Written Answers to Questions
Tuesday 13 November 2007
The decision to decouple the Scottish local government elections from the Scottish Parliament elections is a matter for the Scottish Executive. In his statement to the House on 23 October, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland indicated he would welcome such a decision.
Neither the 2007 elections steering group nor its legislation sub-group were established by the Scotland Office. The elections steering group was chaired by the Scottish Executive. The steering group's legislation sub-group was chaired by the Scottish Executive when the local government legislation was under discussion and the Scotland Office when the Scottish Parliament legislation was under discussion. The sub-group was consulted directly on the proposed ballot paper for the Scottish Parliament election at a meeting of the sub-group on 10 August 2006.
DFID currently has four permanent staff in Baghdad and one in Basra. DFID Baghdad comprises the Head of Office, a Deputy Head, a Programme Officer and an Office Manager. In Basra, the DFID staff member is integrated into the Consulate.
DFID's role in Iraq is to support the government in unlocking its own human and financial resources. To this end, staff in Baghdad oversee three main programmes: economic reform, developing the machinery of government and donor co-ordination of humanitarian relief efforts. The DFID representative in Basra oversees DFID's power and water projects, and economic and governance work through the UK-led Provincial Reconstruction Team.
Developing Countries: Debts
World Bank and International Monetary Fund staff conducted a survey on this issue in May 2007. It identified 11 heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) that had been targeted with lawsuits by a total of 46 litigating creditors. In addition, two countries reported being threatened by litigation.
Eight new legal actions were reported since the previous survey in 2006, of which five are against Nicaragua, two against Cameroon, and one against Ethiopia. The HIPCs facing the most litigation cases are Nicaragua, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, and Uganda, with nine, eight, seven, and six lawsuits respectively.
This information is included in the latest annual joint World Bank/International Monetary Fund status of implementation report on the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). The report is available on the World Bank website.
The UK welcomes the consideration being given by the African Development Bank to develop a legal assistance facility to help countries facing creditor litigation. The bank has recently conducted a feasibility study on the establishment of such a facility. We will continue to influence and support the bank in this endeavour and to seek support from other donors for this initiative.
We are working to address this problem in two ways—by seeking to prevent debts being sold to vulture funds in the first place and by limiting the damage done by cases already under way. To reduce the risk of debts falling into the hands of vulture funds, we are working with the World Bank to help poor countries buy back their commercial debts at a discount through the Debt Reduction Facility. The debts are then dealt with and cannot be taken through a court. More than $8 billion (approx. £4 billion) of debts have already been cancelled in this way. We are also working with heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) to strengthen their debt management capacity and overall governance.
In cases where poor countries’ debts are already in the hands of vulture funds, we are working with the African Development Bank and others to ensure that countries have access to legal advice to help them fight these cases. The strong defence that the Government of Zambia mounted recently, for example, reduced its liability by around $40 million (approx. £20 million). It was the first defence case of this kind that has been even partially successful.
The UK will also continue to raise this issue internationally. At the recent annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, G7 Finance Ministers agreed to examine whether additional steps can be taken to address this problem.
Iraq: Security Guards
(2) what private contractors have provided protection services for his Department in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan in each year since 2003.
DFID engages private security companies for security of our staff in high threat environments. ArmorGroup, Control Risks Group (CRG), and Kroll have provided mobile security for DFID staff, consultants and static guarding for our compounds in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Since June 2004, DFID's security needs in Iraq have been met by contracts managed and administered by the FCO. The following costs have been incurred by DFID:
Cost to DFID (£ million) 2003-04 15.0 2004-05 14.2 2005-06 12.9 2006-07 6.1 2007-08 2— Total 38.2 1 DFID contract. 2 Not yet available.
Cost to DFID (£ million)
1 DFID contract. 2 Not yet available.
The Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP) Iraq Strategy also has significant programme spend on Police/Prison reform—elements of police capacity building programme contracted to ArmorGroup who utilise both CRG and military (escorts) to provide security for their personnel.
In Afghanistan, DFID has awarded a number of contracts to ArmorGroup for armed protection of the main DFID office and residential compounds. These contracts also provide close protection (armed bodyguards) to staff when travelling to locations in Afghanistan deemed medium/high risk, and defensive driving training to our locally employed drivers. The value of these contracts from June 2004 to December 2006 was £3,217,691. Since January 2007, DFID's security needs have been met through a contract issued by the FCO, and the total DFID contribution to this contract this financial year was £949,567 by June 2007.
Jamaica: Overseas Aid
Information on UK aid to Jamaica is available in the DFID publication ‘Statistics on International Development 2007’. This publication is available online at:
In 2006-07 DFID gave £5.8 million in bilateral aid to Jamaica. The imputed UK share of multilateral official development assistance (ODA) to Jamaica in 2005 was £1.4 million.
The information requested on persons proceeded against for selling alcohol to persons under 18 years in each of the last five years in Hertfordshire is provided in the attached table. Information on prosecutions in Dacorum is not available as the data is not held at that level of detail.
In addition to court proceedings, the offence of sale of alcohol to a person under 18 can attract a penalty notice for disorder (PND). The offence was added to the PND scheme on 1 November 2004. No PNDs were issued in Hertfordshire in November and December 2004 and three were issued in 2005. Data for 2006 will be available in November 2007.
The results of the national Tackling Underage Sales Enforcement Campaign (TUSAC), during which 2,683 premises were targeted by police and trading standards officers during a 10-week campaign between 4 May and 13 July 2007, show that in nearly 9,000 test purchase operations children were only able to obtain alcohol in 14.7 per cent. of cases.
In 2004, the overall test purchase failure rate was 50 per cent. In 2006, it had dropped to 20 per cent. In this latest and more targeted campaign it now stands at 15 per cent. overall.
Whereas earlier enforcement campaigns were conducted on a random sample of premises, good and bad, this campaign targeted premises known to problematic. A further reduction in the failure rate is therefore particularly encouraging.
Proceeded against Found guilty 2001 — — 2002 1 — 2003 1 — 2004 8 6 2005 3 1 1 These data are provided on the principal offence basis. 2 Covers the offences: Selling etc. intoxicating liquor to person under 18 for consumption on the premises under the Licensing Act 1964 s. 169 A and B as added by Licensing (Young Persons) Act 2000 s.1, Wholesaler selling intoxicating liquor to a person under 18 under the Licensing Act 1964 s.181 A(1) as added by Licensing Act 1988 s.17, Sale of alcohol to a person under 18 under the Licensing Act 2003 s. 146 and Allowing Sale of alcohol to a person under 18 under the Licensing Act 2003 s. 147. Sections 146 and 147 of the 2003 Licensing Act only came into effect from 24 November 2005, so data prior to 2005 are not available. 3 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the police forces and courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. Source: RDS—Court proceedings database—Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Ministry of Justice
1 These data are provided on the principal offence basis.
2 Covers the offences: Selling etc. intoxicating liquor to person under 18 for consumption on the premises under the Licensing Act 1964 s. 169 A and B as added by Licensing (Young Persons) Act 2000 s.1, Wholesaler selling intoxicating liquor to a person under 18 under the Licensing Act 1964 s.181 A(1) as added by Licensing Act 1988 s.17, Sale of alcohol to a person under 18 under the Licensing Act 2003 s. 146 and Allowing Sale of alcohol to a person under 18 under the Licensing Act 2003 s. 147. Sections 146 and 147 of the 2003 Licensing Act only came into effect from 24 November 2005, so data prior to 2005 are not available.
3 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the police forces and courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
RDS—Court proceedings database—Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Ministry of Justice
Anti-Terrorism Control Orders
Each non-derogating control order is valid for 12 months and will be automatically subject to a judicial review before the High Court.
The controlled person may also appeal a dispute relating to any modification of the control order with any such appeal also being heard at the High Court.
In addition, the Home Office has established a review group, with representation from law enforcement and intelligence agencies, to keep the obligations in every control order under regular (quarterly), formal and audited review.
Lord Carlile, the Independent Reviewer of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, reviews the operation of the Act on an annual basis.
The information requested is not available centrally. Details of the age of victims of crime are not available from the recorded crime statistics. The British Crime Survey collects details of the victim's age and can look at victimisation of those aged 65 and over at a national level. However, this data cannot be reliably broken down at either regional or police force area level.
Crimes of Violence: Retail Trade
Figures on physical violence against retailers are not available from the recorded crime series as no details of the victim’s employment are recorded.
We are aware of the concerns of retailers and retail organisations about threats and actual violence against shop staff and we are fully committed to working with them, both through the National Retail Crime Steering Group and through other means, to address these concerns.
We also support Usdaw’s ‘Freedom from Fear’ campaign and the Union has been invited to nominate a representative to attend future meetings of the National Retail Crime Steering Group.
Motor Vehicles: Glass
Enforcement of Regulation 32 is an operational matter for individual chief officers of police and for the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency. No central guidance has been issued and information is not collected centrally on how much forces spend on equipment to test compliance.
Enforcement of Regulation 32 is an operational matter for individual chief officers of police and for the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency. No central guidance has been issued and information is not collected centrally on how much forces spend on equipment to test compliance.
Offensive Weapons: Milton Keynes
The requested information is not yet available. Data on knife-enabled grievous bodily harm and robbery offences have been collected centrally since April 2007. Figures for 2007-08 will be published in July 2008 in the next annual ‘Crime in England and Wales’ volume. It will, however, be possible to provide breakdowns only at police force area level.
[holding answer 12 November 2007]: A new funding formula for allocating police general grant was introduced in 2006-07. During the discussions on the new formula, in which representatives from ACPO and the APA and the wider policing community were involved, it was concluded that no reliable indicator of tourism exists.
A full consultation on options for change took place in the summer of 2005-06 where all representations were fully taken into account.
Security Guards: Licensing
Stop and Search
Available information on stops and searches of persons or vehicles under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 from 1995 to 2005-06 can be found in the following table.
Number Stops and searches in anticipation of violence Total searches Number of persons found to be carrying offensive weapons or dangerous instruments Arrests for offensive weapons Arrests for other reasons 1995 (from 10 April) 2,380 205 58 109 1996 7,020 187 132 371 1996-97 7,970 177 129 392 1997-98 7,970 377 103 332 1998-991 5,500 213 91 84 1999-00 6,840 59 36 195 2000-01 11,330 357 309 411 2001-02 18,900 1,367 203 485 2002-032 44,400 1,568 356 2,142 2003-043 40,400 557 299 1,248 2004-054 41,600 286 256 958 2005-06 36,300 542 192 1,522 1 Figures updated since publication of the 1998-99 Bulletin. 2 Figures updated since publication of the 2002-03 Bulletin. 3 Figures updated since publication of the 2003-04 Bulletin. 4 Figures updated since publication of the 200-05 Bulletin.
Stops and searches in anticipation of violence
Number of persons found to be carrying offensive weapons or dangerous instruments
Arrests for offensive weapons
Arrests for other reasons
1995 (from 10 April)
1 Figures updated since publication of the 1998-99 Bulletin.
2 Figures updated since publication of the 2002-03 Bulletin.
3 Figures updated since publication of the 2003-04 Bulletin.
4 Figures updated since publication of the 200-05 Bulletin.
The 14 day detention period came into effect on 20 January 2004 and the maximum period of detention pre-charge was extended to 28 days with effect from 25 July 2006. The following table, compiled from police records, provides details, to date, of the numbers of individuals charged or released and held from between 14 to 15 days and through to 27 to 28 days. We do not collate statistics for the timescales requested.
Period of detention Number of persons held Charged Released without charge 14 to 15 days 1 1 — 18 to 19 days 1 1 — 19 to 20 days 3 3 — 27 to 28 days 6 3 3
Period of detention
Number of persons held
Released without charge
14 to 15 days
18 to 19 days
19 to 20 days
27 to 28 days
During 2006-07 the Wales Office spent £12,265.41 on hospitality for the following events:
Event Cost (£) July 2006 Wales Office Reception for Government of Wales Act 2006 London 3,309.04 December 2006 Wales Office shared reception with Northern Ireland Office 3,524.12 March 2007 Wales Office St. David’s Day Reception 3,239.11 March 2007 Wales Office Slavery Abolition Reception 2,193.14
Wales Office Reception for Government of Wales Act 2006 London
Wales Office shared reception with Northern Ireland Office
Wales Office St. David’s Day Reception
Wales Office Slavery Abolition Reception
The Barnett formula remains unchanged. Revised editions of the Treasury publication “Funding the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly—a Statement of Funding Policy” were published in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2007. These contain full details of the Barnett formula including changes to the population factors and the comparability factors.
In addition, the population factors are revised on an annual basis to take account of the updated mid-year estimates of population published by the Office for National Statistics.
House of Commons Commission
The average resource cost of a square metre of space on the parliamentary estate in 2006-07 was £651. This is a high-level figure covering the whole of the estate, including unusable spaces. Detailed cost figures for office space only are not readily available. A costing system is under development to provide detailed unit cost information by the end of 2007-08.
Palace of Westminster: Parking
(2) what enforcement procedures are in place to ensure that parking bays designated for people with disabilities in the Palace of Westminster are used by blue badge holders only;
(3) what recent assessment the Commission has made of the adequacy of parking arrangements for disabled visitors to the Palace of Westminster.
Parking spaces for Members and staff with disabilities or mobility problems are provided in Star Chamber Court. If space is available and advance notice is given, the Serjeant at Arms office will endeavour to accommodate Members’ guests although this cannot be guaranteed. Priority is given to Blue Badge holders driving the vehicle. Able-bodied drivers are normally given permission to drop off a passenger and park elsewhere. Occasionally it is possible to arrange for parking in the House of Lords for such visitors.
Permission to park in designated bays is occasionally given to Members or staff who have temporary disabilities such as a broken limb or following major surgery so the bays are not limited to Blue Badge holders only.
The provision of parking facilities for people with disabilities is kept under review and the Serjeant at Arms office records details of permissions given to ensure that the limited spaces are not overbooked.
Electoral Commission Committee
Aircraft: Air Conditioning
The CAA's mandatory occurrence reporting scheme (MORS) database contains reports of contaminated air events submitted by UK operators. The nature of any potential contaminant is not recorded on the database. In accordance with its regulatory practice, the CAA's data analysis does not identify the operators or aircraft registrations and has been aggregated to include all UK operators.
The last full year for which figures are available is 2006. In that year there were 109 contaminated air events. These figures break down by aircraft type as follows:
Aircraft type Number of contaminated air events Boeing 757 43 BAe146 17 Airbus A319 10 Embraer EMB 145 9 Airbus A320 7 Boeing 737 5 Various other aircraft 18 Total 109
Number of contaminated air events
Embraer EMB 145
Various other aircraft
(2) how many passenger aircraft have been struck by fireworks in the last 10 years; at what altitude each aircraft was struck; and what damage was sustained.
Over the last 10 years, there have been 33 reports of fireworks in the vicinity of passenger aircraft within UK airspace, and six reports of passenger aircraft struck by fireworks in UK airspace.
The reported altitude and aircraft damage (if applicable) for each event is summarised in the following tables by year. Where the altitude of the aircraft was not reported, the data is recorded as “unknown”.
Number Height (feet) 1998 1 7,300 1999 2 8,000, 300 2000 1 500 2001 3 600, 400, 400 2002 6 Unknown, 300, 400, 150, 300, 300 2003 6 200, 1,200, 350, 400, 450, 350 2004 2 150, 400 2005 6 800, 150, unknown, 600, 450, 250 2006 4 700, 200, 3,000, 0 2007 2 150, 700 Total 33 —
600, 400, 400
Unknown, 300, 400, 150, 300, 300
200, 1,200, 350, 400, 450, 350
800, 150, unknown, 600, 450, 250
700, 200, 3,000, 0
Number Height (feet) Damage to aircraft 1998 0 n/a n/a 1999 0 n/a n/a 2000 1 100 No 2001 0 n/a n/a 2002 1 800 No 2003 2 560, 250 No 2004 1 Unknown No 2005 0 n/a n/a 2006 0 n/a n/a 2007 1 300 Scorched paint Total 6 — —
Damage to aircraft
British Transport Police: Manpower
As at 31 March 2007 the British Transport Police comprised 2,818 serving officers, 252 Community Support Officers and 1,121 support staff.
The British Transport Police do not police the airports.
The other information requested is not held by the Department for Transport but by the British Transport Police who can be contacted at: British Transport Police, 25 Camden Road, London NW1 9LN, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Invalid Vehicles: Accidents
Level Crossings: Death
The information is contained in the following table:
(a) Unmanned crossings (b) Manned crossings Total 2002 13 1 14 2003 15 1 16 2004 15 2 17 2005 13 1 14 2006 8 0 8 Total 64 5 69 1 These data are based on accident notifications sent by railway companies to the Office of Rail Regulation’s HM Railway Inspectorate, under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, 1995.
(a) Unmanned crossings
(b) Manned crossings
1 These data are based on accident notifications sent by railway companies to the Office of Rail Regulation’s HM Railway Inspectorate, under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, 1995.
Fatalities caused by trespass and confirmed suicides are excluded from these data.
Level Crossings: Frinton-on-Sea
(2) what assessment she has made of the effect of changing from a manned railway crossing to an unmanned railway crossing in Frinton-on-Sea on safety; and what the evidential basis is for her assessment.
The Office of Rail Regulation’s (ORR) HM Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) is currently assessing Network Rail’s proposal to modernise Frinton-on-Sea crossing. As required by the Level Crossings Act 1983, ORR’s consideration of the safety factors at level crossings must take into account the “safety and convenience of all users at or near the level crossing”.
At present, ORR’s view is that Network Rail’s plans to modernise the crossing are acceptable, subject to continuing discussion and agreement as the scheme progresses. ORR plans to meet local people on Friday 16 November to discuss their representations. Essex county council has given approval in principle for the highway element of the crossing modernisation.
The existing arrangements at the level crossing are unsuitable to deal with the current volume of road traffic and rail traffic. The planned modernisation will reduce risks to all crossing users, particularly those from the local community who have disabilities. It will also reduce risks to Network Rail’s own staff—the current level crossing arrangements pose a significant risk to the safety of the crossing keeper.
Under Network Rail’s planned proposals the crossing will be monitored at all times by the railway signaller from the signal box using closed circuit television. This is a common method of operation on level crossing across Britain’s mainline railway network. These types of automatic barrier level crossings which are locally monitored have a very good safety record.
Motor Vehicles: Glass
The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) has spent the following on equipment used to measure the visual light transmission standard for vehicle window tint:
Amount 2007-08 15,918.00 2006-07 7,410.00 2005-06 9,195.00 2004-05 15,400.00 1 To date
1 To date
VOSA does not record the costs uniquely for enforcement actions related to infringement of the VLT. To retrieve this information could be done only at disproportionate cost.
The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) has printed the following numbers of copies of the leaflet ‘Tinted Windows: Your questions Answered’ in the last three years:
Copies 2005 5,000 2006 0 2007 10,000
VOSA does not record the number requests received for leaflets.
Overcrowding: Olympic Games 2012
The transport arrangements for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games are set out in the Olympic Delivery Authority's Olympic Transport Plan, which was published on the 23 October 2007. This includes a number of measures in and around Stratford designed to increase the number of trains on the Great Eastern Mainline out of Liverpool Street that are able to stop at Stratford, and thus reduce the likelihood of congestion on this route.
Performance Standards: Chelmsford
The Secretary of State for Transport has not undertaken an assessment of the standard of service on the Liverpool Street to Chelmsford line for commuters. Passenger surveys are undertaken by Passenger Focus. The results of the latest National Passenger Survey (Spring 2007) are available on the website at www.passengerfocus.org.uk.
Railway Stations: Stroud
Historic Government support to the Rail Industry is set out in Table 6.2a of National Rail Trends which is published by the Office of Rail Regulation. Copies are available in the Library of the House. The Government also provide a financial indemnity (FIM) to Network Rail's lenders, has issued guarantees in respect of certain bonds that have been issued to finance the channel tunnel rail link (CTRL) project and has issued a guarantee in respect of CTRL track access payments. Full details of these arrangements have been previously notified to Parliament and are set out in the Department's Resource Accounts. As at 31 March 2007, Network Rail's FIM backed debt stood at £19.8 billion, and the CTRL guarantee arrangements were valued at some £4.38 billion.
Rapid Transit Systems
The following light rail schemes have been completed and opened since 1997:
Light rail scheme 1999 Midland Metro 1999 Docklands Light Railway extension to Lewisham 2000 Croydon Tramlink 2000 Manchester Metrolink Phase II (to Eccles) 2002 Tyne and Wear Metro Sunderland extension 2004 Nottingham Express Transit 2005 Docklands Light Railway extension to London City Airport
Light rail scheme
Docklands Light Railway extension to Lewisham
Manchester Metrolink Phase II (to Eccles)
Tyne and Wear Metro Sunderland extension
Nottingham Express Transit
Docklands Light Railway extension to London City Airport
South West Trains: Winchester
The Winchester to Romsey Rail Link bus service was not explicitly included within the South Western franchise specification. Bidders were asked to consider transport integration within their bids, and to seek opportunities within the franchise area. The improved rail service from Romsey in recent years and the loss-making nature of the existing Rail Link bus service resulted in Stagecoach deciding that it would be poor value to continue with the service.
Speed Limits: Cameras
The information is not held in the form requested. Fixed cameras operated by the Hertfordshire Safety Camera Partnership under the national safety camera programme, which ended on 31 March 2007, reduced the number of personal injury collisions at camera sites by an average of 49 per cent. per year, comparing all the available after installation data with the three years before installation. This means around 162 fewer personal injury collisions each year. I have arranged for tables to be placed in the Libraries of the House regarding the performance of fixed speed cameras in Hertfordshire.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
The operating authorities are encouraged to manage flood risk within a strategic, catchment-wide approach. Such works may be grant-aided by my Department if they meet our criteria and many farmers receive considerable benefit from public investment in this area. The Environment Agency also provides information on flood risk and advice to farmers on managing their land to reduce the likelihood and impacts from floods and water-logging.
DEFRA is aware of the press reports about the serious situation in the USA in respect of cases of abnormally high levels of colony loss described as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Scientists and inspectors at the National Bee Unit (NBU) are monitoring the situation and are in contact with experts in the USA and Europe to learn about developments.
However, we do not have evidence to suggest that there is something similar happening in the UK. The very limited number of cases of high losses which have occurred this season, for which there is no ready explanation, are being investigated in depth by the NBU and bee inspectors. The causes of significant colony losses are being considered as part of the Central Science Laboratory and the NBU’s horizon scanning work. Initial results indicate high levels of virus in samples taken from dead or dying colonies.
DEFRA’s annual expenditure on bee health research has averaged around £200,000 since 2001. However, there is an ongoing review of expenditure on all DEFRA programmes, including bee health, and future funding will need to be considered alongside the full range of priorities facing the Department.
Under EU regulations, the tuberculin skin test is (and is likely to continue to be) the primary diagnostic test for TB in live cattle in the field. We foresee only a minor, if any, role for non-immunological assays in the screening of cattle populations for TB.
DEFRA has been funding work using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique to develop tests for Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) since 1999. This has included work to develop a reliable and rapid bovine TB screening test that can detect the presence of M. bovis DMA in infected cattle tissues. Work to date shows the value of the application of PCR techniques in certain situations, for example in cattle tissue samples from suspect cases of TB disclosed at routine slaughter, where the speed of the result is of importance.
The use of automated PCR machines has been trialled by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency for use in routine detection of M. bovis in a range of bovine tissue samples in the laboratory. A review of this and its incorporation into routine laboratory diagnostic techniques is currently being planned. However, PCR is not yet as sensitive, specific or reliable as conventional bacterial culture in detecting TB.
DEFRA is investing £1.3 million on work on PCR over the next 3 years that will allow us to tell the difference between M. bovis and similar species from environmental samples. This is not likely to be available as a field test in the short term.
No reverse transcription stage is required for the detection of M. bovis organisms by PCR, as DMA (not RNA) is the constitutive nucleic acid in the genome of mycobacteria.
[holding answer 12 November 2007]: The Department has a business-led estates strategy which will deliver a reduction of the Estate of approximately 20 per cent. by March 2011. In London a 50 per cent. reduction in office accommodation has already been achieved from a 2003 baseline.
This rationalisation strategy supports the Renew DEFRA Business Reform Programme which is aimed at providing an efficient Department, including its Executive Agency delivery bodies, occupying a sustainable office portfolio and reducing the Departmental carbon footprint.
Disposals already identified over the current CSR period will deliver the initial 20 per cent. target reduction and the Department is already looking to identify other opportunities to further reduce the operational property portfolio both in London, and nationally in line with Departmental business need.
The principal strategy is to deliver a modern sustainable workplace which is cost effective and enables the Department, including its Executive Agency delivery bodies, to deliver its key business objectives.
I assume the hon. Member is referring to standard assessment procedures (SAP) software approvals.
We have contracted the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to evaluate third party produced SAP software that would be used by SAP assessors. Software submitted to BRE are tested against the approvals criteria which determine for example, the accuracy of assessment results.
If the software meets the requirements, then an approval for its use to determine compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations for England and Wales is issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Energy conservation is a broad term that could refer to many activities implemented by a wide number of Government institutions. As such, it is not possible to accurately estimate the total Government spend in Huddersfield.
DEFRA’s main programme for improving the energy efficiency of vulnerable households is the Warm Front Scheme, which provides grants for heating and insulation measures. Warm Front spend on measures in Huddersfield is set out in the following table:
Financial year Huddersfield (£) 2004-05 594,825.32 2005-06 293,090.61 2006-07 881,334.24 Year to date 797,105.08 Total 2,566,355.25
Year to date
Environment Agency: Flood Control
(2) what recent assessment the Environment Agency has made of the present condition of flood defences for which they are responsible.
The Environment Agency is currently reviewing its business plans for 2008-09 in light of the recent Comprehensive Spending Review settlement. It will announce its proposals for the improvement of flood defences in February 2008.
The Environment Agency currently inspects assets on a risk based programme and assesses the national position on a quarterly basis.
The proportion (by length) of flood defences such as raised walls and embankments, maintained by the Environment Agency that were in good or better condition in April 2007 was 55 per cent. A further 40 per cent. were in a fair condition.
The proportion (by number) of flood defence structures, such as sluices and outfalls, maintained by the Environment Agency that were in good or better condition in April 2007 was 69 per cent. A further 26 per cent. were in a fair condition.
Flood Control: Finance
The Environment Agency is the principal operating authority with responsibility for flood risk management in England. The following table shows Environment Agency expenditure for the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Flood Defence Committee (RFDC) (which covers Yorkshire and the north bank of the Humber estuary) and Anglian RFDC. Thames RFDC covers a wider area than just London but the figures indicate funds allocated for flood protection in Greater London only.
Area 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 Yorkshire and Number 37.3 33.4 40.7 34.0 35.1 Anglian 71.2 71.0 86.5 95.6 78.6 Thames (London only) 39.1 41.1 47.2 45.5 43.7
Yorkshire and Number
Thames (London only)
Some further works will have been carried out by local authorities and internal drainage boards but these will be significantly lower than the sums expended by the Agency.
I have been asked to reply.
Together with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Association of British Insurers, my Department is reviewing the current guidance that we make available on businesslink.gov and the best means to promote the importance of being adequately insured against the risk of flooding.
Floods: North East Region
The Environment Agency's 2006 National Flood Risk Assessment identified 295,900 homes at risk from river and coastal flooding in the north east region. 138,200 of these are at risk from river flooding and 153,000 homes are at risk from coastal flooding. In addition there are 4,700 properties at risk from both river and coastal flooding.
The Environment Agency's National Flood Risk Assessment does not include surface water flooding, but its flood map shows areas that are known to have been flooded. This will include some areas of surface water flooding but in many instances this takes place in conjunction with river flooding and it is not possible to separate the two.
Floods: Risk Assessment
(2) what plans he has to review bodies involved in mapping flood risk; and what plans he has to improve co-ordination between them.
The Environment Agency is the only public sector organisation that maps flood risk on a national scale and it is funded by DEFRA to do so. The agency co-operates with local authorities and other bodies undertaking flood risk assessments and mapping for different purposes. It will continue to improve its maps over time as technology develops.
The Environment Agency’s review of the summer floods will include looking at communications and liaison on flood warnings and will inform the independent review being undertaken by Sir Michael Pitt.
Separately, the agency is leading a joint project with the Met Office to identify improvements in notification of major rainfall or other flood-causing severe events and in the procedures to be followed by both organisations.
Floods: Yorkshire and the Humber
(2) what estimate he has made of how much it would cost to protect Yorkshire from river flooding.
It is not feasible to completely protect against flooding.
I understand the Yorkshire RFDC has a programme of possible expenditure on new defences of £364 million over the next 10 years. The amount that is eventually spent will depend on the relative priority of schemes in Yorkshire compared to those elsewhere in the country.
The current Environment Agency estimate of expenditure on all its flood risk management activities (i.e. including such activities as operations and maintenance as well as new defences) in the Yorkshire RFDC area over the next 10 years is £628 million.
Further works may be carried out by local authorities and internal drainage boards but the sums involved are much lower than for the Environment Agency.
The Environment Agency collects and holds data on the basis of Regional Flood Defence Committee (RFDC) boundaries. The Yorkshire RFDC boundary covers Yorkshire and the north bank of the Humber estuary.
The following table shows Yorkshire RFDC percentages of total DEFRA grant in aid allocated to the Environment Agency for flood risk management from 2004-05 onwards (when direct grant from DEFRA replaced the previous mixed system of majority funding from levies on local authorities with some capital grant from DEFRA).
Percentage allocated RFDC of total FDGIA to Yorkshire 2004-05 8 2005-06 10 2006-07 9 2007-08 9
Percentage allocated RFDC of total FDGIA to Yorkshire
Further funding would have been provided to local authorities and internal drainage boards but at much lower levels than those provided to the Agency.
Fuel Poverty: Standards
A revised approach to public service agreements (PSAs) was introduced in the comprehensive spending review 2007, with a new set of PSAs coming into effect from April 2008. There is a much smaller number of key cross cutting PSAs, setting a vision for continuous and accelerated improvement in the Government's priority outcomes, and delivered collectively by multiple Departments.
Fuel poverty is firmly embedded in this approach, no longer as a stand alone PSA, which is now contributing to the achievement of wider Government priorities. Fuel poverty is reflected as a component in the delivery of the PSAs on Child Poverty (led by Her Majesty's Treasury), on Independence and Well-being in Later Life (led by Department for Work and Pensions), and on Better Health and Well-being (led by Department of Health). The Government remain committed to tackling fuel poverty and promoting effective cross-departmental work to this end.
My Department's and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform's delivery of its responsibilities on fuel poverty will be reflected in these PSAs, and also as part of my Department's ongoing performance reporting systems, which will underpin its annual report to Parliament.
Genetically Modified Organisms: Seeds
The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) decided in 2000 that there should be a precautionary approach in field testing and commercial development of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs).
‘Terminator seeds’ are one example of plants that could potentially be bred using these technologies. The decision is clear that products incorporating GURTs should not be approved for field testing until appropriate scientific data can justify such testing, and for commercial use until appropriate scientific assessments with regard to ecological and socio-economic impacts have been carried out and the conditions for their safe and beneficial use validated.
At the most recent CBD meeting, held in March 2006, governments reaffirmed this decision. We supported the decision. The UK Government’s position has not changed on this issue.
My Department has not commissioned any recent research on the potential effects of “Terminator seed” technology on UK agriculture.
We commissioned a desk study of Technologies for Biological Containment of Genetically Modified (GM) and non-GM Crops. The report is available on the DEFRA website.
[holding answer 12 November 2007]: In its response to the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) report, the Government indicated that it would investigate alternatives to the use of carbon dioxide for stunning and killing pigs. DEFRA has commissioned two research projects that will examine the use of other gases or gas mixtures (including inert gases) for these purposes. The work commenced in 2005, but it will take at least five years to complete. The Government’s response confirmed that it could not make a commitment to phase out the use of carbon dioxide within five years while there was no certainty that an effective alternative system would be available within that time frame. This remains the position.
Prison Service: Homophobia
The Treasury Solicitor keeps records primarily to meet the operational needs of his Department as the Government's solicitor. Cases tend to be categorised according to client and according to the nature of the claim at law, for example, assault, personal injury, unfair dismissal, misfeasance, judicial review. Homophobia as such does not constitute a claim at law. Rather, it may be, or may be perceived to be, a motivating factor in many kinds of claim. Whether, in any case, homophobia has been such a factor may never be established leaving the issue speculative and any record based upon it unreliable. No operational purpose of the Treasury Solicitor's Department would be served by keeping such a record and for that reason, having regard to the duty to be cost-effective, such records are not kept.
Culture, Media and Sport
[holding answer 12 November 2007]: The Where We Live programme now has the new brand-name of Living Places.
The programme is delivered through a partnership between the five leading national cultural agencies, DCMS, DCLG and the Regional Cultural Consortia.
Its aim is to ensure all communities can benefit from cultural and sporting opportunities by embedding culture in the development of our villages, towns and cities.
DCMS contributed £20,000 towards the Thames Gateway Forum in 2006.
DCMS has yet to be invoiced for its contribution of £20,000 from this year's partnership budget.
The Department has five efficiency programme streams that contribute to its overall target of £262 million savings over the SR04 spending period. Latest figures up to June 2007 are:
June 2007 outturn March 2008 target DCMS Internal 1 2 Museums and galleries NDPBs 52.9 45 Heritage NDPBs 12.8 14 Strategic NDPBs 52.2 55 Local authorities 84.6 146 Total 203.5 262
June 2007 outturn
March 2008 target
Museums and galleries NDPBs
Our efficiency savings are reported publicity in our Departmental Annual Report and our Autumn Performance Report. The 2007 Autumn Performance Report, due to be published in December, will contain the latest figures up to September 2007.
Over the last five years a total of (a) 347 civil servants in DCMS have transferred to other Government Departments and (b) 172 have left the civil service. See following table for breakdown per year.
Transferred to OGD1 Left civil service 2002-03 47 23 2003-04 62 27 2004-05 63 36 2005-06 57 53 2006-07 47 33 1 Please note that figures for transferred civil servants include those on long-term loans to other Government Departments and whose loan period to DCMS came to an end and who returned to their own Department.
Transferred to OGD1
Left civil service
1 Please note that figures for transferred civil servants include those on long-term loans to other Government Departments and whose loan period to DCMS came to an end and who returned to their own Department.
Football: Community Relations
The following Government initiatives fund community schemes operated by, or in conjunction with, football clubs.
Playing for Success establishes out of school hours study support centres at professional football clubs and other sports clubs. 80 centres are based in football clubs, including all 20 clubs in the premier league, to which the Department for Children Schools and Families will contribute £5.3 million in 2007-08.
The Home Office funds Positive Futures, a national sports-based social inclusion programme. Six football clubs, (Arsenal, Leyton Orient, Portsmouth, Chelsea, Millwall and Brentford) have Football in the Community Schemes affiliated to them that have successfully applied for Positive Futures programme funding, and will receive a total of £608,074 in 2007-08. The 2007 annual monitoring and evaluation report on the entire Positive Futures Programme is expected to be published in November.
The Kickz scheme, currently delivered in partnership with 19 premiership and 11 football league clubs across the country, offers positive evening activities for young people, including football leagues and education sessions. Evaluation of the four pilot Kickz projects showed that local crime had fallen by an average of 27 per cent. during those times that projects were being held. The Football Foundation received £1 million to help expand the Kickz programme from four to 25 clubs in 2006 and a further £1 million was allocated to Kickz in September 2007.
I am arranging for further details of these schemes and participating clubs to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Legacy Lives Conference
The following table shows UK Sport’s, the UK’s national anti-doping organisation and lead agency for elite sport, allocation of funding for the prevention of doping in sport in each of the last 10 years.
£ million 1998-99 0.67 1999-2000 10.62 2000-01 10.61 2001-02 10.89 2002-03 1.16 2003-04 1.40 2004-05 1.77 2005-06 3.12 2006-07 3.01 2007-08 3.27 1 These entries show budget figures, as records for actual spend are not available. The figure for 2007-08 is a forecast.
1 These entries show budget figures, as records for actual spend are not available. The figure for 2007-08 is a forecast.
Since 2002, Government have paid an annual contribution to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for its work in the prevention of doping in sport. The following table sets out these contributions, which are paid in December each year. The figure for 2007 is a forecast.
Amount (£) 2002 308,788 2003 339,977 2004 329,056 2005 373,902 2006 337,081 2007 357,758
The following table shows how much the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has allocated to Sport in each of the last 10 years, including planned figures for 2007-08.
£ million 1997-98 50.1 1998-99 49.4 1999-2000 51.9 2000-01 52.6 2001-02 68.8 2002-03 112.1 2003-04 97.5 2004-05 146.2 2005-06 150.0 2006-07 183.2 2007-08 186.4
Following discussions with UK Sport, LOCOG and other stakeholders, my Department is tendering for a specialist consultancy to lead this work on our behalf.
The deadline for companies to submit a tender is 7 December, and we expect to appoint the company soon after that date.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Human Rights
There are provisions in the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which allow a state to pursue a complaint that another state has breached an ILO convention; this could ultimately lead to proceedings in the International Court of Justice. However, the Secretariat of the ILO believe that it would be wrong to start such action now in respect of forced labour in Burma. The ILO want to see the Memorandum of Understanding, that they signed with the Burmese government on 26 February 2007, produce results. The memorandum provides that alleged victims of forced labour in Burma will have full freedom to submit complaints to the ILO Liaison Officer in Rangoon.
We support the actions of the ILO aimed at ensuring that Burma complies with its international obligations on forced labour. We are actively working with our European and international partners, as well as through the UN and ILO, to press the regime to end the appalling human rights violations and to engage in a genuine process of national reconciliation involving all relevant parties and groups in Burma.
China: Capital Punishment
We regularly urge China, both bilaterally and through the EU, to reduce the number of crimes punishable by death and to adopt transparency on death penalty statistics. The death penalty was discussed at the most recent round of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, held in Beijing on 17 October 2007. We also raised the death penalty at the last round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue, held in London on 5 February 2007.
Cuba: Overseas Aid
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has received no request for UK funding for a US Freedom Fund for Cuba and, therefore, has no plans to contribute to such a fund. The US administration has not released full details of the proposed Freedom Fund and so it would be inappropriate for us to undertake an assessment of the compatibility of the fond with Article 2 of the UN Charter or other international treaty obligations.
The information requested by the hon. Member could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Annual expenditure on external consultants is published in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) Department’s annual reports, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. The two most recent annual reports also contain details of expenditure on the top five consultancy suppliers. The vast majority of work undertaken for the FCO by consultants is associated with its major Information Communication Technology and Estate construction programmes.
I also refer the hon. Member to the reply my hon. Friend the Minister for Europe gave to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 9 October 2007, Official Report, columns 542-43W, and the reply the then Minister for Europe my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Hoon) gave to the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) on 24 May 2007, Official Report, column 1474W.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister for Europe on 18 October 2007, Official Report, column 1314W.
Further to that answer, Government Hospitality, Protocol Directorate, managed 199 official functions between November 2006 and October 2007. Of these functions, 58 were hosted by Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers or were funded directly by Government Hospitality on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
EU Treaties: Reform
The draft Lisbon Treaty specifies that the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy "shall ensure the implementation of the decisions adopted by the European Council and the Council" on common foreign and security policy issues. He or she would therefore have responsibility for taking forward implementation of common positions and other decisions on foreign and security policy issues where member states decide on action at the EU-level in the Council. Common positions currently in force cover a range of issues, including EU policy towards Belarus, Burma, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran, Ivory Coast, Somalia, Sudan and Uzbekistan.
Iraq: Overseas Workers
The location and cause of death of the 72 British civilians that have died in Iraq since March 2003 are as follows:
Location Number Baghdad 23 Basra 8 Mosul 7 Diwaniyah 6 Tikrit 4 Kirkuk 3 Karbala 3 Fallujah 2 Sulaymaniyah 1 Umm Qasr 1 Hit 1 Al Kut 1 Rustamiyah 1 Anbar 1 Bayji 2 Samarra 1 Latifiyah 1 Balad 1
We do not have the location details of the remaining five cases.
Cause Number Improvised Explosive Device 25 Shot 22 Vehicle borne Improvised Explosive Device 7 Road traffic accident 4 Natural causes 4 Bomb blast 4 Fall 1 Beheaded 1 Suicide 1 Note: Cause of death was not established in the three remaining cases.
Improvised Explosive Device
Vehicle borne Improvised Explosive Device
Road traffic accident
Cause of death was not established in the three remaining cases.
We have no central data for the ages at time of death.
Iraq: Security Guards
The information requested by the hon. Member is as follows:
£ Iraq 2003/04 16,800,000 2004/05 49,500,000 2005/06 47,800,000 2006/07 30,400,000 2007/08 26,000,000 Afghanistan 2004 4,000,000 2005 4,000,000 2006 15,000,000 2007 19,600,000
The information above covers contracts put in place by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London with private security companies, and reflects the contract values concerned and not the actual spend. All of these contracts cover other Government Departments with the costs thereof being shared accordingly.
The FCO ensures that all contracts are subject to a rigorous selection process so that we obtain best value for money. Any company engaged by the FCO needs to pass through a stringent and transparent procurement process in line with public procurement guidelines and best practice.
Napoleon Gomez Urritia
Pakistan: Overseas Residence
The number of passports issued in Islamabad and Karachi over the last 10 years indicates a figure of 35,000 British nationals who live permanently in Pakistan and hold a British passport. However, we estimate that the actual figure could be as high as 80,000 as many Pakistanis are dual nationals who obtain a passport in the UK, but live for a large part of the year in Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia: Official Visits
Sudan: Politics and Government
The military situation is confused because so many of the armed groups have splintered. Darfur remains insecure with continued attacks against African Union Mission in Sudan troops and Government forces, unrest in the internally displaced persons camps and inter-tribal conflict, as well as general banditry. The African Union Mission in Sudan currently has approximately 7,000 troops based in Darfur, under the command of General Agwai. UN Security Council Resolution 1769 mandated the deployment of a 26,000-strong African Union-UN hybrid force. We are working for the prompt and effective deployment of this force and the engagement of all parties in the political process to address the insecurity in Darfur.
Know Before You Go is a travel safety campaign run by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Consular Directorate, aimed at reducing the problems that British travellers face when on holiday abroad. It focuses both on the general travelling public and on a number of key target audiences who are involved in a disproportionate number of preventable consular cases.
One of the campaign's target groups is young women aged between 16-24. Research shows that this audience responds particularly well to advice from celebrities and other aspirational figures. We therefore decided to involve a football wife and girlfriend (WAG) in the campaign to generate media coverage, which would deliver our messages to this audience.
To front the WAG's guide the campaign recruited Charlotte Mears and she was paid £2,000. Planning and administration of the campaign were covered as part of our ongoing contract with Know Before You Go campaign agencies at no additional cost. In total, Ms Mears worked for 10 hours on the WAG's guide and its promotion. The guide had coverage on GMTV, radio, websites, consumer magazines and national and regional press and generated over 27 million opportunities to hear and see Know Before You Go travel safety messages. This equates to £170,000 worth of media advertising. For an outlay of £2,000 we therefore secured coverage which would have cost £170,000 to buy commercially, making the WAG's initiative a highly cost-effective way of getting safety messages across to a key target audience.
The UK fully supports the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy, Peter van Walsum, and has encouraged the parties to continue negotiations under UN auspices, as set out in UN Security Council Resolutions 1754 and 1783.
The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1783 on 31 October, which renewed the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara until 30 April 2008. The resolution also calls upon the parties to continue negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General without preconditions and in good faith.
The first two rounds of these negotiations took place in Manhasset, New York on 19-20 June and 10-11 August. The UN has not yet announced dates for a third round of negotiations.
Work and Pensions
Flexible Working: Parents
I have been asked to reply.
On 6 November 2007, the Prime Minister announced that the Government have decided to extend the right to request flexible working to parents of older children. At the same time, he announced that he had asked Ms Imelda Walsh, Director of Human Relations at J Sainsbury plc, to conduct a review to consider where the age cut-off for older children should be set. Ms Walsh will make recommendations to the Secretary of State in the spring of 2008.
Social Security Benefits
The information is in the following table.
February Active benefits1 Inactive benefits2 1997 625,550 3,304,300 1998 355,040 3,214,100 1999 313,420 3,200,900 2000 254,555 3,076,950 2001 196,625 3,122,230 2002 154,985 3,142,220 2003 136,710 3,160,880 2004 133,930 3,164,430 2005 118,830 3,134,270 2006 131,440 3,088,770 2007 153,305 3,035,020 1 ‘Active benefits’ means jobseeker’s allowance. 2 ‘Inactive benefits’ means working age claimants of income support (income support claimants include: lone parents; sick and disabled; carers; and others), incapacity benefit (including national insurance credits only cases), and severe disablement allowance. Notes: 1. Inactive benefits caseloads 1997 to 1999 figures are rounded to the nearest 100 and for 2000 onwards are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Inactive benefits caseloads for 1997 to 1999 have been uprated by applying 5 per cent. proportions to 100 per cent. WPLS data. 3. Active benefit caseloads are rounded to the nearest five. Sources: Department for Work and Pensions, Information Directorate, 5 per cent. sample, February 1997 to 1999; Information Directorate, Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) 100 per cent. data, February 2000 onwards; and 100 per cent. count of claimants of unemployment-related benefits, Jobcentre Plus Computer Systems
1 ‘Active benefits’ means jobseeker’s allowance.
2 ‘Inactive benefits’ means working age claimants of income support (income support claimants include: lone parents; sick and disabled; carers; and others), incapacity benefit (including national insurance credits only cases), and severe disablement allowance.
1. Inactive benefits caseloads 1997 to 1999 figures are rounded to the nearest 100 and for 2000 onwards are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Inactive benefits caseloads for 1997 to 1999 have been uprated by applying 5 per cent. proportions to 100 per cent. WPLS data.
3. Active benefit caseloads are rounded to the nearest five.
Department for Work and Pensions, Information Directorate, 5 per cent. sample, February 1997 to 1999;
Information Directorate, Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) 100 per cent. data, February 2000 onwards; and
100 per cent. count of claimants of unemployment-related benefits, Jobcentre Plus Computer Systems
Winter Fuel Payments: Suffolk
The information requested is not available. We can only assess eligibility for those people who are in contact with the Department and whose circumstances are known. The vast majority of winter fuel payments are made automatically without the need to claim, but those people whose circumstances we are not already aware of, for instance because they are not on state pension or other benefits administered by DWP, would need to make a claim so that their eligibility can be assessed.
The following table shows the number of winter fuel payments made to people in Suffolk and the East of England in each of the last five years.
Suffolk East of England 2002-03 153,000 1,110,690 2003-04 155,730 1,128,200 2004-05 155,730 1,128,650 2005-06 158,630 1,145,550 2006-07 162,640 1,171,170 Notes: 1. Figures rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Government office regions and local authorities are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory. Source: Information directorate 100 per cent. data
East of England
1. Figures rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Government office regions and local authorities are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory.
Information directorate 100 per cent. data
Communities and Local Government
Housing: Planning Permission
(2) whether single family dwellings in conservation areas will be exempted from the change in the development rights as set out in Changes to Permitted Development, Consultation Paper 2: Permitted Development Rights for Householders.
The Department is considering the responses to the consultation paper on permitted development rights for householders, including the response from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which addresses the issue of permitted development rights for houses in conservation areas. The Government will announce its decision on this issue soon.
The average house prices in West Sussex and England in 1997 and 2006 are given in the following table together with the percentage change over that period. Data at the east Worthing and Shoreham level is unavailable.
1997 2006 £ change Percentage change West Sussex 90,314 239,863 149,548 266 England 79,482 206,715 127,233 260 Source: HM Land Registry
HM Land Registry