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Written Answers

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 12 June 2007

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 12 June 2007

Culture, Media and Sport

Bookmakers: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations she has received on the level of licence fees from the Gambling Commission for bookmakers; and if she will make a statement. (142184)

My Department has received 246 responses relating to this issue. This includes 134 formal responses to the consultation exercise in 2006 and 112 associated follow-up queries. We have also had a number of meetings with representatives of the betting industry, including with the Association of British Bookmakers.

Departments: Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what methodology is used by her Department to account for its carbon emissions. (140781)

The Department has not formally adopted a methodology to account for its carbon emissions. We calculate our carbon emissions following DEFRA guidelines.

Departments: Public Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was spent by her Department on public relations in each of the last five years. (139416)

The Department’s public relations spend in the last five years occurred only in 2004-05 and 2005-06 and relates to the digital campaign, aimed at increasing public awareness of digital switchover, and the licensing campaign aimed at small businesses to increase awareness of the implications of the Licensing Act.

Spend (£)

2004-05

100,000

2005-06

250,000

2005-06

24,300

Departments: Sign Language

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the merits of providing British Sign Language (BSL) videos on her departmental website for the benefit of those whose first language is BSL. (142490)

My Department has made no assessment of the merits of providing British Sign Language videos on its departmental website.

National Lottery

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many representations she had received as of 4 June 2007 on the Gambling (Lottery Machine Interval) Order; what assessment her Department has conducted of the likely effect of the implementation of such an order on small clubs; what discussions she has had with representatives of licensed establishments that cannot sell lottery tickets from vending machines concerning the order; and if she will make a statement. (141769)

The consultation on the Gambling (Lottery Machine Interval) Order 2007 closed on Friday 18 May. The Department received 18 formal responses. In addition, more than 200 clubs and a number of hon. Members wrote to the Department.

A partial regulatory impact assessment was issued alongside the consultation and is available on the Department’s website at

http://www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/Gambling_racing/QuickLinks/Consultations/?expand=2007_closed_consultations

A full regulatory impact assessment is currently being prepared and will be available shortly in the House Library.

Ministers and officials have met representatives of the clubs sector on a number of occasions to discuss the order.

National Lottery: Sales

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the monthly sales of the Olympic lottery game have been since its launch; and what the monthly sales of all other lottery games have been over the same period. (142162)

The table (provided by the National Lottery Commission) shows the split between sales of National Lottery games designated to support the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games and all other National Lottery games. The figures are monthly and go back to July 2005 when the first game designated to support the Olympics went on sale.

Month

NLDF sales

OLDF sales

Total sales

2005

July

508,018,924

272,493

508,291,417

August

370,245,832

5,370,216

375,616,048

September

366,530,671

4,526,347

371,057,018

October

445,823,655

5,473,990

451,297,645

November

362,404,450

3,625,094

366,029,544

December

474,765,469

3,813,771

478,579,241

2006

January

448,994,006

7,435,371

456,429,377

February

409,802,098

15,005,060

424,807,158

March

362,890,506

15,517,327

378,407,833

April

447,954,473

9,721,769

457,676,242

May

352,895,359

8,030,915

360,926,273

June

349,081,164

6,826,427

355,907,591

July

432,523,867

16,434,352

448,958,219

August

342,507,120

18,427,346

360,934,466

September

430,610,691

21.796,695

452,407,386

October

395,378,054

19,888,015

415,266,069

November

430,491,594

20,222,146

450,713,739

December

435,816,849

23,739,535

459,556,384

2007

January

338,847,852

20,531,989

359,379,842

February

361,523,375

23,344,416

384,867,792

March

426,964,830

26,514,508

453,479,338

Education and Skills

Adult Education: Basic Skills

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) adults and (b) adults over 25 years received (i) Learning and Skills Council funding and (ii) funding through Train to Gain in (A) 2003-04, (B) 2004-05 and (C) 2005-06. (138367)

Figures for adults funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) can be derived from the Individualised Learner Record (ILR). The following table shows the number of adult learners (aged 19 and over) and adult learners aged 25 and over on LSC-funded further education, Work Based Learning and Adult and Community Learning provision in 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2005/06.

Thousand

Adults

Adults aged 25+

2003/04

4,587.8

3,801.8

2004/05

4,547.1

3,731.1

2005/06

3,872.4

3,125.4

The Train to Gain programme was piloted from April 2006 onwards. A full rollout of Train to Gain commenced from 1 August 2006. To January 2007 there have been 89,000 learners who have enrolled on Train to Gain.

Pre-School Education: Codes of Practice

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if his Department will commission an independent regulatory impact assessment on the 2006 Code of Practice on free entitlement to nursery education; and what assessment he has made of the impact of the implementation of the code on the number of children's nurseries. (141426)

The single substantive change to the delivery of the free early education entitlement, set out in the 2006 code of practice, was the extension of the minimum free entitlement from 33 to 38 weeks. Following full public consultation, we made clear our recognition that not all providers would be able to extend their provision to 38 weeks and that, at each local authority's discretion, they could be funded for the provision they actually delivered. Furthermore, all local authorities received additional funding to support the extension to the free entitlement. We therefore concluded that there should not be a substantive regulatory impact and that a regulatory impact assessment was not required. We have no plans therefore for an independent impact assessment.

We have no evidence of the code of practice having a significant impact on the number of early years settings.

Pre-School Education: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what consideration local authorities give to the level of private, voluntary and independent nursery sector provision when determining the levels of funding under the free entitlement requirements for providers in the area. (141425)

Funding for nursery education provision is provided to local authorities through the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). Local authorities—in consultation with their School Forums—are responsible for deciding how best to apply their total school and early years funding across all age groups and between different types of provider, based on an assessment of local circumstances.

The code of practice on the provision of free nursery education places for three and four-year-olds requires local authorities to ensure settings are funded equitably, transparently and fairly, reflecting local need and circumstances. My letter in December 2006, to all local authority chief executives reiterated this point and asked them to reassure themselves that their funding levels support a diverse local child care market and take into account the impact on provider sustainability.

Vocational Training: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) adult learners and (b) adult learners over 25 years receiving Learning and Skills Council funding excluding funding through Train to Gain were given workplace training in (i) 2003-04, (ii) 2004-05 and (iii) 2005-06, broken down by number of hours of workplace training given. (138364)

Figures for adults funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) can be derived from the Individualised Learner Record (ILR). The following table shows the number of adult learners (aged 19 and over) and adult learners aged 25 and over on LSC-funded work based learning provision in 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2005/06.

Thousand

Adults

Adults aged 25+

2003/04

235.7

3.0

2004/05

227.2

7.2

2005/06

217.6

9.0

It is not possible to break down these figures by number of hours of work place training given as this varies for each type of provision and subject sector. The Train to Gain programme was piloted from April 2006 with a full rollout commencing from 1 August 2006 and Train to Gain activity is recorded for the first time in the 2006/07 ILR.

Trade and Industry

Departments: Surveys

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will place in the Library copies of his Department’s employee surveys for (a) 2001, (b) 2002, (c) 2004 and (d) 2005. (142025)

Staff surveys are valuable tools used by Departments to help them improve performance. The results of the recent Department of Trade and Industry survey are available on the civil service website at:

http://www.civilservice.gov/uk/management/statistics/news/staff_survey/index.asp

Employment: North West Region

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will break down by employer the number of jobs safeguarded or created as mentioned on page two of the Northwest Development Agency’s Improving the Economic Performance of England’s Northwest document, dated February 2007. (140087)

The NWDA does not collect data in the form requested. The agency has safeguarded or created 161,208 jobs between 1999 and 2006 as reported in the Improving the Economic Performance of England’s Northwest report. The breakdown, by Regional Economic Strategy (RES) theme, is as follows:

Employment 1999-2006

Number

Business Growth

Exploiting the growth potential of business sectors, for example through cluster programmes and international trade

19,476

Improve the competitiveness and productivity of businesses

Providing high quality business support, supply chain development, management and work force development, and exploiting the region’s knowledge base

23,569

Urban, Rural and Economic Inclusion

Implementing the Urban Regeneration Companies, regenerating deprived areas, brownfield land, housing, implementing the Regional Rural Recovery Plan and market towns, encouraging social enterprise, start ups from ethnic minorities, community finance and addressing barriers to work

105,986

A Healthy Labour Market

Improving adult basic skills, the demand for and participation in learning, graduate retention, and the integration of business support and skills development activities

698

Strategic transport, communications and infrastructure

Identifying and championing the implementation of strategic transport initiatives, preparing a Regional Transport Strategy, supporting Regional Planning Guidance, broadband and regional cities

833

Employment sites

Securing the development of strategic regional sites and a portfolio of sub-regional and local employment sites

10,106

Image

Regional marketing programmes, culture, tourism and major events in the region

540

Total

161,208

Of the 161,208 jobs, 100,283 jobs were created or safeguarded between 1999 and 2002. Examples of some of the larger inward investments from this period include:

Company

Jobs created/safeguarded

MBNA

1,200

HJ Heinz

1,300

QVC

100

Vauxhall

850

Fujitsu

1,000

Ryder Group

470

The following table provides a breakdown, by year, of the 28,965.5 jobs created or safeguarded through inward investment projects 2002-06.

New jobs

Jobs safeguarded

2002-03

8,143

1,558

2003-04

4,400

6,539.5

2004-05

3,214

2,389

2005-06

1,872

850

Total

17,629

11,336.5

Examples of some of the larger inward investments from this period include:

Company

Jobs created/safeguarded

MBNA

2,000

Caudwell Communications

1,000

INEOS Chlor

3,500

Bentley

886

It is not possible to provide a full breakdown by employer as this information is confidential and commercially sensitive.

Industrial Diseases: Compensation

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many claims by former miners or their families have yet to be settled in respect of compensation for (a) chronic bronchitis, emphysema or other respiratory diseases, (b) vibration white finger, (c) carpal tunnel syndrome and (d) pneumoconiosis in (i) Stoke-on-Trent Central, (ii) Stoke-on-Trent North, (iii) Stoke-on-Trent South, (iv) Stone and (v) Stafford constituencies; and how many claimants in each category have received interim payments. (141242)

[holding answer 11 June 2007]: The following tables show the information requested. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) covers chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Stoke-on-Trent, Central constituencyStoke-on-Trent, North constituencyStoke-on-Trent, South constituency

Miners

Families

Miners

Families

Miners

Families

COPD claims

Claims registered

762

1,123

928

1,710

1,578

1,752

Claimants who have received an interim payment

112

161

135

274

165

240

Total outstanding

124

427

141

653

237

691

Total settlements

638

696

787

1,057

1,341

1,061

VWF claims

Claims registered

434

55

446

56

993

96

Claimants who received an interim payment

152

11

187

11

408

29

Total outstanding

32

5

47

5

110

6

Total settlements

402

50

401

51

883

90

Carpal tunnel syndrome claims

Claims registered

43

6

34

3

108

3

Claimants who received an interim payment

20

4

15

1

60

2

Total outstanding

4

1

4

22

1

Total settlements

39

5

28

3

86

2

Stone constituencyStafford constituency

Miners

Families

Miners

Families

COPD claims

Claims registered

592

532

133

135

Claimants who have received an interim payment

37

70

6

10

Total outstanding

79

209

14

52

Total settlements

513

323

119

83

VWF claims

Claims registered

340

22

74

7

Claimants who received an interim payment

135

4

30

1

Total outstanding

29

1

11

Total settlements

311

21

63

7

Carpal tunnel syndrome claims

Claims registered

36

3

Claimants who received an interim

21

3

Total outstanding

9

1

Total settlements

27

2

Note: The figures include almost 5,000 overseas claims.

The Department is unable to identify those COPD claims which include a pneumoconiosis element. However, under the Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis Scheme (CWPS) we have received 83,759 claims, 82,595 of which have been settled by payment, denial or withdrawal.

We have realised that there was an error in the answer given to the parliamentary question tabled on the 6 June 2007, recorded in Hansard on 23 May 2007, Official Report, column 1351W, regarding the figures for pneumoconiosis under CWPS. I have written to you about the error and will place copies of the letter in the Libraries of the House.

Leeds United Football Club

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will assess the implications of Leeds United Football Club's move into administration for the effectiveness of the regulation relating to companies entering administration where a party involved in the decision to initiate the process has a commercial interest in the assets of the company. (141250)

[holding answer 11 June 2007]: I should state at the outset that the Secretary of State has no powers to impede a company moving into administration as this process is commenced by way of a court order or as a result of a qualifying floating charge holder, company or its directors filing a Notice of Appointment at court.

Administrators, as licensed insolvency practitioners, are regulated professionals and are obliged by law to perform their functions in the interests of the company's creditors as a whole. Accordingly, where there is a sale of assets to a connected party of the company in administration, the administrators will need to have satisfied themselves that they are not only achieving the best possible price in the circumstances but that it is an arm's length transaction. Such a sale is sometimes the best option for delivering value for creditors. The Secretary of State has no power to stop a sale and even if he did, such a power could harm the interests of creditors of the company, many of whom have already lost considerable sums as a result of the failure. It is only a creditor or member of a company in administration that can apply to the court if they consider the administrator is acting, has acted, or proposes to act so as unfairly to harm the interests of the applicant (whether alone or in common with some or all members or creditors).

I believe it is important to emphasise that in the specific case mentioned, the administrators agreed to the sale of assets on the condition that it would be approved by the body of creditors as part of a proposal to put the company into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) and that this arrangement was approved on 1 June by more than 75 per cent. of creditors in value.

This Government want to promote an effective framework for corporate activity, to give confidence to investors, business and other stakeholders. Within that framework it is essential that we have an insolvency regime, which, while encouraging enterprise and reducing the stigma associated with failure, deals fairly and effectively with financial failure and at the same time deters fraud and misconduct. I can assure you that we are fully committed to tackling abuse and misconduct and that we have in place, and in use, mechanisms to deal with that abuse.

You may be interested to know under the Insolvency Act 1986 (before it was amended) the only option to floating charge holders would have been to have put the company into administrative receivership. Under this procedure the administrative receiver's main duty was to the appointing floating charge holder. Under the provisions of the Enterprise Act this was amended to give the option of administration so that now the interests of the creditors as a whole are taken into account. The Insolvency Service is undertaking an evaluation to assess to what extent the provisions introduced by the Enterprise Act meet the policy objectives. The final evaluation reports will be published later this year.

I am therefore content that the existing regulatory framework is sufficiently robust to prevent abuse.

Northern Ireland

Magilligan Prison

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to announce the decision on the replacement of Magilligan prison, County Londonderry. (141632)

I announced on 21 February that I had tasked the Prison Service to provide me with a comprehensive options appraisal by the end of this summer. This is intended to enable me to announce the decision on the location of the replacement to the existing Magilligan prison before the end of the year.

Paedophilia

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to pilot in Northern Ireland the North Somerset pilot project of permitting parents to know if known paedophiles are residing nearby. (133030)

We will be carefully studying the recommendations in the Child Sex Offender Review and how they could be applied in Northern Ireland. Some are likely to be subject to pilot schemes in England and Wales and we will await the outcome of those trials before decisions are taken on the way forward.

Transport

Aircraft: Prime Minister

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made with purchasing a new aeroplane for use by the Prime Minister; what the cost of purchasing the aeroplane will be; and by what date he expects the purchase to be complete. (141271)

On 23 May 2007, the Secretary of State for Transport announced the launch of the formal procurement process and a Prior Information Notice to potential suppliers was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 25 May 2007.

Sir Peter Gershon's Independent Air Travel Review, copies of which are available in the Library, set out the estimated cost and timescale for delivery of this service.

Eddington Report

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 17 April 2007, Official Report, column 149, on the Eddington Report, which carriages will be available on the rail network by the end of 2008; and on which routes they will be available. (141037)

I anticipate that orders for additional carriages will be placed between now and 2010, the first of the carriages becoming available on the network by the latter part of 2008, with a view to completing delivery between 2009 and 2013. The precise phasing of the orders will reflect where crowding relief is most urgently needed; Network Rail's timetable for any platform-lengthening or increase in power supply which is required to accommodate longer trains; and the capacity of the suppliers of rolling stock.

It is too early to say where precisely the additional rolling stock will be used. The deployment of the new rolling stock will be agreed with the industry following the publication of the High Level Output Specification and the long-term rail strategy this summer, in accordance with the periodic review timetable set out in the Office of Rail Regulation's advice to Ministers published in February 2007.

Park and Ride Schemes

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will list the park and ride schemes which made a loss during the last 12 months for which figures are available; and what the amount of the loss was in each case; (142081)

(2) if he will initiate a nationwide audit of park and ride schemes to assess their worth and the on-going cost to public funds of their operation.

Local authorities are responsible for funding most park and ride schemes and for monitoring their financial results. The Department for Transport does not request or require returns from local authorities about the financial performance of these schemes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many grants his Department gave for park and ride schemes in each year between 2000 and 2006. (142084)

Most park and ride schemes are implemented by local authorities at their discretion from the general transport funding provided by Government. In addition, the Department provides project-specific funding for the construction of larger transport schemes. Between 2000 and 2006, nine of these schemes have included elements of park and ride.

Funding for each scheme may span a number of years. The following table shows a breakdown of the nine schemes according to the year their funding began.

Number

2000

0

2001

0

2002

1

2003

0

2004

4

2005

1

2006

4

Park and Ride Schemes: Bridlington

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria were used by his Department in approving a park and ride scheme for Bridlington. (142082)

The Bridlington Integrated Transport Scheme, which includes a park and ride element, was given an initial approval (Programme Entry) by this Department in July 2006.

The decision to fund the scheme was based on the Department's assessment of East Riding of Yorkshire Council's business case. This assessment looks, in particular, at the strategic case, value for money, deliverability, and financial and commercial aspects. The value for money assessment takes into account economy, safety, integration, environment and accessibility.

All new major local authority schemes for which project-specific funding is sought are assessed according to these criteria.

Parking: Cycleways

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ban the parking of cars in bicycle lanes. (141414)

Cycle lanes are marked on the carriageway. There are two types:

the mandatory cycle lane (with a solid white line) supported by a traffic regulation order, which prohibit the use of the lane by motor vehicles during its hours of operation and can prohibit parking; and

the advisory cycle lane (with a broken white line), which while not prohibiting entry by motor vehicles can be useful in giving space to cyclists at places where the carriageway may be too narrow to safely accommodate a mandatory lane.

As with any section of carriageway, parking in cycle lanes may be prohibited by yellow line restrictions subject to a traffic regulation order made under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

Public Transport: Crimes of Violence

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many incidents of violent behaviour were reported to the British Transport Police in each police authority area in each of the last five years; (141035)

(2) how many violent offences were dealt with by the British Transport Police in each police authority area in each of the last 12 months;

(3) how many crimes were reported to the British Transport Police in each police authority area in each of the last five years; and how many of these crimes were solved;

(4) how many people were convicted of violent behaviour on the rail network and subsequently sentenced to a prison sentence in each of the last 12 months.

This information is not held by the Department for Transport but by the British Transport police who can be contacted at: British Transport Police, 25 Camden Road, London NW1 9LN, E-mail:

general.enquiries@btp.pnn.police.uk

Public Transport: East Sussex

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding the local transport authority in East Sussex received (a) in total, (b) per mile of road and (c) per head of population in each year since 1997. (138057)

The following table shows the total funding allocated to East Sussex council in the local transport capital settlements in each year between 1997-98 and 2006-07 (inclusive) in terms of (a) totals (b) per mile of road and (c) per head of population.

East Sussex Council

Total funding (£000)

Funds per mile (£000)

Funds (£ per head)

1997-98

9,047

4.29

18.21

1998-99

5,449

2.59

10.97

1999-2000

5,478

2.60

11.03

2000-01

8,043

3.82

16.19

2001-02

10,061

4.78

20.26

2002-03

10,767

5.11

21.68

2003-04

10,694

5.08

21.53

2004-05

11,955

5.67

24.07

2005-06

10,931

5.19

22.01

2006-07

10,473

4.97

21.09

The Government also support local transport authorities through the general revenue support and councils do spend some of this support on highways and transport services according to their own priorities. In addition, the Government are providing record levels of funding for railways infrastructure through the passenger franchises and by direct grant to Network Rail. This funding is not classified by local authority area, but all local authorities have benefited from work by Network Rail to address the rail infrastructure renewals backlog. Additional support for public transport over this period has seen East Sussex being awarded a total of £3,671,920 for eight bus project schemes which include both rural and urban bus challenge schemes and for 2007-08 they received £953,263 in rural bus subsidy grant. In addition East Sussex receives Bus Service Operator Grant (BSOG) and funding for concessionary fares (through the revenue support grant).

Tankers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the Marine Coastguard Agency involvement was with the tanker West Sailor in the Pentland Firth on 2 June; and if he will make a statement. (141511)

On 2 June, at 0846, the Aberdeen Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) received a call from the chemical tanker West Sailor, on passage through the Pentland Firth, stating she had engine room difficulties and needed to anchor to carry out repairs to the engine water cooling system.

Aberdeen MRCC coordinated the attendance of the RNLI Longhope lifeboat. In addition the MCA Emergency Towing Vessel was brought to immediate readiness and sent to the scene.

By 1133, the ship had successfully repaired the engines and was under way and resuming passage. The RNLI lifeboat escorted the ship through the Pentland Firth.

The Secretary of State's Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP) was kept fully apprised of the situation.

Tolls

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to introduce road user charging schemes in (a) Gravesham, (b) the Thames Gateway and (c) Kent. (141618)

None. Decisions on whether to introduce road user charging schemes in those areas would be for the relevant local authorities.

Vehicle Number Plates: Fire Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans there are to integrate on-board cameras on fire engines into the Automated Number Plate Recognition database. (141825)

There are no plans to integrate on-board cameras on fire engines with the DVLA’s Automatic Number Plate Recognition [ANPR] database of unlicensed vehicles. DVLA’s ANPR system is subject to stringent type approval testing by the Home Office to enable detected offenders to be taken to court for prosecution direct from the digital image captured by the cameras. Other cameras are not type approved and therefore offenders detected by other cameras would not be subject to prosecution.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will re-examine the position of commoners associations as the vehicle for making single farm payments to those who graze on commons; and which cases of such payments have been suspended. (133133)

A number of claims have been submitted under the single payment scheme by commoners associations and those that the Rural Payments Agency have confirmed meet the scheme eligibility criteria have been allocated entitlements and received associated payments. The eligibility status of remaining claims is being considered on a case-by-case basis with the commoners associations concerned.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which farm payment deadlines missed by the UK in 2003-04 led to the European Commission’s recovery of 53.7 million euros; and from which budget he expects funds recovered to be paid. (134683)

This sum represents the deductions made to UK re-imbursements in the 2004 EU financial year in respect of mainly bovine direct aid payments relating to earlier scheme years. While the relevant Commission decision has only recently been published, the deductions were applied at the time and there will be no further impact on the UK Exchequer in relation to them.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which EU member state was subject to the greatest financial correction as a result of non-respect of payment deadlines in 2003-04. (134684)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what percentage of claimants in (a) Torridge and West Devon and (b) the south-west for the single farm payment scheme in (i) 2005 and (ii) 2006 have been paid their payments (A) in full and (B) in part. (140797)

As of 6 June 2007, a total of 104,618 farmers in England have received either a full or partial payment under the 2006 single payment scheme year. This total includes 98,750 full and 5,868 partial payments. This represents 96 per cent. of the estimated total claimant population of 109,000.

RPA’s target is to pay 96.14 per cent. of the total value of the fund by 30 June 2007.

Detailed analysis of all the payments made under the single payment scheme is not yet available. Once the remaining scheme payments have been completed, a decision will be taken on the level of detail that will be published.

Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what rate of change in carbon dioxide emissions was recorded in (a) the EU and (b) the US in 2006. (140976)

In 2005, the latest year for which information is available, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the EU-15 were 0.9 per cent higher than 1990 levels, although total emissions of all greenhouse gases decreased by 4.0 per cent. Emissions data to 2005 for the EU-27 are not yet available, although statistics for the EU-25 show that net CO2 emissions decreased by 2.4 per cent. between 1990 and 2004.

CO2 emissions in the US in 2005 were 20 per cent. above 1990 levels and total emissions of all greenhouse gases were 16 per cent. above 1990 emissions.

Between 2004 and 2005 CO2 emissions in the EU-15 decreased by 1.2 per cent., while CO2 emissions in the US increased by 0.4 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the percentage change in carbon dioxide emissions by the Government was over the course of 2006. (140988)

Energy data compiled for the Sustainable Development Commission's Sustainable Development in Government Annual Report 2006 show that there was a 2.3 per cent. reduction (after correcting for weather variations) in annual carbon emissions from Government buildings during the period April 2005 and March 2006.

Figures for the financial year to March 2007 are currently being compiled and will be published by the Sustainable Development Commission later this year.

Crops: EC Law

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the compatibility of his Department's proposals on the coexistence of GM, conventional and organic crops with European law. (140798)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will place in the Library the (a) name of the consent holder, (b) crop trailed, (c) location of the test sites based on six figure map references, (d) conditions placed on the consent and (e) post release assessments reports for each of the part B experimental consents 94/R20/1, 98/R28/2, 00/R20/4 and 00/R20/5 issued under EC Directive 90/220. (140875)

EC Environmental Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is on the inclusion of Ministers from the devolved Administrations in (a) Northern Ireland, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales in the United Kingdom delegation at future EU ministerial negotiations on (i) fisheries, (ii) agriculture and (iii) environmental policy. (139883)

[holding answer 4 June 2007]: As specified in the memorandum of understanding between the UK Government and the devolved Administrations, decisions on ministerial attendance at EU Council meetings will be taken on a case-by-case basis by the lead UK Minister. In reaching decisions on the composition of the UK team, the lead Minister will take into account the extent to which substantive discussion is expected of matters likely to have a significant impact on devolved responsibilities.

Environmental Stewardship Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many applications for the higher level stewardship scheme were (a) made and (b) granted in each Government region in (i) 2005-06 and (ii) 2006-07. (140799)

The following table shows the number of higher level stewardship applications received and granted in each of Natural England's regions in 2005-06.

Region

Received

Granted

East

69

56

East Midlands

38

30

North-east

51

48

North-west

137

119

South-east

116

92

South-west

235

182

West Midlands

225

202

Yorkshire and the Humber

57

46

In 2006-07, the number of higher level stewardship applications received and granted in each of Natural England's regions were as follows:

Region

Received

Granted

East

236

127

East Midlands

194

108

London

6

3

North-east

127

59

North-west

161

71

South-east

253

166

South-west

376

128

West Midlands

206

94

Yorkshire and the Humber

154

78

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) highest, (b) lowest and (c) average value of award made under the higher level stewardship scheme was in each government region in (i) 2005-06 and (ii) 2006-07. (140800)

For 2005-06, the highest, lowest and average value of annual payments made under higher level stewardship in each of Natural England's regions are set out in the following table:

£

Region

Highest

Lowest

Average

East

127,583.97

6,547.83

33,306.46

East Midlands

66,466.32

4,228.90

20,160.76

North-east

300,583.13

2,609.15

32,763.34

North-west

21,465.80

6,18.75

7,560.48

South-east

80,918.61

3,276.83

19,164.00

South-west

83,731,58

826.95

13,271.12

West Midlands

83,878.21

800.00

14,018.73

Yorkshire and the Humber

29,616.27

1,185.95

10,752.87

For 2006-07, the highest, lowest and average value of annual payments made under higher level stewardship in each of Natural England's regions were as follows:

£

Region

Highest

Lowest

Average

East

328,689.74

310.80

28,439.21

East Midlands

82,815.17

1,444.62

20,472.84

London

48,982.08

14,936.00

31,959.00

North-east

88,793.15

1,730.91

20,896.62

North-west

109,956.40

1,212.23

13,326.24

South-east

315,214.00

748.58

22,125.65

South-west

183,576.75

284.32

17,439.23

West Midlands

81,849.61

480.00

14,646.17

Yorkshire and the Humber

101,078.80

1,326.77

14,865.21

Floods: Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what proportion of the recent pilot mailings by the Environment Agency to households and businesses about the Floodline Warnings Direct service was sent to households or businesses which are not above the threshold level of flood risk; (140836)

(2) what the threshold level of flood risk is above which households and businesses are included in the Floodline Warnings Direct database;

(3) what estimate he has made of the number of households and businesses excluded from the Floodline Warnings Direct database in error which are above the threshold level of risk from floods;

(4) what estimate he has made of the number of households and businesses included in the Floodline Warnings Direct database in error which are below the threshold level of flood risk.

The Environment Agency (EA) incorrectly sent a letter about Floodline Warnings Direct to 50 households at moderate flood risk. This represents 0.1 per cent. of the recent Floodline Warnings Direct recruitment mailings that the EA has sent to households across England. The EA have confirmed this as an error isolated to Congresbury, North Somerset and has contacted the 50 householders concerned to apologise.

The EA takes into consideration the source, the risk and the impact of flooding on a community when evaluating where it provides a flood warning service and the method by which flood warnings are communicated to the public.

The EA offers Floodline Warnings Direct to those households and businesses with a high risk of flooding. We define high risk as flooding at, or greater than, the 1 in 100 year return period (1 per cent. probability of occurring in any year) for flooding from rivers and the 1 in 200 year return period (0.5 per cent. probability) for flooding from the sea.

However, in some locations the EA has offered the Floodline Warnings Direct service to households and businesses up to the Extreme Flood Outline which represents the 1 in 1,000 year flood (0.1 per cent. probability) due to the predicted impacts of flooding on the community.

The EA does not offer the flood warning service to properties outside the Extreme Flood Outline. Therefore, the EA has not excluded any households or businesses in error from Floodline Warnings Direct which are above the threshold level of risk from flooding.

In March 2007, the EA mailed 9,166 of the 195,000 properties registered with Floodline Warnings Direct in England who no longer require warnings as they are not within the Extreme Flood Outline. The EA has not included these 9,166 properties in Floodline Warnings Direct in error as since the properties were included their level of flood risk has been updated with more accurate information.

Gardens: Heating

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will estimate the (a) carbon dioxide and (b) greenhouse gas emissions created by outdoor patio heaters in (i) the most recent year for which information is available and (ii) the next 10 years; and if he will make a statement on the expected effect on the (A) use of and (B) volume of emissions from outdoor patio heaters resulting from changes to legislation related to smoking in public places from 1st July 2007. (140639)

Currently, only limited information is available about the number of outdoor patio heaters in use in the UK.

The market transformation programme (MTP) estimates that the number of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) patio heaters is around 630,000 in the domestic sector and between 3,000 and 12,500 in the hospitality sector (pubs, restaurants and hotels). This does not include electric outdoor heating appliances, however, which appear to be gaining market share.

The LPG Association has provided sales figures for LPG supplied in cylinders sized for outdoor heating appliances each year. From the association's 2005 figures, the MTP estimates that annual carbon dioxide emissions from patio heaters in the UK are around 22.2 thousand tonnes. No information on other greenhouse gas emissions from outdoor patio heaters is available.

The MTP estimates are not derived from surveys or detailed research, and should not be interpreted as accurate data on energy consumption and carbon emissions. Information about emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is not available for future years.

There is currently no information available on the expected effect on the use and volume of emissions from patio heaters resulting from changes to legislation related to smoking in public places from 1 July 2007. However, the MTP is currently updating its briefing note ‘Outdoor Heating for Comfort’ to look at the possible impacts of the smoking ban on UK carbon dioxide emissions. This is available on the MTP website.

This updates the information I gave in my answer to the hon. Member for South Derbyshire (Mr. Todd) on 14 May 2007, Official Report, column 474W.

GMOs: Crops

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to what use the residues produced by the processing of BASF’s GM starch altered potato (EU marketing application EH92-527-1) will be put. (140877)

No consent to cultivate or market this potato product has yet been granted. However, the conditions of the draft Commission decision on it require BASF to include a label informing operators and final users that products containing or consisting of potato tubers of line EH92-527-1 cannot be used for human or animal consumption. The draft decision also states that material should be exclusively used for industrial purposes or destroyed.

Hill Farming

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average age is of a hill farmer in England; and if he will make a statement. (140424)

In 2005, the average (median) age of a holder in a less favoured area in England was 58 years. This excludes holdings where the holder is a legal entity, as well as group holdings where there is no single holder.

Japanese Knotweed

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to define standards for eradication of Japanese knotweed; and if he will make a statement. (141298)

DEFRA partially funded, and fully supports, the guidance set out in the Environment Agency's “Knotweed Code of Practice: Managing Japanese Knotweed on Development Sites”, which was published in September 2006. This sets out advice on how to deal with Japanese knotweed to an acceptable standard of effectiveness. It also advises on relevant pesticide, environmental protection and controlled waste legislation and the offence under section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of planting or causing Japanese knotweed to grow in the wild.

The Secretary of State may approve any code of practice relating to species covered by section 14 of the 1981 Act. Any such code is then admissible in any court proceedings and must be taken into account by a court in any case in which it is deemed to be relevant. The Japanese knotweed code is one that we will be considering for such approval.

National Parks: South Downs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to make an announcement on a National Park covering the South Downs. (140757)

DEFRA will shortly be inviting further representations on matters that were not able to be addressed by the South Downs Inquiry. In the light of responses received, Ministers will consider whether it is appropriate for the inquiry to be re-opened. If the inquiry is re-opened, an announcement on the decision whether to create a South Downs National Park is expected no later than autumn 2008. If it is not re-opened, an announcement early in 2008 will be possible.

Waste Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many civil servants are working on policy on aerobic composting, broken down by grade; and if he will make a statement. (140637)

No DEFRA officials work exclusively on aerobic composting. However, a number of officials in the Waste Strategy, Waste Management, Air and Environment Quality, Waste Implementation Programme, and Endemic Diseases divisions work on issues relating to aerobic composting. These issues include policy and targets, the regulatory system for the composting process and its outputs, the demonstration of new composting technologies and animal by-product processing.

Scotland

Employment

7. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the employment levels were in Scotland in each of the last four years; and if he will make a statement. (140958)

In the final quarter of the last four years the employment levels in Scotland were:

2.39 million in 2003;

2.45 million in 2004;

2.46 million in 2005; and

2.50 million in 2006.

11. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the most recent figures for overall employment levels in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. (140964)

In the first quarter of 2007 the employment level in Scotland stood at 2.53 million. This marks a record high for the number of people employed.

Business Environment

8. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps the Government are taking to ensure a long-term stable environment for Scottish business. (140959)

The Scottish economy continues to benefit from the domestic stability delivered by the UK Government's strong macroeconomic framework, which has delivered sustained growth, low interest rates and stable inflation. This Government have facilitated the strongest Scottish labour market in decades with employment and unemployment around their historically best positions.

Civil Service Jobs

9. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on numbers of civil service jobs in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. (140960)

Broadcasting

10. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with Scottish Ministers on the further devolution of broadcasting powers. (140961)

Parliament decided in the Scotland Act 1998 that broadcasting should be a reserved issue and there are no plans to change that.

Carbon Capture: Peterhead Project

12. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the future of the Peterhead carbon capture project. (140965)

Research and Development

13. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent estimate he has made of the number of research and development projects being undertaken in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. (140966)

The Scotland Office does not compile such estimates but I note that a survey for IBM last autumn showed Scotland's success in attracting 19 per cent. of all UK research and development projects in the UK—well above our population share.

Absent Voting

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will conduct an investigation into the postal ballot delays for the Scottish elections on 3 May. (136137)

[holding answer 8 May 2007]: The Electoral Commission has appointed Mr. Ron Gould to lead the statutory review of the May elections. The Electoral Commission published the terms of reference of this review on 21 May, confirming that Mr. Gould will consider the arrangements for postal voting.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what his estimate is of the number of voters in Scotland who will be unable to cast their vote for the Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections as a result of the delay in sending out the postal ballots; and if he will make a statement. (136138)

[holding answer 8 May 2007]: This information is not available because there is no way of knowing, from those who do not return their postal votes, how many simply chose not to return their ballot papers and how many were not able to return them for practical reasons, for example, being on holiday. I understand that the majority of postal votes were received by voters a week before polling day, or even earlier.

Devolution: Co-operation

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of processes in place to facilitate co-operation between the Scottish Executive and the Government. (140962)

A memorandum of understanding sets out the over-arching principles that underpin relations between the UK Government and the devolved Administrations. The Government have no plans to revise this memorandum of understanding.

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what measures are being taken to combat illegal drug use in Scotland. (140963)

Operational responsibility for tackling illegal drug use in Scotland is devolved and is the responsibility of the Scottish Executive.

Elections

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on what dates in (a) 2006 and (b) 2007 (i) Ministers and (ii) officials in his Department had meetings regarding the running of the Scottish elections on 3 May 2007. (136139)

[holding answer 8 May 2007]: Scotland Office Ministers and officials had meetings every month since January 2006 about the Scottish Parliament elections on 3 May 2007. Ministers had 13 meetings and officials had 158.

Elections: Ballot Papers

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what role (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department played in the negotiation of the contracts with private companies to carry out the printing, collating and distribution of postal ballot papers for the elections in Scotland on 3 May. (136136)

[holding answer 8 May 2007]: The responsibility for handling postal ballot papers rests with Returning Officers. The printing of postal ballot papers formed part of the contract to deliver an electronic counting service. This contract was negotiated through an electronic counting project board, consisting of representatives of Returning Officers, Scottish Executive and Scotland Office officials, and DRS. Decisions relating to the e-counting contract with DRS were taken by the electronic counting project board. The collation and distribution of postal ballot papers for the elections were handled through separate, individual, contracts between the Returning Officer and their suppliers.

Work and Pensions

Council Tax Benefit: Warrington

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Warrington are in receipt of council tax benefit, broken down by ward of resident; and what the average award made was in 2006-07. (142483)

The information is not available in the format requested. Information for council tax benefit is not available at ward level.

As at November 2006, the most recent available information, there were 13,770 households in receipt of council tax benefit in the Warrington borough council area; the average weekly amount of council tax benefit was £12.71.

Council Tax Benefits: Reform

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the Government's timetable is for reform of council tax benefit further to the recommendations of Sir Michael Lyons. (142263)

There is a great deal for the Government to consider, arising from Sir Michael Lyons report, much of it identified as being for the longer term.

We already have in place more accessible council tax benefit arrangements for pension credit customers, and we are considering whether these can be further improved.

In the longer term, we want to ensure that council tax benefit is delivered as accessibly, simply and securely as possible. We intend to carry out more research into the feasibility of using data held across Government Departments in order to build up profiles of people likely to be entitled. We also intend to develop the concept of a “single point of contact” for pensioners for access to their benefits, coupled with alignment of application processes. This would produce a better public service as well as greater efficiency.

We will consider, in our research, the impact on fraud and error and issues of practicality and affordability, alongside priorities for the tax and benefits system as a whole. We will also consider the relative merits of piloting any changes and rolling them out nationally.

Council Tax Benefits: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is on the provision of council tax benefit in Scotland. (142356)

Departments: Advertising

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which (a) advertising agencies and (b) other organisations supplied consultancy services for advertising campaigns for (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies in each of the last five years; and what the cost of these services was. (139449)

The Department buys advertising through the Central Office of Information (COI). Under the terms of COI framework agreements, advertising agencies are contracted to supply advertising services only. Advertising agencies on COI’s roster do not supply broader consultancy services. On occasion wider ranging consultancy projects may inform campaign work, but the costs would not be attributed to the campaign.

Where consultancy is provided by other organisations it usually results in a range of communication activities which may or may not include advertising; it is not possible to distinguish the cost of providing consultancy for advertising from that for other forms of communication.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much revenue his Department received from advertisements on his Department's (a) public information leaflets and (b) public websites in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. (140668)

The Department for Work and Pensions has not received any revenue, over the last 10 years, from either (a) public information leaflets or (b) public websites.

Departments: Ministerial Policy Advisors

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many of his Department's special advisers were on (a) paid and (b) unpaid leave in order to assist with party political matters under section 22 (iii) of the code of conduct for special advisers on 16 May 2007; and how many days' leave each adviser was granted. (140135)

Special advisers' involvement in party political matters is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the code of conduct for special advisers, including section 22(iii), and the guidance issued by the Cabinet Secretary in December 2006 and May 2007, copies of which are in the Libraries of the House.

Flexible Working

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress his Department has made in extending the right to request flexible working arrangements to cover care of older children further to the consultation strategy published in February 2005. (141265)

I have been asked to reply.

The responses to the Work and Families consultation in February 2005 showed that carers should be the priority group in any extension of the right to request flexible working. As a result we extended the right to 2.65 million carers of adults in April. We are currently keeping the law under review.

Housing Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent on housing benefit in each year since 1997; and what percentage of the non-pension welfare budget was spent on housing benefit in each year. (140585)

For details of housing benefit expenditure, I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on 21 May 2007, Official Report, column 1160W. Information on the proportion of the non-pension welfare budget spent on housing benefit is in the following table.

Proportion of the non-pension welfare budget spent on housing benefit: Great Britain

Percentage

1997-98

14.8

1998-99

14.3

1999-2000

14.0

2000-01

13.9

2001-02

13.7

2002-03

14.9

2003-04

17.3

2004-05

18.5

2005-06

19.7

2006-07

20.1

2007-08

20.5

Note:

These figures are not comparable over time due to changes in the benefit system. For example, the transfer of child elements from benefits to tax credits.

Source:

DWP expenditure tables

Housing Benefit: Warrington

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claims for housing benefit were dealt with by Warrington borough council in each of the last five years; and what the average award was in the most recent period for which figures are available. (141013)

The available information is in the following table.

Housing benefit (HB) claims in Warrington borough council

Number of HB claims

2002-03

5,014

2003-04

n/a

2004-05

3,469

2005-06

4,124

2006-07

2,940

n/a = Not available

Notes:

1. Figures are for financial years.

2. For 2006-07 the data are from April to December 2006.

As at November 2006, the average weekly amount of housing benefit in Warrington borough council was £58.21.

Performance management information returned by local authorities to the Department is published on the Housing Benefit Operational Database (HoBOD). HoBOD can be accessed using the following link:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/hobod

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average time taken by Warrington borough council to process a claim for housing benefit was in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what the average time was in comparable local authorities. (141014)

The average time taken by Warrington Borough Council to process a claim for housing benefit up to 31 December 2006 is 25 days. For the same period the national average time for local authorities to process a housing benefit claim is 34 days.

Performance management information returned by local authorities to the Department is published on the Housing Benefit Operational Database (HoBOD). HoBOD can be accessed using the following link:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/hobod

Income Support: Lone Parents

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many lone parents (a) claiming income support and (b) who had been claiming income support for longer than five years had children aged (i) under three years, (ii) under five years, (iii) between five and 11 years, (iv) between three and 11 years and (v) over 11 years in each month since January 1992. (138726)

[holding answer 23 May 2007]: The information is not available in the format requested. Because of changes in methodology comparable figures are not available prior to 1999. The available information is in the following tables.

Number of lone parents receiving income support, by youngest child’s age, in Great Britain at quarters shown

Quarter ending

With a youngest child under three

With a youngest child under five

With a youngest child aged between three and 11

With a youngest child aged between five and 11

With a youngest child aged over 11

1999

August

305,830

469,050

522,980

359,760

116,250

November

298,940

460,910

515,690

353,730

115,610

2000

February

294,940

456,240

511,950

350,660

116,580

May

291,960

453,320

510,170

348,800

117,310

August

289,280

451,520

512,550

350,310

118,270

November

285,110

444,500

503,820

344,430

116,830

2001

February

287,060

446,500

503,260

343,820

117,890

May

283,160

442,120

499,800

340,830

117,470

August

283,540

441 ,860

499,930

341,620

116,740

November

273,530

427,400

489,700

335,830

115,360

2002

February

272,980

425,200

487,740

335,520

116,400

November

265,740

412,690

475,400

328,450

115,090

2003

February

263,620

408,350

470,050

325,330

115,170

May

267,030

413,730

473,670

326,970

115,100

August

265,300

411 ,280

472,640

326,650

113,790

November

259,150

401,220

459,880

317,810

112,720

2004

February

258,130

400,270

458,930

316,790

113,200

May

257,130

397,750

453,550

312,930

112,600

August

254,220

394,000

452,200

312,420

111,680

November

247,360

383,050

439,000

303,320

110,160

2005

February

246,090

380,690

436,600

302,000

110,440

May

246,390

379,540

433,250

300,090

109,690

August

243,880

377,270

435,250

301,860

110,220

November

242,220

373,090

427,320

296,450

109,050

2006

February

240,600

372,030

427,610

296,170

108,890

May

240,660

371,970

426,100

294,800

108,100

August

241,170

374,930

433,070

299,300

108,950

November

240,990

373,010

426,500

294,470

108,130

Note:

Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

Source:

DWP Information Directorate 100 per cent. WPLS

Number of lone parents receiving income support for five years or more, by youngest child’s age, in Great Britain at quarters shown

Quarter ending

With a youngest child under three

With a youngest child under five

With a youngest child aged between three and 11

With a youngest child aged between five and 11

With a youngest child aged over 11

1999

August

50,750

93,940

205,750

162,560

60,180

November

49,300

92,670

204,530

161,160

60,420

2000

February

48,280

91,680

204,230

160,820

61,230

May

47,480

90,640

203,860

160,700

61,930

August

46,750

89,890

204,050

160,920

62,500

November

45,840

88,310

201,700

159,230

61 ,980

2001

February

45,700

87,460

200,540

158,790

62,320

May

44,860

85,920

199,070

158,010

62,290

August

44,740

85,050

198,260

157,960

61,870

November

43,060

81 ,540

195,900

157,410

61,620

2002

February

43,050

80,410

195,180

157,810

62,140

May

42,580

79,440

194,600

157,740

61,980

August

42,840

79,870

195,920

158,890

62,160

November

42,700

79,280

193,820

157,240

62,230

2003

February

42,580

79,230

194,260

157,620

62,920

May

42,790

79,420

193,700

157,070

62,610

August

43,210

80,210

193,710

156,720

61,950

November

43,130

79,660

191,900

155,370

62,370

2004

February

43,260

80,170

192,410

155,500

62,880

May

43,810

80,670

191,810

154,950

63,230

August

43,850

80,670

192,050

155,220

63,150

November

43,330

79,230

188,980

153,090

63,120

2005

February

42,930

78,300

187,710

152,340

63,190

May

43,130

78,480

187,430

152,090

63,110

August

42,560

78,040

188,230

152,750

63,470

November

42,520

77,850

186,890

151,550

63,270

2006

February

41,900

77,170

186,650

151,380

63,170

May

41,770

77,060

186,330

151,040

62,890

August

41,000

76,660

187,130

151,470

63,190

November

40,800

76,220

185,330

149,910

62,870

Note:

Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

Source:

DWP Information Directorate 100 per cent. WPLS

International Labour Organisation

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which Ministers attended the International Labour Organisation's annual conference in each year since 2000. (141415)

The following Ministers have attended the International Labour Organisation's annual conference since 2000:

Right hon. Tessa Jowell 2000 and 2001;

Malcolm Wicks 2002;

Maria Eagle 2003;

Chris Pond 2004; and

James Plaskitt 2005, 2006, and 2007.

New Deal for Disabled People

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many participants in the new deal for disabled people left the scheme for sustainable employment in each month since it was initiated. (137922)

[holding answer 18 May 2007]: Up to the end of November 2006, new deal for disabled people (NDDP) had been successful in helping 134,160 people into work, including 101,720 people who had registered with, and received assistance from, an NDDP job broker.

Information on job sustainability is available to March 2006. Of the 78,970 people who had gained a job through a job broker to March 2006, 54,090 had gained a sustained job.

A new deal for disabled people (NDDP) job is regarded as sustained when a person who has been placed into work through an NDDP job broker remains in work for 13 out of 39 weeks. Prior to October 2003, an NDDP job was regarded as sustained when a person, placed into work through an NDDP job broker, remained in work for 26 out of 39 weeks.

Information on those who are recorded as leaving NDDP with an immediate destination of employment, which was also recorded as a sustained job, is in the following table.

New deal for disabled people (NDDP)

Month

Number of leavers with a recorded immediate destination of sustained employment

January 2002

20

February 2002

60

March 2002

130

April 2002

170

May 2002

210

June 2002

150

July 2002

140

August 2002

190

September 2002

250

October 2002

240

November 2002

350

December 2002

300

January 2003

470

February 2003

340

March 2003

460

April 2003

430

May 2003

800

June 2003

500

July 2003

400

August 2003

590

September 2003

520

October 2003

1,260

November 2003

1,020

December 2003

850

January 2004

1,180

February 2004

1,170

March 2004

1,160

April 2004

1,090

May 2004

950

June 2004

1,140

July 2004

1,490

August 2004

1,350

September 2004

1,210

October 2004

2,030

November 2004

1,450

December 2004

1,610

January 2005

1,930

February 2005

1,960

March 2005

1,640

April 2005

1,610

May 2005

1,510

June 2005

1,750

July 2005

2,140

August 2005

1,670

September 2005

2,120

October 2005

1,680

November 2005

1,630

December 2005

1,880

January 2006

2,010

February 2006

2,100

March 2006

2,240

Notes:

1. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.

2. Separate data on whether a job is sustained through NDDP are not collected centrally after March 2006.

3. The new deal for disabled people programme was introduced in July 2001.

Source:

Information Directorate, Department for Work and Pensions

Remploy: Closures

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what criteria were used to determine whether a Remploy factory would be eligible for (a) closure and (b) merger. (139196)

In deciding eligibility for potential closure Remploy took into account several factors: the market for the product made at the factory, the likely ability to achieve acceptable losses per disabled employee in the future, the percentage of cost which is covered by income from customers and the local employment market.

For mergers the company not only took into account the above factors, but also considered the proximity to another factory which was not potentially closing.

We will consider the company’s final proposals once they have been submitted later in the year following consultation. No decision by the Secretary of State on the future of the company will take place until then and the Government encourage participation in the consultation process by contacting Bob Warner on tel: 02476 515810 or writing to him at: Remploy, Stonecourt, Siskin Drive, Coventry, CV3 4FJ.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what representations were made by (a) management and (b) staff regarding the possible closure of the Remploy factory in Hartlepool; (139197)

(2) what consideration was given to merging the Hartlepool and Stockton Remploy factories as an alternative to closure.

In drawing up the closure proposals Remploy took into account the market for the product made at their factories, their likely ability to achieve acceptable losses per disabled employee in the future, the percentage of its cost which is covered by income from its customers and the local employment market. The proximity to another factory which was not closing was considered.

The Remploy Board’s proposals signal the next phase in the development of a five-year modernisation plan—a formal consultation with trade unions and employees and a disability impact assessment as part of Remploy’s Disability Equality Duty obligations.

The Government will consider the company’s final proposals once they have been submitted later in the year following consultation. No decisions by the Secretary of State on the future of the company will take place until then.

No representations have been made to Government on the proposed closure of the Hartlepool factory. If there are strong arguments against the proposed closure of the Hartlepool factory, the Board of Remploy would be happy to fully consider them.

The Government encourage participation in the consultation process by contacting Bob Warner Chief Executive of Remploy on tel: 02476 515810 or in writing at: Remploy, Stonecourt, Siskin Drive, Coventry, CV3 4FJ.

Social Security Benefits: Disabled

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has for simplifying the benefits system for people with disabilities. (141474)

I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the hon. Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell) on 27 February 2007, Official Report, column 1208W.

Social Security Benefits: Payments

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many days in advance of payment to claimants of (a) income support, (b) jobseeker's allowance, (c) disability living allowance and (d) pension credit his Department transfers funds to banks. (141422)

Funds for the payment of DWP benefits and allowances are transferred to banks on day three of the BACS processing cycle. This is normally the same day that payment is credited to the claimant's bank account.

Winter Fuel Payments

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of the implications of changes in energy prices for the level of the winter fuel allowance. (141261)

The winter fuel payment is a significant contribution to winter fuel bills which account for around 60 per cent. of the year’s total fuel bill. It has risen from £20 to £200 from winter 2000-01 and to £300 for people aged 80 or over from winter 2003-04.

Fuel prices are volatile, and can fall as well as rise. Although fuel prices have risen since 2003 this follows a period of no change between 1997 and 2003, and following recent falls in wholesale gas prices, companies are now starting to announce reductions in retail prices. It would not be sensible for the rate of winter fuel payments to track the upward and downward movement of fuel prices.

Defence

Air Force: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is for ensuring that there are sufficient numbers of pilots qualified and able to serve as fast jet pilots; and if he will make a statement. (141932)

There is a robust process to establish and sustain the requirement for pilots qualified and able to serve as fast jet pilots. The process for the RAF is undertaken by RAF manpower planners who compare the forecast requirement for fast jet pilots against the forecast strength. Any anticipated gap is then adjusted by modifying the forecast number of fast jet pilots required to graduate from the operational conversion unit as necessary. The RN process is very similar. The process helps to predict manning trends such as premature voluntary release, medical discharge, promotion and normal retirement.

Armed Conflict: Journalism

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) correspondence and (b) discussions his Department has had with (i) European partners and (ii) others to seek the earliest possible compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1738 on the protection of journalists reporting on armed conflict; and if he will make a statement (140892)

Her Majesty's Government strongly support UNSCR 1738. We acknowledge the importance of ensuring that journalists, media professionals and associated personnel are provided with the protection they need.

The MOD already affords journalists the same protection rights as civilians in conflict areas, providing they do not take action adversely affecting their status, in accordance with article 79 of additional protocol 1 of the Geneva conventions. To assist the process of ensuring that international law is respected and enforced, and to raise awareness of violence directed against journalists in conflict zones, the UK tabled UNSCR 1738 jointly with our EU partners in December 2006. This called on parties involved in conflict to stop deliberate attacks against journalists and respect them as civilians under international law.

While we have had no recent correspondence with our EU partners about resolution 1738, we continue to work with them and others to support efforts to promote and strengthen respect for international law.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) correspondence and (b) discussions his officials have had with (i) NATO partners and (ii) others (A) on respect for the professional independence and rights of journalists, media professionals and associated personnel during armed conflict and (B) to obtain universal compliance with obligations under international law to end impunity and prosecute those responsible for serious violations of international law against such persons; and if he will make a statement. (140895)

Her Majesty’s Government are committed to promoting freedom of expression worldwide and to defending and protecting the professional independence and right of journalists and media professionals to work without fear of reprisal during armed conflict. Although we have had no recent correspondence on these matters with NATO partners or others, we work with them and others to support efforts to promote and strengthen international law. An essential part of this is our strong support for the international criminal tribunals which are a key element of international efforts to combat the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures have been introduced by his Department to ensure the UK's compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1738, on the protection of journalists in armed conflict; and if he will make a statement. (140896)

UK armed forces protect journalists in the same way they protect civilians in theatre, provided they do not take action adversely affecting their status under international law. This is enshrined in our instructions on the practical arrangements for enabling correspondents to report from operational theatres and in the training provided to our personnel.

Armed Forces: Burma

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the British Government provide pensions to any Burmese soldiers who fought alongside the British in the second world war. (141984)

The British Government no longer provide pensions to Burmese soldiers who fought alongside the British forces in the second world war. Responsibility for the payment of these pensions was transferred to the Government of Burma in 1947, ahead of Burma gaining independence in January 1948.

Armed Forces: Deployment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average tour interval was for (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy, (c) Royal Air Force and (d) Royal Marine personnel in the latest period for which figures are available. (128238)

The average tour interval for land units is 26.5 months.

Arms and services tour intervals—February 2007

Infantry

Royal Armoured Corps

Royal Artillery

Royal Engineers

Royal Signals

Royal Logistic Corps

Tour interval (months)

24.7

39.1

22.4

19.7

25.4

28.0

Tour interval (average)

26.5 months

For Royal Navy personnel, deployments are not to be longer than nine months. A ship's programme aims for 60 per cent. of the time on deployment and 40 per cent. of the time alongside at the base port over a two-year rolling period. Current activity for surface ships is approximately 53 per cent. away, 47 per cent. at home.

Tour intervals for the Royal Marines in 3 Commando Brigade RM varies between units but on average is 34 months, although this does not reflect individual company deployments which have been more frequent.

Data on RAF average tour intervals are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) longest, (b) shortest and (c) average period of time was taken to make repairs to a forces' accommodation property after a call out in the last period for which figures are available. (142100)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff were employed at the Modern Housing Solutions helpdesk in Speke, Liverpool in each month since it was established. (142103)

The information requested is set out in the following table:

Number employed

2005

July

1.0

August

2.0

September

2.0

October

2.0

November

2.0

December

19.0

2006

January

63.0

February

68.5

March

63.0

April

85.0

May

85.0

June

98.5

July

100.5

August

113.0

September

122.0

October

114.0

November

102.5

December

113.0

2007

January

108.0

February

106.0

March

99.0

April

101.0

May

86.5

There was no specific “go-live” date for the helpdesk. The contract was dated 14 November 2005 and was rolled out on a regional basis from January 2006. Modern Housing Solutions built up the helpdesk during that period. Staff were in place before the contract was signed as MHS knew from April 2005 that it was the preferred bidder.

When MHS began delivering services, the number of calls received was higher than anticipated, requiring additional staff to be employed on the helpdesk. Over time, however, the need has reduced for these additional staff, resulting in a reduction in staff between April and May 2007.

Armed Forces: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Army personnel were mispaid in the May pay run for the Army by Joint Personnel Administration; and if he will make a statement. (139858)

[holding answer 4 June 2007]: 169 Army personnel were mispaid during May. All of these cases related to errors in the payment of allowances and will be corrected in the June pay run.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what amount the operational allowance will be increased for fiscal year 2007-08 to take account of the rate of inflation. (141616)

[holding answer 11 June 2007]: For the financial year 2007-08, the operational allowance for Iraq and Afghanistan will increase by 3.6 per cent. and this will be backdated to 1 April 2007. The allowance is based on the tax and national insurance paid by a private soldier, lower band pay range, level 5, on his/her income and longer separation allowance, while deployed on operations. Therefore, backdated to 1 April 2007, the daily rate of operational allowance will increase from £12.31 to £12.75. Consequently during a six month tour of duty it will increase from £2,240 to £2,320. However, due to the improved security situation in the Balkans, personnel serving in this area will no longer qualify for the operational allowance from 1 September 2007.

Armed Forces: Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost of (a) awarding retrospectively armed service pensions to all those armed service personnel who do not receive pensions and (b) providing pensions on retirement to those service personnel who are currently not likely to be entitled to a pension. (138022)

No specific estimate has been produced regarding the cost of backdating armed forces preserved pensions before 1975. However, in view of the fact that this issue is common to other public service schemes not just the armed forces, the cost, whether to the armed forces or more widely, would be considerable and could run into billions of pounds.

The only individuals currently serving who will not be entitled to a pension are those who do not serve the two years necessary to qualify for an armed forces pension. However, they may transfer their notional benefits out of the armed forces pension scheme into another public sector scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 23 May 2007, Official Report, column 1289W, on the armed forces: pensions, how much it would cost to obtain the information. (141921)

There are currently in excess of 350,000 pensions in payment and, although the sums being paid can be accessed, it is not possible to tell whether the amount is in respect of a “full career pension” or a lesser period. The cost of scrutinising each file to check the length of each individual's reckonable service would be in excess of £900,000.

Armed Forces: Personal Records

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information his Department records on (a) Service personnel and (b) Service families. (136411)

[holding answer 10 May 2007]: The Ministry of Defence records a wide range of information on Service personnel. This information is used to support effective administration of Service personnel and to inform policy on, for example, pay, allowances, accommodation, training, health care, health and safety management, and career management. Statistics on Defence personnel are published regularly by the Defence Analytical Services Agency, and these are available on their website and in the Library of the House.

Ballistic Missile Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with his United States counterpart on the deployment of missile defence systems in Europe. (141588)

It is not the practice of the Government to make public details of all discussions with foreign Governments as this would, or would be likely to, prejudice international relations. The position on missile defence in Europe is as set out in my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's reply of 4 June 2007, Official Report, column 237W, to the right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague).

Departments: Advertising

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which (a) advertising agencies and (b) other organisations supplied consultancy services for advertising campaigns for (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies in each of the last five years; and what the cost of these services was. (139431)

The only advertising undertaken by the Ministry of Defence is recruitment related.

Armed forces recruitment advertising is bought through the Central Office of Information (COI). Under the terms of the COI framework agreements advertising agencies are contracted to supply advertising services only and not to supply broader consultancy services.

The Royal Navy uses two advertising agencies for its recruit advertising activities, procured through the COI. These are Wright Collins Rutherford Scott, and Glue London. No additional external organisations are used to provide consultancy services.

The Army has not bought any advertising services outside of those procured through the COI. Currently, the Army is working with Zenith Optimedia to deliver advertising campaigns.

The Royal Air Force currently works with the advertising agency Delaney Lund Knox Warren to deliver its advertising campaigns. It has not procured any organisations to supply wider consultancy services for those campaigns.

Information on the recruitment of civilian staff is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Ex-servicemen: Military Decorations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many ex-servicemen and women in Somerset (a) applied for and (b) were subsequently issued with (i) an HM Armed Forces Veterans Badge and (ii) a UK Merchant Seafarers Badge. (141504)

[holding answer 11 June 2007]: The information on Veterans Badges is not held in a format that identifies how many badges were applied for and subsequently issued; it is possible to give information only on how many are issued. I can confirm that 3,060 Veterans Badges have been issued to ex-servicemen and women in Somerset since 2004.

Information relating to the Merchant Seafarers Badge is not held in a format that allows counties to be readily identified. However, I can confirm a total of 5,634 badges have been issued since the scheme began on 27 June 2006.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to reply to Question 127568, tabled by the hon. Member for North Durham on 12 March 2007. (138517)

Warships

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for how many days the Sea Dart missile system was fully operational for each of the eight remaining Type 42 destroyers in (a) the last 12 months and (b) 2006. (141002)

The Sea Dart missile system has a good record for reliability and effectiveness. I am withholding the detailed information as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness and security of our armed forces.

Treasury

Departments: Drama

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much it cost to run the interactive drama training sessions in each year since their introduction. (139998)

In common with most other public and private sector organisations, the Treasury occasionally uses role-playing techniques in its training programmes, for example on teaching interview and management skills, and on improving diversity awareness. However, the costs of these elements of training programmes are not separately recorded.

Departments: Epilepsy

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people with epilepsy are employed by his Department; and if he will make a statement. (139101)

HM Treasury publishes a wide range of data on disability and diversity in its annual report and on its website (www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/about/about _disability_equality.cfm). The number of officials with epilepsy is not detailed as this could identify individual members of staff.

Departments: Meetings

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of each meeting he attended on 10 May. (140007)

On 10 May the Chancellor attended Cabinet and then Treasury oral questions. It is not the practice of this or other administrations to release the minutes of Cabinet or other meetings.

Departments: Sexual Harassment

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many claims have been made against (a) his Department and (b) its agencies under the Sex Discrimination Act since 1997; and what the outcome was of each such case. (139997)

The information is as follows:

Department

Response

Outcome

HMT

None

Not applicable

Royal Mint

One case

Settled out of court

DMO

None

Not applicable

HMRC

69 cases The above figure includes figures for Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise prior to the establishment of HMRC. However, the ‘Customs and Excise’ element of these figures is for the last five years only as earlier figures are not available.

Number of claims withdrawn: 26 Claims upheld: None Claims not upheld: 16 Claims settled out of court: 27

VOA

VOA is unable to provide any information earlier than 2001-02 without incurring disproportionate costs. Since 2001-02 there have been 34 cases.

Claims not upheld: Five Claims settled out of court: four One case remains pending an employment tribunal hearing, and 21 further cases remain pending on the outcome of an employment tribunal on a common issue. Two pending internal investigation One pending outcome of an employment tribunal claim

NS&I

None

Not applicable

OGC

None

Not applicable

ONS

Two cases

Cases not upheld: Two

Departments: Surveys

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library copies of his Department's employee surveys for (a) 1998 and (b) 1999. (142024)

EC Budget: Contributions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the United Kingdom’s (a) gross and (b) net annual contributions to the European Union are expected to be in each of the next six years; and if he will make a statement. (142023)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove) on 31 January 2006, Official Report, columns 398-400W.

Later calendar year estimates for the United Kingdom’s contributions to the EC Budget will be published annually in the Government’s “European Community Finances” White Paper. The 2007 edition of this White Paper (Cm 7090) was published on 22 May 2007.

Eligo International Limited

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) date, (b) value and (c) purpose was of each payment made by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies to Eligo International Limited since 1997. (141270)

None of the Chancellor's departments or agencies has found any records of payments to Eligo International Limited within the last five years. Changes in accounting systems mean that a positive confirmation for all bodies over the whole period since 1997 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Goodison Review

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the estimated cost of implementation of the Goodison Review is, broken down by main budget headings; (140766)

(2) what progress his Department has made in implementing the recommendations in the Goodison Review for which his Department has responsibility; which recommendations relating to direct taxation have been implemented; and which of the recommendations in the review have yet to be implemented.

The Government implemented a number of Sir Nicholas Goodison’s recommendations and continue to keep those relating to direct taxation under review.

There are a variety of tax reliefs available to encourage private and corporate giving and the Government will, over the summer, consult with the sector on measures to increase the take up of Gift Aid, in addition to conducting an awareness raising campaign.

The information on costs requested is not available.

Government Departments: Buildings

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of commercial sector buildings in the UK were occupied by the central Government estate in each of the last five years. (141068)

Figures based on floor space data are available centrally only for 2004, 2005, and 2006 and then only for England and Wales.

The percentage occupation from the commercial sector in each of those years is approximately as follows:

Percentage occupation

2004

7

2005

9

2006

8

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of Government estate buildings were (a) leased and (b) owned in each of the last five years. (141069)

Figures are available centrally only for 2004, 2005, and 2006.

The breakdown in percentages between freehold and leasehold Government buildings is approximately as follows:

2004

2005

2006

Freehold

34

35

40

Leasehold

26

28

29

The remainder of Government buildings were occupied predominantly under PFI/PPP arrangements.

HM Revenue and Customs: Correspondence

To ask Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate he has made of the time taken by the HM Revenue and Customs office in Cardiff to reply to letters from members of the public; and if he will make a statement. (139192)

There are a number of HMRC offices in Cardiff. In the main HMRC office, which deals with PAYE and self assessment customers, the vast majority of correspondence is dealt with within 20 days. The office does take longer to deal with some more complex or specialist correspondence but as of 18 May 2007 4 per cent. of correspondence only was more then 20 days old.

Lone Parents

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the Office for National Statistics most recent estimate is of the number of lone parents; and how many lone parents claim tax credits. (142318)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) use different definitions of lone parents and the statistics they produce refer to different time periods and are therefore not comparable.

The tax and benefit system defines a couple as either a man and a woman who are either married or ‘living together as husband and wife’ or two people of the same sex who are either civil partners or living together as such. The Labour Force Survey (LFS) asks about the adults living in a household, and it counts an adult as being single if they do not declare another adult in the household as being their partner.

ONS estimates that there are 1.9 million lone parents in the UK, based on the 2006 Labour Force Survey data. The HMRC 2005-06 Finalised Award data show that on average 2.1 million families claimed child tax credit, or the equivalent via benefits, as a single adult.

National Insurance Contributions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the (a) level of revenue which would be foregone were national insurance contributions classes 1 and 4 to be abolished and (b) level to which the basic rate of income tax would need to be raised to recoup such revenue. (141945)

The estimate of the total amount of class 1 (employee and employer) and class 4 (self-employed) NICs revenue that would be foregone is £95 billion for 2007-08. Individuals would have to pay basic rate income tax of 33 per cent. for 2007-08 to recoup the £40 billion of employee and self-employed NICs foregone. This estimate does not allow for any behavioural effects.

Pension Funds: Taxation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what projection he has made of how the changes to income tax and national insurance announced in the Budget will affect the value of tax relief on pension contributions in future years. (141540)

No projections have been made of how the changes to income tax and national insurance announced in the Budget will affect the value of tax relief on pension contributions in future years. Estimates of the annual cost of tax relief on approved pension schemes are publicly available. I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 27 March 2007, Official Report, column 1513W.

Planning Gain Supplement

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Rayleigh (Mr. Francois) of 8 May 2007, Official Report, column 189W, on Planning Gain Supplement, by what criteria consideration will be given as to whether Planning Gain Supplement should be deemed to be workable and effective. (142389)