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Written Answers

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 4 July 2006

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 3 July 2006

Home Department

Accession State Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications from the EH postcode area have been made for worker registration by workers from the EU accession states since 1 May 2004. (80593)

During the period 1 May 2004 to 31 March 2006, 6,205 applications were made to the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS) by applicants in the EH postcode area, of which 6,010 were approved.

British Muslim Citizenship Toolkits

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many British Muslim citizenship toolkits have been issued to (a) mosques, (b) parents and (c) young people in Luton since their introduction. (75922)

I have been asked to reply.

The development of a British Muslim citizenship toolkit was one of the recommendations of the “Preventing Extremism Together” report published in November 2005 by workgroups from the Muslim community.

The Government are supporting individuals and organisations to implement the recommendations but responsibility for them lies with the Muslim community. Good progress is being made on a number of the recommendations and Government are encouraging Muslim organisations to develop this toolkit.

Charities

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list inquiries into charities with annual incomes of less than £1,000,000 undertaken by the Charity Commission in each of the last 10 years; and what the annual income of the charity concerned was in each case. (67900)

I have been asked to reply.

This is a matter for the Charity Commission, which is an independent regulator, independent of Government. I understand from the Commission that it has carried out 2,163 inquiries into charities with annual incomes of less than £1,000,000 since the start of the financial year 1996-97. I have asked the chief executive of the Charity Commission to write to the hon. Member with the details of those inquiries. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Library.

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter of 4 April 2006 from the hon. Member for Walsall, North, reference M9042/6. (78028)

My hon. Friend the Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety replied to the hon. Member for Walsall, North on 4 May 2006 and I also replied on 26 June 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average cost to his Department was of replying to a letter written (a) by an hon. Member and (b) by a member of the public in the latest period for which figures are available; and how much of that sum is accounted for by (i) officials’ time, (ii) cost of stationery and (iii) postage costs. (80483)

The Cabinet Office publishes, on an annual basis, a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members/Peers correspondence. The report for 2005 was published on 30 March 2006, Official Report, columns 76-78WS.

The information requested is not recorded and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when his Department will reply to the letter of 8 March 2006 from the right. hon. Member for Warley regarding Jaswinder Singh, Marion road, Smethwick. (80496)

The Immigration and Nationality Directorate wrote to the right hon. Member for Warley on 28 June 2006.

Crime Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases of (a) (i) serious, (ii) major and (iii) organised crime and (b) counter terrorism activity there have been in Cumbria in each year from 1996 to 2006. (64424)

There are no commonly recognised definitions of serious and major crime. Figures are instead provided in the following tables for violent crimes recorded by Cumbria Constabulary.

Corresponding figures for organised crime are not collected centrally.

The only available information on counter terrorism activity indicate that Cumbria Constabulary made three stop/searches under anti-terrorism legislation in 1996-97 but did not make any over the period 1997-98 to 2004-05.

Table 1: Recorded offences of violent crime in Cumbria

Number of offences

1996

2,873

1997

3,158

Table 2: Recorded offences of violent crime in Cumbria1

Number of offences

1998-99

5,901

1999-2000

5,456

2000-01

4,414

2001-02

5,723

1 In April 1998, the coverage was expanded and counting rules revised. Data are therefore not comparable with those for earlier years. 

Table 3: Recorded offences of violent crime in Cumbria1

Number of offences

2002-03

6,069

2003-04

7,291

2004-05

9,641

1 In April 2002, the National Crime Recording Standard was introduced. Data are therefore not comparable with those for earlier years.

Damages

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Answer of 20 December 2005, Official Report, column 2882W, on damages, how many cases of damages were paid out by his Department for the last year in which figures are available; and what the total sum paid was. (68687)

Elliot House

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department since what date sex offenders have been housed in Elliot House in Birmingham; what causes for concern have been drawn to his Department’s attention since that time; what his rationale is for deciding that such offenders should no longer be housed in this hostel; and what steps are being taken to ensure that the risk of their re-offending is minimised. (80055)

Elliott House opened as a bail hostel in June 1993 and, from the outset, accommodated individuals on bail with mental disorders. In June 1994, it was re-designated as a probation and bail hostel. In August 2001, it was re-designated as an approved premises, this permits the site to be used for accommodating persons granted bail in criminal proceedings and persons convicted of offences in connection with their supervision or rehabilitation. Since Elliott House opened in June 1993, it has housed a range of individuals including those either charged with sex offences and on bail or, since August 2001, those on licence from custody having been convicted of sex offences.

The Home Department has not collated any concerns that have been raised about the presence of sex offenders in Elliott House. There has been no recorded incident of sexual offending by any resident against the community.

Certain sex and violent offenders are accommodated in approved premises in order to provide public protection. Offenders may be closely monitored and supervised in approved premises, in order to ensure compliance with their licence conditions and to ensure that swift enforcement action is taken, where offenders’ behaviour presents a risk of harm to the public.

It is important that the public feels secure. In order to maintain public confidence in our systems for managing the risks posed by such offenders, it was decided that child sex offenders should no longer be housed in approved premises that are immediately adjacent to schools and nurseries.

Offenders will be moved from Elliott House following a thorough risk assessment once suitable alternative accommodation has been found, where supervision and treatment may continue. The supervision and treatment are both necessary to address the offender’s risk of re-offending.

Foreign Criminals

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign offenders have been released from prisons in (a) Scotland and (b) Northern Ireland without being considered for deportation in each of the last eight years; and for what offences each was originally convicted. (77128)

I refer the right hon. Member to the most recent written ministerial statement of 23 May 2006, Official Report, column 77WS. I set out in this statement the eight priority areas for management action to deliver our long term agenda for change on radically improving the system for deporting foreign national prisoners. The sixth point deals specifically with the position in Scotland and Northern Ireland concerning foreign national prisoners. We shall update the House with our progress on this point shortly.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign criminals released from prison in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years have been recommended for deportation but have not yet been deported. (69294)

[holding answer 9 May 2006]: I refer the hon. Lady to the most recent written ministerial statement of 23 May 2006, Official Report, column 77WS. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary set out in this statement the eight priority areas for management action to deliver our long term agenda for change on radically improving the system for deporting foreign national prisoners. The sixth point deals specifically with the position in Scotland and Northern Ireland concerning foreign national prisoners. We shall update the House with our progress on this point shortly.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many foreign nationals convicted of serious offences and serving sentences in Scottish prisons who were recommended for deportation by a court were subsequently (a) deported and (b) released since January 1999; (67592)

(2) when he first raised the issue of release of foreign national criminals with (a) the Scottish Prison Service and (b) the Scottish Executive; and what discussions his Department had with each on the matter.

[holding answers 2 May 2006]: I refer the hon. Member to the most recent written ministerial statement of 23 May 2006, Official Report, column 77WS. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary set out in this statement the eight priority areas for management action to deliver our long-term agenda for change on radically improving the system for deporting foreign national prisoners. The sixth point deals specifically with the position in Scotland and Northern Ireland concerning foreign national prisoners. We shall update the House with our progress on this point shortly.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign nationals convicted of serious offences (a) are serving a sentence in Scottish prisons and (b) have served sentences in Scottish prisons since January 1999. (67617)

I refer the hon. Member to the most recent written ministerial statement of 23 May 2006, Official Report, column 77WS. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary set out in this statement the eight priority areas for management action to deliver our long-term agenda for change on radically improving the system for deporting foreign national prisoners. The sixth point deals specifically with the position in Scotland and Northern Ireland concerning foreign national prisoners. We shall update the House with our progress on this point shortly.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign prisoners were released from Scottish prisons in each year from 1999-2000 to 2004-05. (75861)

I refer my hon. Friend to the most recent written ministerial statement of 23 May 2006, Official Report, column 77WS. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary set out in this statement the eight priority areas for management action to deliver our long term agenda for change on radically improving the system for deporting foreign national prisoners. The sixth point deals specifically with the position in Scotland and Northern Ireland concerning foreign national prisoners. We shall update the House with our progress on this point shortly.

Hollesley Bay Prison (Absconded Prisoners)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners have absconded from Hollesley Bay Prison in each of the last five years. (73429)

There have been 106 absconds from Hollesley Bay open prison in the last five years. Details of these are shown in the following table.

Absconds from HMP Hollesley Bay 2001-02 and 2005-06

Total number of absconds

2001-02

8

2002-03

14

2003-04

36

2004-05

32

2005-06

16

Total

106

Human Trafficking

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what range of sentences were given in cases involving human trafficking in each of the last five years. (78809)

[holding answer 20 June 2006]: We have introduced comprehensive legislation to criminalise trafficking in human beings. The Sexual Offences Act 2003, which came into force in May 2004, introduces new, wide-ranging offences covering trafficking into, within, and out of the UK for any form of sexual exploitation. A new offence of “trafficking people for exploitation” covering forced labour, removal of organs and the trafficking of vulnerable people, including children, is included in the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc.) Act 2004 and came into force in December 2004. Prior to 2003, the Immigration Act 1971 was adopted for trafficking offences. There was one conviction in 2003 under that piece of legislation. In that case the defendant received a sentence of 10 years. This sentence was increased on appeal in 2004 to 23 years by the court of appeal on application by the Attorney-General as it was deemed unduly lenient.

In 2004 sentences for trafficking offences ranged from six to 18 years. In 2005 sentences for trafficking offences ranged from four to 21 years. In 2006 sentences for trafficking offences have so far ranged from four to seven years.

To date no convictions have been achieved for trafficking for labour exploitation.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what prosecutions have been successfully concluded for people trafficking; and what the nationality was of those convicted of this offence in cases where proceedings are complete. (77907)

To date there have been 29 convictions for trafficking for sexual exploitation under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, in 15 different cases. Prior to 2003, the Immigration Act 1971 was adopted for trafficking offences. There was one conviction in 2003 under that piece of legislation. The nationalities of the people convicted of trafficking offences are Albanian, Kosovan, Macedonian, Lithuanian, Turkish, Chinese, Moldovan and Thai.

To date there have been no convictions for trafficking for labour exploitation under the Asylum and Immigration (treatment of claimants etc) Act 2004.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many employees of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate have (a) resigned and (b) been sacked in each of the last 36 months. (76192)

The following data provide the numbers of employees who have left the Immigration and Nationality Directorate in each year. Reliable data on leavers broken down by month or prior to January 2004 can be provided only at disproportionate cost to the Department excluding dismissals.

Leavers1

20062

998

2005

2,717

2004

1,176

1 Data include all leavers including resignations, retirements, end of contract etc. and will include agency staff, many of whom will leave at the end of their contract and possibly re-join the organisation. 2 Data from 1 January 2006 to 18 June 2006.

Number of employees of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate who have been dismissed1 in each month from January 2005 to May 20062

Dismissals

2006

May

10

April

7

March

3

February

8

January

8

2005

December

8

November

4

October

4

September

5

August

6

July

6

June

9

May

10

April

6

March

12

February

7

January

14

1 The data for dismissals include all dismissals for misconduct, poor performance, and poor attendance. 2 Reliable data on dismissals prior to January 2005 can be provided only at disproportionate cost to the Department.

London Bombings Inquiry

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions his Department has had in the last month about a public inquiry into the 7 July bombings; and if he will make a statement. (80835)

The Government have carefully considered the possibility of a public inquiry into the 7 July London bombings but have concluded that this would not add to our understanding of the causes of those atrocities. The Government continue to hold this view. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and officials in my Department have had a number of discussions on this issue recently with families of the victims of the bombings.

A number of parliamentary and other inquiries (some of which are complete and some of which are on-going) address specific aspects of the events. A public inquiry would divert resources at a time when the police and agencies are actively engaged in the continuing investigation into the events of 7 July and the detection and prevention of further atrocities.

Mohamed Kargbo

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the application by Mr. Mohamed Kargbo, of Christchurch (reference: K414597) for indefinite leave to remain, received by his Department on 24 June 2004, will be determined; and if he will make a statement. (76132)

Officials from the Immigration and Nationality Directorate wrote to Mr. Kargbo’s legal representatives on 23 June 2006 with details of the outcome of his application.

National Insurance Numbers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals applying for a national insurance number and referred to the immigration and nationality directorate due to (a) suspicion about their eligibility to work in the UK, (b) the use of false documents and (c) other reasons were (i) prosecuted and (ii) convicted in each of the last five years. (75857)

Information on the number of investigations and prosecutions from specific referrals to the immigration and nationality directorate (IND) from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) could be obtained only by individually searching IND databases for the outcome of each referral received.

October 2004 to March 2005

April 2005 to March 2006

Investigations initiated

412

703

Prosecutions

150

359

Convictions

149

354

Note: Invalidated management information which excludes IND's border control directorate crime team investigations as they fall outside the referrals process.

Non-custodial Sentences

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer to question 78652, what the differences are between the non-custodial sentences referred to. (80501)

This table describes the community sentences and other relevant community disposals available for young offenders. Further information on these sentences is available on the Youth Justice Board Website.

Community sentences available for juveniles

Order

Who it applies to

Description

Length

Action plan order

10-17s

A short intensive community based programme which may include reparation, attendance centre and offence conformation sessions.

Three months

Attendance centre order

10-17s

The centres are run on Saturdays. Sessions (usually two hours long) involve physical exercise and group work.

Between four and 24 hours

Curfew orders with electronic monitoring

10-17s

Courts have the power to make curfew orders backed with electronic monitoring for juvenile offenders. The tagged curfews can help to break patterns of offending by keeping juvenile offenders off the streets and out of trouble at the times they are most likely to offend.

Up to six months

Supervision order

10-17s

The young person is supervised by a member of the YOT. A range of conditions may be attached for more serious offences. These include drug treatment (for 16+s since the Crime and Disorder Act) residence requirements, curfews, activities specified by the YOT (normally reparation, offending behaviour, group work, anger management etc.).

From six months to three years (usually one year)

Referral order

10-17s

Youth courts refer young people, who plead guilty and are convicted for the first time, to youth offender panels. The youth offender panels design an intervention programme with the young person to tackle his/her offending behaviour.

From 3-12 months

Community punishment and rehabilitation order

16+

Requires the offender to be under supervision and to perform unpaid work for not less than 40 and not more than 100 hours.

Between 12 months and three years

Community punishment order

16+

Involves undertaking unpaid work in the community—e.g. carpentry workshops, conservation, decorating or caring tasks for the elderly/vulnerable.

Between 40 to 240 hours

Community rehabilitation order

16+

The equivalent of supervision, overseen by the probation service and only available for “mature” 16 and 17-year-olds. It can have conditions attached (e.g. residence at probation hostel).

From six months to three years (usually one year)

Intensive supervision and surveillance programme (ISSP)

10-17s

Not a court order. Route onto ISSP is either via bail, as part of a community order or community part of the DTO. Young offender is subject to intensive supervision consisting of highly structured, individual programmes to tackle the causes of offending behaviour and intensive surveillance consisting of either tracking, electronic tagging, voice verification, or intelligence-led policing.

6-12 months intensive supervision of at least 25 hours per week for first 3-6 months, reassessed thereafter

Reparation order

10-17s

Not within the stable of community sentences as such. The young person is required to make reparation to the victim of the offence or to the community in general. This engages the individual in some practical reparative activity which brings home the consequences of their offence.

No more than 24 hours in aggregate

Parliamentary Questions

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to provide a substantive answer to Question 63882, on Khalid Rashid; and if he will make a statement. (78509)

[holding answer 19 June 2006]: I replied to the hon. Member on 21 June 2006, Official Report, column 2016W.

Police

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the proposals for the merger of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire police forces. (25363)

My right hon. Friend, the then Home Secretary, announced on 11 April that he was initiating the statutory consultation process on this merger. However, the Home Secretary announced on 19 June that he would not be laying any orders for Home Secretary initiated mergers before the summer recess. This will provide the opportunity for further discussion and dialogue.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department where Cumbria and Lancashire's new merged police force headquarters will be based. (61322)

The location of the new Headquarters will be a decision for the chief constable and police authority of the newly merged force.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many meetings his civil servants have had with chief constables to discuss police restructuring in England and Wales. (68620)

Senior officials and other members of the Home Office police restructuring team have met chief constables and other colleagues on numerous occasions from police forces and authorities throughout England and Wales to discuss police restructuring.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress is being made with the proposed mergers of police forces in the North East region. (76812)

On 3 March my right hon. Friend, the then Home Secretary, announced his intention to initiate a merger of the police forces in the North East.

My right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary, announced on 19 June he would not be laying any Home Secretary initiated amalgamation Orders before Parliament before the summer recess. This will allow further discussions to take place and outstanding matters to be resolved.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which members of the (a) Cumbria and (b) Lancashire police authority (i) supported and (ii) opposed the merger of Lancashire and Cumbria police. (81704)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which sites are being considered as a possible headquarters for the merged Lancashire and Cumbria police force; and when a decision on the site will be made. (81705)

The location of the headquarters for a merged Cumbria and Lancashire police force will be a matter for the Chief Constable and police authority of the newly merged force.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations he has received from people in Yorkshire supporting the police mergers. (61675)

We have received a number of representations from people across the country, both in favour of, and opposed to police force mergers.

It is not possible to identify those relating to Yorkshire separately.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he will take in relation to police authorities who do not submit business cases on the proposed police structure reforms by the 23 December deadline. (39464)

I apologise to my hon. Friend for the delay in answering his question and will write to him in full.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that the Cumbria Police Authority remains a separate organisation. (50812)

No. My right hon. Friend has made it clear that the new merged force will have a single police authority.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate of the cost of the police restructuring proposals has been carried out by his Department; and when they will be published. (48617)

For areas where options have been identified as viable and effective a case for amalgamation has been provided. The cases for amalgamation contain indicative projected costs for amalgamation of the relevant forces. These documents have been sent to the police forces and police authorities concerned.

They are also available on the Home Office website—http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/police-reform/Force-restructuring.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with (a) the Minister of State in the Department for Constitutional Affairs and (b) other ministerial colleagues on the possible impact of proposed police force mergers on court services; and if he will make a statement. (64734)

Discussions are ongoing with colleagues on the possible impact of proposed police force mergers.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many responses (a) favourable to and (b) opposed to a full merger of the Yorkshire and Humberside police forces his Department has received. (64984)

To date, the Home Office has received submissions on merger options for Yorkshire and the Humber police forces from North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Humberside police forces and authorities. All of these considered a full region merger as a viable option among a range of proposed possibilities.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the proposed timetable is for the establishment of the new Yorkshire and Humber Regional Police Force; and if he will make a statement. (67510)

[holding answer 2 May 2006]: I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary's announcement on 19 June 2006, Official Report, columns 1057-62W and the letter which he sent to all hon. Members on that date. He said that the formal objection period for the Yorkshire and Humber merger, which would have expired on 11 August, will be extended. The replacement timetable will be subject to further discussion.

Deportation

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the nationality is of those foreign nationals who following a prison sentence should have been considered for deportation; whether the UK has active deportation arrangements with each country concerned; and whether deportation may not be possible because of the political situation in each country. (68656)

[holding answer 8 May 2006]: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has updated the House on this matter in a written ministerial statement on 29 June 2006, Official Report, column 18WS and the Director General of the Immigration and Nationality Department (IND) wrote to the Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee on the 29 June on the number of cases where foreign national prisoners were released without proper deportation consideration. A copy of the letter has been placed in both Libraries.

Prisoners (Licensed Releases)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners were charged with offences committed whilst they were released on (a) special purpose licence, (b) resettlement day release licence, (c) resettlement overnight release licence and (d) child care resettlement licence in each year between 1997 and 2006. (79024)

To provide the information required would involve a manual interrogation of the individual records for each prisoner. This could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, temporary release failures represent 0.1 per cent. of the number of licences issued each year. These failures include other breaches of licence conditions such as prisoners returning late from temporary release and prisoners returning under the influence of alcohol as well as commission of offences.

Prisons

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the possible correlation between overcrowding and self-harm in the (a) male, (b) female and (c) juvenile prison estate; and if he will make a statement. (78134)

Overcrowding, and its subsequent effects in terms of prisoners’ distance from home, prisoner transfers and the time prisoners spend out of their cells, may be one factor in heightening the distress linked to suicide. However, the most important explanation of why prisoners harm and kill themselves is that a high proportion of prisoners arrive in prison with risk factors such as a history of abuse or drugs/alcohol problems. This is true for all parts of the prison estate.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people sit on the Prison Service committee with responsibility for dealing with suspected staff wrongdoing; how often the committee meets; who chairs it; to whom it reports; and if he will make a statement. (80528)

The Professional Standards Steering Group, which reports to the director general, meets quarterly to ensure the effective implementation of the Prison Service professional standards strategy. Its membership consists of the deputy director general who chairs the meeting, the director of personnel, the director of operations, the head of security group and the head of the professional standards unit.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) which prisons he has visited since his appointment; (80610)

(2) which prisons the Minister for prisons has visited in each of the last eight years.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department visited Wandsworth prison on 28 June 2006.

No single Minister has sole responsibility for prisons policy. However, the Ministers listed in the following table have had responsibility for areas of prison policy in the last eight years.

Ministerial prison visits by Home Office Ministers since 1999

Date

Lord Bassam of Brighton

Lewes

10 November 1999

Chelmsford

3 December 1999

Bullwood Hall

3 December 1999

Downview

10 December 1999

Highdown

10 December 1999

Feltham

17 March 2000

Albany

1 June 2000

Camp Hill

1 June 2000

Parkhurst

2 June 2000

Dover

13 October 2000

Birmingham

4 May 2001

Hilary Benn

Leeds

14 June 2002

Winchester

4 July 2002

Wormwood Scrubs

9 July 2002

Belmarsh

10 July 2002

Askham Grange

15 July 2002

Brixton

25 July 2002

Portland

27 August 2002

The Weare

27 August 2002

Lewes

28 August 2002

Ashfield

29 August 2002

East Sutton Park

3 September 2002

Wayland

17 September 2002

Reading

20 September 2002

Feltham

23 September 2002

Holloway

23 September 2002

Wetherby

7 October 2002

Lincoln

24 October 2002

New Hall

15 November 2002

Feltham

26 November 2002

Leeds

24 January 2003

Wandsworth

29 January 2003

Leicester

10 March 2003

Wandsworth

27 March 2003

Exeter

7 April 2003

Aylesbury

10 April 2003

Paul Boateng

Durham

2 July 1999

Aylesbury

3 August 1999

Whitemoor

4 August 1999

Wandsworth

6 August 1999

Leeds

14 September 1999

Parc

23 September 1999

Brixton

4 October 1999

Holloway

5 October 1999

Wormwood Scrubs

13 October 1999

Littlehey

20 October 1999

Feltham

28 October 1999

Wandsworth

2 November 1999

Brixton

4 November 1999

Feltham

11 November 1999

Belmarsh

25 November 1999

Highpoint

15 December 1999

Lindholme

21 December 1999

Wormwood Scrubs

31 December 1999

Pentonville

31 December 1999

Manchester

11 February 2000

Forest Bank

11 February 2000

Pentonville

13 February 2000

North Sea Camp

15 February 2000

Coldingley

23 February 2000

Altcourse

21 March 2000

Portland

13 April 2000

Weare

13 April 2000

Featherstone

8 May 2000

Styal

6 June 2000

The Mount

8 June 2000

Frankland

19 June 2000

Low Newton

19 June 2000

Holloway

5 July 2000

Blantyre House

5 July 2000

Exeter

7 July 2000

Wormwood Scrubs

9 July 2000

Bristol

11 July 2000

Leyhill

11 July 2000

East Sutton Park

11 July 2000

Grendon/Springhill

13 July 2000

Wandsworth

20 July 2000

Birmingham

7 September 2000

Norwich

21 September 2000

Hatfield

4 October 2000

Moorland

4 October 2000

Blantyre House

16 October 2000

Reading

25 October 2000

Holloway

31 October 2000

Brixton

2 November 2000

Littlehey

2 November 2000

Grendon

16 November 2000

Gloucester

19 November 2000

Woodhill

23 November 2000

Bedford

23 November 2000

Wandsworth

24 November 2000

Pentonville

11 December 2000

The Mount

14 December 2000

Holloway

18 December 2000

Feltham

31 December 2000

Whatton

6 February 2001

Ashfield

28 February 2001

Chelmsford

27 March 2001

Stoke Heath

28 March 2001

Brinsford

28 March 2001

Wellingborough

10 April 2001

Littlehey

10 April 2001

Pentonville

25 April 2001

Wandsworth

25 April 2001

Liverpool

1 May 2001

Paul Goggins

Brixton

2 June 2003

Onley

12 June 2003

Wandsworth

19 June 2003

Pentonville

7 July 2003

Styal

21 July 2003

Frankland

21 August 2003

Birmingham

6 September 2003

Liverpool

10 September 2003

Brixton

15 September 2003

Wealstun

9 October 2003

Holloway

23 October 2003

Everthorpe

11 November 2003

Whitemoor

11 December 2003

Garth

10 December 2003

Wymott

10 December 2003

Whitemoor

12 December 2003

Manchester

25 December 2003

Styal

22 January 2004

Wandsworth

27 January 2004

Belmarsh

3 February 2004

Manchester

9 February 2004

New Hall

25 February 2004

Wandsworth

4 March 2004

Norwich

10 March 2004

Ford

11 March 2004

Holme House

18 March 2004

Bedford

21 April 2004

Birmingham

23 April 2004

The Verne

28 April 2004

The Weare

28 April 2004

Low Newton

6 May 2004

Cardiff

17 June 2004

Wandsworth

30 June 2004

Exeter

16 September 2004

Dartmoor

17 September 2004

Askham Grange

21 October 2004

Parkhurst

11 November 2004

Camp Hill

11 November 2004

Albany

11 November 2004

Elmley

18 November 2004

Swaleside

18 November 2004

Gloucester

29 November 2004

Brixton

9 December 2004

Forest Bank

25 December 2004

Grendon

13 January 2005

Springhill

13 January 2005

Lancaster Castle

27 January 2005

Lancaster Farms

27 January 2005

Liverpool

24 February 2005

Usk

2 March 2005

Prescoed

2 March 2005

Featherstone

3 March 2005

Preston

10 March 2005

Styal

17 March 2005

Peterborough

23 March 2005

Ranby

24 March 2005

George Howarth

Feltham

10 July 1997

Moorland

2 September 1997

Lindholme

2 September 1997

Lancaster Castle

13 October 1997

Lancaster Farms

13 October 1997

Wetherby

4 November 1997

Thorn Cross

6 November 1997

Channings Wood

26 November 1997

Liverpool

15 December 1997

Portland

13 January 1998

Manchester

26 January 1998

Usk/Prescoed

29 January 1998

Huntercombe

17 February 1998

Pentonville

7 April 1998

Reading

23 July1998

Hindley

7 January 1999

Cardiff

26 January 1999

Beverley Hughes

Feltham

16 January 2001

Feltham

20 June 2001

Parc

22 June 2001

Brixton

5 July 2001

Risley

9 July 2001

Leeds

8 August 2001

East Sutton Park

4 September 2001

Full Sutton

10 October 2001

Belmarsh

24 January 2002

Leyhill

31 January 2002

Cardiff

1 February 2002

Nottingham

5 February 2002

Huntercombe

7 February 2002

Whitemoor

7 March 2002

Bristol

14 March 2002

Low Newton

18 March 2002

BullwoodHall

9 May 2002

Fiona Mactaggart

Holloway

17 May 2005

Feltham YOI

20 May 2005

Frankland

1 June 2005

Leicester

25 July 2005

Holloway

27 July 2005

Durham

15 August 2005

Kirklevington Grange

15 August 2005

Reading

17 August 2005

Eastwood Park

22 August 2005

Gloucester

22 August 2005

Bristol

23 August 2005

Dorchester

23 August 2005

Wandsworth

13 September 2005

Rochester

15 September 2005

Lewes

26 September 2005

Downview

29 September 2005

Birmingham

30 November 2005

Bullingdon

12 December 2005

Dartmoor

23 December 2005

Belmarsh

14 February 2006

Coldingley

16 February 2005

Hindley

10 April 2006

Wakefield

11 April 2006

New Hall

11 April 2006

Baroness Scotland of Asthal

Bristol

16 October 2003

Manchester

26 May 2005

Wellington

16 June 2005

Brixton

30 June 2005

Pentonville

12 July 2005

Liverpool

15 July 2005

Altcourse

15 July 2005

Chlemsford

3 October 2005

Askham Grange

4 November 2005

Wetherby

4 November 2005

Preston

24 November 2005

Wandsworth

8 March 2006

Wormwood Scrubs

8 March 2006

Parc

9 March 2006

Gerry Sutcliffe

Holloway

25 May 2006

Leeds

26 May 2006

Lord Williams of Mostyn

Wandsworth

19 June 1998

Belmarsh

19 June 1998

Coldingley

6 August 1998

Cardiff

26 August 1998

Manchester

9 September 1998

Woodhill

11 September 1998

Parc

14 September 1998

Thorn Cross

16 September 1998

Blakenhurst

18 September 1998

Cookham Wood

22 September 1998

Rochester

22 September 1998

Brixton

25 September 1998

Whitemoor

29 September 1998

High Point

29 September 1998

Doncaster

9 October 1998

Lindholme

9 October 1998

Bristol

23 October 1998

Elmley

30 October 1998

Gloucester

31 October 1998

Brockhill

13 November 1998

Heysham site

20 November 1998

Preston

20 November 1998

Garth

27 November 1998

Wymott

27 November 1998

The Verne

11 December 1998

Weare

11 December 1998

Newbold Revel

4 February 1999

Haverigg

5 February 1999

Newbold Revel

16 February 1999

Woodhill

18 February 1999

Buckley Hall

19 February 1999

Gloucester

20 February 1999

Sudbury

26 February 1999

Glen Parva

5 March 1999

Kirkham

9 April 1999

Lancaster

9 April 1999

Birmingham

16 April 1999

Holloway

12 May 1999

Bullwood Hall

14 May 1999

Chelmsford

14 May 1999

Huntercombe

28 May 1999

Buckley Hall

2 June 1999

Wymott

2 June 1999

Cardiff

4 June 1999

Eastwood Park

4 June 1999

Blundeston

25 June 1999

Askham Grange

9 July 1999

Wetherby

9 July 1999

Wakefield

23 July 1999

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what buildings and refurbishment works are planned for (a) the gymnasium, (b) the chapel, (c) the workshop and (d) other areas of HMP Lewes; and what the (i) estimated cost and (ii) expected start date is in each case. (81046)

No major building works or refurbishments are currently planned for the gymnasium, the chapel or the workshops at HMP Lewes. A major capital refurbishment of F wing is planned to start on site in January 2007 at a cost of around £11.5 million, and a maintenance scheme at a cost of around £0.25 million to render the chapel is due to start on site in November 2006. The local works department has recently improved the showering facilities for the gymnasium.

Probation Service

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total funding allocated for the (a) recruitment and (b) training of probation officers was in each of the last eight years. (79955)

The recruitment and training of probation officers is funded by the Home Office via grants to local probation areas. The recruitment responsibility is delegated to areas therefore there is no information available centrally about the specific amount dedicated to this function.

Figures for the funding of the training programme are available from the time of the creation of the National Probation Directorate in 2001. They are as follows:

Financial year

Amount (£)

2002-03

43,860,860

2003-04

53,373,300

2004-05

56,164,000

2005-06

51,400,000

2006-07

40,365,259

Proceeds of Crime Act

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many actions for recovery of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 have been undertaken following conviction for the employment of illegal migrants. (58727)

This information is not held centrally but I understand that asset recovery action is currently under consideration in at least one major case involving the employment of illegal migrants. I am unable to comment further at this stage.

Security Industry Authority

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his written statement of 16 February 2006, on the Private Security Industry Approved Contractor Scheme, what assessment he has made of whether companies should achieve membership of the scheme under Option 3 if they (a) meet standards that do not correspond directly and exactly to the 89 indicators of the Option 4 scheme as set out by the Security Industry Authority and (b) cover different criteria in more depth. (59021)

To provide assurance that all approved contractors have achieved the necessary standards all of the 89 requirements must be met. An approved contractor cannot compensate for failure to meet some requirements by excelling in others—this would lead to uncertainty over what approval means and could undermine the credibility of the scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether employers in the security industry will be able to (a) employ staff and (b) use contractors who have applied for a licence to the Security Industry Authority but who have not yet received a licence. (62265)

The Private Security Industry Act 2001 imposes sanctions on those who undertake defined security activities without a licence from the SIA and those who supply unlicensed security operatives undertaking those activities. Companies that hire security firms whose personnel include unlicensed staff are not committing any offence, since the Private Security Industry Act 2001 places the onus on the individual and the company that provides security services, not on the customer. Where in-house employees are required to be licensed, the employer and individual are both responsible for ensuring this occurs.

Companies that have been awarded approved contractor status by the SIA are able to legally deploy a proportion of security staff while their licence applications are being processed.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are employed by the Security Industry Authority to process licence applications; and what training they are given. (77003)

[holding answer 19 June 2006]: The Security Industry Authority (SIA) has contracted BT Syntegra as its Managed Service Provider (MSP) to process all aspects of licence applications, with the exception of the final licensing decision. BT Syntegra has employed and extensively trained 152 full-time employees to carry out this task.

To increase processing capacity during this period of high demand, the SIA has supplemented the MSP staffing levels with a temporary in-house processing centre employing an additional 12 security cleared temporary staff who work directly to the SIA. These temporary staff members are supervised at all times and are only utilised to initially check accurate completion of application forms and identification documents. They received comprehensive induction training prior to deployment, and are issued with training notes and guidance templates. Following induction they shadow experienced permanent employees for a minimum of one week, and are subject to daily coaching and supervision. Also daily training sessions provide extra guidance on application/document checks.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had on the potential dismissal of workers in the private security industry on 20 March 2006 due to licences not being issued by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) by that date; and what steps he has taken to prevent such an occurrence. (60529)

[holding answer 21 March 2006]: I took on ministerial responsibility for the SIA on 4 May. My predecessor Paul Goggins met with the SIA on a number of occasions to discuss the impact of the implementation date of 20 March 2006. The SIA put in place a system 14 months before the 20 March 2006 to manage the transition to licensing. This date was agreed after consultation with the industry, who had undertaken to submit their applications in good time. While some did submit their applications in good time, other parts of the industry failed to do so. The SIA wants all of the security industry to be compliant with the law as soon as possible and has taken additional steps to speed up the processing of licence applications. These include temporarily doubling the capacity of the SIA's licensing system and working closely with companies to reduce applicant error rates. Enforcement action is a matter for the SIA and the police. ACPO and the SIA have issued joint Enforcement Guidelines in which they stated they intend to take a measured and proportionate approach to enforcement.

Sexual Offenders

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people convicted of sexual offences against children have been deported to the UK from abroad in each of the last five years. (77158)

Anyone encountered by the Immigration Service being deported to the UK back from abroad is referred to the police for appropriate registration, and so records are not collected by IND.

Criminal Records

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of Regulation 7 (1) of the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Registration) Regulations 2006 on small and medium-sized organisations; (76155)

(2) which organisations have had their registered body status cancelled as a result of the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Registration) Regulations 2006;

(3) if he will commission a race equality impact assessment in relation to the decision of the Criminal Records Bureau to cancel the registration of organisations that submit fewer than 100 disclosure applications each year;

(4) for what reason the Criminal Records Bureau requires a minimum of 100 disclosure applications to be made by a body for that body to qualify as a registered body.

Following a public consultation exercise last year, a full regulatory impact assessment was completed, and placed in the Library along with the regulations. This included a small firms impact test which acknowledged that small organisations would probably not be able to satisfy the minimum threshold and would need to approach other organisations in order to obtain checks on their employees and incur the associated costs. However, in some cases it was concluded that the costs of using such an organisation would be lower than the administrative costs of running and maintaining a small volume registered body. No race related issues were identified during the consultation.

The changes arose from a key recommendation of the 2002 independent review of the CRB and were supported by the recent Bichard inquiry that recommended reducing the number of registered bodies from over 14,000 that existed at the time. It also follows the CRB’s own research that revealed that up to a third of registered bodies were not fully complying with the guidance and the code of practice and explanatory guide issued by the CRB which is a condition of registration. One of the areas of weakness was in completing the requisite identity checks on applicants.

The intention is to make the registered body network more professional and more experienced in the disclosure process which will allow the CRB to ensure that the network of users is proficient in the security and policies of the CRB. Setting an annual threshold is a key part of the CRB’s strategy to enhance the effectiveness of, and improve standards within the registered body network.

The CRB will provide advice, guidance and support to organisations on the options available to access the disclosure service before their registration is cancelled due to low volume.

The CRB has written to some 2,800 organisations to inform them that they are to become deregistered. These organisations have submitted 10 or fewer applications in the last 12 months.

Taxis

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much has been spent by his Department on taxi travel in the 2005-06 financial year; and what proportion of such travel was undertaken in each nation and region of the UK, including London. (37482)

The recorded total cost of taxi travel in the 2005-06 financial year in the Home Department was £806,000.

Obtaining the proportion of such travel as undertaken in each nation and region of the UK, including London, could be done only at disproportionate cost.

Visas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 22 June 2006, Official Report, columns 2128-29W, on visas, why records are not maintained of the number of visitors who leave the country before or at the expiry of their permitted stay; and if he will make a statement. (81124)

Physical embarkation controls were withdrawn at seaports in 1994 and reconfigured at major airports in 1998. The five year immigration strategy for asylum and immigration, published in February 2005, contains details of our plans, through the e-Borders programme, to strengthen and modernise our border control including providing an electronic record of all those entering and leaving the UK. This is scheduled to commence in 2008.

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 4 July 2006

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Climate Change

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) reviewed on the (i) chemical make-up and (ii) environmental impact of aircraft trails; and if he will make a statement. (79517)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research he has evaluated on the effects of condensation trails on climate change. (80666)

[holding answer 3 July 2006]: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs does not directly undertake work in this area, but closely monitors research commissioned by the European Union, Research Councils and other Government Departments to identify, characterise, and assess the impact of aircraft emissions on global climate change.

A major scientific report assessing the contribution of aircraft to climate change, “Aviation and the Global Atmosphere”, was published in 1999 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). More recently, research carried out under the EU 5th Framework Project, TRADEOFF, has improved modelling techniques and reduced estimates of contrail radiative forcing by two fold compared with the previous estimate from the IPCC. Research carried out under the TRADEOFF project also supported the conclusion that aviation potentially enhances cirrus cloud coverage.

Aircraft-induced cirrus clouds reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the Earth, and so mitigate global warming. However, significant uncertainty surrounding this area of study makes it difficult to assess whether increased cloudiness would reduce or increase global warming trends.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 23 May 2006, Official Report, column 1692W, on greenhouse gases, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the rise in carbon dioxide emissions between 1997 and 2004. (81214)

The rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions between 1997 and 2004 was caused by higher than anticipated levels of economic growth and the recent rise in global energy prices which has altered the relative prices of coal and gas. However, CO2 emissions were still about 5.6 per cent. below 1990 levels and we expect CO2 emissions to fall again in the future given longer term expectations on fuel prices and as a result of policies introduced under the new Climate Change Programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost of achieving the target of increasing by 20 per cent. by 2010 the energy efficiency of residential accommodation in England pursuant to Section 217 of the Housing Act 2004; and if he will make a statement. (77962)

The net costs and benefits of existing and new policies were calculated for the Climate Change Programme review and presented in 2005 prices. Existing household energy efficiency measures have a net present value benefit of £65 billion and new household energy efficiency measures announced in the 2006 Climate Change Programme have a net present value benefit to consumers in the region of £13.5 billion, over the life of the policies. This is because the energy savings far outweigh the up front costs of the measures. This figure excludes improvements in air quality, which would make the benefits greater, if included.

The evaluation synthesis report can be found at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/uk/ukccp/pdf/synthesisccpolicy-evaluations.pdf. We intend to publish the appraisal synthesis report in due course.

Bovine Tuberculosis

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether his Department has assessed published research into the use of the gamma interferon tuberculosis test in other countries; (81472)

(2) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the gamma interferon tuberculosis test; and what sources of information he has used to inform that assessment.

[holding answer 3 July 2006]: Defra has assessed research on the value and uses of the gamma interferon (gIFN) blood test in other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Europe. The test is now a standard tool in the cattle testing armoury of European countries with endemic TB problems, like the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Spain, Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

The gIFN test can detect some infected animals that are negative in the SICCT test (skin test) and may detect animals at an earlier stage of infection. However, the gIFN test is slightly less specific than the SICCT test, which means that it is also more likely to incorrectly identify negative animals as being infected.

In addition to evidence from overseas research, and in order to further improve bTB diagnostics, the Government have conducted a field trial to assess the potential benefits of using of the gIFN blood test in GB. This helped to establish that the use of this test, in parallel with the skin test, has the potential to significantly increase the detection of infected cattle where TB has been confirmed, and so hasten the elimination of infected cattle. Preparations are now being made for wider use of the gIFN test in prescribed circumstances. The results of the field trial on gIFN usage will be published shortly.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what total land area of England was under an (a) annual, (b) two yearly, (c) three yearly and (d) four yearly bovine tuberculosis testing regime in 2005. (80151)

[holding answer 26 June 2006]: The information requested is set out in the following table:

Hectares

12 monthly testing

2,358,772.91

24 monthly testing

1,186,483.65

36 monthly testing

81,928.38

48 monthly testing

9,660,595.9

Earthships

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of possible energy savings from (a) the construction and (b) use of buildings known as earthships; and what estimate he has made of the number of such constructions in each of the last five years. (81774)

[holding answer 3 July 2006]: My Department has made no assessment on possible energy savings from earthships, either in the construction, or the use of the buildings. We are not aware of any estimates made on the number constructed in the UK.

Independent Scientific Group

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will meet representatives of the Independent Scientific Group to discuss their findings. (81474)

[holding answer given 3 July 2006]: I met representatives of the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) on 24 April to discuss their findings and other related matters. The ISG inform me of new findings as they become available and their secretariat regularly send me summaries of all ISG meetings.

Landfill

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of land-filled waste in Gloucestershire came from commercial sources in the last period for which figures are available; and what steps are being taken to reduce this figure. (81314)

The Environment Agency publishes full details of the production and management of wastes in England and Wales on its website. The latest available figures, for 2002-03, show that 37.5 per cent. of landfilled waste in Gloucestershire came from commercial and industrial sources.

Action to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill is driven by regional and local strategies and supported by nationally funded programmes.

In its Regional Spatial Strategy, the South West regional assembly seeks to achieve a maximum of just 17 per cent. of commercial waste sent to landfill by 2020, reflecting the Regional Waste Strategy. Gloucestershire county council is the Waste Planning Authority, statutorily responsible for preparing a waste local plan. The current plan calls for a reduction of waste to landfill in support of national and regional targets.

Defra’s Business Resource and Efficiency Programme (BREW) funds a number of initiatives designed to help business use resources more efficiently and thus reduce waste. For example, Envirowise provides free advice to business on resource efficiency. The National Industrial Symbiosis Programme enables businesses to divert waste from landfill. The South West regional development agency manages local BREW funds within the region.

Organic Food

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government plan to take as part of their Organic Action Plan to encourage greater public procurement of organic food. (79893)

Following recommendations made in the Organic Action Plan’s “Two years on” document, Defra has made organic food an integral part of its sustainable food strategy.

My Department is currently leading a major initiative across Whitehall to support and encourage the purchase of more sustainable food by public authorities. The Food Procurement Implementation Group oversees this initiative and includes a number of bodies that are working on local initiatives to increase the demand for organic food and encourage more small producers to compete for public contracts.

Scientific Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the Department has spent in each of the last five years on scientific research. (79320)

Defra’s research budget for the years in question is:

£ million

2001-02

144

2002-03

144

2003-04

146

2004-05

152

2005-06

156

Water Companies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received in each year since 2001 on Thames Water's price increases. (80960)

Ministers receive representations from customers, Members of Parliament and lobbyists, relating to water price increases. However, water price increases are a matter for Ofwat, who are responsible for regulating and fixing water and sewerage price limits.

Water Pollution

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what is the cause of the green bloom in the waters of the Hampshire Avon below Amesbury; and what steps are (a) being taken and (b) planned to remedy the problem. (81120)

The cause of the green bloom in the waters of the Hampshire Avon below Amesbury is likely to be a combination of environmental factors, including high temperatures, low water flow and consequential increases in the concentration of nutrients. There have been no significant pollution incidents at this location in the river. Rainfall and river flows have been significantly depressed over the last 20 months and, in combination with other environmental factors, this may create opportunities for algal growth. However, the May 2006 period was characterised by periods of very high rainfall. Urban and agricultural runoff may lead to direct discolouration and also contribute to nutrient enrichment in the river.

There is, and has been, significant investment and action to improve the quality for the Hampshire Avon in recent years.

For example, four Wessex Water sewage treatment works discharging into the River Avon have had phosphate stripping installed in their treatment process as part of the previous environmental programme periodic review. Wessex Water's current water quality environment programme for 2005-10 includes schemes to further reduce nutrient loads from sewage effluent discharges. By the end of the 2010 period, two additional sewage treatment works discharging into the River Avon are expected to receive phosphate stripping and the phosphate limits set for the four original works are expected to be reduced to half of their currently permitted limit.

In addition, as part of the requirement introduced by the habitats directive, the Environment Agency have asked Wessex Water to review their abstractions on the Hampshire Avon and assess their effect on the ecology of the river. The findings from this project, which will conclude by March 2008, will contribute to the Habitats Directive Review of Consents and may result in a requirement to reduce the amount of water abstracted by the water company, or for other improvements to be made in the companies’ water management operations.

Most recently, the Hampshire Avon catchment has been identified as a priority catchment under the England Catchment-Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative (ECSFDI). The key objective of this initiative is to raise awareness of agricultural pollution and encourage farmers to take action to mitigate the impact of agriculture on the water environment, including the reduction of nutrient inputs.

The water framework directive (WFD) is a key driver of future action on water quality. The directive came into force on 22 December 2000 and requires member states to establish a range of measures to manage water quality by 2009 and to make them operational by 2012. A central objective of the directive is that water bodies should aim to reach good ecological and chemical status by 2015. We are working with stakeholders to develop mechanisms to tackle pressures, including both point and diffuse sources, for inclusion in River Basin Management Plans, and aim to consult on potential options for tackling non-agricultural, agricultural and hydromorphological pressures in the later part of 2006.

International Development

Departmental Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the (a) Green and (b) White Papers produced by his Department since October 2005, in date order. (81322)

Since October 2005, DFID has published the following documents as part of the Command Paper Series:

Autumn Performance Report, December 2005

Departmental Report, May 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what draft Bills have been produced by his Department since October 2005; how many (a) were examined and (b) are planned to be examined by (i) a Departmental Select Committee and (ii) a Joint Committee; what draft Bills are still to be produced by his Department; when each is expected to be published; how many clauses each has; and if he will make a statement. (81323)

DFID has not produced any draft Bills since October 2005. Announcements on future legislation and future draft legislation which will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny will be indicated in the Queen’s Speech.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the deposited papers placed in the Library by his Department since 2000; and when they were published. (81326)

The Department for International Development has not kept a record of documents deposited in the Libraries prior to February 2003. Records of publication dates have not been kept. The titles are as follows:

Additional IDA Resources: Financing the Multilateral Debt Initiative.

Announcements at Asia 2015: Promoting Growth, Ending Poverty. 7th March London.

Asia 2015: Summary of Conference Sessions.

Asia 2015: Promoting Growth, Ending Poverty.

Caribbean Development Bank: Replenishment of the Resources of the Special Development Fund SDF6: Resolution and Report of Contributors on SDF6.

Contracts Awarded between 1/4/99 and 31/03/04.

Contracts Awarded to Maxwell Stamp plc, HTS Consultants, British Council, Adam Smith Int Ltd and Crown Agents for Overseas Governments and Administrations between 2000 and 2005.

Death and Denial: Unsafe Abortion and Poverty.

DFID - Iraq Update. October 2004.

DFID - Iraq Update. Issue 3. November 2004.

DFID - Iraq Update. Issue 4. December 2004

DFID - Iraq Update. Issue 5. January 2005.

DFID - Statistics on International Development 2000/01 - 2004/05.

DFID - The UK and the World Bank 2005.

DFID Contracts Issued 1st April 2004 - 31st March 2005.

DFID Interim Strategy for Afghanistan 2005/06.

DFID Skills and Development Plans. 2005 - 2006.

DFID Top 20 Consultancy Firms, 1999 to 2004.

DFID Water Sanitation Projects funded during the Financial Years 2003/04 and 2004/05.

DFID's Maternal Health Strategy, Reducing Maternal Deaths: Evidence in Action; First Progress Report.

Disability, Poverty and Development.

Expenditure by DFID on Development Assistance to Developing Countries from 1995/96 to 2004/05.

Fighting Poverty to build a safer World.

From Commitment to Action.

GCPP Iraq Strategy Projects Supported in Iraq - 2003 Onwards.

Gleneagles Implementation Plan for Africa. February 2006 Update.

Gleneagles Implementation Plan for Africa. April 2006 Update.

Gleneagles Implementation Plan for Africa. May 2006 Update.

Gleneagles Implementation Plan for Africa. June 2006 Update.

Governance Matters IV: New Data, New Challenges.

Growth and Poverty Reduction: The Role of Agriculture.

Harm Reduction. Tackling drug use and HIV in the developing world.

Implementation of the Commission for Africa recommendations and G8 Gleneagles commitments on Poverty - The UK.

Iraq Update. Issue 6. February 2005.

List of CDC's New Investment and Disposals, 1999 - 2004.

Memorandum for Understanding between the Government of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of Rwanda.

Mortality Survey among Displaced Persons and the other affected populations in Greater Sudan, Darfur.

Partnerships for Poverty Reduction: Rethinking Conditionally.

Policy on Religious Observance.

Post Conflict Reconstruction Unit - Consultancy document.

Projects Funded under DFID's Civil Society Challenge Fund - 2002/03 and 2003/04.

Reducing The Risk of Disasters - Helping to achieve sustainable poverty reduction in a vulnerable world. A DFID Policy Paper.

Regional Assistance Plan for Latin America 2004/07.

Report on DFID's Response to the Indian Ocean Disaster: March 2006.

Report on the Outcomes of DFID Nigeria's CAP Consultations with Key Stakeholders in Nigeria and the UK. Final Draft 16/7/04.

Responding to Children and AIDS. Speech by Gareth Thomas PUSS. Washington. December 2004.

Response to HM Government to the Recommendations in the report of the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group: ‘The Other Side of the Coin’

St Helena: Access.

Statement by Executive Directors Representing European Countries on the Selection of the President of the World Bank.

Statistics on International Development 99/00 - 03/04.

Statistics on International Development 99/00 - 03/04 to IDC.

The Commission for Africa Report vs the Gleneagles Communique on Africa.

The UK and Afghanistan.

The UK and the World Bank.

Trade and Development Package for G90.

Trade Matters, Eliminating World Poverty.

Trade Matters.

Tsunami Follow Up.

UK Presidency Conclusions from Tsunami Follow-Up Event, 20th December 2005: Brussels.

Why we need to work more effectively in fragile states.

Departmental Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to ensure that all flights undertaken by Ministers and officials in his Department are carbon neutral; and if he will make a statement. (81396)

DFID is strongly committed to the targets set out in the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate. DFID has established its own pilot carbon offsetting scheme (the Earthmiles initiative), whereby air miles from official travel with certain airlines are donated for the benefit of environmental projects.

All central Government ministerial and official air travel is being offset from 1 April 2006. Departmental aviation emissions are calculated on an annual basis and subsequently offset through payments to a central fund. The fund purchases Certified Emissions Reductions credits from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with sustainable development benefits, located in developing countries.

Health Sector Assistance

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent representations his Department has received from developing countries regarding health sector assistance. (81795)

DFID receives a variety of representations from groups and organisations seeking support. However, most of our development assistance is managed through DFID’s country offices, who are in daily contact with developing country partners, non-governmental organisations and civil society in-country. We are therefore unlikely to receive formal representations as such because we keep in regular contact regarding health sector development and assistance through our strong in-country partnerships.

Judicial Review

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development on what occasions an (a) individual and (b) organisation has applied for a judicial review of decisions of his Department in each year since 1997; and what the outcome was of each case where proceedings have been completed. (80486)

The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

Malawi

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the implementation of the health sector support plan for Malawi. (81787)

Progress with Malawi health sector-wide approach (SWAp) is reviewed jointly, twice a year by Government and donors, of whom DFID is the largest with a commitment of £100 million over six years.

Progress has been good. In addition to the earlier successes of the eradication of polio and the elimination of neonatal tetanus and the increasing distribution of bed nets and their re-treatment (up from 7 per cent. in 2002 to 71 per cent. in 2004-05), the health service has taken on a rapid increase in antiretroviral treatment for HIV and AIDS. 50 sites have treated 46,000 people up from 3,000 two years ago. This is making a real difference: both saving lives and improving the quality of life of those living with HIV and AIDS.

Critical to this success has been the additional resources made available at hospital and clinic level as a result of the increased aid channelled through the health SWAp. The Emergency Human Resources Programme has in its first year recruited an extra 580 Malawian health professionals. There are 60 volunteer specialists and nurse tutors from overseas filling key vacant posts. The intake of Malawian trainee nurses and doctors has been increased in anticipation of the improvements in infrastructure at training schools that are now under way. New, internationally recruited senior managers have taken over the central medical stores management and are charged with bringing to an end the perennial stock outs that have frustrated the health services. A new maternal mortality road map offers a way forward to address the unacceptably high level of maternal deaths in Malawi. The Ministry of Health is entering service level agreements with private sector providers, particularly the Christian Hospital Association of Malawi, that will also provide the basic essential health package free-of-charge at point of delivery.

We are encouraging the Government of Malawi to plan for universal access for HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment and to address the further human resources and management requirements that will create. We stand ready to help.

Ministerial Conference (Paris)

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 22 March 2006 to the right hon. Member for Leeds, West (John Battle), Official Report, columns 429-30W, on Ministerial Conference (Paris), whether the UK has agreed to implement the airline ticket levy for international development; what progress has been made on negotiations on whether part of the levy will go towards health and sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services; and if he will make a statement. (81410)

I have been asked to reply.

The UK is committed to developing innovative financing mechanisms to support accelerated progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, and announced at the Paris Conference on Innovative Financing on 28 February and 1 March 2006 that it will hypothecate part of its existing air passenger duty to provide a long-term stream of finance to the International Finance Facility (IFF) and the pilot IFF for Immunization.

The International Finance Facility is specifically designed to provide the immediate and significant level of funding that is required to support progress towards all the millennium development goals by 2015. The IFF would support significant progress on health in general, as well as on sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services. The frontloading principles of the IFF are already being applied to the health sector through the IFF for immunisation, which will provide $4 billion for vaccinations and is expected to save a total of 10 million lives, including five million children before 2015.

Plant Breeding

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the potential of effective competition legislation to tackle monopolies of rights relating to plant varieties by private sector companies. (79790)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government consider that the UK’s system of plant breeders’ rights already provides adequate provisions to address any potential anti-competitive practices. The UK’s system is based on the 1991 Convention of the Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (the UPOV Convention) enabled by the Plant Varieties Act 1997 (the Act).

Plant breeders who hold rights exercise control over their protected varieties in order to enable them to recoup development costs and to fund further breeding programmes. Although this is necessary for the development of this sector, there are exceptions to their rights:

i. Section 8 of the Act provides that breeders’ rights do not extend to acts done for either private or non-commercial purposes, for experimental purposes, or for the purpose of breeding another variety, and;

ii. Section 17 of the Act makes provision for compulsory licences to be granted to third parties where the Controller of Plant Variety Rights is satisfied that this is necessary to ensure that the variety in question, is available to the public at reasonable prices, is widely distributed, or is maintained in quality.

These provisions ensure that plant breeders’ rights are not monopolistic.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the recommendations of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights (CIPR), how the Government are promoting (a) through the Treaty of Amsterdam Article 133 committee and (b) at the meeting of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, the rights of countries (i) not to grant patents for plants and animals, including genes and genetically modified plants and animals and (ii) to provide for the rights of farmers to save and plant-back seed and to allow informal sale and exchange of seeds; and if he will make representations to revise the Convention on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants to support the CIPR’s recommendations. (79796)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government have no immediate plans to make representations through either the Treaty of Amsterdam Article 133 Committee or the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), which deals with systems of plant variety protection but not patents, to promote the recommendations of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights (CIPR).

In their response to the CIPR report, the Government stressed their commitment to the effective protection of intellectual property rights to stimulate continued innovation. The Government do not regard this as incompatible with the interests of developing countries in respect of plant variety protection or the rights of farmers to plant farm-saved seed which are afforded protection by Article 27.3(b) of the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and Article 15 (2) of the 1991 UPOV Convention respectively.

Trade and Industry

Atomic Energy Agencies

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the United Kingdom's annual contribution has been to the (a) European Atomic Energy Agency and (b) International Atomic Energy Agency since 1997; what proportion of each payment was made by the United Kingdom (i) public sector and (ii) private sector nuclear industries; and what plans he has to review the level of the annual UK contribution to each organisation. (81069)

As a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UK is obliged to pay its contribution to the Regular Budget, which pays for most of the IAEA's work and the running of the Agency itself, and is expected to make a payment to the Technical Cooperation Fund, which pays for the IAEA's development programmes in less developed countries. As a UN Agency, UK Government have the responsibility for making these payments.

The UK's contributions to the Regular Budget and Technical Cooperation Fund since 1997 are as follows:

£

Regular budget

Technical cooperation fund

1997

7,670,799

2,249,969

1998

5,950,148

2,368,000

1999

6,143,449

2,267,527

2000

6,291,197

2,386,354

2001

6,561,613

2,577,181

2002

7,459,727

2,504,581

2003

8,019,673

2,470,974

2004

9,083,332

2,250,836

2005

9,811,000

2,405,954

2006

10,994,536

2,656,536

The UK's Regular Budget and Technical Cooperation Fund payments are fixed by reference to slightly modified standardised UN contribution rates. The modification arises because the state membership of the IAEA is not identical to that of the UN, and developing countries were initially “shielded” from paying the full costs of the safeguards component of the Regular Budget. The UK accordingly, this year, paid 6.137 per cent. of the total Regular Budget. The future level of the annual UK contribution to the IAEA will be determined by UN contribution rates at the time.

In addition, the UK has made a number of voluntary contributions to the IAEA since 1997, including contributions totalling £2.6 million to support the Agency's safeguards work, £2 million to the IAEA's Nuclear Security Fund, and £500,000 to support IAEA work to improve internal management processes. Additional non-financial “in-kind” support to help the Agency deliver its safeguards and other activities is provided through the UK nuclear industry, however the financial value of this could be calculated only at disproportionate cost.

The UK remains committed to our contribution to the IAEA and the only review of the UK contribution we would seek is to manage down the budget through the achievement of organisational efficiencies.

The UK's contribution to the European Atomic Energy Agency (EAEA) is paid through the UK's general contribution to the European Commission's budget. The EAEA's share of the UK contribution could be calculated only at disproportionate cost.

Business Reviews

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures will be put in place to ensure that the business reviews proposed in the Company Law Reform Bill [Lords] will be comparable (a) over successive years and (b) between companies. (80373)

[holding answer 26 June 2006]: As clause 399 subsection (2) of the Company Law Reform Bill sets out, the purpose of the Business Review is to inform members of the company and help them assess how the directors have performed their duty under section 158, which requires a director, in performing his duty to promote the success of the company, to have regard (among other matters) to: (a) the likely consequences of any decision in the long term, (b) the interests of the company’s employees, (c) the need to foster the company’s business relationships with suppliers, customers and others, (d) the impact of the company’s operations on the community and the environment, (e) the desirability of the company maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct, and (f) the need to act fairly as between members of the company. Subsection (4) of clause 399 requires that the Review is a balanced and comprehensive analysis of (a) the development and performance of the company’s business during the financial year, and (b) the position of the company’s business at the end of that year, consistent with the size and complexity of the business. The statutory provisions therefore set out the framework of the Business Review, but it is for directors of each company to determine its content according to the circumstances of the particular company. As subsection (6) requires, to the extent necessary for an understanding of the development, performance and position of the company’s business, the review must include analysis using key performance indicators. Such indicators will make it easier for members to assess the development, performance and position of the company from year to year.

Compensation Claims

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, (b) vibration white finger and (c) hearing loss claims have been registered by his Department without further particulars of claim subsequently being submitted. (81040)

[holding answer 29 June 2006]: As at 26 June 2006, the Department has 18,203 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease claims and 1,043 vibration white finger claims with insufficient information to enable them to be progressed. This situation does not arise for hearing loss claims which do not have to be registered in the same way as they are not schemed.

Energy Use

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the energy models his Department uses (a) to calculate the geographic and sectoral distribution of UK energy usage and (b) to project future energy usage are made available to independent energy analysts on request. (82094)

The information is as follows:

(a) The breakdown of energy usage by local authority area for domestic, industrial and commercial users are only partially based on energy models. The gas and electricity data are based on actual metered consumption and are collected by DTI under the National Statistics code of practice and protocols. Since these data relate to individual consumers this precludes release to independent energy analysts. The road transport and other fuels data are modelled, and are prepared for DTI by independent consultants. The way these estimates are put together has been described in various articles in the DTI’s statistical bulletin “Energy Trends”, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House and at http://www.dti. gov.uk/energy/statistics/publications/trends/index.html

(b) The DTI routinely shares knowledge and experience of our modelling with outside agents. The model has not been made available to other users, though substantial material on the basis of the modelling approach can be found on the Updated Energy Projections webpage at http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/environment/projections/index.html

Environmental Regulations

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what regulatory simplification proposals his Department has received in relation to environmental regulations since the start of the initiative; which stakeholders have been consulted on each proposal; and if he will make a statement. (81030)

The Department has received two proposals in relation to environmental regulations under the simplify@dti system. These were in relation to the waste electrical and electronic equipment directive and the restriction of hazardous substances directive. In the first instance, since the request was received, I initiated a wide-ranging review of all elements of WEEE policy. Following this review my Department conducted an informal consultation in which a large number of stakeholders were consulted. In the second instance, the suggestion received was examined and found to be untenable as it would have undermined the purpose of the directive.

Nuclear Power

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what annual fees have been recovered from (a) publicly owned nuclear companies, (b) non-departmental public bodies dealing with nuclear issues and (c) privately owned nuclear companies for the security-related service provided to them by his Department’s Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS) in each year since the OCNS has had semi-autonomous status. (81071)

The information is as follows:

OCNS fees

£

Financial year

Category

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

(a) Publicly owned

813,531

1,047,561

1,317,639

1,405,489

1,339,775

(b) NDPB

328,271

503,378

370,532

423,792

495,647

(c) Privately owned

186,265

168,060

105,000

375,234

524,288

Total fees

1,328,067

1,718,999

1,793,171

2,204,515

2,359,710

A breakdown of fees for the period 1 October 2000 (when OCNS became part of DTI) and 31 March 2001 is not readily available and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

Waste Strategy

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which organisations were consulted during the waste strategy consultation; and if he will make a statement. (80928)

I have been asked to reply.

The consultation on the review of England's waste strategy was open to the public and anyone was welcome to respond. More than 2,500 invitations were sent out to stakeholders including environmental non-Government organisations, central Government, local government, universities, waste and recycling industry, media, consultancies, voluntary and community organisations, trade associations and other interested parties. A full list of the organisations invited to respond is available on the Defra website:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/wastestratreview/consultlist.htm.

Defence

Defence Training Review

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the forecast date is for financial close of the two packages of the Defence Training Review public finance initiative programme. (81605)

The current forecast date for financial close of the two packages of the Defence Training Review is end 2007. This date, however, is subject to a satisfactory conclusion to the evaluation and approval process, the Preferred Bidders selected and future analysis currently being conducted on the management of risks related to the delivery of the solutions.

Helicopters

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Apache Mk1 helicopters have been grounded since entering service. (81131)

The term “grounded” has a particular meaning for the Ministry of Defence and refers to an aircraft which is awaiting the resolution of a specific technical query where the answer may affect airworthiness.

Since entering service in January 2001 no Apache Mkl helicopters have been grounded.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times Lynx (a) Mk7 and (b) Mk9 helicopters have been grounded because of mechanical problems in the last 12 months. (81137)

The term “grounded” has a particular meaning for the Ministry of Defence and refers to an aircraft which is awaiting the resolution of a specific technical query where the answer may affect airworthiness.

No Lynx Mk7 or Mk9 helicopter has been grounded for any reason in the last 12 months.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Air Force (a) Chinook, (b) Merlin, (c) Sea King and (d) Puma helicopters are (i) in service and (ii) fit for purpose. (81132)

“In service aircraft” are those located at front line and training units. An aircraft described as “fit for purpose” is available, reliable, airworthy and capable of carrying out its planned mission on a given date. The numbers of “fit for purpose” aircraft will vary; the following figures are the average for May 2006.

In service

Fit for purpose

Chinook Mk2/Mk2a

28

16

Merlin Mk3

14

8

Sea King

17

9

Puma

26

18

Iraq/Afghanistan Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on which occasions (a) he and (b) his Ministers have visited (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan since January 2005. (81966)

Defence Ministers make frequent visits to all theatres of operation where United Kingdom forces are serving. Since I became the Secretary of State for Defence I have visited Iraq on two occasions and Afghanistan once. Information about these and other visits made by Defence Ministers since 1 January 2005 is in the following table.

Countries visited

Secretary of State for Defence

16 to 18 May 2005

Iraq

20 September to 3 October 2005

Afghanistan

2 to 3 December 2005

Iraq

17 to 20 March 2006

Iraq

23 to 26 April 2006

Afghanistan

16 to 18 May 2006

Iraq

11 to 14 June 2006

Afghanistan

18 to 22 June 2006

Iraq

Minister for the Armed Forces

6 to 9 March 2005

Iraq

14 to 18 July 2005

Afghanistan

Minister for Defence Procurement

6 to 8 July 2005

Iraq

Military Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank, (b) Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle, (c) Saxon Armoured Personnel Carrier and (d) (i) Sabre, (ii) Spartan, (iii) Scimitar, (iv) Striker, (v) Samson, (vi) Samaritan and (vii) Sultan armoured vehicles are (A) in service and (B) operationally deployable. (81130)

The following table details the numbers of armoured vehicles currently in service and operationally deployable as at 21 April 2006:

Equipment

Fleet size

Operationally deployable

Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (CR2 MET)

385

327

Saxon

622

579

Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle (all variants)

794

735

Spartan

478

452

Scimitar

328

303

Striker

48

47

Samson

50

48

Samaritan

50

46

Sultan

205

196

The figures quoted for the fleet size include vehicles that are undergoing planned programmed repair and modification, being used for training, with the Design Authority for trials and testing, or in storage.

The operationally deployable figures include vehicles that are undergoing repairs at Unit level and undergoing Bowman conversion.

At any one time a number of the deployable fleet will be undergoing minor repairs in situ at the Unit, and a proportion may be involved in scheduled upgrade programmes, for example Bowman conversion. The number of vehicles available for immediate deployment therefore fluctuates continuously. If a Unit drops below a pre-determined number of deployable vehicles, due to vehicles requiring repair beyond the capability of the Unit and its supporting Battalion, a replacement vehicle is provided.

The Sabre and Scorpion (and variants) have not been included as these vehicles were withdrawn from service in 2004 and 1995 respectively.

Nuclear Deterrent

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether it is his policy to retain a strategic nuclear deterrent in the long-term. (81534)

The Labour party manifesto at the 2005 general election committed the Government to retaining the United Kingdom's independent nuclear deterrent. We have previously made clear that this commitment effectively applies for the life of the current system. No decisions, either in principle or detail, have yet been taken on the position beyond that point. But as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear in the House on 28 June, these decisions will be taken later this year.

Records Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what rules are established in the Joint Service Defence Records Management Manual concerning the classes or categories of documents that must be retained in the circumstances of a sudden or controversial death; how long these records have to be retained; and what penalties are available following the successful prosecution of a person responsible for the retention of a document or piece of evidence in the event of its destruction. (79839)

The Defence Records Management Manual does not refer specifically to classes or categories of documents relating to sudden or controversial death. Retention of such records may be defined separately: for example, copies of the reports of all Boards of Inquiry into unnatural deaths are required to be held centrally for a minimum of 25 years. Personnel files are preserved in the Department for at least 100 years from the individual's date of birth. The penalties available in the event of any prosecution would depend on the offence that it was alleged had been committed.

Reservists

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many reservists have not received bounty payments for training year 2005-06; what the reasons are for the delay; what steps are being taken to compensate reservists for late payments; and what steps his Department is taking to address any impact on the morale of those reservists affected. (80448)

Of those reservists who qualified for a bounty in 2005-06, six RNR cases have not yet been paid due to technical queries but they are in the pay system and should be paid in July. In addition, there are 25 members of the RNR who have not fulfilled the strict bounty and eligibility requirements but whose cases are being considered further to see if a waiver is appropriate.

The TA is currently looking into around 27 cases to check that eligibility requirements have been met.

The RAuxAF have paid bounty to all eligible personnel and have no outstanding cases.

SA80 Rifle

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how long he expects the SA80 rifle to remain in service in the UK armed forces; and what research is being conducted on a possible replacement. (81110)

The SA80 rifle has an out of service date of 2020. The UK has completed a calibre study to determine the effect required by the next generation of small arms. This research will be continued by the Ministry of Defence.

Culture, Media and Sport

Arts Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on reform of the Arts Council. (81232)

[holding answer 3 July 2006]: The Arts Council underwent a Peer Review in 2005 which identified a number of key areas for reform. These included the role and structure of its national office, how the Arts Council engages with its stakeholders and how it works with Government.

The Arts Council is responding in each of these areas. A new structure and role for the Arts Council's national office will be in place by the autumn. Engagement with its stakeholders will be improved by addressing issues that arise during an extensive consultation exercise with the sector and the public more widely over the coming months. A new Funding Agreement between my Department and the Arts Council will provide a central focus for the way the Arts Council works with Government.

Casinos

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether guidance will be issued to local authorities to ensure that new casino licensing regulations are applied consistently. (82537)

The Gambling Commission is responsible for issuing guidance to licensing authorities on the manner in which they exercise their functions under the Act. The Commission published the first part of its “Guidance to Licensing Authorities” in April 2006, and this dealt with the development and preparation of local premises licensing policies, including those in respect of casinos.

The Commission will issue further guidance about the regulation of casinos and other gambling premises in due course. All local authorities must have regard to this guidance when carrying out functions under the Act.

The Department is also developing a training package for local authority councillors and officers.

Commonwealth Institute

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will place in the Library a copy of her correspondence with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the Commonwealth Institute building. (81021)

It is a long standing convention that information relating to internal discussions and advice is not normally disclosed.

Criminal Injuries Compensation

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the cost of making payments to the victims of terrorism abroad at the level of the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme. (82286)

[holding answer 3 July 2006]: The Government have announced that they will make a £1 million donation to a charitable fund to offer immediate financial assistance to victims of terrorism abroad.

Details of the fund are still being finalised in discussion with the British Red Cross, but it will not be a statutory compensation scheme in the manner of the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme. Payments made will not be comparable to those of the CICS but will be at a level that ensures that the contributions made to the fund can support all those who need to claim from it.

Further details will be announced in the coming months.

Free TV Licences

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will extend free television licences to those pensioners below the age of 75 years who are in receipt of pension credit; and if she will make a statement. (81123)

No. As indicated in the BBC Charter Review White Paper published in March this year, concessions have been proposed for a wide range of groups during the Charter Review process. However, there was little consensus as to the criteria on which such concessions should be allocated or how they should be funded. The Government do not therefore propose any changes to the existing range of concessions.

Heritage Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she expects to publish the White Paper on heritage protection. (81484)

Legislation

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what Private Members' Bills were drafted by her Department in each session since 1997; and which subsequently received Royal Assent. (77832)

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 Members' Bill in the future.

The information requested is therefore not collected.

Music

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on Government support for music and music education. (81485)

The Government are committed to supporting music in all its forms. We are achieving this through increased investment—funding for music through Arts Council England has more than doubled since 1997 to over £100 million this year.

My Department continues to work very closely with the Department for Education and Skills on the Music Manifesto, which will celebrate its second anniversary this month. This sets out a series of shared aims for music education and has the support of over 550 signatories from across the education, cultural and music sectors.

Responsibility for music within schools falls to the Department for Education and Skills.

Through the Live Music Forum, we are working to ensure that opportunities for the promotion of live music are realised to the full.

Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the likely impact of the removal by Sport England of grant to the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group; and if she will make a statement. (81075)

I am advised that Sport England has supported the work of the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG) for a number of years, with a grant of £12,000 per annum. This sum was a contribution towards PWTAG's general work in connection with pool water treatment and the preparation of its reference book, “Swimming Pool Water”. Unfortunately, due to budgetary pressures, Sport England is now unable to continue this funding and has had to reluctantly withdraw it.

I have asked Sport England for further background information on this decision.

Select Committee Recommendations

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action has been taken by her Department to implement Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee recommendations since the 2001-02 session; and if she will make a statement. (77835)

The following table lists all the Reports from the Culture, Media and Sport select committee to which the Government have responded since the 2001-02 session. An update on all select committee recommendations could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, the Government in their responses to reports make clear whether or not they accept the Committee’s recommendations.

Government response

Session 2005-06

Analogue Switch-off: A signal change in television (HC 650)

Cm 6850

Broadcasting Rights for Cricket (HC 720)

Cm 6772

Session 2004-05

Public Libraries (HC 81)

Cm 6648

A public BBC (HC 82)

Cm 6474

Theatre (HC 254)

Cm 6644

Maritime Heritage and Historic Ships (HC 296)

HC 385 of session 2005-06

Market for Art (HC 414)

Cm 6643

Session 2003-04

Cultural objects: developments since 2000 (HC 59)

Cm6149

Broadcasting in Transition (HC380)

HC 380 of session 2003-04

Reform of the National Lottery (HC 196)

Cm 6232

Arts Development: Dance (HC 587)

Cm 6326

Drugs and role models in sport: making and setting examples (HC 499)

Cm 6347

Work of the Department in 2002-03 (HC 404)

Cm 6242

Session 2002-03

National Museums and Galleries: Funding and Free Admission (HC 85)

Cm 5772

A London Olympic bid for 2012 (HC 268)

Cm 5867

The structure and strategy for supporting tourism (HC 65)

Cm 5790

Privacy and media intrusion (HC 458)

Cm 5985

The British film industry (HC 667)

Cm 6022

Session 2001-02

The Government's proposals for gambling: nothing to lose? (HC 827)

Cm 5622

Communications (HC 539)

Cm 5554

Arts Development (HC 489)

Cm 5533

Testing the waters: the sport of swimming (HC 418)

Cm 5480

Revisiting the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games (HC 842)

Cm 5576

Wembley National Stadium project: into injury time (HC 843)

Cm 5582

Unpicking the Lock: The World Athletics Championships in the UK (HC 264)

Cm 5448

Urban Regeneration

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent assessment she has made of the role of culture in urban regeneration. (81483)

Responses to the Department's consultation document “Culture at the Heart of Regeneration”, published in June 2004, made clear the huge interest there is in culturally-driven regeneration in a variety of contexts, both urban and rural.

We know, therefore, that culture can be a driving force in achieving urban regeneration. Examples of where this has happened can be found right across the country, from the iconic cultural buildings of Newcastle-Gateshead and Salford Quays to the Eden Centre in Cornwall. We are working across Government and with our cultural bodies to ensure that the value of culture is understood by planners, developers and others, and supports regeneration.

Welsh Language TV

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much the Government provided to support the production of television programmes in the Welsh language in each year since 1997. (82296)

Government funding for the Welsh Fourth Channel Authority, S4C, for each calendar year since 1997, was:

£ million

1997

72.223

1998

74.895

1999

77.134

2000

78.218

2001

80.745

2002

81.468

2003

83.634

2004

85.729

2005

88.690

S4C also receives a minimum of 10 hours of Welsh language programmes each week from the BBC, free of charge.

Transport

Aviation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by what date airlines using UK airports will be required to comply with EU legislation on the rights of passengers with disabilities travelling by air. (78988)

The European Commission's proposal for a regulation on air passenger rights for people with reduced mobility has been agreed by the European Parliament and was adopted at a meeting of the Council on 9 June. The majority of the provisions will enter into force two years after adoption, although a ban on discrimination against disabled persons and those with reduced mobility will enter into force after one year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will review the Access to Air Travel for Disabled People Code of Practice following the treatment by Iberia Airlines of a group of deaf passengers on their flight from London Heathrow in July 2004. (79006)

As a Spanish carrier, Iberian Airlines are not subject to the UK voluntary code “Access to Air Travel for Disabled People Code of Practice”.

The European Commission's proposal for a regulation on air passenger rights for people with reduced mobility has been agreed by the European Parliament, and was adopted at a meeting of the Council on 9 June.

The Government is looking to publish the findings of a research project shortly, which assessed the UK aviation industry's adherence to the voluntary code “Access to Air Travel for Disabled People Code of Practice”. These findings will be used to determine whether to bring UK aviation within the scope of domestic disability legislation, having regard to the forthcoming EU Regulation.

Concessionary Parking

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which local authorities provide (a) wholly free parking and (b) a concessionary parking scheme for (i) disabled blue badge holders and (ii) senior citizens. (81199)

This information is not collected centrally and an estimate could be made only at disproportionate cost

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average cost to his Department was of replying to a letter written (a) by an hon. Member and (b) by a member of the public in the latest period for which figures are available; and how much of that sum was accounted for by (i) officials’ time, (ii) cost of stationery and (iii) postage costs. (80491)

The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members/Peers correspondence. The report for 2005 was published on 30 March 2006, Official Report, columns 76-78WS.

The information requested is not recorded and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Credit Unions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department will provide information and membership forms for credit unions to its employees. (79936)