available as one of the options for Member’s to consider before they make their selection.

However, Members may make subsequent amendments or revisions to a Government drafted Bill, or use it as the basis for a Private Member’s Bill in the future.

The information requested is therefore not collected.

Renewable Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps the Government are taking to increase the supply of renewable energy in Wales. (78867)

With up to 24 onshore and offshore windfarms either under construction or in planning, Wales has the potential to supply a huge amount of energy from renewable sources.

The Renewables’ Obligation is the Government’s main policy measure for supporting renewable energy, establishing a target of securing 10 per cent. of electricity from renewable sources by 2010. Programmes such as the Micro-generation Strategy and the Wave and Tidal Energy Demonstration Scheme support these actions.

Policies put in place by the Welsh Assembly Government complement these commitments. For example, the Assembly Government have set targets for renewable energy generation and has published Technical Advice Note 8 (TAN 8) to facilitate the development of renewable energy in the most appropriate locations.

Wales also offers significant opportunities for harnessing the renewable energy of waves and tides and the Assembly Government are supporting two projects through the Objective 1 programme: Wavedragon and Marine Current Turbines, including the Severn Barrage.

Work and Pensions Select Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what action has been taken by his Department to implement Work and Pensions Select Committee recommendations since the 2001-02 session; and if he will make a statement. (78847)

Responsibility for the implementation of Work and Pensions Select Committee recommendations rests with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. The Wales Office has no executive responsibility in this area.

Communities and Local Government

Departmental Re-branding

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the total costs at current prices of re-branding (a) the Department of the Environment as the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, (b) the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions as the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and (c) the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions as the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. (71585)

The costs for re-branding:

(a) the Department of the Environment as the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions was £176,690;

(b) the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions as the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions was £25,250;

(c) the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions as the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was £52,117.

Deputy Prime Minister

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many civil servants worked in the Deputy Prime Minister’s private office at 10 April 2006; and what the cost of running his private office was in 2005-06. (71069)

I have been asked to reply.

Staff numbers and costs for my private office in 2005-06 will be accounted for in the usual way in the Department’s annual report and accounts.

Mineral Planning

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will list the public inquiries on decisions by mineral planning authorities to reject applications for opencast mining since the MPG3 planning guidelines were revised in 1999; and what the outcome of each inquiry was. (72627)

Since revision of Mineral Planning Guidance note 3 (coal mining and colliery spoil disposal) in March 1999 there have been 11 local public inquiries into decisions by mineral planning authorities to reject applications for opencast coal mining. The information requested by my right hon. Friend is listed in the table.

Description

Local authority

Decision type

Decision by Secretary of State

Date of decision

Windsor site

Kirklees MBC

Appeal

Dismissed

20 December 1999

Hoodcroft II site

Derbyshire CC

Appeal

Dismissed

20 December 1999

Dawley II

Telford and Wrekin BC

Appeal

Dismissed

19 March 2001

Orchard site

Warwickshire CC

Appeal

Dismissed

19 March 2001

Santingley

Wakefield MBC

Appeal

Dismissed

19 March 2001

Cutacre

Bolton, Salford and Wigan

Appeal and call-in

Allowed

30 July 2001

Reclamation of spoil heaps

Doncaster

Appeal

Allowed

2 October 2001

Old Quarrington

Durham CC

Appeal

Dismissed

22 December 2003

Thieveley Colliery

Lancashire CC

Appeal

Dismissed

1 April 2004

Wheatley Head

Durham CC

Appeal

Dismissed

17 October 2005

Long Moor surface mine

Leicestershire

Appeal

Allowed

25 May 2006

Supported Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much has been spent on consultants’ services relating to Supporting People in the last two financial years; what amount has been allocated for these services for 2006-07; and how much of this expenditure has been for services for work on the Distributed Formula in each year. (76228)

In 2004-05 £2.4 million was spent on consultancy services and in 2005-06 £1.1 million was spent on consultancy.

Valuation Office Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Valuation Office Agency holds (a) dwelling house code and (b) value significant code data for (i) 10 Downing Street, (ii) 11 Downing Street, (iii) Flats 1-3, Admiralty House, Whitehall and (iv) Dorneywood. (78655)

Scotland

Departmental Hospitality

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will keep a separate record of the amount spent annually by his Department on alcohol for hospitality purposes. (77439)

The Scotland Office records its hospitality expenditure in accordance with the principles of Government accounting. It keeps no separate record of expenditure by category of provision, and there are no plans to begin keeping any such detailed record.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many of his staff are (a) under and (b) over 55 years of age. (77440)

As at 31 December 2005, the Scotland Office had 48 staff under the age of 55 and six staff over that age.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many people over the age of 55 years have been recruited into his Department in each of the last three years. (77441)

The Scotland Office does not recruit staff directly; its officials are on loan from the Scottish Executive or the Department for Constitutional Affairs. One member of staff in 2003, two in 2004 and one in 2005 were over 55 years of age when they joined the Office.

Disability Access

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether any building in his Department falls short of disability access regulations. (73057)

The Scotland Office’s main buildings—Dover House in London and Melville Crescent in Edinburgh—are listed buildings and cannot be altered without the consent of the relevant heritage body. Both buildings were initially assessed for compliance with the Act.

In the light of this assessment, all reasonable and practicable efforts have been made to adapt Dover House for use by the disabled. Subsequently, an access audit was commissioned to advise on longer term improvements that were required; these have been included in a programme of works which is due to be carried out during 2006-07. Where the audit drew attention to an issue that could not be remedied by building works, a management procedure has been introduced.

In Melville Crescent, all improvements and refurbishment works were completed, where reasonably practicable, and in accordance with Part 4 of the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004, while also in conjunction with British standard—BS 8300:2001.

Sickness Absence

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many staff in his Department have had (a) five or more, (b) four, (c) three and (d) two periods of sick leave of less than five days in each of the last three years. (73055)

All Scotland Office staff are on loan from the Scottish Executive or the Department for Constitutional Affairs and those Departments maintain sickness absence records. A complete picture, in the form requested, is however not available.

Culture, Media and Sport

Digital Switchover

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the results of the digital switchover trial in Bolton; what the effect of switchover was on (a) individuals on low incomes and (b) the elderly; how much switchover cost per (i) household and (ii) vulnerable household; and if she will make a statement. (79572)

The purpose of the trial was to test the process for supporting elderly and severely disabled consumers through switchover. The majority of people in the digital television trial thought switching over was easy and liked watching digital television.

The trial also highlighted the importance of support from family and friends in installing and using the equipment and the need to give older and disabled people time to adapt to using new television equipment.

The full Bolton trial report was published in May; copies are available in both Houses and at www.digitaltelevision.gov.uk. We are considering the findings from the Bolton trial and other research. This will help to inform work on the detailed design and costs of the digital switchover assistance schemes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much the Government has allocated for support to (a) individuals on low incomes and (b) the elderly (i) to purchase equipment and (ii) to obtain help with installation in preparation for the switch to digital television in each year up to 2012; and if she will make a statement. (79573)

The costs of the digital switchover assistance scheme are being assessed as part of work to determine the licence fee settlement for the new Charter period. This work will draw upon a variety of sources including outputs from the Bolton Digital television trial which considered the needs of the elderly and disabled groups who will be entitled to help from the assistance scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to ensure that the small slave transmitter on ordinance survey reference SX802596, at the junction with the Ashprington turn-off at Totnes Hill, will be converted from analogue to digital transmission; and if she will make a statement. (77517)

I understand that there is no record of a transmitter sited at OS reference SX802596, either for television transmission or telecommunications. However the Totnes television relay transmitter is situated at reference SX805594, which is very close to the above location.

During switchover, which takes place in the Westcountry region in 2009, all transmitters (including the Totnes relay) will be converted for digital transmission. After switchover, UK digital terrestrial television coverage will match the current analogue coverage of 98.5 per cent.

Library Facilities

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what funding the Government are providing for the improvement of library facilities. (79185)

Government funding for public libraries is paid, un-ringfenced, as part of the Local Government Financial Settlement administered by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

It is for the 149 library authorities in England to decide upon the level of funding required to sustain and improve their services bearing in mind their statutory responsibility to make comprehensive and efficient provision.

The public library statistics published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy show that library authorities made net expenditure (excluding capital charges) of £817,216,604 in 2004-05 (the latest figure available). The comparable figure for the previous year was £781,990,546.

Additional examples of funding for improved public libraries from within my Department’s portfolio are the £120 million of National Lottery support for the People’s Network, around £130 million of DCMS Private Finance Initiative Credits for library or part library projects, and the ongoing DCMS funding of £2 million per annum for the Framework for the Future Action Plan programme. I also look forward to the Big Lottery Fund’s £80 million community library funding programme which will be launched later this year.

My Department is also responsible for sponsorship of the British Library, the UK's national library. Grant in aid funding to the British Library over the 2004 Spending Review period is as follows:

£ million

2005-06

Estimated outturn

96.3

2006-07

Planned

102.2

2007-08

Planned

104.4

Source:

DCMS Annual Report 2006

London Olympics

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what committees have been established within the (a) Cabinet, (b) London Organising Committee for the Olympic games and (c) Olympic delivery authority to examine the legacy for (i) the site of the London 2012 games and (ii) the International Olympic Committee. (79566)

The legacy of the Olympic games, including its wider economic, social, health and environmental legacy, is included in the remit of MISC 25 (the Cabinet Committee on the Olympic games) and in that of the Olympic Board (comprising the Government; the Greater London authority; the London Organising Committee for the Olympic games; and the British Olympic Association; with the Olympic delivery authority attending as observers).

Museums (Public Funding)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what public funding is available from the Government for the improvement and modernisation of museums. (79186)

DCMS annual funding for museums in 2005-06 was £444,828,000. This was made up of two streams: £414,828,000 was provided to national museums and £30 million to the Renaissance in the Regions programme.

In addition, the Department provides funding to the DCMS/Wolfson Fund for Museums and Galleries and the Designated Challenge Fund. Both have two year funding rounds and between 2004-06 the DCMS provided £2 million to DCMS/Wolfson Fund and £3,799,991 to the Designated Challenge Fund. The Subject Specialist Networks received £248,000 for 2004-05.

Museum and Gallery statistics published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance show local authority museums, through the Local Government Financial Settlement, had a net expenditure of £177,250,000 in 2005-06.

However, the majority of this museum funding is not ring fenced for specific improvement work. Although DCMS is encouraging museums to improve their services across the board, it is for the museum itself to decide what funding is needed to sustain ongoing services and what can be spent on special improvement and modernisation.

New Opportunities Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to her answer of 30 January 2006, Official Report, column 59W, on the New Opportunities Fund, if she will update the information on the number of (a) awards and (b) payments made from the New Opportunities Fund for physical education and sport since 2004-05. (79703)

The table shows awards and payments made by the New Opportunities Fund for physical education and sport since 2004-05. These figures do not include awards for all activities for young people and other grants which have funded sport indirectly.

Awards made (£)

Payment made (£)

2005-06

114,710,314

253,055,683

Year to date

1,974,080

63,906,755

The Public

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what Caroline Felton's remit was in carrying out her recent study of The Public arts organisation in West Bromwich on behalf of Arts Council England; and what conclusions her report came to. (79234)

Caroline Felton was commissioned by Arts Council England to produce a stocktake report on The Public in January 2006. She was asked to make recommendations about a range of issues relating to the organisation's current situation and its future challenges. The report's recommendations covered changes to the management team and other key personnel.

Defence

Defence Establishment Closures (Support)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department’s policy is on financial support for (a) economic development, (b) training and (c) environmental improvements in an area in which a defence establishment has been (i) closed and (ii) mothballed; and if he will make a statement. (79461)

The Ministry of Defence keeps its estate under constant review to meet present and planned future requirements, with a view to disposing of surplus assets as quickly as possible. Pending a final decision and subsequent disposal action, any redundant sites will normally be closed and/or mothballed to reduce unnecessary expenditure. The need for financial support to assist the disposal of a site is considered on a case by case basis, usually to maintain the property to an appropriate standard to meet environmental and health and safety requirements, consistent with the most likely disposal strategy. Limited opportunities may also exist for temporary commercial or military training uses while in disposal.

Other Departments provide direct financial support for economic development regionally or to communities. However, the closure of defence establishments can often provide new opportunities for civilian re-use and development. It is therefore the usual practice of the Ministry of Defence to work closely with the local authority and other stakeholders—amongst others English Partnerships, Regional Development Agencies, and in Scotland the Scottish Executive, the Enterprise bodies and the Welsh Assembly in Wales—to consider the most appropriate future use.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much financial assistance his Department gave to the Cowal area after the closure of the US Navy base at the Holy Loch for (a) economic development, (b) training, (c) environmental improvements and (d) other purposes. (79494)

Holy Loch closed over a decade ago and a substantive answer will take a little time to research from archive. I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Merlin Helicopters

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the trials which will allow RAF Merlin helicopters to land on naval ships are expected to be complete. (77608)

[holding answer 15 June 2006]: Trials are being carried out into the feasibility of extending the operating capability of the RN Merlin Mk1 helicopters from Carrier Vertical Striker (CVS) platforms (HM Ships Illustrious and Ark Royal). Information from these trials will also be used to assess the feasibility of operating RAF Merlin helicopters from naval platforms.

There is no fixed completion date for these trials.

RG31

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what evaluation his Department has made of the RG31 vehicle; and what assessment has been made of the possible advantages of this vehicle compared with the Snatch armoured Land Rover. (78216)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 16 June 2006, Official Report, column 1528W, to the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth). Compared to Snatch, the RG31’s size means it cannot access areas of the urban environment that Snatch is able to.

Search and Rescue Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement of 7 June 2006, Official Report, column 46WH, on MOD search and rescue services, whether the alternative military unit will be based at RNAS Culdrose; whether his statement that the squadron needs to remain at Culdrose referred to the (a) 771, (b) all squadrons presently based there and (c) the future search and rescue squadron; and what his plans are for the 771 Squadron. (77476)

The statement of 7 June 2006, Official Report, column 146WH, on MOD Search and Rescue Services, referred only to the future of the roles currently carried out by 771 Squadron RNAS Culdrose and can be further clarified as follows. The Search and Rescue role will be part of the joint MOD and Maritime and Coastguard Agency future UK helicopter Search and Rescue Capability. The use of Culdrose itself as a future Search and Rescue base will be fully assessed taking into account all relevant factors. The best means for ensuring the continuation of the separate Maritime Counter Terrorism role will be fully assessed in due course and the future basing of this role will be part of that assessment.

International Development

Burma

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the percentage of people in Burma living in poverty. (77799)

Reliable data about poverty in Burma are scarce, but Burma is one of the poorest countries in Asia, comparable to Cambodia and Laos on available measures and is almost certainly not on track to achieve any of the Millennium Development Goals. A household survey from 1997 found that 23 per cent. of people (11.2 million) had an income below subsistence level. The percentage of poor people earning less than $1 US a day is likely to be significantly higher than this. The same Government survey found that 70 per cent. of household expenditure was on food, an indicator of the vulnerability of poor people in Burma. There is widespread malnutrition, with one in three children aged 5 being moderately to severely malnourished. In 2001, 109 of every 1,000 children died before they reached the age of 5, double the East Asia and Pacific regional average. Maternal mortality is among the highest in the region. Only 40 per cent. of children complete five years of primary education.

Social sector spending in Burma fell steadily during the 1990s and the authorities now spend less than $1 per person each year on basic health care and education combined. This is one of the lowest levels of public investment in the world. Public sector salaries are a long way below a living wage and teachers, doctors and other public servants are forced to either supplement their income through unofficial charges or undertake additional income earning activities. Most poor people rely on informal, private healthcare providers, often receiving poor quality or ineffective treatment as a result. Although education has traditionally been highly valued in Burma, its quality is being undermined by under-investment in the crumbling public education system. HIV/AIDS is a major public health risk in Burma. Burma is one of three countries in Asia with a generalised HIV/AIDS epidemic: 420,000 people are estimated to be infected with the virus and prevalence continues to rise. Prevalence in pregnant women exceeds 2 per cent. indicating that the epidemic has spread from high-risk groups into the general population.

Many of the poorest and most vulnerable people live in the border areas and ethnic nationalities are among the poorest and most socially excluded people in Burma but there is considerable poverty throughout the country, in both rural and urban areas.

China

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the amount of aid China distributes in relation to the size of its gross domestic product; and what discussions he has held with the Chinese authorities of its joint aid programmes. (79427)

There are no Government figures available for China’s official development assistance. DFID has established close contact with the Department for Aid to Foreign Countries within the Ministry of Commerce. This Department leads on China’s aid programme. Along with the United Nations Development Programme, we have made it clear that DFID would be prepared to provide assistance and advice should China decide to establish a formal aid agency. We have not yet had a response from the Chinese Government. Our main discussions with China on international development issues have focused on its growing role in Africa. These discussions cover not only aid, but also trade and investment. There is a possibility that a joint UK/China aid project will be implemented in Ghana.

Disaster Risk Reduction

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of his Department’s budget was spent on disaster risk reduction in each region in each of the last three financial years; what percentage is planned to be spent in each region in the next three financial years; and if he will make a statement. (79276)

Much of DFID’s support for disaster risk reduction (DRR) is integrated into wider development programmes so we do not have specific data detailing the percentage of DFID’s budget spent on DRR.

In my speech on humanitarian reform in December 2004, I committed DFID to giving higher priority to DRR. DFID is providing significant bilateral assistance for DRR programmes in countries susceptible to disasters. For example, we are providing over £60 million to support disaster preparedness in Orissa, India, and we are supporting the Government of Bangladesh’s Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme. We have committed to allocating 10 per cent. of the value of our humanitarian response to each major natural disaster to prepare for and mitigate the impact of future disasters, where this can be done effectively. Under this policy, DFID has committed £7.5 million in the tsunami-affected region.

DFID is also increasing funding to the international DRR system. We have provided £3 million to the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and have recently agreed a £4 million programme with the World Bank on mainstreaming DRR into the Poverty Reduction Strategies of several disaster-prone countries. In 2005, we committed £15 million to support the community level DRR work of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and several international non-governmental organisations in Africa and Asia.

International Development Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what International Development Committee recommendations his Department has (a) accepted and (b) implemented since 2001-02; and if he will make a statement. (77508)

DFID does not keep a central record of all those recommendations by the International Development Committee which it has accepted or implemented and to obtain this information would incur a disproportionate cost. However, copies of DFID’s responses to IDC reports are available in the Libraries of the House and in these responses, the Government make clear whether they accept the Committee’s recommendations.

Kashmir

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures he is taking to avoid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Kashmir as a result of withdrawal of funding to non-governmental organisations. (76735)

DFID funding for NGOs, the United Nations and the Red Cross Movement was not withdrawn, but ended after the disbursement of £54.3 million for humanitarian relief. Immediate relief needs have largely been met and the longer-term recovery and reconstruction phase, which we are supporting through our office in Islamabad, began at the end of March 2006.

The Government of Pakistan are making contingency plans for the coming monsoon season and winter period. We have been reassured by the Government of Pakistan that they will keep transport lines open and use all civil and military means to cope with any problems. We are monitoring the situation closely.

Legislation

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what plans he has for legislation in the next Session of Parliament; and if he will make a statement; (77507)

(2) which Government Bills sponsored by his Department are still to be introduced during the current Session; and when, and into which House, each will be introduced.

I refer the hon. Member to the response given by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House of Commons on 16 June 2006, Official Report, column 1432W.

Trade and Industry

Aerospace

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to (a) maintain and (b) maximise the UK's capability within the aerospace sector. (78625)

The Government are working in partnership with the aerospace industry on implementing the agenda set by the industry-led Aerospace Innovation and Growth Team report in 2003. This established a vision for the future success of the industry that by 2022,

"The UK will offer a global Aerospace Industry the world's most innovative and productive location, leading to sustainable growth for all its stakeholders".

The key areas of implementation work are technology, process excellence, skills, and environmental issues. This work is overseen by the Aerospace Innovation and Growth Leadership Council, which I chair jointly with Mike Turner, CEO of BAE Systems.

In regard to the defence air sector, the Government's Defence Industrial Strategy published in December 2005 provided clarity to industry on our military capability requirements, and set out a requirement to work with companies to ensure a sustainable long-term industrial base.

Co-firing Activity

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will ensure that energy crops continue to be a mandatory component of co-firing activity from April 2009. (79541)

(2) if he will re-instate the co-firing cap to the 25 per cent. level that was in place prior to 1 April.

Co-firing is being reviewed as part of the ongoing Energy Review. All options are open for consideration at this stage and no decisions have yet been made. We anticipate that we will make an announcement on co-firing as part of the Energy Review announcement later in the summer.

Any changes to the co-firing rules would require full statutory consultation.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many of his staff are (a) under and (b) over 55 years of age. (77263)

Staff in the Department of Trade and Industry as of 1 January 2006:

(a) under 55 years: 3,107

(b) over 55 years: 569.

Flag Flying

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will ensure that the Union flag is flown from his Department's buildings on every day the offices are open. (77741)

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

Funding (London)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which organisations in each London (a) borough and (b) constituency are receiving funding from (i) his Department and (ii) the London Development Agency in 2006-07; and what total amount of funding is being made available in each case. (77660)

Figures are not yet available about the organisations which will receive funding from the Department of Trade and Industry in 2006-07, broken down by London borough or constituency. According to the latest figures available, DTI spent £559 million in London in 2004-05, mainly on enterprise, economic development, and science and technology. Further details can be found in “Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis 2006” published by the Treasury in May 2006.

The London Development Agency, a functional body of the Mayor of London which receives a block grant from DTI, is responsible for promoting economic development in London. The following table provides a breakdown of the LDA's expected expenditure by London borough in 2006-07. Data on the organisations receiving this funding are not available.

Borough

2006-07 Forecast (£ million)

Barking and Dagenham

6.3

Barnet

0.4

Bexley

1.9

Brent

15.9

Bromley

0.2

Camden

4.9

City of London

1.1

Croydon

0.9

Ealing

2.7

Enfield

1.2

Greenwich

5.3

Hackney

56.1

Hammersmith and Fulham

3.1

Haringey

5.6

Harrow

0.6

Havering

4.2

Hillingdon

1.1

Hounslow

1.2

Islington

1.8

Kensington and Chelsea

0.4

Kingston upon Thames

0.5

Lambeth

2.9

Lewisham

8.8

Merton

0.5

Newham

61.6

Redbridge

0.5

Richmond upon Thames

0.5

Southwark

5.6

Sutton

0.5

Tower Hamlets

61.9

Waltham Forest

48.3

Wandsworth

2.1

Westminster

1.9

Total

310.5

Gas and Electricity

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment his Department has made of the importance of ensuring there is sufficient peak gas capability in the UK. (78519)

The Joint Energy Security of Supply Working Group (JESS) under joint-chairmanship of the DTI and Ofgem routinely assesses the security of energy supply in the UK. The sixth JESS report, published in April 2006, shows the assessment of winter supply capability against average and peak winter demand. This report can be found at http://www.dti.gov.uk/files/file28800.pdf?pubpdfdload=06%2F331. It is clearly very important to national well-being that there is sufficient gas to meet daily demand.

Green Tariffs

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the take-up is of green tariffs to domestic electricity customers; and if he will make a statement. (79242)

Figures from the National Consumer Council suggest that of the order of 200,000 households are currently on green electricity tariffs.

Marketing

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has made an assessment of the effectiveness of industry marketing standards; and if he will make a statement. (78087)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will meet the Chartered Institute of Marketing to discuss forthcoming legislation which will affect the marketing sector; and if he will make a statement. (78086)

If the Chartered Institute of Marketing writes to me setting out what issues in relation to what legislation they would like to discuss, I will consider the matter.

Post Office Closures

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices were closed in (a) Nottingham, South and (b) the East Midlands in 2005-06. (79223)

The question the hon. Member has asked relates to operational matters for which Post Office Ltd. is directly responsible.

There have been no closures of Post Office branches in 2005-06 in Nottingham, South. There has been a net reduction of 20 branches over the year 2005-06 in the region of the East Midlands.

Information relating to post office branches for each parliamentary constituency is placed in the Libraries of the House on an annual basis.

Promotion Boards

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what promotion boards have been held in his Department in each of the last five years. (72902)

The Department of Trade and Industry no longer runs promotion boards for posts below the senior civil service. These posts are advertised on a job specific basis through our weekly vacancy bulletin.

The selection process for promotion to the senior civil service is normally run annually. Four have been held in the last five years.

Renewable Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) solar hot water systems, (b) solar photovoltaics and (c) wind power systems were installed in the United Kingdom in 2005; and if he will make a statement. (78943)

Full details of renewable energy generation for 2005 will be published in the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics (DUKES) 2006 on 27 July 2006. A copy of which will be available from the Libraries of the House.

We do not have definitive figures for solar water heating; however in the “Microgeneration Strategy and Low Carbon Buildings Programme” consultation document, issued by the Department in June 2005, we estimated that the total number of existing installed domestic systems in the UK at over 70,000 with about 5,000 new domestic systems installed each year.

The latest confirmed figures that we have from DUKES 2005 show installed capacity of 8.2 MW for solar photovoltaics and 933.2 MW for wind power: 123.8 MW offshore and 809.4 MW onshore.

According to the British Wind Energy Association the current installed capacity for wind is 1,694.56 MW: 1,480.76 MW onshore and 213.80 MW offshore.

Small Business Service

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the budget of the Government’s Small Business Service was in each financial year since its establishment; how many staff it employs; how many offices it (a) owns and (b) rents; what the annual rent paid on rented properties was in each year; and to which Minister in the Department the Small Business Service reports. (78164)

The chief executive of the Small Business Service reports, through the Minister of State for Industry and the Regions, to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

The information requested is detailed as follows:

Budget (£ million )

Programme

Administration

Staff numbers1

Offices owned2and rented (on a notional basis)

Notional annual rent paid3 (£ million)

2000-01

244

10

203

43

1.04

2001-02

268

13

326

45

0.74

2002-03

336

18

440

43

1.66

2003-04

378

19

427

43

1.45

2004-05

386

18

355

42

1.35

2005-06

216

13

240

43

1.49

1 Staff numbers are those employed on SBS work, including agency staff, inward secondees and regional based staff.

2 The SBS does not own any properties.

3 The DTI are the legal tenants of the properties housing the SBS and the SBS shows these figures in its annual accounts on a notional charge.

4 Rented.

Source:

SBS Annual Reports and accounts, with the 2005-06 figures being on a provisional basis.

Supply-Demand Balance

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether his Department has assessed the possibility of measuring supply-demand balance in millions of cubic metres per day. (78520)

The Department generally assesses supply and demand in terms of the energy content of gas (GWh), as this is what is important for ensuring that supply and demand are balanced. However, an analysis of the projected supplies and demand in million cubic metres per day for winters up to 2024-25 can be found in the sixth report of the Joint Energy Security of Supply Working Group (JESS) (http://www.dti.gov.uk/files/file28800.pdf?pubpdfdload=06% F331). For information concerning the forthcoming winter, an analysis of the supply-demand balance in millions of cubic metres can be found in National Grid’s Winter Outlook consultation document, available at:

http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/temp/ofgem/cache/cmsattach/15058 _8406b.pdf

In addition, daily assessments of supply and demand, displayed in millions of cubic metres per day, can be found on the National Grid website at:

http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/Gas/Data/DSR

Sustainability and Carbon Impact Accreditation Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will support a sustainability and carbon impact accreditation scheme for all biomass consumed in the UK. (79540)

This is a complex area, given the vast array of potential biomass sources and the different end uses. The right balance has to be struck in terms of supporting environmentally beneficial energy generation while avoiding over-regulation in what is still a relatively embryonic industry.

The Government are interested in such accreditation schemes where they could be practical Currently we are looking at these as part of the co-firing review and the development of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation [RTFO]. The RTFO will place a mandatory reporting requirement on companies supplying biofuels from day one of the obligation to report in detail on the carbon savings of the biofuels supplied, as well as the impact on sustainability.

Work and Pensions

Pension Credit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many residents in (a) Lewisham, Deptford constituency and (b) Lewisham borough receive pension credit. (79156)

As at February 2006, the number of pension credit individual beneficiaries for (a)Lewisham Deptford constituency was 3,900 and (b) Lewisham borough local authority area was 11,940.

Notes:

1. These figures are early estimates. The preferred data source for figures supplied by DWP is the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS). However, the figures provided are the latest available figures which are taken from the GMS scan at 17 February 2006. These are adjusted using the historical relationship between WPLS and GMS data to give an estimate of the final WPLS figure. Average amounts are displayed as at the scan reference data of 17 February 2006.

2. Numbers of individual beneficiaries are rounded to the nearest ten.

3. Parliamentary constituencies and local authorities are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory.

4. The number of individual beneficiaries includes both claimants and their partners and may include partners aged less than 60.

Source: DWP: 100 per cent data from the Generalised Matching Service (GMS). Pension credit scan taken as at 17 February 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many residents in each electoral ward in Beverley and Holderness receive pension credit; and if he will make a statement. (78995)

The information is in the following table:

Pension credit individual beneficiaries for wards in Beverley and Holderness parliamentary constituency, November 2005

Ward name

Individual beneficiaries1

Beverley Rural

445

Cottingham North2

345

East Wolds and Coastal2

865

Mid Holderness

700

Minster and Woodmansey

845

North Holderness

830

St. Mary’s

700

South East Holderness

1,420

South West Holderness

765

Beverley and Holderness constituency total

5,700

1 The number of individual beneficiaries includes both claimants and their partners.

2 Only part of Cottingham North and East Wolds and Coastal wards are in Beverley and Holderness Parliamentary Constituency

Notes:

1. Numbers of individual beneficiaries are rounded to a multiple of five.

2. Because of ‘1’ and ‘2’ wards will not always sum to constituency totals.

3. Wards are based on 2003 ward boundaries.

Source:

DWP Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) 100 per cent. data.

Compulsory Work-focused Interviews

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people starting on incapacity benefits in Liverpool and Wirral attended an initial work-focused interview since it became compulsory. (77087)

The information requested is not available.

The pathways to work regime only commenced on 24 April in the Liverpool and Wirral district. The first work-focused interviews do not take place until at least week eight, namely the end of June 2006. Early work-focused interviews data are only available three months after the first interviews. It will therefore be September/October before any are available for the Liverpool and Wirral district.

Employment (Rotherham)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action his Department is taking to increase the number of people in work aged 50 years and over in Rotherham. (76873)

Like all other customers, people aged 50 and over can benefit from the range of services provided by Jobcentre Plus, including access to jobs and help and support to find work.

Additional help is provided to older people who do not find work quickly. New deal 50-plus is a voluntary programme that provides people with advice and guidance from personal advisers, and access to in-work financial help through the 50-plus element of the working tax credit. Since April 2000, the programme has been successful in helping more than 150,000 older workers into employment, including 280 people in Rotherham. Once in work, new deal 50-plus customers can claim a training grant of up to £1,500 for training of which up to £300 can be used for life-long learning.

People aged 50 and over, including those in Rotherham, are also eligible for help from new deal 25-plus. People who have been claiming jobseeker's allowance (JSA) for 18 months and who have not previously participated on new deal 25-plus, are already required to attend the gateway stage of the new deal 25-plus programme. This is a period of up to four months of intensive job search and specialist help and support to improve job prospects. This is followed by the intensive activity period (IAP) which is currently voluntary for people aged 50 and over. The IAP provides further support and pre-work training to help people return to work.

Since April 2004, we have been piloting mandatory participation in the new deal 25-plus IAP for people aged 50-59 who have been claiming JSA for 18 months. The pilot has offered people in this age group more extensive help back to work. Rotherham was not part of the pilot, however. Interim pilot data have yielded positive results and, as announced in our Welfare Reform Green Paper, we will be commencing a phased national rollout.

Between 1979 and the mid 1990s, the number of people on incapacity benefits trebled. Growth in the caseload has since slowed significantly, and in November 2005, there were 2.71 million people claiming incapacity benefits, a fall of 61,000 over the year. Although 46 per cent. of those claiming incapacity benefits are aged between 50 and state pension age, between 2000 and 2005 the number of people in the 50-plus age group fell by 52,000. This has contributed to the overall reduction in the incapacity benefits caseload.

Like other age groups, people aged 50 and over will be able to benefit from the rollout of the successful pathways to work service across the whole country which will be completed by 2008. Pathways offers new IB customers early support from skilled personal advisers and direct access to a ‘Choices Package’ of employment programmes and clear financial incentives to make work pay. Any IB customer will be able to access the support and help available on a voluntary basis. Pathways has already begun helping people in the Rotherham area, having rolled out there in April.

Our age positive campaign works with employers and others to promote the business benefits of an age diverse workforce and best practice on age in recruitment, training and promotion. In May 2005 we launched the ‘Be Ready’ national information campaign to raise employer awareness of, and ability to adopt, flexible employment and retirement opportunities to support the recruitment and retention of older workers in advance of age legislation due in October 2006.

Health and Safety

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many health and safety at work stability duties are defined in legislation as (a) absolute and (b) qualified as duties reduced to what is (i) reasonably practicable, (ii) practicable, (iii) reasonable, (iv) appropriate, (v) suitable and (vi) adequate. (76598)

The key duties in the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974, to protect people from harm, are qualified by the term “reasonably practicable”. However in Regulations made under the Act there are a number of specific duties that are absolute and others that are qualified by terms including “reasonable” and “practicable”. Guidance is used to explain what is needed in practice. In terms of the specific number of times each term is used to qualify a duty in the various statutory provisions, this information is not held and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Human Resource Functions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the development of human resource functions within Departmental activities. (76521)

When the new Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was formed in 2002, the Human Resources (HR) function inherited different sets of legacy HR policies and terms and conditions; paper driven systems: HR Service Centres dominated by low value added data input; Business HR teams preoccupied with detailed transactional based advice; and Corporate HR focussed on developing and maintaining detailed and over-prescriptive HR guidance.

Working with colleagues from the DWP Businesses, the HR Senior Management Team designed a new HR Operating Model based on best practice in both the private and public sectors. The HR function now has in place a set of HR job roles common across the Department, delivering a uniform HR service.

This new HR Operating Model places the emphasis on self service for employees and line managers, with on-line access to HR processes through the new Resource Management IT system which will be fully implemented in 2007. This is supported by a telephone based advice and guidance service provided by integrated HR and Finance shared service centres, and accessed through a single telephone number.

The new Operating Model for HR in DWP has already allowed for a reduction in HR staff numbers from 5,500 to 3,000, and by March 2008 that number will be reduced by a further 500. This has freed up resources for front line work with our clients.

Business HR teams focus on working strategically with operational managers on the HR issues affecting business performance. Corporate HR has been restructured to form four new Centres of Expertise which have improved and simplified the Department’s HR policies, making them easier for line managers to interpret and use.

Jobseeker Assistance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what arrangements are in place to manage the transition of individuals from jobseeker to student status. (76317)

There are no special arrangements in place to help a person make the transition from a jobseeker to student status.

Mesothelioma

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what funds are available to pay compensation to people who suffer from mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos in the workplace when their employers or insurers cannot be traced; and if he will make a statement. (78573)

[holding answer 19 June 2006]: People suffering from mesothelioma due to exposure in the workplace can make a claim for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB), Constant Attendance Allowance (CAA) and Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance (ESDA). From July 2002 people suffering from mesothelioma were exempted from the need to be medically examined by the Department if clear evidence is already available to confirm their condition. Alongside that change regulations were introduced to automatically award IIDB at the 100 per cent. rate. Currently this is £127.10. In addition CAA may also be payable dependant upon the level of the person’s care needs. There are four rates of payment ranging from £25.45 to £101.80 a week. Where the two higher rates of CAA are in payment Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance (ESDA) may also be payable at the current weekly rate of £50.90. Where the relevant employer is no longer in business the person may also make a claim under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Worker’s Compensation) 1979 Act scheme where the current average payment is £13,000.

Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners receive their pension (a) every week in advance, (b) every four weeks in arrears and (c) every 13 weeks in arrears. (76632)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the likely effect of implementation of the Pensions White Paper proposals on achieving the Government’s target of raising from 40 to 60 per cent., by 2020, the proportion of a pensioner’s income coming from investments rather than taxes. (79614)

The proposals in the White Paper, ‘Security in Retirement—Towards a New Pensions System’ (Cm 6841) provide the basis for an affordable and sustainable pensions system, which strikes a new balance of responsibility between employers, the State and individuals. As set out on p175 (para C.6) of the White Paper,

“it is proposed to cease monitoring progress against this PSA target from the start of the 2007 CSR period, and to investigate a more appropriate target regime”.

Staff Absenteeism

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 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. (76891)

[holding answer 19 June 2006]: The information is contained in the following tables. The source of the figures is the Cabinet Office’s annual reports on sickness absence in the Civil Service. Information for 2005 is not yet available.

Absenteeism has been taken to mean absences due to sickness absence.

The Department for Work and Pensions was created in July 2001, but it was not until 2003 that the systems for recording the relevant data were combined. The figures prior to 2003 therefore reflect the position in the Employment Service and Department for Social Security (and its agencies). The tables do not contain information about the Disability and Carers Agency because it did not exist as an executive agency prior to 2005.

Table 1: Average working days lost per staff year through sickness

Organisation

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

Appeals Service

Child Support Agency

11.9

11.1

12.1

11.1

11.0

11.6

13.8

11.6

Employment Service

11.5

11.8

12.8

13.5

Jobcentre Plus

112.5

111.1

111.0

111.1

110.6

110.8

12.0

9.8

The Pension Service

10.5

9.5

DWP Overall

212.2

210.8

210.9

211.0

11.1

10.8

11.6

9.6

DWP Staffing Numbers

291,499

297,089

290,170

288,696

127,260

133,908

133,867

131,741

1 Benefits Agency. 2 DSS only.

Table 2: Estimated total cost of sickness absence in £ million

Organisation

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

Appeals Service

Child Support Agency

6.2

6.1

7.1

7.4

8.3

9.7

12.2

10.6

Employment Service

27.4

29.3

33.9

37.4

Jobcentre Plus

158.8

156.8

157.1

157.6

153.1

152.5

78.9

67.5

The Pension Service

15.4

13.6

DWP overall

275.2

272.1

267.9

268.7

102.9

109.1

122.6

106.2

DWP staffing numbers

291,499

297,089

290,170

288,696

127,260

133,908

133,867

131,741

1 Benefits Agency. 2 DSS only.

Prime Minister

Muslim Community (Government Policy)

To ask the Prime Minister which Government Department is responsible for tackling (a) extremism and (b) racial hatred in communities. (78268)

To ask the Prime Minister which Government Ministers have responsibility for an aspect of policy on the Muslim community; what the aspect of policy is in each case; who has a co-ordinating role; and if he will make a statement. (79489)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Ruth Kelly) has lead responsibility for these issues, working closely with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary (John Reid) and a number of other Ministers.

Natural Gas Sales (Israel)

To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his recent discussions with the Israeli Prime Minister on the sale of natural gas to Israel. (79446)

I discussed a wide range of issues with Prime Minister Olmert during his recent visit. The sale of natural gas to Israel was not raised during our discussions.

I also refer the hon. Member to the press conference I held with Prime Minister Olmert on 13 June. A transcript of this is available on the No. 10 website and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Constitutional Affairs

Black/Asian Employees

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many (a) black and Asian and (b) other people are employed in her Department’s press office. (74365)

13 staff are employed in the DCA press office.

In accordance with civil service policy, information concerning the ethnic origin (or disability status) of individuals may not be disclosed where the number of staff in a particular category is less than five. This is to ensure that individuals cannot be identified.

Court Fines

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much was collected in fines in each magistrates court area in England and Wales in each year since 1997; how much and what percentage was not collected; and if she will make a statement. (78833)

In response to how much was collected in fines in each magistrates court area in England and Wales, how much and what percentage was not collected, please see the following summary table. It is not possible to supply data before the financial year 1999-2000.

Enforcement of penalties—amount imposed, amount paid and payment rates in financial years 1999-2000 to 2001-02

Financial year 1999-2000

Financial year 2000-01

Amount imposed (£)

Amount paid (£)

Payment rate indicator (%)

Amount imposed (£)

Amount paid (£)

Payment rate indicator (%)

Avon and Somerset

21,234,453

8,731,309

41

8,256,037

5,118,519

62

Bedfordshire

6,237,890

3,431,592

55

4,762,726

2,625,514

55

Cambridgeshire

5,500,017

3,473,988

63

6,118,702

3,155,588

52

Cheshire

5,981,812

4,388,875

73

6,420,224

4,313,584

67

Cleveland

3,197,606

2,665,031

83

3,380,616

2,319,844

69

Cumbria

3,967,216

3,156,013

80

4,185,093

3,188,304

76

Derbyshire

7,935,635

4,985,939

63

7,020,849

4,675,106

67

Devon and Cornwall

7,180,005

4,974,813

69

7,279,584

5,290,410

73

Dorset

3,558,750

2,530,147

71

3,592,052

2,675,217

74

Durham

4,474,739

3,036,341

68

5,310,342

3,542,709

67

Dyfed Powys

3,880,391

3,707,494

96

3,041,018

3,053,108

100

Essex

9,718,017

7,703,981

79

9,632,053

7,349,376

76

Gloucestershire

3,760,810

2,539,166

68

3,287,009

1,961,654

60

Greater Manchester

25,484,149

13,761,052

54

24,215,936

14,562,131

60

Gwent

5,064,062

3,486,064

69

4,269,866

2,865,115

67

Hampshire and IoW

11,707,087

9,267,215

79

10,245,223

6,858,802

67

Hertfordshire

6,561,714

4,964,653

76

6,103,980

4,558,579

75

Humberside

5,214,617

3,716,800

71

6,597,406

4,293,588

65

Kent

12,056,575

6,016,680

50

9,697,386

5,915,759

61

Lancashire

13,602,372

9,379,132

69

12,690,739

8,193,617

65

Leicestershire

6,110,729

4,473,995

73

7,492,423

4,723,608

63

Lincolnshire

4,235,761

2,790,950

66

3,056,365

2,972,011

97

London

94,967,927

46,421,680

49

76,577,889

39,432,244

51

Merseyside

11,840,748

6,103,342

52

11,833,950

5,538,307

47

Norfolk

4,805,503

3,356,849

70

4,264,754

2,942,701

69

North Wales

4,597,264

2,520,358

55

5,267,895

2,683,157

51

North Yorkshire

4,543,781

3,590,521

79

4,066,104

3,338,156

82

Northamptonshire

5,438,515

3,188,007

59

4,910,690

3,060,016

62

Northumbria

8,159,506

5,284,590

65

9,550,385

5,846,038

61

Nottinghamshire

6,262,892

4,984,975

80

6,770,234

4,726,266

70

South Wales

10,834,839

6,363,479

59

10,037,578

5,633,387

56

South Yorkshire

8,490,089

5,532,959

65

8,405,414

6,095,843

73

Staffordshire

6,960,328

5,938,204

85

6,590,544

5,961,893

90

Suffolk

3,998,615

2,888,133

72

3,894,154

3,009,437

77

Surrey

5,103,426

3,791,834

74

5,928,060

3,446,024

58

Sussex

6,004,383

5,611,954

93

7,323,641

4,648,440

63

Thames Valley

14,545,047

9,140,923

63

11,159,793

6,953,327

62

Warwickshire

3,222,646

2,357,257

73

3,334,594

2,379,783

71

West Mercia

7,770,822

6,944,215

89

6,914,544

4,296,436

62

West Midlands

24,265,354

14,149,512

58

20,861,358

13,248,381

64

West Yorkshire

18,619,468

12,672,455

68

17,135,576

12,129,269

71

Wiltshire

4,015,688

3,304,395

82

3,475,273

2,874,453

83

England and Wales

431,111,249

267,326,873

62

384,958,059

242,455,701

63

Financial year 2001-02

Amount imposed (£)

Amount paid (£)

Payment rate indicator (%)

Avon and Somerset

11,561,805

6,246,094

54

Bedfordshire

3,703,885

2,161,944

58

Cambridgeshire

8,718,787

3,109,064

36

Cheshire

6,705,822

3,871,051

58

Cleveland

3,390,968

1,848,077

54

Cumbria

3,702,431

2,816,019

76

Derbyshire

7,729,698

4,455,819

58

Devon and Cornwall

7,327,435

5,108,433

70

Dorset

3,109,299

2,763,146

89

Durham

4,076,050

3,042,991

75

Dyfed Powys

2,268,413

1,654,410

73

Essex

10,596,342

7,899,540

75

Gloucestershire

4,252,548

1,836,517

43

Greater Manchester

22,462,326

13,788,906

61

Gwent

3,929,781

2,581,787

66

Hampshire and IoW

9,315,278

6,380,475

68

Hertfordshire

6,742,273

3,967,928

59

Humberside

5,811,334

4,136,913

71

Kent

9,521,137

6,064,552

64

Lancashire

10,671,510

7,210,821

68

Leicestershire

8,372,916

5,205,631

62

Lincolnshire

3,595,711

2,722,850

76

London

77,640,695

35,501,236

46

Merseyside

11,317,472

3,823,093

34

Norfolk

3,912,737

2,897,036

74

North Wales

3,684,078

2,532,550

69

North Yorkshire

3,393,075

2,530,846

75

Northamptonshire

6,624,981

3,417,222

52

Northumbria

8,846,159

5,501,723

62

Nottinghamshire

6,702,188

4,381,751

65

South Wales

10,347,223

4,179,596

40

South Yorkshire

8,276,573

5,453,475

66

Staffordshire

6,261,205

4,553,633

73

Suffolk

3,246,556

2,279,240

70

Surrey

6,097,432

4,814,701

79

Sussex

6,626,799

4,106,942

62

Thames Valley

12,844,660

9,613,757

75

Warwickshire

4,498,636

2,071,893

46

West Mercia

8,708,210

4,175,534

48

West Midlands

22,857,114

13,204,009

58

West Yorkshire

13,168,926

11,262,266

86

Wiltshire

4,400,417

2,948,816

67

England and Wales

387,020,885

228,122,287

59

Enforcement of penalties—amount imposed, amount paid and payment rates in financial years 2002-03 to 2003-04

Financial year 2002-03

Financial year 2003-04

Amount imposed (£)

Amount paid (£)

Payment rate indicator (%)

Amount imposed (£)

Amount paid (£)

Payment rate indicator (%)

Avon and Somerset

8,181,788

5,259,280

64

6,581,541

5,453,950

83

Bedfordshire

3,480,794

2,025,001

58

3,217,745

2,564,347

80

Cambridgeshire

7,212,583

3,238,169

45

3,210,889

3,224,845

100

Cheshire

6,343,975

3,528,927

56

4,779,680

3,920,232

82

Cleveland

4,216,677

1,975,152

47

2,266,883

2,069,593

91

Cumbria

3,731,662

2,775,099

74

3,047,683

2,844,398

93

Derbyshire

8,019,991

4,686,960

58

4,749,175

3,739,272

79

Devon and Cornwall

8,789,409

5,532,765

63

9,873,585

6,704,025

68

Dorset

3,129,353

2,389,428

76

2,643,658

1,903,910

72

Durham

3,810,252

2,824,406

74

2,339,689

2,094,583

90

Dyfed Powys

2,998,274

1,960,800

65

3,365,912

2,724,655

81

Essex

11,051,684

8,218,465

74

7,563,279

7,086,532

94

Gloucestershire

2,810,188

2,354,218

84

1,588,191

1,507,791

95

Greater Manchester

23,784,474

15,219,139

64

17,344,135

11,042,983

64

Gwent

5,112,864

2,928,599

57

3,955,803

3,360,805

85

Hampshire and IoW

9,564,623

7,373,651

77

8,841,482

7,627,649

86

Hertfordshire

6,601,848

4,435,570

67

5,727,925

3,863,481

67

Humberside

5,435,985

3,624,952

67

4,718,436

4,516,649

96

Kent

9,434,951

5,730,421

61

8,989,970

6,982,642

78

Lancashire

11,325,845

7,126,465

63

6,711,749

5,795,054

86

Leicestershire

6,860,746

4,714,845

69

5,709,902

3,952,913

69

Lincolnshire

5,112,202

3,022,844

59

3,415,970

2,547,049

75

London

111,347,014

44,495,021

40

47,952,038

31,645,334

66

Merseyside

13,398,088

4,377,442

33

9,329,759

4,779,577

51

Norfolk

3,788,526

2,844,567

75

3,715,257

2,919,610

79

North Wales

5,413,000

2,887,586

53

3,583,071

3,178,919

89

North Yorkshire

3,204,012

2,485,638

78

2,972,852

2,916,891

98

Northamptonshire

5,444,863

3,447,419

63

2,794,817

2,673,425

96

Northumbria

8,823,707

5,231,567

59

6,635,058

5,471,301

82

Nottinghamshire

6,901,699

4,503,754

65

4,967,965

3,587,759

72

South Wales

9,536,317

4,936,250

52

7,182,586

5,425,173

76

South Yorkshire

8,461,741

5,127,542

61

5,161,514

4,167,192

81

Staffordshire

7,974,944

4,533,341

57

5,449,145

4,254,355

78

Suffolk

3,405,285

2,366,200

69

2,971,928

2,367,787

80

Surrey

5,427,711

4,414,523

81

4,088,134

3,042,417

74

Sussex

6,402,558

3,958,078

62

5,457,739

5,450,003

100

Thames Valley

12,245,768

8,450,928

69

11,096,413

7,179,087

65

Warwickshire

3,015,942

2,612,689

87

2,155,676