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Written Answers

Volume 457: debated on Friday 23 February 2007

Written Answers to Questions

Friday 23 February 2007

International Development

CDC

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether there are requirements for the CDC Group companies (a) to give preference to investments in renewable energy supplies and (b) to consider the carbon footprint of any investment. (121931)

A policy framework was set for CDC in 2004 as part of its reorganisation. This requires CDC to invest responsibly, and to comply with a set of agreed Business Principles. These include meeting appropriate environmental standards. However, they do not include any requirement to give preference to investments in renewable energy supplies or to consider the carbon footprint of investments.

Through its subsidiary Globeleq, CDC supplies energy in 18 developing countries and some 12 per cent. of this is currently from renewable sources.

Convention for the Protection of All People from Enforced Disappearance

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on the International Convention for the Protection of All People from Enforced Disappearance. (121928)

Neither I nor my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development have had discussions with the Foreign Secretary regarding the International Convention for the Protection of All People from Enforced Disappearances.

Departments: Complaints

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff worked in dedicated complaints units in his Department and its Executive agencies in (a) 1997-98, (b) 2001-02 and (c) 2005-06; and how many have done so in 2006-07 to date. (121700)

There are a number of complaints procedures across DFID to handle different kinds of complaints. These include complaints from the public about procurement, overseas pensions, freedom of information and recruitment. Our public inquiry point complaints procedure covers complaints from the public that do not fall into any of the aforementioned categories. Internal staff complaints are handled by line managers and human resources division.

None of these complaint procedures are supported by dedicated units. Staff dealing with various complaints also have other responsibilities. It is therefore not appropriate to give staff numbers involved.

Departments: Official Cars

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many vehicles belonging to his Department were (a) lost and (b) stolen in each year since 1997; and what the (i) make and model and (ii) value was of each vehicle. (121370)

Vehicles belonging to DFID that were either lost/written off or stolen from 1999 to date are listed in the following table. The make/models have been provided where this has been available and the net book value held for each vehicle is also shown.

Vehicle Type

Make/ Model

Stolen/Lost

Value (£)

Motor Cycle

Not recorded

Stolen

1,260

Motor Car

Nissan

Stolen

3,385

Motor Car

Rover

Lost/Written Off

1,180

Motor Car

Toyota Land Cruiser

Stolen

21,519

Motor Car

Toyota Land Cruiser

Stolen

4,314

Motor Car

Toyota Hilux

Lost/Written Off

744

Motor Car

Land Rover Discovery

Lost/Written Off

0

Motor Car

Toyota Land Cruiser

Lost/Written Off

3,001

Motor Cycle

Not recorded

Lost/Written Off

0

Motor Car

Armoured Land Cruiser

Lost/Written Off

85,000

Project Vehicle x 2

Not recorded

Lost/Written Off

7,000

Project Vehicle

Not recorded

Lost/Written Off

243

Project Vehicle

Not recorded

Lost/Written Off

850

Transport

Official Cars

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many cars were purchased by the Government Car and Despatch Agency in each year since 1997; what the total cost was of these purchases in each year; and if he will make a statement. (122050)

The Government Car and Despatch Agency made the following car purchases:

Number of cars purchased

Cost (£000)

2000-01

38

1,137

2001-02

27

926

2002-03

33

459

2003-04

32

512

2004-05

42

625

2005-06

64

977

Figures for earlier years could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

Railways: East Midlands

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when his Department will reply to the letter dated 10 January 2007 from Mr. Terry Holt, the Secretary of the Leicestershire and Northamptonshire Rail Action Committee, on the East Midlands Rail Franchise. (122701)

South West Trains

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what increase in rail passenger numbers is projected for South West Trains over the next 10 years; and how much the Government are investing in related infrastructure over the same period. (122118)

The Southern Regional Planning Assessment for the railway (which includes the area served by South West Trains); published January 2007, forecasted a possible increase in passenger demand in the morning peak period of 18.7 per cent. between 2002-03 and 2016.

The Department will be publishing the high level output specification in July which will outline the Government's requirements from Network Rail over the next control period.

Toll Roads

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many public roads in England are subject to a toll the proceeds of which do not contribute to the running costs of the road. (117723)

Tolls: Norfolk

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to introduce a pilot scheme for road charging in Norfolk; and if he will make a statement. (122694)

Norfolk county council is one of 10 areas to have been awarded pump priming funds from the Transport Innovation Fund. This will support the consideration development of a package of measures that address local congestion problems by combining investment in local transport with demand management measures, including road pricing.

It is for the local authority to decide whether to propose such a scheme.

Travel: Concessions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason community transport operators are not included in the concessionary fares scheme for pensioners; and if he will revise this policy when the national scheme is introduced. (118509)

Local authorities have the discretion to vary their local schemes to include community transport services based on their assessment of local need and their overall financial priorities. This flexibility will be preserved following the introduction of the national scheme. Any decision to extend the mandatory scheme would require careful consideration of the full impact on the community transport sector and local bus services, and it would have to be fully funded.

House of Commons Commission

Baroness Thatcher: Statue

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what the cost is of the statue of Baroness Thatcher unveiled in the Members’ Lobby. (122722)

The bronze statue of the right hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven was commissioned by the Advisory Committee on Works of Art in 2003 from the sculptor Antony Dufort. The statue cost £80,000 and was funded by the Works of Art Committee, supported by the Speaker’s Art Fund. A small portion of the work also attracted VAT.

Trade and Industry

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his estimate is of the proportion of (a) retailers and (b) manufacturers of waste electronic and electrical equipment which are aware of the provisions of the Waste Electronic and Electrical regulations that are coming into force this year, broken down by (i) small and medium-sized enterprises and (ii) large companies; and if he will make a statement. (121997)

DTI is working closely with business representative organisations, both within the producer and retail sectors, local authorities and the waste management sector to ensure that those affected by the WEEE regulations are aware of the requirements of these regulations. This activity is ongoing and includes a series of WEEE seminars across the UK, as well as via print and electronic media.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he expects a system for collecting and disposing of waste electrical and electronic equipment which meets the targets contained within the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive to be in operation by 1 July 2007; and if he will make a statement. (122034)

Since the introduction of the WEEE regulations we have seen a very positive response from producers, retailers, distributors, local authorities and the waste management sector. For example, 37 producer compliance schemes have registered with the Environment Agencies and new investments in treatment facilities have been announced. We will continue to work with all of these stakeholders to ensure an effective WEEE system in the UK.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate his Department has made of the cost of compliance with the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment regulations for small to medium-sized enterprises; and if he will make a statement. (121992)

A full regulatory impact assessment was published alongside the UK WEEE regulations. While there are no derogations for SMEs in the WEEE directive and hence the UK WEEE regulations, the Government have been keen to work with small businesses and their representative organisations to ensure they are not disproportionately affected. For example, we have introduced a tiered fee structure for producer registrations—a move widely welcomed and supported by the Federation of Small Businesses.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultations have taken place on the implementation of the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment regulations; what the (a) dates, (b) purpose and (c) cost was of each of these consultations; and if he will make a statement. (121993)

In preparing the UK implementing regulations for the WEEE directive, the DTI has undertaken four separate rounds of formal consultation since the text was adopted. These consultation documents were issued in March 2003, November 2003, July 2004 and July 2006. The final consultation exercise came to an end on 17 October 2006. These consultations played a vital role in ensuring that the WEEE regulations provide a framework to deliver an effective WEEE system in the UK. Cost calculations for each consultation are not available and would require a disproportionate cost to ascertain.

Departmental Publicity

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will place in the Library copies of his Department’s evaluations of media coverage since January 2004. (117954)

[holding answer 1 February 2007]: DTI does not currently carry out any central formal evaluation of media coverage. The last such contract ran from October 2004 to April 2006.

The findings from that work were confidential and not intended for publication. They formed part of the advice that communications staff provide to Ministers and senior officials. The contractor opposes the publication of its work on commercial grounds.

In view of the confidential nature of this advice and the associated commercial interests, I am therefore unable to place copies of our central evaluations of media coverage in the Libraries of the House.

Departmental Reorganisation

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions he has had on the future shape of his Department. (122516)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave the House on 6 February 2007, Official Report, column 889W.

Departments: Retirement

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many employees from his Department have been asked to retire upon reaching 65 years of age as a result of the Department's mandatory retirement policy in each year since 1997. (121743)

The following table gives the number of staff who retired at the age of 65, by year:

Number

1997

0

1998

4

1999

8

2000

7

2001

12

2002

6

2003

1

2004

14

2005

5

2006

6

In certain circumstances staff were able to continue to work beyond age 65 and a further 28 staff retired at an age above 65 during this period.

Before 2002, the Department's normal retirement age for most grades of staff was 60 and the majority of staff retired at that age. In 2002 all staff below the senior civil service had the option of working to the age of 65 and since 1 October 2006 all staff have had the right to request to work beyond 65.

Energy: Prices

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the extent to which energy suppliers in the UK have passed on reductions in wholesale energy prices to their customers in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (121745)

Monitoring and enforcing competition in Great Britain's gas and electricity supply markets are the responsibilities of the independent energy regulator, Ofgem. The Government look to the regulator to make full use of its powers under the Competition Act 1998 and Enterprise Act 2002 to safeguard the interests of gas and electricity consumers.

Post Offices

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 1 February 2007, Official Report, columns 473-74W, on post offices, what definition his Department uses of the term settlement. (121889)

A settlement is defined as a continuous built up area, as classified by Ordnance Survey Sprawl Data.

Defence

Armed Forces: Deployment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the (a) Armed Forces, (b) Army, (c) Navy and (d) RAF undertook military operations or other military tasks in each year since 1997. (119055)

Figures for the percentage of regular armed forces undertaking Operations and other Military Tasks are published in the Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts and in quarterly public service agreement performance reports. Copies of the annual report and accounts are available in the Library of the House and also at:

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/CorporatePublications/AnnualReports/

Copies of quarterly public service agreement performance reports are available on:

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/CorporatePublications/FinancialReports/

Figures from 2001-02 to the second quarter of 2006-07 are shown in the following tables. These have been compiled from the MOD’s annual reports and Accounts, Spring and Autumn Performance Reports to Parliament, the MOD’s quarterly public service agreement performance reports and historic internal management data. Summary information for 1998-99 and 1999-2000 was published in the respective Ministry of Defence Performance Reports (CM4520, CM5000), copies of which are available in the Library of the House. This information was not compiled on a comparable basis to those set out as follows. Quarterly information for years predating the 1998 Strategic Defence Review is not held centrally.

The figures given in the tables report the percentage of regular armed forces undertaking Operations and other Military Tasks. These figures are quarterly averages and are calculated by comparing the number of personnel undertaking Operations and other Military Tasks against the total strength of each Service.

Percentage of regular armed forces undertaking Operations and other Military Tasks1 during 2006-072April to JuneJuly to SeptemberNaval Service12.616.6Army325.926.4RAF13.414.5Overall20.221.6 1 Includes activities such as nuclear deterrence, military aid to the Civil Authorities and to the Civil Powers in Northern Ireland, integrity of UK waters and airspace, defence and security of the Overseas Territories and of the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas and Defence Relations, Alliances and support to Wider British Interests.2 These figures are quarterly averages and reflect the burden of activity imposed by the operations and military tasks undertaken by each service. Figures are based on man-day equivalents.3 Percentages for Army personnel include those in preparation for and recovering from operations.

Percentage of regular armed forces undertaking Operations and other Military Tasks1 during 2005-062

April to June

July to September

October to December

January to March

Naval Service

11.6

9.3

12.1

13.5

Army3

21.0

22.0

22.8

25.1

RAF

13.3

11.9

12.3

13.4

Overall

18.0

17.5

18.7

19.8

1 Includes activities such as nuclear deterrence, military aid to the Civil Authorities and to the Civil Powers in Northern Ireland, integrity of UK waters and airspace, defence and security of the Overseas Territories and of the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas and Defence Relations, Alliances and support to Wider British Interests.

2 These figures are quarterly averages and reflect the burden of activity imposed by the operations and military tasks undertaken by each service. Figures are based on man-day equivalents.

3 Percentages for Army personnel include those in preparation for and recovering from operations.

Percentage of trained strength of regular forces deployed on Operations and other Military Tasks1 during 2004-052

April to June

July to September

October to December

January to March

Naval Service

16.8

13.2

13.3

11.6

Army3

23.7

22.1

21.4

21.2

RAF

11.8

12.0

13.5

13.4

Overall4

20

19

19

18

1 Includes activities such as nuclear deterrence, military aid to the Civil Authorities and to the Civil Powers in Northern Ireland, integrity of UK waters and airspace, defence and security of the Overseas Territories and of the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas and Defence Relations, Alliances and support to Wider British Interests.

2 These figures are quarterly averages and reflect the burden of activity imposed by the operations and military tasks undertaken by each service. Figures are based on man-day equivalents.

3 Percentages for Army personnel include those in preparation for and recovering from operations.

4 Overall figures are rounded to the nearest per cent.

Percentage of trained strength of regular forces deployed on Operations and other Military Tasks1 during 2003-042

April to June

July to September

October to December

January to March

Naval Service

18.7

12.8

14.0

17.7

Army3

46.9

23.2

22.9

22.6

RAF

16.5

13.0

12.9

12.1

Overall4

35

19

19

20

1 Includes activities such as nuclear deterrence, military aid to the Civil Authorities and to the Civil Powers in Northern Ireland, integrity of UK waters and airspace, defence and security of the Overseas Territories and of the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas and Defence Relations, Alliances and support to Wider British Interests.

2 These figures are quarterly averages and reflect the burden of activity imposed by the operations and military tasks undertaken by each service. Figures are based on man-day equivalents.

3 Percentages for Army personnel include those in preparation for and recovering from operations.

4 Overall figures are rounded to the nearest per cent.

Percentage of trained strength of regular forces deployed on Operations and other Military Tasks1 during 2002-032

April to June

July to September

October to December

January to March

Naval Service

17.5

13.0

16.5

28.5

Army3

24.6

23.9

32.5

55.6

RAF

12.6

10.9

19.1

21.8

Overall4

20

18

26

43

1 Includes activities such as nuclear deterrence, military aid to the Civil Authorities and to the Civil Powers in Northern Ireland, integrity of UK waters and airspace, defence and security of the Overseas Territories and of the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas and Defence Relations, Alliances and support to Wider British Interests.

2 These figures are quarterly averages and reflect the burden of activity imposed by the operations and military tasks undertaken by each service. Figures are based on man-day equivalents.

3 Percentages for Army personnel include those in preparation for and recovering from operations.

4 Overall figures are rounded to the nearest percent.

Percentage of trained strength of regular forces deployed on Operations and other Military Tasks1 during 2001-022,3

April to June

July to September

October to December

January to March

Naval Service

9.5

8.4

16.7

15.7

Army4

21.8

25.6

26.3

23.9

RAF

11.9

12.2

13.6

13.1

Overall5

19

19

23

20

1 Includes activities such as nuclear deterrence, military aid to the Civil Authorities and to the Civil Powers in Northern Ireland, integrity of UK waters and airspace, defence and security of the Overseas Territories and of the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas and Defence Relations, Alliances and support to Wider British Interests.

2 These figures are quarterly averages and reflect the burden of activity imposed by the operations and military tasks undertaken by each service. Figures are based on man-day equivalents.

3 2001-02 figures include personnel on Exercise SAIF SAREEA II.

4 Percentages for Army personnel include those in preparation for and recovering from operations.

5 Overall figures are rounded to the nearest per cent.

Army: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) annual and (b) in-year changes were made to the budget for army training in each of the last five years. (121875)

Training for the Army is funded from the Defence Budget and the Conflict Prevention Fund. Training consists of a mixture of individual, unit and larger formation activities and is supplemented by appropriate training for specific operations. Plans are adjusted frequently in light of changing operational circumstances and budgets are held and managed locally in many cases. Control figures are not therefore held on the totality of training costs and could be provided only at disproportionate costs.

Bombs

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 26 January 2007, Official Report, columns 2072-73W, on cluster munitions, what level of failure rate he defines as being within acceptable bounds; and if he will make a statement. (121645)

There have been a number of trials of the 155mm L20A1 Extended Range Bomblet Shell, which contains M85 bomblets and when the totality of test and acceptance firings is analysed over the life of the munition, the average bomblet failure rate is approximately two per cent. As part of its on-going quality and performance regime the MOD continues to actively monitor the performance of this system and explore ways of reducing the failure rate still further in partnership with the supplier.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 1 February 2007, Official Report, column 504W, on cluster munitions, what new capabilities are being introduced to replace (a) the M26 Rocket System and (b) the BL 755 and RBL 755 cluster bombs; and if he will make a statement. (121646)

The M26 Rocket System is being replaced by the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS). The BL755 and RBL 755 cluster bombs are being replaced by the Brimstone advanced anti-armour weapon.

Defence Export Services Organisation: Freedom of Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much has been spent by the Department on appealing a decision by the Information Commissioner (decision notice FS50073980) to release a copy of the March 2004 edition of the Defence Export Services Organisation staff directory under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; which outside counsel were hired to mount the appeal; and what fees have been paid to such counsel in this case; (121766)

(2) which companies were given access to the March 2004 edition of the Defence Export Services Organisation staff directory; on what basis such access was granted; and what restrictions were placed on the further circulation of this staff directory to other parties;

(3) what the security classification is of the March 2004 edition of the Defence Export Services Organisation staff directory.

Work associated with the appeal against the Information Commissioner’s decision in favour of disclosure of the 2004 staff directory for the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) is being carried out by staff from a number of areas within the Ministry of Defence. The majority of the effort rests with the directorate which leads on policy issues relating to operation of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, but staff within DESO itself, from the directorate of legal services and the security directorate are also involved. This work is a normal part of the function and responsibilities of these staff, and it is not possible to attribute costs specifically relating to this appeal. Senior Counsel for the Ministry of Defence in this case is Mr. Jonathan Crow QC, who is supported by Ms Kate Gallafent. Further support is being provided by a solicitor in the Treasury Solicitor’s Department. Information on the fees paid to Counsel in relation to this case is not recorded separately by the Department and it will take time to collate. I will write to the hon. Member when the figures are available.

The March 2004 edition of the DESO staff directory was widely circulated to the UK defence industry, to which nearly 2,000 copies were distributed. This edition, which did not carry a security classification, was distributed with no express restrictions on further circulation, unlike the most recent editions.

Future Command and Liaison Vehicle

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will reconsider the decision on deploying the Panther vehicle in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement; (120205)

(2) how many personnel will be carried in the Panther vehicle when used as a command vehicle and fitted with Bowman;

(3) whether the Bowman operator will (a) face the equipment or (b) be at right angles to the equipment when the Panther vehicle is used as a command vehicle;

(4) if the Panther vehicle will have an overhead weapon station when used as a Command vehicle and fitted with Bowman.

The deployment of Panther to Iraq and Afghanistan is a matter for military commanders and will depend upon the judgment made by the Permanent Joint Headquarters, once the vehicle has been accepted into service. Those vehicles deployed in a high threat environment will be fitted with an overhead weapon station. As a Command and Liaison vehicle, Panther will carry a minimum of two and a maximum of four personnel.

The commander will operate the Bowman system through the Vehicle User Data Terminal which will be positioned directly in front of him.

Hercules Aircraft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the RAF has placed an urgent operational requirement for all Hercules aircraft to be fitted with explosive suppressant foam. (117912)

RAF Strike Command raised urgent statements of user requirement for the fitting of explosion suppressant foam to that number of Hercules aircraft required to support current operations. These were all approved as urgent operational requirements.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will answer the letter from the hon. Member for Chichester of 18 October 2006 on behalf of his constituent Lt. Colonel Murray Smith. (120893)

Parliamentary Questions

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many parliamentary questions were tabled to his Department in 2006, broken down by (a) ordinary written and (b) named day; what percentage of ordinary written questions were answered within 10 working days; and what percentage of named day questions were answered by the specified date. (115323)

Our records show, in 2006 the total number of parliamentary questions tabled to the Ministry of Defence was 4,120. Of these, 3,184 were ordinary written and 936 were named day. I am unable to provide further details as the information is not held in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Department aim to ensure that Members receive a substantive response to their named day question on the named day and to endeavour to answer ordinary written questions within a working week of being tabled. Unfortunately, this is not always possible but this Department makes every effort to achieve these time scales.

Service Personnel: Medical Treatment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what psychological decompression arrangements are in place for reserve servicemen returning from duty in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq. (117296)

Decompression is a process designed to place individuals into a formal, structured and monitored environment in which to begin ‘winding-down’ and rehabilitating to a normal, routine, peace-time environment. Decompression is a discretionary activity conducted on a “needs” basis as judged by the in-theatre commander. It is conducted in-theatre, or at a location between theatre and the home base, and allows individuals time to begin rationalising their operational experiences in the company of their immediate comrades.

The unit chain of command will use this time to monitor and identify, based on the tempo of operations and knowledge of the soldiers concerned, those apparently most vulnerable to any form of post-operational stress, or stress related condition. Engagement with unit medical staff will be most important and a two-way passage of information between the chain of command and medical chain will be critical.

The policy is defined in a Permanent Joint Headquarters Deployed Operating Instruction and applies to all service personnel serving on PJHQ-commanded operations, whether regular or reserve. Currently, decompression for units returning from both Iraq and Afghanistan have been taking place in Cyprus, lasting for a period of between 36-48 hours, and involving significant numbers of the deployed force.

Reservists who are part of a formed unit will decompress with that unit. Those that are not considered to require to undergo decompression, they will receive briefings as part of the demobilisation package at either RTMC Chilwell (for Army and Royal Marine Reserves); HMS Nelson (for Royal Navy Reserves), or at their individual squadron (for RAF Reserves). The demobilisation process will include post-operation administration; a medical assessment; and further briefings on stress, the return to work and family, plus aftercare and welfare. This demobilisation period allows further social reintegration and observation, and is also the point where communications between the service and the individual (and their employer) is established. Thereafter, monitoring will take place through the chain of command of their parent reservist unit. The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) provides the same service for all personnel aeromedically evacuated from operations.

Urgent Operational Requirements

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence under what (a) rules and (b) circumstances senior Army officers may raise urgent operational requirements; and if he will make a statement. (118887)

An Urgent Statement of User Requirement can be raised by commanders in theatre during an operation or by commanders in the Permanent Joint Headquarters or Front Line Commands before or during an operation. Subject to endorsement by the chain of command, this is then progressed as an Urgent Operational Requirement.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Biomass

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress his Department has made in fulfilling its commitment to map the potential use of biomass across the main procuring departments of the Government estate; and if he will make a statement. (122043)

Procedures are already in place across the Government and the wider public estate to ensure that alternative technologies are fully considered when undertaking major refurbishments of properties and for new builds. These technologies include locally generated renewable energy systems such as biomass-fuelled heating. For the remainder (and majority) of the Government Estate, which is neither the subject of new build or refurbishment, steps are being taken to ensure that alternative technologies are also considered and, where appropriate, adopted on these sites.

In the Government's ‘Response to the Biomass Task Force Report’ in April 2006, we committed to mapping the suitability of the DEFRA estate for conversion to biomass heating. My Department has recently completed the initial tranche of the mapping of its estate and feasibility studies are currently being undertaken at the sites where biomass heat opportunities were identified. A lessons learned exercise has also been undertaken and the improvements identified from this process have been implemented within the second, and final, tranche of the DEFRA mapping exercise (which is due for completion by the end of February). Having developed, tested and refined the mapping protocols, DEFRA is currently in the process of rolling-out the mapping exercise to other Government Departments, and it will be providing technical support and guidance to Departments on biomass and other low carbon technologies.

Christchurch Bay: Flood Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent reports the Environment Agency has produced on the potential risk of a breach of flooding into Christchurch Bay from the sea. (122571)

The Environment Agency (EA) has recently completed a “Hengistbury Head Consequences of Breaching” report which was prepared with the assistance of their framework consultants Halcrow Group Ltd.

This inception study provides a relatively high-level assessment of the consequences of a breach of water levels, wave generation and resultant flood risk within Christchurch Harbour. It excludes any analysis of the probability of a breach occurring at Hengistbury Head, focusing instead on what might happen if a breach took place.

The EA is currently discussing the report and its findings with relevant local authorities. Talks are focussing on how its recommendations for further detailed analysis might be taken forward as part of the forthcoming second generation of Shoreline Management Plans (SMP2).

Energy: Conservation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has for the future of the Energy Efficiency Contribution and Warm Front Scheme after 2008. (122328)

The Government believe that the third phase of the Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC3) after 2008 could deliver savings of approximately 0.9 to 1.2 million tonnes of carbon (MtC) by 2010.

Discussions with stakeholders during 2006 have helped the Government to develop proposals for EEC3. An initial consultation took place between 31 July and 23 October 2006, and a summary of responses was published on 12 January 2007. This exercise sought early views, which have helped to inform the statutory consultation we are launching in the spring.

Warm Front remains the Government's key programme for tackling fuel poverty in the private sector in England. 1.2 million vulnerable households have already been provided with assistance since 2000, and the scheme will continue to build on this progress. Warm Front is projected to deliver 0.5 MtC of carbon savings by 2010 through domestic energy efficiency improvements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what he expects the Government's next steps on the implementation of article 13 of the Energy Services Directive to be following the conclusion of the current metering and billing consultation. (122533)

The consultation sought views on the billing and metering measures in last year's Energy Review as well as the Energy Services Directive. We will use the opportunity provided in the forthcoming Energy White Paper to report further about these measures.

Environment Protection: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which programmes his Department funds to support local and regional environmental initiatives. (121836)

The majority of Government funding for local and regional environmental initiatives is through the Revenue Support Grant made to local authorities. This covers a number of areas including local environmental quality and waste services.

DEFRA also provides funding to a range of non-departmental public bodies including the Environment Agency, Natural England and Regional Development Agencies.

In addition, a number of specific programmes are directed towards local and regional environmental initiatives. These include:

Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund

Countryside Stewardship

Environmental Stewardship (including Organic Environmental Stewardship)

Environmentally Sensitive Areas

EU co-funded Leader + Programme (assisting rural communities)

Farm Woodland Premium Scheme

Organic Farming Scheme

Reserve Enhancement Scheme

Rural Social and Community Programme

Sustainable Development Fund

Sustainable Development Publicity Budget

Sustainable Food and Farming

Waste Implementation Programme

Waste Regional Support Fund

Wildlife Enhancement Scheme

Environment: Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what programmes his Department supports within the education sector which seek to enhance understanding of the environment. (121839)

DEFRA supports a range of projects with the aim of increasing understanding of the environment in the education sector. The climate change champions competition was launched in January 2006 and nine champions have now been chosen; one from each region in England. During their term of office, they are spreading the message about climate change, and the role that young people can play in tackling it, throughout their respective regions.

The champions initiative is part of the larger climate change communications initiative (CCCI). Through the CCCI, 83 projects have been funded by the climate challenge fund, and 16 of these are aimed at young people. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has invited representatives from all the education-related climate challenge fund projects to a meeting. This will ensure that activities are as joined up as possible.

On 2 February, the Secretary of State and the Education Secretary announced that Al Gore's film “An Inconvenient Truth” will form part of a climate change pack sent to secondary schools in England. DEFRA will be part of a sustainable schools year of action to support all schools in becoming models of sustainable best practice. Support materials will include teacher resource packs, a pupil “detective kit”, guidance for bursars and governors, and a new teaching award.

DEFRA is an active partner in the year of food and farming, a joint initiative with DfES, which will start this September for the 2007-08 school year. This initiative aims to educate children and young people about the origins of the food they eat and how it is produced. DEFRA is also a signatory to the learning outside the classroom manifesto, launched by DfES in November 2006.

Currently, there are approximately 1,000 farms in England providing educational access visits under agri-environment schemes (environmental stewardship and countryside stewardship). Farmers receive payments for opening their farms, free of charge, to schools for curricular studies and colleges and other special interest groups for formal or informal study. A wide range of organisations are involved in school visits to farms. However, DEFRA is the biggest single provider of visits, which offer ideal opportunities during the year of food and farming.

In addition, the waste and resources action programme (WRAP) runs the Recycle Now schools programme on behalf of DEFRA. This involves the “Recycler” robot, which can encourage primary school children to recycle from a young age and to take the recycling message home. The programme is also looking to develop resources that secondary schools can use.

The eco-schools programme provides a framework to enable schools to analyse their operations and become more sustainable. It promotes environmental awareness in a way that links to many curriculum subjects, including citizenship, personal and social and health education, and education for sustainable development. Eco-schools examine all their activities and implement ways of reducing their environmental impact; including litter, waste, energy, water, school grounds, healthy living, biodiversity and global perspectives.

Farmers: Bankruptcy

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farms went bankrupt in each of the last five years, broken down by reason for bankruptcy. (122339)

I have been asked to reply.

The closest available estimate for bankruptcies among farmers are the number of bankruptcy orders made under the category “agriculture” according to the Insolvency Trade Classification. Also provided for further information are the number of company liquidations in the agricultural sector. The following table provides the England and Wales figures in 2001-05, currently figures for 2006 are not available by industry sector:

Bankruptcies and Company Liquidations in England and Wales for Agriculture, 2001-05

Bankruptcy orders

Company liquidations

2001

183

90

2002

132

76

Official bankruptcy statistics are not routinely analysed by reasons for bankruptcies and to provide the information requested would incur disproportionate cost.

Hunting Act 2004

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the Hunting Act 2005 on (a) levels of rural employment, (b) the fox population, (c) sheep deaths caused by foxes and (d) the prosperity of rural areas. (122506)

My Department has made no specific assessment of the impact of the Hunting Act 2005, beyond its normal monitoring of wildlife and the rural economy. However, the majority of hunts have continued to operate within the law. Therefore, there has been no discernable adverse effect on rural employment, which remains above the national average, or on the rural economy as a whole. In addition, DEFRA has no evidence to suggest that there has been a significant change in the national fox population as a result of the Act, nor that the overall numbers of sheep being taken by foxes has increased substantially since it was introduced.

Rural Areas: Sustainable Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what programmes his Department funds which aim to promote the sustainability of rural communities. (121838)

A number of DEFRA programmes have a positive impact on the sustainability of rural communities. The most relevant programmes in this financial year are:

Contributing to the Regional Development Agencies' Single Programme to meet a number of DEFRA's objectives, including increasing economic productivity in rural areas.

Rural Social and Community Programme which helps rural communities shape their future by developing the capacity of the voluntary and community sector and parish and town councils and addressing locally defined issues of disadvantage.

EU co-funded Rural Development Programme for England for the period 2007-13 and on-going commitments from the England Rural Development Programme 2000-06. The new programme will not begin until outstanding funding issues are resolved within the EU.

EU co-funded LEADER+ programme, which assists 25 rural communities in improving the quality of life and economic prosperity in their local areas.

EU co-funded Objective 1 programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, South Yorkshire and Merseyside which promotes the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind.

DEFRA supports a sustainable agricultural sector which, in turn, helps underpin the overall sustainability of rural communities.

DEFRA also funds the Commission for Rural Communities. Their role is to provide well-informed, independent advice to the Government and ensure that mainstream policies, and the delivery of services, reflects the real needs of people living and working in rural areas of England.

Constitutional Affairs

Constitutions: Channel Islands

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will make a statement on the constitutional position of the Channel Islands. (122321)

The Channel Islands (the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey) are self-governing dependencies of the Crown, which—acting through its Privy Council—is responsible for their good governance. The Channel Islands have their own directly elected legislative assemblies, administrative, fiscal and legal systems, and their own courts of law. They do not form part of the United Kingdom, and UK legislation does not apply to them unless specifically extended; nor are they members of the European Union, but enjoy a special relationship with the EU under Protocol 3 of the UK’s Treaty of Accession. The UK is, however, responsible in international law for the international relations of all of the Crown Dependencies and is also responsible for their defence.

Departments: Freedom of Information

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what estimate she has made of the cost to Government Departments involved in the one week monitoring exercise in January 2006 of the time needed to respond to Freedom of Information requests. (121762)

Frontier Economics, using the data collected in the one week monitoring exercise, estimated that the total cost in officials’ time of dealing with FOI requests across central government is £8.6 million.

A detailed breakdown of the total annual cost to central Government of handling FOI requests can be found at annexe 1 of the Frontier Economics report, which is available in the Libraries of the House.

Powers of Attorney

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs on how many occasions the Public Guardianship Office had to intervene to suspend an individual’s power of attorney over another in the most recent year for which figures are available. (122003)

The information requested is not available from the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) statistics currently maintained by the Public Guardianship Office. Although individual case records will show this information, the costs of collating these details would be prohibitive.

Health

Accident and Emergency Departments

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 910W, on accident and emergency departments, which NHS trusts the NHS has told her are (a) consulting on and (b) planning to consult on changes to their accident and emergency departments. (118220)

The national health service has told us of one ongoing consultation that could affect accident and emergency (A&E) services. This is the consultation on proposals affecting Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust.

The NHS has told us of seven other proposals where consultation on proposed changes that could affect A&E services is planned. The NHS trusts covered by these planned consultations are:

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust;

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust;

Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust;

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust;

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust;

Royal Surrey County Hospitals NHS Trust;

Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals NHS Trust;

Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust;

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust;

Royal West Sussex NHS Trust;

Worthing and Southlands Hospitals NHS Trust; and

East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.

The proposals concerned are not solely about changes to A&E services but depending on the outcome of consultation it is possible that there could be changes to A&E services at some of these trusts.

It is likely that other sets of proposals will come forward for consultation in the future that could affect other A&E services.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the longest distance is from the nearest accident and emergency department to the furthest dwelling in each parliamentary constituency. (122311)

Bournemouth Hospital: Accident and Emergency Department

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many accident and emergency admissions were received at Bournemouth hospital in each of the last five years. (119921)

The information on the number of admissions via accident and emergency (A&E) at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust, from quarter two 2001-02 to quarter two 2006-07 is shown in the table. Information on the number of attendances at A&E is a separate collection.

Admissions via A&E

2001-021

10,250

2002-03

18,717

2003-042

13,806

2004-05

14,300

2005-06

15,980

2006-073

7,512

1 Admissions were first collected in quarter two 2001-02, so data for this year are for three quarters only.

2 Admissions via all A&E types were first collected in quarter one 2003-04. Data after this date are for all A&E types, prior to this the figures are for admissions via major (type one) A&E only.

3 2006-07 data are for quarter one and quarter two only.

Source:

Department of Health form QMAE

GP Numbers

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioners there are per head of population (a) in Romford and (b) in each London borough. (115576)

The information requested is shown in the table. Romford is part of the London borough of Haringey.

Number (Headcount)

2005

All practitioners (excluding retainers and registrars)1

Population

All practitioners (excluding retainers and registrars)1 per 100,000 head of population

Q36

London

4,896

7,517,726

65.1

Q05

North Central London

840

1,243,437

67.6

5A9

Barnet PCT

234

326,747

71.6

5K7

Camden PCT

156

217,072

71.9

5C1

Enfield PCT

158

279,974

56.4

5C9

Haringey PCT

150

224,293

66.9

5K8

Islington PCT

142

179,871

78.9

Q06

North East London

963

1,542,634

62.4

5C2

Barking and Dagenham PCT

82

164,572

49.8

5C3

City and Hackney PCT

177

215,654

82.1

5A4

Havering PCT

122

225,010

54.2

5C5

Newham PCT

171

247,710

69.0

5NA

Redbridge PCT

124

247,316

50.1

5C4

Tower Hamlets PCT

142

209,322

67.8

5NC

Waltham Forest PCT

145

221,843

65.4

Q04

North West London

1,166

1,871,187

62.3

5K5

Brent PCT

200

267,741

74.7

5HX

Ealing PCT

192

303,204

63.3

5H1

Hammersmith and Fulham PCT

104

176,773

58.8

5K6

Harrow PCT

141

211,229

66.8

5AT

Hillingdon PCT

138

248,697

55.5

5HY

Hounslow PCT

141

212,343

66.4

5LA

Kensington and Chelsea PCT

107

184,056

58.1

5LC

Westminster PCT

143

230,023

62.2

Q07

South East London

1,034

1,524,646

67.8

TAK

Bexley PCT

117

219,517

53.3

5A7

Bromley PCT

203

299,122

67.9

5A8

Greenwich PCT

141

225,687

62.5

5LD

Lambeth PCT

214

268,120

79.8

5LF

Lewisham PCT

175

247,024

70.8

5LE

Southwark PCT

184

254,652

72.3

Q08

South West London

893

1,335,822

66.9

5K9

Croydon PCT

224

340,164

65.9

5A5

Kingston PCT

114

151,815

75.1

5M6

Richmond and Twickenham PCT

123

182,723

67.3

5M7

Sutton and Merton PCT

241

369,823

65.2

5LG

Wandsworth PCT

191

276,493

69.1

1 GPs excluding retainers and registrars per 100, 000 for London SHA population based on PCTs.

Health Services: Reform

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to section 4.6 of the Ministerial Code, on how many occasions (a) she and (b) Ministers in her Department have made representations on behalf of constituents over health service reconfigurations in their capacity as constituency MPs in each year since 1997. (118133)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and other Ministers in the Department have regularly made representations on behalf of their constituents to their ministerial colleagues. These have been on a wide range of health-related issues which might include proposed service changes in their constituency.

In accordance with section 4.6 of the Ministerial Code, Ministers are free to make clear their views on matters affecting their parliamentary constituency to the relevant Minister provided they make clear that they are acting as their constituents’ representative and not as a Minister.

Medway Maritime Hospital: Surgery

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many operations were postponed at Medway Maritime Hospital in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07. (119806)

The number of operations that are postponed is not collected centrally. An operation that is rescheduled to a time within 24 hours of the original scheduled operation is recorded as a postponement and not as a cancellation. The following table shows the number of operations cancelled at the last minute for non-clinical reasons in the years requested.

Last minute cancelled operations for non-clinical reasons, Medway National Health Service Trust, 2005-06 and 2006-07

Number

2005-06

149

2006-07

38

Notes: 1. 2006-07 data only covers quarter 1 and quarter 2. Other quarters' data are not yet available. 2. A last minute cancellation is one that occurs on the day the patient was due to arrive, after they have arrived in hospital or on the day of their operation. Source: Department of Health dataset QMCO

NHS Treatment Centres: Basildon

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many applications were considered before the selection of a preferred provider for the independent sector treatment centre at Basildon, Essex; (123024)

(2) what consultation was held prior to the decision on a preferred provider for the independent sector treatment centre for Basildon, Essex; and if she will make a statement.

Phase 2 of the independent sector treatment centre (ISTC) programme was announced in May 2005. Any company interested in the programme was free to register an expression of interest, and complete a pre-qualifying questionnaire (PQQ), issued in late August 2005. Following this process, bidders were short-listed and issued with an invitation to tender (ITT). Bids were then returned for the Essex electives scheme.

The Department received 26 PQQ responses from potential bidders. On the Essex electives ISTC scheme, four bidders were short-listed and issued with an ITT, of which four bids were returned.

The procurement process, including the appointment of the preferred bidder, is being undertaken in accordance with European procurement regulations which set out requirements for each stage of the process from advertisement to the evaluation of bids and through to the negotiation of contractual terms with the successful bidder.

The establishment of ISTCs is a key part of the Government’s health care reforms. The Government’s intention to use private and voluntary organisations to increase capacity and choice were clearly set out in the NHS Plan (2000) and the NHS Improvement Plan (2003). Subsequent policy documents have set out the reform programme clearly.

Consultation on changes to local services is a matter for local primary care trusts (PCTs) in conjunction with strategic health authorities. A series of local meetings are ongoing between the Department, the preferred bidder on the Essex ISTC scheme (Mercury Health) and the local national health service, including the establishment of steering groups which will enable PCTs, as commissioners of local services, to engage with other relevant stakeholders on the proposed plans for the Essex ISTCs.

NHS: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the drug budget for the NHS was in each year from 1997 to date, broken down by (a) the acute trust sector, (b) general practitioners and (c) other sectors. (122919)

The following table gives the total expenditure on drugs since 1997, and is broken down by primary care and the hospital and community health service (HCHS), which includes acute trusts. We do not collect drugs expenditure for other sectors.

£ million

Total outturn

Of which: primary

Of which: HCHS

1997-98

5,173

4,085

1,088

1998-99

5,550

4,339

1,211

1999-2000

6,202

4,833

1,369

2000-01

6,688

5,158

1,530

2001-02

7,447

5,707

1,740

2002-03

8,355

6,342

2,013

2003-04

9,271

6,960

2,311

2004-05

9,965

7,370

2,595

Notes:

1. Figures are net which include pharmaceutical price regulation scheme (PPRS) receipt savings. 2. The total drugs spend includes drugs expenditure in primary care and the HCHS. The primary care expenditure reflects amounts paid to pharmacy and appliance contractors and amounts authorised for dispersing doctors and personal administration in England. HCHS expenditure includes drugs and medical gases.

3. From 2000-01 figures are in resource terms, prior to this figures are in cash terms. Cash figures relate to February to January prescribing due to delay in prescription processing and payment calculations. Resource figures represent the actual cost between April to March. Source: Prescription pricing division of the NHS Business Services Authority, England and Department of Health's Finance Division.

Patients: Hospital Travel Cost Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the process is for claiming under the hospital travel cost scheme. (120573)

People eligible to claim through the hospital travel costs scheme may do by presenting travel receipts and proof of eligibility at the finance or cashiers office of the care provider where they receive treatment. Alternatively, within three months of treatment they may send a claim form supported by travel receipts to the address identified on the claim form.

Cosmetic Surgery Treatments

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has for introducing (a) a formal training and (b) a formal accreditation for cosmetic surgeons; and if she will make a statement. (122686)

Cosmetic surgery is not a medical specialty in the United Kingdom. However, as part of the curriculum for training in plastic surgery there is a requirement for aesthetic surgical training. This means that a surgeon getting a certificate of completion of training in plastic surgery will be trained in all aspects of this.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many long-term health problems caused by unsuccessful cosmetic procedures were treated by the NHS in the last year for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. (122687)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hairdressers and beauty therapists are licensed to inject customers with Botox; and if she will make a statement. (122688)

Botulinum toxin is a prescription-only medicine. It can only be prescribed by a registered medical practitioner, a registered dental practitioner, a registered nurse independent prescriber, a registered pharmacist independent prescriber or a registered supplementary prescriber, provided that botulinum toxin is listed in the patient’s clinical management plan that has been agreed with a doctor. Prescribers may administer the medicine themselves or delegate the administration to another suitably qualified and competent person.

Sex: Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the number of primary care trusts who have diverted funds that were allocated for sexual health care; (122681)

(2) if she will take steps to ring-fence funds allocated for sexual health care.

Sexual health services are funded through revenue allocations to primary care trusts (PCTs). The 2006-07 and 2007-08 revenue allocations separately identify funding to support the initiatives set out in the White Paper, “Choosing Health: making healthy choices easier”, such as sexual health modernisation and Chlamydia screening. A copy of the White Paper is available in the Library. It is for PCTs to determine how to use the funding allocated to them to commission services to meet the healthcare needs of their local populations.

The national health service must be free to make its own local spending decisions and we do not believe it is necessary to increase the burden on the NHS by collecting and monitoring details of their expenditure or by ring fencing funding. Rather we are interested in the real outcomes from local investment, and this is why we have introduced sexual health into the local delivery planning process and have now identified this area as a key priority. This will enable us to see where real improvements are being delivered in areas such as waiting times and rates of infections.

Tomography: Hemel Hempstead

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of waiting times for routine MRI scans in Hemel Hempstead constituency. (119993)

Information is not available in the format requested. However, the table shows the number of people waiting for a magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) scan in the west Hertfordshire primary care trust area and the median time waited.

PCT

Total number of MRI scans being waited for

Median wait for an MRI scan (Weeks)

West Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust

1,296

6.1

Watford Hospital: Private Finance Initiative

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in signing the contract for the private finance initiative scheme at Watford hospital; and if she will make a statement. (120012)

It is the responsibility of primary care trusts and strategic health authorities to analyse their local situation and develop plans, in liaison with their local national health service trusts and primary care providers, to deliver high quality NHS services.

Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust has been tasked, by NHS East of England, to carry out a review of the ‘Investing In Your Health’ strategy looking at east and north and west Hertfordshire. In particular whether the current configuration plans are financially sustainable and, if not, the degree of change that would be required.

The West Hertfordshire NHS Trust capital investment scheme is one of those included in the private finance initiative reappraisal exercise which the Government announced in January 2006. Decisions have already been announced on a number of the schemes involved in the reappraisal; that concerning west Hertfordshire will be made in due course and will of course have to take into account the factors mentioned above.

Education and Skills

Higher Education: Christianity

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the level of discrimination against Christians in universities; and if he will make a statement. (122155)

[holding answer 22 February 2007]: I understand that there are disputes between the Christian Union and the students’ union in a very few universities; that the issues in dispute vary; and that they do not involve other Christian groups on campus. For these reasons, I do not believe that these very few cases represent deliberate or general discrimination against Christians.

Because there are different issues in each case it is important that these disputes are settled locally. I understand that the Christian think tank Ekklesia has studied these disputes and in its report has recommended internal mediation (for example through university chaplaincies) as a way forward. I think this is a helpful suggestion and is preferable to going to law.

We believe that legitimate faith groups on campus should be affiliated with the students’ union provided that they are operating within the law and the students’ union framework. Students’ unions should be inclusive.

The Education Act 1994 requires university governing bodies to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure the student union operates in a fair and democratic manner. I would expect them to do so in these cases or any others. It is important that universities maintain and support freedom of speech within the law.

Solicitor-General

Courts Martial

To ask the Solicitor-General on (1) what dates correspondence was sent by the Attorney-General to the Ministry of Defence on the subject of prosecutions of officers on active service; and if he will place copies of the correspondence in the Library; (122277)

(2) if he will publish the letter of the Attorney-General sent to the Secretary of State for Defence on 23 March 2005 concerning prosecutions of members of the armed forces.

[holding answer 22 February 2007]: The Attorney-General and the Secretary of State for Defence have corresponded about issues relating to military justice. Parts of this correspondence were disclosed in civil litigation proceedings and were referred to in the related Court of Appeal judgment. The correspondence comprises confidential communications between Ministers of a kind exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. There is therefore no intention to publish the correspondence.

Crown Prosecution Service

To ask the Solicitor-General which cases were considered by the Director of Public Prosecutions in each of the last three years. (122079)

In 2006, the CPS dealt with 1,140,000 cases. Cases are handled at a local level, by CPS offices throughout England and Wales, or by one of the three specialist casework divisions in CPS Headquarters.

The DPP is consulted about, or informed of, a substantial number of cases, on a regular basis. These include cases of importance, complexity, or sensitivity; cases of high media interest; and cases that otherwise involve issues of significant public interest.

The nature and extent of the DPP’s involvement varies from case to case. In some instances, he will simply be informed of key developments in a case; in some instances he will be consulted as to key decisions in a case; and in some instances, he will assume personal responsibility for the decision whether or not to prosecute. His involvement may include reading written briefing material submitted to him; it may include reading the case papers; it may include oral discussion of the case by him with others; and it may include the provision by him of written advice or instructions.

No central record is maintained of the cases that are drawn to the DPP’s attention.

Crown Prosecution Service: Official Cars

To ask the Solicitor-General what rules are in place on the use of officially-provided chauffeur-driven vehicles by senior officials of the Crown Prosecution Service. (121919)

As the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) falls within the remit of the Law Officers, this question has been transferred to me for reply.

The Ministerial Code of Conduct, published by the Cabinet Office, provides the rules for the use of officially-provided, chauffeur-driven vehicles by all senior government officials, including those within the CPS.

To ask the Solicitor-General what guidance his Department provides on the use of vehicles at public expense by senior Crown Prosecution Service officials. (122047)

As the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) falls within the remit of the Law Officers, this question has been transferred to me for reply.

Guidance on the use of vehicles at public expense by all CPS officials is provided in the department’s travel and subsistence guide. The Ministerial Code of Conduct, published by the Cabinet Office, provides the rules for the use of officially provided, chauffeur-driven vehicles by all senior government officials, including those within the CPS.

Leader of the House

House of Lords: Reform

To ask the Leader of the House what range of numbers of electors an elected Member of the Lords will represent under his proposals for reform of the House of Lords; what the range is of the number of electors represented by hon. Members; whether elected Members would have the same freedom as hon. Members to make representations on behalf of their constituents; and whether those elected would have parliamentary expenses to enable them to employ staff to help them with constituency work. (122773)

We must await the decision of the House on 7 March before providing detailed analysis. Nor should we speculate on the issue of remuneration. Paragraphs 9.9 to 9.15 of the White Paper explain that the Government will seek the advice of the senior salaries review body on remuneration once the composition of any reformed House is much firmer.

By way of illustration and on the basis of the proposals outlined in the White Paper—The House of Lords: Reform (Cm 7027), using a model of a 50 per cent. appointed and 50 per cent. elected House—the assumption is that an elected Member would represent an average of 165,834 electors. This is calculated on the basis of a reformed House consisting of 270 elected Members, using the parliamentary electorate of 44,775,185 (ONS figures: published 22 February 2007). By way of comparison the number of electors represented by hon. Members ranges from 21,873 (Na-H-Eileanan ar lar) to 108,715 (Isle of Wight).

Work and Pensions

Departmental Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spent on statistics relating to the work of his Department in each of the last five years. (107265)

There is no consistent definition of the term “statistics relating to the work of the department” and no centrally held information on either the volume or costs of statistics published each year on this basis.

Estimates for the annual costs of National Statistics are contained in the relevant National Statistics annual report and accounts, which are available on the National Statistics website at:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=1051

The last year these were produced was 2004-05.

Housing Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received on methods of calculating income in assessing eligibility for housing benefit. (119787)

In the past year, the Department has received a number of representations from Members, various organisations and bodies, and members of the public about housing benefit. Some of these representations have concerned the method of calculating income.

Housing Benefit: Child Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what factors underlay the decision not to disregard child benefit when assessing eligibility for housing benefit; (119788)

(2) if he will disregard child benefit when assessing eligibility for housing benefit.

Housing benefit is an income-related benefit and as child benefit is an income, it has always been taken into account when deciding claims for housing benefit.

However, when pension credit was introduced in October 2003, it was decided to disregard child benefit as income in claims for housing benefit for people who had attained the qualifying age for state pension credit. This was to mirror the state pension credit income rules.

We will keep the treatment of child benefit under review as we take forward further reform of the benefit system.

Written Questions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to answer question 109530, tabled on 12 December 2006 by the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South. (121195)

Treasury

Departmental Overspend

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department is required to make up from its near-cash allocation in 2006-07 its overspend of near-cash in 2005-06. (117240)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 841W, on departmental overspend, what measures he (a) had in place in 2005-06 and (b) has in place in 2006-07 to prevent Departments overspending their near-cash resource budgets. (117265)

HM Treasury regularly monitors departmental spending against all control totals and discusses management of spending pressures with departments as a matter of course.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 841W, on departmental overspend, what the Department of Health's near-cash resource spending limit was in 2005-06; and what his latest estimate is of the Department of Health's near-cash resource spending in 2005-06. (117266)

Provisional near-cash spending estimates are published in the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses and the Public Expenditure Outturns White Paper, and are updated alongside the Budget and pre-Budget report.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 841W, on departmental overspend, whether he authorised the Department of Health to switch funds from non-cash to near-cash in 2005-06. (117402)

As set out in the Budget 2006, there was a re-profiling of the Department of Health's resource budget in the 2004 spending review years along with a number of routine and technical changes.

Financial Reporting Advisory Board

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the report by the Financial Reporting Advisory Board on assumptions used in his Department's accounting standards, including Technical Note 1. (123027)

The Financial Reporting Advisory Board is an independent body and it (not the Treasury) is responsible for the publication of all papers and reports produced by, or for, the Board. All papers and reports can be found on the FRAB website (www.frab.gov.uk) in line with the Board's publication policy.

Minister for Women

Human Trafficking: Prostitution

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what discussions she has had on the trafficking of women into the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation since the Government's decision to sign the Council of Europe's Convention on Human Trafficking. (122515)

I have regular conversations with fellow Ministers on these matters and as a member of the Inter-Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking I will be attending the next meeting scheduled for March.

Communities and Local Government

Antisocial Behaviour Orders

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether local authorities record the (a) ethnicity, (b) criminal record and (c) educational attainment of each person subject to an antisocial behaviour order in their area. (121757)

Communities and Local Government does not hold information on whether local authorities record ethnicity, criminal record and educational attainment of each person subject to an antisocial behaviour order in their area.

Blue Badge Scheme: Fraud

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many successful prosecutions for blue badge fraud were recorded by local authorities in England and Wales in 2006. (122203)

Equal Opportunities

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects to publish the findings of the discrimination law review; and if she will make a statement. (121898)

The proposals emerging from the Discrimination Law Review will be published in a Green Paper for public consultation, shortly.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects to publish proposals for a Single Equalities Bill; and if she will make a statement. (121901)

The Government have given a manifesto commitment to introduce a Single Equality Bill during the lifetime of this Parliament. Proposals for the Single Equality Bill will be published in a Green Paper for public consultation, shortly.

Electoral Commission Committee

Elections: Fraud

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what steps the Electoral Commission is taking to collate information from the Crown Prosecution Service on the level of electoral fraud and the number of investigations into alleged fraud. (119594)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it works with the Crown Prosecution Service to collate data on instances and allegations of electoral malpractice. It is currently considering whether this data could usefully be disaggregated by specific categories of actual or alleged electoral offences. A decision on this will be reached shortly.

Local Government: Voting Methods

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission whether the Electoral Commission has considered the use of remote electronic voting in local elections. (119972)

The Commission informs me that it has done so in the context of its statutory evaluation of electoral pilot schemes. It evaluated remote electronic voting pilots at elections to 19 English local authorities in 2002 and 2003, and its findings have been made publicly available. In 2007, the Commission will evaluate five further remote electronic voting pilots which have been accepted by the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs for the English local government elections on 3 May. The Commission’s evaluations must be published no later than three months after the election.

Political Parties: Finance

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission how much the Electoral Commission spent on commissioning MORI to conduct a review into attitudes to party funding in 2006. (119595)

The Electoral Commission informs me that the research it commissioned through Ipsos MORI into public attitudes into party funding in the United Kingdom, which concluded in November 2006, cost £158,000. The intention of the research was to provide a better understanding of public attitudes to party political funding in order to inform current policy discussion in this area, and in particular Sir Hayden Phillips’ Review of the Funding of Political Parties.

Northern Ireland

Educational Psychologists

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average waiting time to see an educational psychologist was in each education and library board area in the Province in the last period for which figures are available; and what the longest time is for which an individual has been waiting to see an educational psychologist in each area. (119153)

In the last period for which figures are available the average waiting time to see an educational psychologist within each Education and Library Board is as follows:

Education and Library Board

Period

Times

Belfast

Academic Year 2005-06

14 weeks (Stages 3 and 4 combined)

North Eastern

Calendar Year 2006

11 weeks (Stage 3) 3 weeks 5 days (Stage 4)

Western

Calendar Year 2006

110 weeks (Stages 3 and 4 combined)

Southern

Academic Year 2005-06

118 weeks (Stages 3 and 4 combined)

South Eastern

Calendar Year 2006

47 weeks (Stage 3) 5 weeks 1 day (Stage 4)

1 Average time given is the combined waiting time for assessment by educational psychologists at both stages 3, non-statutory assessments, and 4, statutory assessments, of the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs.

The longest waiting times to be seen by an educational psychologist are for non-statutory stage 3 referrals and are as follows:

Library Board

Waiting Time

Belfast

18 months

North Eastern

11 months 27 days

Western

14.5 months

Southern

13 months

South Eastern

20 months

Employment: Private Sector

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many private sector jobs were created in Northern Ireland between 2001 and 2006; and how many were in the (a) Belfast travel to work area and (b) rest of Northern Ireland. (122692)

Information on the number of jobs created is not available. However, figures from the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) can be used to estimate the net change in employee job levels in the private sector at the Northern Ireland level between 2001 and 2006. The number of employee jobs in the private sector in Northern Ireland at September 2001 and September 2006 is shown in the table as follows. This data are not available by travel-to-work area.

Number of private sector employee jobs in Northern Ireland 2001 and 2006

Private sector jobs

September 2001

450,440

September 2006

481,620

Net change

+ 31,180

Note:

Figures are not seasonally adjusted and are rounded to the nearest 10.

Source:

Quarterly Employment Survey, DETI.

Foreign Investment

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps Invest Northern Ireland is taking to ensure that the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington during July is utilised to secure an increase in potential inward investor visits to all parts of Northern Ireland. (122691)

This Festival provides a useful platform to showcase Northern Ireland positively as a strategic investment and trade partner for US corporations wishing to establish and grow their presence in Europe and for Northern Ireland companies seeking new US business alliances. Invest NI in association with the Rediscover Northern Ireland initiative and the Smithsonian programme is arranging a series of investment and trade events running from March to July 2007 in Washington DC, with the objective of encouraging an increased level of inward activity into Northern Ireland by potential investors from the United States.

Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 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. (113811)

The 10 highest paid members of NIO are the senior management team and are members of the Departmental Board. Pension details are disclosed in the Remuneration Report that forms part of the Department’s Resource Accounts, a copy of which can be obtained from the Library and is available at:

www.nio.gov.uk.

Home Department

Antisocial Behaviour Orders

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make an individual support order a compulsory component of each antisocial behaviour order served on an individual over the age of 17. (121914)

Individual support orders are currently available for people under the age of 18. This is in recognition of the particular problems young people face in understanding and changing their behaviour. For people aged 18 and over served with an antisocial behaviour order the court may make an Intervention Order if it considers the cause of the antisocial behaviour to be drug-related.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders have been imposed in 2007 in (a) England, (b) Greater London and (c) Havering. (122499)

Antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) data are currently available 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, can be found on the Crime Reduction website at www.crimereduction. gov.uk.

Business Improvement Districts

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether representatives of his Department's premises in London N1 will be voting in favour of the introduction of a business improvement district in the area. (119665)

The Home Office supports the aims of business improvement districts, particularly to cut crime and protect the public, and will give sympathetic consideration to supporting the proposed scheme in London N1.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines have been issued to managers of his Department's buildings on business improvement districts. (119667)

Proposals for business improvement districts are considered on their merits on a case by case basis. So far the Department has given support to several individual schemes in view of the potential benefits in reducing crime and improving community safety and subject to consideration of any additional costs that may arise from increased business rates for its accommodation.

Community Policing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 1 February 2007, Official Report, column 515W, on community policing, to whom the term others refers in relation to neighbourhood policing teams. (121781)

Tackling the public’s community safety concerns is not solely a policing issue; neighbourhood policing teams must work with other community safety partners in order to tackle local issues effectively.

It is for the chief constable of each force to determine, based on an assessment of local circumstances and concerns, the appropriate mix of police officers, police community support officers and other partners in each neighbourhood policing team, but non-police members might include, for example, neighbourhood managers and wardens, housing managers, youth workers and representatives of the voluntary and community sectors.

Crime

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department has taken to encourage local authorities to consider the implications of each of their activities for crime and disorder as per section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. (121758)

The Home Office is committed to ensuring that all responsible authorities implement Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act (1998). In relation to local authorities, the current Audit Commission process looks at how well local councils deliver their services under the comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA). Inspections of English district and top tier councils include community safety with a specific focus on section 17 compliance.

The introductions of statutory national standards for all crime and disorder reduction partnerships later this year will further support partners meet their requirements under section 17.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to implement section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998; and what role those provisions have in relation to his Department’s Respect Plan. (121759)

The Government introduced section 17 as part of the provisions of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, which was supported by guidance designed to assist partnership members implement section 17 remit at local level. It has been kept under review since its inception; the bodies covered by section 17 were extended by the Police Reform Act 2002, and the scope of activities covered by section 17 were extended by the Police and Justice Act (2006) to include antisocial behaviour.

This inclusion will assist in delivering the Governments Respect programme which aims to ensure that a range of local agencies, including local authorities, tackle antisocial behaviour and its causes.

The response to section 17 duties is therefore the heart of an effective response local response to the Respect programme.

Drugs: Havering

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many drug-related offences were committed in 2006 in the London borough of Havering. (122501)

Data collected centrally on recorded crime do not identify whether offences (other than drug offences) are drug related. The recorded crime series does include the number of specific drug offences. There were 505 recorded drug offences in Havering in 2005-06, the latest year for which data are available.

Electronic Surveillance

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many requests his Department has received from intercept checks on telephone and e-mail in each of the last 11 years. (122702)

The available information is contained in the annual reports of the Interception of Communications Commissioner, copies of which are in the Library of the House. The Interception of Communication Commissioner’s most recent report, for 2005, was published on 19 February 2007.

Identity Cards

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what methods employers will be expected to use to verify the identity of workers holding a biometric immigration document. (119611)

Employers who wish to gain a statutory defence against prosecution for employing an illegal worker are expected to undertake document checks to ensure that the individual is authorised to take the employment in question. This requirement will continue under civil penalties (on which we will be consulting prior to implementation later this year). An Employer Verification Service, to run through an existing telephone helpline, will be piloted in March this year and rolled out after a successful pilot. We intend rolling out an enhanced service over the next few years.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what services and information will be accessible to identity card holders online with the use of the identity registration number and the personal identification number. (119612)

Design work with potential users of the identity verification service remains ongoing. As such, it is not possible to state which services and information will be available online to ID card holders through the use of a personal identification number at this time.

Naltrexone

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what extent the drug naltrexone is used (a) in connection with probationary release of recidivist addict offenders and (b) to keep prisoners clean of opiates while they are in custody. (118714)

Naltrexone is available in many prisons. It is generally prescribed prior to release for drug-free offenders who wish to have additional prescribed support to help prevent their relapsing to opiate use.

This intervention is provided in conjunction with a community service which is willing to continue the prescription post-release. A national framework for continuity of care, comprising throughcare and aftercare has been set up together with The Home Office Drug Interventions Programme (DIP) and other key partners, National Treatment Agency, NOMS (including Prison service and Probation). This sets out arrangements for continuity of care for Criminal Justice Intervention Teams(CJITs) who deliver DIP in the community, the CARATs teams in prisons, offender managers and treatment providers.

Depending on assessed clinical need, Naltrexone can be prescribed on a voluntary basis to offenders under statutory supervision post-release as part of a relapse prevention plan. However, data on the extent of its use is not collected centrally.

Naltrexone may be also prescribed at any point in a prisoner's custody, to provide a similar pharmacological protection in prison.

North Wales Police Authority

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total budget of the North Wales Police Authority was in (a) cash and (b) real terms in each of the last 20 years. (118185)

The available information is set out in the following table.

Prior to 1995-96 budgets for shire districts were the responsibility of county councils and are not readily available. In April 1995 new police authorities were set up in the shire areas taking all responsibilities from county councils.

North Wales Police Authority budgets 1995-96 to 2006-07

£ million

Budget requirement

Real terms

1995-961

66.0

1996-97

69.1

85.8

1997-98

71.3

86.0

1998-99

73.9

87.0

1999-2000

79.6

91.8

2000-01

84.0

95.6

2001-02

89.5

99.4

2002-03

93.5

100.8

2003-04

104.6

109.5

2004-05

115.2

117.3

2005-062,3

120.7

120.7

2005-06 (Adj)

113.6

113.6

2006-07

118.7

115.6

1 In April 1995 new police authorities were set up in the shire areas taking all policing responsibilities away from county councils. 2 2005-06 figures are not directly comparable with 2006-07 due to the transfer of pensions and security arrangements from general grant to specific grants in 2006-07. 3 Real terms at 2005-06 prices using GDP deflator at 21 December 2006. Source: Welsh Assembly Government

Parking Offences: Tamworth

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many parking tickets were issued in Tamworth constituency in each of the last three years. (122433)

It is not possible from the data collected centrally to identify the parliamentary constituency of Tamworth within the geographical area covered by the Staffordshire police force.

Information on fixed penalty notices issued by the Staffordshire police force can be found in the annual Home Office publication “Offences relating to motor vehicles, England and Wales, Supplementary tables”—tables 20(b) and 20(c) refer. The publication is available on the Research Development and Statistics (RDS) website. Copies of the publication are also available in the Library.

The website address is:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pubsstatistical.html

People Trafficking

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Government will decide whether to sign the European Convention on Trafficking in Human Beings; and if he will make a statement. (116908)

The Prime Minister announced on the 22 January the UK’s intention to sign the Council of Europe Convention. Details on how implementation will be taken forward are currently being developed.

Police Cautions: Fixed Penalties

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) cautions and (b) fixed penalty notices were issued in each of the last three years for (i) burglaries, (ii) theft and (iii) other offences; and if he will make a statement. (120283)

Data on the number of offenders cautioned for burglary, theft and other offences in England and Wales 2003 to 2005 are provided in table A.

The Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) Scheme was rolled out to all police forces in England and Wales in 2004 under the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001. Under the scheme, the police are able to issue penalty notices of either £50 or £80, for a specified range of minor disorder offences including (minor) shop theft of goods under £200. PNDs cannot be issued for burglary offences. The power to issue a penalty notice is a discretionary one and provides an additional option to other methods of disposal including custody.

As the PND Scheme was introduced in 2004, data on the number of PNDs issued are only available for 2004 and 2005 (shop theft became a PND offence on 1 November 2004). This is provided in table B. Provisional data on the number of PNDs issued for the whole of 2006 will be available in April 2007.

Table A: Offenders cautioned for burglary, theft and all other offences, England and Wales, 2003 to 20051

Number

Offence class

2003

2004

2005

Burglary

5,568

5,604

6,451

Theft and handling stolen goods

54,466

61,944

67,619

All offences

241,806

255,768

298,945

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 police forces. 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.

Table B: Penalty notices for disorder issued for shoplifting and all other offences, England and Wales, 2004, 2005 and January to June 2006 provisional figures1

Number

Offence class

2004

2005

2006

All offences

63,639

146,481

88,911

Of which:

Shoplifting (retail under £200)

2,072

21,997

16,807

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 police forces. 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.

Police: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from chief constables on the Police Grant Report 2007-08. (121913)

I have had a range of representations from individual Chief Constables and Chairs of police authorities on the Police Grant Report 2007-08.

Police: Gloucestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what different types of specific grants that his Department has allocated to police authorities in Gloucestershire in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (122039)

The information requested is set out in the following table.

Gloucestershire specific grant funding 1997-98 to 2007-08

From

To

Specific grant

2000-01

Present

Crime Fighting Fund

2003-04

Present

Basic Command Unit Fund

2003-04

Present

Community Support Officers Continuation Funding

2004-05

Present

Neighbourhood Policing Fund

2000-01

Consolidated in 2006-07 to become Special Formula Grant

Rural Policing Fund

2000-01

Consolidated in 2006-07 to become Special Formula Grant

Forensic (DNA Expansion) Grant

2003-04

Consolidated in 2006-07 to become Special Formula Grant

Special Priority Payments

2006-07

Present

Special Formula Grant

2006-071

Present

Pensions Deficit Grant

2006-071

Present

Dedicated Security Posts

1997-98

Present

Capital Provision

2001-02

2005-06

Airwave

2002-03

2003-04

Premises Improvement Fund

1 Was originally included within general grant.

Police: Surveys

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any form of staff satisfaction survey is carried out for serving police officers. (122015)

The decision to carry out staff satisfaction surveys is a matter for chief constables of each force. The results of any such surveys are not held centrally.

Serious Organised Crime Agency: Immigration

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officers in the Serious and Organised Crime Agency are working on tackling organised immigration crime. (120404)

Organised immigration crime is the second priority for the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) after drugs and shall aim to devote broadly 25 per cent. of its resources to tackling it. SOCA does not comment on operational matters but will publish an annual report following the end of the financial year on the exercise of its functions during the year.

Vandalism: Public Houses

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many instances of vandalism were reported to police by publicans in each year since 1997. (122408)

Written Questions: Administrative Delays

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will answer question (a) 112034, on the company Veritas, and (b) 112035, on contracts held between English police forces and Veritas, tabled on 24 January by the hon. Member for Taunton. (120475)

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Peace Keeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the (a) composition, (b) objectives and (c) cost of the proposed EU police mission to Afghanistan. (122929)

The General Affairs and External Relations Council of the European Union agreed on 12 February an European Security and Defence Policy mission to Afghanistan in the field of policing with linkages to the wider rule of law. The mission will work towards an Afghan police force in local ownership, that respects human rights and operates within the framework of the rule of law. The mission will build on current efforts, and follow a comprehensive and strategic approach. In doing so, the mission will address issues of police reform at central, regional and provincial level, as appropriate. Detailed planning is under way, which will determine the composition and cost of the mission.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the proposed EU police mission to Afghanistan is expected to commence; and whether the UK will be contributing to the mission. (122930)

The UK will be contributing to an European Security and Defence Policy mission to Afghanistan in the field of policing, with linkages to the wider rule of law, which should be launched in the first half of this year.

Afghanistan: Trade