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Written Answers

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 12 March 2007

International Development

European Development Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funds were committed by his Department to (a) European Development Fund (EDF) 7, (b) 8, (c) 9, and (d) 10; and what commitment has been made to the general European Commission budget for development assistance. (126837)

The following table sets out the commitment levels for each of the European Development Funds (EDFs) 7, 8, 9, and 10; the UK percentage share of each EDF; and the corresponding commitment made by the Department for International Development (DFID).

EDF

Total commitment € billion

UK share (percentage)

DFID commitment € billion

7

10.940

16.37

1.791

8

12.840

12.69

1.629

9

13.800

12.69

1.751

10

22.682

14.82

3.361

Under the current financial perspective, covering years 2007 to 2013, the European Commission has committed €57 billion to overseas assistance from its general budget. Of this, the average UK share over the period is likely to be 17.40 per cent., amounting to a total of €9.9 billion.

Namibia: Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps have been taken by his Department to twin individual Namibian schools with schools in the United Kingdom. (125292)

DFID supports partnerships between schools in the UK and Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean through a programme called DFID Global School Partnerships (DGSP). The programme is managed by the British Council, under contract to DFID. It provides advice and guidance, professional development opportunities and grants to schools that are using partnerships as a means to develop and embed a global dimension within their curriculum.

There are currently four UK-Namibian partnerships through DGSP:

Hey with Zion VC Primary School in Oldham works with John Shekudja Combined School;

Warlingham School in Surrey works with Udjombala Junior Secondary School;

Alsager School in Stoke on Trent works with Oshilemba Combined School; and

St. Michael’s CE Primary School in Herefordshire is partnered with Emma Hoogen Hout School.

In addition, the British Council operates a programme, not funded by DFID, called ‘Connecting Classrooms’. This links schools in the UK with schools in Africa—including Namibia.

Under this programme ‘partnerships’ between schools are supported. Each partnership consists of three UK schools, plus three schools from one African country and three schools from another African country. Each partnership is entitled to £15,000 per year, for up to three years, to take part in study visits, to purchase materials, and meet certain other associated costs.

In 2006-07, two sets of twinning partnerships under ‘Connecting Classrooms’ involved Namibia: the first was a group of three schools in Namibia, twinned with three schools in Leeds and three schools in Zimbabwe. The second was a group of three schools in Namibia, twinned with three schools in Devon and three schools in Nigeria.

Overseas Aid: Education

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department’s spending on educational programmes was in each year since 2000, broken down by country. (123253)

DFID bilateral expenditure on education in each of the last five years is shown in table 1.

Table 1: DFID bilateral expenditure on education

Expenditure (£000)

2000-01

165,612

2001-02

134,179

2002-03

165,133

2003-04

221,887

2004-05

269,761

2005-06

249,799

DFID also contributes to the funding of a range of multilateral organisations, a proportion of which will go towards education. The total amount of funding through multilateral agencies is published in Statistics on International Development, a copy of which is available in the Library. Summary information for major agencies relevant to education is provided in table 2. This information cannot be broken down by country.

Table 2: Total DFID expenditure on the funding of selected multilateral organisations

£ million

Multilateral organisation

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

European Community

708

730

871

1,031

951

917

International Development Association

233

214

221

381

204

271

UNICEF

3

18

20

18

24

32

UNESCO

3

3

3

3

3

3

African Development Fund

13

29

33

32

35

34

Asian Development Fund

25

27

26

24

22

19

Direct DFID bilateral expenditure on education for the past six years broken down by country is shown in table 3. These figures include general and sector budget support where it has been scored against education. In the case of Afghanistan, DFID provided £35 million to the Reconstruction Trust Fund in 2005-06 and a proportion of this will have been spent on education but not included in the figures. These figures exclude DFID spending through multilateral agencies and civil society organisations.

Table 3: Direct DFID bilateral expenditure on education between 2000-01 and 2005-06

£000

Country

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Afghanistan

47

Angola

19

Anguilla

1,183

1,004

351

75

123

34

Antigua and Barbuda

701

383

48

Argentine Republic

7

Bangladesh

9,614

6,605

9,057

7,006

17,656

27,894

Barbados

46

53

73

3

Belarus, Republic of

4

Belize

172

42

Bhutan

1

-7

Bolivia

199

35

15

500

Botswana

580

511

332

146

4

4

Brazil

517

416

172

British Virgin Islands

10

27

1

Bulgaria

345

Burma

13

1

Burundi

14

1,600

Cambodia

884

441

182

91

58

16

Cameroon

257

200

230

21

Caribbean

437

216

96

40

Cayman Islands

20

4

China

3,860

2,276

6,246

5,894

10,950

2,225

Colombia

1

3

Congo, Dem Rep

61

290

148

Czech Republic

165

103

126

28

Dominica

294

257

7

120

East Timor

109

56

1,315

1,319

1,339

432

Ecuador

7

Egypt, Arab Republic

301

357

590

567

725

6

Eritrea

11

Ethiopia

19

21

80

210

861

1,936

Fiji

57

52

26

Gambia, The

6

47

73

10

675

Ghana

6,894

3,996

12,119

14,693

14,954

15,166

Grenada

9

99

Guyana

1,459

2,524

2,909

1,939

578

857

Honduras

53

51

29

60

53

43

India

19,277

17,845

30,077

41,873

92,493

97,885

Indonesia

888

693

623

586

544

497

Iran

9

Iraq

11,313

436

8

Jamaica

1,050

1,589

1,439

544

Jordan

801

594

270

25

Kenya

13,711

4,963

1,984

18,924

5,847

5,478

Kiribati

13

19

12

-3

Korea DPRK (North)

83

42

Laos

55

Latvia

12

Lebanon

8

Lesotho

194

109

53

12

Liberia

630

389

Madagascar

6

28

54

Malawi

16,015

12,778

2,384

8,864

9,841

2,677

Malaysia

346

220

137

4

Mali

4

6

Mauritius

19

Moldova, Republic of

Montserrat

1,503

836

1,167

1,388

1,023

1,144

Mozambique

3,709

5,420

3,225

3,461

6,464

8,899

Namibia

394

423

234

112

23

Nauru

6

32

2

Nepal

1,601

1,251

358

490

2,637

5,643

Nicaragua

10

31

95

170

Nigeria

1,097

739

461

1,438

4,087

9,937

Pakistan

1,684

1,732

2,192

2,233

336

1,016

Papua New Guinea

Peru

320

66

57

485

126

4

Philippines

64

82

65

35

Pitcairn Islands

3

3

Poland

25

Romania

43

2

Russian Federation

5

Rwanda

8,818

7,248

9,437

2,756

2,255

6,045

Serbia and Montenegro

400

24

Seychelles

-1

Sierra Leone

4

28

Slovak Republic

114

7

7

1

Solomon Islands

6

55

13

6

Somali Democratic Rep

75

44

119

377

576

784

South Africa, Republic of

6,062

4,938

7,892

11,549

8,267

5,449

South Pacific

560

716

694

461

189

168

Southern Africa

40

72

84

53

Sri Lanka

1,279

1,346

971

1,431

593

515

St. Helena

2,232

2,086

2,316

2,375

4,168

3,952

St. Lucia

2

85

St. Vincent and Grenadines

98

68

75

Sudan

82

53

1,777

2,117

943

2,404

Swaziland

32

39

35

24

Tajikistan, Republic of

74

74

7

Tanzania

23,430

18,042

27,299

36,102

39,049

111

Trinidad and Tobago

126

52

74

28

Turks and Caicos Islands

315

805

444

32

143

-161

Uganda

16,391

13,172

14,565

1,776

474

51

Ukraine

215

112

66

6

1

United Kingdom

Vietnam

1,022

599

1,266

5,497

3,673

10,630

West Bank and Gaza

424

176

843

231

10

26

Windward Islands

9

63

58

524

615

634

Yemen, Rep of (YAR to May 1990)

88

548

2,202

Zambia

893

3,113

3,565

7,147

6,162

6,660

Zimbabwe

91

117

63

190

120

140

Note:

The sum of country expenditure does not match expenditure reported in table 1. The expenditure in table 1 also contains regional and global programmes which are not country specific and expenditure through civil society organisations.

Sudan: Returns

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contribution the UK will be making to the UN high commissioner for refugees appeal to help southern Sudanese refugees and internally displaced persons to return home. (126685)

The return of people to their homes in Sudan is a major priority for the international community in 2007, particularly in the first half of the year, before the rains make movement difficult. DFID has channelled all its funding for the returns process through the UN-administered common humanitarian fund (CHF). The multi-donor CHF is an ideal way of supporting returns as it provides fast and predictable funding. Of the $133 million allocated so far by the CHF (of which the DFID contribution makes up 60 per cent.), $12.4 million was given to support the returns process.

A considerable amount of the CHF funding for other sectors (e.g. water and sanitation, health and nutrition) in the south ($50 million) and the three areas ($17.8 million) is also targeted at areas of return for refugees and the internally displaced.

Of the $63 million that the United Nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) received last year for similar operations, the CHF provided $14 million.

Sudan: International Assistance

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to assist the Government of Southern Sudan to develop the civil service there. (126280)

The UK is playing a lead role in support of civil service development for both the Government of the Southern Sudan (GOSS) and the 10 state governments in the South. We have allocated £2 million of bilateral support to a capacity building programme for GOSS. Its achievements to date include service training for newly recruited officials at different levels in central and state level Government and technical assistance for government accountants. We are also supporting civil service reform through the Multi Donor Trust Fund’s Capacity Building, Institutional and Human Resource Development in Southern Sudan Project, UNDP and the African Development Bank.

Sumatra: Earthquakes

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid he is making available to the survivors of the earthquake in Sumatra. (126706)

DFID has been monitoring the situation in Sumatra since the earthquake struck at 3.49 GMT (10.49 local time) on Tuesday 6 March.

The Indonesian authorities and the United Nations report that 71 people have died, 192 people have been injured and several hundred homes have been destroyed.

The Government of Indonesia has sent medical teams to the area and is coordinating delivery of relief items including tents and water. The Indonesian military is providing relief kitchens and clinics.

The Government of Indonesia has not requested international assistance. We remain ready to respond to requests that the Government may make and will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Bats: Conservation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the average cost per application of obtaining the expert advice required to support an application for a bat licence under the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994. (125803)

[holding answer 8 March 2007]: Obtaining expert advice in relation to supporting applications for bat licences is a private and commercial matter for the applicant. Consequently, DEFRA does not hold this information.

Birds of Prey

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what the evidential basis is for the contention in the review of bird registration that whilst there is evidence that the peregrine is persecuted, it is not for the reasons outlined in the criteria for including the species on Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; (125179)

(2) what his policy is on the Joint Nature Conservation Committee's recommendation to retain the peregrine falcon on Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

There is no reference in the review to the contention to which the hon. Member refers. Peregrine falcons are, of course, already listed on schedule 4 of the 1981 Act. In the Consultation on the Review of Registration under section 7 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in England, Scotland and Wales, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee's (JNCC) recommendation is for the peregrine falcon to be retained on schedule 4.

My officials will shortly put the results of the recent consultation exercise to me. Therefore, it is too early for me to take a view on the JNCC's recommendation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the saker falcon will be subject to a fresh review by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee as a candidate for listing in Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in view of its endangered status. (125231)

We are currently in the midst of a review of schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in which we are reviewing the status of all endangered bird species, including the saker falcon.

Birds: Conservation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the costs of operating the Bird Registration Scheme under section 7 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 were in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what proportion of these costs are paid by bird keepers. (124672)

The cost of running the Bird Registration Scheme for 2005-06 was £304,828. 23.7 per cent. (£72,208) of this was recovered in fees from keepers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what conclusions were drawn from (a) the Review of Bird Registration and CITES licensing fees in 1999 and (b) the review of charges for CITES licences and permits in 2004; and whether any changes were made to the fees charged following each review. (124673)

In 1999, there was a review of CITES fees which officials subsequently withdrew as being unworkable. The 2004 review resulted in proposals for an increase of CITES fees but, subsequently, this was withdrawn following detailed consultations with HM Treasury.

No changes were made to fees as a result of these consultation exercises. Both exercises were solely concerned with CITES fees and charges and were not concerned with bird registration fees.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimates have been made of the cost implications for enforcement and conservation agencies of the proposals contained within his Department’s Review of Bird Registration. (124674)

My officials are currently assessing the implications of the consultation exercise. As part of that exercise, I will require them to produce, and publish, a full regulatory impact assessment which will quantify the cost implications of any proposed changes. At the moment, it is too early in the process for me to make any comment on the cost implications.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether there is a minimum infrastructure cost associated with running the Bird Registration scheme; and whether reducing the number of birds on Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 would reduce income from bird keepers. (124675)

There are fixed costs such as running costs for the IT system. However, these are extremely small (less than 5 per cent. of the total).

Currently, keepers pay per registration, that is, per bird. Therefore, reducing the number of species listed on schedule 4 would reduce the number of fees (income) paid by keepers.

Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps have been taken (a) to improve the training of veterinary surgeons undertaking TB testing and (b) to improve the management of State Veterinary Service staff undertaking TB testing since the DNV Consulting report on Veterinary Surgeons within the Meat Hygiene Service. (125777)

The DNV Consulting Report, ‘Review of TB Testing’ looked at the way instructions, procedures and interpretive material for TB testing were promulgated, reviewed and complied with by local veterinary inspectors (LVIs) in England and Wales. It considered testing by LVIs and staff within the State Veterinary Service (SVS), not the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS). The MHS does not carry out TB testing on live cattle.

A CD-Rom training package is being prepared for use by all veterinary surgeons undertaking TB testing which will be rolled out in the near future. The instructions for carrying out the test have been revised. At the same time we are developing plans for refresher training for SVS staff and more formal monitoring procedures.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) beef cows and (b) dairy cows were compulsorily slaughtered because of bovine tuberculosis in (i) Great Britain, (ii) England, (iii) Wales and (iv) each county in each year since 1997; and how many have been slaughtered in 2007. (126160)

The number of cattle, broken down by beef and dairy cows, slaughtered under bovine TB measures in each county of Great Britain, over the time period requested, is not routinely available and can be provided only at disproportionate cost. I have arranged for details of the total number of cattle slaughtered under bovine TB measures in each county, from 1997 to 2006, along with provisional data for January 2007, to be placed in the Library of the House.

1998 to 2005 data is also available on the DEFRA website at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/stats/county.htm

Common Agricultural Policy: Reform

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on Common Agricultural Policy subsidies and reform in favour of aiding the use of excess crop production for the domestic production of bio-fuels. (125562)

The Government have regular discussions with other member states and the European Commission on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). These discussions are likely to become more frequent as we move towards the proposed ‘healthcheck’ in 2008.

Our objectives for the CAP include completing the process of decoupling direct aid and the removal of compulsory set-aside land so that farmers across the EU are free to produce crops in response to market demand. We also aim to end the intervention system which leads to surplus production.

We will consider the existing CAP measures that support the production of biofuels in the context of these objectives, and Government initiatives to promote the use of bio-energy in road transport fuels.

Departments: Discrimination

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress his Department has made in achieving gender equality in public appointments to bodies which fall within his Department's responsibility since 1997. (125211)

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 2001-06 copies of these documents are available in the Library for the reference of Members.

Departments: Orders and Regulations

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2007, Official Report, column 1180W, on departments: orders and regulations, how many general and local statutory instruments were made by his Department in each year since 2001. (125688)

The numbers of local and general statutory instruments made by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs between 2001 and 2006 are as follows:

General

Local

2001

143

373

2002

124

2

2003

109

2

2004

131

5

2005

130

15

2006

145

9

Departments: Video Conferencing

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many video conferences have been held by his Department in each year since 2001. (126018)

[holding answer 8 March 2007]: Statistical information on videoconferencing usage is not held centrally. Defra and its associated agencies have 76 videoconferencing units. Fifteen of these units have been managed by IBM since mid-2005 and the following statistics relate to bookings made for those units only. The other units are mainly on Defra agency sites and are managed locally. To collate the requested usage information from these sites would incur a disproportionate cost to the Department.

Number

20051

304

2006

935

1 October to December.

Dolphins: Imports

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many dolphins were imported into the United Kingdom from Japan in each of the last 10 years. (125630)

No dead or live dolphins have been imported into the United Kingdom from Japan during the last 10 years.

Environmental Stewardship Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding he has made available to Natural England for the creation of (a) entry level and (b) higher level environmental stewardship schemes during the contingency period before the new rural development programme for England is approved by the European Commission. (125035)

As the Secretary of State made clear in his announcement on 12 December 2006, Official Report, column 77WS, we have kept the Environmental Stewardship Scheme open to new applications in advance of formal approval of the Rural Development Programme for England.

Agreements entered into since 1 January are provisional and are being funded from existing indicative budgets agreed when the scheme was launched. No specific, separate budget has been made available for the period prior to programme approval.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many agreements on the creation of (a) entry level and (b) higher level environmental stewardship schemes he expects Natural England to offer before the new England rural development programme commences; and what he expects the financial value of these agreements to be. (125036)

The final, total number of new agreements entered into on a contingency basis since 1 January will depend on the date the new Rural Development Programme for England is approved. During this period, Natural England is continuing to work towards existing targets. That is, by the end of 2007, some 60 per cent. of the agricultural area in England will be managed under an Entry Level Scheme agreement. We are also working towards a target of having some 525,000 hectares of land under a combination of either Higher Level Stewardship or the previously operated Countryside Stewardship Scheme.

Fisheries: EC Law

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of EU Council regulation 41/2006, on thornback ray, on the fishing industry in Kent and Essex. (126916)

I am aware of the concerns among this sector of the industry about the effects of this piece of EC legislation on their viability. We are urgently exploring with them options to adapt and respond to the new obligations.

Food: Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has held with other Ministers on the sourcing of publicly procured food; and what proportion of such food was of British origin in 2006. (123634)

My right hon. friend the Secretary of State, together with ministerial colleagues at DfES and DOH spoke at the conference—Food and Farming: Reconnecting a New Generation, on 29 November. The conference promoted sustainable sourcing of food throughout the public sector under the Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative; promoted opportunities for farmers and producers to supply public sector contracts; and launched the Year of Food and Farming—an industry-wide initiative supported by DEFRA, DfES and DOH. Other Government agencies are contributing to the initiative which also involves subject associations, teacher associations, key food, farming and countryside sector bodies, together with businesses working in the food, farming and countryside sectors.

The Department does not hold information on the proportion of publicly procured food of British origin in 2006. The Department is commissioning a MORI survey of local education authorities in England and is also working with its statisticians, key public sector procurers, the NFU, other trade bodies and the major food service companies to produce this information which it will place in the Library of the House when it is available.

Forestry: Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will advance the payment of support to those landowners who use their land for forestry for the purposes of developing carbon sinks. (124466)

Climate change mitigation is just one of the many benefits of tree planting. The principal objectives of the woodland creation, supported by the Forestry Commission's English Woodland Grant Scheme, are environmental and social.

The Forestry Commission has already contractually committed most of its woodland creation grants budget for payment in the 2007-08 financial year. There are no plans to offer any new contracts for woodland creation grants until the Rural Development Programme for England 2007-13 has been approved by the EU Commission.

Greyhounds: Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions has he had with (a) the Environment Agency and (b) other authorities on the exhumation of the bodies of greyhounds killed at Seaham, County Durham. (126464)

[holding answer 9 March 2007]: DEFRA Ministers have not held discussions with the Environment Agency or other authorities specifically on this matter. However, my officials have monitored progress and briefed Ministers accordingly.

Home Energy Efficiency Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what compensation or redress is available to those who have received unsatisfactory service under the Warm Front scheme; (125080)

(2) how many contractors have been removed from the Warm Front scheme by Eaga Partnership because of unsatisfactory performance;

3) what sanctions are applied by Eaga Partnership when contractors carry out unsatisfactory work as part of the Warm Front scheme.

The Scheme Manager, the Eaga Partnership, continually monitor and audit contractors appointed to work under the Warm Front Scheme. It has introduced vendor-rating systems against which contractors are assessed.

The vendor rating system provides an assessment of contractors using various criteria including (but not limited to) customer service, professionalism and workmanship. The vendor rating of each contractor determines the level of work they receive in the future.

Contractors who irrevocably fall short of these standards can be removed from the Warm Front Scheme. However, no contractors have been removed to date under the second phase of Warm Front.

If a Warm Front customer feels that they have received unsatisfactory service from the scheme they can in the first instance complain to the Eaga Customer Complaints Team. Should they not be satisfied with the response they can pursue matters with the Defra Fuel Poverty Team, Defra Service Standards Complaints Adjudicator Unit, Defra Ministers or The Parliamentary Ombudsman.

With regards to possible redress/compensation, this will depend on the specifics of each case.

Meat: Origin Marking

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate he has made of the percentage of imported foreign meat that was subsequently labelled as being British in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement; (125182)

(2) what steps he is taking to prevent imported foreign meat being labelled as British.

Where meat has been subject to substantial processing, it is permissible to describe as its origin the country where that change took place. If the absence of information might mislead consumers, then Guidance on Country of Origin Labelling and Clear Food Labelling produced by the Food Standards Agency suggests that both the origin of the meat and the country where the processing takes place should be declared in order to facilitate informed consumer choice. More restrictive rules apply to beef and poultry meat that has not been processed.

Ultimately, the use of misleading labelling, including information on the country of origin, is governed by the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 and the Food Safety Act 1990. The Food Standards Agency is currently revising its Guidance, and my Department is closely involved with this.

Milk

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he has taken to protect the UK milk production sector from European competition. (125225)

If the UK milk production sector is to remain competitive it must become more efficient and market-focused. In England, the Government are helping it to do so through a range of measures, including:

(i) our support for English Farming and Food Partnerships (which is promoting collaboration and co-operation between farmers and between farmers and the rest of the food chain);

(ii) the Food Chain Centre (which has been promoting benchmarking and investigating the scope for efficiencies with supply chains); and

(iii) the Dairy Supply Chain Forum (which aims to increase the efficiency and promote the sustainable development of the dairy supply chain).

Defra has also awarded grants of over £1.3 million under the Agriculture Development Scheme to projects that aim help the dairy sector become more efficient. We understand that a strategic action plan for the dairy industry in Wales has been developed to encourage effective measures that will stimulate innovation and product development.

Rights of Way

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to consult on regulations under sections 54 and 56 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 on the extinguishment of public rights of way at the cut-off date. (124670)

River Thames: Environment Protection

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps to ensure that the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA) Delivery Plan prevents irreversible damage to the SPA and the habitat of the woodlark, nightjar and Dartford warbler. (124445)

[holding answer 5 March 2007]: The Government office for the South East continues to work in partnership with Communities and Local Government, Defra, Natural England and the South East England Regional Assembly to develop a strategic approach to the required housing delivery around the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area, whilst ensuring that the site is appropriately protected from future impacts in accordance with the habitats directive.

The draft Thames Basin Heaths Delivery Plan is currently being considered as part of the Examination in Public (EiP) of the South East Regional Spatial Strategy. The assessor appointed to examine this draft Delivery Plan published his report to the EiP Panel on 19 February 2007. This report will be debated further on 22 March 2007 at an EiP session.

Sewers

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what length in miles of unadopted sewers there is in each region of England. (125533)

The most recent Ofwat estimates of private, unadopted, pipework outside the property curtilage, in England, by water and sewerage company area, are set out in the following table:

Water and sewerage company

Length of unadopted sewers (kilometre)

Anglian

21,000

United Utilities

21,000

Northumbrian

9,000

Severn Trent

29,000

Southern

13,000

South West

5,000

Thames

26,000

Wessex

8,000

Yorkshire

16,000

Single Farm Payments: East Sussex

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers in (a) Eastbourne and (b) East Sussex have not received a single farm payment for 2006. (125473)

As of 28 February 2007 a total of 88,842 customers have received either a full or partial 2006 Single Payment Scheme payment, representing 81.5 per cent. of the estimated total claimant population of 109,000.

The total value of 2006 payments is £965.53 million, 62.8 per cent. of the estimated total fund of £1.54 billion.

These figures include 2,577 partial payments (including Euro payments) and 2,298 full payments which were made in the last week, as well as over 3,300 top-up payments which were made to customers who previously received a partial payment.

Detailed analysis of the payments made under the Single Payment Scheme is not yet available.

Sugar Beet: Biofuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to help sugar beet farmers diversify their markets to use their crop for fuel production. (125561)

Following the reform of the sugar regime, farmers can grow sugar beet on set-aside land for bioethanol use and can claim the European Union’s €45 per hectare Energy Aid payment for sugar beet on non set-aside land.

The Government are promoting the production of bioethanol through a 20p per litre duty rate cut. To further develop the supply of biofuels, a Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation will be introduced to require 5 per cent. of fuel sold in the UK to come from a renewable source by 2010.

We are aware that British Sugar are building a biofuel processing plant in Norfolk that will use sugar beet as one of the feedstocks.

Wood: Burma

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken by his Department to reduce imports of timber from Burma (a) to the UK and (b) to the EU. (122611)

The UK supports the EU's Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) action plan which envisages voluntary partnership agreements with individual countries to promote trade in legally produced timber. Burma is not a FLEGT partner country and its timber exports are therefore not promoted under this scheme. In the UK, the Government maintains a long-standing policy of discouraging British companies from trading with Burma.

Transport

A50: Road Traffic

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the last five noise level readings were for the A50 Doveridge bypass; and when each was taken. (126099)

Noise level readings are not routinely taken for trunk roads and none have been taken for the A50 Doveridge bypass.

Departments: Disclosure of Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make available to the participants the minutes of the meeting held on 13 November 2006 between himself, the hon. Member for Richmond Park, Mrs. Eileen Dallaglio and others. (125220)

Following the undertaking that I gave at the meeting on 13 November 2006, copies of the Minutes have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Departments: Security

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many current passes to his Department have been allocated to employees of private companies. (126761)

The Department has 4,711 valid passes issued to contractors and consultants providing services to its headquarters and agency premises.

Level Crossings: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents occurred at railway level crossings in each of the last five years; and how many of those were due to (a) signal failure and (b) (i) pedestrians and (ii) vehicles on the line. (126469)

Statistics on accidents at level crossings and their causes are given in the annual reports on railway safety, now produced by the Office of Rail Regulation and previously by the Health and Safety Executive. Copies are available in the House Library.

The Rail Safety and Standards Board have estimated that 96 per cent. of the risk at level crossings is due to the behaviour of crossing users.

M5: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the accident rate is on the stretch of the M5 motorway between each of the junctions from 8 to 11A; what the average accident rate is on each motorway in England; and if he will make a statement. (125679)

[holding answer 6 March 2007]: Actual figures for individual stretches of motorway are not normally available. However, the accident rate on the M5 motorway, between each of the junctions from 8 to 11 a, averaged over the period 2003-05, is as follows:

Junction

Accident rate (accidents per 108 vehicle km1)

J8-9

8.8

J9-10

5.2

J10-11

8.3

J11-11a

8.1

J8-11a

7.2

1100 million vehicle kilometres

The accident rate for each motorway in England, averaged over the period 2003-05, for which figures are available, is as follows:

Motorway

accidents per 108 vehicle km1)

1

11.4

2

10.9

3

8.3

4

8.8

5

6.7

6

9.5

10

11.7

11

8.5

18

6.0

20

10.3

23

9.6

25

13.9

26

7.3

27

9.6

40

6.5

42

5.8

45

0.6

48

3.6

49

6.1

50

4.8

53

10.3

54

5.6

55

8.3

56

6.9

57

11.0

58

6.1

60

9.3

61

10.5

62

9.5

65

10.7

66

7.8

67

10.8

69

8.8

180

7.8

181

13.3

271

39.8

602

17.0

606

18.6

621

11.8

These figures have been obtained exceptionally but should not necessarily be used for comparison purposes as each motorway differs in length and usage.

Petrol Stations

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to require details of additives to petrol and diesel by refineries to be displayed to customers at the point of sale at petrol stations. (126123)

I have no plans to impose such a requirement, since to do so would place a burden on industry without significantly adding to the protection available to consumers.

Fuels can contain a wide range of additives. Information on the composition of these would be unlikely to be comprehensible to motorists and may well be proprietary to the fuel supplier.

It is unlikely that such a requirement would have prevented the recent incident in which fuel was found to be contaminated with silicon, since the contaminant had not been deliberately added to the fuel at any stage and the suppliers were unaware of its presence.

Ports: Liverpool

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects a decision to be announced on the application for the post panamax terminal in the port of Liverpool. (126533)

A decision on the application for the Seaforth River Terminal Harbour Revision Order will be announced as soon as all the necessary statutory procedures have been completed.

Roads: Noise

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of the concreted trunk road network has had a quieter surface installed since July 2000; and which roads with concrete surfaces (a) have and (b) have not had work begin. (126096)

The Highways Agency has a policy of using quieter surfaces as a matter of course whenever a road needs to be resurfaced. Since July 2000 approximately 35 per cent. of the concrete sections of the strategic road network have been surfaced with quieter materials. Tables (A) and (B) indicate concrete sections surfaced and sections not surfaced respectively.

Table A: Concrete sections surfaced with quieter materials

Scheme

1999-2000

M20 Junctions 3-5

2000-2001

M20 Junctions 9-10

2001-2002

No Schemes Completed

2002-2003

M180 Junction 2 to Beltoft

A12 Brentwood Bypass Phase 2

M11 Junction 8 (Stanstead Slip Rd Contract)

M20 Junction 11 - Smeeth

M27 Junctions 2-4

M11 Junctions 7-6 southbound

M5 Junctions 26-27 Contract 1

2003-2004

A1 Long Bennington (Additional stretch to April 2003 announcement)

M42 Junctions 2-3a

M180 Sandtoft - Junction 2

M11 B1038 (Newport) A11 (M11 Junction 9 Junction 8 Phase 1) (new scheme from October 2001 announcement)

M1 Junctions 1-2

M20 Junctions 11a-11

M20 Junctions 13-11a

M25 Junctions 26-27

M5 Junctions 26-27 Contract 2

M5 Junctions 27 South to Willand (additional stretch to April announcement)

A12Witham-Kelvedon

2004-2005

M11 Junction 6 (additional stretch to April 2003 announcement)

A1(M) Junction 1 (South Mimms)

M4 Junction 10 Slip Roads - phase 1

A27 Chichester to Havant (phases 1 and 2)

A1 North Muskham to Carlton on Trent (phases 1 and 2)

M5 J26-J27 Contract 3

M69 Junction 2 - M1 Contract 1

2005-2006

A180 Habrough to Stallingborough (new scheme from October 2001announcement)

M62 Gilberdyke to Newport (Additional stretch to April 2003 announcement)

A1 North Muskham to Carlton on Trent (phase 3)

A27 Chichester to Havant (phase 3)

M20 Junction 3 - A20 West Kingstown

A34 Peartree to Weston

A36: M27 roundabout to Circuit Road roundabout (Additional stretch to April 2003 announcement)

2006-2007

A1 Coddington to Balderton

M1 1 J9-8 Phase 2 (B1038 Newport-Ugley)

M6 Junction 12 to Penkridge

Table B: Concrete sections not re-surfaced with quieter materials

Concrete Road Section Description

Concrete Section Length - km

M1 -A1 Link

15.5

M20 Junction 1 / M25 J3

1.1

M20 Junctions 8-9

20.4

M25 Junctions 9-10

7.8

M27 Junctions 5-7

5.7

M60 J1 -2 Concrete Overlay

1.7

A5 Milton Keynes (A422-A508)

6.3

A11: B1172-A47

13.7

A12 Ingateston-Margaretting

4.4

A12 Hatfield Peverel-Witham

5.2

A13: A1306-M25J30

3

A14 Claydon - B1067 Underbridge

3

A30 Honiton-Exeter

16.2

A47 East Dereham: East Dereham - B1135

3.3

A50: Doveridge Bypass

4

A419 / A417 Cirencester and Latton Bypasses

14.2

A1 Coddington to Balderton phase2

3.0

M42 Junctions 9-10

5.1

M6 Penkridge to junction 13

3.8

M18 Junctions 5-6

2.3

M25 Junctions 10-11

9.2

M25 Junctions 24-25

8.5

M25 Junctions 8-9

7.2

M42 Junctions 3a-4

3.5

M54: A5-A41

9.3

M271 Junctions 1 to A3057

2.8

A11 -Barton Mills

2.8

A12 Contract 11 : Kelvedon Bypass-Eight Ash Green

7.7

A12 Margaretting-Boreham

13.4

A14 B1067 Underbridge - Copdock Interchange

3.3

A14 Copdock Interchange - A12

8

A19 Billingham Bypass

4.2

A30 Long rock Bypass

1.8

A35 Tolpuddle-Puddletown

7.2

A50 Derby Southern Bypass

0.5

A52 Bottesford Bypass

4.8

A120 Elmstead-Wix Eastbound

3.5

A168 / A19 Thirsk Bypass

8

A249: M2-Iwade

7.9

A483: 65445-Welsh Boundary

3.1

M3 Junctions 8-9

9

M4 Junction 10 slip roads - phase 2

0.5

M11 Junctions 5-6

4.7

M18 Moorelands-Greenland

4.9

M23 Junction 10-9 NB

1

M25 Junctions 27-28

5.6

M26 - J2A to M20 Concrete and EB overlay (MP 14/6 to 15/9)

0.8

M53 Junctions 11-12 (A56-M56)

3.9

M54: A41-A449

12.9

M56 Junction 15 (M53)-A5117

3

A14 A12 Levington

3.7

A14 Elmswell

3.6

A30 Whiddon Down to Okehampton

6.9

A46 Six Hills-Widmerpool

9.5

A47 East Dereham: Wending-East Dereham

4.3

A50 Blythe Bridge to Uttoxeter

12.4

A50: Foston Hatton Hilton Bypass

3.6

A120: A12-Elmstead

4.5

A160: A1077-A180

4.4

A180: Habrough to Grimsby

11.5

A180:M180-Ulceby

8

A303 Illminster Bypass

8.8

Safety Belts

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the number of (a) fatalities and (b) injuries sustained in road crashes where the failure to wear a seat belt was a contributory factor. (124615)

Statistical data on failure to wear a seatbelt as a contributory factor is not collected. Research reported in the recently published “Second Review of the Government’s Road Safety Strategy” and “Road Safety Research Report No. 76: Trends in Fatal Car-occupant Accidents” both published on 26 February 2007, estimates that about a third of fatally injured car occupants were not wearing their seatbelts. For 2005 figures, it represents about 565 people, and it is estimated that about 370 people might have survived if they had been properly restrained. A research report giving further details has also been published by TRL limited. These three reports can be downloaded from the following links:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/strategytargets performance/2ndreview/

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/research/rsrr/theme5/76?version=2

http://www.trl.co.uk/store/report_detail.asp?srid=6160 &pid=220

Copies of the reports are also available from the Libraries of the House.

Shipping

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to improve short sea shipping in UK coastal waters. (126476)

The Department promotes coastal shipping where this makes sense and has provided over £34 million of grant support for water freight projects since 2000.

In 2005, we introduced the new Waterborne Freight Grant scheme to assist shipping companies with their operating costs where there are environmental benefits to be gained from modal shift.

On a day to day basis we look to Sea and Water, the industry-led organisation which has received Department funding of £120,000 per annum since its formation in 2003, to take the lead in promoting coastal shipping services.

Shipping: EC Action

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received on the European Commission Green Paper on maritime transport policy. (126402)

The UK national consultation ended on 28 February 2007 and in total the Department has received 37 written responses to the consultation from interested parties.

Many of these are umbrella responses from trade associations and other membership bodies representing a wide range of stakeholders.

Southern: Rolling Stock

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress is being made in securing the early release by Southern of the class 319 trains for use on the Thameslink service; and if he will make a statement. (125994)

The Department for Transport is continuing to work with First Capital Connect and other industry partners to try to find a solution which would enable Southern to release the remaining 12 of its dual-voltage Class 319 units in advance of the end of its franchise in December 2009.

Transport: Orders and Regulations

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the (a) one-off cost and (b) recurring cost of implementing the Disability Discrimination (Transport Vehicles) Regulations 2005 to (i) businesses and (ii) the regulators. (126642)

The Disability Discrimination (Transport Vehicles) Regulations 2005 were accompanied by a full regulatory impact assessment, including one-off and recurring costs to business. A copy was placed in the House Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his most recent estimate is of the (a) one-off cost and (b) recurring costs of implementing the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and the Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment (Amendment) Regulations 2005 to (i) businesses and (ii) the regulators. (126645)

The total costs to industry estimated in the final regulatory impact assessment (RIA) were:

(a) for the first year after the proposals came into force, a one-off cost of £25 million—£53 million (incurred as a result of implementation of new security requirements following the events of 9/11);

Additionally, £0.05 million or less incurred as a result of further safety measures.

(b) £80 million (in present value terms) incurred over the remaining nine years (primarily relating to approval of bulk containers and changes to classification, packaging and vehicle marking in relation to class 7 radioactive materials as required by the EC directives.

The cost to regulators was absorbed in the normal running costs of the Department.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his most recent estimate is of the (a) one-off cost and (b) recurring costs of implementing Directive 2002/15/EC, on the working time of persons performing mobile and road transport activities to (i) businesses and (ii) the regulators. (126648)

The European Road Transport Working Time Directive 2002/15/EC is intended to help prevent “mobile workers” (mainly drivers and crew of HGVs, buses and coaches) from being forced to work excessively long hours. The directive also helps promote road safety and to ensure fair competition across Europe (by delivering a “level playing field” on working time).

The regulatory impact assessment (RIA) for the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/639), which implemented directive 2002/15/EC in Great Britain, estimated a one-off cost to industry of £25 to £50 million and a recurring net cost of £280 to £565 million per annum. The RIA did not estimate a one-off cost for regulators but estimated recurring enforcement costs of £120,000-£217,000 per annum. Copies of the RIA are available in the Libraries of the House, but early indications suggest that the compliance cost to industry may have been overestimated.

The Government have begun a review of the UK’s implementation of the directive which will look at, among other things, the administrative burden placed on business by the implementing regulations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his most recent estimate is of the (a) one-off cost and (b) recurring cost of implementing the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2004 to (i) businesses and (ii) the regulators. (126656)

The total costs to industry estimated in the final regulatory impact assessment (RIA) were:

(a) a one-off cost of £47 million incurred in the first year after the proposals came into force (primarily related to the increased scope of driver training to drivers working in petroleum transport sector);

(b) a further £293 million (in present value terms using a discount rate of 3.5 per cent.) incurred over the remaining nine years.

The cost to regulators was absorbed in the normal running costs of the Department.

Wales

Big Lottery Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the effect on lottery funding for projects in Wales of the allocation of funding from the Big Lottery Fund to projects being developed for the 2012 Olympics. (126306)

I have regular discussions with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on matters affecting Wales.

The Lottery has brought over £0.9 billion of awards to good causes in Wales since 1994. I, along with Cabinet colleagues and Assembly Ministers, am working to minimise the impact of the Olympics on Lottery funding for good causes in Wales.

I am determined, also, that Wales will make the most of the opportunities presented by the Games in terms of business opportunities, tourism, investment and participation in sport.

Leader of the House

Liaison Committee

21. To ask the Leader of the House if he will review the composition of the Liaison Committee. (126354)

I have no plans to propose to the House any changes to the principles underlying the composition of the Liaison Committee. These are that the Committee should comprise the chairmen of the other select committees of the House, with—at present—a senior former select committee chairman added to the Committee who serves as its chairman.

Citizenship Education

24. To ask the Leader of the House what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on how public understanding of the workings and processes of Parliament can be improved by citizenship education in schools. (126357)

Communications Allowance

To ask the Leader of the House what the estimated level of the new communications allowance is; and whether the incidental expenses provision allowance will be changed once the new communications allowance has been introduced. (125710)

The Members Estimate Committee is currently considering this and is expected to make proposals imminently, which will be published in a report from the Committee.

Members’ Constituency Work

To ask the Leader of the House how much hon. Members were allowed to spend on publicity, literature and communications to constituents in (a) 1996-97 and (b) 2006-07. (125712)

Communications to constituents is ordinarily charged by hon. Members to their parliamentary allowances. Members can spend any amount on such items up to the relevant annual limit, provided the expenditure conforms to the rules and guidance published by the Department of Finance and Administration in the Green Book.

In 1996-97 the then office costs allowance (OCA) was set at £47,568, while the 2006-07 incidental expenses provision (IEP) is £20,440. The OCA also covered staffing costs as well as general office costs, whereas in 2006-07 there is a separate staffing allowance in addition to the IEP.

House of Commons Commission

Parking Spaces

20. To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many drivers have parking spaces at the Palace of Westminster allocated to them by the House authorities. (126353)

There are 32 parking spaces allocated by the House of Commons authorities to drivers at the Palace of Westminster.

Lady Thatcher Statue

22. To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many representations he has received about the statue of Lady Thatcher in Members’ Lobby. (126355)

The Advisory Committee on Works of Art has received two representations about the statue of Lady Thatcher in Members’ Lobby. I am not aware of any other representations to the Commission.

Hospitality: Dining Rooms

23. To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what estimate the Commission has made of the cost to the public purse of providing hospitality via the Commons dining rooms. (126356)

After inclusion of purchase costs and the cost of staff directly engaged by the Refreshment Department in the booking and delivery of banqueting services, a net profit of over £960,000 was made from hospitality and other events held in the House of Commons private dining rooms in 2005-06.

This figure does not include overheads such as accommodation, procurement, utilities, staff training or pension costs which are not calculated separately.

House of Commons: St. George's Day

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what plans the House authorities have to celebrate St. George's Day. (125702)

Continuing its theme of celebrating the British Patron Saints’ Days, the Refreshment Department will celebrate St. George’s Day on 23 April by offering special dishes throughout its cafeterias and in the Members’ and Strangers’ dining rooms. Menus will showcase prime English meats, poultry, vegetables, cheeses and other seasonal produce, sourced by the Department's wholesalers from farmers and small producers throughout the English regions. Also, the Union flag will be flown from Victoria Tower on St. George’s Day.

Portcullis House: Flags

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will place in the Library a copy of the health and safety report into the access to the flagpole on Portcullis House. (122443)

Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how much the Commission spent on (a) acquisitions of office space, (b) refurbishment and (c) maintenance on the House of Commons estate in each year since 1990. (120445)

Since 1990 the main acquisition of office accommodation has been the construction of Portcullis House over a number of financial years at a capital cost of £234 million. Leasehold space was taken on at 7 Millbank during the 1990s; the annual rental is currently £4.7 million. More recently, additional leasehold space has been taken on a temporary basis at 4 Millbank at an annual rental of £0.7 million to provide decant space for use while core parts of the estate are refurbished. Major office refurbishments undertaken in the period have included:

1 Parliament Street and Derby Gate

Norman Shaw North

Norman Shaw South

Commons Court Offices

St. Stephen's Tower offices.

Care of the Palace of Westminster and the parliamentary outbuildings was transferred to Parliament by the Parliamentary Corporate Bodies Act in April 1992. Over the years the interpretation of maintenance and building activity, as well as the accounting regime used to record expenditure, has changed, making it difficult to give figures on a consistent basis. The published accounts show the following costs for accommodation services:

£ million

1992-93

21.9

1993-94

25.9

1994-95

22.1

1995-96

33.2

1996-97

20.9

1997-98

22.1

1998-99

23.3

1999-2000

27.2

2000-01

23.8

2001-02

35.8

2002-03

36.0

2003-04

24.3

2004-05

25.7

2005-06

24.7

For 2003-04 onwards, a more detailed breakdown is available as follows:

£ million

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Current expenditure

Office refurbishment

0.6

0.6

1.7

Office maintenance

2.1

2.1

2.4

Other accommodation costs including security

21.6

23.0

20.6

Total

24.3

25.7

24.7

Capital expenditure

Office furniture

0.1

0.1

0.1

Cost trends can be influenced by major projects. For example, the increase in office refurbishment expenditure in 2005-06 reflects the initiation of the Press Gallery refurbishment.

Education and Skills

Children: Day Care

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what percentage of child care (a) places and (b) providers (i) opened and (ii) closed in each of the last five years for which figures are available, broken down by (A) the private, voluntary and independent sector and (B) the state sector. (125622)

[holding answer 6 March 2007]: The information requested about child care places and providers broken down by sector is not available.

The following tables provide information for all types of day care provider.

Table 1: Number and percentage of child care providers that have opened and closed 2004-06, England

2003/04

2004/05

2005/06

March to December 2006

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Opened

21,200

22.9

18,500

20.1

16,500

17.3

12,100

12.6

Childminders

16,300

22.5

13,100

18.7

12,000

16.8

8,800

12.3

Full day care

2,500

22.7

2,800

23.2

2,300

17.5

1,700

12.4

Out of school

2,400

26.0

2,600

26.8

2,300

21.9

1,700

15.8

Closed

14,400

15.5

19,200

20.9

13,000

13.7

11,300

11.8

Childminders

12,100

16.7

15,300

21.8

10,300

14.4

8,800

12.3

Full day care

1,100

10.0

1,800

14.9

1,300

9.9

1,100

8.0

Out of school

1,200

13.0

2,200

22.7

1,500

14.3

1,400

13.0

Note: Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 if under 100, and to the nearest 100 if over 100. Source: Ofsted.

Table 2: Number and percentage of child care places opened and closed 2004-06, England

2003/04

2004/05

2005/06

March to December 2006

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Opened

238,600

21.6

254,100

21.6

214,800

17.1

157,400

12.2

Childminders

62,800

19.6

53,000

16.8

48,800

15.1

37,000

11.4

Full day care

98,600

21.6

117,600

22.7

90,900

16.1

68,400

11.5

Out of school

77,200

23.6

83,500

24.5

75,200

20.5

52,000

14.0

Closed

128,400

11.6

200,800

17.1

144,600

11.5

128,100

9.9

Childminders

50,400

15.8

63,000

19.9

44,800

13.9

37,900

11.7

Full day care

38,500

8.4

65,600

12.7

48,700

8.6

41,800

7.0

Out of school

39,500

12.1

72,200

21.2

51,100

13.9

48,500

13.1

Net steady state changes1

+24,600

2.2

+19,200

1.6

+8,900

0.7

+7,700

0.6

Childminders

+6,400

2.0

+6,300

2.0

+2,100

0.7

+2,200

0.7

Full day care

+14,600

3.2

+9,600

1.9

+5,600

1.0

+4,300

0.7

Out of school

+3,600

1.1

+3,300

1.0

+1,200

0.3

+1,100

0.3

Net change

+134,900

12.2

+72,600

6.2

+79,100

6.3

+36,900

2.9

1 The net steady state refers to registered providers whose registration status has not changed, but whose number of places has fluctuated over the period in question. Note: Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 if under 100, and to the nearest 100 if over 100. Source: Ofsted.

The Department is unable to provide accurate details of closure rates for child care places and providers prior to 2003.

Since March 2003 data on closure rates have been available from Ofsted. Their data on closures include registered places in settings which are transferring ownership, and in settings which move from one Ofsted category to another, not just in those which are ceasing trading.

Ofsted have produced figures on the numbers of registered child care providers and places on a quarterly basis from March 2003. Their latest figures were published in their report “Registered Childcare Providers and Places, December 2006”, which is available on their website, www.Ofsted.gov.uk/

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many childcare places for children under five were available in Warrington in each year since 1997. (125796)

[holding answer 6 March 2007]: The available information on the number of registered child care places for children under eight in Warrington local authority area is shown in the tables. The latest figures on registered child care provider and places are available on the following website:

www.ofsted.gov.uk/

Table 1: Number1, 2 of registered child care places for children under eight years of age by type of care, Warrington, position at 31 March each year, 2003-06

Type of care

2003

2004

2005

2006

Full day care

2,100

2,700

2,700

2,800

Sessional day care

1,100

900

800

900

Child minders

1,900

1,800

1,600

1,700

Out-of-school day care

2,200

2,600

2,700

3,000

Crèche day care

200

200

300

300

1 Rounded to the nearest 100 places. 2 Data Source: Ofsted.

Table 2: Number1, 2 of day care places for children under eight years of age by type of provider, Warrington, position at 31 March each year, 1990-2002

Type of provider

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

Day nurseries

1,000

1,300

1,600

Playgroups and pre-schools

1,400

1,300

1,100

Child minders

2,700

2,400

1,300

Out-of-school clubs

660

900

990

Holiday schemes3

1,200

1,300

5,900

1 Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 or 100 places. 2 Data Source: Children's Day Care Facilities Survey. 3 From 1999, places were counted once for each school holiday. Before 1999, places were counted once each year. Note: — = Not available.

Curriculum

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether it is the policy of his Department that the Key Stage 3 curriculum should be less knowledge based and more skills based. (124617)

Our policy is that the Key Stage 3 curriculum should ensure that young people secure the key discipline concepts, skills and knowledge to gain an understanding of the subjects they have studied. It should also equip young people with the wider personal, learning and thinking skills needed for everyday life.

Departments: Private Finance Initiative

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) for which future projects his Department is considering a private finance initiative deal; what the estimated life time value is of each potential contract; and what period each will cover; (125186)

(2) what percentage of his Department’s budget was taken up by private finance initiative commitments in each of the last 10 years for which information is available; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what percentage of his Department’s budget will be taken up by private finance initiative commitments in each of the next 10 years, assuming that the budget grows in line with the Treasury’s estimates for gross domestic product over the period; and if he will make a statement.

PFI credits relate solely to schools capital funding. Future PFI credits available to the Department as part of its capital baseline are largely assigned to the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. PFI contracts usually cover a 25 to 30 year period. After this, the buildings will normally transfer to the local authority which is the signatory to the contract. Partnerships for Schools, our delivery partner for BSF, is working with each local authority which has joined the programme to establish which school projects are suitable for investment through PFI. This is decided on value for money grounds and is usually for those projects where the school is to be largely rebuilt, rather than refurbished.

Percentage budget figures for PFI credits over the last 10 years to 2006-07, and planned for the years 2007-08 to 2010-11, are set out in the following table. The Department has no plans beyond the next spending review period ending 2010-11. The PFI percentage figure is established by dividing PFI credits by the total schools capital funding baseline, including PFI credits.

Percentage

1997-98

0

1998-99

12

1999-2000

25

2000-01

17

2001-02

19

2002-03

26

2003-04

20

2004-05

22

2005-06

22

2006-07

22

2007-08

20

2008-09

20

2009-10

19

2010-11

16

The changes in the PFI percentage reflect, from year to year, the different rates at which PFI credits and other allocations have increased.

Pupil Exclusions

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many Lancashire pupils were permanently excluded from (a) primary school and (b) secondary school in each of the last 10 years. (125244)

The information requested is shown in the tables.

Maintained primary and secondary schools, number of permanent exclusions1, 2, position in January each year

Lancashire local authority area3

Lancashire local authority area4

Primary

Secondary

Primary

Secondary

Number

Percentage5

Number

Percentage5

Number

Percentage5

Number

Percentage5

1995/96

45

0.03

303

0.35

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

1996/97

42

0.03

353

0.40

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

1997/98

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

43

0.04

240

0.33

1998/99

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

32

0.03

209

0.29

1999/2000

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

19

0.02

144

0.19

2000/01

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

34

0.03

207

0.28

2001/02

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

39

0.04

240

0.32

2002/03

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

30

0.03

302

0.40

2003/04

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

36

0.04

282

0.37

2004/05

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

25

0.03

238

0.31

Blackburn with Darwen local authority area4Blackpool local authority area4

Primary

Secondary

Primary

Secondary

Number

Percentage5

Number

Percentage5

Number

Percentage5

Number

Percentage5

1995/96

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

1996/97

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

1997/98

6

0.04

49

0.51

6

6

36

0.52

1998/99

6

6

23

0.24

6

6

18

0.25

1999/2000

6

6

38

0.40

6

6

17

0.23

2000/01

6

6

45

0.47

6

6

23

0.29

2001/02

7

0.05

31

0.33

6

0.05

27

0.33

2002/03

8

0.05

38

0.40

11

0.09

30

0.35

2003/04

6

6

31

0.32

6

6

46

0.53

2004/05

6

0.04

24

0.25

6

6

56

0.64

n/a = Not applicable.

1 Includes middle schools as deemed.

2 As reported by LAs as part of the data checking process.

3 Before local government reorganisation.

4 After local government reorganisation.

5 The number of permanent exclusions expressed as a percentage of the number (headcount) pupils in primary and secondary schools in January each year

6 Less than 5 or a rate based on less than 5.

Source:

Schools Census.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many exclusions there were in each local education authority in (a) 1997 and (b) 2006. (124633)

School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children in English schools receive free fruit on a daily basis; what the annual cost is of this scheme; what estimate he has made of the cost of extending this scheme to all primary aged school children; and if he will make a statement. (125083)

I have been asked to reply.

There are currently 1,961,316 children participating in the school fruit and vegetable scheme in 16,505 schools. The cost is £36.2 million for produces and delivery and £0.5 million for administration in the current 2006-07 financial year. We have not made a detailed estimate of the cost of extending the scheme to all primary aged school children.

Schools: Calderdale

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assistance has been (a) requested by and (b) given to (i) the local education authority in Calderdale to support schools in special measures and (ii) schools in special measures. (124636)

A range of support is available to local authorities to help them to improve their schools, including guidance from the Department on schools causing concern, central funding from a variety of sources, a number of intervention and capacity building programmes and a network of school improvement delivery agencies some of whose work includes the provision of teaching materials and consultancy support. Every local authority has been allocated a share of an additional £30 million, over the 2006-07 and 2007-08 financial years, to support their school improvement work. Calderdale's share of this was £138,600.

Additional funding is also available from the Department’s interventions budget, to support failing and underperforming schools. Calderdale local authority was allocated £170,000 from the interventions budget in 2003-04, £184,500 in 2004-05 and £75,000 in 2005-06. This funding included support for the North Halifax Federation, including £67,000 for a school that was in special measures to support its transition to closure and successful merger with another school.

Schools: East Sussex

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to support school sport in (a) Eastbourne and (b) East Sussex. (125528)

As part of the national School Sport Strategy, all schools in Eastbourne are part of the Hailsham School Sport Partnership (a family of schools which work together to increase participation in PE and school sport). The partnership has received over £1 million in the past three years to support its work in raising participation levels, linking schools to local sports clubs, and increasing the number of pupils involved in sports volunteering. It has seen the percentage of pupils participating in at least two hours of high quality PE and school sport a week rise from 80 per cent. in 2003 to 92 per cent. in 2006.

A further two School Sport Partnerships cover the rest of the schools in East Sussex. The total investment in these three partnerships has been over £3 million since 2003/04. The partnerships also benefit from extra funding for: Competition Managers in the area—raising the quality and quantity of school competition; a Community Sports Coach—bringing a sports specialist into schools; and school swimming—helping weak swimmers become more confident in the water before they finish primary school.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools in (a) Eastbourne and (b) East Sussex provide fruit for their pupils each day. (125530)

I have been asked to reply.

There are 149 schools in East Sussex, including 16 schools in Eastbourne, that participate in the school fruit and vegetable scheme.

Secondary Education: Curriculum

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the (a) risks and (b) consequences of doing nothing to the curriculum as part of the review of the secondary curriculum. (122807)

If we do nothing to the secondary curriculum schools will not have the flexibility and space for stretching students and helping those who have fallen below the expected level in English and mathematics. We risk therefore being unable to increase the number of students who reach the age of 14 at a level which enables them to take full advantage of the increased choices we are making available in the 14-19 phase. The consequence of that will be that some young people become disengaged from learning and unable to meet their aspirations. Those young people are more likely to drop out of education and training post 16 and are less likely to succeed in later life.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 26 February 2007, Official Report, column 1025W, on secondary education: curriculum, whether the supporting materials produced to accompany the secondary curriculum review are intended to accompany the revised National Curriculum as non-statutory guidance; whether the supporting materials will be sent to schools; and on what legal basis these materials will be sent to schools. (124856)

Supporting materials produced to accompany the secondary curriculum review are intended as guidance only and therefore non-statutory. They will available to schools via the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority website.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 26 February 2007, Official Report, column 1025W, on secondary education: curriculum, when the Director of Curriculum at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority visited South Africa; and how much the visit cost. (124858)

The Director of Curriculum was in South Africa from 16 February to 21 February 2007. The event was paid for by the Western Cape Education Department.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 26 February 2007, Official Report, column 1025W, on secondary education: curriculum, how many consultation documents have been (a) requested and (b) provided by the Qualifications Curriculum Authority in (i) printed format and (ii) other formats. (124912)

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has so far received three requests to provide consultation documents in printed format. These have been provided. No requests have been received to provide the consultation documents in other formats.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 26 February 2007, Official Report, column 1025W, on secondary education: curriculum, what steps the Qualifications Curriculum Authority has taken to ensure that parents respond to the secondary curriculum review. (124913)

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has a number of regional events planned with parents and students. It will use these to encourage parents to respond to the consultation on the secondary curriculum review. The widespread media coverage generated by the consultation launch, will mean that many parents are already aware that the consultation is taking place.

Sure Start Programme

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many grants were awarded to organisations for the purpose of meeting the capital costs of acquiring property for proposed new Sure Start centres; and what the value was of those grants. (126276)

The General Sure Start Grant (GSSG) provided local authorities with a total of £813 million capital for the period 2006-08. The funding can be used for the developing of Sure Start children’s centres, including acquiring, refurbishing, or building new property. The Department does not collect specific data on capital spent acquiring property for the purpose of developing children’s centres.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures are (a) in place and (b) planned to recover Sure Start grants from organisations that have failed to open child care centres as planned; and if he will make a statement. (126403)

Local authorities are responsible for how they use funding allocated to them through the General Sure Start Grant (GSSG) for the delivery of children's services. They have the freedom to use this funding to develop a range of provision including creating Sure Start Children's Centres, supporting the local child care market and developing extended schools services, in line with Government guidance. This will often involve using the local private, community or voluntary organisations to provide these services. If these organisations fail to deliver these services as planned, it is the responsibility of local authorities to recover this funding.

LAs have been asked to notify and consult with DfES about any proposal to sell or otherwise dispose of, or change the use of, buildings or other tangible assets which have been paid or partly paid for by a DfES capital grant. Notification should be at least three months before any planned disposal is intended to take place, where the market value exceeds £2,500.

Electoral Commission Committee

Electoral Register

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what guidance the Electoral Commission has given returning officers on removing from the Electoral Register those not entitled to vote; and if he will make a statement. (125650)

The Electoral Commission informs me that the guidance manuals it issued to electoral registration officers in England, Scotland and Wales in 2005 and 2006 included advice on eligibility for remaining on the electoral register. In July 2006, the Commission issued a circular to electoral registration officers on the extension by the Electoral Administration Act 2006 of the scope of their duties in relation to maintaining the electoral register, including removing those who are not eligible to be on it. I have arranged for a copy of this circular to be placed in the Library. The Commission has also provided further advice on this issue at its training and briefing seminars to support electoral administrators at the May 2007 elections.

Northern Ireland

Absent Voting

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people have applied for a postal vote in each Northern Ireland constituency for the forthcoming election to the Assembly; and how many applied for such a facility in (a) the last general election and (b) previous Assembly election. (123491)

The following table gives the breakdown by constituency of how many people have been issued with postal ballot papers. Figures for the number of postal ballot papers applied for are not available.

Postal ballot papers issued

Constituency

NI Assembly election 2003

Westminster parliamentary election 2005

NI Assembly election 20071

Belfast East

446

584

426

Belfast North

503

570

445

Belfast South

502

681

441

Belfast West

446

743

811

East Antrim

397

622

429

East Londonderry

1,288

1,647

988

Fermanagh and South Tyrone

3,600

4,559

3,375

Foyle

1,091

2,515

1,308

Lagan Valley

798

1,087

784

Mid Ulster

2,174

2,891

2,183

Newry and Armagh

1,416

1,873

1,226

North Antrim

893

1,444

971

North Down

496

727

393

South Antrim

480

711

524

South Down

1,462

2,041

1,318

Strangford

632

861

540

Upper Bann

1,015

1,162

803

West Tyrone

2,330

2,962

2,345

Total

19,969

27,680

19,310

1 Does not include postal votes issued after the application deadline of 27 February 2007 due to unforeseen illness.

Antisocial Behaviour Orders

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the account taken of costs of determining whether to seek to obtain an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) in Northern Ireland; and what representations he has received from public authorities on this matter since the introduction of ASBOs in Northern Ireland. (126962)

It is entirely the decision of the relevant authorities whether or not to apply for an antisocial behaviour order and this includes considering any issue relating to the cost. Any cost associated with seeking an antisocial behaviour order must be set against the cost of allowing the antisocial behaviour to continue unchallenged.

The NIO has no record of any representations from public authorities on this matter other than in response to the public consultation on the antisocial behaviour order proposals in 2004.

Colorectal Cancer: Screening

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects bowel screening to be available in the Province; and if he will make a statement. (119304)

My Department is working with the health service to enhance the capacity of the symptomatic service, with the aim of introducing bowel cancer screening in 2009.

Before a full programme can be implemented in Northern Ireland, detailed planning is required in order that the introduction of bowel screening does not adversely impact on services for those patients with symptomatic disease. In addition, infrastructure development and capacity building is required so that the necessary resources, people and skills are in place to ensure a quality service. My Department is currently working with the relevant health professionals to address these issues and thereby enhance the capacity of the symptomatic service.

Demonstrations: Londonderry

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what notification was given by the organisers of the parade that took place in Londonderry on Sunday 28 January 2007 to commemorate the events that took place there in January 1972. (117956)

Departmental Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Rayleigh, Official Report, column 1276W, on departmental equipment, whether the computers stolen from his Department held information about the names and addresses of government employees and other Crown servants in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the security implications of the thefts. (119404)

Names and addresses were not held on any of the departmental computers that were stolen in the past nine years. While all these losses were regrettable, I am satisfied that the security of individuals or the Department has not been compromised.

Departments: Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what strategy he has put in place for (a) the use of renewable energy and (b) meeting energy targets in his Department's buildings; and if he will make a statement. (125402)

Government Departments in Northern Ireland have been purchasing electricity from renewable sources since 2001. This approach is being continued in the general requirement for Departments to source at least 10 per cent. of their electricity requirements from renewable sources by March 2008.

To encourage the installation of renewable energy technologies by Government Departments, some £6.5 million has been made available in 2006-07 and 2007-08 under the Environment and Renewable Energy Fund which was launched a year ago.

Beyond this period, this work will be carried forward under the Northern Ireland Sustainable Development Strategy which requires the Government estate to be carbon neutral by 2015. From 31 March 2007 all Departments and district councils will be under a statutory duty to act in the way best calculated to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in Northern Ireland.

With regard to targets, Departments (and other public bodies) have been made aware of the objectives contained in the Government White Paper published in 2003 entitled “Our Energy Future—Creating a Low Carbon Economy”, and repeated in the 2006 Climate Change Programme, “Tomorrow's Climate, Today's Challenge”. All Departments are required to monitor their energy use and provide annual returns of energy consumption and cost in respect of all buildings which they occupy.

Educational Psychology

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many whole-time equivalent educational psychologists are employed by each education and library board in the Province. (119152)

The education and library boards employ the following numbers of whole-time equivalent educational psychologists:

Education and library board

Number

Belfast

26.64

North Eastern

21.98

Western

24.60

Southern

28.98

South Eastern

25.90

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many pupils are being seen by educational psychologists in each education and library board area. (119154)

Within the education and library boards educational psychologists are currently seeing the following numbers of pupils,

Education and library board

Number

Belfast

8,450

North Eastern

7,354

Western

10,379

Southern

7,200

South Eastern

7,470

Electoral Register

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people are registered to vote in each Northern Ireland constituency for the forthcoming election to the Assembly; and how many were registered for (a) the last general election and (b) previous Assembly election. (123493)

The following table gives the breakdown by constituency of how many people are or were eligible to vote at the 2003 Assembly election, the 2005 parliamentary election and the 2007 Assembly election. The 2007 Assembly election figure is lower than the total possible electorate (i.e. total number registered to vote) because it does not include those who are registered but who are not eligible to vote at this election (such as those who have not turned 18). The 2005 parliamentary figure includes those whose names were ‘carried forward’ from the previous register.

Eligible electorate

Constituency

NI Assembly election 2003

Westminster parliamentary election 2005

NI Assembly election 2007

Belfast East

51,937

52,899

49,757

Belfast North

51,353

52,535

49,372

Belfast South

50,707

52,218

48,923

Belfast West

50,861

53,536

50,792

East Antrim

55,473

57,966

56,666

East Londonderry

56,203

58,461

56,104

Fermanagh and South Tyrone

64,336

66,415

65,826

Foyle

65,303

68,758

64,889

Lagan Valley

67,910

70,238

70,101

Mid Ulster

60,095

62,088

61,223

Newry and Armagh

68,731

71,771

70,823

North Antrim

70,489

73,938

72,814

North Down

57,422

59,358

57,525

South Antrim

63,640

66,580

65,654

South Down

70,149

73,175

71,704

Strangford

66,308

68,570

66,648

Upper Bann

68,814

71,645

70,716

West Tyrone

57,795

59,842

58,367

Total

1,097,526

1,139,993

1,107,904

Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what role the proposed Community Commissioning Associations (CCAs) will have in the new health structures; how membership of CCAs will be determined; and what consultation has been undertaken on this proposal. (123839)

The Review of Public Administration (RPA) provides for local commissioning arrangements to be developed at a level below local commissioning groups.

To give effect to that ministerial commitment my officials have been consulting with relevant stakeholders regarding who best to secure the involvement of clinicians and others in local integrated primary case-based commissioning. Uniquely in Northern Ireland, this will embrace social care as well as health services. The intention is to place responsibility for the commissioning of safe, effective and responsive services with local physicians and other health and social care professionals. Active engagement with service users and carers will also be a key feature of the new arrangements. The aim is to secure improved services which are more sensitive to the needs of individuals.

Final decisions regarding the way forward have, however, yet to be taken.

Hospitals: Parking

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 5 March 2007, Official Report, column 1719W, on hospitals: parking, what percentage of revenue raised from parking charges is available to health trusts to spend on frontline services; and what criteria are used when determining how such resources are spent. (126945)

Where a health and social services trust charges for car parking at a hospital under an income generation scheme, all of the revenue raised is available for use as decided by the trust to enhance and improve patient care. Such resources are therefore spent alongside that raised through the normal commissioning process and the trust will decide to which medical specialty they should be allocated.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 5 March 2007, Official Report, column 1719, on hospitals: parking charges, for what reason the private finance initiative operator at the Royal Group of Hospitals is unable to report income from car parking charges. (126964)

The private finance operator of the car park at the Royal Group of hospitals, car park services, bears all the costs of operating the car park and accrues all profits in return. The amount of revenue raised is therefore not included in the financial records of the Royal Group of hospitals HSS trust. The trust has written to the operator requesting information on revenue raised. I will write to the hon. Lady as soon as the information has been received and place a copy in the Library.

Junior Doctors: Working Hours

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps have been taken to limit the working hours of junior doctors in the Province; and what restrictions there are on the maximum periods of time for which junior doctors can work without a break. (119147)

In 1991 my Department introduced a package of measures known as the New Deal designed to reduce junior doctor's hours. In addition, the European Working Time Directive, introduced in 2004, set further limits on hours of work.

My Department has established an advisory group to assist Health and Social Services employers in improving their compliance with the hours of work and rest requirements for junior doctors. The European Working Time Directive sets out a number of different rules on rest requirements for junior doctors including for example a maximum period of six hours work after which a minimum rest period of 20 minutes should be provided.

Knockbracken Health Care Park: Mental Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans there are to reduce the number of acute mental health in-patient beds at Knockbracken Health Care Park. (119303)

The Eastern Health and Social Services Board is finalising plans to restructure acute mental health beds in the Eastern Board area, which includes Knockbracken Healthcare Park. These plans will be subject to full public consultation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what consultation with (a) patients, (b) carers and (c) health professionals has been conducted into proposals to reduce the number of acute mental health in-patient beds at Knockbracken Health Care Park. (119308)

The Eastern Health and Social Services Board conducted an audit of acute psychiatric in-patient care in 2003-04. Users and carers were involved throughout. In addition, the board sponsored users and carers travelling to England to examine alternative services to in-patient care.

Macular Degeneration

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what provision is available in the Province for treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration; and whether pegaptanib sodium injections may be used within the NHS in Northern Ireland for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration. (119148)

Specialised treatments are available for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration, including photodynamic therapy, which is provided by ophthalmologists at the Royal Victoria hospital, Belfast.

It is for health and social services boards, as commissioners of services, to prioritise how funding is used, taking into account local circumstances, the strategic objectives established for the HPSS and demands and pressures generally for access to a wide range of new effective drug therapies. None of the boards currently funds the use of pegaptanib sodium injections.

In determining the priorities for funding, we would expect boards to take account of the available evidence of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of any treatment. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently assessing the clinical and cost-effectiveness of pegaptanib, and the Institute’s final guidance is expected in October 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to ensure that the Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety provides funding to treat wet age-related macular degeneration sufferers with a licensed anti-vascular endothelial growth factor, when such treatment is recommended by an ophthalmologist, from now until the publication of National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines later in 2007. (126318)

The Department has allocated an additional £24 million to health and social services boards in 2006-07 and 2007-08 for specialist hospital drugs. It is for the health and social services boards, as commissioners of services, to prioritise how funding is used, taking into account local circumstances, the strategic objectives established for the HPSS and demands and pressures generally for access to a wide range of new effective drug therapies.

In determining their priorities for funding, we would expect boards to take account of the available evidence of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of any treatment. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is currently assessing the clinical and cost effectiveness of pegaptanib and ranibizumab, and the Institute's final guidance is expected in September 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans are in place to treat those with wet age-related macular degeneration in Northern Ireland with new treatments which have recently become available. (126319)

It is for the health and social services boards to plan and commission services for the people in their areas. Specialised treatments are available for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration, including photodynamic therapy, which is provided by ophthalmologists at the Royal Victoria hospital, Belfast.

Two treatments for wet AMD, pegaptanib and ranibizumab, are currently being appraised by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the Institute is expected to publish its guidance in September 2007. When the appraisal guidance is published, the Department will consider the applicability of the NICE guidance to the health and personal social services.

Mental Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans there are to restructure acute mental health beds within the Eastern Health and Social Services Board area. (119310)

The Bamford Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability recommended that acute in-patient services should be provided as part of an integrated model of crisis services with locally accessible units, utilising where possible the facilities of general hospitals. The Eastern Health and Social Services Board is in the process of finalising plans to restructure acute mental health beds in the Eastern Board area. These plans will be subject to full public consultation.

NHS: Negligence

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many clinical negligence cases are pending in each health trust in the Province; how many negligence cases have been made against each health trust in the Province in each of the last 10 years; how many were upheld; and what the total estimated cost incurred as a result of clinical negligence in the Province was in each of the last 10 years, broken down by health trust. (119149)

Information for the last five years (from 2001-02 to 2005-06) has already been placed in the Library. Information is not available prior to 2001-02 and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

The information regarding the total estimated cost incurred as a result of clinical negligence in the Province in each of the last 10 years broken down by health trust, is not currently held centrally in that format and will take some time to collate. I will write to the hon. Member when the information is available and place a copy in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his estimate is of the funding required to cover clinical negligence costs in the Province in 2007-08. (119150)

Police Service of Northern Ireland: Catholicism

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects the 30 per cent. target for Roman Catholic representation in the Police Service of Northern Ireland envisaged under the Patten recommendations to be achieved. (117955)

Annex B of the St. Andrews Agreement makes it clear that the 50:50 provisions will lapse when the target for Catholic officers has been achieved. The Government’s target is to increase Catholic representation in the PSNI regulars to 30 per cent. by 2010-11.

Police Service of Northern Ireland: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many police officers are serving in the Police Service of Northern Ireland, broken down by ethnic origin. (119312)

I am advised that as at 1 February 2007 there are 7,557 regular officers in the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Their ethnic background can be broken down as follows:

Number

White

7,326

Pakistani

1

Black Caribbean

1

Black Other

1

Chinese

5

Indian

1

Mixed Ethnic

5

Other

9

Not stated

208

The PSNI have a number of positive outreach campaigns aimed at recruiting people from ethnic minorities, including the translation of advertisement and literature into four different languages.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) police officers and (b) civilian staff working for the Police Service of Northern Ireland are wholly employed on work connected with inquiries established by (i) the Government and (ii) the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. (125661)

Crime Support Department has a number of staff wholly employed undertaking work related to public inquiries set up by Government.

The number of PSNI officers and civilian staff in these areas are as follows:

Number

Police officers

4

Civilian staff

60.5

The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland does not establish inquiries. However, PSNI’s Historic Enquiries Team is conducting investigations into issues raised by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland in their recent Operation Ballast report. No HET staff are wholly employed on work relating to investigations carried out by the police ombudsman.

Respite Care

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to increase respite care provision in Northern Ireland. (126958)

In 2007-08 the Government will invest an additional £11.5 million in community care services designed to help vulnerable people to live independent lives. Respite care is an important and integral component of these services and I expect to see substantial improvements in terms of access and quality.

Thalidomide

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps have been taken to assist thalidomide victims in the Province. (119155)

There is no specific Programme of Care for thalidomide victims. Anyone leaving acute care as a result of thalidomide is treated under the Physical Disability Programme of Care in their respective boards and trusts.

Tomography

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many patients in each health trust area received (a) an ultrasound scan, (b) an X-ray and (c) a CT scan in each of the last five years; and how many patients are waiting to have (i) an ultrasound scan, (ii) an X-ray and (iii) a CT scan performed in each health trust in the Province. (119151)

The number of patients in each health trust area who received (a) an ultrasound scan, (b) an X-ray scan and (c) a CT scan in each of the last five years are detailed in the following tables.

<
(a) Ultrasound scans

Financial year

HSS Trust

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Altnagelvin

9,618

10,751

10,948

11,486

12,301

Belfast City

14,158

14,747

15,935

16,624

17,046

Causeway

4,274

4,699

4,944

5,288

4,996

Craigavon

114,120

114,371

111,566

13,530

15,621

Down Lisburn

6,814

6,394

7,319

7,763

8,903