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Written Answers

Volume 457: debated on Tuesday 6 March 2007

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 6 March 2007

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Departmental Campaigns

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent on (a) all environmental campaigns, (b) the Tomorrow's Climate, Today's Challenge (TCTC) campaign and (c) the Tomorrow's England initiative funded by the TCTC budget, in each year since 2000; and if he will make a statement. (110463)

The information requested is as follows:

(a) Defra was created in June 2001. Since then, Defra has funded various environmental campaigns through the core Department and key delivery partners. The costs are as follows:

Defra spend on combined environmental campaigns including delivery partners1

Expenditure (£000)

2000-01

18,864

2001-02

12,058

2002-03

11,275

2003-04

14,814

2004-05

22,144

2005-06

25,137

1 Includes activity from Environment Agency, Envirowise, WRAP, Encams, Carbon Trust, Energy Saving Trust.

(b) The Climate Change Communications Initiative was launched in December 2005 and used the slogan Tomorrow's Climate, Today's Challenge as its campaign branding. The costs to date are as follows:

Defra spend on the Climate Change Communications Initiative

Expenditure (£000)

2005-06

1,150

2006-071

4,505

1 To date.

(c) The Tomorrow's England project started in September 2006 is one of 83 projects funded from the Challenge Fund element of the Climate Change Communications Initiative. Funding for this project in 2006-07 was £35,232.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the annual (a) resource costs, (b) capital expenditure costs and (c) staffing costs were of each environment campaign promoted by the Government at today’s prices in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (117329)

Defra was created in June 2001. Since then, Defra has funded various environmental campaigns through the core department and its key delivery partners. The costs are as follows:

Defra—Climate Change Communications Initiative

In December 2005 a new £12 million campaign called “Tomorrow’s Climate, Today’s Challenge” was launched designed to raise public awareness of and change attitudes to climate change. The costs to date are as follows:

Defra—Climate Change Communications Initiative

£000

Expenditure

Expenditure at 2006-07 prices

2005-06

1,2,31,150

1,181

2006-07 (to date)

4,5,64,505

4,505

The figures include the following elements with the remainder being resource costs:

1 Resource cost £477,000

2 Capital cost £643,000 for film, brochures, website etc.

3 Staff cost £30,000

4 Resource cost £3,645,000

5 Capital cost £607,000 for film, brochures, website etc.

6 Staff cost £253,000.

Defra—Every Action Counts

Defra—Every Action Counts

£000

Expenditure

Expenditure at 2006-07 prices

2005-06

0

0

2006-07 (to date)

11,600

1,600

1 Defra is providing around £4 million over three years for the Every Action Counts initiative. This started in 2006-07. It is delivered by a partnership of third sector organisations. There are 12 staff working in these voluntary organisations who are being funded through this scheme at a total salary cost of £284,762.

Environment Agency

The two main environmental campaigns run by the Environment Agency are World Environment Day and Flood Awareness.

The first World Environment Day was held in 2004. The total campaign costs are as follows:

World Environment Day

£000

Expenditure

Expenditure at 2006-07 prices

2004

150

157

2005

150

154

2006

250

250

The Flood Awareness Campaign delivers a rolling programme of public awareness initiatives across England and Wales. In 1999 the Government and the Environment Agency Board approved a 10-year £2 million per annum business case to fund the campaign.

Staff costs and resource breakdowns are not available.

Envirowise

Envirowise is a business support programme funded by Government to help companies make cost savings from environmental improvements.

Envirowise1

£000

Expenditure

Expenditure at 2006-07 prices

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

1,138

1,304

2001-02

1,229

1,393

2002-03

1,236

1,363

2003-04

1,267

1,360

2004-05

1,286

1,345

2005-06

3,431

3,523

1 Envirowise was created in 2000 as the successor programme to the Environmental Technology Best Practice Programme. From 2005-06 funding was increased to allow the programme to support all businesses affected by increases in Landfill Tax. Figures above refer to total expenditure, including staff and resource costs, for all market research, impact measurement, marketing campaigns, website hosting and maintenance, best practice workshops and guides. Resource and staff costs are not available separately.

WRAP

Waste and Resources Action programme1—National recycling communications campaign

£000

Expenditure

Expenditure at 2006-07 prices

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2517

555

2004-05

3,45,431

5,678

2005-06

55,018

5,153

1 The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is funded by Defra, the devolved Administrations. WRAP was formed in 2000 and began work in 2001. Figures supplied by WRAP.

2 Staff numbers 2 (rounded estimate), staff cost £55,000.

3 Staff numbers 4.5, staff cost £115,000.

4 Under their second business plan WRAP have committed a total of £10.966 million to a national campaign “Recycle Now” over the three year period 2003-06.

5 Staff numbers 2.5 (directly attributable), staff cost £118,000.

ENCAMS

ENCAMS

£000

Expenditure

Expenditure at 2006-07 prices

1997-98

3,997

4,864

1998-99

3,697

4,405

1999-2000

3,762

4,406

2000-01

3,542

4,099

2001-02

3,762

4,265

2002-03

13,597

3,967

2003-04

3,574

3,835

2004-05

24,542

4,749

2005-06

25,542

5,691

1 In addition to this expenditure Defra allocated an additional £1 million to local authorities through ENCAMS for the Local Environmental Quality Pathfinder Programme that forged partnerships between local authorities and the local community. Some of the projects developed reduced fast food litter, railway land litter and schools litter.

2 ENCAMS baseline grant was increased by £1 million in 2004-05, and is being increased by a further £1 million in 2005-06.

Government funding is provided to ENCAMS (formerly Tidy Britain Group) annually. This funding supports ENCAMS work on a range of local environmental quality issues, including programmes to discourage littering.

Staff and resource figures are not available

Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust, an independent company funded by Defra, spent the following on its Marketing Campaign.

Carbon Trust

£000

Expenditure

Expenditure at 2006-07 prices

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

1700

772

2003-04

3,300

3,541

2004-05

3,600

3,764

2005-06

3,800

3,697

1 The Carbon Trust was formed in 2001-02 but did not begin marketing activity until 2002-03. Figure for 2002-03 is total marketing expenditure. Figures for 2003-04 and 2004-05 represent expenditure on awareness campaigns.

Figures for resource breakdown are not available as the Carbon Trust does not distinguish between these categories in the funding information it provides to Defra.

Energy Saving Trust

The Energy Saving Trust, an independent company funded by Defra, spent the following on its Energy Efficiency Consumer Marketing Campaign.

Energy Saving Trust£000ExpenditureExpenditure at 2006-07 prices1997-9813,3134,0321998-993,5324,1491999-20003,7264,3652000-014,2084,8702001-026,5427,416Staff(488)(553)Resource(6,054)(6,863)2002-035,7426,332Staff(487)(537)Resource(5,255)(5,795)2003-046,0386,479Staff(560)(601)Resource(5,478)(5,878)2004-0528,4538,838Staff(547)(572)Resource(7,906)(8,266)2005-065,9466,105Staff(511)(524)Resource(5,435)(5,580) 1 Figures for 1997-98 to 2000-01 inclusive show advertising expenditure only and include a small amount of Scottish Executive support.2 Figures for 2004-05 have been updated as the previous figures supplied for PQ 0622 (March 2005) were an estimated outturn including a separate campaign to promote energy efficiency in the run-up to the start of the Energy Efficiency Commitment for 2005-08.

“Are you doing your bit?”

DETR/Defra: “Are you doing you bit?” campaign

£000

Expenditure

Expenditure at 2006-07 prices

1997-98

0

0

1998-99

3,809

4,539

1999-2000

7,666

8,980

2000-01

9,976

11,545

2001-02

525

595

2002-03

10

0

2003-04

0

0

2004-05

0

0

2005-06

0

0

1 This campaign served to raise public awareness and to encourage individual action to help the environment. However, in the absence of an underpinning legal requirement, it was considered to be of lower priority than the Department’s other environmental programmes which bodies such as the Energy Savings Trust and NGOs will deliver. Winding down the campaign helped deliver savings of £3.4 million pa from 2005-06 onwards.

Staff and resource figures are not available.

All expenditure at 2006-07 prices has been calculated using the GDP deflator tables from HM Treasury. Since similar questions were answered there have been changes in accounting practices which have given rise to variations in some of the figures given in this answer.

Energy: Conservation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of local authority compliance with provisions in the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995, with particular reference to the performance of Birmingham city council. (124601)

Birmingham city council has reported a 21.5 per cent. improvement in energy efficiency in residential accommodation to March 2005 under the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 (HECA). Defra has provided annual written feedback to all English local authorities in response to their HECA reports.

We are currently carrying out a review of HECA, which fulfils a commitment made in the Energy White Paper 2003. The review is due to end shortly.

EU Emissions Trading Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research he has commissioned into the methodology of including avoided deforestation in the Kyoto Protocol carbon trading rules. (124942)

Any access to carbon markets will require methodologies to measure emissions from deforestation, because it is necessary to estimate whether a reduction in emissions has been achieved relative to an agreed level. Methodologies to do this have been developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as part of its work on land use, land use change and forestry. The UK made a large contribution to the detailed scientific work and overall guidance of this effort.

The Natural Environmental Research Council is currently considering proposals for work under its Quantifying and Understanding the Earth System (QUEST) programme that deal with the practicalities of biosphere management including emissions reduction from deforestation. One £350,000 study will explicitly address methodologies for avoided deforestation (along with forest management and bioenergy production) under the Kyoto Protocol. The other planned study (£500,000) investigates the mitigation potential of avoided deforestation compared with other activities, in a context of optimal sustainability.

Flood Control: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the proportion of Government funding for flood defences planned to be dedicated to (a) maintenance and (b) new build of defences in 2006-07. (124712)

Defra’s current allocation of Flood Risk Grant in Aid for the Environment Agency (EA) for 2006-07 is £419 million. Of this, the EA estimates £153 million will be spent on maintenance-related activities and £196 million on the capital improvement programme, with the balance funding other activities.

Some £13 million of Defra grant will be spent by local authorities (LAs) and internal drainage boards (IDBs) on capital flood risk improvement projects.

Funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will support estimated LA expenditure of £72 million on their levies to the EA and IDBs (£23 million and £27 million respectively, some of which will be spent on capital improvement works). LA’s own spend on flood risk management operations and maintenance is estimated at £22 million.

LAs estimate spend of £66 million of Defra grant for coast protection capital improvement projects and £14 million on coastal erosion maintenance and operations supported by DCLG. Both expenditures are primarily to defend against coastal erosion but often also provide benefits against flooding from the sea.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the main headings are in the budget for flood defence spending; what budget has been allocated for each of the next three years; and what the decision-making process is for the allocation of these funds. (124860)

Defra has overall policy responsibility for flood and coastal erosion risk management in England, funds most of the Environment Agency’s (EA) flood-related work and grant-aids individual capital improvement projects undertaken by local authorities and internal drainage boards. The programme to manage risk is driven by these operating authorities within the framework of desired outcomes for the programme and investment prioritisation approach set by Defra. Defra does not carry out works directly, and nor does it direct the authorities on which specific individual projects to undertake.

Within the overall budget for flood and coastal erosion risk management, Defra allocates funding as follows, with the 2007-08 allocation in brackets:

(i) Grant in Aid to the EA for flood risk management (£435.7 million).

(ii) Funding to local authorities and internal drainage boards for capital flood risk improvement projects, channelled through the EA (£21.2 million).

(iii) Funding to local authorities for capital coast protection improvement projects (£46.1 million). These are primarily to defend against coastal erosion but often also provide benefits against flooding from the sea.

(iv) Other spend such as research and development, consultancies, Defra running costs (£6 million).

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) also provides significant support to local authorities for further expenditure on flood risk management activities through its local government funding mechanism.

Funding in 2008-09 and 2009-10 will be considered in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review.

Grant in Aid for the EA, comprises of two parts. Firstly, funding transferred from DCLG to Defra which had previously been provided to the EA by local authorities via DCLG-supported levies. Since 2004 this has been provided to the EA as direct Grant in Aid from Defra.

Secondly, funding from a shared capital allocation divided between the EA, local authorities and internal drainage boards. In previous years, capital funds have been allocated using the Defra priority score system. Owing to the high level of forward commitment in 2007-08 there was only a small amount of money available to fund new works schemes. For that reason, it was decided that only certain development studies and coastal monitoring projects by local authorities and internal drainage boards helping to maintain the forward programme would receive new funding except for the works scheme at Weston-Super-Mare. Letters to the authorities setting out the detail of the 2007-08 allocation process are published on the Defra website.

Flood Control: North Yorkshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the decision making process is for the allocation of funding to flood defence scheme projects in North Yorkshire following structural changes in the process. (124982)

Most flood risk management work in North Yorkshire is carried out by the Environment Agency (EA). Flood risk Grant in Aid from Defra is provided to the EA as a block. The EA then allocate funding from the block to activities such as flood warning, capital improvement projects, maintenance of existing assets and preventing inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding etcetera.

The EA allocates capital improvement funding to projects in its regions using a priority scoring system. This system gives priority to projects currently under way or to those projects which are both urgent and exempt from the priority scoring requirement because of, for example, legal obligations. Remaining funding is allocated to those projects which are likely to provide most benefit (economic, protection of people and environmental) per unit cost nationally. Capital improvement funding for North Yorkshire, therefore, will depend on the number and cost of projects in that region which receive funding through this process.

Institute for Public Policy Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding the Energy Saving Trust provided to (a) the IPPR and (b) IPPR Trading Ltd. in each year since its creation; and for what purpose funding was provided. (124214)

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) is a private company. Decisions about what funding it might provide to third parties are a matter for the EST Board. However, I understand that none of the grant funding provided to the EST by Defra in support of its energy efficiency activities has been provided to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) or IPPR Trading Limited.

Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what his most recent estimate is of the weight of (a) glass, (b) paper, (c) aluminium, (d) steel, (e) plastics and (f) wood thrown away by (i) households and (ii) businesses in England in a year; and if he will make a statement; (124072)

(2) if he will estimate the difference in the amount of (a) energy and (b) water consumed for every tonne of (i) glass, (ii) paper, (iii) aluminium, (iv) steel, (v) plastics and (vi) wood that is produced from recycled rather than new material; and what proportion the energy used to produce each from recycled materials represents as a proportion of the energy used for producing them from new material;

(3) what his most recent estimate is of the amount in tonnes of waste diverted from landfill through the recycling of (a) glass, (b) paper, (c) aluminium, (d) steel, (e) plastics and (f) wood in a year.

Analysis of the composition of the household waste stream was undertaken by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in 2002. These estimates have been applied to the total household waste arisings in 2005-06 for WasteDataFlow as follows:

Tonnes (000)

Glass

1,741

Paper and card

4,704

Metal cans and foil

662

Scrap metal and white goods

1,145

Plastics

1,802

Wood

1,056

Aluminium and steel were not separately identified in the compositional analysis.

Estimates of total commercial and industrial waste are available from the Environment Agency's (EA) Commercial and Industrial Waste Survey 2002-03, copies of which I am placing in the House Libraries.

The amount of waste from household sources that was sent for recycling in 2005-06 by material type is shown in the following table:

Tonnes (000)

Glass

760

Paper and card

1,475

Cans

74

Scrap metal and white goods

532

Plastics

38

Source: WasteDataFlow

Estimates of commercial waste materials recycled are available from the EA's Commercial and Industrial Waste Survey 2002-03, copies of which I have placed in the Libraries of the House.

A Defra commissioned research study conducted by ERM in association with Golder Associates entitled “Carbon Balances and Energy Impacts of the Management of UK Wastes” will be published on the Defra website shortly. This peer reviewed study report details a macro-level investigation of the carbon flows, energy and greenhouse gas benefits and impacts associated with alternative management routes for the predominant waste materials arising in the UK. The research examines the scale of benefits and impacts resulting from different process and recovery routes, traces carbon flows through alternative systems and identifies the most significant wastes and management methods.

Treasury

Agriculture: Subsidies

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he was informed by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that contingent liabilities for provisions for disallowance arising from Common Agricultural Policy schemes, notably the single farm payment, and the possible financial correction the European Commission may apply would be (a) £131 million and (b) £305 million; and if he will make a statement. (124335)

The estimate of potential disallowances is reviewed continually by Defra and RPA officials. Provisions for potential disallowances, totalling £116 million (in respect on England only), were made in Defra accounts for 2005-06 (covering SPS 2005 and predating historic CAP schemes).

On 20 February 2007, Defra's spring supplementary estimate included a claim on the Reserve of £305 million for 2006-07. The claim provides estimate cover for provisions in respect of potential financial corrections to EC reimbursements for SPS 2005, any new provisions for SPS 2006 payments to farmers and other CAP schemes. Final figures for provisions will be provided in Defra's 2006-07 accounts.

Allowances: Electric Vehicles

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider making the advisory fuel rates for the private use of petrol hybrid company cars the same as those for the company use of those cars. (124683)

Company car drivers are entitled to tax relief for the actual cost of fuel used for business mileage, but to make life easier for all, HMRC sets advisory fuel rates which it will accept as, on average, reflecting fuel costs without giving rise to a tax or NICs liability. The same rates apply where an employee makes good the cost of any fuel he or she has used for private mileage.

Census

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 8 February 2007, Official Report, columns 1131W, on the census, what the most recent date was when the Office for National Statistics rejected an application for an extract from the 1921 Census for England and Wales on the grounds that Exemption 41 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 applied to the records. (124113)

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 6 March 2007:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what the most recent date was when the Office for National Statistics (ONS) rejected an application for an extract from the 1921 Census for England and Wales on the grounds that Exemption 41 of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 applied to the records. (124113)

The last time ONS rejected an application for an extract from the 1921 Census for England and Wales on the grounds that Section 41 of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 applied, was on 15 December 2006.

Charitable Donations

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into the effectiveness of Gift Aid tax relief in promoting charitable giving. (125731)

Since 2003, HMRC has commissioned the following research projects on charitable giving:

Individuals' Donations to Charities and their Use of Tax Relief;

Research on Charities;

Companies' Donations to Charities; and

Qualitative Research with High Net Worth Individuals.

The research on Individuals' Donations to Charities and their Use of Tax Relief is of most direct relevance. A copy of the research report is available at:

www.hmrc.gov.uk/research/rep9-main.pdf

Children's Centres: Finance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on children's centres funding. (125463)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 1 March 2007, Official Report, column 1488W.

Debts: Developing Countries

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to stop vulture funds from profiting from the debts of developing nations. (122754)

I share the hon. Member’s concern about the actions of vulture funds. The UK wants all creditors to join the multilateral debt workouts and urges all creditors of heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) to offer at least the debt relief agreed under the HIPC Initiative. The UK has been actively involved in assisting HIPCs to fight aggressive creditors though a number of channels. The UK has:

supported the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) Debt Reduction Facility, which provides funds for countries to buy off commercial debts at significant discount, thereby reducing the potential for litigation (since its establishment, this facility has provided support to extinguish around $8 billion of debt in low-income countries, including $3.8 billion of external commercial debt principal owned by HIPCs);

provided bilateral technical support and including financial support for legal services to the Zambian authorities through the Zambia Task Force of Corruption, to help them fight their recent court case;

provided around £4.5 million (and pledged further funds) to fund capacity building for debt management in developing countries, which will help to avoid these problems in the future;

encouraged the African Development Bank to develop a Legal Assistance Facility, which would—among other things—offer advice to HIPC countries facing litigation;

worked with our international partners to ensure that the IMF and World Bank raise public awareness of this problem by tracking and releasing data on lawsuits, litigations and settlements;

agreed, with our G20 partners, a set of Principles on Fair Debt Restructuring, which ensuring greater co-ordination between sovereign and commercial creditors and focus on transparency, sharing of information, good faith actions and fair treatment.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of vulture funds on the effectiveness of international aid to assist debt relief. (122755)

By depleting the resources of developing countries’ governments, these companies reduce the funds available for poverty-reducing expenditures on services such as health and education. The British Government have led the way in helping to cancel the debts of heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs). We have exceeded our commitments under HIPC, cancelling 100 per cent. of debts owed to the UK. However, the success of international debt relief initiatives depends on the participation of all creditors providing the debt relief these countries need.

The IMF publication “Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI)—Status of Implementation” published in August 2006 and available at

http://www.imf.org/external/pp/longres.aspx?id=3887

provides the most up to date analysis of the scale of litigation.

Defence: Finance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the defence budget in 2006-07 is as a proportion of the gross domestic product (a) inclusive and (b) exclusive of the cost of current conflicts. (125681)

Forecast of outturn figures for the Defence budget were published at spring supplementary estimates. Annual GDP deflators can be found on the Treasury's website at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/economic_data_and_tools/gdp_deflators/data_gdp_fig.cfm.

The latest forecast figures for the Defence budget 2006/07 will be published at Budget. Final figures will be available in the MOD's annual report and accounts that will be published following the end of the financial year, and will set out the level of the Defence budget as well as the additional cost of military operations.

Departments: Air Pollution

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate has been made of the carbon footprint of his Department. (124517)

I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given on 7 February 2007, Official Report, column 1027W.

Departments: Equal Opportunities

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has (a) a gender strategy and (b) a gender equality action plan in place. (125500)

Building on its existing strategy to promote diversity, HM Treasury will have a Gender Equality Action Plan in place by 30 April 2007.

Departments: Publications

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his Department's involvement was in the Department for International Development's publication ‘The World Classroom’. (125496)

‘The World Classroom’ sets out the Government's support for schools' partnerships projects, and places this in the context of the Government's wider policies to encourage access to education in developing countries. These are policies which the Chancellor strongly supports and which he has helped to promote nationally and internationally.

The publication was prepared by officials from the Department for International Development, working closely with HM Treasury officials.

Excise Duties: Biofuels

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to increase the duty on bio-diesel for leisure boat use; and if he will make a statement. (124704)

The derogation under the Energy Products Directive that permitted a reduced rate of duty on fuel used in private pleasure craft expired at 31 December 2006. Primary legislation will be required to end this concession, and until the law changes private pleasure craft users will continue to be eligible for partial repayment relief on 100 per cent. bio-diesel.

HMRC: Boat Interceptions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will direct HM Revenue and Customs to record interceptions of yachts and pleasure craft entering UK waters for collation by his Department. (105086)

HM Revenue and Customs do not systematically intercept yachts and pleasure craft entering UK waters, and therefore there is no record to be kept.

Money Laundering

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he interpreted the requirements set out in Article 16(1)(a) and (b) of the Third Money Laundering Directive to apply to (a) institutions and persons listed in Article 2 and (b) institutions and persons situated in third countries for the purposes of drafting the Money Laundering Regulations 2007; (125090)

(2) for what reasons the exemption from the requirement to report information received in professionally privileged circumstances in Regulation 7 of the Money Laundering Regulations 2003 is not included in the Draft Money Laundering Regulations 2007;

(3) if he will amend the draft Money Laundering Regulations 2007 to include rules to be followed (a) for calculating the 25 per cent. share of the beneficial interest in property held under a trust, as provided for in Article 3(6)(b)(i), and (b) in determining whether a person exercises control over 25 per cent. of trust property within the meaning of Article 3(6)(b)(iii) of the Third Money Laundering Directive;

(4) if he will amend Regulation 12 of the Draft Money Laundering Regulations 2007 to make explicit that regulated parties may rely on regulated persons situated in other member states for customer due diligence checks including where documents or data are different in form to those required in the UK.

The Government are currently consulting on draft Money Laundering Regulations 2007. The consultation closes on 2 April. The Government will make final decisions, including in relation to the definition of beneficial owner and the provisions contained in regulation 12, once they have considered all consultation responses.

The Government consider that the requirements set out in article 16(1)(a) and (b) of the Third Money Laundering Directive apply to institutions and persons listed in article 2 and equivalent institutions and persons situated in third countries.

The exemption for legal professional privilege in regulation 7 of the Money Laundering Regulations 2003 is based on the exemption in part 7 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The draft Money Laundering Regulations 2007, unlike the 2003 regulations, provide for internal reporting procedures in respect of the requirements of part 7 of the Act, and therefore it is unnecessary to set out this exemption or other provisions set out in part 7.

Research and Development Tax Credit: Bexley

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many projects in the London borough of Bexley received research and development tax credits in each of the last five years. (124198)

The information requested is not available.

For information generally on the take-up of research and development tax credits, I refer the hon. Member to the National Statistics published in December 2006 on the HM Revenue and Customs website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/corporate_tax/randdtcmenu.htm.

Revenue and Customs: Publicity

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how HM Revenue and Customs assesses the value for money of its expenditure on marketing and advertising to promote self-assessment online; and how it determines what proportion of the increase in the uptake of the service is due to its marketing and advertising campaign as opposed to the increased use of internet across society. (125363)

The value for money of HMRC's advertising expenditure is monitored via an independent specialist agency. Their most recent report concluded that HMRC are receiving excellent value compared to the industry average.

The Self Assessment campaign won Institute of Practitioners in Advertising Effectiveness awards in 2005 and 2006.

HMRC conducts analyses of trends to determine the proportion of behavioural change that can be attributed to its marketing efforts, taking account of organic take-up.

Tax Credit: Children

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the progress towards issuing annual statements to those in receipt of child tax credit. (124791)

At the end of the year tax credits claimants will be sent a notice containing a summary of their award history for the year as part of their renewal pack. For the end of 2006-07 this will also include playback.

Final award notices provide confirmation of the income and circumstances used to calculate the award, the amount of final entitlement to tax credits and the amount of tax credits paid for that award.

Tax Credit: North East Region

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many projects in (a) County Durham and (b) Easington constituency received research and development tax credits in each of the last four years. (124898)

The information requested is not available.

For information generally on the take-up of research and development tax credits, I refer my hon. Friend to the National Statistics published in December 2006 on the HM Revenue and Customs website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/corporate tax/randdtcmenu.htm

Taxation: International Assistance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the (a) amount of taxation on levels of remittance aid, (b) amount of tax paid on remittances from the UK to developing countries and (c) cost of providing tax relief on remittance aid; what measures he has taken to maximise levels of remittance aid; what steps he plans to take to increase the level of remittance aid; and what policy recommendations he has received from the UK Remittances Working Group. (124940)

Remittances are an increasingly importance source of development finance and can have a significant positive economic impact in developing countries, particularly low-income countries. That is why the Government welcomed the report of the UK Remittances Working Group, available at:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/news/files/pressreleases/report-remittance.asp.

The Government are engaged in several activities to support remittance flows, including:

developing partnerships with countries such as Bangladesh, Ghana and Nigeria;

establishing an information portal (www.sendmoneyhome. org) on costs, transparency, access and choice of remittance transfers; and

engaging regularly with the private-sector led UK Remittances Task Force which is working to promote increased competition and transparency for consumers and provide better information on the UK remittances market for Government and industry.

There are currently no specific tax measures focused on remittances.

VAT: Manpower

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people are employed by his Department to check the accuracy of VAT returns, broken down by grade. (125495)

Checking the accuracy of VAT returns is not a single activity to which HMRC allocates a specific resource. It is an intrinsic element of enforcement and compliance activity within the VAT regime on which 8,924 staff years were used in the financial year 2005-06.

Welfare Tax Credits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the extent to which the tax credits system has met its objectives; and what assessment he has made of the effect of problems experienced by claimants on the meeting of objectives. (121862)

Take-up of child tax credit (CTC) and working tax credit (WTC) has been a success with the vast majority of claimants receiving the right amount of payments at the right time.

Tax credits have helped to lift 700,000 children out of relative poverty since 1996-97—compared to a doubling of child poverty in the previous 20 years.

Tax credits have also helped increase the number of people in work by over 2.5 million since spring 1997, and since 1997 long-term unemployment has reduced by 450,000.

Furthermore, tax credits have also been central to reducing the tax burden on low to middle income families. The latest OECD study shows the tax burden on a single-earner couple with two children earning £21,000 has fallen from 17.3 per cent. of gross earnings in 1997 to 9.8 per cent. in 2004.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many overpayments have been (a) caused and (b) written off due to the original problems being caused by technical problems on the Tax Credit Office computer system. (124273)

The information is not available in the format requested. I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave him on 1 November 2006, Official Report, column 543W.

Working Tax Credit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in what circumstances a person living in the UK working as an au pair from (a) an EU and (b) a non-EU state may qualify for Working Tax Credit (WTC); for how long such a person must be resident in the UK before qualifying; and how many such people are estimated to be receiving WTC. (124944)

Entitlement to Working Tax Credit (WTC) depends on a person being in “qualifying remunerative work”. Claimants with responsibility for a child or qualifying young person, or who are disabled, must work for at least 16 hours a week to qualify for WTC. Workers without children or a disability must be aged at least 25 and work for 30 or more hours a week in order to qualify.

A person is ordinarily resident if they normally live in the United Kingdom (apart from occasional temporary absences) and they have chosen to live and settle here in the UK for the time being.

People who have limited leave to enter or remain in the UK are generally excluded from access to public funds, including WTC.

More detailed guidance is available on the HMRC website (www.hmrc.gov.uk).

The other information requested is not available.

International Development

Afghanistan: Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding has been committed to Afghanistan for reconstruction and development in each year since the invasion; what proportion of this funding has been committed (a) bilaterally and (b) multilaterally; and through which organisations. (122766)

DFID spent over £390 million on reconstruction and development in Afghanistan between April 2001 and March 2006. We have committed to spend a further £330 million between April 2006 and March 2009, including a planned £102 million in 2006-07.

Our bilateral programme spend in Afghanistan over the last five financial years has been as follows:

£ million

2001-02

50

2002-03

75

2003-04

80

2004-05

80

2005-06

98

Amounts channelled through UN agencies were £1.3 million in 2001, £2.1 million in 2002, £1.4 million in 2003, and £4.0 million in 2004. We are also contributing 18 per cent. of the EC’s pledge of £1 billion between 2002 and 2007 (around £125 million in total, or around £25 million per year). We also contribute over 10 per cent. of the World Bank’s spending of $250-$300 million a year in Afghanistan, and we also channel funds through the Asian Development Bank. The international and local non-governmental organisations through which we have channelled funds are listed at Annexes A and B respectively.

Annexe A: International Organisations

Action Contre La Faim

Afghan Aid

Afghan Development Association

Aga Khan

Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development

Aide Medicale International

Assisting Marsh Arabs and Refugees

BBC World Service Trust

BRAC

British Agencies Advisory Group

British Red Cross

British Refugee Council

CAFOD

Care

Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

Christina Aid

Concern

Development initiatives

Greenshields Cowie

Halo Trust

International Rescue Committee

Islamic Relief

Mercy Corps

Merlin

Ockenden International

Oxfam

Pharmaciens Sans Frontieres

Refugee Studies Centre

Save the Children Fund

Solidarities

TearFund

The Asia Foundation

War Child UK

Womankind

Annexe B: Local Organisations

Afghan Fertiliser Company

Afghanistan Independence Human Rights Commission

Afghanistan Information Management Service

Afghanistan National Construction Coordination

Civil Service Commission

Cooperation Centre for Afghanistan

Helping Afghan Farmers Organisation

Irtiqa Development and Construction Organisation

Luqman Rehabilitation Organisation

Moqadas Reconstruction Organisation

Reconstruction Committee for Development of Afghanistan

Roshan Construction Company

Southern Afghanistan Development Association

Southern Rehabilitation and Aid Committee

Tribal Liaison Office

Departments: Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department’s publication The World Classroom was co-financed by the Treasury. (125497)

The DFID/Treasury World Classroom publication was wholly funded by the Department for International Development, in relation to design, print and distribution.

Nicaragua: Bomb Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the danger posed by landmines in Nicaragua; and what aid the UK (a) has allocated and (b) plans to allocate for mine removal and local training to remove mines. (124702)

In recent years, Nicaragua has made significant progress in de-mining landmines left over from its years of conflict, under the auspices of the Nicaraguan Army Engineer Corps. The most recent Landmine Monitor report of 2006 indicated that many areas, such as the Southern Atlantic Coast Region, have now been cleared entirely, but progress is still needed in other regions, such as the North Atlantic Coast. In addition, the social and economic impact of uncleared mines is still felt, with casualties continuing to occur every year. Nicaragua’s “Demining National Plan” lays out Nicaragua’s interventions with regard to demining, with the support of the international community through the Organisation of American States (OAS). The de-mining programmes are often accompanied by mine education and awareness programmes and support to victims.

Globally, DFID is committed to reduce the social and economic impact of landmines on developing countries through helping them to implement their obligations under the Ottawa Convention. In 1999-2001, DFID provided support (£283,000) to the Government of Nicaragua, through the “Humanitarian Mine Action” programme coordinated by the OAS, to remove and destroy landmines and unexploited artefacts planted throughout the country during the years of conflict.

In addition, between 2000 and 2001, the UK Government, through the embassy in Nicaragua, contributed £850,000 to the implementation of Nicaragua’s Demining National Plan through the OAS. These resources went towards the removal and destruction of land mines in the area of the Northern Atlantic Coast.

The European Commission has also undertaken a €1.3 million project (2003-04), entitled “Implementation of Humanitarian Operations for Demining in Nueva Segovia”. This project was executed by the Nicaraguan Army, under the supervision of the OAS and Inter American Development Bank.

DFID no longer provides direct support to the de-mining effort in Nicaragua, as many donor partners continue to be closely engaged, including EU partners, Canada and the United States of America.

St. Helena

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many television channels showed his Department’s video St. Helena, as referred to in his answer of 24 July 2006, Official Report, column 1003W. (121395)

The video I referred to in my answer of 24 July 2006, Official Report, column 1003W, was made especially for local television in St. Helena, to inform the local population about proposals for the new airport. It was shown three times on the local television station in St. Helena, and repeated on the local television channel on Ascension Island, where many Saints, as the local people are known, live and work. A copy was also sent to the St. Helena representative in the Falkland Islands and shown to Saints there. Part of the film has also been shown to the All Party Parliamentary Group for St. Helena. I understand that it has been well received.

Thailand: HIV Infection

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the potential impact on access to HIV treatment of the Government of Thailand’s issuance of compulsory licences to produce locally or import generic versions of the drugs efavirenz and lopinavir/ritonavir; and if he will make a statement. (124893)

The Thai Government only recently announced their intention to issue compulsory licences for a number of patented medicines; therefore the impact of this action on access to HIV treatment is not yet clear.

We support the right of developing countries to implement the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as is appropriate for their circumstances and in order to ensure access to HIV treatment. We also support the right of developing countries to utilise the flexibilities allowed under TRIPS to ensure affordable access to medicines to meet public health needs, this includes the use of compulsory licensing provisions included in the TRIPS agreement.

Zimbabwe: Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent aid has been sent by the UK to Zimbabwe; and what precautions were taken to ensure that this aid was delivered directly to those who needed aid. (122854)

We remain confident that the systems are in place to ensure that assistance provided by the UK reaches those members of society who are most in need of assistance.

Over the last five years, DFID has allocated approximately £143 million to support the poorest people of Zimbabwe, with almost all this funding being directed to tackling HIV and AIDS, food insecurity and in support of Orphans and Vulnerable Children. DFID channels its support through United Nations agencies and non-governmental organisations, rather than providing direct support to the Government of Zimbabwe.

All proposals for DFID funding are subject to rigorous scrutiny, particularly with regard to the target group affected by the intervention in question, transparency of funding mechanisms and the presence of robust monitoring and evaluation systems. DFID Zimbabwe requires regular reporting from partner organisations and carries out its own monitoring and evaluation exercises on a regular, generally quarterly or six-monthly, basis. In cases where partner organisations are funded in instalments, funding is contingent upon evidence that previous contributions from DFID have been disbursed in the manner agreed in our formal agreement with that organisation.

House of Commons Commission

Poultry Meat

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what percentage of the poultry supplied to the House was born and raised on British farms in each of the last three years. (125184)

The Refreshment Department does not keep statistics of the country of origin of the food it purchases. However, from information provided by its suppliers, it is estimated that in each of the last two years (January to December 2005 and 2006) over 97 per cent. of the fresh poultry supplied to the Department was of British origin and 100 per cent. was of EU origin. No information is available for earlier years.

Under the terms of the EU procurement directives, the House of Commons is unable to discriminate in favour of or against the goods, services or produce of any member state.

Leader of the House

House of Lords: Reform

To ask the Leader of the House pursuant to the answer of 1 March 2007 to Question 124296, on House of Lords reform, on what basis he plans to divide the UK into electoral units for the election of Members of the House of Lords under his proposals for reform. (125499)

Paragraph 7.95 of the White Paper “The House of Lords: Reform” explains that in terms of constituency, the Government propose the simplest approach is to use the regions used for elections to the European Parliament.

Member’s Constituency Work

To ask the Leader of the House what (a) advice, (b) practical support and (c) software and hardware is provided to hon. Members for the electronic collection and management of constituents’ casework. (125637)

I understand that the Parliamentary ICT Service (PICT) does not recommend or support any specific casework products for use by Members or their staff.

The standard range of Microsoft software and hardware supplied to Members can be used to assist with the management of constituents’ casework, but only general application and hardware support is given in this respect.

This position is reviewed from time-to-time. For example, the scope to provide caseworker software centrally was not pursued several years ago by the Advisory Panel on Members’ Allowances after an external consultancy review concluded that it was not possible to develop a single product that could accommodate the different ways in which Members work. PICT is currently investigating an alternative approach based on working more closely with the most popular casework suppliers. This would ensure that Members retain the flexibility to use the products they wish to, while receiving more integrated support.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Algeria: Deportation

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 8 February 2007, Official Report, column 1125W, on Algeria: deportation, what the most recent information is which she has received on the four individuals; what further steps embassy officials have taken; and if she will make a statement. (124380)

Embassy officials in Algiers have remained in close contact with the Algerian Government concerning the situation of the four individuals deported from the UK between 20 and 27 January 2007. Algerian Government officials have confirmed that “K” was detained on 24 January and released on 4 February; that “P” was detained on 27 January and released on 30 January; that Reda Dendani (“Q”) was detained on 25 January and subsequently brought before a court and charged with membership of an armed terrorist group under Article 87 of the Algerian Criminal Code as well as assumption of the name of a third party under Article 249 of that same Code; and that “H” was detained on 31 January and subsequently brought before a court and charged with membership of an armed terrorist group under Article 87 of the Code. Each individual was either charged or released before the expiration of the 12 day detention period authorised under the Algerian Criminal Procedure Code. Embassy officials continue to stay in touch with Algerian Government officials.

Conference on Disarmament

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps the Government have taken within the Conference on Disarmament to achieve consensus on commencing negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty; and if she will make a statement. (125670)

I visited the Conference on Disarmament on 22 February 2007 to discuss this issue and, in a speech to the conference, encouraged delegations to move forward on these negotiations. The UK fully supports the immediate commencement of negotiations and the conclusion of a treaty on fissile material cut-off. In advance of a treaty coming into force, the UK, in 1995, announced that it had ceased production of fissile material for weapons purposes. This moratorium remains in place.

Departments: Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what strategy she has put in place for (a) the use of renewable energy and (b) meeting energy targets in her Department's buildings; and if she will make a statement. (125405)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office sets and manages all of the Government's sustainable operations energy targets in our environmental management programme (BMP). The use of renewable energy is embedded in our energy procurement arrangements. As a result, we purchase 100 per cent. of the electricity we use at our main building in King Charles street, equating to 39 per cent. of all the electricity we use in the UK, from renewable sources. In addition, as part of implementing our carbon management programme (CMP), developed with the Carbon Trust, we will shortly be examining the practicality of generating from renewable sources some of the electricity used at our site at Hanslope park, which accounts for 39 per cent. of our UK energy consumption.

Our strategy for meeting our other energy targets is, similarly, to manage them in our BMP, undertake energy saving projects, apply the building research establishment environmental assessment method to our new builds and refurbishments and implement key energy efficiency recommendations contained in our CMP.

Departments: Redundancy

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent on (a) involuntary and (b) voluntary staff exit schemes in (i) her Department and (ii) each agency of the Department in each year since 1997-98; how much is planned to be spent for 2007-08; and if she will make a statement. (123925)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has spent the following sums on compensation for early retirement each year since 1997.

£

1997-98

2,825,000

1998-99

3,315,000

1999-2000

3,802,000

2000-01

1,871,000

2001-02

1,805,000

2002-03

3,194,000

2003-04

3,878,000

2004-05

4,955,000

2005-06

14,801,000

2006-071

8,895,000

2007-081

11,641,000

1 The figures for 2006-07 and 2007-08 are provisional estimates.

We have not been able to identify what sums, if any, within this total were spent on involuntary departures. To check individual records for this purpose would incur disproportionate cost. It is our policy to do all we can to avoid or minimise compulsory redundancies.

All payments have been made in accordance with the provisions of the civil service compensation schemes. As a result of the 2004 spending round we have carried out a restructuring exercise since 2004 to realise efficiency savings. This early retirement programme will enable us to reduce the size of the senior management structure in the FCO by 18 per cent. by 31 March 2008.

Iraq: Constitution

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many women are represented on the Constitutional Review committee for the Iraqi constitution; and whether this fills the applicable quota. (125354)

There are two women on the Constitutional Review committee, Najiiha al-Habib and Aliah Nasif al-Ubeidi. Article 142 of the Constitution, which sets out the provisions for the review, does not stipulate a gender quota for the committee.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the constitutional review process for the Iraqi constitution; and what progress has been made. (125355)

In line with Article 142 of the Iraqi Constitution, a Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) was formed on 15 November 2006 to review the Constitution. The CRC is due to present its proposed amendments for the Council of Representative's consideration by mid May 2007.

In December 2006 the CRC established three subcommittees: one to propose technical and drafting improvements; another to look at those areas that are not addressed in the existing Constitution; and a third subcommittee which will consider contentious issues possibly requiring cross-party political agreement. We understand the subcommittees will submit their proposals for the CRC's consideration by the end of March 2007.

Article 142 does not stipulate a time frame for the whole review process. But Iraq's political party leaders have committed to completing the constitutional review process, including the referendum, within a year of the CRC starting work.

Iraq: Religious Freedom

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with Iraqi officials on the rights of Christians to worship freely in Iraq; and if she will make a statement. (124782)

We support provisions in the Iraqi constitution that guarantee freedom of religious belief and practice to all Iraqi people. We continually press members of the Iraqi government and Council of Representatives on their obligation to serve all of Iraq's communities, regardless of faith or political persuasion, and to develop legislation and policies that protect these important provisions.

Iraq: Weapons

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received of claims made by General Georges Sada in respect of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. (124671)

It is the long-standing policy of the Government not to comment on intelligence matters.

Lord Butler had uninhibited access to all UK intelligence material and other relevant Government papers relating to Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Having fully accepted Lord Butler's recommendations, which have now been implemented, the Government do not propose re-opening the debate on issues which were fully covered in his report.

The hon. Member may find it useful to refer to the Iraq Survey Group's March 2005 Addendums to the Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the (US) Director of Central Intelligence on Iraq's WMD, which covers the issue of movement of any WMD out of Iraq in the period leading up to the 2003 conflict.

The report can be found on the United States' Central Intelligence Agency website at:

https://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/addenda.pdf.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which states have made representations to the UK Government on compliance with obligations under the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proloferation Treaty; what concerns were expressed; and what response was provided. (125708)

No formal representations with respect to non-compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) have been made directly to the UK by another state party to the treaty.

Issues of non-compliance with nuclear safeguards agreements are dealt with by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. During the 37 years since the NPT came into force there have been many discussions by the IAEA Board of Governors on potential cases of non-compliance with safeguards. Recent discussions have centred on Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The IAEA Board of Governors found Iran in non-compliance with its NPT-required safeguards agreement on 24 September 2005. The board expressed concerns about Iran's many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its safeguards agreement, and its history of concealment of nuclear activities. The board urged Iran to implement transparency measures, to suspend enrichment-related activity, to reconsider construction of a heavy water research reactor, and to ratify and implement the additional protocol. Iran has yet to comply fully with these measures, and was referred to the UN Security Council for further consideration in March 2006. UN Security Council Resolutions 1696 and 1737 set out the international community's requirements for Iran build confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.

The UK has never been accused of non-compliance with its safeguards agreements with the agency or with its NPT obligations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will seek legal opinion on whether the proposals to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system is compatible with article 1 of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. (125733)

As noted in the ministerial code, the fact and substance of legal advice to the Government remains confidential. This enables Government to obtain frank and full legal advice in confidence.

Timor-Leste

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to her answer of 19 February 2007, Official Report, column 21W, on Timor-Leste, when she expects the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation report to be discussed by the Timor-Leste Parliament; and if she will make a statement. (125258)

It is for the government of Timor-Leste to decide how to handle the report within their Parliament. Nevertheless, in welcoming the report and recommendations of the then UN Secretary-General on justice and reconciliation in Timor-Leste, we have made clear our view that the demand for justice and accountability for the serious crimes committed in 1999 remains a fundamental issue in the lives of many Timorese.

Wales

Hazardous Substances

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what investigations are taking place into Monsanto and its alleged illegal dumping of toxic waste; and which organisations are undertaking those investigations. (124450)

The Environment Agency Wales and the local authority, Rhondda Cynon Taff county borough council, have been working in partnership with the local health board, the national health service in Wales and the Food Standards Agency to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the issue at Brofiscin quarry. Monsanto, Solutia Inc.—the parent company of Solutia UK—are co-operating with the Environment Agency in their investigations under part IIa of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

While the Environment Agency in Wales’ investigations have confirmed pollution of deep groundwater and intermittent pollution of surface waters, they have found no detectable risk to drinking supplies. It will be publishing its latest report on this matter shortly in the spring, which will bring together all monitoring results taken to date and provide an interpretation of what is happening on site.

Assessment of what appropriate remedial action is necessary is currently ongoing. Investigations into identifying the “appropriate persons” responsible for the cost of these remedial works are also still ongoing.

Electoral Commission Committee

Absent Voting: Fraud

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what estimate the Electoral Commission has made of the number of people prevented from voting in a polling station due to postal vote fraud in the 2006 local elections. (123947)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has made no such estimate because there is currently no central record of allegations of postal voting malpractice, or of investigations and prosecutions.

The Commission is arranging with Returning Officers, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to collate information on electoral malpractice centrally to enable statistics to be compiled.

Absent Voting: Personation

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission whether the Electoral Commission collects information from local authority returning officers on (a) irregularities with postal votes and (b) personation. (123892)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has not hitherto collected such information from local authority returning officers. However, starting this summer, the Commission intends to gather information from returning officers and the police on electoral malpractice at least twice a year. It will report on any trends or patterns the data disclose.

Departments: Databases

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what databases are controlled by the Electoral Commission; and what percentage of the data in each database is estimated to be inaccurate or out of date. (124046)

The Electoral Commission is statutorily required to maintain records of the registered details and statutory income (including loans) and expenditure returns of political parties, third parties, permitted participants and regulated persons. The Commission informs me that it carries out thorough checks on income and expenditure returns to identify and correct inaccuracies.

In addition the Commission controls a number of administrative databases with contact details of its stakeholders. The Commission believes that the data in these databases are generally accurate and up to date.

Elections: Fraud

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what the Electoral Commission’s definition is of election fraud. (123893)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it defines electoral fraud as any of the offences specified by the Representation of the People Acts. These include offences related to voting or registration, such as personation, bribery, multiple voting, violating the secrecy of the ballot, undue influence and false statements on registration. They also include several other types of offence including those relating to imprints on publications, campaign behaviour and spending limits for candidates’ expenses.

Elections: Local Government

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission pursuant to his answer of 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 792W, on political party expenditure, whether the Electoral Commission has made any estimate of the amount spent by candidates in (a) the local government elections of May 2006 and (b) previous local elections. (123900)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not make estimates of the amount spent by candidates in local government elections. Candidates and their election agents must submit returns of their election expenses to the returning officer, who then makes them available for public inspection. The Commission discharges its statutory duty to monitor compliance with the controls on spending by local government candidates in England and Wales by reviewing samples of returns.

Party Political Broadcasts

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission pursuant to his answer of 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 792W, on political party expenditure, what (a) research the Electoral Commission has (i) undertaken and (ii) commissioned on and (b) estimates the Commission has made of the value of free party political and election broadcasts. (123901)

The Electoral Commission’s 2004 report “The Funding of Political Parties” noted that the availability of free airtime to political parties at the time of elections and at other key events in the political calendar is, in effect, an indirect subsidy of their activities. The Commission informs me that it has not conducted research into, or made any estimate of, the value of such free airtime to political parties.

Political Parties: Finance

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what estimate the Electoral Commission has made of expenditure by political parties through the vehicles of local constituency associations who are not required to provide annual statements of accounts as accounting units. (123945)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it periodically requests details of the expenditure incurred by political parties’ accounting units. The purpose of these requests is to ensure that the Commission receives annual statements of accounts from all accounting units with annual income or expenditure above £25,000. When this exercise was carried out in 2004, 1,283 accounting units that were not required to submit annual statements of accounts, from 14 parties, reported total expenditure of just under £4.2 million in their financial years ending in 2003. A similar exercise is being carried out by the Commission in respect of financial years ending in 2006.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission how much the Electoral Commission has spent on focus groups on public attitudes to political finance reform; and which polling organisations were commissioned. (123946)

The Electoral Commission informs me that in November 2003 it commissioned Cragg Ross Dawson, at a cost of £30,000, to conduct focus groups to explore awareness of, and attitudes towards, party funding arrangements and potential changes to the current system. This work was in support of the Commission’s 2004 report “The Funding of Political Parties”. In July 2006, it commissioned Ipsos Mori to run, at a cost of £158,000, a programme of in-depth workshops into public attitudes into party funding. This work was to inform current policy discussion in this area, and in particular Sir Hayden Phillips’ review of the funding of political parties.

UKIP: Finance

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission if the Electoral Commission will conduct an investigation into reports of missing donations in the accounts of the UK Independence Party; and if he will make a statement. (123944)

The Electoral Commission announced on 22 February that it is launching a full review of the United Kingdom Independence Party’s systems for dealing with its financial affairs and meeting statutory reporting requirements.

Transport

Railways

11. To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to reduce overcrowding on the railways. (125122)

We recognise that, because of continuing growth, the passenger carrying capacity of the network, especially in peak periods, remains an issue in many areas.

We will continue to take steps to increase the capacity of the railways through the franchising process and through the High Level Output Specification and the longer term strategy framework, both of which will be published this summer.

14. To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the targets for railway punctuality and reliability (a) between Holyhead and Euston and (b) across the UK have been met. (125126)

The targets for railway punctuality and reliability have been met and exceeded both for the Virgin West Coast franchise, that serves the Holyhead to Euston route, and across the rail network in Great Britain as a whole.

16. To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to encourage improvements in railway timetabling to improve access to connecting services. (125128)

The Department encourages improvements in railway timetabling and connections by specifying appropriate base timetable requirements in new franchises. Train operators and Network Rail are responsible for working together to plan timetables which provide good connections.

Airports

12. To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions Ministers have had since Christmas 2006 with the British Airports Authority on passenger congestion at London's airports. (125124)

The Secretary of State regularly meets the chief executive of BAA and since Christmas 2006 has discussed with him a range of issues relevant to BAA airports. These include the development of Heathrow and Stansted airports and security at BAA airports.

13. To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent measures he has taken to improve airport security. (125125)

Following the August security alert a number of new aviation security measures were implemented at UK airports. Some of these measures are apparent to passengers, notably the controls on liquids and the limit on the number and maximum size of cabin bags. Other new measures are not visible to passengers, and the hon. Member will understand that on security grounds it would not be appropriate for those to be disclosed.

Road Safety

15. To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made towards meeting the 2010 road safety targets. (125127)

In 2005 there were 32,155 people killed or seriously injured in accidents reported to the police in Great Britain, 33 per cent. below the 1994-98 baseline average. We are on course to achieve the 2010 target of a 40 per cent. reduction. There were 3,472 children reported to be killed or seriously injured in 2005, 49 per cent. below the baseline average, against a 2010 target of 50 per cent. The target to reduce the slight casualty rate by 10 per cent. was met in 2002.

A45: Wellingborough

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward plans to improve the section of the A45 that passes through Wellingborough constituency. (125287)

We have accepted the advice of the East Midlands Regional Assembly that any major improvements along the A45, such as grade-separating the junctions at A45/A509 Wilby Way and A45/A6 Chowns Mill, are not transport investment priorities for the east midlands in the period to 2015-16.

However, I have given approval to an upgraded layout for the A45 Wilby Way roundabout which is to be built later this year at a cost of £1.3 million from the Community Infrastructure Funding budget. In addition, as a condition of planning consent, mitigation measures are to be carried out by the developer at junctions along the A45 impacted by the 3,100 housing unit Wellingborough East development. Many of these junctions are within the Wellingborough constituency.

Airports: Kent

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with other government departments on the impact on the RSPB bird reserve at Dungeness of an extension of Lydd Airport in Kent. (125043)

No such discussions have taken place. The relevant planning application is subject to local planning procedures.

Aviation: Liquefied Petroleum Gas

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made towards the development of a hydrogen fuelled aircraft; and what the Government’s role is in the development of such an aircraft. (124885)

The design of future aircraft engines and their fuelling is primarily a matter for aero-engine manufacturers and the fuel industry and their research programmes.

In practice, alternative fuels for aviation are not an imminent prospect. Hydrogen also has its own environmental drawbacks: at altitude, it is a global warming gas. Consideration also has to be given to the energy needed for hydrogen production, as well as to infrastructure and safety issues.

Biofuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many garages and petrol stations provide (a) bio-fuels, (b) liquefied petroleum gas and (c) compressed natural gas; and what steps he is taking to increase these numbers. (125552)

This information is not held centrally by Government. However regularly updated figures are available on the Energy Saving Trust website at:

www.est.org.uk/fleet/Vehicles/Alternativefuels/Alternativefuelsrefuelling.map/

The Government provide funds to the Energy Saving Trust to run their Infrastructure grant programme. The grants assist the building of refuelling stations for alternative fuels (natural gas/biogas, hydrogen and bio-ethanol). The Department for Transport also funds EST’s Low Carbon Research and Development Programme to accelerate low carbon vehicle technologies to the market place.

The Government encourage the use of alternative fuels through reduced rates of Vehicle Excise Duty for cars run on certain alternative fuels (for example LPG) and registered after 1 March 2001. Bio-diesel and bio-ethanol also both benefit from a 20p per litre fuel duty incentive. The Government are also introducing a Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation in April 2008 which will ensure a significant and stable market for biofuels in the UK, and is likely to mean that biofuels are available in low blends at the majority of forecourts in the UK.

Bus Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what evaluation he has undertaken of the Kickstart transport scheme; and what plans he has to extend the scheme. (124731)

Last year the Department, jointly with the Scottish Executive, commissioned consultants to carry out an evaluation of the Kickstart scheme and the similar Bus Route Development Grant scheme in Scotland. The results of this study will be published shortly on the Department’s website.

Decisions on funding for any future Kickstart competitions will be made in the light of the Government’s 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review, and the review of bus subsidies announced in our bus policy document, ‘Putting Passengers First’.

Bus Services: Concessions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many pensioners in Chorley constituency (a) are eligible for and (b) have used the free local bus travel scheme. (125241)

The information is as follows:

(a) The number of residents of Chorley aged 60 and over, who, from 1 April 2006, are entitled to free off-peak local bus travel is 21,400.

(b) Information on take-up of the concession in Chorley is not held centrally. Local authorities hold details of their residents who applied for concessionary travel.

Civil Aviation Act 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the provisions of section 4 of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 to be brought into force; and if he will make a statement. (124360)

[holding answer 5 March 2007]: The Civil Aviation Act 2006 (Commencement No.1) Order 2007, made on 1 March, brings section 4 of the Act into force. This section gives operators of non-designated airports powers to establish a noise control scheme and to charge penalties to operators of aircraft that breach the terms of that scheme.

Departments: Domestic Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department spent on official visits within the UK in each year since 2003. (122465)

Expenditure on UK travel and subsistence for the Department for Transport (Central), and five of its agencies is shown in the table. The figures are derived from staff expenses claims, and from paid invoices from suppliers. HA and DSA do not account separately for UK and overseas travel and subsistence, and could provide the information only at disproportionate cost. GCDA joined the Department during financial year 2005-06, and so its figures are only included for that period.

£

2003-04

15,782,630

2004-05

16,199,580

2005-06

18,562,313

Departments: Equal Opportunities

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress his Department has made in achieving gender equality in public appointments to bodies which fall within his Department’s responsibility since 1997. (125210)

[holding answer 5 March 2007]: The Government remain committed to improving diversity on the boards of public bodies and the principle of equal representation of women and men in public appointments. The annual Cabinet Office publication ‘Public Bodies’ contains details of the number of women appointed to public bodies each year by Department. For 1997-2006 copies of these documents are available in the Library for the reference of Members. From 1998 copies are also available on the internet at:

http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/other/agencies/public_bodies

Departments: Pendle

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what expenditure is planned to be carried out in Pendle by his Department in each year up to 2010; and if he will make a statement. (120750)

Disaggregated figures at constituency or local level are not available for most of the Department for Transport’s planned expenditure (including for railways and trunk roads).

The local transport capital funding allocations made for Lancashire county council for the years up to 2010-11 are detailed in the following table. The Department does not allocate local transport plan funding to individual constituency areas. It is up to Lancashire county council to determine where it allocates the fund support provided for the county according to its local priorities.

£ million

Lancashire

Integrated transport

Highways capital maintenance

2007-08

11.961

15.681

2008-09

12.583

1

2009-10

13.389

1

2010-11

14.189

1

1 Yet to be allocated and announced

In addition the Department is paying Lancashire county council a grant under the Rural Bus Challenge (RBC) competition for a project that operates in Pendle called the ‘Pendleside Wayfarer’. This received an award of £706,704, part of which has been paid.

The remaining balance of the grant is £368,447 and the planned payments are:

£

2006-07

147,644

2007-08

220,803

The Government provides further financial support for bus services in the locality, including through:

Bus Services Operators Grant, paid by the Department to bus companies;

Revenue Support Grant to Pendle district council (in respect of concessionary fares);

Revenue Support Grant to Lancashire county council (in respect of socially necessary services).

Revenue support grant is provided to a local authority to use for services according to its local priorities and the Government do not identify specific levels of funding to be spent on particular activities, such as supporting bus services.

Departments: Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies are being carried out for his Department by external organisations. (124833)

The Department and its agencies commission research and advice through a wide range of research contractors, including industry, academia and public research establishments. We also contribute to European and other international research programmes.

Transport research programmes cover a very wide range of issues. A detailed answer could be provided only at disproportionate cost as a complete record of all studies is not collected centrally.

However, information about the Department’s evidence needs and how we meet them is given in the Evidence and Research Strategy (accessible at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/scienceresearch/er/ers/). Details of many research projects can be found on the DfT Research Database (http://www.rmd.dft.gov.uk/). and on the websites of the Highways Agency (http://www.ha-research.co.uk/) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (http://www.mcga.gov.uk/c4mca/mcga-quidance-requlation/mcga-dgs-research_reports.htm).

Departments: Theft

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what items valued at above £100 were reported as stolen from his Department’s buildings or premises in the last 12 months. (121970)

For the period, 1 February 2006 to the 31 January 2007, the following items belonging to the Department for Transport and its Agencies have been reported as stolen from departmental buildings:

Item

Value (£) (if known)

Radio equipment

1,200

Computer equipment

31,891

Television equipment

5,700

Mobile phone equipment

250

Cash

350

Total

39,391

Inland Waterways: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on recent reductions in the budget for British Waterways. (125116)

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs leads on inland waterways, but DfT and Defra officials do meet on a regular basis to discuss issues of mutual interest—including this issue. However, it is ultimately a matter for navigation authorities to prioritise their activities in the light of competing demands for available resources.

London Underground

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many delays of more than (a) five minutes, (b) 10 minutes and (c) 15 minutes there were on the London Underground (LU) in each year since 1990 during which his Department had responsibility for LU, broken down by line. (124245)

Responsibility for London Underground passed to Transport for London and the Mayor of London on 15 July 2003. Performance since then has been an operational matter for London Underground who are best placed to answer direct. London Underground does not hold figures in the breakdown requested and the information on the years prior to 1996 could be provided only at disproportionate time and cost. The figures for 1996 to 2003 are:

Number of train delays >15 minutes

1996-97

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

Bakerloo

255

232

300

329

300

318

356

Central

512

678

541

446

495

501

284

District

385

332

360

326

418

574

573

Jubilee

138

142

173

234

208

289

246

East London

4

295

136

110

108

102

Northern

343

336

332

235

216

247

250

Piccadilly

258

246

275

246

267

333

392

Victoria

131

183

142

95

97

151

148

Metropolitan

374

375

302

319

404

495

564

Circle and Hammersmith

181

135

134

189

291

287

287

Waterloo and City

79

30

44

34

38

39

76

Total

2,656

2,693

2,898

2,589

2,844

3,342

3,278

Motorcycles: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of (a) the minimum number of riding licence test sites which will be required to meet demand for riding tests under the new riding test rules to be implemented in 2008 and (b) the number of such sites which will be operational at that time. (125096)

The Driving Standards Agency has planned that 26 off-road motorcycle test facilities will be required to meet peak motorcycle test demand. A minimum of 46 such off-road motorcycle test facilities will be operational by the implementation date in October 2008.

Railways: Swindon

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the status is of the proposal to redouble the line between Kemble and Swindon currently with Network Rail; and if he will make a statement. (125555)

I understand that Network Rail has consulted rail industry parties on possible changes to the Cotswold line to improve performance. However, this is an operational matter for Network Rail, as the owner and operator of the national rail network. My hon. Friend should contact Network Rail’s Chief Executive at the following address for a response to his question.

John Armitt

Chief Executive

Network Rail

40 Melton Street

London NW1 2EE

Rapid Transit Systems

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of light rail schemes in reducing urban congestion. (124152)

The Government recognise that light rail can help to reduce congestion by delivering quicker, more reliable journeys, thereby attracting people out of cars. The effects in any particular city depend on such factors as design of the light rail system, and traffic levels. The benefits of reduced congestion are taken into account in the assessment which is undertaken by the promoters for any light rail proposal.

Scheme promoters also monitor the performance of their schemes. It is now a mandatory requirement that all schemes receiving Government funding are subject to an evaluation after opening. This will provide future information on the impact of light rail schemes on congestion levels.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many local authorities in England and Wales were sued in 2006 for compensation for failure to properly maintain roads and highways by (a) organisations, (b) companies and (c) individuals. (124249)

The Department does not collect this information. However, the report “Highway Risk and Liability Claims”, produced in 2005 by the Roads and Highways Liability Claims Task Group, provides much relevant information. The report can be accessed on the UK Roads Liaison Group website at

http://www.ukroadsliaisongroup.org/pdfs/060127%20_highway_risk_and_liability_guide.pdf

Rolling Stock: Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what rolling stock leasing charges were in (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006 for high speed trains in (i) Class 180 Adelante, (ii) Class 166, (iii) Class 165, (iv) Class 158, (v) Class 150, (vi) Class 153 and (vii) Class 143 vehicles. (125665)

The leasing charges are a commercial agreement between the train operating company and the rolling stock leasing companies.

Speed Limits: Cameras

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance his Department issues to police authorities on the running of local casualty reduction partnerships; and if he will make a statement. (124679)

The Department has issued no specific guidance to the police on these matters. However, the current rules governing the National Safety Camera Programme and safety camera partnerships are contained in the Department’s Handbook Of Rules And Guidance For The National Safety Camera Programme For England And Wales 2006-07. On 31 January the Department issued, under cover of a letter signed jointly by myself and the Under-Secretary of State for Policing, Security and Community Safety, new guidance to local authorities, the Highways Agency and the police on the deployment of safety cameras from 1 April 2007. The guidance, which supersedes the handbook from 1 April, provides greater freedom and flexibility on the deployment of cameras as part of new arrangements, encouraging the establishment of wider road safety partnerships. The guidance does not stipulate how these wider partnerships should be structured. We believe this is best determined locally among partners.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Bedfordshire and Luton Casualty Reduction Partnership; and if he will make a statement. (124680)

The four-year independent evaluation report of the National Safety Camera Programme, published in December 2005, found that there had been a 48 per cent. reduction in personal injury collisions and a 72 per cent. reduction in those killed and seriously injured at safety camera sites in the Bedfordshire Partnership area. In addition there was a 23 per cent. reduction in the number of vehicles exceeding the speed limit at new camera sites.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he expects police authorities to take to support local casualty reduction partnerships; and if he will make a statement. (124681)

The Department for Transport, the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers published a joint statement on 11 January 2005 about roads policing. The police make a vitally important contribution to improving road safety and are encouraged to work closely with local authorities and other partners, to identify the priorities for improving road safety in the local partnership area, including enforcement activity. The Department’s guidelines on the future deployment of safety cameras after 1 April 2007, published on 31 January 2007, encourages local partners to agree a joint strategy and their respective roles within that strategy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations his Department has received regarding changes in staffing levels within the Bedfordshire and Luton Casualty Reduction Partnership; and if he will make a statement. (124682)

The Department has not received any representations regarding changes in staffing levels within the Bedfordshire and Luton Casualty Reduction Partnership.

Speed Limits: Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much revenue speed cameras raised in Lancashire in each of the last five years. (125239)

Speed cameras do not produce revenue. Drivers who break the law pay penalties, as other lawbreakers do. The Department does not hold records in respect to offences detected solely by speed cameras. The audit certificates for the Lancashire Safety Camera Partnership for the financial years outlined in the following table show the fines from conditional offer of fixed penalties for offences detected by speed and red light cameras operating under the National Safety Camera Programme for the last five years. The Lancashire Safety Camera Partnership joined the national programme in October 2001.

£

2001-02

1,197,180

2002-03

5,909,700

2003-04

5,073,600

2004-05

3,532,140

2005-06

3,773,220

Tolls: Greater London

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the merits of applying to other areas the lessons learned from the London congestion charge. (125111)

Lessons learned from the London congestion charge have, and will continue to, form an important part of the Department’s developing road pricing policy. In particular the fundamental role that improved public transport has played in the success of London’s scheme.

We are working with a number of areas outside London as they consider whether they want to bring forward local pilot schemes to address local congestion. My Department has established the Road Pricing Local Liaison Group which brings together TfL and those other authorities considering local road pricing pilots.

Trade and Industry

Departments: Equal Opportunities

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress his Department has made in achieving gender equality in public appointments to bodies which fall within his Department's responsibility since 1997. (125212)

[holding answer 5 March 2007]: The Government remain committed to improving diversity on the boards of public bodies and the principle of equal representation of women and men in public appointments. The annual Cabinet Office publication ‘Public Bodies’ contains details of the number of women appointed to public bodies each year by Department. For 1997- 2006 copies of these documents are available in the Libraries of the House for the reference of Members. From 1998 copies are also available on the internet at:

http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/other/agencies/public_bodies/

Departments: Sick Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all agency workers receive the statutory sick pay to which they are entitled; and which categories of agency workers are not entitled to statutory sick pay. (122720)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government's intention is for all agency workers to have equal access to statutory sick pay in line with other workers. The Government are therefore appealing a recent High Court decision which excludes agency workers with contracts of three months or less from entitlement to statutory sick pay.

Employment: Discrimination

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department has taken to raise awareness of the Age Discrimination Regulations among (a) employers and (b) employees. (125156)

ACAS good practice guidance for employers and employees, and DTI guidance on the occupational pensions aspects of the regulations were published in April 2006. The DTI website contains additional guidance, including the explanatory notes on regulations. The Directgov and BusinessLink sites also provide information and an interactive tool for individuals and employers. The Department for Work and Pensions' ‘Be Ready’ campaign has provided 1.4 million employers with practical information about age good practice and the legislation, and there has been substantial demand for further in depth information.

DTI's £l million capacity building programme provided funds for activities aimed at raising individuals’ and employees’ awareness of their new rights, and for up-skilling advice providers in the field of age discrimination. DTI has also committed a further £100,000 for a media campaign to increase levels of individual awareness of the age discrimination legislation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of employer redundancy schemes that could be unlawful under the age discrimination regulations. (125157)

The Government do not hold details of employers' individual redundancy schemes. Any such schemes that do not come within the exemption provided in the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 would still be lawful if they can be objectively justified.

Minimum Wage

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the policy reasons were for limiting the payment of the development rate minimum wage to 18 to 22-year-olds. (125158)

The Government believe that there should be a lower rate of the minimum wage for younger workers.

Employment and unemployment levels for young workers are already significantly less favourable than those for older workers and our concern is that we might exacerbate this position if we moved young workers onto the adult rate.

The Low Pay Commission has consistently advised that there is a lower rate for younger workers. In their 2005 report the Low Pay Commission said:

“Evidence suggests that the application of the adult rate to younger people would have adverse employment consequences, given the distinctive features of the labour market for young people”.

Post Offices

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which post code districts will be exempt from the proposed access criterion that 95 per cent. of the population should live within six miles of a post office; in which (a) local government area and (b) county each district is located; what the size in (i) square miles and (ii) square kilometres is of each; what the estimated population is of each; what the location is of existing post offices in each district which will be exempt; and what the location was of post offices in each district which have closed since 1997. (119289)

[holding answer 6 February 2007]: POL does not maintain information on the location of post offices in each district which have closed since 1997 or relating to the local government areas. Population numbers are estimated using established methodologies for calculating accessibility.

Postcode districts

Branch name

Postcode

AB36

Strathdon

AB36 8UL

AB37

Ballindalloch

AB37 9AS

AB37

Marypark

AB37 9BL

AB37

Glenlivet

AB37 9ED

AB37

Tomintoul

AB37 9ET

AB37

Tomnavoulin

AB37 9JA

DD9

Brechin

DD9 6AY

DD9

Little Brechin

DD9 6RQ

DD9

Montrose Street

DD9 7EF

DD9

Edzell

DD9 7TA

DG10

Moffat

DG10 9JH

FK21

Killin

FK21 8UH

IV13

IV16

Evanton

IV16 9XT

IV23

Garve

IV23 2PR

IV23

Lochluichart

IV23 2PZ

IV23

Dundonnell

IV23 2QZ

1V26

Ullapool

IV26 2TY

IV26

Achiltibuie

IV26 2YG

IV27

Rosehall

IV27 4BE

IV27

Lairg

IV27 4DP

IV27

Altass

IV27 4EU

IV27

Kylesku

IV27 4HW

IV27

Lochinver

IV27 4JY

IV27

Drumbeg

IV27 4NW

IV27

Durness

IV27 4PN

IV27

Achfary

IV27 4PQ

IV27

Balchrick

IV27 4RU

IV27

Scourie

IV27 4TB

IV27

Tongue

IV27 4XF

IV27

Talmine

IV27 4YP

IV28

Rogart

IV28 3XA

IV4

Beauly

IV4 7BT

IV4

Kiltarlity

IV4 7JG

IV4

Tomich

IV4 7LF

1V4

Cannich

IV4 7LN

IV52

Plockton

IV52 8TL

IV53

IV54

Applecross

IV54 SLR

IV54

Lochcarron

IV54 8YD

IV54

Strathcarron

IV54 SYR

IV63

Drumnadrochit

IV63 6TX

IV63

Glenmoriston

IV63 7YA

KW11

Strathnaver

KW11 6UA

KW12

Westerdale

KW126UP

KW12

Halkirk

KW12 6XN

KW9

Brora

KW9 6NY

ML12

Biggar

MLI2 6AA

ML12

Broughton

ML12 6HQ

ML12

Symington

ML12 6LJ

ML12

Elsrickle

ML12 6QZ

ML12

Abington

ML12 6SD

ML12

Crawford

ML12 6TP

NE48

Falstone

NE48 1AA

NE48

Kielder

NE48 1EQ

NE48

Bellingham

NE48 2AA

NE48

West Woodburn

NE48 2RX

NE48

Simonburn

NE48 SAW

NE48

Stonehaugh

NE48 3DY

NE48

Birtley

NE48 3HL

NE48

Wark

NE48 3LG

NE48

Gunnerton

NE48 4ED

PA22

Colintraive

PA22 3AS

PA29

Tarbert

PA29 6TN

PA29

Glenbarr

PA29 6UT

PA29

Tayinloan

PA29 6XG

PA29

Clachan

PA29 6XL

PA29

Skipness

PA29 6XT

PA42

Port Ellen

PA42 7BD

PA60

Craighouse

PA60 7XS

PH10

Blairgowrie

PH10 6AA

PH10

New Rattray

PH10 7BT

PH10

Bridge of Cally

PH10 7JG

PH10

Kirkmichael Vill. Store

PH10 7NT

PH11

Alyth

PH11 8AH

PH11

Glenisla Village Shop

PH11 8PQ

PH16

Pitlochry

PH16 5BL

PH16

Kinloch Rannoch

PH16 5PF

PH17

PH18

BlairAtholl

PH18 5SG

PH20

Newtonmore

PH20 IDA

PH21

Kingussie

PH21 1HR

PH21

Kincraig

PH21 INA

PH25

Nethybridge

PH25 3DA

PH31

Roy Bridge

PH31 4AE

PH35

Invergarry

PH35 4HG

PH49

Glencoe

PH49 4HS

PH49

Ballachulish

PH49 4JB

TD3

Gordon

TD3 6JW

TD7

Selkirk

TD7 4BZ

TD7

Midlem

TD7 4QB

TD7

Station Road

TD7 5DJ

Post code district

County

Estimated population

Post district (area square kilometre)

Post district (area square mile)

AB36

Aberdeenshire

573

244.3

94

AB37

Moray

813

402

155

DD9

Angus

2,820

708.8

274

DG10

Dumfries and Galloway

3,615

295.9

114

FK21

Stirling

1,150

255.5

99

IV13

Highland

470

440.7

170

IV16

Highland

803

128.2

50

IV23

Highland

825

990.2

382

IV26

Highland

2,535

418.9

162

IV27

Highland

1,582

3453

1,333

IV28

Highland

928

264.3

102

IV4

Highland

510

948.2

366

IV52

Highland

784

11.35

4

IV53

Highland

628

15.54

6

IV54

Highland

1,222

829.5

320

IV63

Highland

1,007

650

251

KW11

Highland

306

757.6

293

KW12

Highland

526

537.1

207

KW9

Highland

1,675

102.5

40

ML12

South Lanarkshire

2,001

947.9

366

NE48

Northumberland

2,595

807.2

312

PA22

Argyll and Bute

247

127.3

49

PA29

Argyll and Bute

911

458.2

177

PA42

Argyll and Bute

1,126

181.6

70

PA60

Argyll and Bute

188

364.5

141

PH10

Perth and Kinross

878

572.9

221

PH11

Angus

816

285.3

110

PH16

Perth and Kinross

876

369.4

143

PHI7

Perth and Kinross

480

472.9

183

PHI8

Perth and Kinross

756

673.5

260

PH20

Highland

303

519.3

201

PH21

Highland

3,025

584.8

226

PH25

Highland

878

174.8

68

PH31

Highland

548

417.6

161

PH35

Highland

266

493.9

191

PH49

Highland

441

300.7

116

TD3

Scottish Borders

794

81.53

31

TD7

Scottish Borders

1,305

569.5

220

Satellite Communications

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with Ofcom on the potential threat to UK industry from viruses on 3G mobile telephones. (124316)

I have had no discussions with Ofcom specifically on the question of viruses impacting on 3G phones. The Government believe that the security of communications is vital to consumer trust and confidence in the new technologies and the relevant parts of Government work together to achieve this within the overarching framework of the Government's information assurance strategy. A key element of this strategy is that the Government work with the technology vendors and the network service providers to both prevent problems arising and to help address those that do in a timely manner. Ofcom are a partner in this process.

Culture, Media and Sport

Big Lottery Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what total amount has been distributed by the Big Lottery Fund since its creation on projects in (a) health, (b) education and (c) the environment. (124760)

Unfortunately we are unable to provide the information in the format requested as the Big Lottery Fund do not categorise what they fund according to these headings. Although it has four elements, their good cause is actually a single good cause and as such they are not required to differentiate what grants go under which sub-sector.

However, the Big Lottery Fund has distributed £1,377,366,856.77 to good cause since its creation.

Cultural Heritage: Antarctic

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will take steps to support the efforts being made to preserve the Ross Sea Antarctic huts; and, following her answer of 9 October 2006, Official Report, column 63W, on the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, what progress has been made in seeking private funds. (124722)

On 23 February the Government announced that they are to contribute £250,000 to the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust to support its work to restore Scott's hut at Cape Evans. DCMS has also asked Arts and Business to work with UKAHT on their fund raising campaign.

Departments: Appeals

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many independent bodies existed to hear appeals on decisions made by her Department and its executive agencies in (a) 1997-98, (b) 2001-02 and (c) 2005-06; and how many there have been in 2006-07 to date. (121687)

No independent bodies have existed to hear appeals on decisions made by DCMS or the Royal Parks, the Department's only executive agency, during the periods in question.

Departments: Complaints

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many complaints were received by her Department and its executive agencies in (a) 1997-98, (b) 2001-02 and (c) 2005-06; and how many have been received in 2006-07 to date. (121686)

The information required is not collated centrally in this format, and could not be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.

Departments: Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what strategy she has put in place for (a) the use of renewable energy and (b) meeting energy targets in her Department’s buildings; and if she will make a statement. (125408)

The Department currently procures 100 per cent. renewable energy (electricity) under the OGC Buying Solutions Framework.

We have developed an energy strategy with a detailed action plan with roles, responsibilities and key delivery dates.

The Department has recently achieved accreditation to the Energy Efficiency Accreditation Scheme.

Departments: Equal Opportunities

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether her Department has (a) a gender strategy and (b) a gender equality action plan in place. (125502)

DCMS anticipated the introduction of the gender equality duty by publishing a combined Equality Scheme in December 2006 addressing race, disability and gender. The Department is currently reviewing and updating that scheme and its action plan to ensure that it complies with the gender equality duty. An updated Equality Scheme will be published by 30 April 2007. The Department has also held an awareness seminar for our sponsored bodies and is encouraging compliance with the duty to publish an equality scheme by the April 2007 deadline.

Digital Broadcasting

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department is taking to encourage public service broadcasters to make their services available in high definition format. (124822)

The question whether to offer services in high definition format is one for individual broadcasters to consider. The BBC's Public Purposes under the Charter include the general obligation of helping deliver to the public the benefit of emerging communications technologies and services.

Olympic Games: Devon

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will estimate the likely effect on Lottery funding awarded to recipients in (a) Torridge and West Devon constituency and (b) England over the next (i) three, (ii) six and (iii) nine years of the National Lottery funding for the 2012 Olympic Games. (125648)