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Written Answers

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 12 September 2007

Written Answers to Questions

The following answers were received between Monday 10 September and Wednesday 12 September 2007

Transport

Aviation: Security

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the reasons are for UK aviation security policy differing from that aviation security policy recommended by the EU; and if she will make a statement. (155137)

The UK is required to implement the measures mandated in European aviation security legislation, which also acknowledges member states' freedom to set more stringent requirements where they judge this to be warranted. The UK aviation security regime reflects the Government's assessment of the measures appropriate in this country.

Departments: Recruitment

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people have been appointed to her Department outside civil service grades in the last 30 days. (153214)

In the period 27 June to 26 July, the Department for Transport appointed one non-executive director, who does not have a civil service grade, in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

In addition, the Department publishes information annually on appointments for which it is responsible in its annual report. The 2007 annual report was published in May 2007.

Departments: Reviews

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many Gateway reviews were undertaken by her Department in each of the last five years. (155153)

The Department for Transport was formed in the summer of 2002. Information on DFT projects is only held from that point in time.

The Department for Transport can confirm that the following number of Gateway Reviews have been carried out since summer 2002:

Number

2002

110

2003

31

2004

65

2005

53

2006

68

2007

251

1 Summer to end of the year 2 To 6 September 2007.

Highways Agency: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many of the Highways Agency's regional directorates over-spent on their budgets in each of the last five years. (154925)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The agency's two major spending directorates, Traffic Operations and Major Projects, include several regional-based operating units. The numbers of units have changed as the agency has developed. The following table summarises the position:

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Regional operating units

7

8

9

Number overspending against original budget

3

5

6

Number overspending against agreed forecast outturn

0

0

0

Similar performance data are not available for 2002-03 and 2003-04.

Budgets are set prior to the beginning of each financial year and are not adjusted in year. The agency actively manages the budget by reallocating resources where necessary to deal with new pressures and changing priorities to ensure that the overall budget is fully utilised. Hence there are managed over and under-spends against budget at lower levels. In each of the three years in the previous table the agency has utilised over 99 per cent. of its overall budget, with no overall overspends:

Resource budgetCapital budget

Budget

Outturn

Variance

Budget

Outturn

Variance

2002-03

5,021

4,938

83

670

736

(-66)

2003-04

4,003

3,873

130

651

438

213

2004-05

4,174

4,170

4

623

610

13

2005-06

4,709

4,664

45

755

753

2

2006-07

5,134

5,118

16

1,124

1,117

7

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent on each of the 21 projects listed currently as on hold on the Highways Agency website. (154926)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The 21 projects listed as “on hold” on the Highways Agency website comprise eight major schemes which were being prepared to enter the Government's national roads programme and 13 route management strategies.

The major schemes and their respective expenditure are as follows:

£ million

Project

Spend to date

A1 Adderstone to Belford dualling

0.696

A1 Morpeth to Felton dualling

4.126

A66 Penrith to Temple Sowerby

A66 Appleby to Brough

A66 Temple Sowerby to Appleby

0.732

A66 dualling Bowes Bypass

A66 dualling Cross Lanes to Greta Bridge

A66 dualling Stephen Bank to Carkin Moor

0.583

Grand total for A66 schemes

1.315

Following the regional funding allocations (RFA) announcement in July 2006, the above schemes were not prioritised for funding by the relevant regions.

The remaining 13 listed as on hold are studies known as route management strategies (RMSs). The strategies were intended to develop route based plans for future investment in the maintenance, operation and improvement of the network. With the growing emphasis on regional planning, transport decisions are linked to regional objectives and priorities. In response to this the Highways Agency is developing its forward planning on a regional basis through the recent publication of the regional network reports (RNRs) available on the Highway Agency website. A total of £301,712 has been spent on RMSs.

Roads: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many recorded accidents there were on the A264 between Lington Green and Rusthall in each of the last 10 years. (155197)

The number of reported personal injury road accidents on the A264 between Langton Green (at the junction with The Green) and Rusthall (at the junction with Rusthall Road) are given in the following table:

Number of accidents

1997

16

1998

11

1999

8

2000

10

2001

11

2002

5

2003

12

2004

8

2005

8

2006

9

Children, Schools and Families

Academies

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what representations he has received from teaching unions on his Department’s academies programme; and if he will make a statement. (155251)

The Secretary of State has received a number of representations from the teaching unions on a range of subjects including the academies programme.

Children: Examinations

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what research he has commissioned into the impact of assessments and testing on children’s future engagement with education. (155166)

The Department for Education and Skills part-funded a review by the EPPI-Centre on the impact of summative assessment and testing on students’ motivation for learning. The review’s report was published in 2002 and can be accessed at www.eppi.ioe.ac.uk/cms/

City Academies

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to his answer of 2 August 2007 to question 152922, on City Academies, when officials from his Department first discussed with Essex local education authority the possibility of establishing city academies in (a) Essex and (b) Colchester. (155301)

Officials first met with officers from Essex county council on 18 March 2005 to discuss the vision of establishing an academy within Essex. The first meeting to discuss an academy in Colchester was on 5 January 2007.

Departments: Catering

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of (a) beef, (b) sheep meat, (c) pork and (d) dairy products used in his Department in the most recent period for which figures are available were imported products. (150798)

For the period 1 January to 30 June 2007 the percentage of imported beef, sheep meat, pork and dairy products used within DCSF Headquarters buildings was 84 per cent. of beef, 93 per cent. of lamb, 76 per cent. of pork and 7 per cent. of dairy products.

Departments: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of staff formerly employed by the Department for Education and Skills are now employed by his Department. (153471)

84 per cent. of staff in the former Department for Education and Skills are now employed by my Department.

Education Maintenance Allowance: Tamworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many students in Tamworth claimed education allowance in each year since it was introduced, broken down by ward of residence. (148792)

This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), who operate the education maintenance allowance (EMA) for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and hold the information about take-up and payments under the scheme. Mark Haysom, the Council’s Chief Executive, has written to my hon. Friend with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House Library.

Letter from Mark Haysom, dated 20 July 2007:

I am writing in response to your Parliamentary Question 148792 that asked; “How many students in Tamworth claimed education allowance in each year since it was introduced, broken down by ward of residence.”

Information on the number of young people who have applied, enrolled and received education maintenance allowance (EMA) is available at local authority level, but not at ward level. EMA take-up is defined as young people who have received one or more EMA payments in the academic year.

EMA take-up for Staffordshire local authority area during each academic year since inception is as follows:

2004/05—3,632

2005/06—6,393

2006/07—7,803 (to end of June)

EMA Take-up data showing the number of young people who have received one or more EMA payments during 2004/05,2005/06 and to date in 2006/07 is now also available on the LSC website, at the following address:

http://www.lsc.gov.uk/providers/Data/statistics/learner/EMA_take_up.htm

I hope you find this information useful.

General Certificate of Secondary Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what evaluation he has made of the policies of schools on entering students to GCSE examinations other than English and Mathematics. (155331)

Schools take decisions on GCSE entries based on the individual circumstances of pupils, in discussion with them and parents as appropriate. Schools need to ensure that each pupil’s ability is properly assessed and recognised in the areas of the Key Stage 4 curriculum that they have chosen, or are obliged, to study. This summer’s results show that the number of GGSE entries overall continues to increase.

Pre-school Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what research he has commissioned into the effectiveness of (a) state pre-school education and (b) privately funded pre-school provision in raising pupil attainment in the short and long term. (155167)

To assess the benefits of funded early education, delivered in a wide range of maintained and private, voluntary and independent settings, my Department commissioned the Effective Pre-school and Primary Education 3-11 (EPPE 3-11) study. This study, which began in 1997, followed 3,000 children from the age of three to the end of Key Stage 2 (at age 11) and will continue to do so until the end of Key Stage 3 at age 14. So far, the study has demonstrated that children who attend pre-school are better prepared for school, have better cognitive and social development at age six and seven (Key Stage 1), with benefits strongest for those who attended high quality pre-school for a longer duration. It has also shown high quality pre-school experience continues to have a positive impact on children’s all round development at age 10.

The EPPE study has also shown it is the quality, rather than ownership of pre-school provision that is most important for improving children’s attainment and that while good quality provision is found across all sectors the maintained sector provides the highest quality provision overall. We want to see quality improve across all types of pre-school provision, and we have reflected this aim in draft statutory guidance to local authorities on the duty in the Childcare Act 2006 to improve outcomes for all children and reduce inequalities between them. The guidance requires local authorities actively to engage with the Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) sector to improve quality. We have also provided dedicated resource (through the Transformation Fund between 2006-08 and the Graduate Leader Fund from 2008-09) to support the development of graduate leadership in the PVI sector, focusing on full day care settings.

Finally, my Department has also commissioned a number of evaluation studies that will continue to explore the relationship between different types of pre-school provision and child development outcomes including the National Evaluation of Sure Start, a study of child care quality experienced by children in the Millennium Cohort Study, and an evaluation of free child care provision for disadvantaged two-year-olds. Findings from these studies will be published by the Department later in 2008.

Primary Education: Languages

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what percentage of state primary schools in England offer teaching in a modern foreign language other than French. (155252)

There are no national data available on the total number of primary schools offering modern foreign languages. However, in the autumn term of 2006, the National Foundation for Educational Research carried out research on the Department’s behalf, based on a nationally representative sample of 8,000 primary schools in England. The response rate was 48 per cent. The results showed that 81 per cent. of schools were providing primary languages within class time. As it was recognised that schools already delivering primary languages might be more likely to respond, data were collected from all schools within a representative sub-sample of 500 schools from the original 8,000 primary schools. The results showed that 70 per cent. of schools in this sub-sample were providing primary languages within class time.

Figures for which languages were provided are available only for the larger sample. Of the 3,336 schools in the survey that were teaching primary languages in class time, 91 per cent. of these schools offered French. Other languages were offered by the following proportions of schools in this sample. Percentages do not add up to 100 per cent. as some schools offer two or more languages:

Languages offered at KS2 in primary schools in England

Percentage

Spanish

25

German

12

Italian

4

Chinese

1

Japanese

1

Urdu

1

Other languages

4

No response

1

Schools: Uniforms

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he is taking to address school uniform shop monopolies, including shops run by (a) schools and (b) external enterprises. (155171)

The Office of Fair Trading have indicated that schools or retailers that have expensive exclusive contracts with suppliers may, in principle, be subject to enforcement action under Chapter 1 of the Competition Act 1998, on the grounds that these exclusive agreements restrict competition between retailers to supply uniform.

The Schools Admissions Code will also tackle covert selection methods by ensuring that other school policies (such as the uniform policy) do not discourage parents from applying to the school of their choice.

The Department plans to publish updated guidance on school uniforms and related policies next month. This guidance will provide schools with advice on how to develop fair and reasonable school uniform policies.

Teachers: Languages

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of teachers of modern foreign languages in state secondary schools have a degree level qualification in the languages they teach. (155254)

The following table provides the number of full-time teachers employed in maintained secondary schools by the highest post A level qualification held in the subjects they teach.

Teachers in Service: Full-time teachers in maintained secondary schools—Highest post A level qualifications1 held in the subjects they teach2 to year groups 7-13, England

Percentages

Degree3

BEd

PGCE

Cert Ed

Other qual.

No qual.

Total teachers (Thousand)

Mathematics

42 ± 3

15 ± 2

9 ± 2

7 ± 1

2 ± 1

24 ± 2

28.2

English

51 ± 3

15 ± 2

7 ± 1

6 ± 1

1 ± 1

20 ± 2

29.4

Combined/General science

62 ± 3

12 ± 2

10 ± 2

4 ± 1

1 ± 1

11 ± 2

28.3

Biology4

71 ± 5

7 ± 3

11 ± 4

3 ± 2

- ± 1

7 ± 3

5.6

Chemistry4

72 ± 5

6 ± 3

12 ± 4

1 ± 1

1 ± 1

7 ± 3

5.2

Physics4

63 ± 6

11 ± 4

15 ± 4

3 ± 2

- ± -

8 ± 3

4.7

Other sciences4

10 ± 6

4 ± 4

5 ± 4

- ± -

- ± -

80 ± 8

1.6

French

54 ± 3

7 ± 2

10 ± 2

3 ± 1

2 ± 1

23 ± 3

16.0

German

47 ± 5

6 ± 3

13 ± 4

1 ± 1

2 ± 1

30 ± 5

6.9

Spanish

37 ± 7

8 ± 4

19 ± 6

- ± -

3 ± 2

33 ± 7

3.6

Other modern languages

18 ± 8

- ± -

9 ± 7

- ± -

3 ± 4

71 ±10

1.4

Design and technology5

26 ± 3

20 ± 3

7 ± 2

21 ± 3

2 ± 1

24 ± 3

20.9

ICT5, 6

13 ± 2

6 ± 1

8 ± 2

2 ± 1

3 ± 1

69 ± 3

18.9

Other/Combined technology5

30± 1 0

13 ± 8

16 ± 7

18 ± 9

2 ± 3

20 ± 9

1.6

Business studies

30 ± 5

11 ± 4

9 ± 3

4 ± 2

3 ± 2

43 ± 5

6.5

Classics

33 ± 7

- ± -

2 ± 4

2 ± -

- ± -

63 ± 7

1.0

History

57 ± 4

9 ± 2

6 ± 2

6 ± 2

- ± -

23 ± 3

13.7

Religious education

22 ± 3

8 ± 2

8 ± 2

4 ± 1

2 ± 1

57 ± 4

14.2

Geography

53 ± 4

9 ± 2

6 ± 2

5 ± 2

1 ± 1

25 ± 3

13.7

Other social studies

35 ± 5

6 ± 3

2 ± 2

2 ± 1

- ± 1

54 ± 6

4.9

Combined arts/humanities/ social studies

5 ± 3

4 ± 2

7 ± 3

1 ± 1

1 ± 1

83 ± 5

5.3

Music

59 ± 5

15 ± 4

5 ± 2

6 ± 3

2 ± 2

13 ± 4

6.3

Drama

25 ± 4

10 ± 3

12 ± 3

6 ± 2

2 ± 1

45 ± 5

8.1

Art and design

54 ± 4

10 ± 3

7 ± 2

9 ± 3

1 ± 1

20 ± 4

9.3

Physical education

25 ± 3

31 ± 3

6 ± 2

13 ± 2

2 ± 1

22 ± 2

21.4

Careers education

2 ± 2

1 ± 2

3 ± 3

4 ± 4

3 ± 4

87 ± 7

1.5

PSHE6

1 ± -

1 ± -

2 ± 1

1 ± -

- ± -

95 ± 1

61.4

General studies

1 ± 1

2 ± 1

1 ± 1

- ± 1

- ± -

95 ± 2

7.1

Citizenship

2 ± 1

1 ± 1

2 ± 1

- ± 1

- ± -

94 ± 2

9.0

Other

32.8

Total2, 7

33 ± -

10 ±-

7 ± -

5 ± -

1 ± -

44 ± -

388.4

‘-’ = zero or less than 0.5.

1 Where a teacher has more than one post A level qualification in the same subject, the qualification level is determined by the highest level reading from left (Degree) to right (Other Qual.). For example, teachers shown under PGCE have a PGCE but not a degree or BEd in the subject, while those with a PGCE and a degree are shown only under Degree.

2 Teachers are counted once against each subject which they are teaching.

3 Includes higher degrees but excludes BEds.

4 Teachers qualified in combined/general science are treated as qualified to teach biology, chemistry, or physics. Teachers qualified in biology, chemistry or physics are treated as qualified to teach combined/general science.

5 Teachers qualified in other/combined technology are treated as qualified to teach design and technology or information and communication technology. Teachers qualified in design and technology or information and communication technology are treated as qualified to teach other/combined technology.

6 Information and Communication Technology is abbreviated as ICT and Personal Social and Health Education is abbreviated as PSHE.

7 ‘Other’ not included in total percentages.

Source:

Secondary Schools Curriculum and Staffing Survey 2002.

Teachers: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what representations he has received on teachers’ pay since his appointment; and if he will make a statement. (155136)

Since his appointment my right hon. Friend has received some correspondence relating to teachers’ pay and had meetings with unions and others, in which a variety of issues have been discussed.

Duchy of Lancaster

Contracts: Finance

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what estimate he has made of the savings accrued as a consequence of the Pan-Government Office solutions tender earlier this year; and if he will make a statement. (155232)

I have been asked to reply.

The savings estimated by the Office of Government Commerce for the Pan-Government solutions tender is £100 million spread over the four year period of the contract. The contract commences on 1 October 2007.

Departments: Carbon Emissions

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what changes in his Department’s practice have resulted from the signing of the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Management Programme. (151272)

Signing up to the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Management Programme has enabled the Cabinet Office to identify a more strategic, structured and long term approach to energy management and awareness raising practices. For example, the Cabinet Office has begun a programme of works to install passive infrared lighting controls (PIRs).

Departments: Disabled

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what proportion of people employed by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies are disabled. (153599)

The latest available data on the disability status of civil servants in Departments and agencies are as at 30 September 2006 and are published in “Civil Service Statistics 2006” at table P. This document is produced by the Office for National Statistics and can be accessed from the following website addresses.

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=2899&Pos=&ColRank=1&Rank=422

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_labour/2006CivilServiceStatistics.pdf

Departments: Manpower

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many press officers are employed by his Department. (152991)

Departments: Procurement

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what estimate he has made of the savings accrued as a consequence of the use of reverse auctions as a procurement mechanism by his Department; and if he will make a statement. (155235)

Reverse auctions have not been used so far as a procurement mechanism in my Department.

Due to the nature of the Cabinet Office’s procurement, the scope for exploiting the benefits of reverse auctions is limited. Where suitable opportunities arise, and the benefits would outweigh the costs, a reverse auction would be employed as the procurement mechanism.

The Cabinet Office makes extensive use of collaborative frameworks set up by other Departments where reverse auctions have been used. This will enable the Department to derive the benefits of savings in future.

Departments: Publications

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much the Cabinet Office departmental report 2007 Making Government Work Better cost to design, produce and publish. (155196)

The cost of designing, producing and publishing the Cabinet Office departmental report 2007 in print and on-line was £50,299.

Government: Procurement

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what criteria are used to determine whether to use (a) preferred suppliers or (b) reverse auctions in Government procurement projects; and if he will make a statement. (155231)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government do not have preferred suppliers. The Government's policy is that public procurement decisions are to be based on value for money. Public procurers must also adhere to EU procurement rules, based on principles of non-discrimination, transparency and competitive procurement. Within this legal and policy framework, it is possible to set up framework agreements, with particular suppliers, following an appropriate competitive exercise in line with EU rules.

E-auctions (or reverse auctions) are just one of a number of procedures and techniques available to public procurers under the public procurement rules. It is ultimately for contracting authorities to decide which procurement approach, including the use of e-auctions, is appropriate on a case-by-case basis, taking into account their obligations to deliver the best value for money for the taxpayer.

The Government are determined to improve public procurement as set out in ‘Transforming Government Procurement’, published in January this year. It defines the vision for an improved Government procurement service, has led to the establishment of departmental procurement capability reviews and has led to the introduction of a new major projects review group in the Treasury.

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he plans to increase the use of reverse auctions as a procurement mechanism for Government (a) projects and (b) supplies; and if he will make a statement. (155234)

I have been asked to reply.

Government Departments are responsible for choosing the procurement procedures and techniques they consider most appropriate, including electronic (reverse) auctions, taking into account their obligations to achieve value for money for the taxpayer.

Many procurements are subject to the requirements of the EU procurement rules. These include specific requirements for the setting up and running of e-auctions. The Government have put in place a framework agreement to enable public authorities to choose providers to run e-auctions for them, consistent with those rules.

The Government are determined to improve public procurement as set out in ‘Transforming Government Procurement’, published in January this year. It defines the vision for an improved Government procurement service, has led to the establishment of departmental procurement capability reviews and led to the introduction of a new major projects review group in the Treasury.

Ministers: Official Residences

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many nights Ministers have stayed at (a) Chevening, (b) One Carlton Gardens, (c) Hillsborough Castle and (d) Lord Chancellor’s Apartments since 27 June. (152454)

Official residences are assigned to Ministers by the Prime Minister either on grounds of security or in order to allow them to perform better their official duties. The number of nights Ministers stay in official residences is a matter for the individual Minister, the information is not collected centrally.

Office of the Third Sector

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will undertake an assessment of the attributes of successful social enterprise models; and if he will make a statement. (151337)

The Government’s Social Enterprise Action Plan, published in November 2006, recognised the need for further research on social enterprises. The Office of the Third Sector is currently engaging with academic organisations, the Social Enterprise Coalition, and other third sector partners to design an appropriate programme of original and useful research which is reflective of the needs of the sector as well as Government.

Offices: Deputy Prime Minister

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what use will be made of the former Deputy Prime Minister’s offices. (153528)

I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) on 12 July 2007, Official Report, column 1641W.

Redundancy: Deputy Prime Minister

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether any staff from the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office will be made redundant. (153529)

Wales

Departments: Aviation

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent by his Department on (a) first class and (b) business class flights in the last 12 months. (153250)

In the past 12 months my Department has spent £4,440 on first class flights and £2,946.50 on business class flights.

Departments: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many letters he and his predecessors sent in each of the last five years. (153445)

Before 2006 the Wales Office systems recorded total correspondence sent, but without details of sender. Information for that period could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

In 2006 I sent 383 letters.

The Wales Office publishes correspondence statistics in its annual report and for the Cabinet Office for the annual report to Parliament.

Departments: Disabled

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what proportion of people employed by his Department are disabled. (153601)

The Wales Office has a few staff with disabilities. For reasons of privacy no details are given, in line with Cabinet Office guidance.

The latest available data on the disability status of civil servants in Departments and agencies are as at 30 September 2006 and are published in “Civil Service Statistics 2006” at table P. This document is produced by the Office for National Statistics and can be accessed from the following website addresses.

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=2899&Pos=&ColRank=1&Rank=422

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_labour/2006CivilServiceStatistics.pdf

Declaration of a disability is voluntary.

Departments: Flowers

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent by his Department on flowers in the last 12 months. (153251)

Departments: Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to review the appearance and content of the Wales Office website. (153452)

The Wales Office website is now regularly reviewed and was updated in July with the latest information on legislation, including the Government of Wales Act.

A project is under way to review the current site design and functionality and management processes, bearing in mind the stakeholders the Wales Office needs to reach. A new site will be established, contracts willing, before the end of 2007.

Departments: Ministerial Policy Advisers

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the name is of each special adviser in his Department. (153281)

Departments: Press

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent by his Department on newspapers and magazines in the last 12 months. (153248)

The Wales Office does not record expenditure on newspapers and magazines separately from that on other publications, so the information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departments: Railways

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent by his Department on first class train tickets in the last 12 months. (153249)

The Wales Office expenditure on first class rail tickets for the last 12 months was £72,142.82.

Departments: Taxis

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent by his Department on taxis in the last 12 months. (153252)

Departments: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent by his Department on staff away days in the last 12 months. (153244)

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent by his Department on (a) staff training and (b) communication training in the last 12 months. (153245)

Records for training budgets are only kept in financial year.

For 2006-07 my Department spent:

(a) on staff training £13,032.66

(b) on communication training £975.

For 2007-08 the current spend to June is:

(a) on staff training £3,610

(b) communication spending nil.

National Assembly for Wales: Powers

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether a referendum to give primary law-making powers to the National Assembly for Wales would be subject to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. (155211)

Yes. Section 103 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 provides for holding a referendum, subject to the provisions in Schedule 6 to that Act. Schedule 6 describes the procedure for holding such a referendum and sets out the provisions of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 which apply to different aspects of the referendum, including the referendum question itself and the process.

Non-Departmental Public Bodies

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with Ministers in the Welsh Assembly Government on the role of quangos in Wales; and if he will make a statement. (152761)

I have regular discussions with Ministers in the Welsh Assembly Government on a range of issues.

The merger of quangos into the Welsh Assembly Government in 2006 has streamlined structures and processes, simplified decision making and allowed public services to become more flexible and responsive to the needs of businesses and learners.

Private Finance Initiative

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many projects for which the UK Government are responsible have been built in Wales under the private finance initiative. (151854)

The Wales Office does not hold this information. HM Treasury publish information on their website on all PFI projects at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/documents/public_private_partnerships/ppp_pfi_stats.cfm

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Police

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the (a) capability and (b) membership of the Afghan police force and the Afghan armed forces; and if he will make a statement. (155062)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The strength of the Afghan National Army (ANA) on 1 August 2007 was 40,360 against a target figure of 70,000. The reason for this disparity is because the ANA has had to be recruited and trained from an almost non-existent base since 2001. The ANA is a key ally in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) campaign, and is proving itself to be increasingly capable of conducting operations alongside ISAF partners.

The Afghan national police (ANP) is the primary law enforcement body within Afghanistan and receives training and mentoring from international donors, including through the US-led police training programme Combined Strategic Transition Command Afghanistan (CSTC-A) and the EU policing mission. The latest assessment by the CSTC-A estimates that there are around 76,000 members of the ANP drawn from all regions of Afghanistan. Our assessment is that the ANP requires further mentoring in order to be capable of conducting operations independently. Capability in policing functions is supplemented by the specialist skills of the counter narcotics police of Afghanistan, the Afghan border police and the Afghan national civil order police.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what targets have been set for reform of policing in Afghanistan; what progress has been made towards reaching these targets; and if he will make a statement. (155063)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The main Afghan national police (ANP) training programme is run by the US-led Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan (CSTC-A). The CSTC-A programme's target is for the ANP to be capable of operating effectively without international support, except in extremis, by December 2012. Support in meeting this target is provided by the EU policing mission launched in June, with the aim of improving the quality of the ANP. The latest assessment by the CSTC-A estimates that there are around 76,000 members of the ANP drawn from all regions of Afghanistan. The agreed policing structure, signed by the Afghan Government in 2007, anticipates growth of the ANP to reach a total of 82,000.

Iran: Baha'i Sect

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment the UK Government have made of the impact of the changes in recent years in Iran's treatment of Baha'is in respect of higher education; and if he will make a statement. (155356)

We remain concerned about the treatment of religious minorities in Iran and discrimination against the Baha'i community in particular. Denial of access to higher education has been a long-term problem for Baha'i students.

After the removal of religious identification from the national university entrance examination in 2006, a number of Baha'i students sat the exam for academic year 2006-07. Although over 250 Baha'i students were admitted to various campuses across Iran last autumn, reports suggest that at least 120 were subsequently expelled as universities became aware of their religion. We are concerned that more Baha'i students may be expelled in the future.

We recently received reports that students applying for places in technical and vocational institutions for the forthcoming 2007-08 academic year have been required to complete a form which asks them to state their religion. The minority religion options listed are Christian, Zoroastrian or Jewish and the form explains that if no box is marked the applicant will be considered to be Muslim. This is a worrying return to the earlier position whereby applicants had to state their religious affiliation. We wait to see whether there will be a similar change in admission procedures for university entry this academic year.

We take this issue seriously and will continue to monitor the situation and take action as required. We have pressed the Iranian authorities on many occasions, bilaterally and through the EU, to address the discrimination against Iranian Baha'is. The EU did so most recently on 1 September, raising specific concerns about access to education. We also take action at the UN and in December 2006, we along with all EU countries, co-sponsored a resolution on human rights in Iran which expressed serious concern at

“the increased frequency of discrimination and other human rights violations against members of the Baha'i Faith, including [...] the denial of access to higher education”.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations have been (a) received and (b) made by the UK Government regarding the effects on Baha'i students of religious requirements introduced for entry to Iran's technical and vocational institutes. (155357)

The Government received reports last month from the National Assembly of the Baha'is of the United Kingdom about a change in the application procedure for Iran's technical and vocational institutes. Students applying for places at these institutions for academic year 2007-08 have been required to complete a form that asks them to state their religion. The minority religion options listed are Christian, Zoroastrian or Jewish, and the form explains that if no box is marked the applicant will be considered to be Muslim. Baha'i students are effectively excluded from studying in these institutes unless they deny their faith by having it incorrectly recorded on official forms. This is a worrying new example of systematic discrimination against members of the Baha'i minority in Iran, who have long faced restrictions on access to higher education.

We continue to raise our concerns about the treatment of the Iranian Baha'is with Iran, bilaterally and through the EU. In a meeting with the Iranian authorities on 1 September, the EU, with strong UK support, condemned such discriminatory measures used against the Baha'i community, and pressed Iran to uphold their international human rights commitments to freedom of religion and to ensure that Baha'is are given the same rights as other Iranian citizens including access to education.

Iran: Sanctions

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has held with his US counterpart about extending (a) financial, (b) trade and (c) travel sanctions against Iran. (155186)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary maintains regular contact with his US counterpart and other key allies on the situation in Iran. Discussions are also taking place at senior official level within the E3+3 process (UK, France, Germany, US, Russia and China) about the next stages of the international community's response to Iran's failure to respect its international obligations. This process includes discussion of possible further restrictive measures against Iran. The Government and the US administration are united in the belief that Iran must realise that its continued defiance of the UN Security Council will not be cost free.

Sudan: Peace Keeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs following the UN Security Council's passing of Resolution 1769, authorising the deployment of 26,000 peacekeepers to Darfur, (a) what discussions he has had with his counterparts in other countries, (b) when these discussions were held, (c) what actions have been taken to date and (d) what future actions are planned to ensure the success of the mission. (155179)

The UK is working closely with both the African Union (AU) and the UN to support the effective deployment of the AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). We are in regular contact with the UN's Department for Peacekeeping Operations, which is responsible for generating the forces required. At their request, we have lobbied widely for UN member states to provide the necessary capabilities. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my noble Friend the Minister with responsibility for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, have been in contact with several existing and potential troop contributors. Lord Malloch-Brown is currently visiting Sudan where he is raising the need for speedy deployment of the force with the Sudanese Government.

At a meeting with the AU and UN on 7 September in Addis Ababa, the UK pressed for speedy deployments and effective integration of partner support to the AU Mission into UNAMID. We are also providing planning support to the mission. We will continue to work closely with the AU, UN and international partners to support its successful deployment.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

British Gas: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will seek to obtain from the chairman of British Gas replies to letters sent to him on 23 July, 23 August and 31 August by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mrs. S. Stephenson. (155261)

My right hon. Friend will understand that, as an independent company, British Gas is responsible for dealing with its own correspondence. However, I understand that, in this case, British Gas has now replied to my right hon. Friend and his constituent.

Departments: Older Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what percentage of staff in his Department were over 60 years of age in each of the last three years. (145688)

The percentage of staff over 60 years of age in each of the last three years is as set out in the following table:

Age 60 and over

Total population

Percentage of staff over 60

1 January 2004

123

4,680

3

1 January 2005

131

4,424

3

1 January 2006

129

4,311

3

Note:

Based on total staff including UKTI and SBS

Departments: Press

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to which periodicals his Department subscribes. (153127)

The information relating to this question is not held centrally within my Department. To collate this would incur disproportionate cost.

Electricity: Billing

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the average annual domestic electricity bill for a typical consumer in (a) Cheltenham constituency and (b) each region was in each year since 1998. (155303)

Average domestic electricity1 bills are published for the 15 Public Electricity Supply areas in the UK. Cheltenham is contained in the West Midlands supply region, the average bill for this region will be representative of the average price for households in Cheltenham. The data presented are for standard credit customers in cash terms, they have not been adjusted for inflation.

Average annual domestic electricity bill

£/year

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

East Midlands

261

254

240

233

228

228

239

266

321

Eastern

263

251

241

230

227

226

231

262

316

London

263

258

252

246

244

249

252

288

339

Merseyside and North Wales

280

278

271

261

260

261

274

286

357

North East

287

284

264

253

253

250

256

288

341

North West

260

257

249

239

237

235

243

270

327

Northern Ireland

326

326

308

317

325

325

329

338

360

Northern Scotland

280

277

272

266

271

275

291

304

338

South East

258

251

243

235

235

241

243

280

328

South Wales

304

297

285

282

281

283

292

315

364

South West

280

274

271

266

264

269

273

308

362

Southern

257

255

254

253

254

255

264

285

335

Southern Scotland

273

272

268

267

266

266

286

316

369

West Midlands

253

252

245

239

237

238

247

279

333

Yorkshire

256

252

250

241

239

239

248

279

335

1 The bills for standard electricity do not include customers who are on economy 7 tariffs.

Exports: Yorkshire and Humberside

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many businesses in the Yorkshire and Humber region export goods and services. (155274)

HM Revenue and Customs publish details of the UK Regional Trade in Goods Statistics on a quarterly basis.

In figures published on 6 September 2007 the total number of companies in the Yorkshire and Humber region exporting in the year ended March 2007 has been recorded by HM Revenue and Customs at 5,591.

HM Revenue and Customs provisional data for the first two quarters of the year 2007-08 record 4,303 companies in the Yorkshire and Humber region exporting.

Foreign Investment: Yorkshire and Humberside

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much foreign investment was received in (a) Yorkshire and the Humber and (b) the City of York in each year since 2003; and what estimate he has made of the number of jobs generated from it. (155275)

A total of 137 foreign direct investments have been recorded in Yorkshire and the Humber since 2003, of which 13 were in the City of York.

Since 2003 the number of foreign direct investments per year is:

(a) Y andH total

(b) York City total

2003-04

24

2

2004-05

43

3

2005-06

29

6

2006-07

41

2

Total

137

13

It is estimated that the total number of new jobs created in Yorkshire and the Humber since 2003 is 7,349.5 of which 169.5 were in the City of York. The total number of jobs saved in Yorkshire and the Humber since 2003 is 3,722 of which three were in the City of York.

Since 2003 the number of jobs generated is:

Y and H jobsYork City jobs

New

Saved

New

Saved

2003-04

2,356

460

53

0

2004-05

2,595

1,207

10

3

2005-06

1,699.5

1,021

21.5

0

2006-07

699

1,034

85

0

Total

7,349.5

3,722

169.5

3

Fuel Poverty

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps he is taking to ensure that the cost of gas and electricity is affordable to fuel-poor households; and if he will make a statement. (155225)

BERR continues to work with the industry, OFGEM, Energywatch and the voluntary sector to ensure that fuel poor households are aware of, and take advantage of, the significant reductions that can be made in energy bills by transferring supplier, using the cheapest and simplest payment methods, installing energy efficiency measures and accessing Government and industry social and fuel poverty programmes.

In the Energy White Paper, we welcomed initiatives announced by energy companies that help their vulnerable customers to cope with high prices, and we continue to encourage more companies to take action in this area. We see the provision of assistance to help their most vulnerable customers as a key part of each company's corporate social responsibility programmes, and will be looking for each company to put in place a proportional programme of assistance.

Industrial Diseases: Compensation

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform which miners' compensation claims are to be outsourced to India; and when they were first registered with his Department. (154937)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: No claims will be outsourced to India. Capita's operation in Mumbai will handle some routine administration work on the coal health compensation schemes. None of the work will be customer facing. Nor will it involve interaction with solicitors or claimants.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what restrictions there are in his Department's contract with Capita in relation to the outsourcing of miners' compensation claims to India. (154942)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The Department's contract with Capita does not restrict the transfer of work to India. The decision to offshore is ultimately a commercial decision. The Department supported this decision to help manage risks including those associated with staff retention in the period until completion of the coal health compensation schemes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many miners' compensation claims remain unsettled in (a) Bassetlaw and (b) nationally. (155117)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The numbers of outstanding claims are as follows:

(a) In Bassetlaw, there are 1,187 respiratory disease claims and 411 Vibration White Finger claims outstanding; and

(b) Nationally, there are 119,800 respiratory disease claims and 16,270 Vibration White Finger claims outstanding.

Natural Gas: Billing

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the average annual domestic gas bill for a typical consumer in (a) Cheltenham constituency and (b) each region was in each year since 1998. (155304)

Average domestic gas bills are published for the 12 local distribution zones in Great Britain. Cheltenham is contained in the West Midlands region, the average bill for this region will be representative of the average price for households in Cheltenham. The data presented are for standard credit customers in cash terms, it has not been adjusted for inflation.

Average annual domestic gas bill

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

East Midlands

316

303

292

290

309

312

331

383

473

Eastern

318

305

296

291

309

321

332

383

474

London

318

305

295

293

309

320

334

388

480

North East

309

304

294

290

309

318

332

385

474

North West

314

304

295

294

309

317

330

383

474

Northern

315

301

290

292

312

319

333

380

468

Scotland

313

307

297

294

311

320

332

384

469

South East

314

305

296

295

311

324

333

387

478

South West

312

306

299

297

312

322

334

389

478

Southern

316

307

299

296

311

322

336

390

472

Wales

313

297

291

291

306

318

335

391

460

West Midlands

317

307

297

296

313

324

333

389

480

Regional Development Agencies: Boston, Massachusetts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many regional development agencies have offices in Boston, Massachusetts. (155236)

The information is as follows.

AWM and EMDA have a joint office in Boston under the ‘British Midlands’ banner.

NWDA and One NorthEast have a joint office in Boston under the ‘North of England’ banner.

SEEDA has an office in Boston.

EEDA, LDA, SWRDA and Yorkshire Forward have no offices there.

Renewable Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what percentage of energy produced in the UK between 1 January and 30 June came from renewable sources. (154820)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The latest available data are for 2006 as a whole and show that energy produced from renewable sources in the UK amounted to 3,933 thousand tonnes of oil equivalent. Total indigenous production of energy in the UK in 2006 amounted to 196,668 thousand tonnes of oil equivalent, so in percentage terms UK renewable sources accounted for 2 per cent. In 2006, 4.6 per cent. of the electricity generated in the UK was from renewable sources.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK military personnel have lost limbs during operations in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq. (154946)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The Complex Rehabilitation and Amputee Unit (CRAU) at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC), at Headley Court in Surrey became fully operational on 1 June 2006. Between that date and 6 September 2007, it has treated 24 casualties from Iraq and 12 from Afghanistan.

Prior to 1 June 2006, comprehensive information on the number of military personnel who have suffered amputations as a result of wounds received on active service was not held centrally. To provide this information would require the examination of the individual medical records of each patient who has been classified as very seriously injured or seriously injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. These records can only be viewed for non-clinical reasons with the express consent of each individual concerned, to protect patient confidentiality.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to reimburse Royal Mail to enable parcels to be posted free of charge to military personnel serving in Afghanistan and Iraq; and if he will make a statement. (155204)

On 25 August the Ministry of Defence and Royal Mail Group announced that a free postage scheme would operate between 3 September and 7 December inclusive, and that further negotiations would take place on how to extend the scheme beyond this date.

These discussions are currently under way and it would not be appropriate to speculate on their outcome at this time. A statement on the future of the free postage scheme will be made once negotiations have been finalised.

Armed Forces: Retirement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces approaching retirement had applications for extension of service declined in each year since 2000. (154932)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The majority of the information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Data are available, however, for Royal Navy Ratings between 2000 and 2005 and are shown as follows.

RN Ratings—Applications for Extension of Service Declined

Number

2000

47

2001

61

2002

57

2003

57

2004

30

2005

38

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role and function the future utility vehicle under the Future Rapid Effect System programme will play in counter-insurgency. (148569)

The Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) will deliver a fleet of wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles capable of operating across the spectrum of operations and protect against the most likely threats. The FRES utility vehicle operating alongside more specialist Protected Patrol Vehicles such as Mastiff could carry out a variety of tasks during counter insurgency operations including patrols and the movement of personnel and equipment.

BAE Systems: Saudi Arabia

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what requests his Department has received from the US Department of Justice for assistance with its investigation into BAE Systems; and if he will make a statement. (155029)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 July 2007, Official Report, column 1132W, to the right hon. Member for East Yorkshire (Mr. Knight).

Ballistic Missile Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received from (a) hon. Members, (b) members of the public and (c) campaign organisations on his written ministerial statement of 25 July 2007, Official Report, columns 71-2WS, on ballistic missile defence. (155194)

As of 10 September, I have received 10 letters from MPs (all but one of them forwarding correspondence from constituents), and 17 letters from members of the public (two of which were on behalf of Quaker meetings), relating to my written ministerial statement on ballistic missile defence.

Departments: Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total expenditure on his Department’s communications and media personnel was in 2006-07. (153322)

The Ministry of Defence does not record centrally expenditure on communications and media personnel across Defence where the personnel devote only a small proportion of their time to communications. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, in 2006-07 expenditure on all personnel employed by the MOD’s central Directorate General Media and Communications—including all regional and support staff—was £10.4 million.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which Government officials were authorised to speak to BBC Newsnight in respect of that programme's item on Wednesday 8 August about the provenance of weapons used against United Kingdom and coalition forces in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. (154883)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: Officials from the MOD were not authorised to speak to Newsnight about this specific issue.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will put in place increased and improved counter-indirect fire measures to protect UK service personnel serving at Basra air station in Iraq. (154905)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: Improving the protection of UK service personnel at Basra Air Station has been, and continues to be, a top priority. There are a range of offensive, defensive and protective measures in place to protect our people. We continually develop our tactics, procedures and capabilities to deal with the evolving threat. I can confirm that in the last few months a number of new and improved capabilities have been put in place and the position will continue to be kept under review.

I am withholding details of specific equipment or techniques as their release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether a Government official responded to the attribution by BBC Newsnight of remarks during its programme on 8 August about the provenance of weapons used against the United Kingdom and coalition forces in Iraq to a Government official; and if he will make a statement. (155021)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: An official from the MOD contacted BBC Newsnight following the report.

Military Aircraft: Helicopters

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many helicopters there are in the UK armed services, broken down by (a) type and (b) role; and how many helicopters in the UK armed services are (i) out of service due to reduced readiness and (ii) mothballed. (154973)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The following table sets out the number of helicopters in the UK armed forces broken down by type and role as at 4 September 2007. Aircraft that are out of service due to reduced readiness has been taken to mean aircraft in the Depth Fleet, that is, aircraft on scheduled routine maintenance, repair and upgrade programmes. Mothballed has been taken to mean aircraft placed in storage in a flying or ‘near flying’ condition. The fleet sizes quoted cover those aircraft expected to be flown and does not include some aircraft that are currently classified as redundant or un-repairable.

Helicopter type

Helicopter role

Fleet size

In depth fleet (as part of fleet size)

In storage (as part of fleet size

Agusta A109A/AM

Light multi-role

4

0

0

Apache AH MK1

Attack helicopter

67

18

0

Chinook Mk 2/2a

Heavy lift

40

13

0

Gazelle Mk 11

Light utility/reconnaissance

73

19

0

Lynx Mk 3/Mk 8

Anti-submarine & anti small surface craft

64

20

0

Lynx Mk 7/9

Multi role light utility (lift, reconnaissance, casualty evacuation)

99

33

7

Merlin Mk 1

Anti-submarine & anti surface warfare

39

11

0

Merlin Mk 3

Battlefield support helicopter

22

8

0

Puma Mk 1

Battlefield helicopter

38

13

0

Sea King Mk 3/3a

Search and Rescue (SAR)

25

8

0

Sea King Mk 4

Commando

37

8

0

Sea King Mk 5

Helicopter utility (HU)

16

5

0

Sea King Mk 6CR

Commando

5

1

2

Sea King Mk 7

Airborne surveillance and control (ASAC)

13

4

0

1 Gazelle is being progressively removed from service. In addition to the figures provided above there are a number of Gazelle which although in storage have been cannibalised and are not in a flying or ‘near flying’ condition.

In addition to the aircraft in the table there are 14 Sea King Mk 6s which have been removed from service having gone beyond their out of service date and are not in a flying or ‘near flying’ condition.

Also the MOD has acquired six Danish Merlin aircraft that are currently in the process of being modified to theatre entry specification. There are also eight Chinook Mk3 helicopters currently being converted to a support helicopter role.

In addition to the aircraft above the Department contracts for commercially owned but military registered helicopters and the following table shows those broken down by type and role as at 4 September 2007. These aircraft are on availability contracts and are not owned by the Department.

Helicopter type

Fleet size

Helicopter role

Dauphin

2

Winching and operations to NATO ships

Bell 212

7

Utility

Bell 412

15

Utility

Squirrel

37

Flying training

Agusta A109E Power

3

Communications flight/VIP

Nuclear Weapons: Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when development work began on the high surety warhead at Aldermaston; how much has been spent on the warhead; and what the total projected cost for the new warhead is. (155195)

There is no programme to develop a new warhead at AWE Aldermaston.

In section 7 of the December 2006 White Paper: The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent (Cmd 6994) we explained that decisions on whether and how we may need to refurbish or replace our current warhead are likely to be necessary in the next Parliament. As part of the work to inform those decisions we are now reviewing the optimum life of our existing warhead stockpile and identifying the range of replacement options that might be available.

Royal Military Academy: Charities

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what factors were taken into account in deciding not to waive the liability charge for the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Music on Fire charity. (152354)

Under Government Finance Accounting Regulations, there are no special arrangements for the treatment of charities, whether Service or other. The fact that a charity is to be the main beneficiary of a good or service is not sufficient justification to introduce a special charging regime or to set charges aside.

Under normal charging arrangements full costs would be levied for an event such as the Music on Fire event held by the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF) at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 22, 23 and 24 September 2006. However, in view of the fact that the ABF works on behalf of ex-Service personnel, a case for abatement was agreed whereby the MOD subsidised the cost of hosting this event. The contract drawn up between the MOD and the ABF stated that the charge would be 15 per cent. of the net profit from the event or the direct costs to the MOD, whichever was greater.

Minister for Women

Equal Pay

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what the gender pay gap was for part-time employees in (a) the public sector and (b) the private sector in the last 12 months for which figures are available. (147149)

I have been asked to reply.

In 2006, the gender pay gap for part-time employees was 39.3 per cent. in the public sector and 44.1 per cent. in the private sector. This is the gap between the median hourly pay, excluding overtime, of men working full-time and women working part-time, taken from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings.

Females: Criminal Proceedings

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what recent discussions she has had with colleagues in the Ministry of Justice on implementing the recommendations of the Corston report. (150907)

I have been asked to reply.

In drafting my Command Paper 7183 Priorities for the Ministers for Women I consulted with the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice on women offenders and women at risk. Officials from the Women and Equality Unit are working with the Ministry of Justice and other Government Departments on a joined up Government response to Baroness Corston's report.

Public Sector: Equal Pay

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what progress is being made to ensure equal pay for women working in the public sector. (149200)

I have been asked to reply.

Since 1997, the gender pay gap in the public sector has fallen by five percentage points and now stands at nine per cent. based on median, full-time hourly pay.

The public sector gender equality duty, which came into force in April, includes a requirement for public authorities to set out their overall gender equality objectives and to consider the need to have objectives to address the causes of any differences between the pay of men and women related to their sex.

The Public Services Forum (PSF), set up to promote dialogue between Government, trade unions and employers on public service workforce reform issues, has agreed to consider the Government's Action Plan Implementing the Women and Work Commission recommendations at its next meeting in October, and to discuss the links between increasing women's access to wider career options, flexible reward systems and equal pay. The Government's commitment on fair and equal pay is embedded within the PSF Pay and Reward Principles.

The Government continue to monitor equal pay across the public sector.

Health

Care Homes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether recent action has been taken to remove the restrictions on local authorities in England which do not allow them to make and pay for residential placements in Scotland and Northern Ireland. (155333)

Under section 21 of the National Assistance Act 1948 English local authorities only have powers to place people in residential care in England and Wales. However, we wish to change this to enable local authorities to make cross-border placements.

Under section 56 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001, the Secretary of State for Health has the power to make regulations to enable local authorities to make placements in other parts of the United Kingdom.

Discussion between the Department and opposite numbers in countries covered by section 56 have revealed that because of the very different care regimes in these countries, this would be much more complex and difficult to make than originally thought. The Department is considering these difficulties and how to deal with them.

Dental Services: Cornwall

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dental patients were treated in Cornwall in each year since 1997. (155343)

Information is not held in the format requested.

Information is available on the number of patients registered with a dental practice to receive national health service care and treatment, for the period up to 31 March 2006. Numbers of patients registered as at 31 March 1997 to 31 March 2006 are available in annex A of the “NHS Dental Activity and Workforce Report England: 31 March 2006”.

Information is available at strategic health authority (SHA) and primary care trust (PCT) level in England. Annex C of the above report also includes numbers of registrations at parliamentary constituency level.

This report is available in the Library and is also available on-line at:

www.ic.nhs.uk/statistics-and-data-collections/primary-care/dentistry/nhs-dental-activity-and-workforce-report-england-31-march-2006

Since April 2006, patients no longer have to register with a dental practice to receive NHS care and treatment. Instead, data are collected on the number of patients receiving NHS dental services (patients seen) in a given area over a 24-month period. This is not directly comparable to the registration data for earlier years when patients registered for a 15 month period.

The number of patients seen in the 24 month period ending 31 March 2006 and 31 March 2007 are available in table C1 of annex 3 of the “NHS Dental Statistics for England 2006-07” report. Information is available at SHA and PCT level in England.

This report is available in the Library and is also available on-line at:

www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/dental0607

Dental Services: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding was allocated for providing general dental services (GDS) and personal dental services (PDS) dentistry in 2006-07 net of patient charge income; and how much was spent on GDS and PDS dentistry in 2006-07. (155238)

The total funding allocation for primary dental care services in England in 2006-07, and provisional data on expenditure on those services by primary care trusts (PCTs), are set out in the following table. Primary dental care services comprise general dental and personal dental services commissioned by PCTs from independent dental providers and national health service trusts, and salaried dental services managed directly by PCTs.

Primary dental care services funding, England, 2006-07

£ million

Primary dental service allocation, net of patient charge income

1,764.7

Primary care trust expenditure on primary dental care services, net of patient charge income

11,738.7

1 Provisional data

Source:

Locally audited PCT summarisation schedules, 2006/07, but data are subject to further audit and checking by the Department of Health and by the National Audit Office.

Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust: Waiting Lists

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in the Gloucestershire primary care trust (PCT) had waited longer than 18 weeks between general practitioner referral and hospital treatment in each quarter since the PCT’s establishment. (155305)

Information on the number of patients for Gloucestershire primary care trust (PCT) who had waited longer than 18 weeks since the PCT’s establishment in October 2006 is provided in the following table.

Referral to treatment (RTT) data for admitted patients for Gloucestershire PCT

Month

Number of admitted patients treated over 18 weeks

Percentage admitted patients treated over 18 weeks

Data completeness assessment (percentage)

January 2007

1,071

48

n/a

February 2007

897

47

n/a

March 2007

1,207

51

87

April 2007

909

45

86

May 2007

964

43

87

June 2007

1,068

48

91

n/a = not available.

Notes:

1. RTT data were not collected centrally prior to January 2007.

2. Data relate to admitted patients only, i.e. patients whose 18 week pathway ended with an in-patient/day case admission.

3. A data completeness assessment is published alongside the reported RTT figures each month in order to aid interpretation of this relatively new set of data. The measure compares the number of pathways reported against an existing data collection. Nationally, data completeness was at 70 per cent. for June 2007.

4. Data for non-admitted patients (patients whose 18 week pathway did not end with an in-patient/day case admission) have been collected since April 2007 but are not yet published.

Source:

Monthly RTT data collection (published)

Health Services: Suffolk

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when he expects to publish the terms of reference for the Independent Reconfiguration Panel's review of Suffolk Primary Care Trust's plans for health services in Sudbury; (155177)

(2) whether under the terms of reference of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel's review of Suffolk Primary Care Trust's plans for health services in Sudbury, Sudbury WATCH will be given the opportunity to address the panel.

The Independent Reconfiguration Panel's (IRP) terms of reference in relation to the referral from Suffolk Health Scrutiny Committee have not been agreed, although we expect them to be available shortly.

As part of a formal review, the IRP will consult with interested parties from all sides of the debate. IRP members will undertake site visits, hold meetings and interviews and request written evidence from interested parties.

Influenza: Vaccination

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure sufficient supply of seasonal influenza vaccine for the 2007-08 winter. (155239)

The Department meets with representatives from UK Vaccine Industry Group each year to discuss flu vaccine requirements for the United Kingdom. On 24 July 2007, Professor David Salisbury, Director of Immunisation wrote to the profession saying that over 15 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine would be available for distribution in the United Kingdom.

Maternity Services: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the ratio is of maternity nurses to births in each health authority area. (155287)

The ratio of births to maternity nurses by Government region is as shown in the following table:

Region

Ratio

North East

17.61:1

North West

15.89:1

Yorkshire and Humberside

18.61:1

East Midlands

20.00:1

West Midlands

20.06:1

East

19.24:1

London

19.30:1

South East

19.09:1

South West

17.24:1

England

18.49:1

Note:

Figures based on the Information Centre for health and social care’s workforce census 2006 and from the national health service maternity statistics for England 2005-06.

Medical Treatments

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his letter of 27 July to the hon. Member for Wellingborough, what the evidential basis was for his statement that Mrs. Waterer has had the treatment Avastin made available to her. (155129)

The evidential basis was the hon. Member's comments to the House, on 12 July 2007, Official Report, column 1627.

Midwives: Gloucestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many full-time equivalent midwives there were in (a) Cheltenham and (b) Gloucestershire in each year since 1997. (155164)

Information is not held centrally in the format requested. Information about number of full-time equivalent midwives at the Gloucestershire hospitals national health service foundation trust is provided in the following table.

NHS hospital and community health services: registered midwifes at Gloucestershire hospitals NHS foundation trust as at 30 September each specified year

Full-time equivalent

Number

1997

165

1998

170

1999

164

2000

164

2001

166

2002

151

2003

155

2004

174

2005

173

2006

166

Notes:

1. Full-time equivalent figures are rounded to the nearest whole number. In 2002 Gloucestershire Royal NHS trust and East Gloucestershire trusts merged to form Gloucestershire hospitals NHS foundation trust.

2. Figures prior to 2002 are therefore listed as a combination of the two former organisations.

Source:

Information Centre for health and social care Non-Medical Workforce Census

NHS: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) doctors, (b) nurses and (c) dentists were employed in the NHS in (i) full-time equivalent terms and (ii) headcount terms in (A) 1979, (B) 1997 and (C) the most recent period for which figures are available. (155240)

This information is shown in the table.

All doctors, dentists and qualified nursing staff—England

Number (headcount)9HC) and full-time equivalents

1979

1997

2006

2007

HC

FTE

HC

FTE

HC

FTE

HC

FTE

All NHS Doctors1, 2

65,442

5

89,619

84,758

125,612

119,096

5

5

HCHS medical and dental staff1

42,380

5

60,230

57,099

90,243

85,975

5

5

General Medical Practitioners (excluding retainers)2

23,062

5

29,389

27,660

35,369

33,121

5

5

Dentists3

12,425

5

16,470

5

6

5

21,041

5

Total Qualified Nursing staff4

192,052

161,359

318,856

256,093

398,335

322,062

5

5

Qualified Nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff1

190,243

160,367

300,467

246,011

374,538

307,447

5

5

GP Practice Nurses

1,809

992

18,389

10,082

23,797

14,616

5

5

1 Headcount figures exclude medical hospital practitioners and medical clinical assistants, most of whom are also GPs that work part-time in hospitals.

2 GP retainers were first collected in 1999 and are omitted for comparability purposes

3 Information as at 31 March 2007 is based on the new dental contractual arrangements, introduced on 1 April 2006, and is not comparable with earlier information.

Due to changes in coverage between the old and new contractual arrangements, there are some dentists working in trust-led dental services who were not previously included in the old figures. The national health service Business Services Authority Dental Services Division has estimated an upper bound of 578 dentists who fall in this category.

The figures take no account of the level of service, if any, that each dentist provided.

Numbers of dentists (headcount) have been provided as no whole-time equivalent information is available.

4 Figures for 1979 are hospital staff only and are therefore not directly comparable with later years

All data as at 30 September except 1979 and 1997 GP practice nurse data as at 1 October.

5 Denotes data not available.

6 N/A

NHS: Maternity Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many trusts have waived their rights to recovery of maternity pay as set out in part 3, section 15.30 of Agenda for Change: NHS terms and conditions of service handbook, January 2005; (155247)

(2) what studies his Department has carried out into the cost implications of NHS trusts waiving their rights to recovery of maternity pay as set out in part 3, section 15.30 of Agenda for Change: NHS terms and conditions of service handbook, January 2005.

We do not hold information centrally on trusts waiving their right to recovery of maternity pay as set out in part 3, section 15.30 of ‘Agenda for Change: NHS terms and conditions of service handbook, January 2005’ and no studies have been undertaken on this issue.

NHS: Sick Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what studies his Department has undertaken into the cost of sick leave to the NHS. (155246)

Data on sickness absence are collected as a part of the Department's routine monitoring and has been a part of the Department's productive time programme. An indicator on sickness absence is included in the Better Care Better Value Indicators. The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement included managing sickness absence as one of the ways of improving efficiency and productivity in their publication ‘Delivering Quality and Value: Focus on Productivity and Efficiency’.

NHS: Working Hours

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the variety in the interpretations and determinations of the European Working Time Directives in relation to hospital staff in England; and if he will make a statement. (155269)

The Government are fully committed to the implementation of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD), as part of health and safety law.

The EWTD was implemented for the vast majority of national health service staff groups in 1998 in accordance with regulations. The Government negotiated an extension to the EWTD for doctors in training to enable phased implementation from August 2004.

The Department is sponsoring NHS national workforce projects to support local EWTD implementation for doctors in training through a range of pilots including cooperative solutions, team working, handover and escalation and 24:7 working. The pilots take in a wide variety of organisations to look at solutions which are transferable across the NHS. There is ongoing evaluation of the pilots to share lessons learned as early as possible.

Northwick Park Hospital: Maternal Mortality

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the conclusions of the Healthcare Commission were on the contributory factors to maternal deaths at Northwick Park following the merger with Central Middlesex; and how many births there were at Northwick Park (a) before and (b) after the merger. (155270)

The findings of the Healthcare Commission into the maternity deaths at Northwick Park have been placed in the Library and are available on the Healthcare Commission's website:

www.healthcarecommission.org.uk/_db/_documents/Northwick _tagged.pdf

The information requested on the number of births at Northwick Park before and after the merger with Central Middlesex Hospital NHS Trust is not held centrally. However, the amount of births at North West London Hospital NHS Trust since 1999 is shown in the following table. Data were not provided in 2001-02 due to data issues associated with this Trust.

Count of finished consultant (birth) episodes at North West London Hospital NHS Trust 1999-2006

Birth Episodes

2005-06

5,041

2004-05

5,568

2003-04

5,272

2002-03

4,863

2001-02

1

2000-01

3,722

1999-2000

5,145

1 Data not available due to data quality issues Notes: A finished consultant episode is defined as a period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. Please note that the figures do not represent the number of patients, as a person may have had more than one episode of care within the year. Source: Hospital Episode Statistics

Prescriptions: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether mechanisms are being put in place to ensure that strategic health authorities are integrating approaches to prescribing across primary and secondary care so that there is consistency between general practitioners’ and consultants’ choices of drugs with regard to patients discharged into primary care as recommended by the National Audit Office’s report, Prescribing Costs in Primary Care; (155160)

(2) what mechanisms are being put in place to ensure that strategic health authorities are integrating approaches to prescribing across primary and secondary care so that patients discharged into primary care are not continued on their course of drug treatment for longer than necessary, as recommended by the National Audit Office’s report Prescribing Costs in Primary Care.

Medicines management and prescribing have long been recognised as key elements of both primary care trust and acute trust business and it is important that these organisations liaise effectively on these issues. This can be achieved through Area Prescribing Committees (APCs). The Department recently commissioned the National Prescribing Centre to update their guidance document, which was published in May this year, with the aim of reinforcing the role of APCs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms are being put in place to ensure that strategic health authorities are integrating approaches to prescribing across primary and secondary care so that patients discharged into primary care have their medicines reviewed regularly, as recommended by the National Audit Office’s report Prescribing Costs in Primary Care. (155162)

There are a wide range of mechanisms in place in primary care to assist healthcare professionals in reviewing patients’ medication use, for example medicines use reviews, repeat dispensing and National Prescribing Centre initiatives, such as the medicines management collaborate scheme. The recent National Audit Office report on prescribing costs in primary care places further impetus on undertaking these types of activities.

Primary Care Trusts: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of local drug anti-wastage practices in primary care trusts; (155159)

(2) pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2007, Official Report, columns 1104-05W, on the NHS: drugs, what progress has been made on commissioning research to establish the extent of medicines waste and the complex and varied reasons for it.

The Department has made no assessment of the effectiveness of local anti-wastage drug practice in primary care trusts. However, we intend to commission new research on the scale, costs and causes of waste medicines to inform policy development for influencing both health professionals and members of the public to reduce the amount of unwanted medicines. A research specification is under development.

Tinnitus: Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the NHS spent on research into tinnitus in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. (155221)

The information requested is not available. Details of individual national health service supported research projects including a number concerned with tinnitus are available on the national research register at:

www.dh.gov.uk/research.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the main agencies through which the Government support medical and clinical research. The MRC is an independent body that receives its grant-in-aid from the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Although the MRC is not currently funding any research specifically relating to tinnitus it has a large portfolio of hearing and deafness research, some of which may lead to further understanding of the condition.

MRC expenditure on hearing and deafness research since 1997 is shown in the following table.

£ million

1997-98

3.2

1998-99

3.5

1999-2000

3.3

2000-01

5

2001-02

3.9

2002-03

n/a

2003-04

6.1

2004-05

6

2005-06

5.9

n/a = not available

West Sussex Primary Care Trust: Resignations

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what reasons he was given for the resignation of the chairman of the West Sussex primary care trust, Mr. David Taylor. (155219)

I understand that a press release issued by West Sussex primary care trust on 26 July 2007 states that Mr. David Taylor resigned from the post of chairman for personal reasons.

Wheelchairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines have been produced by his Department which would indicate NHS funding for wheelchair users should be awarded on the basis of home-use only. (155198)

The Department has not produced any guidelines to indicate how national health service funding for wheelchair users should be awarded.

Eligibility is based on local criteria, which should include clinical and lifestyle needs and the ability of the client to use the specified chair safely.

Worthing Hospital: Maternity Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Health where Worthing hospital maternity service is positioned in the national rates of still births and neonatal mortality; and how many qualified consultants' hours were available to Worthing hospital maternity service per week in the latest period for which figures are available. (155272)

We have not calculated a national league table of rates of stillbirths by hospital. However, we can say that the rates of stillbirths and neonatal deaths at Worthing hospital are much lower than the rates for England and Wales. The following table shows number and rate for stillbirths and neonatal deaths in England and Wales and at Worthing Hospital.

Stillbirths number and rate, 2005 (latest year available)

Number

Rate1

England and Wales

3,483

5.4

Worthing Hospital

7

2.9

Neonatal deaths number and rate, 2002-052

Number

Rate3

England and Wales

8,826

3.5

Worthing Hospital

7

0.7

1 Per 1,000 live and still births. 2 It is not possible to provide number of neonatal deaths in Worthing hospital for 2005 alone because of the risk of disclosing individual's information due to the very small number of deaths. 3 Per 1,000 live births.

Neonatal survival rates of very preterm babies have improved over the past 10 years. In 2005, the stillbirth rate was 5.4. We are funding research linked to premature births from the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit. Some parts of this research have received additional funding from agencies such as the Medical Research Council. A simple guideline from National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is being used to help interpret monitoring in labour to identify babies at risk—such babies are then delivered as early as possible.

Data on how many qualified consultants' hours were available to Worthing hospital maternity service per week are not held centrally.

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Hertfordshire University: Business

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what role Hertfordshire University has in the development of policy on business facing universities. (151888)

The Government set out their strategic priorities for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in setting out the funding made available to it for 2007-08. These included the need to respond to the challenges set out by the Leitch Review of Skills concerning developing a high-skills workforce.

HEFCE has a two-phase approach to developing a strategy for employer engagement leading from a pilot exploratory phase to a full strategy shared with the Council, the higher education (HE) sector, and its key partners. This approach recognises that there are a broad range of collaborations which exist between HE and public and private sector organisations, as explored in the Lambert Report on Business-University Collaboration (2003).

This first phase supports a range of project activity, including three regional ‘Higher Level Skills Pathfinders’ and a group of currently 8 ‘employer engagement pilots’ (one of which the University of Hertfordshire is undertaking). The experience of institutions like The University of Hertfordshire will both help to inform HEFCE’s strategy for employer engagement, and provide valuable lessons for other HE institutions looking to collaborate with employers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the employability of Hertfordshire university graduates following the business-facing university pilot. (151889)

The Department has made no assessment of the employability of graduates from the university of Hertfordshire. The university is receiving funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England for its ‘UHEvolution’ project, which is engaging employers in a variety of ways and which may in due course result in improved employment outcomes for its graduates. However, this project is in its early stages and its outcomes have yet to be assessed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the pilot making Hertfordshire university a business facing university. (151890)

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has not yet made any assessment of the impact of the activities it funds under the ‘UHEvolution’ project. The university is undertaking this project to help it become ‘business-facing’.

Higher Education: Business

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps are being taken to encourage co-operation between universities and business. (151852)

The Department has a policy of encouraging higher education institutions (HEIs) to increase their interaction with business and with employers generally.

The Higher Education Innovation Fund, which provides funding to all HEIs in England is a key incentive. Funding for this programme has increased from £187 million for the two academic years 2004/05-2005/06 to £238 million for 2006/07-2007/08. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has allocated £60 million of its research funding in 2007/08 by reference to research grants and contracts from business.

HEFCE also fund a range of projects that are helping to identify, respond to, and increase employer demand for workforce development at HE-level, in line with its strategy for employer engagement and our plans for implementing the Leitch Review of Skills.

Higher Education: Innovation