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Written Answers

Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 15 October 2007

Northern Ireland

Departments: Executive Agencies

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list his Department's (a) executive agencies, (b) executive Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs), (c) advisory NDPBs, (d) tribunal NDPBs, (e) trading funds and (f) public corporations for each financial year since 2005-06 (156617)

In the period 2005-07, the Northern Ireland Office had four executive agencies, as follows:

Compensation Agency for Northern Ireland;

Forensic Science Northern Ireland;

Northern Ireland Prison Service; and

Youth Justice Agency.

Information on all NIO NDPBs for 2005-06 was published at pages 338-46 of the Cabinet Office's Public Bodies Directory 2006 and can be viewed at:

http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/other/agencies/publications/pdf/public-bodies/publicbodies2006.pdf

The same information for 2006-07 was published on the NIO website at:

http://www.nio.gov.uk/public_bodies_2007_at_21_august_2007.pdf

The Northern Ireland Office has neither trading funds nor public corporations.

Police Stations: Downpatrick

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether a recent assessment of the security threat to Downpatrick police station has been made; and how the requirement for security measures at this station compares to other police stations in Down district. (156847)

I have been informed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland that a security assessment of Downpatrick police station was carried out in April 2007 and a further assessment has been scheduled for January 2008. For security reasons it would not be appropriate to comment on the exact nature of security measures taken at any police station.

Scotland

Abortion

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has any plans to bring forward legislation to devolve policy relating to abortion to the Scottish Parliament; what recent representations he has received on the issue; and if he will make a statement. (158306)

There are no plans to devolve policy relating to abortion, and I have received no recent representations on this issue.

Departments: Aviation

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was spent by his Department on (a) first class and (b) business class flights in the last 12 months. (153198)

The Scotland Office does not separately record expenditure on first class and business class flights. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the ‘Civil Service Management Code’ and the ‘Ministerial Code’, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House. Information relating to overseas travel by Ministers is published on an annual basis; the 2006-07 edition was published on 25 July 2007 and is also available in the Library of the House.

Departments: Railways

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was spent by his Department on first class train tickets in the last 12 months. (153197)

The Scotland Office does not separately record expenditure on first class train tickets. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the ‘Civil Service Management Code’ and the ‘Ministerial Code’, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House. Information relating to overseas travel by Ministers is published on an annual basis; the 2006-07 edition was published on 25 July 2007 and is also available in the Library of the House.

Departments: Redundancy Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was spent by his Department on redundancy payments in the last 12 months. (153191)

Departments: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was spent by his Department on staff away days in the last 12 months. (153192)

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was spent by his Department on (a) staff and (b) communication training in the last 12 months. (153193)

The Scotland Office does not hold information in the form requested. The staff in the Office are on loan from the Scottish Executive or the Ministry of Justice, both of whom provide free access to training and development opportunities.

Elections

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what measures are in place to ensure that Scottish returning officers receive appropriate guidance on who can register for elections anonymously; and if he will make a statement. (157815)

Statutory responsibility for the provision of guidance to electoral administrators, including returning officers, lies with the Electoral Commission. The Commission provided guidance on anonymous registration in Circular EC24/2007 which issued to all electoral registration officers and returning officers in Scotland on 22 May this year.

Ministers

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has held discussions with the Scottish Executive on their Ministerial Code published in August 2003. (156504)

House of Commons Commission

Accountability

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will list the steps taken to improve accountability of the Commission following the report produced by Sir Kevin Tebbit; and if he will make a statement. (158235)

The Commission has yet to consider this aspect of the Tebbit review but is interested to hear the views of hon. Members, not least when the review is debated in Westminster Hall on 18 October.

Delivery Services

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will replace the envelopes used to deliver the Vote to hon. Members with reusable mail pouches. (157776)

No. The possibility has been considered but it is not practical. The reusable mail pouches in use to circulate mail on the parliamentary estate are intended for enveloped mail.

Leader of the Opposition

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what square footage of (a) office space and (b) other space is available to the Leader of the Opposition on the Parliamentary Estate. (157803)

The Leader of the Opposition and his staff occupy a suite of six rooms in Norman Shaw South totalling 266.1 m2 (approximately 2,864 ft2). In addition he has access to, but not sole use of, two meeting rooms; one in Norman Shaw South and a second in the Shadow Cabinet Block totalling 67.9m2 (approximately 731 ft2).

Parliament: Drugs

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission on how many occasions illegal drugs have been found in the Palace of Westminster in the last 30 years. (156911)

Police records date from 2001. Since then there have been three seizures of drugs, all cannabis, all in quantities consistent with personal use. Two of these were recorded in 2005, one in 2006.

Electoral Commission Committee

Committee on Standards in Public Life: Electoral Commission

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what response the Speaker's Committee has made to the Eleventh Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, on the Electoral Commission. (158430)

As I told the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Kilfoyle) on 19 January 2007, Official Report, column 1398W, the Speaker's Committee supported the Committee on Standards in Public Life in undertaking this review of the role and governance of the Electoral Commission, and was grateful to Sir Alistair Graham and his colleagues for their thorough inquiry. The Speaker's Committee published its observations on the CSPL report in its First Report 2007, which was laid before the House on 26 July as House of Commons Paper No. 996, copies of which are available in the Vote Office. The CSPL report ranged widely over the mandate, governance and accountability of the Electoral Commission and also commented on aspects of the integrity of the electoral system, making 47 recommendations in all. Not all of these are directly relevant to the functions of the Speaker's Committee, and the Committee has restricted its detailed comments to recommendations directly addressed to itself, or in relation to which it has a specific policy interest.

The Committee looks forward to seeing the Government's response to the report as a whole. It shares the view of CSPL that any primary legislation arising from recommendations it has made should be enacted in the next parliamentary Session.

Electoral Commission: Standards

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission whether the Speaker's Committee has received the Comptroller and Auditor General's statutory value for money report on the Electoral Commission 2005-06. (158431)

Yes. The Speaker's Committee considered this report, entitled ‘Electoral Registration: The lynchpin of democracy’, at its meeting on 27 June. The report focuses on the important issue of electoral registration and makes eight recommendations to the Electoral Commission, on: the use of its new powers to request information from Electoral Registration Officers, improving the completeness and the accuracy of the electoral register, and performance measurement.

The Committee is grateful to the Comptroller and Auditor General for this thorough report on a key element in the electoral process. It has been published as an Appendix to the Committee's Second Report 2007, and the Committee is now seeking the Electoral Commission's response to its recommendations. The report was laid before the House on 26 July 2007 as House of Commons Paper No 997, and copies are available in the Vote Office.

Wales

Departments: ICT

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many (a) laptops, (b) mobile telephones and (c) personal digital assistant devices bought for the use of departmental Ministers have been returned to the Department following each Cabinet reshuffle since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (156729)

In July 2003 Wales Office became part of the then Department of Constitutional Affairs and new equipment was provided to the Wales Office under their contracts from April 2004.

Since that date there has been two Cabinet reshuffles where one mobile phone and one laptop were returned by the outgoing Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and re-allocated to the incoming one.

All equipment held by the Wales Office prior to 2004 was returned to the National Assembly for Wales, as supplied under their contracts.

Departments: Road Traffic Offences

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many fixed penalty tickets were incurred by vehicles within the purview of his Department in the last year for which figures are available; and what the total cost was. (157923)

Departments: Secondment

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff are seconded to his Department from outside Government; from which outside body each has been seconded; and what the length is of each secondment. (157924)

Justice

Courts: Translation Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much was spent on translators in British courts in each of the last five years. (157701)

The information requested is not collected centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost through the manual searching of individual court files. Her Majesty's Courts Service is giving consideration to the routine collection of data relating to interpreting and translation services used in court.

Departments: Accountancy

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what accounts directions were issued by his Department's predecessors in financial years (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07. (156644)

Under the Government Resource and Accounts Act 2000 HM Treasury issue accounts directions to departments, pension schemes and agencies and under the Government Trading Fund Act 1973 to trading funds.

For the years 2005-06 and 2006-07 the Ministry of Justice and its predecessors has issued accounts directions for the form and content of resource and other accounts to the following sponsored bodies:

2005-06

Legal Services Commission

Information Commissioner's Office

Office of the Legal Services Ombudsman

Office of the Legal Services Complaints Commissioner

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

Youth Justice Board

Parole Board

Criminal Cases Review Commission

42 Probation Boards

2006-07

Legal Services Commission

Information Commissioner's Office

Judicial Appointments Commission

Office of the Legal Services Ombudsman

Office of the Legal Services Complaints Commissioner

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

Youth Justice Board

Parole Board

Criminal Cases Review Commission

42 Probation Boards

Further specific accounts directions have been issued by HM Treasury for the following sponsored bodies:

Funds in Court in England and Wales

Official Solicitor and Public Trustee in respect of Stewardship of Third Party Monies

Returning Officer's Election Expenses

National Probation Service

Driving Offences: Prosecutions

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many drivers were prosecuted for being involved in fatal hit-and-run accidents in each of the last five years; and what the average length of sentence handed down was. (157097)

While the Department for Transport monitors details of road traffic accidents including ‘hit and run’, this information is not linked with details of any subsequent prosecutions.

Although the Court Proceedings Database held by my Department can provide sentencing data on the numbers of defendants convicted of motoring offences that cause the death of a person, the information held cannot distinguish hit and run incidents from those where the driver remained at the scene.

Feltham Young Offender Institution and Remand Centre

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 5 June 2007, Official Report, column 381W, on Feltham Young Offender Institution and Remand Centre, whether serious assaults are recorded separately from other assaults under the PSIMOn—Prison Service Information for Managers Online—system; and if he will make a statement. (157841)

Yes, from April 2003 since when the key performance indicator for prison violence has been based on serious assaults which account for about 9 per cent. of all assault incidents. This replaced a measure based on the number of proven adjudications (the internal disciplinary process) for assaults generally. Pre and post April 2003 assault incident data cannot be readily compared.

Offenders: Females

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he plans to publish his response to the Corston Review of women in the penal system. (157761)

The Government have given a broad welcome to the report. The 43 recommendations which it makes are wide-ranging and propose action by a number of different Government Departments and organisations. We are carefully exploring the best way of taking forward the recommendations with all the Departments and agencies concerned and will publish a detailed response by late autumn.

Offenders: Rehabilitation

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the expenditure was on (a) treatment and (b) rehabilitation for illegal drug users and (b) treatment and rehabilitation of people dependent on alcohol within the criminal justice system in each of the last 10 years. (157232)

Funding allocated for those engaged in drug treatment within the Criminal Justice System is given in the following table.

Funding for rehabilitation and support services is not disaggregated by type of offence.

Funding for the provision of treatment and rehabilitation of people with an alcohol dependency is not recorded.

£ million

Allocations

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Prison Drug Treatment

12.6

16.5

27.3

28.7

37.7

48.4

57.4

74.4

76.1

Allocation to Probation areas to fund DTTO/DRR supervision and enforcement costs in England and full DTTO/DRR costs in Wales1

21.2

16.0

24.0

34.0

39.0

39.0

39.0

Amount paid to pooled treatment budget to fund DTTO/DRR treatment and testing in England2

14.8

20.0

29.7

42.0

42.0

42.0

42.0

Centrally allocated funds for Alcohol Best Practice Project3

0.09

0.03

Drug Interventions Programme(DIP)4

36.0

119.0

143.0

175.0

149.0

Prospects5

3.0

3.8

4.35

Youth Justice Board allocations for the juvenile secure estate (YJB)6

10.0

10.0

7.0

7.0

7.0

1 Figures are unavailable for 1999-2000 and 2000-01.

2 Figures are unavailable for 1999-2000 and 2000-01.

3 Figures are only available for 2006-07 and 2007-08.

4 Figures are unavailable fort he period 1999-2000 to 2002-03 inclusive and 2007-08. Expenditure since 2003-04 for the Drug Interventions Programme, which aims to get drug misusing offenders out of crime and into treatment and other support, and therefore contributes to rehabilitation of offenders of drug users.

5 Figures only available for 2005-06 to 2007-08 inclusive.

6 Figures only available for 2003-04 to 2007-08 inclusive.

Prison Accommodation

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions or meetings Ministers or officials in his Department had with the Home Office on the use or transfer of the Immigration Detention Estate for use in housing prisoners. (156974)

The Ministry of Justice and the Home Office hold regular discussions on a range of estate issues.

There are no immediate plans to use or transfer any part of the Immigration Estate to prison use.

The National Offender Management Service closely monitors the prison population and continues to investigate options for providing further increases in capacity.

Prison Service: Greater London

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many appeals against dismissal have been upheld by the Prison Service Area Manager for London since he took up his post; and if he will make a statement. (157567)

The Area Manager for London has upheld five appeals against dismissal since taking up his current post.

Prison Service: Professional Standards Unit

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 23 July 2007, Official Report, column 791W, on the Prison Service: Professional Standards Unit, (1) whether an independent appeals process is available to address concerns about the standards of a commissioning authority; and if he will make a statement; (157716)

(2) what mechanisms are in place to ensure that a commissioning authority meets its obligations and has made the appropriate quality checks; and if he will make a statement.

Prison Service Order (PSO) 8460: Conduct and Discipline explains the mandatory requirements for all aspects of the disciplinary process, including the role and responsibilities of the commissioning manager and appeal authority. There are no formal mechanisms in place to review the actions of a commissioning manager. However, there is a right of appeal against all formal disciplinary outcomes and any concerns regarding the decisions or actions of the commissioning manager can be raised at that appeal. The appeal authority would normally be a more senior manager than the person making the original disciplinary decision.

Prisoners: European Parliament Members

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether any special arrangements will be made for Ashley Mote MEP, to enable him to continue his European Parliamentary work whilst in prison. (157025)

No special arrangements have been made to enable Mr. Mote to continue his work as an MEP. Mr. Mote’s status as an MEP does not entitle him to any special privileges, or to be treated differently to any other prisoner.

Prisoners: Parole

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners have passed the date on which they are eligible for parole but have not yet been assessed; and by how many days they are overdue on average. (156985)

The information requested is not held centrally and could be collated only by manual checking of individual case details, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Prisoners: Payments

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much money a prisoner is allowed to send out of his account to those outside prison in the form of a cash disbursement; what the purpose of a prisoner cash disbursement is; what level of authorisation is required for one; whether they are used as a means of intelligence gathering at HM Prison Service establishments; and if he will make a statement. (157566)

The Governor authorises and has discretion to decide the amount of money a prisoner can send out, having considered any security implications. The purpose of a cash disbursement is to enable prisoners to send money out of prison for a range of purposes which include providing financial support to their families. There are various means by which prisons gather intelligence and cash disbursements assist with this process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the potential link between prisoner cash disbursements and trafficking; and if he will make a statement. (157573)

There has been no assessment of this potential link at a national level. However, the link between the movement of cash from a prisoner's account and possible trafficking is one line of inquiry that may be explored by staff investigating individual allegations of trafficking.

Prisons

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what geographical subdivisions HM Prison Service uses for the purpose of administration; how many there are; how many prison establishments are located in each such area; and if he will make a statement. (158453)

There are 11 geographical areas in HM Prison Service and the numbers of prison establishments in each is shown in the following table. A map of prison establishments in England and Wales is in the Library of the House. HM Prison Service areas correspond to the Government Regions and Wales, except that the South East Government Region is divided into two Prison Service areas.

HM Prison Service areas

Area

Number of establishments

East Midlands

15

Eastern

12

London

7

North East

7

North West

14

South East (Kent and Sussex)

12

South East (South Central)

15

South West

13

Wales

3

West Midlands

12

Yorkshire and Humberside

10

High Security Prisons (not included in geographical areas)

8

Contracted prisons (not managed by HM Prison Service)

11

Prisons: Wales

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what sites his Department has identified for a new prison in Wales. (158194)

A number of potential sites in Wales are currently being investigated as possible sites for new prison development. Once the process has been completed the sites with the most potential will be considered and at that stage will be made public and be subject to consultation.

Young Offenders: Crime Prevention

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what representations he has received on crime prevention funding for youth offending teams over the next four years; and what discussions he has had on this issue with the Department for Children, Schools and Families. (157938)

I have received representations on this matter from the Youth Justice Board, as part of the normal process of agreeing their budget, and in writing from a small number of delivery organisations. There are also ongoing discussions with Department for Children, Schools and Families. Funding arrangements for the next CSR period will be announced in due course.

International Development

Departments: ICT

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the cost was of buying new (a) laptops, (b) mobile telephones and (c) personal digital assistant devices for new Ministers in his Department following each Cabinet reshuffle since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (156726)

Departments: Parliamentary Under Secretaries

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the total estimated annual cost is of (a) expenses, (b) salary, (c) office space, (d) administrative support and (e) special advisers for the two new parliamentary under-secretaries of state in his Department. (154627)

The information requested would be available only at disproportionate cost. A list of special advisers by Department and pay band will be published in due course. Details of ministerial salaries are available in the House Library and at:

http:/www.civilservice.gov.uk/other/parliamentary/pay/ministerial/index.asp

Departments: Public Bodies

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list his Department’s (a) executive agencies, (b) executive non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), (c) advisory NDPBs, (d) tribunal NDPBs, (e) trading funds and (f) public corporations in each financial year since 2005-06. (156648)

The executive non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) which DFID is responsible for are detailed in the report Public Bodies 2006, available on the following website:

http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/other/agencies/publications/pdf/public-bodies/publicbodies2006.pdf.

In addition DFID is responsible for a public corporation, CDC (see DFID’s Annual Report 2007 for more details).

DFID does not have any executive agencies, tribunal NDPBs or trading funds.

Departments: Visits Abroad

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the official foreign trips which (a) he has made since July and (b) are scheduled for him to take before December. (155852)

Since July I have made the following official foreign trips:

Washington—for discussions with the World Bank and US Administration;

Sudan—to visit Darfur and Juba, and for discussions with the Government;

Afghanistan—to visit Kabul and Helmand, and for discussions with the Government;

New York—for the United Nations General Assembly.

Future ministerial travel plans are not disclosed on security grounds.

Developing Countries: Exports

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what restrictions are available to be applied to imported goods which are manufactured for United Kingdom-based retailers by work forces (a) employed under conditions that do not meet minimum International Labour Organisation standards and (b) operating in factory conditions that breach local environmental pollution regulations; and what mechanisms are in place to evaluate the working conditions of work forces abroad producing goods for import into the United Kingdom. (156196)

We continue to provide support and advice to build developing countries own ability to meet International Labour Organisation (ILO) and environmental standards, rather than seeking to impose solutions from outside.

The UK has consistently promoted efforts to ensure that international trade takes place on a sustainable basis, the principles of which include respect for the rights of workers and for environmental standards. We support voluntary codes of practice such as the Ethical Trading Initiative and the Fairtrade Foundation. We also support the work of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which has a three-year, £20 million partnership agreement with DFID. The UK Government are also supporting sustainable development through measures such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) initiative.

There are no restrictions available to be applied to imported goods which are manufactured for United Kingdom-based retailers by work forces that are either employed under conditions that do not meet International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards, or that operate in factory conditions that breach local environmental pollution regulations. This is because there would be significant practical obstacles to implementing such measures, as well as the fact that it would be difficult to make them compatible with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Developing Countries: International Assistance

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which countries the Government expect (a) to meet and (b) not to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. (157331)

The 2007 UN Millennium Development Goals Report, which can be found on http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Default.aspx, reports progress on each of the goals by region and shows where the challenges to achieving them by 2015 are greatest. Country level information is not currently published.

DFID will continue to provide an update on progress against the MDGs for individual countries identified within the Public Service Agreement in its Annual report. The latest assessment of progress can be found in the 2007 report “Development on the Record”, which is available at:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Pubs/files/departmental-report/2007/default.asp

Ethiopia

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement. (157706)

A United Nations team made an assessment of the situation at the beginning of September. It concluded that although there was no major humanitarian crisis in the Somali (Ogaden) region, humanitarian conditions within conflict areas were deteriorating; there was an urgent need for food and medical supplies and for help with water and sanitation.

The Government of Ethiopia have accepted the report’s conclusions and is working with the UN on an action plan to implement the recommendations. Restrictions on commercial traffic, which were causing dramatic increases in food prices, have now been lifted and four major cross-border commercial routes have been opened. Improvements are expected as a result of the resumption of trade and the start of the rainy season. DFID and the other donors are working with the Ethiopian Government and the United Nations to ensure that humanitarian assistance will be delivered to those who need it.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the Ethiopian Government about the security situation in the Ogaden region; and if he will make a statement. (157707)

The British ambassador raised the issue of the security situation in the Somali (Ogaden) region of Ethiopia with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in September. This followed a United Nations assessment mission to the region from 30 August to 5 September, the conclusions of which have been accepted by the Ethiopian Government, and security is now improving. The Ethiopian response to the UN assessment has been reassuring, and we hope that the situation will continue to improve in the coming months.

Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make it his policy to make a contribution of £700 million over three years to the Global Fund to fight (a) AIDS, (b) tuberculosis and (c) malaria; and if he will make a statement. (156406)

At the Global Fund Replenishment conference on 27 September, the UK made an unprecedented eight-year commitment of up to £1 billion.

The Global Fund has performed sufficiently well, and the need is so great, that we decided to maintain the UK's current high level of contribution to the fund. We therefore pledged £360 million over the three-year replenishment period (2008-10), with £30 million of this subject to demand and results. This represents a 20 per cent. increase on our current level of commitment and maintains our share of the total replenishment at 7.5 per cent.

But over and above this, we also pledged an additional £640 million from 2011-15, providing the Global Fund is receiving good quality demand, continues to perform well, and is demonstrating sustainable impact.

People suffering from HIV/AIDS need life-long uninterrupted treatment. Building up the health services of developing countries to treat HIV/AIDS sufferers and cure those afflicted by TB and malaria requires reliable and sustained investment. The long-term predictable funding now committed by the UK to the Global Fund will significantly enhance the fund's capacity to support developing countries in fighting the three pandemic diseases and making the investment in their health systems needed to sustain this fight and serve the full health needs of their populations.

Iraq: International Assistance

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what projects the (a) International Monetary Fund and (b) World Bank has financed in Iraq. (156071)

Since 2003, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has had two programmes in Iraq. The first of these was the Emergency Post-Conflict Assistance programme, approved in September 2004 to the value of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) 297 million. The second and current programme is the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA), which gives Iraq access to SDR 475 million should it require assistance. This programme will finish in December 2007, and the Government of Iraq and IMF are currently discussing a successor programme. The IMF is also providing US $6 million in technical assistance and capacity-building on fiscal, monetary, financial and statistical issues.

The World Bank, which started to re-engage with Iraq in mid-2003, manages a multi-donor Trust Fund to provide short and medium-term reconstruction needs. It has committed most of its resources, but disbursement has been limited ($108 million out of $490 million to date). This year the World Bank has approved four International Development Association loans worth $400 million for projects in the electricity, infrastructure and education sectors. It is also providing important analytical services to help strengthen public institutions: for example it is carrying out an assessment of Iraqi public financial management systems with the intention of developing a reform programme. More information can be found at:

www.worldbank.org

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he expects to reply to the letter of 10 July from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire addressed to the Prime Minister and passed to his Department, on international development issues, on behalf of Mr. Owen Morgan. (157431)

My hon. Friend Baroness Vadera has replied to the hon. Member for West Worcestershire’s letter of 10 July.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he will respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 10 July, addressed to the Prime Minister and passed to his Department, about international development issues, on behalf of Mrs. D. M. Green. (157950)

My hon. Friend Baroness Vadera has replied to the hon. Member for West Worcestershire’s letter of 10 July.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Forest of Dean dated 6 July to the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath on international aid. (158039)

My hon. Friend Baroness Vadera has replied to the hon. Member for Forest of Dean’s letter of 6 July.

Zimbabwe

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussion he has had with the (a) United Nations, (b) EU and (c) African Union on the humanitarian and economic situation in Zimbabwe; and what steps he is taking to improve that situation. (156295)

The Secretary of State for International Development recently discussed the situation in Zimbabwe with the UN Secretary General in New York. He and the Foreign Secretary have also had high level discussions in recent weeks with the AU and EU, and key member states of both.

We continue to provide between £30 million and £40 million of humanitarian assistance a year to protect the Zimbabwean people from the worst effects of the current crisis, and are giving support to those in Zimbabwe working for democratic change. When the time is right, we stand ready to support a major international programme to assist Zimbabwe’s recovery.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many prisoners have been taken by UK forces in Afghanistan in each (a) week and (b) month since June 2006. (156591)

We do not operate a policy of internment in Afghanistan. UK forces do occasionally briefly detain suspected criminals so that they can be passed to the Government of Afghanistan. Our records indicate that the number of detainees that have passed through British custody between June 2006 and August 2007 are as follows:

Month

Week

Number

2006

July

10-16

1

17-23

3

August/September

28-03

7 (September)

11-17

1

18-24

8

October

23-29

1

October/November

30-05

1 (November)

2007

January

08-14

1

15-21

5

February

12-18

12

19-25

2

March

05-11

4

April

02-08

5

09-15

1

April/May

30-06

3 (April) 6 (May)

14-20

4

May/June

28-03

1 (May)

04-10

2

11-17

5

18-24

3

June/July

25-01

1 (July)

02-08

8

09-15

7

16-22

3

23-29

2

July/August

30-05

17 (July)

06-12

3

20-26

1

August/September

27-02

7 (August)

Total

125

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) 5.56 mm, (b) 7.62 mm and (c) 105 mm rounds have been discharged in Afghanistan by British forces since June 2006. (157026)

The number of rounds of these types of ammunition used by UK forces in Afghanistan from June 2006 to the end of September 2007 are as follows:

Ammunition type

Number of rounds discharged

5.56 mm

Approx 1.1 million rounds

7.62 mm

Approx 1.6 million rounds

105 mm high explosive

Approx 12,000 rounds

Armed Forces: Casualties

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the regulations governing the return of fatalities to the UK; whether they are transported on aircraft carrying soldiers; and whether coffins are transported in view of travelling personnel. (157164)

Military aircraft involved in the repatriation of a fatality do not normally carry passengers unless it is judged operationally essential, for example when injured personnel require aeromedical evacuation. When injured personnel or other passengers are aboard, a screen is placed across the aircraft to separate them from the coffin carrying the deceased. Any additional personnel would also disembark separately, prior to the repatriation ceremony.

Armed Forces: Prisons

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contingency plans exist for using the armed forces to replace prison guards during a strike. (157048)

Service personnel are only used to provide cover during industrial disputes such as prison strikes as a last resort. There are accordingly no armed forces personnel on permanent stand-by to provide cover for striking prison officers. In the event of a strike, HM Prison Service will explore all available options, with armed forces personnel being used only if necessary.

Chad

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he had with his European counterparts on a European Union military mission to Chad during the meeting of Defence Ministers in Evora, Portugal, 28 September; and if he will make a statement. (157037)

I discussed issues relating to force generation and funding for the planned EU-led military mission to Chad/Central African Republic, although no decisions were taken. I emphasised that the UK supports the mission as an important contribution to regional stability and a resolution to the Darfur crisis, but we have made it clear that the role of the UK armed forces in any mission will be very limited given the extent of our commitments elsewhere.

Departments: Public Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department’s (a) administrative expenditure, (b) other current expenditure, (c) grant expenditure, (d) operating appropriations in aid (A in A), (e) capital and (f) non-operating A in A outturn, broken down in (i) near cash and (ii) non-cash terms, was for financial years 2001-02 to 2006-07. (156001)

I will write to the right hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Prime Minister's statement of 8 October 2007, Official Report, columns 21-38, on Iraq, where the 2,500 British personnel in Iraq will be based from spring 2008 providing the security conditions on the ground in Iraq to permit the reduction of British military forces. (157133)

From spring 2008, around 2,500 British forces personnel will be based in southern Iraq, with the majority located at the contingency operating base at Basra air station.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the current mission objectives are of British forces operating along the Iraq-Iran border. (157134)

The mission objectives are to enhance border security and deter and intercept the smuggling of illegal weapons through the training and mentoring of Department of Border Enforcement personnel and by discrete supporting operations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his American counterpart on the future security of the Iraq-Iran border. (157135)

I hold regular discussions with the US Defense Secretary on issues of mutual interest, including the situation in Iraq.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his assessment is of the security situation in (a) Basra, (b) Maysan, (c) Dhi Qar and (d) Al Muthanna. (157139)

While there are still problems and challenges to be overcome, the general security situation in Basra province remains relatively stable and attacks against coalition forces have reduced sharply in recent months. Crime rates in Basra during September remain similar to the levels prior to the handover of Basra palace to Iraqi control. Where security incidents have occurred, the Iraqi security forces, under the leadership of General Mohan, have demonstrated their ability to deal with them swiftly and effectively.

The three other provinces in Multi-National Division South East are all under provincial Iraqi control. The overall security situation in all three is generally stable, and where isolated incidents of violence have occurred, the Iraqi security forces have again demonstrated that they are well able to deal with them effectively.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his American counterpart on the use by British forces of the American military base Camp Arifjan in Kuwait; and if he will make a statement. (157143)

I have regular discussions with my US counterpart on issues of mutual interest, including the deployment of British forces in support of Operation Telic.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which private contractors provided force protection for British forces in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan in each year since 2001, broken down by company. (157144)

The MOD has not employed private military or security companies to provide force protection for its military personnel deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. ArmorGroup was contracted to provide guards for the UK Defence Advisers' accommodation in Kabul for three months.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the reduction of British forces from 4,500 to 4,000 mentioned in the Prime Minister's statement on Iraq, 8 October 2007, Official Report, columns 21-38, will result in the difference of 500 troops being (a) sent home to the United Kingdom or (b) to another base outside Iraq but still in the region; and if he will make a statement. (157145)

[holding answer 11 October 2007]: The Prime Minister made clear the position with respect to future UK force levels in southern Iraq in his statement to the House on 8 October.

Reductions in UK force levels in Southern Iraq below the level of 4,500 are planned to result in troops being withdrawn from the region to their home bases in the UK and Germany.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what date the 500 British Armed Forces logistics personnel mentioned in the Prime Minister's statement on Iraq of 8 October 2007, Official Report, columns 21-38, will enter the area of operations. (157146)

[holding answer 11 October 2007]: The move of logistics and support personnel out of Iraq will straddle the roulement of UK forces. As a result some will transfer from Basra while others may deploy directly from the UK or Germany. It is not possible to provide a breakdown at this stage. It is planned that this process will be complete by the end of the year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cap badge is of the military personnel performing force protection duties at Basra airfield. (157147)

[holding answer 11 October 2007]: Force Protection arrangements at Basra airfield are complex, multi layered and constantly evolving to respond to the changing security situation. Royal Air Force, British Army and coalition personnel contribute to this in many different roles. It is not practicable to give the cap badge of every military personnel involved at any particular time.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what date British forces will total 4,000 personnel in Iraq. (157149)

[holding answer 11 October 2007]: The drawdown of forces to 4,000 is conditions-based. No date has been set.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence where the 1,000 personnel to be withdrawn from Iraq are to be located following their withdrawal. (157214)

500 troops are in the process of returning to home bases now. The process of moving 500 logistic and support staff from Iraq to elsewhere in the region will also begin shortly. This process will extend over the next roulement of forces. Some troops will reposition directly from Iraq and others will return to the UK and will be replaced by troops who will deploy from UK and Germany to new locations in the region. It is not possible to determine the precise breakdown at this stage.

Further reductions will involve troops returning to their home bases.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Minister for Veterans will reply to the letter of 21 August 2007, Departmental reference MC04605/2007, from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire. (157432)

Military Exercises

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what involvement the UK has in Exercise Vigilant Shield 08; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the UK of the exercise. (157799)

The UK is not engaged in Exercise Vigilant Shield 08 but is participating in Exercise Global Lightning 08, a related exercise under the aegis of the US Department of Homeland Security's overarching exercise "Top Officials 4". The costs to the UK are estimated at around £5,000 and have been met from existing travel and subsistence budgets.

Military Fighting Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any units of the British Army have declined to take (a) Snatch Landrovers and (b) other vehicles to operational theatre. (157079)

The Permanent Joint Headquarters determines which vehicles are deployed, based on advice from operational commanders. Units deploy vehicles to meet this requirement. No unit has declined to take vehicles required for use in theatre.

Written Questions

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons Questions (a) 154393, (b) 154394 and (c) 154397 on the Royal Navy, tabled by the hon. Member for New Forest East on 26 July 2007 for named day answer on 8 October 2007, have not yet received substantive answers; and if he will make a statement. (157434)

The answers were delayed as my weekend ministerial box was not delivered to the office until 9 October as a result of the postal strike. I replied to the hon. Member on 9 October 2007, Official Report, columns 501 and 510-11W.

Transport

Cars: Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the car-free day initiative in Hampshire in September 2007; and if she will make a statement. (157257)

The Department for Transport sponsors a national coordinator to promote the car free initiative (‘In Town, Without My Car’) and to collate information about local authorities who wish to register. This event takes place annually on 22 September as part of European Mobility Week. We also provide a good practice guide—Making ‘In Town, Without My Car’ Work—which is available free of charge to the public. Records of participating towns and cities throughout the UK are kept on the Mobility Week website. This year there were 58 participating towns although none of them were in Hampshire. The link is at:

http://www.mobilityweek.eu/cities/participants_eu.php?page=rubique

The event is voluntary and it is for local authorities to decide whether they take part and how they wish to participate. Each year European Mobility Week has a theme aimed at promoting sustainable travel initiatives. This year's theme was ‘Streets for People’.

Local authorities are aware that the Government see most merit in initiatives that reduce the need for car use and encourage better facilities for cyclists and walkers and we have stressed that it is essential that sufficient good quality public transport is provided to meet the needs of those who wish to travel on the day.

Departments: Public Bodies

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will list her Department's (a) executive agencies, (b) executive non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), (c) advisory NDPBs, (d) tribunal NDPBs, (e) trading funds and (f) public corporations in each financial year since 2005-06. (156647)

Details of the Department for Transport's executive agencies, non-departmental public bodies, trading funds and public corporations for 2005-06 and 2006-07 are set out in the Department's annual reports for 2006 and 2007.

The Cabinet Office provided a central list of all non-departmental public bodies for 2005-06 in its publication ‘Public Bodies 2006’. The Cabinet Office also publishes the List of Ministerial Responsibilities, which is updated on a regular basis and lists all executive agencies.

Home Zones

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the location is of each (a) completed Home Zone and (b) Home Zone under construction. (157958)

The Government do not hold information on the location of all Home Zone schemes, as local authorities are able to implement them independently and are not required to provide details. Locations of completed schemes funded from the Government's Home Zones Challenge programme, and the pilot Home Zone schemes which preceded it, are listed in the following table.

Government office region

Authority

Scheme location

Eastern

Luton

Haymarket Green

Norfolk

Cavell Road, Norwich

Peterborough

New England1

Suffolk

Cambridge Road, Lowestoft

North East

Darlington

Pateley Moor Crescent

Gateshead

Tyne Park

Middlesbrough

Gresham Area

North Tyneside

The Triangle

Northumberland

Cowpen Quay, Blyth

South Tyneside

Cleadon Park

North West

Blackpool

Talbot and Brunswick

Bolton

Oldham's Estate

Bury

Aston Estate

Cheshire

Egerton Street Area, Chester

Lancashire

Poulton Area, Morecambe

South West Area, Burnley

Liverpool

Grafton Street

Manchester

Northmoor Phase 11

Northmoor Phase 2

Rochdale

Wardleworth

St. Helens

Bidston Avenue

Tameside

Ashton West End

Trafford

Addiston Crescent

Warrington

Whitecross

Wigan

Browning Street

Wirral

Dundonald and Methuen Streets

South East

East Sussex

Town Farm Estate, Hailsham

Hampshire

Castle Grove, Porchester

Kent

Cavell Way, Sittingbourne1

Northcourt Estate, Denton

Oxfordshire

Saxton Road, Abingdon

Reading

Kingsbridge Road

Southampton

Radcliffe Road

Surrey

Nutley Lane, Reigate

West Sussex

North West Bognor Regis

South West

Bath and North East Somerset

Albert Avenue, Peasedown St. John

Bristol

Southville

Cornwall

North Close Estate, Redruth

Devon

Wonford Estate, Exeter

Plymouth

Morice Town1

Wiltshire

College Community Area, Trowbridge

Westleigh Area, Warminster

West Midlands

Birmingham

Pitts Farm, Erdington

Staffordshire

Silkmore, Stafford

Wilmot Drive, Newcastle under Lyme

Telford and Wrekin

West Woodside

Wolverhampton

Fordhouses

Worcestershire

Duke of Edinburgh Way, Malvern

East Midlands

Derby

Normanton

Nottingham

Nobel Road1

Kennington Road Area

Yorkshire and Humberside

Kingston upon Hull

Albany Street

Kirklees

Moorside Estate

Leeds

The Methleys1 Littlemoor

North Lincolnshire

Crosby/Frodingham, Scunthorpe

London

Bromley

Rookery Gardens, St. Mary’s Cray

Camden

Lupton Street

Ealing

Five Roads1

Greenwich

Deptford Green

Haringey

Linden Road

Kingston upon Thames

Cavendish Road

Lambeth

Holmewood1 (completion uncertain )

Newham

Cranberry Estate

Southwark

Sutherland Square

Wales

Monmouthshire

Magor Village1

1 Pilot project.

Lorries: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of all collisions involving large goods vehicles involved foreign-registered vehicles in the latest period for which figures are available. (158360)

The information requested for reported personal injury road accidents involving foreign registered vehicles is available from table 53 of ‘Road Casualties Great Britain: 2006 annual report’. Copies of the report have been deposited in the Libraries of the House. This table can also be found on the Department’s website at the following web address:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/172974/173025/221412/221549/227755/285672/WebTables4153.xls

M1: Castle Donington

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 2 July 2007, Official Report, column 906W, on the M1: Castle Donington, if, following the traffic management pilot project on the M42 south east of Birmingham, she plans to allow the use of hard shoulders on motorways at times of severe congestion. (157546)

The Highways Agency is still evaluating the Active Traffic Management pilot project on the M42 and hopes to be in a position to make the results of its findings available shortly.

My hon. Friend, the then Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for South Thanet (Dr. Ladyman) announced in December 2006 that we will work with the Highways Agency to develop the case for productivity Transport Innovation Fund funding for an Active Traffic Management Scheme on the Birmingham Motorway Box. Beyond this, there are no plans at the present time to allow traffic to use the hard shoulder in response to severe congestion.

M1: Dunstable

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans there are to build junction 11a of the M1 during the widening of this stretch of the M1; and if she will make a statement. (157543)

The Secretary of State accepted the regional assembly’s advice that the scheme should be funded in the period 2011-12 to 2015-16 but that it should be considered for an earlier start if there is slippage on other schemes in the East of England region.

In the meantime, the Highways Agency has been instructed to progress the scheme through the statutory process, including a public inquiry if necessary, to allow construction of the whole scheme, or junction 11a only, concurrently with M1 widening junction 10-13 in 2010-11 if funding can be made available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the latest estimate is of the additional cost of building junction 11a of the M1 after the M1 has been widened between junctions 10 and 13, over and above the previous estimate of £14.6 million given by the Highways Agency. (157545)

The latest estimate of the additional cost of construction of the proposed M1 junction 11a (part of A5-M1 link (Dunstable Northern bypass)) in 2013-14, compared to construction concurrently with M1 widening junction 10-13 in 2010-11, is £11.5 million (including the effect of inflation).

Motor Vehicles: Navigation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make a statement on her Department's consultation on in-vehicle information systems. (157602)

The Department for Transport has conducted an informal consultation on in-vehicle information systems and intends to publish a summary of the results by the end of the year.

It will be published on the departmental website, and copies will be sent to the Libraries of both Houses.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the expected timescale is for the publication of the proposals on in-vehicle information systems. (157603)

The Department for Transport has conducted an informal consultation on in-vehicle information systems and intends to publish a summary of the results by the end of the year. The responses to this consultation, together with other information, will inform any proposals on how to move forward.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment her Department has made of the likely impact of Galileo on the In-Vehicle Information System; and if she will make a statement. (157604)

The Department for Transport has made no formal assessment of the likely impact of Galileo on In-Vehicle Information Systems. It is not expected to have any significant effect.

Motor Vehicles: Testing

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many heavy goods vehicles (HGV) and public service vehicles (PSV) were tested in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07; how many such vehicles were not tested; how many such vehicles were fitted with speed limiters; how many centres in fitting limiters were approved by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency in the relevant period; and how many HGVs and PSVs failed a test in (i) 2005-06 and (ii) 2006-07. (157159)

[holding answer 11 October 2007]: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) is responsible for heavy goods vehicles (HGV) and public service vehicles (PSV) annual tests. Data on the number of vehicles tested, how many failed and the number of approved speed limiter sealer centres is published annually in its Effectiveness Report which is available online at www.vosa.gov.uk or from the House of Commons Library, Business and Transport Section.

VOSA does not hold data on the number of HGVs and PSVs that were not tested or how many vehicles were fitted with speed limiters.

Railway Network: St. Pancras Railway Station

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will take steps to build a network of high speed rail lines radiating from St. Pancras; and if she will make a statement. (157583)

A high speed line from St. Pancras will open for revenue earning service on 14 November 2007, serving both Brussels and Paris. The White Paper, Delivering a Sustainable Railway, discussed the merits of further high speed rail lines but concluded that decisions on building such lines need not be made until 2012.

Roads: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the extent to which STATS 19 returns underestimate the actual number of road traffic accident casualties; and when her Department became aware of the issue. (157158)

[holding answer 11 October 2007]: Very few, if any, fatal accidents do not become known to the police. However, research conducted on behalf of the Department for Transport has shown that an appreciable proportion of non-fatal injury accidents are not reported to the police. There is no legal duty in Great Britain to report personal injury road accidents to the police provided the participants exchange details at the scene.

One of the earliest attempts to quantify the level of reporting in STATS 19 was published in 1979 in the report “Classification of injury severity by length of stay in hospital”.

Further studies have been undertaken which also provide estimates of this shortfall and the most recent work on reporting levels was drawn together in the report “Road Safety Research Report 69: Under-reporting of Road Casualties - Phase 1” commissioned by the Department and published in June 2006:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/research/rsrr/theme5/underreportingofroadcasualti4788

A note on levels of reporting on STATS 19 can be found on the Department’s website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/accidents/roadaccidentstatisticsgrea1835

Speed Limits: Cameras

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will assess the merits of replacing existing speed cameras with vehicle-activated speed signs; and if she will make a statement. (157512)

Traffic authorities have a wide range of measures at their disposal to achieve appropriate vehicle speeds and they are best placed to decide the most suitable approach at a particular location. Vehicle activated signs and safety cameras are used to tackle different speeding problems. Vehicle activated signs are generally used to tackle inappropriate speed and have proven particularly effective when used to warn drivers of approaching hazards on rural roads. Safety cameras are effective in tackling excessive speed (i.e. over the posted speed limit).

Speed Limits: Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what difference has been recorded in the number of casualties which have occurred outside schools after the creation of 20 mph zones outside these schools; what percentage change that figure represents; and what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of 20 mph zones outside schools. (157959)

The Department for Transport does not hold information on how many schools fall within 20 mph zones nor therefore how many casualties have occurred outside schools after the creation of 20 mph zones. Local authorities are responsible for introducing 20 mph speed limits where they deem it appropriate.

No specific assessment has been made of the effectiveness of 20 mph zones outside schools. The Transport Research Laboratory conducted two reviews of 20 mph zones in 1996 and again in 1998. The 1996 review found that 20 mph zones which incorporated traffic calming measures achieved an average 9 mph reduction in vehicle speeds, annual accident frequency fell by 60 per cent. and overall reduction in child accidents of 67 per cent.

The 1998 review looked at wider issues in terms of vehicle speeds and included 20 mph zones and 20 mph limits where there was lesser or no traffic calming. This found reductions in vehicle speeds were minimal when only speed limit signs were used.

Transport Direct: Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the contribution of the Transport Direct portal to journey decisions since December 2005, with particular reference to modal shift. (154752)

The portal service includes a self-completion feedback questionnaire. The responses to the questionnaire suggested that for individuals who had made the journey before (about a third of the 2,034 respondents):

17 per cent. claimed they would change their route;

24 per cent. would change when they intended to travel.

Indicative findings also suggest a predisposition for those travellers who have made a journey before, to change how they might travel:

7.7 per cent. intended as a result of what they found on Transport Direct to use public transport rather than the car, while 2.3 percent. intended to use the car instead of public transport.

This information corrects that given on 18 July 2006, Official Report, column 264W, to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael).

Travel: Concessions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if she will make a statement on the progress of discussions with her counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the prospects for mutual recognition of concessionary bus passes across the UK; (156237)

(2) whether any assessment has been made of the feasibility and cost of allowing people aged 60 and over, and eligible disabled people, to be provided with free travel on public transport around the UK; and if she will make a statement.

Concessionary travel is a devolved policy area and the devolved Administrations have their own arrangements in place.

From 1 April 2008, people aged 60 and over and eligible disabled people in England will be entitled to free off-peak local bus travel anywhere in England, not just within their local area as at present. This is provided for in the Concessionary Bus Travel Act 2007. The Government announced that up to £250 million of additional funding is to be made available each year for the national bus concession. This equates to £212 million for England after allocations to the devolved Administrations under the Barnett formula.

The Act also contains a power to allow, via future secondary legislation, for the possibility of mutual recognition of bus passes across the UK. The Department for Transport had initial discussions with the devolved Administrations last year about the proposal and all indicated support for inclusion of this power. However, it was also acknowledged that we would need to discuss it further and work together to resolve various technical and resource issues before mutual recognition could be pursued in practice.

At present, the Government's priority is successful implementation of the national concession in England from next April. These arrangements will see the largest number of people benefiting from concessionary travel and will also be the most expensive in the UK. Until we understand the impact of the national bus concession in England it is very difficult to cost the mutual recognition of passes across the UK. Consideration would also have to be given to the possible harmonisation of modes, timings and eligibility in England, with those in the rest of the UK where there are differing arrangements—all of which increase the potential cost of providing UK wide free travel.

Local authorities in England will continue to have the flexibility to offer more than the statutory concession to their residents, for example morning peak bus travel for disabled and/or older people. English local authorities neighbouring Scotland or Wales can also offer concessionary travel that crosses the border. Any such enhancements are discretionary and are based on an authority's own assessment of local need and their overall financial priorities.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Floods

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the cost to farmers in England of the summer floods, broken down by (a) county and (b) region; and if he will make a statement. (157272)

Data on the economic cost to farmers in England of the summer 2007 floods are not yet available due to the nature of the flooding. DEFRA has commissioned work to estimate the value of immediate crop and livestock losses from flooding, and will publish this when it is complete later in the year.

Battery Hens: EU Law

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make it his policy to support the introduction of the prohibition on battery cages in 2012 contained in the 1999 EU Laying Hens Directive. (157050)

[holding answer 11 October 2007]: Council Directive 99/74/EC prohibits the use of conventional (battery) cages from 1 January 2012. The Directive has been transposed into domestic legislation and includes the deadline for the ban on these cages.

Circuses

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what legislation regulates the use of wild animals in travelling circuses; and if he will make a statement. (157343)

The Protection of Animals Act 1911 long made it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to a domestic or captive animal. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 (AWA), which became law on 6 April 2007 in England (on 27 March in Wales), repealed and replaced the 1911 Act. Importantly, it introduced a duty of care which allows a prosecution to be brought where an animal, although not currently suffering, is being treated in a way that fails to meet its welfare needs.

In March 2006, my hon. Friend the then Minister for Animal Welfare (Ben Bradshaw) announced that he was minded to introduce regulations under section 12 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to ban the use, in travelling circuses, of certain non-domesticated species whose welfare needs could not be satisfactorily met in that environment. A Circus Working Group was formed to inform our decisions as to what form regulations should take. The Working Group will, shortly, provide a report setting out its findings.

Departments: Public Bodies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will list his Department's (a) executive agencies, (b) executive non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), (c) advisory NDPBs, (d) tribunal NDPBs, (e) trading funds and (f) public corporations for each financial year since 2005-06. (156650)

A full list of delivery bodies in the above categories can be found at notes 37 and 38 of the Department's latest published resource accounts, for the 2005-06 fiscal year. The draft 2006-07 resource accounts include two new executive NDPBs:

The Commission for Rural Communities; and

Natural England.

Departments: Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to which individuals and organisations his Department’s “Tomorrow’s Climate, Today’s Challenge” pack has been distributed; and what the cost of distributing the pack has been (a) in total, (b) for research, (c) in staff time and (d) for printing. (157981)

The “Tomorrow’s Climate, Today’s Challenge” (TCTC) pack, which was published on 4 June 2007, has been distributed to a very wide range of organisations. To date, DEFRA has distributed around 4,167 copies of the TCTC pack and will distribute the remaining 5,833 over the course of the year.

I have arranged for a list of the organisations which have been sent the TCTC pack to be placed in the Libraries of the House. Most of the organisations requested the pack and some organisations have been sent more than one copy.

The information the hon. Member requests regarding individuals has not been provided as disclosure of this information would constitute unfair and unlawful use of personal data.

The costs of distributing the pack (including VAT where applicable) are set out in the following table. They do not include figures for producing the content of the DVD included in the pack as this was part of a separate project.

£

(a) Cost of distributing in total

Estimated at 134,521

(b) Research2

16,807

(c) Staff time3

Estimated at 13,670

(d) Printing (10,000 copies)

12,043.75

1 Incl. estimated postage costs at £2,000 (£0.48 per pack—UK first class postage).

2 Research here is taken to mean design and gathering of information as no primary research was undertaken.

3 Excl. staff time at Central Office of Information who developed the pack. This is included in research costs.

Environment Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he expects to meet the full budget recently requested by the Environment Agency. (154114)

DEFRA’s formal Comprehensive Spending Review settlement for 2008-09 to 20010-11 has been announced. The Secretary of State has also announced that annual Government spending on flood and coastal erosion risk management will rise to a minimum of £650 million in 2008-09, and £700 million in 2009-10, reaching £800 million by 2010-11. These figures compare with a forecast spend of £600 million in 2007-08 and is the minimum we propose to spend in each of the coming years. It is too early to determine whether this will be the final allocation, or whether it will be possible to go further.

DEFRA will now consider its own financial allocation process, during which budgets for the Environment Agency will be determined. This process will be based on careful prioritisation across the Department and all its sponsored bodies. Allocations between operating authorities will be confirmed following the medium-term planning exercise for capital projects later this year.

Fisheries: Quotas

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the fishing opportunities available for UK vessels in 2008; and if he will make a statement. (157274)

No such estimates have been made. The second instalment of the scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), covering a number of stocks of importance to the UK, is not due to be published until later this month. We do not expect the Commission proposals for these and other relevant stocks to appear until late November.

Fisheries: Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) the Scottish Executive, (b) the Welsh Assembly Government and (c) the Northern Ireland Executive on the UK Operational Programme for the European Fisheries Fund priorities; when he expects the draft Operational Programme to be ready for consultation; and if he will make a statement; (157247)

(2) if he will make a statement on the progress of the UK Operational Programme for the European Fisheries Fund.

Officials from the four fisheries administrations in the UK are currently working on the draft UK Operational Programme which will set out our proposals for the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) funding priorities. We aim to consult with fishermen and other stakeholders on the Operational Programme in early 2008.

We cannot finalise the draft programme until agreement is reached on the split of the EFF budget between the devolved Administrations. The UK budget split was discussed by devolved Fisheries Ministers on 5 October without resolution. I am continuing to seek a resolution and, if necessary, will do so through the dispute resolution procedures set out in the devolution agreements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much European Fisheries Fund funding is available to the fishing industry in the UK over the period January 2007 to December 2013; how much has already been paid to the UK fishing industry, broken down by (a) licensing district and (b) sector; and if he will make a statement. (157248)

The UK portion of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) budget is €137.8 million (approx. £96 million), of which €43 million (approx. £30 million) is for convergence areas and €94.7 million (approx. £66 million) is for non-convergence areas (in current prices).

No EFF payments have been made in the UK to date. Payments cannot be made until the UK has finalised its Operational Programme and received approval of the programme from the Commission.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the size of the European Fisheries Fund for the period January 2007 to December 2013 is in (a) euros and (b) pounds sterling; and how much is being allocated to each country. (157249)

The European Fisheries Fund has a budget of €3,849 million (approximately £2,665 million) for the period 2007-13 (2004 prices). This equates to €4,387 million (approximately £3,038 million) in current prices.

The amount allocated to each country is set out in the following table:

Allocation of EFF to each country in 2004 prices

Euros

Member state

Convergence

Non-convergence

Total

Austria

167,228

4,500,253

4,667,481

Belgium

23,301,312

23,301,312

Bulgaria

70,406,358

70,406,358

Cyprus

17,500,989

17,500,989

Czech Republic

24,003,691

24,003,691

Denmark

118,606,682

118,606,682

Estonia

74,632,182

74,632,182

Finland

35,001,972

35,001,972

France

30,389,485

161,309,090

191,698,575

Germany

86,073,715

52,352,951

138,426,666

Greece

157,293,830

27,501,551

184,795,381

Hungary

30,399,339

496,000

30,895,339

Ireland

37,502,115

37,502,115

Italy

282,489,352

94,105,302

376,594,654

Latvia

110,369,814

110,369,814

Lithuania

48,418,135

48,418,135

Malta

7,435,476

7,435,476

Netherlands

43,102,430

43,102,430

Poland

651,791,012

651,791,012

Portugal

198,766,492

20,001,128

218,767,620

Romania

202,556,179

202,556,179

Slovakia

11,242,552

892,801

12,135,353

Slovenia

19,330,990

19,330,990

Spain

840,215,806

165,209,310

1,005,425,116

Sweden

48,502,732

48,502,732

United Kingdom

38,335,019

84,004,734

122,339,753

Technical assistance

30,791,993

Total (in euros)

2,884,316,655

933,891,352

3,849,000,000

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons the UK Operational Programme containing the UK priorities for the European Fisheries Fund will be scrutinised by the European Commission; how long he expects this process to last; and if he will make a statement. (157250)

The European Commission (EC) will appraise the proposed Operational Programme to determine whether it contributes to the objectives set out in Article 4, the guiding principles set out in Article 19 and the relevant part of the National Strategic Programme. The EC will take into account the ex ante evaluation referred to in Article 48 of the European Fisheries Fund Regulations (1198/2006).

If within two months following receipt of a member state's proposed Operational Programme, the EC considers that the programme is not consistent with the above factors, it may ask the member state to provide additional information. Where appropriate, the EC will ask the member state to adapt the proposed Operational Programme accordingly and re-submit it for approval.

Thereafter, the member state shall submit its Operational Programme to the EC which shall adopt a decision approving it as soon as possible, but no later than four months after the re-submission.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding priorities he has identified for the allocation of grants from the European Fisheries Fund for the period January 2007 to December 2013; and if he will make a statement. (157251)

The European Fisheries Fund identifies priority axes for funding which, for England, have been provisionally classified as follows:

Priority axis—England

Priority axis

1.

Adaptation of the Community fishing fleet

Low priority

(e.g. decommissioning and other fleet restructuring/effort management measures as well as skills development, retraining for alternative occupations and early retirement. Also vessel modernisation and engine replacement).

Target: more stocks within safe biological limits year by year, during 2007-13.

2.

Aquaculture, inland fishing, processing and marketing of fisheries and aquaculture products

Low priority

(e.g. investment in aquaculture, inland fishing, and processing and marketing. Consideration is given to the environment, safety, working conditions and both public and animal health).

Target: to increase profitability and sustainability and improve environmental standards in the UK aquaculture sector between 2007-13.

3.

Measures of common benefit

High priority

(e.g. measures of common interest with a broader scope than those normally undertaken by private enterprises. So this can include protection and development of the marine environment, promotion of port facilities, new markets and pilot projects including partnerships between scientists and industry. Also covered are improving quality, promoting more selective fishing methods and upgrading skills).

(Emphasis on marine protection and partnership projects rather than capital works).

Target: to encourage responsible fishing that helps to safeguard the marine environment.

4.

Sustainable development of fisheries areas

Medium priority

(e.g. assistance for the sustainable development of fisheries areas and improvements to the quality of life in such areas. Areas eligible for funding are being selected and have to implement a local strategy which seeks to implement the objectives of the CFP taking particular account of socio-economic effects. Funding can support measures taken to maintain economic and social prosperity, develop jobs, promote the coastal environment and promote co-operation between fisheries areas).

(Measures under axis 1-3 are applicable under axis 4 for the selected fishing areas and for Convergence areas will be given a high priority).

Target: employment diversification in fishing areas consistent with regional policy priorities.

These will be finalised in light of responses to the consultation on the draft UK Operational Programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the UK Strategic Plan in relation to the European Fisheries Fund for the period January 2007 to December 2013. (157252)

The UK National Strategic Plan for Fisheries describes the UK fisheries sector and UK objectives and priorities for fisheries between 2007 and 2013. It covers catching, aquaculture, inland fishing, processing and marketing. The UK has to draft this document to demonstrate to the European Commission that it has clear strategic objectives for managing fisheries and on which to base its priorities under the European Fisheries Fund.

We are planning to submit the UK National Strategic Plan to the European Commission as soon as possible, pending its finalisation.

Flood Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what frequency was assigned to the recent floods in the Thames and Severn catchments on the basis of the existing modelling; what changes have been made to the flood frequency modelling since those events; and if he will make a statement. (157234)

The Environment Agency’s Midlands and Thames Regions are working to assess the frequency of the flooding at key locations. It is expected that final results will be available in the Midlands Region by mid-December.

The Environment Agency’s initial findings are that the July 2007 flooding at Gloucester had an annual probability of 0.5 per cent. in any one year (1 in 200 year return period).

The return period (or frequency of flooding) has yet to be calculated for the recent floods on the Thames. However, tributaries of the River Thames such as the River Evenlode, the River Windrush, the River Ock and the River Loddon, experienced the highest recorded river levels. It is too early to determine the impact of these floods on future probability analysis, but they will be fully accounted for in any new river modelling work.

Floods

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of (a) sea level rise, (b) storm occurrence and (c) subsiding land mass on calculations of flood risk. (154413)

The Government’s 2004 Foresight Future Flooding report took a long-term view of national flooding and coastal erosion risks to 2100. It estimated that future climate change, together with increased economic wealth which increases losses, could lead to potentially significant increases in future risk by the end of this century.

The Government advise the operating authorities to factor climate change effects into the design of present-day river and coastal defences. An allowance should be made for acceleration of sea level rise, as a result of climate change already locked in to the global system, from the current 2.5-4 millimetres (mm) a year to 13-15 mm a year by the end of the century, depending on location. As part of a precautionary approach, this advice also includes predicted land level changes as very gradually the south east of England has been lowering and the north of the country rising since the last ice age. Such guidance for flood and coastal erosion risk management activities has been provided since 1989 and is kept under review (most recently revised in October 2006).

Sensitivity tests are also recommended for a 20 per cent. increase in the river flows as a result of climate change. Increases in rainfall intensity are also recommended in planning guidance (PPS25) for new urban drainage.

On storm occurrence, the scenarios to be published by the UK Climate Impacts Programme in 2008 are expected to provide further insight into changes that may occur over the next century and these will be taken into account in future guidance.

Hares: Conservation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will hold discussions with the Game Conservancy Trust on plans to conserve the mountain hare. (155944)

The new list of UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species and Habitats contains 65 habitats and 1,149 species, including the mountain hare. A large number of groups, and in excess of 500 individual experts in total, were involved in the production of this list. It is impossible, therefore, for me to meet with specific conservation groups to discuss individual species. Instead, the UK Biodiversity Partnership as a whole is considering how to take forward the conservation of species and habitats on the new list.

Inland Waterways: Pollution

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 July 2007, Official Report, column 1380W, on Inland Waterways: pollution, what records, other than those relating to consented discharges, the Environment Agency keeps of the potential sources of pollution. (154078)

The Environment Agency holds a range of information on potential sources of pollution. These include the Pollution Inventory which covers information from approximately 2,000 industrial sites on chemical releases, including those to controlled waters.

Operator Pollutant Risk Appraisal information is used to assess the environmental risk of Environment Agency regulated sites. The Compliance Classification scheme shows the sites which have failed to comply with permit conditions.

Seas and Oceans: Environment Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) for what reasons the (a) Marine Bill and (b) Draft Marine Bill was not included in the 2006 Queen’s Speech; and if he will make a statement; (157238)

(2) whether a (a) Marine Bill and (b) Draft Marine Bill will be included in the 2007 Queen’s Speech; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what discussions he has had with (a) the Prime Minister and (b) Cabinet colleagues on the inclusion of a (i) Marine Bill and (ii) Draft Marine Bill in the 2007 Queen’s Speech; and if he will make a statement;

(4) what priority he has given to the inclusion of a (a) Marine Bill and (b) Draft Marine Bill in the 2007 Queen’s Speech; and if he will make a statement.

The Government are firmly focused on meeting their commitment to introduce a comprehensive Marine Bill in this Parliament. Proposals have been developed for a Bill that covers a broad and complex set of marine issues spanning many different interests and which, in some cases, break completely new ground.

The Government’s draft legislative programme states that we are considering publishing a draft Marine Bill in the next session of Parliament—we are working to do this in early 2008. Publishing the Marine Bill in draft will allow us to get the legislation right and lead to a better Bill.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State (Hilary Benn) has regular discussions on a range of issues with the Prime Minister and Cabinet colleagues.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on (a) the issuing of offshore consents and (b) a Marine Bill; and if he will make a statement. (157241)

My right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Hilary Benn) and the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Mr. Hutton) meet regularly to discuss matters of mutual interest, including the Marine Bill. Discussions about offshore consents took place during the preparation of “A Sea of Change: a Marine Bill White Paper”.

Home Department

Trafficked Children

16. To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what additional resources she plans to make available to those local authorities offering refuge provision and special support to child victims of trafficking uncovered by Pentameter II. (157292)

Children rescued within Operation Pentameter will be referred to the local authority which has duties to safeguard all children who are at risk of harm and accommodate those in need. The NSPCC and ECPAT will be on hand to offer specialist advice on the needs of child trafficking victims.

Inward Migration

17. To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her estimate is of the number of (a) legal and (b) illegal immigrants arriving in the UK in the last 12 months. (157294)

The latest information on non-EEA nationals granted leave to enter the United Kingdom relates to 2006 and shows that a total of 12.9 million such persons were granted leave to enter the United Kingdom by immigration officers. The majority of these persons, around 94 per cent. (12.1 million), were either: visitors, both ordinary and business; passengers in transit; or passengers returning after a temporary absence abroad.

No Government has ever been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who have entered the country illegally. By its very nature it is impossible to quantify accurately, and that remains the case.

Remembrance Day

18. To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make a statement on her negotiations with the Royal British Legion on arrangements for Remembrance Sunday parades in 2007. (157296)

The Home Office has not had any negotiations with the Royal British Legion on arrangements for Remembrance Sunday Parades in 2007. However I can assure the Royal British Legion of our support should they encounter any obstacles in making arrangements.

People Trafficking

19. To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to tackle human trafficking. (157297)

We have published the UK Action Plan to tackle Human Trafficking which contains 64 action points as part of the UK's end to end strategy to combat this terrible crime. Strategic oversight of the plan's progress will be discussed at the meeting of the Inter Departmental Ministerial Group of which I am chair and on which the Scottish Executive sit.

We have also launched the operational phase of Pentameter 2 to tackle those responsible for trafficking people for the purposes of sexual exploitation, and are implementing the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Human Trafficking.

Police Priorities