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Written Answers

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 5 July 2006

Education and Skills

Advertising Campaigns

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what advertising campaigns his Department has run since July 2004; and what the (a) date and (b) cost was of each. (81915)

The Department’s records are retained on a financial year basis, and it is only possible to provide annual information on advertising campaigns from April 2004 to present. The following tables show advertising campaign expenditure broken down by year and title:

2004-05

Advertising campaign title

£000

Education Maintenance Allowance

4,511

DfES Supermarket Sweep

502

Sure Start

133

Adult Basic Skills—Gremlins

5,875

Teenage Pregnancy

1,087

Student Finance

1,224

Fast Track Teaching

73

Foundation Degrees

556

DfES Childcare

295

Need to Know

400

DfES Parents Centre

182

Total

14,838

2005-06

Advertising campaign title

£000

Sure Start

3

Education Maintenance Allowance

1,499

Teenage Pregnancy

1,497

Childcare Recruitment

661

Adult Basic Skills - Gremlins

1,818

Student finance

3,271

DfES Parents Centre

149

Every Child Matters

2

Parenting Pilot

637

Foundation Degrees

869

Fast Track Teaching

19

DfES Education and Learning Launch

204

Need to Know

118

Total

10,747

All figures in the tables are exclusive of VAT. We would only be able to break down information from July 2004 at disproportionate cost.

Bullying

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many incidents of homophobic bullying were recorded by (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in each of the last five years. (82670)

We are unable to provide this information as we do not collect these data centrally. However, individual schools may record incidents of bullying, including homophobic bullying, and some local authorities keep records for their own area.

We take the issue of homophobic bullying in schools very seriously and we gave an undertaking in the White Paper, “Higher Standards, Better Education for All” to issue guidance on bullying motivated by prejudice, including homophobia.

During Anti Bullying week in 2004 we published “Homophobia, Sexual Orientation and Schools: a review and implications for action”, by the Thomas Coram Research Unit, which looked at three areas: behaviour and bullying; teaching and learning about sexual orientation and relationships; and employment issues. It collates, summarises and assesses both peer reviewed research material, from this country and abroad, and less formal work conducted by bodies active in this area. It reports the views of a wide range of organisations, 28 in all, with an interest in this area to paint a picture of how the issues are currently perceived. The report is available on the DfES website http://www.dfes.gov.uk/research and the findings will be used to inform future work in this area.

Children's Centres

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children's centres there are in each local authority area in England. (81872)

The number of Sure Start Children's Centres in each local authority area is listed in the following table:

Region

Local authority

Number of centres designated as at 30 June 2006

East of England

Bedfordshire

7

East of England

Cambridgeshire

3

East of England

Essex

9

East of England

Hertfordshire

6

East of England

Luton

9

East of England

Norfolk

11

East of England

Peterborough

5

East of England

Southend on Sea

3

East of England

Suffolk

6

East of England

Thurrock

3

East Midlands

Derby

4

East Midlands

Derbyshire

10

East Midlands

Leicester

9

East Midlands

Leicestershire

3

East Midlands

Lincolnshire

10

East Midlands

Northamptonshire

3

East Midlands

Nottingham City

3

East Midlands

Nottinghamshire

16

East Midlands

Rutland

London

Barking and Dagenham

5

London

Barnet

1

London

Bexley

4

London

Brent

4

London

Bromley

1

London

Camden

9

London

Croydon

3

London

Ealing

10

London

Enfield

3

London

Greenwich

9

London

Hackney

5

London

Hammersmith and Fulham

5

London

Haringey

10

London

Harrow

1

London

Havering

London

Hillingdon

1

London

Hounslow

3

London

Islington

9

London

Kensington and Chelsea

4

London

Kingston upon Thames

London

Lambeth

10

London

Lewisham

3

London

Merton

1

London

Newham

5

London

Redbridge

4

London

Richmond Upon Thames

London

Southwark

9

London

Sutton

1

London

Tower Hamlets

9

London

Waltham Forest

5

London

Wandsworth

3

London

Westminster

5

North East

Darlington

4

North East

Durham

16

North East

Gateshead

10

North East

Hartlepool

5

North East

Middlesbrough

8

North East

Newcastle upon Tyne

10

North East

North Tyneside

5

North East

Northumberland

9

North East

Redcar and Cleveland

6

North East

South Tyneside

7

North East

Stockton-on-Tees

4

North East

Sunderland

11

North West

Blackburn with Darwen

9

North West

Blackpool

6

North West

Bolton

5

North West

Bury

2

North West

Cheshire

5

North West

Cumbria

16

North West

Halton

5

North West

Knowsley

7

North West

Lancashire

30

North West

Liverpool

11

North West

Manchester

18

North West

Oldham

1

North West

Rochdale

3

North West

Salford

5

North West

Sefton

4

North West

St. Helens

5

North West

Stockport

1

North West

Tameside

4

North West

Trafford

2

North West

Warrington

3

North West

Wigan

4

North West

Wirral

5

South East

Bracknell Forest

South East

Brighton and Hove

4

South East

Buckinghamshire

1

South East

East Sussex

6

South East

Hampshire

7

South East

Isle of Wight

5

South East

Kent

13

South East

Medway

4

South East

Milton Keynes

2

South East

Oxfordshire

4

South East

Portsmouth

6

South East

Reading

3

South East

Slough

3

South East

Southampton

4

South East

Surrey

3

South East

West Berkshire

South East

West Sussex

6

South East

Windsor and Maidenhead

South East

Wokingham

South West

Bath and North East Somerset

1

South West

Bournemouth

2

South West

Bristol, City of

9

South West

Cornwall

20

South West

Devon

6

South West

Dorset

4

South West

Gloucestershire

8

South West

North Somerset

1

South West

Plymouth

8

South West

Poole

South West

Somerset

14

South West

South Gloucestershire

South West

Swindon

3

South West

Torbay

2

South West

Wiltshire

West Midlands

Birmingham

18

West Midlands

Coventry

8

West Midlands

Dudley

4

West Midlands

Herefordshire

4

West Midlands

Sandwell

7

West Midlands

Shropshire

2

West Midlands

Solihull

3

West Midlands

Staffordshire

5

West Midlands

Stoke-on-Trent

8

West Midlands

Telford and Wrekin

6

West Midlands

Walsall

6

West Midlands

Warwickshire

9

West Midlands

Wolverhampton

8

West Midlands

Worcestershire

9

Yorkshire and Humberside

Barnsley

13

Yorkshire and Humberside

Bradford

7

Yorkshire and Humberside

Calderdale

4

Yorkshire and Humberside

Doncaster

14

Yorkshire and Humberside

East Riding of Yorkshire

4

Yorkshire and Humberside

Kingston upon Hull, City of

8

Yorkshire and Humberside

Kirklees

6

Yorkshire and Humberside

Leeds

21

Yorkshire and Humberside

North East Lincolnshire

4

Yorkshire and Humberside

North Lincolnshire

6

Yorkshire and Humberside

North Yorkshire

4

Yorkshire and Humberside

Rotherham

7

Yorkshire and Humberside

Sheffield

11

Yorkshire and Humberside

Wakefield

4

Yorkshire and Humberside

York

Total

867

Consultants

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what consultants are employed by his Department to work on (a) policy development and (b) cost control; and if he will make a statement. (81858)

Departmental Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the total carbon emission of his Department in each year since 1997. (81910)

A complete answer cannot be provided as validated carbon emission information is only available from 1999. The figures presented in the following table are based on kilograms of carbon emitted per square metre of let table area in our HQ buildings.

1kgC/m2

1990-2000

28

2000-01

30

2001-02

29

2002-03

28

2003-04

32

2004-05

31

1 These figures exclude carbon emissions from road vehicles used for Government administrative operations as this information is not held

Departmental Fax Machines

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many department-owned fax machines have been issued to his staff in the last 12 months; to whom they were issued; and at what cost. (81945)

A complete answer could be provided only at disproportionate cost, but we do know that 11 fax machines were purchased at a cost of £4,137.17 in the period 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006.

Departmental Finance Directors

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the (a) name, (b) professional and academic qualifications and (c) relevant experience are of the finance director of his Department. [80089]

The Director General of Finance of the Department for Education and Skills is Jonathan Thompson.

He is a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), a member of the CIPFA Council and a member of the Chartered Institute of Management.

He was appointed in May 2006. He was previously Director of Finance of Ofsted, and before that Director of Finance and Resources at North Somerset council. Prior to that he was senior public sector services manager with Ernst and Young.

Departmental Guidance

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pages of guidance have been issued by his Department in the last 12 months. (80038)

The Department only sends hard copy publications automatically to schools in England in exceptional cases having stopped regular paper mailings in December 2004. Most recently a letter regarding the Ofsted report on staff recruitment checks was made available online and schools notified electronically by email.

Discussions with head teachers and detailed research showed that schools wanted to be able to choose the printed publications they needed, when they needed them, and to be able to order multiple copies.

The online ordering system enables schools to choose whether to download electronic copies or order the paper based publications they need at the right time for them and in the multiples they require. This system is linked directly to the fulfilment service and an existing telephone ordering line. A fortnightly email service to schools informs them of new and important publications.

This has resulted in schools being able to order a wider variety of publications from the Department, putting schools in direct control of what they receive, when they receive it.

Departmental Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make it his policy to make copies of deposited papers available in the (a) Vote Office and (b) Printed Paper Office at the same time as copies are deposited in the Library; and if he will make a statement. (81237)

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal on 3 July 2006, Official Report, column 729W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list the deposited papers placed in the Library by his Department since 2000; and when they were published. (81294)

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many staff in his Department did not achieve an acceptable mark in their annual report in each of the last three years; and what percentage this represented of the total number of staff in each case. (75099)

Annual reports for the last performance year (2005-06) are currently being collated. In the previous year, there were less than five cases of unacceptable performance and this information is therefore suppressed on grounds of confidentiality. In the 2003-04 performance year, five staff failed to achieve an acceptable mark, which represents 0.1 per cent. of all staff at that time.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many of his staff are (a) under and (b) over 55 years of age. (77278)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many people over the age of 55 years have been recruited into his Department in each of the last three years. (77279)

The information is given in the following table.

Recruits into DfES over the age of 55

Number

2004

1

2005

6

2006 (to date)

2

EU Integration

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make it his policy to remove from all EU legislation which he is responsible for transposing into UK law any references supporting EU integration. (82293)

I have no plans to do so. In cases when EU legislation is proposed which would need to be transposed into UK each proposal will be considered on its individual merits. However, EU competence in education and training is limited to supporting and supplementing the actions of member states, and fully respects the responsibility of member states for the content and organisation of education and training. There is therefore not a great deal of EU legislation in the education and vocational training field to be transposed into domestic legislation. In the majority of cases the Department for Education and Skills responds to EU decisions, recommendations and communications through the development of policy rather than legislative changes.

Judicial Review

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills 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. (80476)

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

Post Office

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills for which services (a) his Department and (b) its associated public bodies hold contracts with the Post Office; and what the (i) start and (ii) termination date is of each contract. (81541)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what services (a) his Department and (b) its associated public bodies (i) make available and (ii) have made available in the last five years through the Post Office network; through how many outlets the service is or was made available; and how many relevant transactions were undertaken in each case in the most recent year for which figures are available. (79201)

Primary Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what the most recent average cost per annum was of educating a child at primary school in England; (82076)

(2) what the most recent average cost per annum was of educating a child at primary school in each local education authority area in England;

(3) what the most recent figures are for the average cost per annum of educating a child at primary school in (a) rural and village areas and (b) town and city areas in England.

The available information is given in the following table.

Primary school based expenditure1 per pupil2

£

In England during the 2004-05 financial year

£ per pupil3

2,910

In 2004-05 financial year

Barking and Dagenham

3,150

Barnet

3,280

Barnsley

2,910

Bath and North East Somerset

2,850

Bedfordshire

2,830

Bexley

2,810

Birmingham

3,200

Blackburn and Darwen

2,910

Blackpool

2,880

Bolton

2,760

Bournemouth

2,670

Bracknell Forest

2,730

Bradford

3,070

Brent

3,230

Brighton and Hove

2,820

Bromley

2,690

Buckinghamshire

2,740

Bury

2,660

Calderdale

2,940

Cambridgeshire

2,720

Camden

4,120

Cheshire

2,640

City of Bristol

2,860

City of Kingston-Upon-Hull

2,990

City of London

4,990

Cornwall

2,810

Coventry

3,010

Croydon

3,060

Cumbria

2,870

Darlington

2,710

Derby

2,940

Derbyshire

2,630

Devon

2,790

Doncaster

2,860

Dorset

2,790

Dudley

2,760

Durham

3,000

Ealing

3,330

East Riding of Yorkshire

2,760

East Sussex

2,830

Enfield

3,270

Essex

2,900

Gateshead

2,850

Gloucestershire

2,720

Greenwich

3,530

Hackney

4,010

Halton

2,910

Hammersmith and Fulham

3,800

Hampshire

2,850

Haringey

3,590

Harrow

3,100

Hartlepool

2,840

Havering

2,920

Herefordshire

2,780

Hertfordshire

2,780

Hillingdon

2,920

Hounslow

3,160

Isle of Wight

3,000

Isles of Scilly

7,280

Islington

3,760

Kensington and Chelsea

4,160

Kent

2,770

Kingston upon Thames

3,110

Kirklees

3,060

Knowsley

3,010

Lambeth

4,110

Lancashire

2,900

Leeds

3,010

Leicester

2,990

Leicestershire

2,580

Lewisham

3,800

Lincolnshire

2,600

Liverpool

3,100

Luton

3,100

Manchester

3,030

Medway

3,050

Merton

3,200

Middlesbrough

2,980

Milton Keynes

2,760

Newcastle upon Tyne

2,840

Newham

3,630

Norfolk

2,770

North East Lincolnshire

2,920

North Lincolnshire

2,840

North Somerset

2,650

North Tyneside

2,760

North Yorkshire

2,890

Northamptonshire

2,720

Northumberland

2,940

Nottingham City

3,410

Nottinghamshire

2,900

Oldham

2,740

Oxfordshire

2,790

Peterborough

2,890

Plymouth

2,800

Poole

2,620

Portsmouth

3,070

Reading

2,720

Redbridge

2,830

Redcar and Cleveland

2.940

Richmond upon Thames

3,030

Rochdale

2,910

Rotherham

2,820

Rutland

2,950

Salford

2,920

Sandwell

3,010

Sefton

2,980

Sheffield

2,780

Shropshire

2,600

Slough

2,990

Solihull

2,580

Somerset

2,810

South Gloucestershire

2,610

South Tyneside

2,970

Southampton

3,170

Southend

2,860

Southwark

3,970

St. Helens

2,790

Staffordshire

2,620

Stockport

2,720

Stockton-on-Tees

2,810

Stoke on Trent

2,730

Suffolk

2,920

Sunderland

2,840

Surrey

2,790

Sutton

2,870

Swindon

2,630

Tameside

2,750

Telford and Wrekin

2.660

Thurrock

2,940

Torbay

2,730

Tower Hamlets

4,300

Trafford

2,500

Wakefield

2,810

Walsall

2,770

Waltham Forest

3,390

Wandsworth

3,630

Warrington

2,630

Warwickshire

2,670

West Berkshire

2,840

West Sussex

2,780

Westminster

3,800

Wigan

2,780

Wiltshire

2,670

Windsor and Maidenhead

2,870

Wirral

2,730

Wokingham

2,650

Wolverhampton

2,810

Worcestershire

2,740

York

2,680

In urban and rural schools3 in England during the2004-05 financial year

Urban primary schools4, 5

2,920

Rural primary schools4, 5

2,900

1 School based expenditure includes only expenditure incurred directly by local authority schools. This includes the pay of teachers and school-based support staff, school premises costs, books and equipment, and certain other supplies and services, less any capital items funded from recurrent spending and income from sales, fees and charges and rents and rates. This excludes the central cost of support services such as home to school transport, local authority administration and the financing of capital expenditure. This is drawn from the 2004-05 Section 52 Outturn Statement (Table A line 50).

2 Pupil numbers include only those pupils attending local authority maintained primary schools and are drawn from the DfES Annual Schools Census adjusted to be on a financial year basis.

3 Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Cash terms figures as reported by local authorities as at 30 June 2006.

4 The urban/rural classification is drawn from the Edubase (the DfES database of educational establishments). As at 30th June 2006, the database did not hold an urban/rural classification for 32 of the 17,864 primary schools included on local authorities' 2004-05 Section 52 Outturn Statements.

5 Rural primary schools are on average much smaller than those in urban areas. Funding to offset diseconomies of scale therefore increases the amount spent in rural primary schools to a level very close to urban schools.

School Buses

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will set an upper limit on charges local education authorities are permitted to make for school bus journeys under the school transport section of the Education and Inspections Bill. (82417)

The Education and Inspections Bill includes provisions that will allow a small number of ‘Pathfinder’ authorities to pilot innovative school travel arrangements. While it will be up to local authorities themselves to draw up a charging policy, the draft guidance to potential ‘Pathfinder’ authorities, which has been published on the Department’s website, suggests a maximum charge of £1 per day.

School Principals

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average salary was of (a) head and (b) deputy head teachers in (i) England and (ii) each region in each of the last 10 years. (81697)

The following table provides the average salary of full-time regular head and deputy head teachers in maintained sector schools in England and by Government office region. The average salaries are given for March each year from 1996 to 2003, the latest year for which the information is available.

Average salary of full-time regular head and deputy head teachers in maintained sector schools in England by Government office region, March 1996 to 2003

£

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

20011

20021

20031

England

Head

31,040

32,370

33,530

35,020

37,710

40,010

42,380

44,960

Deputy head

27,540

28,640

29,640

30,890

32,160

34,810

36,800

38,950

North East

Head

30,080

31,240

32,270

34,040

36,520

38,950

41,250

43,790

Deputy head

26,640

27,570

28,450

29,800

30,970

33,880

35,630

37,780

North West

Head

30,250

31,450

32,570

33,850

36,820

39,410

41,640

44,190

Deputy head

26,940

27,980

28,900

30,110

31,370

34,120

36,100

38,100

Yorkshire and the Humber

Head

30,020

31,190

32,290

33,500

36,650

39,130

41,490

44,180

Deputy head

26,680

27,740

28,690

29,870

31,130

34,120

35,980

38,170

East Midlands

Head

30,470

31,680

32,730

34,080

36,670

38,510

40,810

43,400

Deputy head

27,220

28,200

29,300

30,390

31,650

34,400

36,130

38,120

West Midlands

Head

30,950

32,320

33,370

34,930

37,390

40,000

42,060

44,860

Deputy head

27,260

28,330

29,290

30,550

31,790

34,490

36,240

38,440

East of England

Head

30,910

32,290

33,360

34,720

37,370

39,460

41,880

44,440

Deputy head

27,370

28,500

29,530

30,640

31,960

34,360

36,340

38,680

London

Head

34,910

36,630

38,300

40,170

42,790

45,800

49,010

52,240

Deputy head

30,230

31,400

32,560

33,980

35,390

38,160

40,780

43,300

South East

Head

31,610

33,070

34,290

35,810

38,350

40,530

42,750

45,390

Deputy head

27,700

28,840

29,830

31,070

32,370

34,800

36,560

38,770

South West

Head

29,830

31,070

32,190

33,570

36,210

38,380

40,390

42,720

Deputy head

27,020

28,210

29,130

30,450

31,640

34,100

35,910

37,960

1 Provisional estimates subject to future revision.

Source:

Database of Teacher Records (DTR).

Sexual Health Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what expenditure is planned for sexual health education in schools in each of the next three years. (82546)

It is for local authorities and schools to decide the level of resources required to support sexual health education in schools taking account of local needs. We are working to improve the quality of sexual health education in maintained schools. The Department for Education and Skills, together with Department of Health, is supporting the PSHE certification programme for teachers with over £2 million in 2006-07. In addition, both Departments are supporting the national healthy schools programme with £12.3 million of funding in 2006-07. These programmes support schools in delivering sexual health education as part of broader programmes.

Special Educational Needs

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much of the recent increase in local authority spending on special educational needs provision is being used to pay for out-of-authority placements for pupils because of the lack of suitable provision locally. (81438)

The information is not available in the requested format. The following table shows how much of the total planned net expenditure on the provision of education for children with special educational needs, local authorities have budgeted for fees for pupils at independent special schools and abroad.

The Education (Budget Statements) (England) Regulations. Budgeted net expenditure on the provision of education for children with special educational needs1,2,3 since 2000-01. Cash terms figures4 as reported by local authorities5 as at 28 June 2006

£

Budgeted net expenditure on the provision of education for children with special educational needs1,2

Of which: Budgeted net expenditure on fees for pupils at independent special schools and abroad3

2000-01

2,763,226,000

287,821,000

2001-02

2,908,380,000

305,782,000

2002-03

3,038,661,000

309,646,000

2003-04

3,466,180,000

394,609,000

2004-05

3,774,757,000

441,977,000

2005-06

4,120,549,000

481,127,000

2006-075

4,466,690,000

507,133,000

1 Includes planned expenditure on the provision for pupils with statements and the provision for non-statemented pupils with SEN, support for inclusion, inter authority recoupment, fees for pupils at independent special schools and abroad, educational psychology service, local authority functions in relation to child protection, therapies and other health related services, parent partnership, guidance and information, the monitoring of SEN provision and inclusion administration, assessment and coordination. Also included is the funding delegated to nursery, primary and secondary schools identified as “notional SEN” and the individual schools budget (ISB) for special schools. Does not include any contribution to combined budgets or fees for pupils at independent schools for pupils without SEN.

2 The ISB for special schools will include some general education costs for pupils with SEN in addition to those costs specifically for SEN while the figures recorded against “notional SEN” are only indicative of the amount that might by spent by schools on SEN. From 2004-05 onwards “notional SEN” delegated to nursery schools was reported on section 52 for the first time and accounts for £7.8 million, £9.5 million and £10.2 million of the 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 totals respectively.

3 Includes all planned net expenditure on the payment of fees in respect of pupils with special educational needs at independent schools or non-maintained special schools.

4 Figures are rounded to the nearest £1,000.

5 2006-07 data are provisional and are therefore subject to change by the local authority.

Source:

The data are drawn from local authorities Section 52 Budget Statements (Tables 1 and 2) submitted to the DfES.

Speech and Language Therapy

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what the ratio is of full-time speech therapists to pupils at schools which provide speech and language therapy; (81442)

(2) what the average expenditure per pupil on children with speech and language difficulties in the teaching of speech and language therapy was in the last period for which figures are available.

Teachers' Pension Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures the Department has put in place to assist pension transferability of public pensions for members of the Teachers' Pension Scheme. (79770)

All public service schemes pay cash equivalent transfer values to other pension schemes in respect of accrued rights in compliance with pensions law. Under the Fair Deal for Staff Pensions there is a requirement to transfer pension rights when employments are transferred to the private sector under Public Private Partnerships/Public Finance Initiatives and subsequent transfers for former public servants. Public service scheme members can also transfer accrued pension rights by way of the Public Sector Transfer Club. The Club is a network of public and private sector occupational pension schemes which makes it easier for employees who move between employers covered by separate participating schemes to transfer their accrued pension rights.

Unemployment (Yeovil)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps his Department plans to take to encourage long-term unemployed people in Yeovil constituency to return to education and training. (82180)

Responsibility for encouraging long-term unemployed people to return to education and training is shared between the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Secretary of State for Education and Skills.

Both Departments, along with their respective delivery agencies Jobcentre Plus (JCP) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), are working closely together to ensure that long-term unemployed people have the skills they need to secure sustainable and productive jobs. There has already been significant progress in joint working between the LSC and JCP and a joint delivery plan is currently being developed which will cover the Yeovil area in order to meet local employment and skills needs.

The Government’s skills strategy sends out a strong signal about the priority we attach to helping adults with few or no qualifications to attain a platform of wider employability skills. All those on jobseeker’s allowance or income related benefits and their dependents receive free tuition in further education, in addition to the support available through their local JCP office. Unemployed people also have access to in-depth advice about their education and training options through the Learndirect one-stop telephone and online advice service.

The Government do, however, recognise that more needs to be done to tackle long-term unemployment and published a Green Paper in January 2006 “A New Deal for Welfare: Empowering People to Work” including measures to help low skilled adults secure employment through the New Deal for Skills. These include piloting skills coaching in a number of JCP districts and our latest evidence shows that skills coaching is helping long-term unemployed people improve their employability skills.

In addition, the Chancellor announced in his Budget Report that Lord Leitch’s review of skills would be extended to include better alignment of measures to tackle worklessness to support labour market flexibility, better employment outcomes and greater progression to productive and sustainable jobs for those with skill needs. We expect Lord Leitch’s report this autumn and my Department looks forward to working with the Department of Work and Pensions to take forward Lord Leitch’s proposals.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Biodiversity

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will estimate the loss of species in the United Kingdom in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. (81317)

Extinction of a species within the UK is now a rare event. The UK Biodiversity Action Plan was published in 1995 and included a list of priority species and habitats for which urgent conservation action was required.

In 1999, 2002 and 2005 reports were published on the progress made on these priorities. These reports included actions to be taken and an update on the status of the priority species. In 2002, one species, the Starry Breck Lichen (Buellia asterella), was reported as having become extinct, and two UKBAP priority species, the pool frog and interrupted brome, were reported to have been lost. Both the pool frog and interrupted brome have since been re-introduced. Although both re-introduction projects are at an early stage and there is some way to go before the species are successfully re-established, effectively their extinction has been reversed.

This is the only evidence we have of a UK species becoming extinct within the last 10 years. It is also worth noting that the Pashford pot beetle (Cryptocephalus exiguus), another priority species, has not been found at its known localities for a number of years but this is not thought to represent sufficient evidence of extinction yet.

In terms of non-priority species, we cannot be certain that there have been no extinctions because some species have never been named and others are recorded extremely infrequently.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department has benchmarked the loss of species in the UK in each of the last 10 years against the performance of other countries. (81694)

DEFRA has not benchmarked the loss of species because there is no easily accessible source of information on extinctions for other countries. The cost of obtaining the information would far outweigh the benefits we could gain from it.

Bovine Tuberculosis

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many instances of bovine tuberculosis have been recorded in Suffolk in each of the last five years. (82112)

The information requested is shown in the following table.

Suffolk

Total new herd incidents

Confirmed new herd incidents

2005

2004

3

1

2003

2002

1

2001

Note:

Provisional data downloaded from DEFRA’s animal health database (Vetnet) on 7 March 2006. Subject to change as more data becomes available

In 2001, the TB testing and control programme was largely suspended due to the foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. When testing resumed in 2002, resources were concentrated on herds with overdue TB tests which would have had a longer period in which to contract the disease. Also the proportion of high risk herds tested immediately after the FMD outbreak was greater than that prior to the outbreak. As a result, data for 2001 and 2002 are not comparable with other years.

Conservation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice his Department gives to competent authorities intending to carry out appropriate assessment of plans or projects likely to affect European wildlife sites with regard to consulting (a) statutory bodies, (b) other interested parties and (c) the general public; and whether this advice differs according to whether this assessment is carried out under regulation 3 or regulation 48 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994 (as amended). (80295)

English Nature provides advice to competent authorities intending to carry out appropriate assessment of plans or projects likely to affect European wildlife sites, with regard to consulting statutory bodies and the general public. This is done through their Habitats Regulations Guidance Note 1 (“The Role of the Appropriate Assessment in Regulation 48 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994”). This guidance relates to assessment being carried out under regulation 48 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994. The Guidance Note does not provide specific advice for consulting other interested parties, though it does advise that consulting the general public,

“may include taking the opinion of others with relevant knowledge or expertise”.

This advice in relation to consulting statutory bodies, other interested parties and the general public does not specifically relate to the obligations placed upon competent authorities under regulation 3 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994 (as amended).

My Department is currently considering what further guidance is necessary in relation to obligations placed upon competent authorities regarding appropriate assessment of plans and projects. These considerations will be informed by the results of the public consultation on Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2006 due to end on 30 June 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how competent authorities are required to report the results of appropriate assessment of plans or projects under the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994 (as amended) to (a) the UK Government, (b) the European Commission and (c) the Scottish Executive; and whether the appropriate assessments are public documents. (80296)

There is no requirement in the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994 for competent authorities to report the results of appropriate assessment carried out under regulation 48 of these Regulations to (a), (b) or (c) if the authority concludes the plan or project will not adversely affect the integrity of a European site.

Where a competent authority other than the Secretary of State proposes to agree to a plan or project under regulation 49 (that is where a plan or project is considered necessary in the overriding public interest), notwithstanding a negative assessment of the implications for a European site, it must notify the Secretary of State in England. There is no requirement under the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994 to report the outcome of the appropriate assessment in these circumstances to the European Commission. As a matter of policy however, the Secretary of State reports the outcome of such assessments in the above circumstances to the European Commission, including details of how appropriate compensatory measures have been secured. Equivalent provisions exist in Scotland. Appropriate assessments carried out under the planning regime would normally constitute public documents.

Appropriate assessments carried out under other consent regimes would normally, where not already in the public domain, be available under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answers of 30 March 2006, Official Report, column 1098W, on the EU Habitats Directive, whether competent authorities proposing to agree a plan or project of a type not specified by Regulations 54 to 85 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc.) Regulations 1994 (as amended) notwithstanding a negative assessment of the implications for a European site are required (a) to notify the Secretary of State and (b) not to agree to the plan or project for a period of 21 days unless the Secretary of State notifies them that they may do so. (80426)

Competent authorities proposing to agree to a plan or project not specified by Regulations 54 to 85 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc.) Regulations 1994, notwithstanding a negative assessment of the implications for a European site, are (a) not required to notify the Secretary of State and (b) not required to agree to the plan or project for a period of 21 days unless the Secretary of State notifies them that they may do so.

Correspondence Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 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. (80479)

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.

Dairy Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the dairy supply chain forum. (79757)

The dairy supply chain forum, now chaired by my noble Friend Lord Rooker, meets on a quarterly basis. Recent discussions have covered: the environmental challenges facing the dairy sector; barriers to innovation; the National Farmers’ Union’s paper, “A Vision for the Dairy Industry”; the Milk Development Council’s paper, “Raw milk contracts and relationships—the need for change”; and animal health and welfare initiatives.

Notes of the meetings are available at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodrin/milk/supplychainforum/dscfworkofforum.htm

Departmental Catering

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has held with other Ministers on the sourcing of publicly-procured food; and what proportion of such food was of British origin in 2005. (78163)

[holding answer 16 June 2006]: DEFRA Ministers have had recent discussions with other Ministers on the sourcing of publicly-procured food and announcements will be made in the very near future.

The Department is not aware of any central source of information on the proportion of publicly-procured food that was of British origin in 2005. The information could be determined only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Press Office

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) black and Asian and (b) other people are employed in his Department's press office. (74357)

The Department currently has 31 members of staff employed in the Press Office, of which 15 have declared they are white, three black and Asian, and 13 are unknown/undeclared.

Information on the ethnicity is collected on a voluntary basis.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many of his staff are (a) under and (b) over 55 years of age. (77272)

As at 31 December 2005, there were (a) 5,212 staff under and (b) 735 staff over 55 years of age in DEFRA.

End-of-life Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what obligations are placed on members of the public wishing to sell vehicle parts on (a) the internet and (b) elsewhere under the End of Life Vehicles legislation. (82427)

End of Life Vehicles legislation does not place any requirements on members of the public selling vehicle parts on the internet or elsewhere.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Environment Agency in enforcing the End of Life Vehicles legislation. (82428)

DEFRA is satisfied with the way the Environment Agency are enforcing the End of Life Vehicles legislation.

In 2004, the Environment Agency took 15 prosecutions for offences involving the keeping or treating of End of Life Vehicles (ELVs). The figure for 2005 was 30. There have been 13 in the first five months of 2006. These are cases where ELVs were the main or a significant proportion of the waste being handled illegally.

English Nature

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the grant-in-aid to English Nature for 2006-07 will be paid. (81083)

Grant in aid is paid to English Nature on a monthly basis. Payments totalling £16 million have already been made to English Nature during the first quarter of this financial year. The next monthly claim, for £4 million, has recently been submitted by English Nature to cover July operational costs and this will be paid within the next week. My Department expects to be in a position to confirm English Nature's overall financial settlement for 2006-07 shortly.

Fisheries

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Libyan counterpart on British fishing rights in Libyan waters. (81461)

I have participated in no recent discussions regarding fishing opportunities for UK fishermen in Libyan waters.

Fishing opportunities for European Fishermen in Third Country Waters are negotiated by the European Commission through a Fisheries Partnership Agreement. Under the Common Fisheries policy the European Commission has competency to represent the member states in this context.

Currently there is no Fisheries Partnership Agreement between Libya and the European Community and there are no plans to make one in the foreseeable future.

This would not prevent individual UK fishermen gaining access to Libyan waters under a private agreement with Libyan fishermen. There are no European or UK laws preventing this at present. However this would be a private business venture up to the fishermen involved, and would necessitate the agreement of the Libyan Government.

Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the Affordable Rural Housing Commission; and when he expects to make a decision on additional funds for housing in rural areas. (77813)

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Minister for Housing and Planning both took part in discussions of the Affordable Rural Housing Commission report on the day of its launch. Affordable rural housing will continue to be one of the subjects covered in the regular dialogue between the two Departments and across Government.

The Government are currently considering the report and will use a range of channels and mechanisms to respond in a constructive way to the agenda set by the Commission, including in the forthcoming Spending Review.

Information Technology

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent on information technology (IT) sourced from outside his Department in each of the last five years; who is responsible for such projects in his Department; and what IT (a) expertise and (b) qualifications they possess. (71792)

In each of the last five years, the Department (core Defra only) has spent the following on information technology (IT) sourced from outside the Department:

Amount (£)

2001-02

29,713,164

2002-03

43,297,947

2003-04

54,704,124

2004-05

41,214,953

2005-06

86,253,815

Notes: 1. These figures do not include expenditure on Capital Equipment or Construction in Progress (CIP)*. 2. Capital Expenditure (Capex) is shown on clearing account balance sheets, if expenditure is not cleared to the Fixed Assets Register (FAR) and CIP Register. 3. Therefore the end year balances on the Clearing equipment and CIP balance sheets may include expenditure c/f from earlier years. 4. There are no central records of actual IT Capex spend for these years. 5. Costs include consultancy expenditure related to the E-nabling programme. 6. Does not include any IT spend hidden in programme—0460**.

The Chief Information Officer, Chris Chant, is responsible for the successful delivery of IT projects within Defra. He has extensive experience in leading business transformation, large programme management, strategic supplier management and change management. His previous experience includes being the Service Delivery Team Director in the e-Government Unit of the Cabinet Office, and responsibility for the Inland Revenue e-Services Programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) originally estimated, (b) most recently estimated and (c) outturn cost was in each of the five largest information technology contracts agreed with outside suppliers over the last five years. (71793)

The Department is able to confirm that over the last five years there have been three large IT contracts agreed with outside suppliers, and these are with Accenture, IBM, and LogicaCMG.

Accenture

(a) Original estimated cost—£34.10 million

(b) Recently estimated costs—£55.04 million

(c) Outturn costs—£55.04 million (plus enhancement work to the value of £928,000 in 2005-06 and £2.7 million in 2006-07).

IBM

(a) Original estimated cost—£85 million per year

(b) Recently estimated costs—£85 million per year

(c) Outturn costs—£24,499,785 in 2004-05 and £97,217,291 in 2005-06.

LogicaCMG

(a) Original estimated cost—£16.10 million

(b) Recently estimated costs—£17.492 million (plus annual indexation)

(c) Outturn costs—Cost of supply was £6.7 million in 2002. The balance is for support and maintenance to be paid over the remainder of the contract, which ends in 2014.

Smaller, local IT contracts will also have been agreed; however, information on these is neither managed nor maintained centrally, and therefore it would incur disproportionate costs to collate. Only by reference to such information would it be possible to determine which are the fourth and fifth largest IT contracts, agreed with outside suppliers, in the Department.

Meat Imports

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many samples of imported beef and beef products from (a) other EU member states and (b) other countries were tested for residues of (i) oestradiol, (ii) testosterone, (iii) progesterone, (iv) zeranol, (v) trenbolone and (vi) melegesterol acetate in (A) 2004 and (B) 2005; (81209)

(2) what the most recent date on which beef imported into the UK was tested for residues of oestradiol; and how many samples were collected.

In 2004, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) organised the testing of 301 samples of imported beef for trenbolone and zeranol (one sample was found to be of UK origin and one was unassayable on arrival at the laboratory).

Of the 299 assayable imported samples, 82 were from other EU member states and 217 were from other countries. No detectable residues of either trenbolone or zeranol were found in 2004, which was also the case in 2003. Trenbolone and zeranol were therefore removed from the imports surveillance programme for 2005 on the recommendation of the independent veterinary residues committee, which oversees the surveillance work of the VMD and advises the food standards agency on relevant surveys. They may be included again in the future.

20032004

Substance

Samples

Positive

Samples

Positive

Trenbolone

300

299

Zeranol

300

299

Testing was not carried out for the other listed substances in 2004 and 2005 and imported beef has not been tested for residues of oestradiol. All of the results of the VMD’s surveillance for residues of veterinary medicines and other substances are published in its quarterly magazine, (MAVIS) available from its website at: www.vmd.gov.uk

Oestradiol is a naturally occurring hormone. It will be present in beef at varying concentrations, dependant on the physiological state of the animal when it was slaughtered, and also its sex and age. Muscle, which is the matrix available for testing is not ideal. The EU’s community reference laboratory recommends serum, which is not available in imported beef.

Scientific advice from two of the UK’s national reference laboratories for veterinary residues analysis is that any difference in concentrations between untreated animals and those treated with exogenous oestradiol is very small. So, distinguishing between them would be unlikely. Therefore no testing has been carried out on imported beef in the last 10 years. Responsibility for testing produce from non-EU member states rests with the country of entry into the EU. Once produce has entered the EU, it should have free circulation within all member states, as part of the single market.

EU legislation imposes a series of health and supervisory requirements on non-EU countries before they export food to the EU. These are designed to ensure that imported animals and animal products meet standards at least equivalent to those required for production in, and trade between, member states. The use of the listed substances as growth promoting hormones is banned in the EU, and therefore they should not be present in beef imported into the EU.

The European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office check on compliance with such legislation in EU and non-EU countries exporting to the EU.

Milk Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assistance he is making available to encourage co-operation in the milk industry. (76072)

The Government are helping to promote greater co-operation through the Dairy Supply Chain Forum. The group regularly brings together all the key links in the supply chain to discuss the challenges facing the dairy industry, and to develop collaborative solutions.

The dairy industry also directly benefits from grants awarded under the Agriculture Development scheme. These are helping to fund benchmarking workshops and create a network of dairy best practice groups.

The Government are also supporting the work of English Farming and Food Partnerships (EFFP). Its aim is to promote and encourage greater co-operation and collaboration in all sectors of the farming and food industries, and all the major dairy co-operatives in England are involved. EFFP is currently taking forward an initiative called “share to milk”, which will highlight examples of successful collaborative activity and best practice in the dairy sector.

Minister of State (Sustainable Farming and Foods)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 2 June 2006, Official Report, column 100W, of the Minister of State (sustainable farming and foods), if he will estimate the proportion of the time that Lord Rooker has devoted to official duties that he has spent on the affairs of his Department. (79226)

Lord Rooker works full-time on Defra affairs. His other responsibilities, as Northern Ireland spokesman and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, are undertaken on top of his departmental duties when he is in the House of Lords.

New Technologies (Research)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of his Department’s budget was spent researching new technologies in the last period for which figures are available. (76807)

Science, engineering and technology (SET) statistics provide a breakdown of Government R and D expenditure by primary purpose and Department. The following table outlines spend for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for 2003-04 on Technology Support and gives this as a percentage of the Department’s total budget. The category Technology Support includes strategic as well as applied research, and pre-competitive research. These figures exclude funding of the research base under the science budget and are derived from SET statistics. Tables 3.5 and 3.10 are available on the DTI website at http://www.dti.gov.uk/science/science-funding/set-stats/govt-exp-r&d/index.html hard copies of which are available in the House of Commons Library.

Analysis of DEFRA R and D expenditure

Purpose

£ million

Percentage of total Department budget

General Support

16.9

0.33

Government Services

6.0

0.12

Policy Support

128.8

2.52

Technology Support

29.2

0.57

Total R and D

181.0

3.55

Definitions:General Support for research All basic and applied R and D which advancesknowledge for its own sake; support for postgraduate research studentships(PhD’s). Government Services R and D relevant to any aspects of Government service provision (all defence included here). Policy Support R and D which Government funds to inform policy (excluding Government Services and Technology Support) and for monitoring developments of significance for the welfare of the population. Technology Support—applied R and D that advances technology underpinning the UK economy (but excluding defence). The category includes strategic as well as applied research, and pre-competitive research under schemes such as LINK. Source: ONS Government R and D Survey.

Olympics

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which officials in his Department (a) are responsible for Olympics-related activity and (b) sit on the inter-departmental steering group for the Olympics. (81562)

Jonathan Tillson, head of the sustainable communities division, is responsible for Olympics-related activity within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and sits on the inter-departmental steering group for the Olympics.

Rural Enterprise Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will enable surplus funds in his Department’s rural enterprise scheme and processing and marketing scheme to be re-allocated to the South-West England region to cover the funding shortfall; and if he will make a statement. (81760)

The rural enterprise scheme and processing and marketing grant have been very popular and successful across the country. The announcement, in February this year that these schemes would close on 30 June led to a large increase in the number of applications, all of which were seeking funding from a limited budget.

DEFRA and the Rural Development Service (RDS) expect to be able to award fully the remaining funds to projects in the respective regions where that money was scheduled to be allocated. In the event that any money remains unallocated after the final Regional Appraisal Panels have met (in August), RDS have put in place plans and procedures to allocate any surplus to the highest quality reserve projects from around the country.

Good quality reserve projects from the South-West region would be included in this exercise, but in such an event projects will be judged on their merits regardless of the region they are from.

Rural Payments Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his estimate is of the costs of running the Rural Payments Agency for each year since 2001. (71515)

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA), an agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), was formed on 16 October 2001. Its main objective is to administer the common agricultural policy for England. The gross running costs associated with the administration of the payments to farmers for each of the five years are given as follows. The figures for 2000-01 are the combined figures for the Intervention Board and the elements of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food that merged to become RPA in October 2001.

Amount (£ million)

2000-01

140.0

2001-02

1126.5

2002-03

2186.4

2003-04

198.4

2004-05

249.2

1 Restated figure due to reclassification of costs. 2 Restated figure under merger accounting.

The detail supporting each of the years can be found in RPA’s annual report and accounts under House of Commons publication numbers HC 1197 (for both 2000-01 and 2001-02), HC 940, HC 1009 and HC 82 respectively.

Single Farm Payments

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress has been made in making single farm payments to farmers in Northamptonshire. (72937)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many single farm payments have been made in (a) England and (b) Shropshire in excess of entitlements; and, in each case, by what aggregate amount. (74175)

As at 23 June 2006 104,230 payments had been made in respect of Single Payment Scheme applications. This figure consists of full and partial payments. Work is continuing by the Rural Payments Agency to pay as many claims as possible using a variety of methods by the end of the payment window on 30 June.

Payments have been calculated and paid based on the number of entitlements established, including a substantial number of partial payments, where the payment was calculated on the basis of an estimated number of entitlements.

Details of payments made in England up to 30 June 2006, including by constituency and county, are not presently available but will be published in due course.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the chief executive of the Rural Payments Agency will receive a financial bonus for the complete payment of single farm payments. (76182)

The chief executive of the RPA was replaced after advising Ministers that, contrary to earlier assurances, the bulk of 2005 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) payments would not be made by the end of March. The current interim chief executive, who is now responsible for turning the system around, will be eligible for a bonus payment at the end of this financial year subject to the achievement of challenging targets. These will be set in the light of his plans to improve the RPA’s performance and will certainly cover the administration of the SPS.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what payments have been made to third parties in relation to administering the Single Payment Scheme. (74071)

The main third parties whose services have been used to set up the administration of the Single Payment Scheme are Accenture, Infoterra and Black & Veatch. Payments made to date to each of these companies are detailed as follows:

Main third party

£ million

Accenture

49.9

Infoterra

9.36

Black & Veatch

0.4

In addition, the Rural Payments Agency has employed agency staff and consultants.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what recent discussions he has had with the European Commission regarding EU fines for not paying all of the Single Farm Payment by 30 June 2006; whether the deadline will be extended; and if he will make a statement; (79894)

(2) how much the European Commission will fine the UK Government for missing the 30 June 2006 deadline for Single Farm Payment if (a) 85 per cent., (b) 86 per cent., (c) 87 per cent., (d) 88 per cent., (e) 89 per cent., (f) 90 per cent., (g) 91 per cent., (h) 92 per cent., (i) 93 per cent., (j) 94 per cent., (k) 95 per cent., (l) 96 per cent., (m) 97 per cent., (n) 98 per cent., (o) 99 per cent. have been paid by the deadline.

The end of the regulatory payment window for the 2005 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) is 30 June 2006. Discussions with the European Commission suggest that a formal extension to that window is unlikely, but those discussions will continue, focussed on the application of separate regulatory requirements on the EU funding of payments. As things stand, those requirements are, in summary, that where payments made after 30 June in any member state amount to 4 per cent. or less of what was paid out before that date, no reduction in EU funding will be imposed. For any amounts outstanding after 30 June over and above the 4 per cent. threshold, reductions will apply as follows:

Month

Percentage

up to 1

10

up to 2

25

up to 3

45

up to 4

70

up to 5 or more

100

Furthermore, where the 4 per cent. threshold has not been used by 15 October, it will be reduced to 2 per cent.

Whether there is any reduction in EU funding of UK 2005 SPS payments and, if so, how much will, therefore, depend on the amount and timing of any payments made after 30 June deadline across the UK.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department has spent on computer training for the systems to implement the Single Farm Payment. (79897)

The expenditure on training in the new business processes and IT systems in the implementation and ongoing delivery of the Single Payment Scheme was £1,342,296.

Sovereign Strategy

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to his answer of 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 165W, on Sovereign Strategy, on how many occasions (a) he, (b) his predecessor and (c) other Ministers in his Department met (i) Alan Donnelly, (ii) representatives of Alan Donnelly and (iii) others about whom he was informed that they were representatives of Sovereign Strategy, regardless of whether they were acting in that capacity at the meeting, in the last 12 months. (80252)

There is no departmental record of any meeting in the last 12 months between the Secretary of State, his predecessor, or other Ministers, and representatives of Alan Donnelly or Sovereign Strategy.

Special Advisers

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what role is played by special advisers in answering parliamentary questions asked of his Department. (80647)

Special advisers conduct themselves in accordance with the requirements of the code of conduct for special advisers.

Uplands Rewards Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department has taken to ensure that the Uplands Reward Scheme provides for (a) appropriate staffing levels and (b) appropriate levels and mix of stock to maintain the integrity of the Uplands. (80701)

[holding answer 27 June 2006]: The consultation on the future upland reward structure closed on 22 May. We are currently considering responses. A mixed stocking option will be added to the Entry Level Environmental Stewardship Scheme this summer. This will encourage a mix of stock.

Water Companies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of whether each of the regulated water companies is making a reasonable rate of return on capital as defined in the relevant legislation; and if he will make a statement; (81085)

(2) what assessment he has made of whether water companies are making excessive rates of return.

The Government recognise that companies have to earn a return on their capital and Ofwat has a duty to enable them to reasonably do so. At each price review, Ofwat must make a judgment about what is a reasonable return on capital to be allowed in price limits. If companies outperform Ofwat's assumptions at the last price review, then customers will share the benefit in their bills from 2010.

Rates of return earned by water companies in 2000-05 were lower than 1990-95.

Woodland

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures are in place for the protection of woodland in (a) South Swindon constituency and (b) the Great Western Community Forest. (82415)

A number of measures are in place to protect woodlands in England including South Swindon and Great Western Community Forest. In particular the felling of woodland is controlled through the felling regulations. Additionally, many woodlands are subject to further controls where they lie within designated areas such as sites of special scientific interest or special areas of conservation.

Local planning authorities also have wide powers to protect trees and woodland by means of Tree Preservation Orders.

Where it is intended to fell trees and use the land for another purpose the proposals will be assessed under the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) Regulations and consent for felling under these regulations may also be required from the Forestry Commission.

Planning Policy Statement 9 says that, for areas of ancient woodland that do not benefit from statutory protection, planning permission should not be granted for any development that would result in its loss or deterioration unless the need for, and benefits of, the development in that location outweigh the loss of the woodland habitat.

Electoral Commission Committee

Mayoral Referendum

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what guidance the Electoral Commission has issued on the classification of expenditure on (a) gathering signatures for a mayoral petition and (b) campaigning for or against a mayoral referendum. (82995)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not issue guidance on the classification of expenditure for mayoral referendums as it has no statutory remit in respect of such referendums.

Party Accounts

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what steps the Commission is taking to ensure compliance with the law on publication of party accounts; and how many constituency parties or associations of (a) the Conservative party, (b) the Labour party and (c) the Liberal Democrats complied in the last year for which information is available. (82534)

[holding answer 4 July 2006]: The Commission informs me that it regularly communicates with registered political parties to ensure that both they and their registered accounting units comply with the law on submission of accounts. This includes the provision of information, sending out reminder letters and arranging meetings wherever necessary. Where the Commission feels further action is necessary, officers from the Commission work with individual parties in enhancing their financial reporting systems to improve their ability to comply with the law.

Any registered accounting unit whose gross income or total expenditure in a financial year exceeds £25,000 is required to submit a statement of accounts to the Commission within three months of the year end if these are not required to be audited, and six months if they are. The Commission has no means of knowing, in advance, which accounting units will exceed the £25,000 reporting threshold in any given year.

In the year to 31 December 2004 (the last year for which information is available), the number of constituency parties or associations that submitted accounts were:

Total submitted

Submitted on time

Submitted late

The Conservative party

314

308

6

The Labour party

46

24

22

The Liberal Democrats

83

76

7

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the composition is of the British Provisional Reconstruction Team in Helmand Province. (82476)

The UK-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, consists of representatives of UK armed forces, the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, and our embassy in Kabul’s drugs team. In addition, there are UK-funded advisers working in the fields of governance, police reform, and justice/rule of law. Multinational elements include military and civilian elements from Denmark and Estonia and the US Agency for International Development, US Department for Agriculture and US State Department officials. The Afghan Government are represented by an official from the Ministry of the Interior.

Belarus

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what financial assistance the UK Government are giving to establish a free Belarus radio. (81847)

[holding answer 4 July 2006]: Since 1 November 2005, the UK, together with EU partners, has funded independent radio broadcasts into Belarus. The most recently launched project by the European Commission is to last for two years at the cost of €2 million. The project comprises TV and radio broadcasts from Poland, Lithuania and Germany into Belarus. It also provides funding for internet print media and training of journalists.

Bulgaria/Romania

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what occasions Ministers from her Department have visited (a) Bulgaria and (b) Romania in the last 12 months. (82119)

The then Minister for Europe, my right hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire, South (Mr Alexander), visited Bulgaria and Romania on 5-6 February and visited Bulgaria again from 27-28 April to attend the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting. My hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs also visited both countries on 8-10 May. I hope to visit later this year.

Burma

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate she has made of the percentage of the world’s uranium supplies which are in Burma. (82538)

The International Atomic Energy Agency online database of world uranium deposits lists no entries for Burma. The Burmese Government have identified five sites of uranium ore deposits, located at Magway, Taungdwingyi, Kyaukphygon (Mogok), Kyauksin, and Paongpyin (Mogok). Their official reporting can be found at: www.energy.gov.mm. The total quantity of uranium is unknown, but is likely to be very limited.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of whether the uranium produced and exported by Burma is the kind that can be used in the development of (a) nuclear weapons and (b) dirty bombs. (82539)

We are not aware of any exports of uranium from Burma. Burma maintains that its limited uranium production is for ongoing studies into the peaceful use of nuclear power.

Any uranium ore would have to be processed before it could be used in a nuclear facility. In particular, to be used in a nuclear weapons programme, uranium would have to be enriched to more than 90 per cent. U235. We are not aware of any enrichment facilities being operational in Burma.

Uranium is not an effective material to use in the construction of a radiological weapon, or “dirty bomb”.

Corporal Gilad Shalit

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government’s policy is on Israel’s actions to secure the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit; and if she will make a statement. (82621)

Israel has the right to take steps to secure the release of Corporal Shalit. Any military steps taken should avoid civilian casualties, abide by international law and observe the principle of proportionality. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed the current situation in Gaza with Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Livni on 25 June. We are in regular contact with the Palestinian President and his office. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Corporal Shalit.

As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said on 25 June

“I was very disturbed to learn of this serious terrorist attack at Sufa. I send my condolences to the families of those Israeli soldiers who have died. Such continued violence makes the prospect of a negotiated, peaceful resolution more distant”.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations (a) she and (b) her officials have made to the Palestinian Authority regarding the abduction and detention without trial of Corporal Gilad Shalit by Palestinian militants. (82171)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed the current situation in Gaza with Palestinian President Abbas on 25 June. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are in regular contact with the Palestinian President and his office. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Corporal Shalit.

As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said on 25 June

“I was very disturbed to learn of this serious terrorist attack at Sufa. I send my condolences to the families of those Israeli soldiers who have died. Such continued violence makes the prospect of a negotiated, peaceful resolution more distant”.

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 16 May 2006 on Afghanistan and Iraq. (81452)

My right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade (Mr. McCartney), replied to the hon. Gentleman’s letter of 16 May on 29 June.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the UN peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (82058)

The UN peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), MONUC, is the largest and most complex mission that the UN has managed to date. Its key tasks are to facilitate political transition and power sharing arrangements, deal with armed groups outside the political process and to protect civilians.

MONUC chairing aided the peace process since 2002 by brokering cease-fires and peace deals and the International Committee in Support of the Transition, which engages with the Congolese Government. Following MONUC’s support for a successful referendum last December, the country is set to hold its first elections since the 1960s. UN expertise and MONUC’s logistical support for this process have been crucial to making this possible.

MONUC operates in a dangerous and complex environment and has been mandated by the UN Security Council, under chapter VII of the UN charter, to support the Congolese Army to disarm those groups that are a threat to the peace process and to protect civilians from rebel attack. There has been considerable progress in dealing with armed groups, but attacks on civilians remain at an unacceptable level.

In 2004 a number of cases of sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers and staff in the DRC came to light, raising serious concerns about MONUC’s management. After a thorough investigation by the Secretary-General’s special representative on the issue, a series of measures were introduced to combat the problem of sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers across all UN missions. MONUC has stringently imposed these measures on UN staff and peacekeepers. We continue to keep MONUC’s performance under close review in all areas of its activity, through our Embassy in Kinshasa and through regular Security Council discussions.

Departmental Premises (Security)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures are in place to ensure that no illegal immigrants are employed in the manned guarding of her Department’s premises. (80799)

Only British nationals can work as security guards in Foreign and Commonwealth Office premises in the UK. To ensure illegal immigrants are not employed the pre-employment checks require the following:

proof of nationality with photo ID (passport);

photo ID (passport or driving licence);

application form completed and checked;

four personal references;

and

five year employment history.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many disabled staff in her Department received support through the Access to Work scheme (a) in each of the last five years and (b) in 2006-07. (82227)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not have a complete record of the number of officers who have received support through the Access to Work scheme. Staff who seek such support contact the Department for Work and Pensions directly and are under no obligation to notify the FCO. However, we are aware of 15 staff who are currently receiving support.

Departmental Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans she has to ensure that all flights undertaken by Ministers and officials in her Department are carbon neutral; and if she will make a statement. (81408)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offsets the carbon dioxide and other emissions generated by the air travel of Ministers and officials based in the UK. Each year we offset the previous year’s air travel emissions, so in 2005-06 we offset our 2004 emissions. An agreement was signed with the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) at the end of 2005 to offset our 2004 emissions, one year ahead of the requirement for Government Departments to offset air travel by April 2006. Through REEEP we offset our emissions by investing in projects which provide carbon credits from renewable energy and energy efficiency schemes. Investment is concentrated in developing countries, which are highly dependent on fossil fuels and inefficient energy technology.

We are also running a travel management campaign to encourage staff to consider and use means other than travelling to communicate with their colleagues overseas wherever practical e.g. videoconferencing.

East Timor

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answers of 15 June 2006, Official Report, column 470W, on East Timor, what assessment she has made of whether precautions to ensure the security of (a) Serious Crimes Unit files on crimes committed in 1999 and (b) other files, including those on the UN investigation into the deaths of Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters in 1975, were along lines requested by her Department of the UN and of the Government of Timor-Leste; and if she will make a statement. (81724)

We have informed the UN Mission to East Timor and the East Timorese Government of the importance that we attach to the security of all case files. All Serious Crimes Unit files have been copied digitally and are held by the UN. However, as yet, due to the recent civil unrest in East Timor and resulting lack of personnel within the local government, it has not been possible for the UN to establish the location of the UN investigation files relating to Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters. We will continue to press for this information.

Ethiopia

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations her Department has made to the Government of Ethiopia on the human rights situation in that country; and if she will make a statement. (82056)

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to her on 29 June 2006, Official Report, columns 574-75W.

EU (Qualified Majority Voting)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when officials in her Department first became aware of EU Commission proposals to extend qualified majority voting over police and judicial affairs. (82307)

[holding answer 4 July 2006]: The possibility of extending qualified majority voting to police and judicial affairs was provided for in the Amsterdam and Nice treaties. Article 42 of the treaty on European Union (TEU)—the passerelle—allows for areas governed by title VI (third pillar) to be transferred to title IV (first pillar) by unanimous Council decision. It is likely, although not inevitable, that this would mean a move to qualified majority voting and co-decision, which is the norm in the first pillar.

The European Commission’s plans to put forward proposals for exploiting Article 42 TEU and changing the decision-making arrangements in the field of police and judicial affairs were raised, in general terms, in its communication “A Citizens’ Agenda: Delivering Results for Europe” on 10 May 2006. In this communication, the Commission announced its intention to

“present an initiative to improve decision taking and accountability in areas such as police and judicial co-operation and legal migration, using the possibilities under the existing Treaties”.

The Commission’s formal proposals for changing the decision-making procedure for the area of Justice and Home Affairs were not published until 28 June.

The Finnish presidency has also announced its intention to explore the possibility of using the article 42 passerelle to improve the decision-making process. In its “Preliminary Agenda for Finland’s Presidency of the EU” of 24 May, the presidency said that the review of the Hague Programme

“could include…achieving more effective decision-making on police and criminal law (the “passerelle”)”.

EU Accession Countries

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what assessment she has made of the suitability of the Republic of Montenegro for membership of the European Union; and if she will make a statement; (82115)

(2) what assessment she has made of whether (a) the Republic of Montenegro and (b) the Republic of Serbia will be first to join the European Union; and if she will make a statement;

(3) what discussions she has had with (a) European Commission officials and (b) other EU governments on the suitability of Montenegro for membership of the European Union;

(4) how the Stabilisation and Association negotiations will be re-launched in the aftermath of the separation of Serbia and Montenegro.

The UK supports both Serbia's and Montenegro's European aspirations. The pace at which each country moves towards membership of the EU will depend upon it meeting the conditions required at each stage. The next stage for each state is to conclude negotiations with the EU on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement. The European Commission is likely to bring forward mandates for the negotiations shortly. Conclusion of agreements will depend, in both cases, on fulfilling the appropriate conditions, in particular full co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. We will maintain regular discussions with the European Commission and with our EU partners on these issues.

EU Fraud

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2006, Official Report, column 301W, on EU fraud, what information is held on allegations by diplomats; to which cases the allegations refer; and if she will make a statement. (81943)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not hold a comprehensive record of EU fraud allegations. Such allegations are addressed to the EU Commission. The Government fully support the Commission’s work on this issue.

However, I can confirm that the FCO Europe Directorate does hold the following information compiled when there was public interest in two cases on 9 December 2005:

The European Commission (EC) Staff Regulations require EC staff to raise any concerns they have with either the Director-General of their institution, the Secretary-General, “persons in equivalent positions”, or the independent European Anti-Fraud Office.

Porte Schmidt-Brown

Ms Schmidt-Brown recently took a case to the European Court of Justice’s Court of First Instance. The Court ruled against her. It would not be appropriate to comment on the Court’s judgement.

Hans-Martin Tillack

Mr. Tillack filed a complaint against the European Anti-Fraud Office at the European Court of Justice’s Court of First Instance. The Court rejected his case. It would not be appropriate to comment on the Court’s judgement.

Extraditions (Colombia)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what representations she has made to the Irish Government about the extradition request by the Colombian Government of James Monaghan, Niall Connolly and Martin McCauley; (82377)

(2) what representations she has made to the Colombian Government in relation to its request for the extradition from the Irish Republic of James Monaghan, Niall Connolly and Martin McCauley.

Extraordinary Rendition

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the statement of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on 27 June on extraordinary renditions; and if she will make a statement. (81951)

The Government have fully co-operated with the Council of Europe inquiries. We have found no evidence of detainees being rendered through UK territory or airspace where there were substantial grounds to believe there was a real risk of torture. The then Foreign Secretary set out in his written ministerial statement of 20 January 2006, Official Report, columns 37-38WS, the results of the extensive review of Official Records back to May 1997.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she will provide the information on extraordinary rendition requested by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its nineteenth report, published in May 2006. (81952)

The Government are considering the Joint Committee on Human Rights report on the Convention Against Torture and will reply to the Committee in due course.

Falkland Islands

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the British Government will play a role in supporting the secure development of oil and gas exploration facilities in the Falkland Islands waters. (79700)

The Government will play a role in supporting the secure development of oil and gas exploration facilities in the Falkland Islands territorial sea and continental shelf. The Government are responsible for the external security and defence of the Falkland Islands. The provision of routine security and policing of oilrigs is a matter for the Falkland Islands Government and the oil exploration companies.

Gaza

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have made to the Israeli authorities about the closure of the Kerem Shalom Crossing in Gaza; and what alternative arrangements are being made to allow access to Gaza for food and medical humanitarian assistance. (82607)

[holding answer 4 July 2006]: The Kerem Shalom, as well as all other crossing points between Gaza and Israel, remains closed for Palestinian nationals. We raised our concerns about their closure and the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip with the Israeli Government on 29 June and we will continue to do so. The Erez crossing remains open for humanitarian cases.

On 2 July the Karni crossing was opened for humanitarian aid. The crossing is expected to be open for six hours a day for four days this week. According to the Israeli Ministry of Defence, Israel would allow 150 trucks carrying food and medicine to pass through the crossing each day.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment has been made by the (a) Government, (b) EU and (c) UN of the effect on the humanitarian situation in Gaza of (i) the closure of all land crossing in and out of Gaza, (ii) the prevention of fishermen accessing the sea and (iii) the destruction of the electricity supply station. (82610)

[holding answer 4 July 2006]: We are concerned by the humanitarian situation in Gaza, particularly the supply of electricity, water and the closure of the Gaza-Israel crossing points. Our defence attaché in Tel Aviv raised our concerns about the worsening situation in Gaza, including the loss of power and water supplies, with the Israeli Defence Force on 29 June.

On 30 June, the EU said it regrets the destruction of essential infrastructure, which contributes to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Restoring electricity and water supplies and access for humanitarian organisations must be a priority now to avoid a humanitarian crisis. The EU has continually called upon both parties to implement the 15 November 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access, and for Israel to keep the crossing points between Gaza and Israel open.

On 29 June the UN Secretary-General highlighted his concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. He called on

“the Government of Israel to show restraint, to avoid actions that damage civilian infrastructure and that aggravates the hardship of the Palestinian population, and to abide by international humanitarian law. To prevent a further decline in the humanitarian situation, Israel should also act urgently to facilitate the import of essential medical supplies, foodstuffs, and particularly fuel into the Gaza Strip”.

The World Food Programme and the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on the situation in Gaza on 30 June. They raised concerns over the water supply, health matters and food scarcity given the lack of electricity and a shortage of fuel caused by closures of the crossing points. We note with concern the World Food Programme assessment of the impact of fishermen not being able to go out to sea.

Israel

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what monitoring is being undertaken by the UK Government to ascertain whether military equipment and components supplied to Israel from the UK are being used in the military incursions by Israel into Gaza which commenced on 27 June 2006. (82166)

In common with all of our diplomatic posts, our Embassy in Tel Aviv monitors local developments closely and notes any information which comes to light that military equipment supplied by the UK has been used in a manner inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria. The Government will take this into consideration when assessing any future export licence applications. The Government may also revoke relevant licence(s) and ask the authorities in the country concerned to investigate.

All export licence applications from the UK are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Export Licensing Criteria, taking full account of the prevailing circumstances at the time of application.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate she has made of (a) the number of Palestinians taken by Israeli forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories who are held in detention without trial and (b) the number of children taken and held in this way. (82170)

Administrative detainees are held in both Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and Israel Prisons Service (IPS) facilities. According to figures provided by the IDF to Israeli non-governmental organisations, the IDF was holding, as of 3 January 2006, 741 Palestinians in administrative detention. IPS told our embassy in Tel Aviv that, as of May 2006, 617 administrative detainees were being held in IPS facilities.

We are concerned at the policy of administrative detention, especially when periods of detention are repeatedly extended without trial and involves the detention of minors. We have made no estimate of the number of minors in Israeli prisons.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response she has made to the agreement between Hamas and Fatah regarding acceptance of a two state settlement in Israel and Palestine; and what representations she has made to (a) the Palestinian Authority, (b) Israel and (c) the USA on the subject. (82172)

We would welcome any movement toward the three Quartet (EU, UN, US and Russia) principles: renounce violence; recognise Israel; and accept previous agreements, including the Roadmap. We are aware of reports that an agreement has been reached between Hamas and Fatah. We await an official announcement and further details. We will judge Hamas by their actions. We urge all parties to find a way back to negotiations, which are the best way of ensuring a lasting peace.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave the right hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife (Sir Menzies Campbell) on 28 June 2006, Official Report, column 255.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have made to the Israeli authorities about the detention of elected Palestinian representatives. (82611)

[holding answer 4 July 2006]: At the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting in Moscow on 29 June, G8 Foreign Ministers called on Israel to exercise utmost restraint in the current crisis. They also expressed their concerns over the detention of elected members of the Palestinian Government and legislature.

On 30 June the EU raised its concerns

“about the detention of elected members of the Palestinian Government and legislature. Those detained should be accorded their full legal rights”.

We have made no representations to the Israeli authorities on their behalf.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information she has received on the (a) names of the members of the Palestinian Parliament and Cabinet who have been recently arrested by the Israeli authorities and (b) (i) where, (ii) on what charges and (iii) under what legal authority they are being detained. (82618)

[holding answer 4 July 2006]: Local media has reported that the names of the arrested members of the Palestinian Government are as follows: Omar Abdel Razeq, Dr. Samir Abu-Aisha, Khaled Abu-Arafeh, Wasfi Kabaha, Issa Al- Ja’bari, Fakhri Turkman, Sheikh Nayef Al-Rjoub, Muhammad Bargouti, Basem Za’raier, Khalil Raba’I, Samir Al-Kadi, Muhammad al-Tal, Muhamad abu-Jheishah, Muhammad Bader, Anwar Zboun, Mahmoud Al-Kahtib, Wael Al-Husseini, Muhammad Abu-Teir, Ahmad Atoun, Husni Bureini, Riyad Amli, Yassir Mansour, Ibrahim Dahbour, Ibrahim Abu-Salem, Khaled Abu-Hassan, Khaled Yahia, Ryiad Raddad, Fathi Kara’wi, Imad Nofal, Naser Abdel-Jawad, Abdel-Jaber Fuqaha, Muhammad Totah and Ali Romanin. The arrests took place in the West Bank.

Individual charges against those detained have not been made public. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that the arrest of these people

“was taken within the context of a normal legal criminal procedure with the intention of questioning those who were arrested. They are suspected of criminal offences...that constitute a violation of the law according to the Ordinance for the Prevention of Terrorism”.

Israel has said that those arrested will be entitled to legal defence and that

“in the event that there is no basis for putting someone among those arrested on trial, that person will be released”.

Kosovo

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions her Department has had with the Serbian Government regarding the final status of Kosovo. (82302)

I met the Serbian Prime Minister Vladimir Kostunica in London on 27 June. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister also held a meeting with Prime Minister Kostunica. On 21 June I also saw President Boris Tadic in London. During these meetings, we both stressed the need for any final settlement for Kosovo to be a realistic one, acceptable to the people of Kosovo and promoting long-term regional stability.

We encourage Prime Minister Kostunica to ensure that the Serbian Government participate constructively in the status negotiations currently being conducted by UN Special Envoy, Martti Ahtisaari.

Russia

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the main priorities are of the UK in its relations with Russia. (81578)

The Government will continue to sustain a productive and successful partnership with Russia which contributes to the achievement of the international priorities set out in the White Paper “Active Diplomacy for a Changing World” (28 March 2006) and the additional priority of climate security announced on 8 June 2006.

UK Ambassadors

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the names are of those who (a) approve and (b) select UK ambassadors. (80046)

All Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) appointments are made in accordance with the rules in the Diplomatic Service or Home Civil Service Orders in Council.

As with other FCO appointments, applications for Heads of Mission positions are invited and candidates considered by the relevant FCO Selection Board, as follows:

the No 1 Selection Board (for appointments in Senior Management Structure Pay Bands 2-4 and all Governorships of Overseas Territories) is chaired by the Permanent Under-Secretary, and consists of the five Directors General and a non-Executive member of the FCO Board of Management;

the No 2 Selection Board (for appointments in Senior Management Structure Pay Band 1) is chaired by the Director, Human Resources and consists of all FCO Directors in Senior Management Structure Pay Band 2, and the Directors for the Americas and for Russia and Central Asia, as well as an independent observer;

the Delegated Grades Band D Board is chaired by the Human Resources Assistant Director (Operations). Three independent board members sit on each board, drawn from a pool of Senior Management Structure officers who have volunteered for this role, undergone diversity training and been agreed by the Trade Union Side.

Some Heads of Mission appointments will be considered by interview panels, at the discretion of the Boards.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary approves all Head of Mission appointments, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister approves all Head of Mission appointments in Pay Bands 2-4 and all Governorships of Overseas Territories, before the names of the individuals are submitted to Her Majesty the Queen for her approval.

Zimbabwe

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations she has made to the Zimbabwean authorities on freedom of expression by opposition spokespersons in Zimbabwe. (81865)

Our ambassador in Harare, Dr. Pocock, makes repeated representations to the Government of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front leaders to reverse their policies which are causing immense suffering to Zimbabweans and to restore the democratic space, including by permitting freedom of expression for all Zimbabweans as well as civic society and opposition representatives. Dr. Pocock made these representations most recently during a call on Minister Mnangagwa on 17 May.

We will continue to work for the restoration of good governance and the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate the Government has made of the amount of Zimbabwean beef licensed for export to the EU which comes from confiscated (a) land and (b) stock. (81944)

The Statistical Office of the European Commission estimate that around 33 tonnes of beef products were imported into the EU from Zimbabwe in 2005. It is not possible to identify whether this came from confiscated land or stock. It is clear, however, that seizures of commercial beef farms have greatly affected production, and further demonstrates the extent of the damage caused by the Zimbabwe Government’s misguided policies.

Constitutional Affairs

Crown Courts

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs when her Department expects to finalise plans to increase Crown court capacity in Buckinghamshire; and what assessment has been made of providing Crown court facilities at (a) Aylesbury, (b) Milton Keynes and (c) both. (82285)

A strategic business case has been prepared which outlines the need to seek to replace the current Aylesbury Crown court facilities with modern premises that provide additional capacity for the future.

The business case was prepared on the basis of reviewing the current and future requirements for the county of Buckinghamshire including Milton Keynes Unitary Authority.

At this stage it is considered that the facility will be in one location, still to be defined, and will serve the county of Buckinghamshire, including Milton Keynes.

The business case has been submitted to Her Majesty’s Courts Service (HMCS) to be reviewed and receive detailed consideration by the National Property Board in the coming months. If the business case is determined as appropriate, it will be subject to prioritisation in the future HMCS building programme, and will then be dependant on Treasury approval of the HMCS capital spending programme.

In the meantime, the current Crown court requirements for Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes are being reviewed to ensure that all courtroom capacity in the Thames Valley HMCS area is fully utilised to facilitate the early scheduling of cases. This does, on occasions, require the transfer of cases to other locations until a new facility is built to replace Aylesbury Crown court.

It is not anticipated that any new court building would be available before 2010, should it receive an early approval by the National Property Board for inclusion in current and future building schemes.

Parliamentary Papers

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will make it her policy to make copies of Deposited Papers available in (a) the Vote Office and (b) Printed Paper Office at the same time as copies are deposited in the Library of the House; and if she will make a statement. (81454)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given on 3 July 2006, Official Report, column 729W by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House.

Work and Pensions

Accident Victims

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in how many cases recoupment of benefits for accident victims has taken place in the last three years; how much was recouped (a) in total, (b) for road accident cases, (c) for accidents at work cases, (d) for clinical negligence cases and (e) in other cases; and if he will make a statement. (75994)

The information is in the following tables.

Total cases where recoupment from damages awarded to accident victims has been made by the Compensation Recovery Unit in each of the past three years

Total cases

Road accident victims (motor)

Accidents at work (employer)

Clinical negligence

Other cases

2003-04

69,607

22,492

40,192

1,364

5,559

2004-05

66,369

21,722

37,542

1,426

5,679

2005-06

68,581

20,124

41,486

1,453

5,518

Amounts recovered by the Compensation Recovery Unit by way of recoupment from damages awarded to accident victims in each of the past three years

Total Amount (£)

Road accident victims (motor)

Accidents at work (employer)

Clinical negligence

Other cases

2003-04

171,096,832

47,548,518

105,222,813

5,678,918

12,646,583

2004-05

163,392,733

46,369,383

98,117,141

6,110,571

12,795,638

2005-06

148,840,619

42,217,163

87,524,579

6,750,203

12,348,674

Notes: 1. The column titled “Other Cases” includes other, public and unknown liabilities. 2. The figures in table (2) are rounded up to the nearest £. Source: Figures are taken from the Compensation Recovery Unit's management information statistics.

Departmental IT Systems

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs. Villiers) of14 March 2006, Official Report, column 2167W, on departmental IT systems, if he will list the suppliers and contractors involved in each project; and what proportion of listed outturn for each project was paid to each supplier and contractor involved. (61401)

The following table shows the project name, purpose, actual end date and outturn included in the answer to the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs. Villiers) of 14 March 2006, Official Report, column 2167W. We have added supplier/contractor and proportion of outturn columns and included the name of the principal IT suppliers/contractors for each project and the proportion of the outturn paid to these suppliers/contractors.

Project/purpose

Actual end date

Outturn (£ million)

Supplier/contractor

Proportion of outturn paid to the supplier/contractor (percentage)

Customer Management System

This system is an information gathering business process for working age income support, jobseeker’s allowance and incapacity benefit claims and changes of circumstances. It will allow information supplied by the customer to be gathered electronically by staff, improving efficiency and customer service. Staff will be able to check information supplied against that already held

November 2005

250

IBM

41

EDS

16

ISCS/JSA Modernisation Project

Delivered initiatives that enhanced or augmented existing Working Age IT systems. These included the sharing of electronic data with disability living allowance, attendance allowance and personal details computer systems

August 2004

14

EDS

66

Digital Office Infrastructure

DOI provided a modern IT infrastructure platform across the Department providing access for all staff to the internet and intranet and modern business software

June 2004

1726

EDS

65

BT

30

Managing Core Systems Estate

To improve the ways in which our core legacy systems are managed

February 2005

5

Accenture

45

EDS

15

Pensions Forecasting Programme

To establish the new Combined Pension Forecasting Service and enhance and replace the existing individual Pension Forecasting IT system

April 2005

43

EDS

40

Pensions credit

This project successfully introduced pension credit in October 2003. It delivered new IT functionality to existing DWP systems, and associated business products (eg training, staff guidance, customer notifications)

October 2004

297

EDS

30.6

Payment Modernisation Programme

The Payment Modernisation Programme aims to establish direct payment into a bank or building society account as the normal, method of payment for all customers. This includes those who wish to collect their money from the Post Office

June 2005

366

EDS

12

ATOS Origin

47

1 This resource expenditure relates to 64 per cent. of the total DOI figure. The remaining 36 per cent. of the total relates to capital expenditure—the records that would allow us to provide an accurate picture of how this capital expenditure was split over the suppliers has been archived. The costs associated with the retrieval of these documents, and the accompanying staff time costs required to go through the records to identify these by supplier/contractor, would be excessive and time consuming. Notes: 1. Outturn figures show the final investment cost for the completed projects. 2. The New Tax Credits project has not been included above as the project is still ongoing. It was inadvertently shown as completed in my response to the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs. Villiers) of 14 March 2006, Official Report, column 2167W.

Financial Assistance Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many surviving spouses of members of pension schemes (a) have completed and (b) are in the process of completing the financial assistance scheme eligibility process. (72744)

The financial assistance scheme eligibility process is completed once a decision has been made as to whether or not a member is eligible for payments from the financial assistance scheme.

The process has (a) been completed for nine surviving spouses of members and (b) 10 are still being processed.

Housing Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been spent on housing benefit in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (79533)

Local authority Housing Benefit expenditure; Great Britain.£1996-976,461,567,4211997-986,382,935,803 1998-996,454,971,7671999-20006,609,544,8762000-016,800,139,2262001-027,252,541,165 2002-038,279,956,6082003-048,212,197,616 2004-0513,146,385,061 Note: 1. From 2004-05, the DWP expenditure includes £4,157,388, 700 HRA rent rebates; HRA for previous years was paid by DCLG. 2. Figures are reported expenditure by local authorities and not DWP subsidy expenditure. 3. Figures are nominal amounts. Source: Local authority reported expenditure.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of housing benefit (a) overpayments and (b) fraud was to Luton Council in each of the last five years. (80369)

The available information is in the table.

Overpayments and recoveries by Luton Council, 2004-05

£

Value of overpayments identified by Luton Council

Subsidy paid by DWP to Luton council (40 per cent. of overpayments identified)

Net cost to Luton council before recovery

Recovered by Luton council

Net cost after recovery

986,776

394,710

592,066

1,007,423

-415,357

Notes: 1. A negative amount implies a surplus. 2. The cost of overpayments is calculated first from the difference between the value of overpayments identified due to fraud and claimant error, and the subsidy received by Luton council for these overpayments. This value minus any overpayments subsequently recovered from claimants or landlords is presented here as the net cost after recovery. Administrative costs, such as those for fraud teams and for recovering overpayments, have not been included in this answer. 3. The amount recovered by Luton council in 2004-05 includes overpayments identified in earlier years.

Information is not available on local authority performance in respect of the level of Housing Benefit fraud present in their caseload, since it is not possible to robustly estimate the amount of undetected fraud and error at a local authority level.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent on housing benefit for tenants in (a) council property, (b) housing association property, (c) registered social landlord property and (d) private sector housing in Tamworth constituency in each of the last three years. (80135)

Information is not available broken down by constituency. Information cannot be broken down by landlord type other than by council or private tenancies. The latter includes housing associations and registered social landlords. The available DWP information for Tamworth borough council is in the table.

Housing benefit expenditure in Tamworth borough council.£Expenditure in council propertyExpenditure in all private propertyAll housing benefit expenditure2002-03237,0003,824,0004,061,0002003-04138,0003,866,0004,004,0002004-057,318,0004,027,00011,345,000Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand pounds. Totals may not sum due to rounding. 2. There are issues still to be resolved in the 2004-05 claim and therefore the figures for this year are subject to change 3. From 2004-05, the DWP expenditure includes £7,086,780 HRA Rent Rebates; HRA for previous years was paid by DCLG. 4. Figures are reported expenditure by local authorities and not DWP subsidy expenditure. 5. Figures are nominal amounts. Source: Audited subsidy claims submitted by local authority

Kvaerner Pension Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received regarding the decision of the pensions regulator on the future contributions of TH Global to the Kvaerner Pension Fund. (73211)

My Department has received seven written representations from Members of Parliament about the decision of the regulator in respect of the Kvaerner Pension Fund since the two press releases in April and May on the future of the scheme.

Pension Credit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of female pensioners were (a) eligible to claim and (b) receiving pension credit in (i) the UK, (ii) Wales, (iii) Scotland and (iv) England in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. (69554)

The information is not available in the format requested. Information on female beneficiaries of pension credit in Great Britain is in the following table. In Northern Ireland, pension credit administration is a matter for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Female beneficiaries of pension credit in Great Britain February 2006

Female beneficiaries

Female beneficiaries as a percentage of women 60 or over1

Wales

130,080

34

Scotland

222,610

36

England

1,817,280

31

Great Britain

2,169,960

32

1 Beneficiaries includes single women in receipt of pension credit, and women in couples who are in receipt of pension credit. Notes: 1. These figures are early estimates. The preferred data source for figures supplied by DWP is the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS). However, the figures provided are the latest available figures which are taken from the GMS scan at 17 February 2006. These are adjusted using the historical relationship between WPLS and GMS data to give an estimate of the final WPLS figure. Average amounts are displayed as at the scan reference data of 17 February 2006. 2. Case loads are rounded to the nearest 10. Totals may not sum due to rounding. 3. Percentages are rounded to the nearest full point. 4. Figures may include female partners who are aged under 60. 5. Population figures used in the percentage calculation are based on ONS mid-term 2004 population estimates. Source: Department for Work and Pensions 100 per cent. data from the Generalised Matching Service (GMS). Pension credit scan taken as at 17 February 2006.