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Written Answers

Volume 455: debated on Friday 26 January 2007

Written Answers to Questions

Friday 26 January 2007

House of Commons Commission

Dining Room Bookings

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many bookings for dining rooms in the House received a 10 per cent. discount for block bookings in the last 12 months. (111612)

No discounts have been given for block bookings in the House of Commons dining rooms in the last 12 months.

Constitutional Affairs

Departmental Conferences

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the total cost was of the recent staff conferences held by her Department. (117456)

The total cost of the recent staff conferences is currently being calculated. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Culture, Media and Sport

Alcoholic Drinks: Advertising Ban

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the merits of a ban on the advertising of alcoholic drinks (a) on TV and (b) in print media; and if she will make a statement. (111008)

The Government take the issue of alcohol misuse seriously, particularly among young people, and set out a programme of measures in the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England in 2004. The strategy noted the work being undertaken by Ofcom to review the rules on alcohol advertising on television.

Ofcom conducted and assessed research about the impact of alcohol advertising and concluded there was insufficient evidence to support a ban. However, Ofcom’s code amendments, which came into effect on 1 January 2005, significantly strengthened the rules on broadcast alcohol advertising in many areas particularly to protect the under-18s.

In parallel with the changes to the TV Advertising Standards Code, the non-broadcast code was tightened to ensure that the content of all advertisements was socially responsible and that they did not contain a particular appeal to youth culture or links to sexual success and did not encourage antisocial behaviour. These new rules were introduced in October 2005 and have been monitored and enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). I understand the ASA and the Committees of Advertising Practice will be conducting further research this year to assess the effectiveness of the new code rules and will assess whether any further changes are required.

The Department has made no separate assessment of the merits of an alcohol advertising ban.

Celebrity Big Brother

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many complaints her Department has received about the allegations of racism on the Channel Four programme Celebrity Big Brother; and what representations she has received on this subject. (111101)

By 25 January, the Department had received 65 written complaints and a small number of telephone complaints.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she last met Ofcom to discuss its complaints procedure. (111189)

Parliament charges Ofcom directly to establish procedures to handle and resolve complaints (under the observance of standards, under Section 325 of the Communications Act 2003).

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she expects her Department to reply to the letters from the hon. Member for South-West Surrey dated 26 September and 15 November 2006. (116999)

[holding answer 22 January 2007]: I apologise for not replying sooner to the letter dated 27 September from the hon. Member for South-West Surrey. This is due to an administrative error. I can confirm that I have responded to this letter on 24 January 2007. The letter dated 15 November 2006 has not been received by the Department.

Creative Industries

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she expects to publish the proposed Green Paper on the creative industries; and if she will make a statement. (111861)

The Creative Economy Programme Green Paper is due to be published before the summer recess. It will set out the strength of the creative industries to the UK economy, challenges and opportunities, and areas where Government can enable greater productivity.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department has taken as a result of the work undertaken by the Creative Industries Entrepreneurship Task Group on entrepreneurship in the creative industries. (111862)

The Entrepreneurship Task Group recommendations have been taken forward by the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship and will feature in the policy development of the Creative Economy Programme Green Paper, due for publication in the summer.

Departmental Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much programme expenditure sponsored by her Department was spent via each of the Government Offices for the Regions in the most recent year for which figures are available. (116753)

Departmental Fixed Assets

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which fixed assets her Department sold for more than £10,000 in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06; and what the (i) sale value, (ii) purchaser and (iii) date of sale was of each asset. (110787)

In July 2005 the DCMS sold the freehold of the north east corner of the Royal Garden Hotel, London for the sum of £2.5 million to the Imperial Tobacco Pension Fund.

In 2004-05 the DCMS sold the freeholds of 30, 31 and 32 Park street, Windsor, to its lessees. The date and sale price for each was as follows:

Date

Property

Amount (£000)

7 January 2005

30 Park street

35

23 March 2005

31 Park street

36

29 March 2005

32 Park street

37

Open Source Software

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what percentage of her Department's computer systems use open source software; what percentage of the systems planned to be installed use such software; and whether she plans to increase the use of open source software in her Department. (111164)

It would not be meaningful to provide an answer in percentage terms as my Department uses open source software mainly on backend systems which in themselves only make up a small percentage of total computer systems but which can be potentially accessed by a high percentage of staff.

Open source software used by my Department includes Linux, MySQL and FireFox. We will continue to use open source software in the future where it makes business and economic sense to do so.

Education and Skills

Consultants

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which 10 consultancy fees charged to his Department since May 1997 were the most expensive. (107182)

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many value for money exercises on the use of (a) management consultants and (b) professional advisers have been conducted by his Department in each of the last five years for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. (103014)

My Department has not conducted a formal Department-wide value for money review focusing specifically on management consultants or professional advisers in any of the last five years. However, the role and contribution of consultants and advisers is considered as part of reviews of specific projects and programmes and as part of standard contract management practice. We have also conducted a number of internal audit reviews and co-operated fully in external audit reviews of consultants during the period in question.

Educational Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much his Department spent on (a) conducting and (b) commissioning educational research in 2005-06. (117408)

In 2005-06 the Department commissioned, via its central research budget, research totalling £6.33 million of which £2.59 million was spent in the financial year. The total expenditure in 2005-06, including the cost of research commissioned in previous years, was £13.7 million. Other research is commissioned from other funds within the Department but details of the actual expenditure in year are not held centrally.

Details of the Department's current research programme are contained in its Analytical Strategy 2006, copies of which are available from our website (www.dfes.gov.uk/research).

Enterprise Advisers

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what percentage of schools have a designated enterprise adviser. (103421)

[holding answer 27 November 2006]: The information requested is not collected and is not held centrally.

Head Teachers

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average salary was of an (a) secondary school head teacher and (b) deputy head teacher in (i) 1997, (ii) 2001 and (iii) 2006. (111777)

The following table provides the average salary of head and deputy head teachers in maintained sector schools in England and Wales in March 1997, 2001 and 2005, the latest year available. The figure for deputy head teachers for 2005 includes assistant head teachers because the data source does not allow these grades to be separately identified. Provisional information for March 2006 is likely to become available in July 2007.

Average salary of head and deputy head teachers in maintained sector secondary schools in England and Wales, March 1997, 2001 and 2005

£

1997

2001

20051

Head

41,500

50,800

63,600

Deputy head2

33,200

40,300

47,000

1 Provisional

2 Deputy head teacher figures for 2005 include assistant head teachers.

Note:

Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.

Source:

Database of Teacher Records (DTR)

Nurseries

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what local authority social services nurseries the city of Newcastle upon Tyne provided under the Children Act 1989 in (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006; (111904)

(2) what guidance he has given to Newcastle upon Tyne city council on the closure or outsourcing of its existing local authority day nurseries; and what general guidance has been given to local authority children’s services on the future of existing directly provided authorities;

(3) what representations he has received from individuals and organisations in Newcastle on (a) the Children Act 1989 and (b) the outsourcing and closure of existing local authority social service day nurseries under the Childcare Act 2006.

Newcastle upon Tyne city council has been given no guidance on the closure or outsourcing of its existing local authority day nurseries and no representations have been received in relation to the outsourcing or closure of local authority social service day nurseries in Newcastle. Details of local authority social services nurseries in Newcastle are not held centrally.

Section 8 of the Childcare Act 2006 provides that a local authority may not deliver new child care provision itself unless it is satisfied that no other provider is willing to do so or, if another provider is willing to do so, that in the circumstances it is appropriate for the local authority to provide the child care. We intend section 8 to come into force in October 2007. It will not affect the provision of child care by the governing body of a maintained school, and it will not apply to day care for children in need provided under section 18 of the Children Act 1989.

We intend to begin consulting on draft statutory guidance which will cover section 8 of the Childcare Act 2006 (and other sections relating to the new local authority duty to secure sufficient child care for working parents which will come into force in April 2008) within the next few weeks. That guidance will make clear that the restriction in section 8 relates only to new or expanding local authority child care. There is no requirement for local authorities to close their existing provision, or change it when section 8 comes into force. If, however, a local authority wishes to expand existing child care in terms of the number of places or the hours offered, or if it wishes to open new provision, the requirements of section 8 will need to be met.

Parenting Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many parenting contracts were issued in (a) England, (b) the West Midlands and (c) West Bromwich East in the most recent year for which figures are available. (111858)

Between 1 August 2005 and 1 September 2006 (latest published data) local authorities in England have reported that 12,105 education-related parenting contracts have been agreed with parents, of which 1,256 were agreed by local authorities within the Government office for the West Midlands region. In Sandwell, of which the West Bromwich East constituency is part, 195 such contracts were agreed in the same period. We do not collect data below local authority level.

Data on parenting contracts in cases of antisocial behaviour and criminal conduct are collected by the Youth Justice Board, from youth offending teams (YOTs). Between April 2005 and March 2006 (based on latest published data) YOTs in England have reported 421 such parenting contracts. During the same period 33 parenting contracts were reported by YOTs within the West Midlands region. One parenting contract was reported by Sandwell YOT. Data is not reported below YOT area.

Procurement Projects

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the 20 largest procurement projects initiated by his Department since May 1997 have been; what the (a) original budget, (b) cost to date and (c) consultancy fees have been; and what the final cost was of each project which has been completed. (106578)

School Funding

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions are planned with Peterborough city council prior to the allocation of the dedicated schools grant for 2007-08, with particular reference to funding for children in maintained schools (a) whose first language is not English and (b) who are from ethnic minorities and are underachieving; and if he will make a statement. (110737)

[holding answer 25 January]: Mainstream school funding is provided through the dedicated schools grant (DSG) which sets local authorities allocations for 2006-07 and 2007-08: the allocations for 2007-08 will depend on pupil numbers in schools in January 2007 and the guaranteed unit of funding per pupil set in December 2005, which took account of the number of children for whom English is an additional language and those pupils from ethnic minorities who are underachieving.

The increase in Peterborough's DSG guaranteed unit of funding was 7 per cent. in 2006-07 and will be 6.8 per cent. in 2007-08.

The guaranteed unit of funding per pupil was set in December 2005 to provide authorities with predictability and stability over a multi-year period; local authorities were fully consulted as part of this process. I am therefore not planning discussions with individual local authorities on their DSG allocations for 2007-08.

In addition to DSG, schools also receive funding through the ethnic minority achievement grant (EMAG) for pupils for whom English is an additional language and pupils from ethnic minorities who are underachieving in the authority.

School Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much Travelling to School: A Good Practice Guide on children’s behaviour cost (a) to produce and (b) to promote; how many copies have been distributed in each year since publication; and what assessment he has made of the impact thereof. (105367)

I have been asked to reply.

The production cost was £18,861. However, as it is now more than three years since the guide was published, it is not possible to give an accurate estimate of the manpower costs incurred by the Department for Transport and the Department for Education and Skills in researching and writing the guide.

A total of 8,238 copies of the guide have were distributed up to the end of December 2006, 2,206 in 2003, 2,751 in 2004, 2,662 in 2005 and 619 in 2006.

Both Departments have promoted the Travelling to School project to bring about a step change in home to school travel patterns. School travel plans are seen as the key strategies in cutting congestion and pollution while allowing more pupils to take regular exercise, and the objective is for every school in England to have an approved school travel plan in place by the end of the decade. At the end of March 2006, just over 10,000 schools had a school travel plan.

An initial evaluation in 2005 of the Travelling to School project found a strong evidence base that school travel plans can be effective mechanisms for reducing car dependency on the journey to school. They can also deliver wider benefits including improvements in pupil behaviour, increased confidence and independent mobility for pupils with special educational needs, improved punctuality and school attendance, engaging schools and pupils from deprived areas, building positive relationships with local authorities and local communities and improved safety.

Students

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many foreign students attended universities in England in each year since 1996; (111372)

(2) how many students attended universities in England in each year since 1996.

The latest available information is shown in the table.

Higher Education students in all UK Higher Education institutions, split by the students domicile for 1996/97 to 2005/06

Students from:

Academic year

UK

EU1

Other Overseas2

Total

1996/97

1,532,205

84,795

101,910

1,718,910

1997/98

1,558,585

92,850

108,115

1,759,555

1998/99

1,598,945

98,190

108,940

1,806,075

1999/2000

1,604,520

98,500

113,345

1,816,365

2000/01

1,643,865

97,395

122,330

1,863,590

2001/02

1,699,885

91,765

135,505

1,927,155

2002/03

1,764,945

90,835

164,395

2,020,180

2003/04

1,832,975

89,975

185,505

2,108,455

2004/05

1,870,715

98,855

189,575

2,159,145

2005/06

1,880,230

103,735

192,370

2,176,335

1 Includes from 2004/05 the 10 countries that joined the EU on 1 May 2004.

2 Excludes from 2004/05 the 10 countries that joined the EU on 1 May 2004.

Note:

Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5, and are based on a snapshot count of students as at 1 December of each year.

Source:

Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Trade and Industry

British Food

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of food served in buildings occupied by his Department was of British origin in (a) 2005 and (b) 2006. (111119)

The DTI has a policy of supporting the Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative (PSFPI) through the contracted catering services. During the years in question on average 63 per cent. of food products purchased and served in 2005 was produced in the UK and in 2006 the equated to an average of 65 per cent.

Dispute Resolution

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will place in the Library the aims and objectives sent to Michael Gibbons when he was asked to conduct his independent review on dispute resolution. (111643)

I have today placed a copy of the terms of reference of the review of dispute resolution in the Library of the House.

External Consultants

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which external consultants were used by (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies in relation to private finance initiatives in 2005-06; and what the nature and cost of the work was in each case. (115196)

Neither the Department nor any of its Executive Agencies initiated any new private finance initiatives in financial year 2005-06 and accordingly did not employ any external consultants on such work.

Libya: Exports

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the level of UK exports to Libya was in 2005-06. (112142)

UK exports of goods to Libya amounted to £210.6 million in 2005, and £181.2 million from January to November 2006.

Minimum Wage

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many workers in Copeland have had their incomes increased as a result of the introduction of the national minimum wage. (111387)

Data at the parliamentary constituency level are not available. However, the DTI estimates that around 160,000 people in the North West of England (including Merseyside) stood to benefit from the October 2006 uprating of the national minimum wage.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the effect the introduction of the national minimum wage has had upon income levels in Copeland. (111389)

Data at the parliamentary constituency level is not available. However, according to the Office for National Statistics’ Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, median hourly pay excluding overtime in the north-west of England (including Merseyside) rose 34 per cent. since the introduction of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) (from £6.95 in 1998 to £9.32 in 2006). Though the NMW would have made some contribution to this increase, no quantitative assessment of its impact has been made.

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will make a statement on the funding of British Nuclear Fuels’ nuclear liabilities; (117200)

(2) what assessment he has made of the latest accounts of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what discussions his Department has had with the Health and Safety Executive on the effect of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s fluctuating commercial revenues;

(4) what assessment his Department has made of the effect of fluctuating commercial revenues for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) on the life-cycle baseline plans and near-term work plans of all NDA owned nuclear facilities; and what discussions his Department has held with the operators of these sites;

(5) what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s fluctuating income stream on (a) the sale of Project Services, (b) the sale of Magnox Electric, (c) the competition for the contract to operate the national low level waste repository and (d) the competition of the contract to run Sellafield;

(6) what assessment his Department has made of the effect of fluctuating commercial revenues for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on accelerated decommissioning at Sellafield.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is a non-departmental public body responsible for the decommissioning and clean-up of the UK’s historic public civil nuclear legacy. Safety is clearly a Government priority and the NDA is responsible for ensuring this in managing its budget.

The NDA is funded by a mixture of grant in aid from my Department and income from its commercial operations. Grant in aid for the NDA in 2007-08 was settled in the 2004 Spending Round. The figure is £1,381 million. There is no question of this funding being cut.

For the last two years the level of spend by the NDA has been running at a significantly higher level that that assumed in the 2004 Spending Round. This was made possible because of unexpectedly high additional commercial income.

The performance of some of the NDA’s commercial operations is subject to uncertainty and the NDA now expects less commercial income for the financial year 2007-08 than it originally forecast. As a consequence, the NDA has asked my Department to provide additional grant to cover its additional spending plans.

The Department is in discussion with the NDA about its funding request as part of routine annual budgeting discussions, and is considering how much additional NDA expenditure (that is, above and beyond that provided by the 2004 Spending Round) can be sustained through increases in grant in aid.

The NDA’s Annual Report and Accounts 2005-06 were published on 26 October 2006 and copies were placed in the Libraries of the House. The Accounts are also available on the NDA website at: www.nda.gov.uk

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what effect he expects trends in the price of uranium to have on the final sale value of Urenco; (110538)

(2) when he expects British Nuclear Fuels to complete the sale of Urenco; and if he will make a statement.

The valuation of Urenco is influenced by a range of different factors.

Options for selling all or part of BNFL’s stake are still being explored with BNFL’s fellow shareholders in the business and with the Dutch and German Governments. We will decide on our preferred way forward once the issues have been thoroughly explored.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry by what date he expects British Nuclear Fuels to divest itself of all its business holdings. (110540)

By March 2008, we would expect Project Services, British Nuclear Group reactor sites and the interest in the Atomic Weapons Establishment to have been sold and the National Nuclear Laboratory set up based around the British Technology Centre in Sellafield, West Cumbria, and Nexia Solutions, which the Secretary of State announced on 24 October.

Options for selling all or part of BNFL’s stake in Urenco are still being explored with BNFL’s fellow shareholders in the business and with the Dutch and German Governments. We will decide on our preferred way forward once the issues have been thoroughly explored.

BNFL will maintain its involvement in the Sellafield Site Management Company until the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has transitioned the Sellafield contract to a new contractor.

Open Source Software

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of his Department’s computer systems use open source software; what percentage of the systems planned to be installed use such software; and whether he plans to increase the use of open source software in his Department. (111172)

The Department supports the use of open source software where it would provide long-term benefits to the Department.

The Department has outsourced its core IT services under a long-term PFI deal to Fujitsu.

Fujitsu is responsible for making technical decisions about which software and hardware to use to meet the Department’s business needs. One of Fujitsu’s objectives is to provide the Department with best value for money and, with that in mind, Fujitsu considers whether the use of open source software would be appropriate, taking into account such issues as support costs, interoperability, migration costs and retraining.

To date, there is minimal use of open source software in the Department’s core IT services, but Fujitsu regularly reviews whether its application would benefit the Department and if this is found to be the case, its introduction will be supported.

The Office of Government Commerce has published a policy on the use of Open Source Software and the DTI’s use of Open Source Software follows this policy where appropriate.

Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the cash equivalent transfer value is of the public sector pensions of the 10 highest paid members of staff in his Department and its executive agencies; and if he will make a statement. (113804)

The cash equivalent transfer value of the public sector pensions of the 10 highest paid members of staff in the DTI and its executive agencies is £3,755,000.

Each year the DTI and other departments publish details of the pension benefits and CETVs of each of the members of the senior management team in a remuneration report. This can be accessed by members of the public on the DTI external website. Details of six of the 10 highest paid members of staff are included in the last remuneration report which was based on a closing date of 31 March 2006. Of the remaining four highest paid members of staff not included in the remuneration report accounts, the CETVs of two are included in the above total; the remaining two did not have any benefits in the scheme at the close of the accounts.

Post Office Closures

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many representations he has received on the Government's announcement that up to 2,500 sub-post offices may close. (111374)

Ministers have received a large number of responses to our national consultation from a wide range of people. There was a debate in the House on the post office network on 10 January and the question was also raised and discussed in the House on 18 January.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the post offices which are planned to be closed. (111566)

No decisions have yet been made on individual post offices. When the Government reach their final decision on their proposals following the outcome of the national consultation we will task the Post Office with beginning the detailed planning needed to implement the required restructuring.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what response he has made to Postwatch's proposal that post office closures be divided equally between urban and rural areas. (111848)

Post Offices

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department is taking to encourage people to participate in the Post Office network consultation; how many people in his Department are working on the consultation; and how much has been allocated to advertise the consultation. (111183)

The Department made copies of the consultation document on the Post Office network available to Members of Parliament on 14 December. The document is also available electronically through the DTI and Directgov websites. Copies have also been sent to a wide range of stakeholder groups. Copies of the document may be copied and circulated freely.

Welsh language copies of the document are available. Versions have also been prepared and distributed to the RNIB and individuals in Braille, audio tape and large print.

A team of eight officials are involved in developing Government policy for the Post Office network and have been involved in preparing the consultation document. Some 50 members of staff are available to deal with the handling of responses to the consultation document.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices there are in Cotswold constituency; and what support the network there receives from the Government, broken down by post office. (111404)

The question the hon. Member has asked relates to operational matters for which Post Office Ltd (POL) is directly responsible. The company has provided the following figures relating to the numbers of post office branches in the constituency. There are 42 post office branches in the Cotswold constituency, 40 classified as rural and two classified as urban. The information is placed in and available from the Library of the House.

The Government’s support helps Post Office Ltd to cover the fixed element of sub-postmasters’ pay and to meet infrastructure costs such as IT operating costs, cash distribution, direct marketing, and the agents’ information help line. As the Government’s subsidy for the network is used to cover the costs incurred by Post Office Ltd in maintaining an uncommercial network rather than specific branches, the funding is not directly attributed to individual post offices.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices in (a) Cotswold, (b) Cheltenham, (c) Forest of Dean, (d) Gloucester, (e) Stroud and (f) Tewkesbury fall within the access criteria. (111429)

Renewable Installations

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 815W, on renewable installations, how companies may be placed on the framework as suppliers; and if he will make a statement. (111509)

The Framework suppliers for the Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 2 have been selected, following a competitive tender process carried out in accordance with European Union procurement rules. This process is closed and no further companies may be placed on the framework. The seven framework suppliers may deliver services through sub-contractors. These sub-contractors must be within the microgeneration certification scheme that supports the programme and are selected at the sole discretion of the framework suppliers. Sub-contractors may change through the life of the programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 815W, on renewable installations, what process was used to select the companies chosen as suppliers on the framework; and if he will make a statement. (111644)

The framework suppliers were chosen through a competition carried out in accordance with European Union procurement rules. A notice was placed in the Official Journal of the European Union calling for “expressions of interest”. Out of the 53 companies expressing an interest, 43 were formally invited to tender. From the 28 full bids received, 15 companies were invited to interview before the final seven companies were selected. Framework suppliers were chosen on the basis of those tenders offering best “value for money” evaluated against (i) technical merit (ii) relevant experience (iii) overall price (iv) level of understanding of the challenges involved in the large scale provision of high quality micro generation installations in a relatively short period of time (v) quality management (vi) innovative ideas.

Sage Report

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Sage Report on Cautionary Principles on Power Lines will be published. (117337)

I have been asked to reply.

The stakeholder advisory group on extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields (EMF) (SAGE) is jointly sponsored by the Department of Health, the charity Children with Leukaemia and National Grid plc. The aim of SAGE is to bring together stakeholders to identify and explore the implications for a precautionary approach to ELF EMF and make practical recommendations for precautionary measures. Its terms of reference and ways of working are described on the website www.rkpartnership.co.uk/sage. The SAGE process has been running since 2004 and the website indicates that it is expected to produce its first report this year although no specific date has been set.

SET for Success

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made in implementing the recommendations put forward by Sir Gareth Roberts in his 2002 report SET for success. (111196)

Since 2002 the Government have set out a series of policy commitments and provided funding to realise the recommendations of Sir Gareth Robert's report ‘SET for Success’.

The 10-year science and innovation investment framework emphasised the importance of science, engineering and technology (SET) skills for the future of the UK. This was reinforced by the further programme of commitments in the March 2006 science and innovation investment framework next steps.

Research Councils are implementing those recommendations in the Roberts report on improving the attractiveness of postgraduate study and careers in higher education. For example, the minimum PhD stipend was raised to £12,000 in the academic year 2005 and to £12,300 in 2006, and has been increased since in line with the GDP deflator; a study has been undertaken to assess the impact of enhanced stipends and salaries on the recruitment and retention of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers in key shortage areas; mechanisms have been put in place to support PhDs of longer duration than three years; funding for nearly 800 academic fellowships has been awarded to 79 universities throughout the UK; research councils are working with the higher education sector to enhance personal and professional skills development for research staff based on research grants; and, the concordat for contract workers is also being reviewed.

In addition to this, initiatives to secure a firm and sustainable pool of qualified people in science have included SETNET (the science, engineering, technology and mathematics network) and the science and engineering ambassadors (SEAs)programme with currently over 13,000 SEAs enthusing young people about science which will increase to 18,000 by March 2008. The UK Resource Centre for Women in SET has been set up and is working with over 70 employers to increase numbers of women in SET, and 38 schools are currently participating in an initiative run by SETNET to increase the participation of ethnic minority school children in science.

Trading Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the balance of trade between the UK and Laos was in each of the last five years. (111622)

Figures are only available for trade in goods on an Overseas Trade Statistics basis. They are shown in the following table:

£ million

UK exports of goods to Laos

UK imports of goods from Laos

Difference

2001

2.3

7.1

-4.8

2002

1.6

10.1

-8.5

2003

3.4

9.4

-6.1

2004

1.2

16.1

-14.9

2005

1.6

4.9

-3.4

Translation Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what documents his Department and its agencies translate for people in the UK who do not speak English; into which languages such documents are translated; and what the cost was of producing such translations in each of the last five years, broken down by language of translation. (113878)

In accordance with the Department's ‘Race Equality Scheme 2006-2008’ DTI documents may be made available in languages for people in the UK who do not speak English to support appropriate access to information, at the Department's discretion and subject to demand. Examples of documents published in other languages include employee rights and fireworks safety information.

From the information available centrally, languages and costs of such translations include:

Costs (£)

Language

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-071

Bengali

230.00

400.00

2450.00

Gujarati

4760.00

400.00

2

Hindi

4760.00

400.00

2

Lithuanian

218.75

—-

Punjabi

230.00

400.00

2

Urdu

230.00

400.00

2

Turkish

70.00

288.75

109.00

Vietnamese

380.00

Arabic

3

3

3

3

2162.67

Chinese

3

3

3

3

2132.67

1 To end December.

2 Includes costs for other language versions as indicated.

3 Information on costs not available separately.

Other languages, into which some documents have been translated, include Greek, Polish and Portuguese. For other languages, as for Arabic and Chinese prior to the current year, it has not been possible to identify separately, from the information available centrally, the costs of such translation work from work carried out in support of DTI business and UK Trade and Investment overseas activities, without incurring disproportionate costs.

We also produce employment RTS leaflets to migrant workers in their own language, predominantly Polish and Portuguese.

I have asked each of the agency chief executives to reply direct to the hon. Member and place copies in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what services provided by his Department and its related agencies translation services are provided. (113879)

Policy on, and examples of, services for which translations may be considered are set out in section 3 of the Department's ‘Race Equality Scheme 2006-2008’, which is available on the DTI website.

I have asked agency chief executives to reply direct to the hon. Member and place copies in the Library of the House.

Venezuela

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the implications of Venezuela’s rate of inflation for (a) British investment in Venezuela and (b) foreign direct investment in the UK from Venezuela; and if he will make a statement. (111616)

Defence

Disabled Submarine Evacuation

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 1 November 2006, what the timetable is for the completion of tests involving live goats of safe procedures for evacuating disabled submarines, with particular reference to the ‘safe-to-escape curve’; and if he will make a statement. (113932)

QinetiQ is contracted to carry out the research programme on behalf of MOD until March 2007. As part of the contract renewal process the MOD is currently reviewing the need for, and further scope of, further research involving live goats. This will include an assessment of the completeness of the data set required to construct a “safe-to-escape curve” that will meet our safety requirements. If the review concludes that the remaining uncertainty in our knowledge is unacceptable then the research programme will continue. We will examine alternative approaches to those currently undertaken but will use goats if no acceptable alternative is available.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent estimate he has made of the cost of (a) combat and (b) peacekeeping operations in Iraq in each year since 2005-06; and if he will make a statement. (117374)

[holding answer 23 January 2007]: Major combat activities commenced on 20 March 2003 and ceased on 1 May 2003 spanning two financial years 2002-03 and 2003-04 totalling £2,158 million. All subsequent years are considered to be peacekeeping operations.

The costs of operations are calculated on a net additional basis and audited figures are published each year in the MOD's Annual Report and Accounts. The total of the annual audited figures for the costs of operations in Iraq for the years 2002-03 to 2005-06 was £4,026 million, the sum for 2005-06 being £958 million. An estimated cost of £860 million for 2006-07 was included in the Winter Supplementary Estimates published in November. Final figures will be published in the MOD's Annual Report and Accounts for 2006-07.

Japanese Internment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to pay the other claims for compensation to civilians interned by the Japanese associated with the class action against his Department won by Mrs. Elias. (117025)

Mrs. Elias was awarded damages by the Court to compensate her for injury to her feelings caused by having been discriminated against on the grounds of her national origins when her claim for an award from the Ex-Gratia Payment Scheme for Far East Prisoners of War and civilian internees was rejected under the birthlink criterion. To date, the Ministry of Defence has received eight other claims for damages for injury to feelings from individuals whose claims under the scheme were also rejected on birthlink grounds and who claim to have been discriminated against on the grounds of their national origins. These claims are currently the subject of discussion between the Department and those representing the claimants.

The Ministry of Defence is prepared to consider claims for compensation for injury to feelings resulting from discrimination on national origins grounds from any person whose claim was rejected on birthlink grounds and who, like Mrs. Elias, was of non-UK national origins.

Claimants who think that they are entitled to compensation on the same basis as Mrs. Elias should write to the Veterans Agency setting out the basis on which they consider themselves to be a person of non-UK national origins or otherwise entitled to make a claim for indirect discrimination under the Race Relations Act 1976.

M85 Sub-munitions

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research he has evaluated on the failure rate of M85 sub-munitions; and if he will change the classification of L20A1 munitions from not dumb. (117157)

All munitions undergo rigorous and comprehensive testing prior to entering service and are subject to regular in-service trials once they become part of the UK stockpile.

The trials indicate that the current failure rate of the M85 remains within acceptable service bounds, although we continue to explore ways of reducing this failure rate further, in partnership with the Prime Contractor, BAE Systems Land Systems Munitions.

The M85 sub-munition is fitted with a self-destruct mechanism, and therefore the L20A1 shell which contains M85 sub-munitions is not regarded by the UK as being a ‘dumb cluster munition’. As a result, we have no current plans to change its classification.

Military Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) maximum and (b) normal personnel carrying capacity is of the Panther vehicle after Bowman has been fitted. (110704)

Panther is being procured as an armoured Command and Liaison Vehicle. It has been designed to be operated with a minimum crew of two and a maximum of four dependent upon the role and hence so is the Bowman fit.

RAF Halton: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many recruits were trained by the (a) RAF Recruit Training Squadron and (b) Airmen’s Command Squadron at RAF Halton in each of the last five years. (110940)

The following table shows the student take-up for Recruit Training Squadron (RTS) and Airman’s Command Squadron (ACS) courses at RAF Halton from financial year 2001-02 to date.

Financial year

Training area

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Recruit Training Squadron

3,120

3,640

3,310

1,600

1,000

Airman’s Command Squadron

2,630

2,240

2,810

4,030

2,385

Total Students

5,750

5,880

6,120

5,630

3,380

Notes:

1. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.

2. Due to the rounding methods used, totals may not always equal the sum of the parts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) civilians and (b) military personnel comprise the (i) RAF Recruit Training Squadron and (ii) Airmen’s Command Squadron at RAF Halton. (110941)

The current strength figures for permanent staff are as follows:

Recruit Training Squadron (RTS)

Number

Military

65

Civilian

1

Airmen’s Command Squadron (ACS)

Number

Military

55

Civilian

1

1 Denotes numbers less than 5 but not 0.

Note:

All figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) civilians and (b) military personnel are employed in delivering logistics training to students at RAF Halton. (110942)

Logistics training at RAF Halton is conducted by two elements of the Defence College of Logistics and Personnel Administration (DCLPA); the Supply and Movements Training Wing (SMTW)1 and Catering Training Squadron (CTS)2.

1 SMTW is part of the Defence Logistics and Supply School, which is part of the DCLPA. It also has elements at RAF Brize Norton and RAF Cranwell.

2 CTS is part of the Defence Food Services School (DFSS), which is also part of the DCLPA.

The current strength figures for permanent staff are:

Military

Civilian

Supply and Movements Training Wing

35

15

Catering Training Squadron

25

1

1 Less than 5 but not 0. Note:All figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many students received logistics training at RAF Halton in each of the last five years. (110943)

Logistics training at RAF Halton is conducted by two elements of the Defence College of Logistics and Personnel Administration (DCLPA); the Supply and Movements Training Wing (SMTW)1 and Catering Training Squadron (CTS)2. SMTW provides initial professional logistics training for RAF officers and airmen, as well as advanced and specialist supply training for both RAF and other service and civilian personnel. Similarly, CTS provides initial and advanced catering and catering accounting training for RAF officers and airmen and, exceptionally, the other armed services. Both units also provide training for international students and contractors employees, where capacity permits.

The following table shows the total student take-up for logistics training courses at RAF Halton from financial year 2001-02 to date.

1 SMTW is part of the Defence Logistics and Supply School, which is part of the DCLPA. It also has elements at RAF Brize Norton and RAF Cranwell.

2 CTS is part of the Defence Food Services School (DFSS), which is also part of the DCLPA.

Training area

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

DCLPA—Supply and Movements Training Wing (Halton)

795

1,040

1,015

1,030

1,055

DCLPA—Catering Training Squadron

240

345

335

285

295

Total Students

1,035

1,385

1,350

1,315

1,350

Notes:

1. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.

2. Due to the rounding methods used, totals may not always equal the sum of the parts.

Service Personnel

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many active service personnel come from Swansea East. (110912)

The location of recruitment and residence of armed forces personnel is not held centrally in databases of individual records and it is therefore not possible to give figures by either location of recruitment or place of residence.

Territorial Army

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the maximum number of training days is with pay allowed which are allocated for Territorial Army personnel, broken down by battalion; and whether this number varies. (110705)

There is no upper limit on the number of training days placed on any Territorial Army (TA) officer or soldier. We ensure that all TA officers and soldiers are allocated sufficient training days to meet an annual minimum training requirement in accordance with current TA regulations. Once trained, TA personnel become eligible for a training bounty. The number of training days consumed by a unit in any given year will vary in accordance with its strength and its place in the operational cycle.

Tour Intervals

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average tour intervals were for each of the units deployed as part of TELIC 9. (110435)

Average tour intervals for formed Army units deployed on Op TELIC 9 are shown in the following table:

Ser

Unit

Previous Deployment

Tour interval

1

HQ and Sigs Sqn 19Lt Bde

TELIC 2 June to October 2003

36 months

2

QRL

TELIC 4 May to October 2004

24 months

3

2 LANCS

TELIC 2 July to October 2003

36 months

4

1 YORKS

OCULUS (BOSNIA) April to September 2004

25 months

5

2 RIFLES

Northern Ireland March to September 2004

31 months

6

3 MERCIAN

TELIC 6 May to October 2005

12 months

7

3 RIFLES

Northern Ireland September 2004 to March 2005

19 months

8

40 Regt RA

TOSCA (Cyprus) June to September 2004

25 months

9

38Engr Regt

TELIC 2 July to October 2003

36 months

10

19 CSS Bn

1 x Sqn deployment; March to October 2003 and 1 x Sqn deployment; November 2003 to April 2004

36 months and 30 months respectively

RAF units operate differently from those of the Army. While a unit might be deployed for four months, RAF personnel can rotate through the unit rather than remain with it throughout. Therefore unit and personnel tour intervals are not necessarily the same.

Unit RAF unit

Previous deployment

Tour interval between previous and current deployment

1 Force Protection Wing

TELIC May to September 2005

Eight months

3 Sqn RAF Regiment

Northern Ireland until February 2006

four months

Transport

Airline Passengers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many passengers were carried between Glasgow airport and (a) London Gatwick, (b) London Stansted and (c) Luton airport in the last 12 months, broken down by economy and business class. (111491)

The estimated number of passengers carried between Glasgow airport and London Gatwick, London Stansted and Luton airports in 2005 were as follows:

Number (nearest thousand)

Class

Glasgow to/from:

Business1

Economy2

Other3

Total

London Gatwick

20,000

324,000

28,000

373,000

London Stansted

422,000

12,000

435,000

Luton

442,000

8,000

451,000

Total passengers

20,000

1,188,000

48,000

1,259,000

1 Includes business, club and first class tickets.

2 Includes Economy (full fare and other), frequent flier scheme, inclusive/package tour, charter seat only and standby tickets.

3 Includes other and non-response.

Source:

CAA passenger survey (Glasgow airport survey, 2005)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many passengers were carried between Prestwick airport and London Stansted airport in the last 12 months, broken down by economy and business class. (111496)

The estimated number of passengers carried between Prestwick airport and London Stansted airport in 2005 were as follows:

Prestwick to/from Stansted

Class

Number (nearest thousand)

Business1

1,000

Economy2

489,000

Other3

7,000

Total passengers

497,000

1 Includes business, club and first class tickets.

2 Includes economy (full fare and other), frequent flier scheme, inclusive/package tour, charter seat only and standby tickets.

3 Includes other and non-response.

Source:

CAA passenger survey (Prestwick airport survey, 2005)

Airport Runway Capacity

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the Government expect to decide on the provision of extra runway capacity at the three main London airports owned by the successor company to BAA. (110627)

The White Paper “The Future of Air Transport”, published in December 2003, sets out the Government’s support for the development of two new runways in the south-east. This approach is reiterated in the Progress Report on the White Paper published in December 2006. The Government support the development of a second runway at Stansted Airport, and a third runway at Heathrow, provided that stringent environmental conditions can be met.

We expect BAA to make a planning application for a second runway at Stansted later this year. In addition, we expect to consult this year on further expansion of Heathrow in the light of the outputs of environmental assessment work. Following the outcome of the consultation, it will, however, be for BAA, as the airport operator, to bring forward any development proposals for Heathrow for consideration through the planning system in the normal way.

Motorway

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many miles of motorway there are in the UK; and what estimate he has made of the number of miles of motorway in (a) Germany, (b) France and (c) the USA. (111561)

The lengths of motorways in the UK and other countries requested are published in Table 10.2 of ‘Transport Statistics Great Britain 2006’. A copy of this report, published on 2 November 2006, was placed in the House of Commons Library and is available at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_transstats/documents/downloadable/dft_transstats_613483.pdf

MSC Napoli

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) who authorised the salvage operation for the MSC Napoli; and if he will make a statement; (111769)

(2) who directed the MSC Napoli away from Cherbourg and to a British port when her condition was first reported to coastguards.

In accordance with the Anglo-French Joint Maritime Contingency Plan (Mancheplan), the Secretary of State's representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP) and the French maritime authorities made an on-scene assessment of the condition of the MSC Napoli, and the French authorities assessed a number of possible locations for a place of refuge in French waters. The conclusion arising out of these assessments was that the least environmentally risky option was to tow the vessel to a place of refuge in UK waters. The south coast of England provided better options for a place of refuge than the French coast, where there were no suitable places of refuge within reasonable distance.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will provide financial assistance for local authorities that incur costs as a consequence of the pollution caused by the beaching of the MSC Napoli. (111771)

The Department does not provide financial assistance for local authorities that incur costs as a consequence of pollution from ships. Local authorities and others who have incurred costs as a result of pollution from a ship-source pollution incident may seek to recover their costs by lodging a claim in court in accordance with the domestic law which applies in the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976 (LLMC).

Olympic Park

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will urgently convene a meeting of the prospective funding partners for the lock and water-control structure on the Bow Back Rivers required to allow water freight access to the Olympic Park site in order to secure agreement that it will be built; and if he will make a statement. (111759)

British Waterways is leading on this project and convened a meeting of the major funding partners last week. Discussions are continuing.

The Department has offered to contribute to the costs of the lock through the Freight Facilities Grant scheme. Our contribution is based on the environmental, congestion and safety benefits expected to be achieved by the transfer of Olympic construction traffic from road to water.

Petrol Duty

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much tax the Government receives from 1 litre of petrol sold for 90 pence at the pump. (110730)

I have been asked to reply.

Information on current and historic duty rates for petrol and diesel can be found in Table 4 of the HM Revenue and Customs ‘Hydrocarbon Oils Bulletin’, which can be found on the HM Revenue and Customs website:

http://www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm?task=bullhydro

The standard rate of VAT, 17.5 per cent., is charged on main road fuels.

Seat Belts

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) fatalities and (b) casualties there were in road crashes in each of the last five years where failure to wear a seat belt was recorded as a contributory factor to the injuries caused. (111185)

Taxis: Disabled People

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to improve the accessibility of taxis for disabled people. (111738)

The Government recognise the vital role taxis play in the transportation of disabled people, and is committed to bringing forward requirements for accessible taxis. Consideration is currently being given as to how best this might be achieved.

Trust Ports

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many trust port board members have served (a) two, (b) three, (c) four, (d) five, (e) six, (f) seven and (g) eight or more terms of office. (111263)

The Department holds information only for those appointments made by the Secretary of State, the details of which are as follows:

(a) Four

(b) Nine

(c) One

(d) One

(e) Nil

(f) Nil

(g) One

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many trust port board members were (a) nominated or (b) appointed by trade unions, broken down by trust port. (111306)

The Department holds information only for those appointments made by the Secretary of State. Of these, none are made by nomination or directly by trade unions, although one appointment to the Milford Haven Port Authority is made, as set out in the Milford Haven Port Authority Act 2002, after consultation with such persons appearing to the Secretary of State to be representative of organised labour in Wales.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many members of each trust port board are nominated by local authorities. (111308)

The Department holds information only for those appointments made by the Secretary of State. Of these, none are made by nomination by local authorities, although two appointments to the Milford Haven Port Authority are made, as set out in the Milford Haven Port Authority Act 2002, after consultation with Pembrokeshire county council.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many trust port board members there are. (111309)

This information is not held centrally by the Department. Each of the 51 trust ports in England and Wales is governed by its own local legislation which stipulates the number of board members.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps (a) local authorities and (b) trust ports are required to take to ensure that appointments of councillors to trust board boards are made through transparent and competitive process. (111680)

Our guidance issued to Trust Ports, “Modernising Trust Ports – A Guide to Good Governance”, did not lay down any additional regulatory requirements in respect of appointments of local authority councillors. It set out a basic set of standards around which individual ports could build an appointment process tailored to their specific requirements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library copies of the plans received from trust ports for achieving compliance with the corporate governance as required by “Modernising Trust Ports”. (111681)

Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many cars are registered in the UK; and what estimate he has made of numbers of registered cars in (a) Germany, (b) France and (c) the USA. (111560)

The number of licensed cars in the UK and the other countries requested is published in Table 10.3 of ‘Transport Statistics Great Britain 2006’. A copy of this report, published on 2 November 2006, was placed in the House of Commons Library and it is also available at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dfttranstats/documents/downloadable/dft_transtats_613483.pdf

Vessels in Distress

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department's policy is on responding to vessels in international waters requesting assistance from UK coastguards. (111772)

In accordance with the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR), 1979, the UK has declared a maritime SAR region which—in broad terms—covers half the North and Irish seas, half the English channel, and much of the north eastern Atlantic. This includes large areas of international waters. The UK has specific bilateral agreements with neighbouring states about mutual support in SAR incidents. HM Coastguard co-ordinates the response to civil maritime emergencies within this region and will also support any SAR incident internationally if requested.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Bermuda Regiment

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will investigate complaints of abuse of conscript recruits by non-commissioned officers in the Bermuda Regiment; and if she will make a statement. (111490)

The Commanding Officer of the Bermuda Regiment has confirmed that he has not received any complaints of abuse.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the practice requiring conscript recruits in the Bermuda Regiment to urinate in plastic bags after 11pm was ended; and if she will make a statement. (111553)

It has never been the practice for Bermuda Regiment recruits to be required to urinate in plastic bags.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Governor of Burmuda will authorise a stay of enforcing the conscription of those recruits to the Bermuda Regiment who are seeking judicial review of their conscription until the review has been determined in the courts; and if she will make a statement. (111554)

On 19 January, Counsel for the Crown undertook to the Supreme Court of Bermuda that no action would be taken against the plaintiffs pending resolution of the matters before the Court.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why it is necessary for a section commander to escort conscript recruits to the Bermuda Regiment to the toilets after 11pm; and if she will make a statement. (111555)

The Bermuda Regiment has a lights out policy during recruit camp in order to enable recruits to sleep undisturbed between the hours of 11pm and 5.45am. Should a recruit need to use the toilet during these hours, he is escorted to the ablution block by his section commander. This ensures the security of sensitive camp areas, ensures that the section commander is accountable for his recruits and helps to ensure the safety of the recruit.

China

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations she has made to China on (a) China's ratification of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, (b) the release of dissidents jailed for involvement in the 1989 demonstration at Tiananmen Square and (c) the re-education through labour system of imprisonment without trial. (110717)

The Government regularly raise human rights issues with the Chinese Government. I urged China to commit itself to a timetable for International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) ratification, and give renewed impetus to reform of all forms of administrative detention, including re-education through labour, in a letter to the Chinese ambassador in August 2006. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised ICCPR ratification with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing in September 2006. These issues were also raised at the last rounds of the UK- and EU-China Human Rights Dialogues, and will be covered at the next round of our bilateral Dialogue in February. The cases of the remaining Tiananmen dissidents were raised at the last round of the EU-China Dialogue in October 2006, and bilaterally through previous rounds of the UK-China Dialogue.

Constitution for Europe

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her policy is on a referendum on the treaty establishing a constitution for Europe. (111498)

I refer the right hon. Member to the statement by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the House on 20 April 2004, Official Report, columns 155-157.

The treaty establishing a constitution for Europe, signed in Rome on 29 October 2004, would only be ratified after a referendum.

EU Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the legal base is for budgeted EU expenditure of €14,000,000 in 2007 for European Union special representatives. (111300)

Article 18(5) of the Treaty on European Union provides the legal base for the appointment of EU Special Representatives by the Council. Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Joint Actions (Articles 14,18(5) and 23, Treaty on European Union) provide the legal base for the mandates of the EU Special Representatives themselves and their expenditure against the CFSP Budget.

The Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament agreed in December 2006 that €14,000,000 should be committed to the EU Special Representatives sub-heading of the 2007 European Community Budget.

European Constitution

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether there are proposals that she would adopt from the treaty establishing a constitution for Europe without a referendum. (111558)

The Government's decision to recommend holding a referendum on the draft treaty establishing a constitution for Europe was set out in the statement by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the House on 20 April 2004, Official Report, columns 155-157).

The Government make no presumption, at this stage, regarding the outcome of forthcoming discussions on the future of the constitutional treaty.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which parts of the draft treaty establishing a constitution for Europe require a consent by voters in a referendum before adoption. (111559)

I refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale, West (Mr. Brady) on 14 December 2006, Official Report, column 1294W.

European Security and Defence Identity

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government’s objectives in respect of the European Security and Defence Identity. (111856)

The European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) was created in 1996 and put in place arrangements for the EU, through the Western European Union (WEU), to access NATO assets for use in WEU-led operations. ESDI was superseded by the establishment of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) in June 1999.

The UK is a strong supporter of ESDP. Through its ESDP missions, the EU is contributing to conflict prevention, conflict resolution and global security. UK objectives for ESDP are for it to be ‘active, capable and coherent’, in line with the recommendations of the European Security Strategy. We want ESDP to contribute to improved civilian and military European capabilities and complement NATO. We also want to see greater co-ordination between ESDP missions and other actors.

North Korea: Six Party Talks

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the prospects of the Six Party talks on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea resuming; and what representations she has made to her counterpart in China on the talks. (110716)

Although the UK is not a member of the Six Party Talks (6PT), we fully support the process. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill met his North Korean counterpart Kim Kye Gwan on 16-17 January in Berlin. The aim of the meeting was to persuade North Korea to make tangible progress towards implementing the Joint Declaration of 19 September 2005 and return to the 6PT. We are hopeful that the talks may resume in the next few weeks. The Government remains in regular contact with the Chinese Government, including through our embassy in Beijing.

Open Source Software

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what percentage of her Department's computer systems use open source software; what percentage of the systems planned to be installed use such software; and whether she plans to increase the use of open source software in her Department. (111163)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently makes no significant use of open source software, either in existing systems or in those under development.

The FCO procures IT to obtain the best value for money. In doing this we would certainly consider proposals based on open source solutions, but we have no specific objective to increase our use of open source software.

Overseas Territories

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether United Kingdom equality and anti-discrimination legislation extends an obligation of compliance to her Department in its work within overseas territories among staff and employees who are within the responsibility of (a) the Governor and (b) officials of her Department. (111556)

Whether United Kingdom (UK) equality and anti-discrimination legislation would apply to Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) UK-based staff serving in the Governor's office in the British overseas territories is a matter for the UK judicial authorities to decide. However, as a matter of policy, the FCO would seek to ensure that the principles underlying this legislation would be applied in the management of those staff. Whether UK legislation would apply to locally engaged staff working in the Governor's office would depend on a number of factors and would need to be assessed in each case. Local (that is, territory) legislation would normally apply to anyone not working in the Governor's office.

Shanghai Trade Expo

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what resources she has allocated to support for the Shanghai Trade Expo in 2010; which Government post will represent the UK; and which UK companies have signed up to this event. (111426)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), UK Trade and Investment and Department of Trade and Industry have collectively allocated £3.5 million towards the Shanghai World Expo 2010. Several other Government Departments, the English regions and the devolved administrations are actively considering their participation in this project. Although this is not a trade fair, a number of leading UK companies are in the frame for sponsorship (none have formally signed up to date). As with previous Expos, co-ordinating UK participation in Shanghai is an FCO lead. The Consulate-General in Shanghai will take the leading role in representing the UK during this six-month event.

South East Asia

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government’s relations with the Association of South East Asian Nations. (111855)

The UK has a history of strong relations with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, both bilaterally and in multilateral forums. We have no formal relations with the ASEAN organisation. We conduct our formal relations through the EU, via the EU ASEAN dialogue, the Asia-Europe meeting and the ASEAN regional forum.

I had a constructive meeting with the ASEAN Secretary-General in London on 4 December 2006. I have also met the ASEAN London committee, ASEAN ambassadors and high commissioners, most recently in September 2006. Such meetings provide an opportunity to raise a range of issues, including our relations with ASEAN and with individual ASEAN members.

Syria and Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the progress that the Syrian Government have made over the last 12 months in sealing the border with Iraq. (111557)

Syria has sought to improve security on the border with Iraq in recent months. The Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid Mu’allem, visited Iraq on 19 November 2006 for talks, including on security, and the two countries reopened embassies in December 2006. A high level Iraqi delegation visited Syria from 15-18 December 2006, which resulted in Ministers signing a number of Memorandums of Understanding. The decision was also taken during these meetings to establish joint committees on detainees, borders and terrorism/intelligence co-operation. President Talabani of Iraq paid a state visit to Syria from 14 until 20 January, during which he is understood to have held extensive discussions, including on security. As I said in the House on 16 January 2007, Official Report, column 651,

“there have been some very welcome moves recently. The Syrians are setting up an embassy in Baghdad, and the Iraqis have a reciprocal arrangement in Damascus. It is very good news that the two countries are establishing stronger diplomatic links: that must be seen as a positive development”.

We continue to call on the Syrians to do more to control facilitation networks in Syria.

Thailand

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the potential effect on (a) stability in Thailand and (b) the Buddhist minority in Thailand of the actions of the Pattani Fighters. (110740)

A group calling itself the “Pattani Fighters” has claimed responsibility for the murder of two rubber plantation workers in Yala province in southern Thailand on 13 January. This is the first time a group by this name has claimed responsibility for carrying out an attack. We have not been able to assess the credibility of its claim. Since the current insurgency in southern Thailand began in January 2004, approximately 1,800 people, both Buddhists and Muslims, have been killed in the violence.

Prime Minister

Government Reorganisation

To ask the Prime Minister what the estimated cost is of each reorganisation of Government Departments since 1997. (111956)

The cost of any machinery of Government changes is met by relevant Departments within existing budgets.

Recruitment Agencies

To ask the Prime Minister how much his Office paid to recruitment agencies for the hire of temporary staff in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (117487)

For these purposes my Office forms part of the Cabinet Office. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, my right hon. Friend the Member for North-West Durham (Hilary Armstrong) today.

US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement

To ask the Prime Minister whether he has (a) made recent representations to and (b) received recent representations from the President of the United States on the maintenance of the 1958 US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement. (111955)

To ask the Prime Minister what advice he has received on renewing Trident; from whom he has received advice; and if he will place copies of the advice in the Library. (111611)

I refer the hon. Members to the written ministerial statement I made on 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 141WS.

International Development

Mental Illness: Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures he is taking to promote actively the employment within (a) his Department and (b) public-sector bodies for whom he has responsibility of people with mental illnesses in line with the advice and codes of practice produced by the Disability Rights Commission. (117085)

Under the Disability Equality Duty introduced by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, DFID is required to publish and implement a Disability Equality Scheme. This is a plan setting out how we will carry out the Disability Equality Duty, monitor, and report on progress. In particular this includes our arrangements for gathering information on the effect of our policies and practices on the recruitment, development and retention of our disabled employees, including those with mental health conditions, and making use of that information.

DFID has duties under the employment provisions in part 2 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 not to discriminate against, and to make reasonable adjustments for, disabled job applicants and employees.

For mental health specifically, DFID has taken or will be taking the following actions:

we ran a mental health awareness raising seminar in October 2006 and our Director of Human Resources (HR) will follow this up with an article on ‘living with depression’;

we have developed a Mental Health Communication Strategy, which outlines the various promotional activities we have planned, including a poster campaign highlighting the role of our welfare and counselling services;

we are currently undertaking a full analysis of barriers in our recruitment programme and this will take account of the needs of people with a mental illness;

HR Division is taking steps to ensure the process for making reasonable adjustments is more robust and consistent, as well as more effective at meeting the needs of disabled staff; and

we carried out a stress Audit in 2004, and as a result, DFID’s welfare and counselling service now offer seminars for staff and managers on ‘Managing Work/Life Balance under pressure’, as well as promoting the use of ‘Askwell’, an interactive health website that gives advice on many issues, including stress.

DFID is responsible for 21 appointments to three non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs):

Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK

Crown Agents Holding and Realisation Board

Overseas Service Pensions Scheme Advisory Board

Only the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission is currently active. DFID is committed to the Government’s agenda for improving diversity on the boards of public bodies. To this end, and to encourage applications for all appointments from women, people from minority ethnic backgrounds and disabled people, we advertise in a range of publications and ensure that each advertisment makes it clear that applications are welcome from all parts of the community.

Microfinance Projects

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much was spent by his Department on microfinance projects in each of the last five years; and how much is planned to be spent over the next five years. (117301)

The UK’s 2006 White Paper on International Development commits us to tackling barriers to access to markets and financial services, and supporting microfinance initiatives in partnership with banks and regulators.

For DFID, microfinance is part of a broader strategy to promote stronger and more inclusive financial sectors. In addition to programmes that have microfinance as the central activity, DFID supports programmes to improve access to finance for poor people where microfinance is just one component. These programmes aim to encourage the entry of financial institutions into the microfinance sector and assist Governments to improve the regulatory environment for financial institutions to serve the poor.

In the last three financial years (not including the present year) DFID spent the following on microfinance and financial sector projects.

April to March:

£ million

2003-04

40

2004-05

23

2005-06

23

The totals for the years preceding this were not disaggregated and calculating this now would involve a disproportionate cost. In total, DFID has spent over £165 million to support microfinance and financial sector projects and had committed £140 million more at 31 October 2006.

DFID continues to design and implement new programmes which will improve access to finance. Since the last review of commitments in October, DFID has approved a £9.3 million, five-year financial sector development programme in Nigeria and a £32.8 million seven-year PROSPER programme in Bangladesh, which includes capacity building for microfinance institutions.

A number of the international agencies that DFID supports are active in promoting microfinance and financial sector development. The World Bank, the International Finance Corporation and several regional development banks all provide significant funding or technical assistance in these areas. We do not have the necessary level of disaggregation of figures to provide a figure for the total spent on microfinance and financial sector development.

DFID has also been successful in leveraging financing from the private sector. For example, DFID provided a first-loss facility of £820,000 via the Financial Deepening Challenge Fund that generated a total fund of £80.6 million from 13 institutional investors for the Deutsche Bank Community Microfinance Facility.

Orangutan Habitat

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and (b) others on the destruction of the habitat of the orangutan due to the increased demand for palm oil in the UK. (116859)

I have been asked to reply.

I have had no recent discussion with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry or others on this issue. Following my discussions with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in Malaysia in June last year, I reported to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State about the loss of habitat to oil palm in that country.

In the UK sustainable development strategy, “Securing the Future” (http://www.sustainable-development.gov.uk/ publications/uk-strategy/uk-strategy-2005.htm) we make clear that the Government are very conscious that increasing consumption of goods and services in the UK can have environmental and social consequences overseas. We believe that one of the best ways to deliver more sustainable patterns of consumption and production is through effective partnerships between all stakeholder groups.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a good example of this approach, involving palm oil growers, environmental organisations, and manufacturers and retailers of products containing palm oil in the development of criteria for more sustainable palm oil production. RSPO are running a number of practical projects to facilitate the implementation of sustainable best practice. More information about the Round Table is available at www.sustainable-palmoil.org

Home Department

101 Hotline

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) which partnerships are in Wave 2 of the national 101 programme; and which are in Wave 3; (116060)

(2) what the planned date is for national coverage of the 101 Hotline;

(3) what date has been set to sign funding agreements between his Department and the Wave 2 101 Partnerships.

Evaluation and assessment of the introduction of the Single Non-Emergency Number, 101, in the five Wave 1 Partnership areas are currently ongoing. Plans for future Programme development beyond Wave 1 Partnership areas will depend on the outcome of this evaluation and assessment, including optimum costs and benefits, to be completed in autumn 2007.

Acceptable Behaviour Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many acceptable behaviour contracts were issued in (a) England, (b) the West Midlands and (c) West Bromwich East in the most recent year for which figures are available. (111857)

Data on numbers of acceptable behaviour contracts (ABCs) are not collected by the Home Office as they are voluntary agreements and therefore not suitable for central data collection.

However, three annual surveys carried out by the Home Office of the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) indicated that a total of 18,349 ABCs were made in England and Wales between October 2003 and September 2006.

Antisocial Behaviour Orders

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders were issued in (a) Morecambe and Lunesdale, (b) Lancashire and (c) England in 2006. (117508)

Antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) data are currently available up to 31 December 2005. A table giving the number of ASBOs issued annually, as reported to the Home Office by the Court Service, by the local government authority area in which prohibitions have been imposed, up to 31 December 2005 (latest available), can be found on the Crime Reduction website at: www.crimereduction.gov.uk. ASBO data are not available at parliamentary constituency level.

Cautions

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prosecutions were dropped in (a) Essex police force area, (b) Southend police area and (c) England and Wales as a result of the alleged offender not being cautioned by the arresting officer before being (i) questioned and (ii) a written statement being taken in each of the last five years for which information is available; what steps he (A) has taken and (B) plans to take to remind police officers of the requirement to caution an alleged offender before questioning or taking a written statement; and if he will make a statement; (117239)

(2) under what legislation an offender is required to be cautioned by the arresting officer before (a) being questioned about an alleged offence and (b) required to make a written statement; and if he will make a statement.

The information requested is not available as the individual circumstances of prosecutions are not centrally collected on the Court Proceedings Database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform.

Powers relating to the conduct of police investigations are governed by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984, and the accompanying Codes of Practice. The Code of Practice for the Detention, Treatment and Questioning of Persons by Police Officers (PACE Code C), the Code of Practice on Audio Recording Interviews with Suspects (PACE Code E) and the Code of Practice on Visual Recording with Sound of Interviews with Suspects (PACE Code F) provide clear guidance to the police on the requirements for cautioning suspects in relation to interviews and written statements and formally recording the giving of the caution. The PACE codes are subject to regular review and revision. PACE Code C was last revised in July 2006 and PACE Codes E and F were last revised in January 2006.

Community Support Officer

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the annual costs are of recruiting a community support officer including training, equipment, wages and pensions (a) for their first year of service and (b) for subsequent years; and what the corresponding costs are for a police constable. (116055)

The following table shows the current basic salary of a police constable on commencing service, on completing initial training and in successive years. There is no corresponding scale showing police community support officers (PCSO) salaries, which are determined by the respective police authorities, and are not routinely collected centrally. Data on the other annual costs of recruiting, training and maintaining a PCSO or a police constable in the first and other years of service are not centrally held.

Police constable pay from 1 September 2006

Amount (£)

On commencing service

21,009

On completion of initial training

23,454

Pay point 2

24,813

Pay point 3

26,331

Pay point 4

27,159

Pay point 5

28,029

Pay point 6

28,830

Pay point 7

29,544

Pay point 8

30,489

Pay point 9

32,334

Pay point 10

32,985

Criminal Record Checks

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals have been cleared by a Criminal Records Bureau check and subsequently found to have committed an offence which should have been disclosed in that check in each of the last nine years. (111878)

The latest available information was set out in the Home Secretary’s statements to the House of Commons dated 10 January and 16 January, and in the Home Office press statement issued on 13 January.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criminal record checks are carried out on (a) mini-cab drivers and (b) school assistants from non-EU countries; and if he will make a statement. (115963)

[holding answer 17 January 2007]: Recent events have made clear the complexity of the issues faced across Government and beyond. This is not helped by the differences in systems, procedures and criteria for recording and using for public protection information about criminality in this country and outside the UK. The Home Secretary has therefore instigated a Government-wide review of the way in which such information is shared and used.

Drug Intervention Programme

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the budget is for the Drug Intervention Programme for 2007-08; and what the percentage change is since the 2006-07 Budget. (116157)

Expenditure proposals for 2007-08 remain under review and final decisions will be taken shortly.

Fireworks Offences: Bassetlaw

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fines were issued for fireworks offences in Bassetlaw in (a) 2005 and (b) 2006. (110986)

The court proceedings database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform does not hold information on the number of fines issued in Bassetlaw as data is not held to that level of detail. However, there were no fines issued in 2005 in the whole of the Nottinghamshire police force area (of which Bassetlaw is a part) for fireworks offences. Court proceedings data for 2006 will be available in the autumn of 2007.

In addition, the penalty notice for disorder (PND) Scheme was introduced in England and Wales in 2004. Under the scheme, the police can issue an £80 fixed penalty for a number of fireworks offences under the Explosives Act 1875 and Fireworks Act 2003. The offence of throwing fireworks in a thoroughfare (Explosives Act) came into force in August 2002: the offences of breach of the fireworks curfew, possession of category 4 fireworks, and possession by a person under 18 of an adult firework (Fireworks Act) were added to the PND Scheme on 11 October 2004. The following table shows the number of PNDs that were issued in the Nottinghamshire police force area for 2005 and for January to June 2006 (provisional). We are unable to give the number of PNDs issued in Bassetlaw during the aforementioned period, as data are not collected to that level of detail.

Persons issued with penalty notices for disorder for all fireworks offences, in the Nottinghamshire police force area, 2005 and January to June 20061, 2

Number

Offence

2005

20062

Throwing fireworks

7

1

Breach of fireworks curfew

0

0

Possession of category 4 fireworks

0

0

Possession by a person under 18 of an adult firework

4

0

Total

11

1

1 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the police. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

2 January to June 2006 data are provisional.

Foreign National Criminals

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to incorporate in Criminal Records Bureau checks data relating to foreign nationals now working in the UK in occupations in contact with vulnerable groups concerning past convictions committed abroad involving serious offences against the person. (115822)

Recent events have made clear the complexity of the issues faced across Government and beyond. This is not helped by the differences in systems, procedures and criteria for recording and using for public protection information about criminality in this country and outside the UK. The Home Secretary has therefore instigated a Government wide review of the way in which such information is shared and used.

Hizb ut-Tahir

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for how many years the group Hizb ut-Tahir has been visibly active in the UK. (107293)

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