Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 459: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2007

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 1 May 2007

Church Commissioners

Marriage: Licensing

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners how much of the £2,148,860 gained in fee income from issuing the Archbishop’s Special Licence for marriages has been received by the Church Commissioners. (135142)

Leader of the House

Departments: Sexual Harassment

To ask the Leader of the House how many complaints of sexual harassment have been investigated in his Office in the last 12 months; and how many complaints have been upheld. (135376)

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Air Pollution: Kirby

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether there were any (a) incidents involving and (b) prosecutions in which proceedings are not ongoing relating to harmful emissions at the Sonae factory in Kirby in each of the last four years. (134534)

Knowsley borough council is responsible for regulating emissions to the atmosphere from this factory under Part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations 2000.

The council advises that the number of incidents (both complaints and reported incidents) and prosecutions relating to this factory in the last four years are as follows:

Complaints

Reported incidents

Prosecutions

2004

278

49

3

2005

311

152

0

2006

196

24

0

2007

104

8

0

The subject of complaints against Sonae include odour, dust, smoke, fumes, and noise from the Kirby factory. Knowsley borough council advises that a small proportion of the complaints were subsequently found to be unconnected with Sonae. The company has also challenged an unspecified number of complaints.

The number of incidents shown in the table reflects the formal reports which Sonae has submitted. In accordance with their authorisation requirement, Sonae is required to report incidents likely to have an effect on the community. The three prosecutions in 2004 concerned a failure to monitor emissions, failure to comply with an enforcement notice, and failure to comply with an information notice. In total, these resulted in £13,000 worth of fines.

Factories such as this have the potential to emit various substances including oxides of sulphur and nitrogen, particulate matter, lead, volatile organic compounds, isocyanates, and aldehydes.

Avian Influenza: Disease Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the testing of live poultry for avian influenza in the protection and surveillance zones in Suffolk referred to in his Department’s submission to the European Commission on 5 March was completed before permission was granted to reopen the Bernard Matthews plant in Suffolk; what type of live poultry was tested; what the location was of each of the premises that were tested; and how many birds were tested in each. (134493)

During the outbreak, the State Veterinary Service (SVS, now Animal Health) carried out extensive surveillance in the restricted areas working closely with local authorities in Suffolk and Norfolk and other agencies. A full breakdown of the type and numbers of poultry tested along with a map of their locations can be found on pages 16 and 17 of the final epidemiology report into the outbreak we published on 19 April. Copies are available in the Library of the House.

This testing of live poultry within the protection and surveillance zones was completed by 26 February. The Bernard Matthews slaughterhouse plant in Holton was re-opened on 12 February. However, this was a separate premises from the site of the outbreak (although adjacent to it) and was placed under appropriate restrictions only while it was used to cull the birds. The meat processing plant which was also adjacent to the infected premises was never placed under restrictions. Once culling was completed, it was re-licensed to operate only after being thoroughly cleansed and disinfected and inspected by the SVS and Meat Hygiene Service so that it could not pose any disease risk to either poultry or humans.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to reply to the letter of 2 October 2006 from the hon. Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk on the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. (135396)

The hon. Member’s letter was transferred to the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department as it concerns a devolved issue.

Packaging: Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what work he is undertaking with (a) food processing companies, (b) supermarkets and (c) confectionery manufacturers to reduce packaging waste. (134178)

We have already introduced two sets of regulations to encourage producers (including retailers) to minimise, recycle and recover packaging and reduce packaging waste.

The Packaging Regulations have helped to reduce the amount of packaging used around products. However, more still needs to be done to reduce the amount of packaging and packaging waste being generated in the first place. We have asked the Advisory Committee on Packaging to work with industry to find solutions to this problem and recommend ways of encouraging businesses to further reduce the amount of packaging they use.

My Department continues to engage with retailers and the food industry to reduce the amount of food and packaging waste generated by the industry itself and by consumers.

In particular, DEFRA’s Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS), published in April 2006, challenges the food manufacturing sector to reduce its own waste by 15-20 per cent. by 2010. 13 major grocery retailers (representing 92 per cent. of the UK grocery sector) have also signed up to the “Courtauld Commitment”, agreeing to work with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in order to:

(i) design out packaging waste growth by 2008;

(ii) deliver absolute reductions in packaging waste by March 2010; and

(iii) identify ways to tackle the problem of food waste.

Each retailer signed up to the Commitment has been developing its own programme of work with WRAP to reduce packaging and packaging waste. A number of retailers have now announced their own specific performance targets on waste and other environmental issues.

In addition, several food and drink brands and manufacturers, including some confectionary manufacturers, have now signed up to the Courtauld Commitment. WRAP will shortly be announcing further details.

WRAP also provides technical and financial support to retailers and suppliers through an innovation fund. This is helping to identify ways of reducing the weight of primary packaging and the cost of production and transportation, mainly through research and development and innovative packaging design.

Importantly, DEFRA, working with WRAP and the devolved administrations, has recently secured the agreement of UK retailers to reduce the overall environmental impact of their carrier bags by 25 per cent. by the end of 2008.

Rabies: Disease Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to change the existing arrangements for the control of rabies. (134342)

DEFRA is currently carrying out a review of rabies import policy to ensure that UK controls on all rabies-susceptible mammals are proportionate and sustainable.

The review is nearing completion. The evidence received so far from government vets, officials and veterinary risk assessments indicates that our current controls may no longer be proportionate to the risk of rabies entering the UK. Therefore, we may need to consider modernising processes and regulation in this area. Our controls must also be consistent with current thinking on better regulation. I have requested further views before reaching conclusions.

Sewage

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken to ensure that back-up pumps are available in circumstances where primary sewage pumps fail and effluent is discharged into rivers, watercourses or the open sea; and if he will make a statement. (134077)

Under the Water Resources Act 1991, the Environment Agency requires all sewage pumping stations to have duty pumps and standby pumps that are capable of pumping the received flow in the event of a pump failure. This is a condition of consent to discharge, and it is the sewerage undertaker’s responsibility to ensure that their pumps are fully operational at all times.

Water

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many households in England were subject to water restrictions in 2006. (134494)

During 2006, about 16 million people were subject to restrictions on water use. In most cases, this involved hosepipe bans. However, a single drought order, allowing restrictions to be placed on non-essential uses of water, was partially implemented by Sutton and East Surrey Water.

Transport

Aviation: Exhaust Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the potential effects on health of emissions from aircraft. (134129)

Airport operators are expected to undertake appropriate health impact assessments when bringing forward any expansion plans. “Air Quality Assessments Supporting the Government's White Paper” was published alongside “The Future of Air Transport” in December 2003; this covers Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Birmingham airports. The document is on the internet at http://www.dft.gov.uk/about/strategy/whitepapers/air/docs/airqualityassessmentssupport5665.

Future levels of ambient air quality are being studied as part of the Project for the Sustainable Development of Heathrow. The Air Quality Technical Report, published in July 2006 found that the key pollutants are nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM10), for which there are EU limit values aimed at reducing harmful effects on human health and the environment as a whole.

Bicycles: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) male and (b) female cyclists were killed in accidents involving heavy goods vehicles in the last three years for which figures are available. (135309)

The number of (a) male and (b) female pedal cyclists that have been killed in reported personal injury road accidents involving at least one heavy goods vehicles in each of the last three years for which figures are available is given in the table.

Male and female pedal cycle fatalities resulting from reported personal injury road accidents involving at least one heavy goods vehicle, GB 2003-05

2003

2004

2005

Male

14

15

23

Female

12

7

3

Galileo Project

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of the cost of the Galileo project. (133774)

In its Communication to the Council and Parliament of February 2004, which set out the components of the Galileo programme, the European Commission evaluated the costs of the current development and deployment stage as €3.2 billion. Subsequently, Vice-President Barrot stated in December 2006 that the overall financial exposure for the public side over the 20-year period of the public private partnership (PPP) concession contract would be around €8 billion.

Given the lack of progress in the concession contract negotiations, the March 2007 Transport Council has asked the Commission to consider alternative scenarios for taking the project forward. As with the PPP these alternative scenarios will be assessed for cost, risk and affordability.

Once the Council has taken a decision on these scenarios it is expected that the Commission will then bring forward a draft EC financial instrument on the funding of Galileo during 2007-13 for the Council and the European Parliament to ratify. There has been no political discussion of potential funding commitments for the public sector beyond 2013.

Park and Ride Schemes

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) financial and (b) other support is offered to local authorities who wish to establish park and ride schemes; and if he will make a statement. (134647)

Most schemes are funded through the integrated transport block, which the Department allocates to support local transport plans (LTPs). The funding is for local authorities to invest in transport capital works, including park and ride, according to their local plans and priorities. It totals £571 million for 2007-08.

During the first LTP period (2001-06), local transport authorities in England (outside of London) spent a total of £72.5 million of LTP funding on improving 92 existing park and ride facilities and delivering 76 new park and ride schemes. In recognition of this, the Department gave credit in its assessment of delivery of the first local transport plans to those authorities that delivered substantial increases in park and ride facilities.

Railways: Smoking

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that rail companies inform passengers of the forthcoming smoking ban on stations. (134393)

The Department of Health (DoH) is conducting a significant communications campaign aimed at the public to ensure maximum awareness of the smoke free legislation before its implementation on 1 July. The Department for Transport has discussed the issue of communication with rail passengers with ATOC and Network Rail and provided advice to DoH on issues such as enforcement and signage arrangements on the rail network.

International Development

Africa: Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress the UK has made in meeting its commitment to double aid to Africa by 2010. (134392)

The UK Government are party to the European Union (EU) pledge to reach a collective target for the Overseas Development Assistance to Gross National Income ratio (ODA/GNI) of 0.56 per cent. by 2010, estimated to nearly double total aid between 2004 and 2010, with at least 50 per cent. of the increase going to Africa. The UK also announced a timetable to reach 0.7 per cent. ODA/GNI by 2013 and committed to double its bilateral spending in Africa between 2003-04 and 2007-08. The G8 Gleneagles 2005 communiqué stated that the commitments of the G8 and other donors would lead to an increase in ODA to Africa of $25 billion a year by 2010, more than doubling aid to Africa compared to 2004.

The UK Government are on track to honour our commitments. Total ODA/GNI ratio increased from 0.36 per cent. in 2004 to 0.52 per cent. in 2006. Provisional figures show that UK ODA to sub-Saharan Africa increased from £1.2 billion in 2004 to £2.9 billion in 2006, with debt relief accounting for much of this increase. The Department for International Development's (DFID's) bilateral programme of aid to sub-Saharan Africa is set at £1.25 billion for 2007-08.

ODA to sub-Saharan Africa from all donors of the Development Assistance Committee rose by $10 billion, or 59 per cent. in real terms, between 2004 and 2006. We will continue to engage with G8 and EU partners to encourage others also to keep to their aid volume commitments.

Departments: Consultants

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department paid to (a) the Adam Smith Institute, (b) Accenture and (c) KPMG for work in each of the last six years. (134628)

The information is as follows:

£

Adam Smith Institute

Accenture

KPMG

2001-02

473,171

0

5,135,556

2002-03

0

0

2,406,887

2003-04

0

0

40,752

2004-05

0

41,374

0

2005-06

0

15,510

0

2006-07

0

113,750

0

DFID also has contracts with Adam Smith International Ltd., which is a separate self-financing commercial organisation. Data during the same period is as follows:

Adam Smith International (£)

2001-02

9,139,631

2002-03

7,050,474

2003-04

9,383,626

2004-05

8,786,406

2005-06

13,964,873

2006-07

14,754,673

These organisations have undertaken a range of public service reforms, in accordance with the requirements of development recipients. Examples are support to the South African Government's restructuring of state-owned organisations, and capacity building support for the Afghanistan Ministry of Commerce.

Iraq: Asylum

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contribution the UK Government has made to the UN High Commission for Refugees for aid to assist Iraqi refugees and displaced persons; and if he will make a statement. (134593)

DFID has contributed £1.5 million in response to the UN High Commission for Refugees' (UNHCR) appeal for Iraqi refugees and displaced persons. The appeal will provide food, shelter, water and sanitation and legal protection mechanisms for Iraqi refugees across the region. This appeal is now almost fully funded.

Our support to UNHCR’s appeal is part of a wider £10 million contribution that DFID has made since January to provide emergency relief and other services to displaced and vulnerable Iraqis. This takes our total humanitarian assistance to over £125 million since 2003.

Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of bilateral assistance to (a) Malawi, (b) Zambia, (c) Ghana, (d) Uganda, (e) Sierra Leone, (f) Rwanda, (g) Vietnam, (h) Pakistan, (i) Nepal and (j) East Timor was delivered by direct budget support in 2005-06; and what projections he has made for future delivery of direct budget support as a proportion of overall bilateral aid up to 2009-10. (131310)

Poverty Reduction Budget Support (PRBS) is DFID's term for aid provided to a partner government to support that government's poverty reduction programmes which is spent using the government's own financial management, procurement and accountability systems. PRBS is also commonly known as direct budget support.

We deliver PRBS in many different ways in different countries, depending on the objectives we are trying to achieve and the particular risks we face.

General budget support is provided to the government to support implementation of the overall poverty reduction strategy. It is allocated and spent by the government across all sectors to achieve overall progress against multiple poverty reduction objectives. General budget support has the advantage of supporting the government's overall policies for addressing poverty and reinforces the role of the Ministry of Finance in allocating resources across government in the most effective way.

Sector budget support is normally provided to the government to support implementation of a particular sector strategy and achieve particular improvements in for example health, education or road infrastructure. In some countries this can be a more effective way of achieving development in particular sectors. Sector budget support can also be a more effective way of delivering aid where there are high fiduciary or political risks—in some countries we track our resources to the sector or sub-sector to ensure that they are spent in that sector.

The proportion of DFID’s bilateral assistance delivered as PRBS in 2005-06 and projections up to 2007-08 for each country are given in the following table. Projections are based on PRBS commitments DFID has made to partner governments together with the current allocation of DFID bilateral aid to the relevant countries. Projections beyond 2007-08 will not be available until the comprehensive spending review is concluded later this year. East Timor did not receive any PRBS from DFID in financial year 2005-06 and is not projected to receive any in following years.

Level of PRBS (£ million)

Proportion of DFID aid framework (Percentage)

Status

(a) Malawi

2005-06

34.3

49

Actuals

2006-07

33.2

53

Projection

2007-08

37.0

53

Projection

(b) Zambia

2005-06

20.7

44

Actuals

2006-07

26.2

64

Projection

2007-08

25.0

63

Projection

(c) Ghana

2005-06

47.7

56

Actuals

2006-07

53.6

76

Projection

2007-08

57.7

82

Projection

(d) Uganda

2005-06

30.0

45

Actuals

2006-07

40.0

53

Projection

2007-08

35.0

50

Projection

(e) Sierra Leone

2005-06

15.0

47

Actuals

2006-07

12.5

40

Projection

2007-08

1

1

(f) Rwanda

2005-06

256.8

283

Actuals

2006-07

22.6

215

Projection

2007-08

35.0

76

Projection

(g) Vietnam

2005-06

34.0

61

Actuals

2006-07

34.0

68

Projection

2007-08

31.8

64

Projection

(h) Pakistan

2005-06

42.5

59

Actuals

2006-07

62.5

69

Projection

2007-08

47.5

47

Projection

(i) Nepal

2005-06

8.7

26

Actuals

2006-07

4.9

13

Projection

2007-08

9.0

27

Projection

1 Not available—pending decision in July. 2 Reflects additional tranche of General Budget Support paid in 2005-06 and resulting adjustment in 2006-07 figures.

Further information on Poverty Reduction Budget Support will be published in the Departmental Report in May.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of bilateral assistance to (a) Kenya, (b) Mozambique, (c) India and (d) Afghanistan was delivered by direct budget support in 2005-06; and what projections he has made for future delivery of direct budget support as a proportion of overall bilateral aid up to 2009-10. (131407)

Poverty reduction budget support (PRBS) is DFID's term for aid provided to a partner government to support that government's poverty reduction programmes, which is spent using the government's own financial management, procurement and accountability systems. PRBS is also commonly known as direct budget support.

We deliver PRBS in many different ways in different countries, depending on the objectives we are trying to achieve and the particular risks we face.

General budget support is provided to the government to support implementation of the overall poverty reduction strategy. It is allocated and spent by the government across all sectors to achieve overall progress against multiple poverty reduction objectives. General budget support has the advantage of supporting the government's overall policies for addressing poverty and reinforces the role of the Ministry of Finance in allocating resources across government in the most effective way.

Sector budget support is normally provided to the government to support implementation of a particular sector strategy and achieve particular improvements in for example health, education or road infrastructure. In some countries this can be a more effective way of achieving development in particular sectors. Sector budget support can also be a more effective way of delivering aid where there are high fiduciary or political risks—in some countries we track our resources to the sector or sub-sector to ensure that they are spent in that sector.

Kenya and Afghanistan did not receive any PRBS from DFID in financial year 2005-06 and are not currently projected to receive any over the following financial years.

The proportion of DFID bilateral assistance delivered as PRBS in 2005-06 and projections up to 2007-8 for both Mozambique and India are given in the table. Projections are based on PRBS commitments DFID has made to partner governments together with the current allocation of DFID bilateral aid to the relevant countries. Projections beyond 2007-08 will not be available until the comprehensive spending review is concluded later this year.

(b) Mozambique

Level of PRBS (£ million)

Percentage of DFID aid framework

Status

2005-06

41.3

73

Actuals

2006-07

36.0

80

Projection

2007-08

41.0

68

Projection

(c) India

Level of PRBS (£ million)

Percentage of DFID aid framework

Status

2005-06

79.5

32

Actuals

2006-07

71.8

30

Projection

2007-08

83.0

31

Projection

Further information on poverty reduction budget support will be published in the departmental report in May.

Palestinians: Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will resume aid to the Palestinian territories. (134517)

The Government continue their substantial programme of assistance to the occupied Palestinian territories (oPts). In the financial year just ended (2006-07), DFID provided £15 million in assistance to the oPts plus a further £15 million for Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. These figures represent a £0.5 million increase on the previous financial year and are in addition to the UK's share of European Community (EC) funding. Overall, European Union (EC and member states) aid was estimated to be 27 per cent. higher in 2006 than in 2005.

Since the formation of a Hamas government in March 2006, DFID has provided the majority of its assistance through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) and the EU’s temporary international mechanism (TIM). UNRWA and the TIM have enabled DFID and many other donors to provide direct assistance to support the livelihoods of Palestinian people and maintain essential services.

Sudan: Elections

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking (a) to assist the facilitation of elections in the Sudan in 2009 and (b) to ensure that such elections are free, fair and inclusive. (134931)

Supporting a free, fair and inclusive election process is a core commitment of the Government of National Unity and the International Community under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and it is important that both sides deliver on their commitments. The first step is for the National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC) to formulate the Election Law and for this to be passed by the National Assembly. The Election Law will establish the National Electoral Commission which will be responsible for the running of the elections. DFID and other donors have provided support to the NCRC to assist in preparation of the Election Law. Once the Election Law is passed a full programme of election support will be provided jointly with other donors. This will include training for the National Assembly in Election Law to ensure effective scrutiny of the Election Bill, and support for a monitoring and observation process to ensure effective oversight of the preparations for elections, and the election themselves.

DFID has already provided support for the consultations around the elections process, nationally and in the South. We have also sponsored a visit for four members of the NCRC to observe the Scottish Elections on 3 May. This will provide an opportunity for Sudanese officials to witness a “mixed” electoral system in operation, a model which may be applicable for Sudan.

DFID is also working with the embassy on a joint programme to boost the capacity of political parties, and to provide training for journalists on the reporting of elections. Together, we have initiated a working group with members from the international community in Khartoum, which meets regularly to ensure that we are approaching this task together.

Sudan: Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to ensure that international donors fulfil the pledges for $4.5 billion made at the Oslo conference 2005 for humanitarian assistance and reconstruction in Sudan. (135259)

DFID pledged $545 million in Oslo for the period 2005-07. Actual disbursement has been much higher; DFID disbursed over $500 million during 2005-06, and our financial commitment for 2007 is $205 million. We are seeking greater clarity on the exact status of other donors’ pledges. From figures available we believe that most donors have also honoured or exceeded their Oslo pledges. At the recent Sudan Consortium held in Khartoum and Juba on 19-21 May, the international community re-iterated its commitment to helping Sudan implement the comprehensive peace agreement. DFID will continue to track closely levels of development assistance to Sudan through effective dialogue with other donors both in-country and at headquarters level.

Unfortunately the ongoing conflict in Darfur has meant that the bulk of donor resources are being used for humanitarian assistance, rather than reconstruction. We have made it clear to the Government of National Unity that a resolution to the conflict in Darfur is essential if international donor assistance is to be directed towards long-term development in Sudan.

Communities and Local Government

Age: Discrimination

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what protection is in place for pensioners who experience age discrimination in the provision of goods and services; and if she will make a statement. (134019)

There is currently no legal protection from age discrimination in the provision of goods and services. The Government are considering whether there is a case for introducing legislation to prohibit harmful age discrimination in the provision of goods and services as part of the Discrimination Law Review. The proposals emerging from the review will be published for public consultation in May.

Council Tax: Essex

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 31 January 2007, Official Report, column 315W to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar, on the Valuation Office, how many domestic properties in the local authority area of (a) Epping Forest district council and (b) Brentwood district council are classified with a Value Significant Code of FC. (124362)

As at 3 February 2007 there were (a) 360 and (b) 574 domestic properties classified with a dwelling house code of FC in (a) Epping Forest district council and (b) Brentwood borough council.

Council Tax: Tax Rates and Bands

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps the Valuation Office Agency takes to inform neighbouring houses of incorrect council tax banding when a property successfully appeals against an incorrect banding. (127058)

All alterations to bandings are published on the Valuation Office Agency website at www.voa.gov.uk and can also be viewed in the hard copy of the council tax valuation list held by the relevant local authority at their offices.

Council Tax: Valuation

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) pursuant to the answer of 31 January 2007, Official Report, column 315W to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar, on the Valuation Office, if she will list the mechanisms by which the Agency gathers and obtains information on whether a property has an outbuilding; (124363)

(2) pursuant to the answer of 18 January 2007, Official Report, column 1327W to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar, on the Valuation Office Agency, whether the photographs of properties which are provided by Rightmove include internal photographs of the property;

(3) pursuant to the answer of 31 January 2007, Official Report, column 315W to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar, on the Valuation Office, what the Valuation Office Agency’s definition is of a bathroom; and whether a room with a shower but not a bath is classified as a bathroom;

(4) whether (a) solar panels and (b) a small wind turbine would be considered by the Valuation Office Agency when assessing the capital value of a domestic dwelling for a council tax valuation or revaluation;

(5) whether the Valuation Office Agency collates information on whether domestic dwellings have (a) double glazing, (b) solar panels and (c) wind turbines.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 1596-97W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2007, Official Report, column 1731W to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar, on the Valuation Office Agency, if she will place in the Library a copy of the Valuation Office Agency’s guidance manual for staff on using the Market Comparable Reporting Tool. (124365)

“Market Comparable Reporting Tool” is the name given by Rightmove.co.uk to its archive database, to which the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has web-based access under the terms of a contract between Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and Rightmove.co.uk plc. Guidance on the use of the bespoke website was contained in Instructions and Advice issued to VOA staff on 18 July 2005. This document was placed in the House of Commons Library pursuant to a question from the hon. Member answered on 26 October 2005, Official Report, column 447W and is available on the VOA website.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Valuation Office Agency has valued for council tax banding purposes the residential development of 68 apartments and houses on the land at the former Renny Lodge hospital, London road, Newport Pagnell. (124412)

I understand a number of developments are taking place on this site. Council tax bandings are entered in the council tax valuation list as and when the dwellings are completed and occupied. One of the developments on this site by Crest Nicholson, which I understand comprises 68 apartments, is not yet ready and has not yet been banded.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 18 January 2007, Official Report, columns 1327-28W, on the Valuation Office Agency, whether the information on properties by Rightmove includes information on the number of (a) bathrooms, (b) bedrooms and (c) parking spaces as part of the property. (124656)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 1596-97W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) titles and (b) dates of publication were of the council tax instruction and advice notes and associated documents issued by the Valuation Office Agency to assist staff between January 2002 and December 2004. (127043)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 1596-97W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the reasons are for the difference between the number of domestic dwellings on council tax valuation lists and the number of households according to the 2001 census. (127055)

The census is a snapshot in time of household numbers. Council tax valuation lists show numbers of dwellings and are constantly changing to reflect new entries and deletions.

Departments: Paper

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of paper used (a) for photocopying and (b) in printed publications by her Department was from recycled sources in each of the last three years. (134056)

For the last 10 years, Communities and Local Government and its predecessors have used recycled paper for all photocopying and printed publications.

Departments: Pressure Groups

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what meetings took place between Ministers and outside interest groups between 1 January and 31 March; and what the date was of each such meeting. (131036)

This information is available in the Freedom of Information Disclosure Log on the Communities and Local Government website at the following links:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=l509991 for meetings in January;

http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=l509529 for meetings in February; and

http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=l509989 for meetings in March.

Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.

Local Government: Reorganisation

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what legal advice she took on whether the current local government restructuring process conformed with the Local Government Act 1992. (134876)

It is not the usual practice for Governments to disclose whether or not they have sought legal advice, or the content of such advice, and it would not be appropriate for me to do so in this case.

Unitary Councils: North Yorkshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable is for consideration by her Department of North Yorkshire County Council’s bid for a unitary authority in North Yorkshire; what recent representations she has received on the bid; what public consultations have been undertaken on the matter; and if she will make a statement. (135007)

I refer the hon. Member to my written statement of 27 March 2007, Official Report, columns 71-73WS.

Unitary Councils: Referendums

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will assess the merits of referenda as a suitable gauge of public opinion in the stakeholder consultation for suitability of bids for unitary authority status. (134874)

As our invitation makes clear, after the stakeholder consultation we will reassess the proposals against the five criteria, having regard to all the representations and information we receive during the consultation, including information about the results of any local referendums.

Valuation Office Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when the Valuation Office Agency document Dwellinghouse coding: An illustrated guide was (a) first published and (b) last amended. (128545)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 1596-97W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government under what legislation the Valuation Office Agency have the right to retain photographs of the interiors of people's homes; and if she will make a statement. (124814)

[holding answer 13 March 2007]: The Local Government Finance Act 1992 gives listing officers of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) the statutory responsibility to compile valuation lists in England and Wales for council tax purposes. Information is necessarily retained in order that the VOA can carry out its functions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what measures her Department has in place to ensure that photographs taken by the Valuation Office Agency do not infringe on personal privacy rights; and if she will make a statement. (124815)

[holding answer 13 March 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 1596-97W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 18 January 2007 to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar, Official Report, column 1328W, on the Valuation Office Agency, whether the Information Commissioner has provided advice or guidance on the contract with Rightmove. (127113)

Valuation Office: Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the contract between the Valuation Office Agency and Rightmove. (124472)

The contract is between HMRC, as parent department of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), and Rightmove.co.uk plc. This document is commercially confidential and cannot be placed in the public domain.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reason the Valuation Office Agency decided to sign the contract with Rightmove for a specific period of 34 months with the 12 month option to extend. (124473)

Information connected with the contract between HMRC, parent department of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), and Rightmove.co.uk plc is commercially confidential and cannot be placed in the public domain.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much the Valuation Office Agency paid to Rightmove.co.uk plc in each year since 2004-05. (124477)

I refer the hon. Member to the Valuation Office Agency’s published Annual Report and Accounts 2005-06, available on the VOA’s website. Total payments for the years 2004-05 and 2005-06 are shown at page 62 under ‘Other Operating Costs’ against the cost head of ‘Data capture’. Information for the year 2006-07 is not yet available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what area of the UK Rightmove is supplying the Valuation Office Agency with property information. (124478)

Information accessible by the Valuation Office Agency on Rightmove.co.uk’s archive database covers England only.

Valuation Office: Electronic Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much the Valuation Office Agency spent on digital cameras and related electronic equipment in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07 to date; and how many cameras were purchased in each of those years. (127062)

I refer the hon. Member to the earlier answer, 30 November 2005, Official Report, column 587W. No further expenditure took place in that year. Expenditure in 2006-07 will be available once the accounts are finalised.

Culture, Media and Sport

Culture: Havering

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what cultural events her Department is (a) organising and (b) helping to fund in the London borough of Havering in the next 12 months. (134590)

The DCMS is helping to fund cultural events in Havering through its NDPBs. Arts Council England (ACE) funds the Queens Theatre and a number of poetry events through the Spread The Word Literature Development Agency. ACE is also supporting the development of the Thames Gateway Dance Partnership, the Thames Gateway Arts Framework and 2012 planning for the Gateway boroughs.

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council are supporting the Libraries for Learners project and are working with the London borough of Havering on the Thames Gateway Cultural Strategy and advising on the establishment of a new museum service for the borough.

The UK Film Council operates two funds, the London Borough Film Fund Challenge and Film London's EAST project, which Havering could directly benefit from, dependent on successful application.

In addition, Havering has received £200,113 in Lottery funding from Arts Council England and £505,265 from the Heritage Lottery Fund since the Lottery began in 1995.

Gambling: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many applications have been received by the Gambling Commission for remote operating licences under the Gambling Act 2005. (134843)

At 27 April, the Gambling Commission had received and classified 95 remote operating licence applications.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assumptions her Department has made in calculating the Gambling Commission's forecast cost and revenues on the number of remote operating licence applications it expects to be made under the Gambling Act 2005. (134844)

In line with HM Treasury Fees and Charges Guide, the costs of the Gambling Commission undertaking its regulatory activities would include the full direct and allocated costs (including depreciation) of the regulatory and licensing regime allocated appropriately to avoid any cross-subsidisation between categories and types of fees and all costs of enforcement.

Estimates of costs and revenues were generated from the Commission's independently created model which reflected the assumptions used to establish the Commission's initial budget based on the limited information available at that time. These assumptions will be kept under review in the light of actual experience of the operation of the new regulatory and licensing regime.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assumptions her Department has made on the number of applications for remote operating licences under the Gambling Act 2005 that will be made before 1 September. (134845)

Based on the information available and set out in the consultation document on Gambling Commission fees published in July 2006, the Commission estimated that the average number of operators in each type and category of licensable activity requiring a remote operating licence from 1 September 2007 was 57.

At 27 April 2007, the Gambling Commission had received and classified 95 remote operating licence applications including a larger than expected number of applications for licences from telephone betting operators.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department plans to take to strengthen its use of evidence to inform policy making as recommended in its Capability Review; and what assessment has been made of the use of evidence in developing the regulatory order to implement the Gambling Act 2005. (134853)

The Department’s plan for responding to the Capability Review is outlined in the Permanent Secretary’s response to the Capability Review (pages 5-8) and in “Transforming DCMS”, the transformation action plan. Both are published on the DCMS website:

http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Publications/

Implementation of the Gambling Act 2005 is based on evidence, including that generated by extensive consultation with stakeholders on a wide range of issues.

Gaming Machines

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 19 April 2007, Official Report, column 713W, if she will publish the proposals that have already been drafted to ensure that gaming machines comply with sections 240 and 241 of the Gambling Act 2005. (135074)

The Department’s draft proposals under sections 240 and 241 of the Gambling Act 2005 were set out in a formal consultation paper. I am arranging for copies of the consultation paper to be deposited in the Libraries of the House.

Sport

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment her Department has made of the impact of the diversion of funding from the Big Lottery Fund to the 2012 Olympics upon (a) the efforts of statutory agencies to promote physical activity and (b) the Government’s target of 50 per cent. of adults meeting the recommended minimum level of physical activity by 2011; and if she will make a statement. (134783)

The Big Lottery Fund will be contributing just over £638 million to the £1,085 million to be transferred, subject to Parliamentary approval, from non-Olympic Lottery proceeds to the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund (OLDF) between 2009 and 2012. Naturally, this will affect the rate at which the Fund is able to commit and spend money in all the areas it supports. The Department has made no assessment of the likely impact on any particular area, as future programmes are for the Big Lottery Fund to design. However, the Government’s intention is that no existing lottery project will be affected, and we have also agreed with the Big Lottery Fund that resources for the voluntary sector will be protected. On the basis of the Department’s current income projections, the Fund should still receive approximately £2 billion in fresh Lottery income during the four financial years in which the proposed transfers to the OLDF will be made.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how she plans to monitor the level of change in participation in sports and physical activity resulting from London’s hosting of the Olympics (a) before, (b) during and (c) after the event takes place; whether the Government have made any predictions of the likely level of changes; and if she will make a statement. (134784)

We currently use the Taking Part survey to monitor sports participation at the national level and to report on our public service agreement (PSA) on sport participation. Sport England’s Active People survey is used to monitor participation at the local level We will continue to use surveys such as these to monitor the level of change in participation before, during and after the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

We have not made predictions about the likely level of change in participation; however the Government have set a very stretching PSA target to increase by 3 per cent. by 2008 the number of people from priority groups who participate in sport. PSA targets beyond 2008 have not yet been set.

Sports: Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much money from (a) the Big Lottery Fund and (b) other lottery distributors, including sports councils, was spent on grassroots sport and other schemes which promote physical activity among adults in each of the last five years. (134757)

Lottery money has always paid for a very wide range of projects from kit for local teams to investments in major stadia and sports halls. There is no accepted definition of what constitutes “grass roots” investment or otherwise in this range.

However total Lottery funds spent by the Big Lottery Fund and the Sports Councils on sport (excluding UK Sport which has a clear high performance remit) in each of the last five years is as follows:

£ million

Lottery funding

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Grand total

Big Lottery Fund

4,801,339

31,618,846

84,993,116

250,237,156

1222,581,300

1594,231,757

Sport England

307,958,000

237,400,000

170,700,000

202,100,000

121,400,000

1,039,558,000

Sports Council for Wales

20,632,200

20,769,763

18,888,000

12,662,000

10,649,000

83,600,963

Sport Scotland

17,395,792

33,565,723

28,977,187

23,524,041

21,897,783

125,360,526

Sports Council Northern Ireland

5,665,747

3,904,620

5,939,011

6,651,167

7,975,994

30,136,539

Total

356,453,078

327,258,952

309,497,314

495,174,364

384,504,077

1,872.887,785

1Figures from the Big Lottery Fund were only available to 28 February 2007 because of technical problems with accessing the month of March 2007 data.

Notes:

Figures are rounded to the nearest pound.

Figures shown are ‘drawdown’ which most accurately represents spend on sport in that year. Figures for ‘Income’ (to distributors from the NLDF) or ‘awards’ (made to projects in that year) would give a slightly different picture as, for example, cash would not always flow against awards in that same year.

Figures for Sports Councils include contributions to Awards for All.

BLF figures include:

New Opportunities for PE and Sport (NOPES)

Community Sport Initiative (from 2004-05)—A UK wide initiative tailored for each country, for example, in England the Active England programme is a joint initiative with Sport England. Big Lottery Fund contributed £77.5 million and Sport England contributed £31 million.

School Sports Co-ordinators funding (from 2003-04)

Big Lottery Fund figures do not include Awards for All or other Lottery programmes which may have funded sport or physical activity indirectly.

Sports: Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures are being taken to increase participation in competitive sport among young people in (a) Romford and (b) England. (134587)

Through the National School Sport Strategy the Government are revitalising competitive school sport in England.

The 2005-06 School Sport Survey showed the following data for competitive sport for the three School Sport Partnerships (SSPs) which fall within Romford constituency:

Coopers Company & Coborn SSP

All schools held a competitive sports day;

72 per cent. of pupils were involved in intra-school competition; and

35 per cent. of pupils from years 4-11 were involved in inter-school competition.

Davenant Foundation SSP

All schools held a competitive sports day;

77 per cent. of pupils were involved in intra-school competition; and

43 per cent. of pupils from years 4-11 were involved in inter-school competition.

Emerson Park SSP

All schools held a competitive sports day;

72 per cent. of pupils were involved in intra-school competition; and

31 per cent. of pupils from years 4-11 were involved in inter-school competition.

Nationally the 2005-06 survey showed that:

97 per cent. of schools held a competitive sports day;

71 per cent. of pupils were involved in intra-school competition; and

37 per cent. of pupils from years 4-11 were involved in inter-school competition, a rise of 12 per cent. on 2003-04.

To continue to improve the quality and quantity of competitive school sport we are implementing a network of Competition Managers across School Sport Partnerships. Currently schools within the Davenant Foundation SSP are benefiting from access to a team of Competition Managers appointed from September 2006.

Sport England advise that in 2006 1,040 young people were engaged in preliminary London Youth Games events in the London borough of Havering. An additional 386 young people went to the finals, 315 of which attended the main games and 71 attended the mini-games at Crystal Palace.

In addition, we have established the UK School Games (UKSG). This is an annual event that will become the pinnacle of competitive school sport. The 2006 UKSG took place in Glasgow with 1,200 young competitors. The 2007 UKSG will take place in Coventry.

Works of Art: Valuation

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 19 March 2007, Official Report, columns 613-4W, on works of art: valuation, what information is required to ensure that a valuation is properly justified; and to what extent the Reviewing Committee can reduce a valuation for a UK purchaser. (134896)

Where an item has been sold at auction, the applicant is required to provide a copy of the entry in the sale catalogue and proof of the price at which the item was sold. Where the valuation represents a private treaty sale or agreement to sell, the applicant is required to provide the written agreement or a certified copy of it, together with any related invoices and to confirm whether the sale agreement represents a single transaction that will not be affected by any other existing or subsequent transactions between the owner and the purchaser. Where the valuation represents an estimate, the applicant is required to provide details of the estimate with background information explaining how the value was reached.

The Reviewing Committee may recommend a valuation different from that proposed by the applicant where it considers that there are reasonable grounds to support such a recommendation. It may also recommend that the Secretary of State seek an independent valuation of the work of art in question.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 19 March 2007, Official Report, columns 613-4W, on works of art: valuation, what the investigative powers are of the Reviewing Committee into valuations. (134897)

The Committee has no formal powers of investigation, but may request the applicant to provide information to substantiate a valuation before, during and after the case hearing. If someone who applies for a licence fails to provide adequate information on valuation as requested by the Committee, the Committee may decline to make a recommendation on valuation and recommend that the Secretary of State seek an independent valuation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 19 March 2007, Official Report, columns 613-4W, on works of art: valuation, how many times an independent valuation varied from the valuation submitted to the Reviewing Committee in each of the last 10 years; and what steps were taken when this happened. (134898)

Over the last 10 years there has been one occasion where an independent valuation varied from the valuation submitted to the Reviewing Committee. In this case, the Committee took into account all the available evidence and recommended a lower valuation than that provided by the applicant.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peace Keeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what submunitions are contained in the M270 tracked multiple launch rocket system that is being deployed to Afghanistan; whether he classifies these submunitions as dumb or not-dumb; and if he will make a statement. (125033)

The M270 tracked multiple launch rocket launcher will be deployed with the new Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets.

Each GMLRS rocket has a unitary (single munition) high explosive warhead, it does not employ submunitions.

Ammunition: Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the percentage of smart cluster munitions which fail to explode immediately. (134773)

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 20 April 2007, Official Report, column 800W, to my right hon. Friend the Member for Oxford, East (Mr. Smith).

Armed Forces: Dogs

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average daily cost of feeding a dog in military service was in each of the last three years, broken down by service. (134092)

[holding answer 26 April 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 March 2007, Official Report, column 1648W.

Armed Forces: Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions his Department has been unable to fulfil an agreed whole-time equivalent number of staff in (a) Ministry of Defence hospital units and (b) NHS trusts in each year since 2001; and how much financial compensation has been paid as a consequence. (133147)

The number of occasions when the agreed whole-time equivalent numbers have not been achieved, and the costs of meeting these shortfalls, are detailed as follows. The relevant contracts with the NHS trusts have provided for the Department to pay for civilian locum or agency replacements only since financial year 2005-06. Before then the contractual terms provided for lower levels of payment to be made by the trusts to the Department for the agreed service.

In financial year 2005-06 there were 33 occasions when the agreed whole time equivalent numbers to be provided to NHS trusts hosting Ministry of Defence hospital units were not reached. The total sum reimbursed to the NHS trusts concerned was £1.34 million.

To date, 27 such occasions have been identified for financial year 2006-07 and the total cost of reimbursement has been £1.01 million.

There has been no shortfall in either financial year in the provision of agreed whole time equivalent numbers to any other NHS Trusts hosting military medical personnel.

Civilian Global Navigation System

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the potential implications for British national security of European proposals to institute a civilian global navigation system. (134353)

I have been asked to reply.

The UK welcomes the development of Galileo, Europe's civil global navigation satellite system, under civil control, and its many civil applications. We will continue to scrutinise Galileo's development so that any national security implications that could arise from the programme or its applications can be dealt with appropriately.

Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the formal (a) meetings and (b) correspondence which (i) he, (ii) other Ministers in his Department and (iii) officials in his Department have had in an official capacity with representatives from the defence industry since 1 December 2006; when each meeting took place; who attended each meeting; what the subject was of each meeting; and if he will make a statement. (129394)

Defence Ministers have held the following meetings with defence manufacturers between 1 December 2006 and 31 March 2007.

Secretary of State

18 January—Met with representatives of Vosper Thornycroft and Fleet Support Ltd. during a visit to HM Naval Base, Portsmouth.

Minister for Defence Procurement (Minister for Defence Equipment and Support from 6 March 2007)

10 January—Attendance at a BAE Systems Leadership Meeting.

15 January—Meeting with representatives from BAe to discuss UK/FR high level working group.

16 January—Meeting of the National Defence Industry Council.

17 January—Meeting with representatives from General Dynamic UK to discuss the FRES project.

18 January—Meeting with representatives from British Nuclear Group to discuss decommissioning of redundant nuclear submarines.

18 January—Meeting with a representative from Ventures Business Research to discuss possible areas co-operation.

24 January—Meeting with a representative from Babcock to discuss the Maritime Industrial Strategy.

24 January—Meeting with representatives from Currie and Brown to discuss management IT software opportunities.

25 January—Meeting with representatives from Carlyle Group to discuss the Maritime Industrial Strategy.

29 January—Meeting with representatives from Agusta Westland to discuss helicopters.

30 January—Meeting with representatives from Raytheon to discuss a range of equipment issues.

1 February—Meeting with representatives from the Carlyle Group to discuss QinetiQ.

22 February—Meeting with representatives from Eurocopter to discuss helicopters.

22 February—Meeting with representatives from VT Group to discuss the Maritime Industrial Strategy.

28 February—Meeting with representatives form BAE Systems to discuss munitions.

1 March—Meeting with a representative from Babcock to discuss the Maritime Industrial Strategy.

5 March—Meeting with a representative from the Carlyle Group to discuss the Maritime Industrial Strategy.

6 March—Meeting with Deloitte to discuss the Defence Industry Strategy.

12 March—Meeting with a representative from BAE Systems to discuss the Maritime Industrial Strategy.

12 March—Meeting with a representative from MBDA to discuss the Maritime Industrial Strategy.

12 March—Meeting with a representative from VT Group to discuss the Maritime Industrial Strategy.

19 March—Meeting with a representative from BAE Systems to discuss the Maritime Industrial Strategy.

19 March—Meeting with a representative from the Carlyle Group to discuss the Maritime Industrial Strategy.

26 March—Meeting with a representative from General Dynamics UK to discuss various equipment programmes.

27 March—Meeting of the National Defence Industry Council.

27 March—Meeting with a representative from the MBDA to discuss the Defence Manufacturers Association.

29 March—Introductory meeting with a representative from Nexter with discussions including FRES and munitions.

29 March—Meeting with a representative from Finmeccanica to discuss a variety of equipment issues including helicopters.

Under Secretary of State for Defence

1 March—Meeting with a representative from Marshalls Aerospace to discuss the relocation of the company to Cambridge airport.

6 March—Meeting with a representative from EDS Ltd. to discuss the introduction of a new Veterans card.

Each of the Defence Ministers may also have met with defence manufacturers on other less formal occasions during the period, including whilst visiting company premises or at party political events.

Details of every meeting between officials and representatives from defence manufacturers is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However there will have been numerous regular and ad hoc meetings since 1 December 2006.

Land: Sales

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 22 March 2007, Official Report, column 1035W, on land: sales, in what circumstances a land quality assessment is not carried out; and how the value of the land is calculated in those circumstances. (134516)

It is normal for the MOD to undertake Land Quality Assessments (LQA) on all sites being considered for disposal.

In line with industry best practice, the MOD LQA process adopts a structured phased approach and is tailored to individual site conditions. It is not necessary to carry out every phase for all sites. For example past use may be such that potential risks identified at a LQA preliminary phase may be sufficiently quantified not to warrant proceeding to the next phase. The value of the land will ultimately be determined by the market.

Mercenaries: Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the rules of engagement for private military companies operating in Iraq. (133528)

[holding answer 23 April 2007]: I have been asked to reply.

The operation of private security companies in Iraq is regulated by Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Memorandum Number 17. CPA legislation remains in force as part of the law of Iraq by virtue of Article 130 of the Iraqi Constitution until amended or repealed by the Iraqi Government. Annex A to CPA Memorandum Number 17 sets out binding rules on the use of force, which apply to all private security companies in Iraq. I will arrange for CPA Memorandum Number 17 to be placed in the Library of the House. It is already available on the following website:

http://www.iraqcoalition.org/regulations/index.html #Regulations.

Nimrod Aircraft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average annual fuel defect rates of the Nimrod fleet per fifty flying hours were in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. (132978)

The average annual fuel system defect (‘fuel defect’ is defined as any reported fault relating to the aircraft fuel system) rate per 50 flying hours for the Nimrod fleet over the last 10 calendar years for which the information is currently available, is as follows:

Defects per 50 flying hours

1996

3.93

1997

4.61

1998

4.72

1999

4.64

2000

3.83

2001

3.81

2002

3.83

2003

3.99

2004

4.75

2005

3.80

Rigid Inflatable Boats

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the acquisition costs are for each type of rigid inflatable boat used by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. (134198)

There are 15 types of in-service Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB). I am withholding the information about acquisition costs as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests. Purchase costs do, however, range between approximately £20,000 and £200,000.

Northern Ireland

Abortion

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to produce a revised edition of the draft guidance on termination of pregnancy in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. (134443)

The Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) issued the draft “Guidance on Termination of Pregnancy in Northern Ireland” to interested parties on 9 January. The response date was extended from 16 March to 20 April due to the high level of interest that it generated.

DHSSPS is currently collating the responses in order to produce a summary response document. The final guidelines will not be issued until after the Assembly is restored.

Arson

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many incidents of suspected deliberate fire starting were reported in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years; and how many people were (a) arrested, (b) prosecuted and (c) convicted of arson and related offences in each year. (133125)

Table 1 outlines the total number of incidents recorded and cleared by PSNI. Table 2 gives prosecutions and convictions for the offences of ‘arson’ and ‘arson endangering life’.

The statistics in the table are drawn from two separate sources—PSNI Central Statistics Unit and NIO Statistics and Research Branch. PSNI statistics include incidents which have been recorded but did not result in prosecution or any further recommended action. The statistics drawn from NIO Statistics and Research Branch detail prosecutions and convictions. Comparison is not possible between the two tables.

Table 1

Number of Offences

Recorded

Cleared

2002-03

2,598

141

2003-04

2,136

200

2004-05

2,011

177

2005-06

2,333

179

1 April 2006 to 28 February 20071

2,281

153

1 Data are collated on the principal offence rule; thus only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

Source:

Central Statistics Unit, PSNI

Table 2: Prosecutions and convictions for the offences of ‘arson’ and ‘arson endangering life’ 2001-051,2

2001

2002

2003

Prosecuted

Convicted

Prosecuted

Convicted

Prosecuted

Convicted

Arson

32

24

47

35

43

29

Arson endangering life

13

9

3

3

15

8

Total

45

33

50

38

58

37

20042005

Prosecuted

Convicted

Prosecuted

Convicted

Arson

61

39

39

21

Arson endangering life

22

16

13

10

Total

83

55

52

31

1 Data are collated on the principal offence rule; thus only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

2 Data for 2005 are provisional.

Source:

Statistics and Research Branch

Departments: Land

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what surplus land is owned by Government Departments in Northern Ireland; what the acreage is of that land; and what plans the Government have for this land. (132284)

The following areas of land owned by Government Departments have been identified as surplus.

Area

Acres

Comment

Wilsonis Farm, CAFRE Enniskillen Campus

36

Currently with Land and Property Services (LPS) to identify interest from other Government Departments. If no interest is declared the plan is for this land to be sold.

Thomhill, CAFRE Enniskillen Campus

77

Currently with LPS to identify interest from other Government Departments. If no interest is declared the plan is for this land to be sold.

Tullyhogue Fort site, CAFRE Loughry Campus, Cookstown

44.5

The fort includes a State Care Monument on 3.7 acres which may transfer to DOE Environment and Heritage Service. Cookstown district council has expressed interest in purchasing 4.9 acres. The remaining 35.9 acres will be sold.

Part of lands at Knockbracken Healthcare Park, Belfast

138

If there is no interest from other Government Departments this land will be sold.

Part of lands at Gransha/Stradreagh Hospital, Londonderry

264

If there is no interest from other Government Departments this land will be sold.

Part of lands at Downshire Hospital, Downpatrick

68.7

If there is no interest from other Government Departments this land will be sold.

Bush Road, Antrim

3.8

If there is no interest from other Government Departments this land will be sold.

Part of lands at Whiteabbey Hospital

23.7

If there is no interest from other Government Departments this land will be sold.

Part of lands at Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital, Omagh

103.5

If there is no interest from other Government Departments this land will be sold.

Maze/Long Kesh former prison

360

Proposals are under consideration for mixed use regeneration of regional significance, including multi-sport stadium and international centre for conflict transformation, subject also to decisions on affordability and value for money.

Ebrington Barracks Londonderry

26

Proposed regeneration, led by Ilex Urban Regeneration Company—Masterplan includes residential and retail development.

Magherafelt former security site

7.5

Proposed location of new primary school and education campus.

Corporation Street Belfast

1n/k

Potential land swap with Department for Regional Development Roads Service.

Tomb Street Belfast

1n/k

Potential land swap with Department for Regional Development Roads Service.

Landscaped area in centre of Tullyhommon, High Street, Pettigo

0.09

Agreed for transfer to Fermanagh district council.

Old Customs House, Tullyhommon

0.03

Agreed for transfer to Fermanagh district council.

Linenhall Street, Ballymoney

0.32

Situation unknown.

Land at Trasna Way, Lurgan

0.44

Contract and deposit £14,500 received

Land to rear of 17A Market Street, Lurgan

n/k

Ongoing negotiations. Sale agreed to P Park.

Slater’s Cross, Belleek

n/k

RDO Omagh investigating. Maps requested.

Car park at Cliff Road, Belleek

n/k

Awaiting confirmation from Roads Service re adoption.

Main Street, Belleek

0.16

Agreed for transfer to Fermanagh district council.

Car Park, Main Street, Carrickmore

20.05

Awaiting confirmation from Roads Service re adoption.

30.01

Car Park, Cornmill, Coalisland

n/k

Awaiting confirmation from Roads Service re adoption.

Roadway and Car Park, Stewartstown

1.24

Awaiting confirmation from Roads Service re adoption.

Footpath at Main Street, Clogher

0.006

Awaiting confirmation from Roads Service re adoption.

Walls site, Castlederg

n/k

Awaiting maps.

Former Railway Track, Coalisland

44.25

Awaiting clarification on maps.

52.53

Main Street, Castlederg

n/k

Awaiting maps.

Site 3 @ 65 Union Place, Dungannon

0.008

Sale currently being negotiated by Land and Property Services.

Site 5 @ 61 Union Place, Dungannon

0.009

Site 8 @ 34 Union Place, Dungannon

0.117

Sites 9 and 10 Union Place, Dungannon

0.076

Rear of 27-29 Irish Street, Dungannon

0.006

Sale currently being negotiated by Land and Property Services.

1 Lands comprised in Folio No: AN 46573.

2 Registered.

3 Unregistered.

4 Site A.

5 Site B.

Departments: Paper

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of paper used (a) for photocopying and (b) in printed publications by his Department was from recycled sources in each of the last three years. (134061)

This information is not recorded and therefore it could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The NIO policy is to use paper for photocopying, printing and for publications that is derived from at least 70 per cent. post consumer waste. Currently we purchase office paper that is derived from 100 per cent. post consumer waste.

Derelict Land

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what disused public land is available in Northern Ireland; what plans are in place for each such site; and if he will make a statement. (132034)

The following plots of disused public land and the plans in place for each have been identified by Northern Ireland Departments:

Plans in place

Part of former Dunmurry Golf Course at Upper Dunmurry Lane/Creighton Road, Belfast

Planned use is for social housing subject to successful planning appeal

Land between Blacks Road and Colin Valley Golf Course, Belfast

Current proposal is for development as public open space with children’s play areas

Part of lands at Downshire Hospital

May be required for new Downe Hospital

Lands at Drumcoo, Enniskillen

May be required for new hospital in South West

Part of lands at Mid Ulster Hospital, Magherafelt

May be required for hospital use

Part of lands at Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast

May be required for hospital use

Land at Fairhill Street, Ballycastle

Likely to be disposed of as surplus land in accordance with Land and Property Services guidance

Site of store, Curragh Road, Coleraine

Likely to be disposed of as surplus land in accordance with Land and Property Services guidance

Land adjacent to river bank of Lower Bann River near Kilrea

Likely to be disposed of as surplus land in accordance with Land and Property Services guidance

Land on bank of Faughan River at Drumahoe

Likely to be disposed of as surplus land in accordance with Land and Property Services guidance

Land at Quoile pondage, Downpatrick

Very restricted use due to environmental protection designations. Its future may be determined by DOENI Environment and Heritage Service

Killyleagh Former HS (South Eastern Education and Library Board)

Future development of Killyleagh OEC

Killowen PS/Laurelhill HS, Lisburn (South Eastern Education and Library Board)

Potential reuse of campus for new education provision

Downshire PS, Main Street, Dundrum (South Eastern Education and Library Board)

Held for new build Infant/Diagnostic Unit for Knockevin Special School

Former Ballymena Boys’ and Girls’ High School, Demesne Avenue, Ballymena (North Eastern Education and Library Board)

Planned location for re-organised Special School Provision in Ballymena involving the amalgamation of Beechgrove, Dunfane and Loughan Schools

969 acres owned by the Department for Social Development at 380 locations

158 acres for transfer to housing associations for social housing

292 acres for sale for private housing

519 acres to be retained for future development

Drumaghlis School: Crossgar School

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions have taken place between the South Eastern Education and Library Board and the boards of governors of Drumaghlis Primary School and Crossgar Primary School on the implementation programme for the amalgamation of both primary schools from 1 September 2007; and if he will make a statement. (134410)

The South Eastern Education and Library Board has undertaken a full consultation with the boards of governors of Drumaghlis Primary School and Crossgar Primary School about the proposed amalgamation prior to the publication of the development proposal. The development proposal is currently being considered by the Department of Education.

Pending a decision on the development proposal an interim board of governors for the proposed new amalgamated school, representative of both the existing schools, has been established to progress the effective implementation of the amalgamation and to prepare a Scheme of Management for the new school. A senior officer from the South Eastern Education and Library Board has been appointed as an independent chairman to the interim board of governors to facilitate this work.

Faith Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many private (a) Anglican, (b) Catholic, (c) Evangelical and (d) Jewish faith schools there are in Northern Ireland. (135019)

There are currently 10 private evangelical schools in Northern Ireland. There are no Catholic, Church of England or Jewish private schools.

General Practitioners

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department allocated to Western Urgent Care for out-of-hours service provision in each of the last five years. (135249)

Following the introduction of the new GMS contract, responsibility for the commissioning of out-of-hours services was transferred to WHSSB on 1 January 2005. Since that date the WHSSB has allocated the following levels of funding to Western Urgent Care:

Period covered

Amount (£ million)

1 January 2005 to 31 March 2005

1.3

1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006

5.3

1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007

5.3

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures his Department has in place to ensure that the proposed five per cent. reduction in the Western Urgent Care budget for the financial year 2007-08 will not reduce the level of patient care provided to patients living in the Derry, Strabane and Limavady areas. (135250)

There has been no reduction in the actual budget for the provision of out-of-hours (OOH) care, either for Western Urgent Care specifically, or in Northern Ireland as a whole, nor is such a reduction planned. When the Health and Social Services Boards took over responsibility for the delivery of OOHs from GPs in 2005 following the introduction of the new contract for GPs, the Department agreed to provide bridging finance for a period of three years to assist the boards with the start-up costs of the new service. It was agreed with the Health and Social Services Boards at the time that this bridging finance would decrease in the third year (2007-08) and cease from 1 April 2008. The budget for the service is otherwise unaffected.

Health Professions: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which specialities used the online NHS eportfolio for Medical Training Application Service shortlisting in Northern Ireland. (133695)

Irish Language: Pupils

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in what proportion of schools in Northern Ireland pupils are taught Irish as a second language. (135020)

The requested information is not available for primary schools. The following information relates to examination entries in Irish for the 2005-06 academic year in English-medium schools.

Of the 229 English-medium post primary schools:

79 (34 per cent.) post primary schools had entries in GCSE Irish;

49 (21 per cent.) post primary schools had entries in A-level Irish.

Notes:

1. Irish-medium primary and post primary schools have been excluded from this analysis.

2. In the 2005-06 academic year, two post primary schools had pupils being taught in Irish-medium units. It is not possible to exclude these pupils from the analysis.

3. The GCSE and A-level examination data have been taken from the University of Bath dataset.

4. The number of post primary schools is taken from the annual school census.

Junior Doctors: Working Hours

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many days on average junior doctors were available to provide a service to patients in the Northern Ireland hospital where they work during (a) March 2006 and (b) March 2007. (134979)

This information is not held centrally and could be provided by the Health and Social Care Trusts only at a disproportionate cost.

Local Government: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people are employed in local government in Northern Ireland. (135045)

The number of people employed in the 26 district councils in Northern Ireland, as at 1 January 2006, totalled 10,912. This figure has been provided from records held by the Local Government Staff Commission for Northern Ireland.

Locums

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost was of locum cover in Northern Ireland for junior doctors during (a) March 2006 and (b) March 2007. (133702)

The cost for locum cover in Northern Ireland for junior doctors during March 2006 was £782,605. A final figure for March 2007 is not yet available but the cost to date is £867,297.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost has been of providing locum cover for junior doctors in Northern Ireland attending activities relating to Modernising Medical Careers. (134962)

There is no additional cost for providing locum cover for junior doctors attending Modernising Medical Careers activities as cover is provided by other junior doctors in the rota.

Primary Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what meetings have taken place between the education boards and primary school teachers on the implementation programme for the revised primary school curriculum for primary 1 and primary 5 classes; (134408)

(2) what training programmes have taken place with teachers in each of the education and library boards on the implementation of the revised primary school curriculum for (a) primary 1 and (b) primary 5 classes.

The education and library boards, as part of the strategic planning by the education partners within the partnership management board (PMB), have provided three days’ training for all Year 1 and Year 5 teachers during 2006-07, with follow-up training planned for the next academic year. Year 1 teachers have also been invited to attend local group meetings relating to Foundation Stage, and Year 5 teachers will receive training during the summer term relating to specific aspects of assessment.

The boards have also been engaging directly with primary principals, as school leaders. Every primary principal has had the opportunity to discuss the implementation of the revised curriculum at a series of face to face meetings, in addition to senior management conferences which began in 2005-06. PMB has also established a principals’ forum as a further means of engaging directly with schools and every school has a dedicated link officer from the boards.

Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his policy is on encouraging recycling across Northern Ireland. (135022)

“Towards Resource Management”, the waste strategy for Northern Ireland, sets challenging targets for the recycling and recovery of all wastes. I am committed to the development of viable end markets for recycled materials and to supporting the work of WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) and other initiatives that will engage the business sector and encourage recycling. Sustainable procurement and purchasing policies across central Government will help to stabilise these markets. My Department will also be consulting on providing powers for district councils to introduce incentive schemes to reduce and recycle household waste.

Roads: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps the Government are taking to tackle the number of young drivers killed and injured on Northern Ireland's roads. (134407)

The Northern Ireland Road Safety Strategy 2002-12 reinforces Government's commitment to road safety and includes a range of measures aimed at young drivers.

The Department of the Environment is currently researching the training, testing and licensing of new and young drivers and the future direction for Northern Ireland's “L” and “R” driver schemes. Any proposed changes will be the subject of consultation.

DOE actively promotes Road Traffic Studies and GCSE Motor Vehicle and Road User Studies in post-primary schools, providing support, training and materials to schools. The Police Service of Northern Ireland has developed an NVQ, “Preparation for Driving”, which will be made available by September 2007. These courses focus on the attitudes of young adults, many of whom will soon become drivers. The PSNI ran 19 “Roadsafe Roadshows” during the current school year, attended by almost 11,000 young people, depicting how a night out could end in tragedy. DOE also offers, through schools, a driver training scheme to 17 and 18-year-olds with valid provisional licences.

DOE has a portfolio of hard-hitting road safety campaigns targeting the main causes of road deaths and serious injuries. These particularly focus on the 17-24 age group as it is most at risk and most likely to be responsible for serious road collisions.

The PSNI has introduced a Driver Improvement Scheme to improve driving standards and attitudes for first time careless driving offenders as an alternative to prosecution.

Over the past year the PSNI has worked with young motorists through its involvement with a local “cruising club”. Approximately 1,000 young people attended a recent event in Ballymena.

The PSNI mounts intelligence-led road safety operations, particularly in relation to young drivers, throughout the year. In 2006, 3,723 fixed penalty notices for speeding were issued to 17 to 24-year-olds.

Special Educational Needs

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much each education and library board spent on defending (a) special education needs tribunal cases and (b) special educational needs judicial review cases in each of the last five years. (124544)

It is not possible for the education and library boards (ELBs) to provide the exact costs of defending special educational needs tribunal and judicial review cases in each of the last five years as they do not hold records of the exact amount of time spent by board officers in preparing for and, if necessary, attending tribunals and judicial reviews.

I am advised by the chief executives of the education and library boards that, for both tribunals and judicial reviews, an average cost of £5,000 per case in respect of cases which are eventually heard and £1,000 for all other cases is appropriate.

Special educational needs tribunal

£

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

BELB

40,000

20,000

15,000

15,000

5,000

NEELB

18,000

57,000

52,000

29,000

29,000

SEELB

6,000

7,000

25,000

25,000

15,000

SELB

24,000

16,000

8,000

7,000

3,000

WELB

6,000

26,000

9,000

8,000

11,000

Judicial reviews

£

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

BELB

0

5,000

5,000

20,000

15,000

NEELB

10,000

0

10,000

5,000

0

SEELB

0

10,000

45,000

40,000

25,000

SELB

0

0

5,000

10,000

0

WELB

0

0

0

5,000

0

Trade and Industry

Africa: Exports

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what support the Government provided to British firms seeking to establish export agreements with African countries in the latest period for which figures are available. (134315)

UK Trade and Investment is the Government organisation that supports UK companies trading internationally. During the past 12 to 18 months it has assisted over 4,600 British companies working in Africa through its range of services. Services offered include helping British companies develop their export strategy, providing support and advice on market entry, advice on local customs, assistance in finding a local partner and understanding ways of doing business. Our ambassadors/high commissioners and senior government officials have helped British companies in their efforts to secure contracts in Africa by extensive lobbying with Ministers and officials. They are also in constant discussions with Ministers and senior officials to promote British expertise and knowledge.

Working with its stakeholders UKTI has arranged 65 inward missions and 62 outward missions to African countries in recent years including South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

UK exports to Africa in 2006 amounted to £6,194,177 up 7.2 per cent. on the 2005 figure of £5,777,083.

British Sky Broadcasting: ITV

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to make his decision on whether BSkyB’s acquisition of a 17.9 per cent. stake in ITV should be referred to the Competition Commission. (135302)

A decision on whether to refer this transaction to the Competition Commission will be made as soon as possible and before the statutory deadline which is 26 May.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from officials at BSkyB on its stake in ITV; and if he will publish those representations. (135303)

BSkyB has made substantive representations on its shareholding in ITV to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and to Ofcom in the context of the respective investigations these bodies have carried out into that matter. The reports submitted by the OFT and Ofcom to the Secretary of State on Friday 27 April contain summaries of the representations they received, including those received from BSkyB. Section 107(3)(b) and 107(3)(a) of the Enterprise Act 2002 require the Secretary of State to publish the reports submitted by the OFT and Ofcom. Section 107(9)(a) of the Enterprise Act 2002 requires that these reports shall be published no later than the publication of the Secretary of State’s decision on whether to make a reference to the Competition Commission. In accordance with section 118 of the Enterprise Act 2002, suitable excisions will be made to the reports of the OFT and Ofcom prior to their publication. The excisions will be primarily in respect of the consideration specified in section 244(3)(a) of the Enterprise Act 2002 which concerns the exclusion of commercial information whose disclosure might significantly harm the legitimate business interests of the undertaking to which it relates.

Business: Suffolk

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many firms ceased trading in (a) Bury St Edmunds constituency and (b) the Suffolk county council area in each year since 1997. (134688)

Value added tax (VAT) de-registrations are the best official guide to the pattern of business closures although only 42 per cent of UK businesses were registered for VAT at the start of 2005. DTI data on the number of VAT de-registrations in (a) Bury St. Edmunds constituency and (b) Suffolk county council area from 1997 to 2005 are shown in the following table. Data for de-registrations in 2006 will be available in autumn 2007. For comparison, the number of new VAT registrations and the start of year stock of VAT registered businesses are also shown.

VAT de-registrations, registrations and stock

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Bury St. Edmunds constituency

de-registrations

230

205

240

250

245

230

275

260

265

registrations

295

270

270

325

260

325

320

345

320

stock

3,185

3,250

3,320

3,345

3,420

3,440

3,535

3,580

3,665

3,720

Suffolk county council

de-registrations

1,605

1,620

1,625

1,675

1,730

1,785

1,835

1,775

1,695

registrations

2,035

1,890

1,855

2,060

1,885

2,100

2,160

2,085

1,915

stock

20,835

21,265

21,535

21,765

22,145

22,300

22,610

22,935

23,240

23,460

Source:

Business Start-ups and Closures: VAT Registrations and De-registrations 1994-2005, Small Business Service, available at http://www.dtistats.net/smes/vat/index.htm

In both Bury St. Edmunds constituency and Suffolk county council area the stock of VAT registered businesses has increased each year since 1997, as registrations have exceeded de-registrations throughout this period.

VAT registration and de-registration data do not capture all business activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if their turnover falls below the compulsory VAT threshold, which has risen in each year since 1997. Similarly, businesses that de-register will not necessarily have closed. Only 1.8 million out of 4.3 million businesses were registered for VAT at the start of 2005.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many small businesses that began trading since 1997 have subsequently ceased trading in (a) Bury St Edmunds constituency, (b) Suffolk, (c) the east of England and (d) England. (134689)

While value added tax (VAT) registrations and de-registrations are the best official guide to the pattern of business starts and closures only 42 per cent of UK businesses were registered for VAT at the start of 2005. Latest VAT data on the total number of registrations since 1997 and the number of these registrations that subsequently de-registered, covering up to 2005, are shown in the following table for (a) Bury St. Edmunds constituency, (b) Suffolk County, (c) the East of England and (d) England. Data for 2006 will be available in winter 2008-09.

VAT registrations and subsequent de-registrations, 1997 to 20051

Number

Bury St. Edmunds constituency

New registrations 1997 to 2005

2,740

Number de-registering by end of 2005

855

Percentage still registered, end of 2005

69

Suffolk county

New registrations 1997 to 2005

17,980

Number de-registering by end of 2005

6,125

Percentage still registered, end of 2005

66

East of England Government Office Region

New registrations 1997 to 2005

159,155

Number de-registering by end of 2005

56,815

Percentage still registered, end of 2005

64

England

New registrations 1997 to 2005

1,423,420

Number de-registering by end of 2005

537,625

Percentage still registered, end of 2005

62

1 VAT registration and de-registration data are not available by size of business. However, 98 per cent. of the total stock of VAT registered businesses are small (0-49 employees).

Sources:

Office for National Statistics, UK Business: Activity, Size and Location -2006, available from http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=933

New analysis of VAT survival rates data 1994-2004, Small Business Service, available at http://www.dtistats.net/smes/; SBS analysis of ONS Inter Departmental Business Register data.

VAT registration and de-registration data do not capture all business activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if their turnover falls below the compulsory VAT threshold, which has risen in each year since 1997. Similarly, businesses that de-register may not have closed. Only 1.8 million out of the 4.3 million businesses in the UK were registered for VAT at the start of 2005.

China: Wood

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has made to the Government of China on ensuring the sustainability of timber imported to China from (a) South East Asia and (b) Africa; and if he will make a statement. (134597)

I have been asked to reply.

DFID is working on the issue of sustainable timber imports to China from South East Asia and from Africa through a number of channels.

Policy analysis is funded through support to a programme, "China and the Asia-Pacific: forest markets for sustainable livelihoods and forests" managed by the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Forest Trends. Forest Trends, and the data it produces on Chinese timber production and on the timber imports and exports, is well respected by the Chinese Government. They are about to expand this work to cover a selected number of African countries.

DFID contributes to an ongoing project jointly run by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Canadian International Institute of Sustainable Development, whose aim is to integrate sustainable development concerns into Chinese trade/economic policies in three commodities, of which one is the international timber trade.

Finally, forestry is a priority issue within the UK-China Sustainable Development Dialogue, a formal mechanism for ministerial dialogue and projects on key sustainable development issues. DFID is a member of the newly-established UK-China Forestry Working Group, and is lead and co-funder of a project managed by Chatham House to hold a series of participatory stakeholder meetings on international forestry, bringing together Chinese Government, industry representatives and non-governmental organisations.

Corporate Social Responsibility Academy

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) pursuant to the answer of 19 April 2007, Official Report, columns 767-68W, on the Corporate Social Responsibility Academy, what the funding provided to the academy in (a) 2004-05, (b) 2005-06 and (c) 2006-07 was spent on, broken down by main budget heading; (135055)

(2) how much government funding was given to the Academy Programme partners as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility Academy in each year since it began.

[holding answer 30 April 2007]: The budget for the academy over its two years was allocated as follows:

CSR Academy budget

£

Year 1

Year 2

Programme partners

150,000

127,000

Project management

87,200

91,000

Website/communications

41,400

41,000

Miscellaneous expenses

12,200

20,000

Total

290,800

279,000

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when his Department decided to transfer the running of the Corporate Social Responsibility Academy to Business in the Community. (135059)

[holding answer 30 April 2007]: The Department was in discussion with Business in the Community about the future of the academy from June 2006 and the agreement to the transfer was concluded in January 2007.

Farmers: Bankruptcy

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of farmers who became bankrupt in England in each of the last five years. (135241)

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

Bankruptcies and company liquidations in England and Wales for agriculture, 2001-05

Bankruptcy orders

Company liquidations

2001

183

90

2002

132

76

2003

151

52

2004

204

35

2005

195

35

Financial Services: Marketing

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many organisations marketing individual voluntary arrangements were successfully prosecuted for using advertising that was in breach of the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988 in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (134173)

Any enforcement action regarding advertising of IVAs would be from OFT or ASA. Information regarding prosecutions and breaches of the CMARs can be found on the Consumer Regulations website, provided by the Office of Fair Trading, at www.crw.gov.uk. This records six cases since 2003 involving breaches of the CMARs, all of which were dealt with through undertakings by the companies and relevant individuals rather than by prosecutions.

OM Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when his Department expects to cease providing support to OM Energy Ltd. (134230)

The key objective of UK Trade and Investment’s Global Entrepreneur Programme is to create self sustaining, high growth UK technology businesses by attracting both worldwide intellectual property and entrepreneurial talent here. The latest phase of the OM Energy project will include the recruitment of a highly experienced global management team to take forward the next stage of the company’s strategy. This will limit the need for significant ongoing support from the Global Entrepreneur Programme.

Education and Skills

Children’s Centres: East Sussex

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children’s centres he expects there to be in (a) Eastbourne and (b) East Sussex by 2010. (130935)

There will be seven Sure Start Children’s Centres in Eastbourne and 28 Sure Start Children’s Centres in East Sussex by 2008. Local authorities will be planning the number of children’s centres up to 2010 once they receive their allocations and targets later this year. There are currently two Sure Start Children’s Centres in Eastbourne and 10 Sure Start Children’s Centres in East Sussex.

Education: Newspaper Press

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many supplements in newspapers were funded by (a) his Department and (b) the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in the last 12 months; and how much was spent in each case. (132235)

The number of supplements in newspapers funded by the Department and the QCA in the last 12 months is as follows:

(a) The Department for Education and Skills

Date

Newspaper

Subject

Cost (£)

6 March 2007

Guardian supplement

14-19 Reforms

42,000

30 March1

TES supplement

14-19

51,406

October 2006

Guardian supplement x2 Society/Education

Every Child Matters

120,000

15 June 2006

Evening Standard—London Schools Supplement

London Challenge,

60,000

1 Joint with the QCA

(b) the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority

Date

Newspaper

Subject

Cost (£)

8 February 2007

SecEd supplement

Preparing for the future—secondary curriculum review explained

22,120.55

1 February

SecEd supplement

Preparing for the future—14-19 reforms explained

20,000

3 April 2007

Guardian Education supplement

Freedom to learn

66,975

Education: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 28 March 2007, Official Report, column 1542W on education: standards, how many maintained mainstream schools there were where (a) more than 20 per cent., (b) more than one third and (c) more than 40 per cent. of 14-year old pupils attained a lower or the same level in Key Stage 3 (i) tests and (ii) teacher assessments in 2006 than they had attained at Key Stage 2. (132128)

The information requested is summarised in the following table.

Number of schools

National Curriculum test

More than 20 per cent. of pupils at the same or lower level in KS3 compared to KS2

More than 33 per cent. of pupils at the same or lower level in KS3 compared to KS2

More than 40 per cent. of pupils at the same or lower level in KS3 compared to KS2

English

729

145

49

Maths

48

0

0

Science

1,849

788

385

The DFES and NAA are currently validating teacher assessment data submitted by schools for KS3 in 2006. As a result of this ongoing work, teacher assessment data for 2006 have not yet been published.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 28 March 2007, Official Report, column 1541W, on education: standards, how many and what proportion of pupils who attained level five or below in the key stage three (a) teacher assessments and (b) tests in (i) English, (ii) mathematics and (iii) science had attained level five or above at key stage two in each of the last five years. (132129)

The information requested is summarised in the following table.

Number of pupils at Level 5 or below at KS3 who attained Level 5 or above at KS21,2

English

Maths

Science

National Curriculum test

Teacher assessment

National Curriculum test

Teacher assessment

National Curriculum test

Teacher assessment

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

2006

27,700

7.2

3

2,500

1.0

45,300

13.3

2005

31,000

8.5

24,900

6.8

3,400

1.3

6,400

2.3

52,100

14.5

40,000

11.3

2004

32,300

8.8

25,000

6.8

3,100

1.2

6,700

2.4

49,900

13.6

35,200

10.2

2003

30,600

8.8

23,400

6.1

3,500

1.3

6,700

2.2

38,300

11.8

34,600

9.6

2002

22,400

6.1

18,500

5.0

4,600

1.6

6,900

2.2

35,100

9.7

25,800

7.2

1 'Level 5 or below' is defined according to National Curriculum test/teacher assessment level. The levels are B (working below the level of the test), N (not awarded a test level) and 2-8 for National Curriculum tests, and W (working towards Level 1) and 1-8 for teacher assessments. Pupils absent or unable to access the tests at either KS2 or KS3 are not included.

2 Percentages are expressed as a proportion of all pupils at Level 5 or below at KS3.

3 The DFES and NAA are currently validating teacher assessment data submitted by schools for KS3 in 2006. As a result of this ongoing work, teacher assessment data for 2006 have not yet been published.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 28 March 2007, Official Report, column 1541W, on education: standards, how many and what proportion of pupils who attained level four or below in the key stage three (a) teacher assessments and (b) tests in (i) English, (ii) mathematics and (iii) science had attained level five or above at key stage two in each of the last five years. (132130)

The information requested is summarised in the following table.

Number of pupils at Level 4 or below at KS3 who attained Level 5 or above at KS21,2

English

Maths

Science

National Curriculum test

Teacher assessment

National Curriculum test

Teacher assessment

National Curriculum test

Teacher assessment

No.

%

No.

%

No.

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

2006

810

0.5

3

280

0.2

4,400

2.9

2005

880

0.7

1,600

1.1

440

0.3

590

0.5

5,500

3.4

4,300

2.8

2004

1,300

0.9

1,700

1.0

400

0.3

640

0.5

7,800

4.4

4,300

2.8

2003

1,300

0.9

1,600

0.9

420

0.3

590

0.4

5,400

3.7

4,100

2.5

2002

1,400

0.9

1,400

0.8

560

0.3

600

0.4

3,900

2.4

3,000

1.8

1 ‘Level 4 or below’ is defined according to National Curriculum test/teacher assessment level. The levels are B (working below the level of the test), N (not awarded a test level) and 2-8 for National Curriculum tests, and W (working towards Level 1) and 1-8 for teacher assessments. Pupils absent or unable to access the tests at either KS2 or KS3 are not included.

2 Percentages are expressed as a proportion of all pupils at Level 4 or below at KS3.

3 The DFES and NAA are currently validating teacher assessment data submitted by schools for KS3 in 2006. As a result of this ongoing work, teacher assessment data for 2006 have not yet been published.

Free School Meals

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils were known to be eligible for free school meals but were not in receipt of free school meals over the last 10 years. (131798)

[holding answer 17 April 2007]: Information on pupils eligible for free school meals is collected at pupil level via the school census. Pupils should only be recorded as eligible if a claim for free school meals has been made for them or on their behalf by parents and their eligibility has been confirmed by the relevant authority or by provision of necessary documents to the school or local authority.

It is not known how many pupils could be eligible but are not submitting a claim.

The following table shows the number of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals; and the number of pupils who took a free school meal on the day of the census.

Maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools1: school meal arrangements—as at January 2006, England

Maintained nursery and primary schools

Maintained secondary schools

Number on roll2

4,187,630

3,309,720

Number of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals

670,340

448,680

Percentage of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals

16.0

13.6

Number of pupils who took a free school meal on the day of the Census

556,180

328,750

Percentage of pupils who took a free school meal on the day of the Census

13.3

9.9

1 Includes middle schools as deemed.

2 Includes pupils with sole and dual main registration. Includes boarding pupils.

Note:

Pupil numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.

Source:

School Census

Further Education: Greater London

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students who took A2-level exams in the London borough of Havering went on to further education in each year since 1997. (134622)

The figures in this answer are for all 16 and 17-year-olds, there is no information solely on those that have completed A2-level exams and local participation estimates are not available for 18-year-olds.

The table gives the number and percentage of 16 and 17-year-olds in the London borough of Havering participating in full-time education at a sixth form college, further education college or school. The latest year for which data are available is end 2004.

Participation in education and training of 16 and 17-year-olds in the London borough of Havering by type of institution 1997 to 2004

End

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

Age 16

Number

Maintained schools

500

500

500

500

600

600

600

600

Independent schools

Sixth form college

900

800

800

800

800

800

800

900

Other FE

800

700

600

700

700

700

700

900

Total

2,100

2,000

2,000

1,900

2,100

2,100

2,200

2,400

Percentage

Maintained schools

17

17

19

18

19

20

22

21

Independent schools

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Sixth form college

30

30

30

27

28

30

29

29

Other FE

27

25

24

25

24

24

25

28

Total

74

71

73

70

71

73

78

78

Age 17

Number

Maintained schools

500

400

400

500

400

500

500

500

Independent schools

Sixth form college

600

600

700

600

500

600

600

600

Other FE

600

500

500

500

500

600

600

600

Total

1,600

1,600

1,600

1,600

1,500

1,600

1,600

1,800

Percentage

Maintained schools

15

16

15

17

15

16

17

19

Independent schools

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Sixth form college

19

23

24

23

19

21

22

22

Other FE

20

19

20

20

19

19

20

21

Total

55

58

59

60

53

57

58

61

Age 16 and 17

Number

Maintained schools

900

900

900

1,000

1,000

1,000

1,100

1,200

Independent schools

Sixth form college

1,400

1,500

1,500

1,400

1,300

1,500

1,400

1,500

Other FE

1,300

1,200

1,200

1,200

1,200

1,200

1,300

1,400

Total

3,700

3,600

3,600

3,600

3,600

3,700

3,800

4,200

Percentage

Maintained schools

16

16

17

18

17

18

20

20

Independent schools

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Sixth form college

25

26

27

25

24

26

26

25

Other FE

23

22

22

22

22

21

22

24

Total

64

65

66

65

63

65

68

70

Source:

DfES SFR 13/2006

Higher Education: Health and Safety Inspections