Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 29 November 2007

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 29 November 2007

Work and Pensions

Child Support Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many of the Child Support Agency's cases concerned a child who was between the ages of 16 and 18 years in the last period for which figures are available. (165774)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 29 November 2007:

In reply to your parliamentary question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the chief Executive.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many of the Child Support Agency’s cases concerned a child who was between the ages of 16 and 18 years in the last period for which figures are available. [165774]

As at September 2007, the Agency has 269,000 assessed cases which involved at least one child between the ages of 16 and 18 years inclusive. This figure includes cases with a positive liability as well as those with a nil liability.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Children: Daycare

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to improve access to child care for lone parents who are being encouraged back to work. (164416)

We want to give lone parents the opportunity to plan a better future for themselves and their children and we know that child care availability is of vital importance to lone parents returning to work.

In June 2007 the stock of registered child care stood at over 1.28 million places, which is more than double the 1997 total, and the aim of the Government's national child care strategy for England is that by 2010 there will be a child care place for all children aged between three and 14, between the hours of 8 am to 6 pm each weekday, all year round. By that date there will be over two million sustainable child care places for children up to the age of 14. The strategy is given legislative underpinning by the Childcare Act 2006 which requires local authorities in England and Wales to secure child care to meet the needs of working parents in their areas. The Scottish Executive have committed to extending access to child care that meets the needs of working parents even though the legislative requirements of the Childcare Act do not apply there.

Every Jobcentre Plus district has a child care partnership manager (CPM), with additional resource in new deal plus for lone parent pilot areas. CPMs have a key role to play in helping to improve access to child care and overcome child care barriers to work for unemployed parents and a fundamental part of this is gathering intelligence about the local child care market and customer needs, and using it to ensure that key issues for disadvantaged parents seeking to move into work are addressed within local child care provision.

Action is under way within Jobcentre Plus to ensure that all parents, not just lone parents, are routinely informed about formal child care and its benefits by Jobcentre Plus Advisers and signposted to further help and information, for example, from Children's Information Services.

Children: Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he plans to take to ensure that maintenance payments calculated by the Childrens Maintenance and Enforcement Commission are appropriate in respect of both parents, with particular reference to costs incurred for daytime care of children. (167184)

The principles of the basic maintenance formula under the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (C-MEC) will be based on the structure of the simpler formula introduced in 2003 with percentage rates based on the non-resident parent's income and number of qualifying children. The percentage rates strike the right balance between the needs of the child and the other expenses that non-resident parents have to meet.

A reduction in the amount of child maintenance otherwise payable will continue to apply where the non-resident parent shares the care of a qualifying child for 52 or more nights a year. The Government have no plans to take account of daytime care. Childcare costs incurred by a working parent are recognised in housing benefit, council tax benefit and working tax credit.

Departmental Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of inquiries received by his Department from the public were responded to within (a) one week, (b) 14 days, (c) 28 days, (d) two months and (e) three months in the last period for which figures are available; and in what percentage of cases it took (i) over three months and (ii) over one year to respond. (167377)

Departmental ICT

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department pays per computer to EDS for professional services each month; and whether this sum includes call-out charges. (169209)

The Department for Work and Pensions realigned its contract with EDS in 2005. Under the realigned contract, EDS owns, supplies and refreshes the equipment every three years, while the Department pays for the services it uses.

The annual service charge for a standard desktop PC is about £590 (or approximately £49 per month). This includes use and refresh of the equipment, standard software, and a comprehensive range of maintenance and support services, including call-out charges where applicable.

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the full-time equivalent headcount in his Department is; what the forecast full-time equivalent headcount for his Department is for (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2009-10; and if he will make a statement. (163982)

The Department's headcount as at the 30 September 2007 (date of the latest quarterly statistics provided to the Office for National Statistics) was l05,460 (full-time equivalents).

Data published for earlier quarters is available at:

www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/pse0907.pdf.

At this stage of the Spending Review 2007 planning process, the Department does not yet have a forecast headcount available for the financial years 2008-09 and 2009-10.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people aged (a) 30 to 39, (b) 40 to 49, (c) 50 to 59 and (d) 60 to 69 years have (i) applied for jobs, (ii) received interviews and (iii) gained (A) temporary and (B) permanent jobs in his Department in 2007. (165117)

Departmental Public Participation

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what opinion polls the Department has conducted of (a) the public and (b) staff since 27 June 2007; and what the (i) name of the firm employed to conduct the poll, (ii) purpose and (iii) cost to the public purse was in each case. (164945)

My Department has not conducted any opinion polls with staff since 27 June 2007. My Department has conducted the following omnibus research surveys which are outlined in the following table.

Project

Contractor

Purpose

Cost (£)

NatCen Omnibus Survey (Module 1)

National Centre for Social Research

To examine attitudes to mental health and employment

77,700

NatCen Omnibus Survey (Module 2)

National Centre for Social Research

To examine attitudes to seeking psychological therapies for mental health conditions

26,375

NatCen Omnibus Survey

National Centre for Social Research

To examine attitudes to child poverty

20,000

ONS Omnibus Survey (Disability Module)

Office for National Statistics

Seeks opinion/views on a range of disability issues

27,192

Attitudes to state pensions

British Market Research Bureau

To explore attitudes to state pensions

5,590

Departmental Secondment

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many secondments of staff were made (a) to and (b) from his Department in each year since 1997; which organisations staff were seconded (i) to and (ii) from; how many staff were seconded in each year; for how long each secondment lasted; and what the cost was of each secondment in each year. (167277)

Disability Living Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of disability living allowance claims were rejected in the first instance in the latest period for which figures are available; and of this percentage how many of these cases were overturned on appeal. (163330)

In 2006-07 53 per cent. of disability living allowance new claims received were unsuccessful. Information about the percentage of these cases that were overturned on appeal is not available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the levels of higher rate of (a) disability and (b) mobility allowance were in each year since 2002. (165977)

The information is in the following table.

Disability living allowance higher rates

£

As at 1 April each year

Highest rate care

Higher rate mobility

2002

56.25

39.30

2003

57.20

39.95

2004

58.80

41.05

2005

60.60

42.30

2006

62.25

43.45

2007

64.50

45.00

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will give consideration to extending winter fuel payments to include all severely disabled people in receipt of the higher rate of the mobility component of disability living allowance. (165980)

Winter fuel payments are paid to older people as a once a year lump sum payment in advance of winter heating bills. Generally, severely disabled people need help for their additional costs, which may include extra heating, all year round and not just in the winter months. Help is available for severely disabled people through the care and mobility components in disability living allowance and the disability premiums in the income-related benefits which have a substantially higher annual value than the winter fuel payment and are spread over a 52-week period. We always keep WFP under review.

Disability Living Allowance: Ritalin

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether parents can claim disability living allowance for children with behavioural problems which require prescriptions of Ritalin; and if he will make a statement. (163187)

Entitlement to disability living allowance is not linked to particular disabling conditions, but on the extent to which a severely disabled person has personal care needs and/or walking difficulties as a result of their disability. Parents can claim disability living allowance for children with behavioural problems, including those which require prescriptions of Ritalin, as long as their disability meets the above criteria.

Disabled: Fuel Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what proportion of disability living allowance is allocated to cover extra fuel costs incurred by disabled people; (165979)

(2) in what ways his Department makes provision for the extra fuel costs incurred by high lesion spinal cord injured people requiring a minimum temperature controlled environment.

Disability living allowance is paid as a contribution towards the extra costs faced by severely disabled people as a result of their disabilities. Depending on their need for personal care, supervision or help getting around, this could include people with a high lesion spinal cord injury.

Disability living allowance is not intended to meet specific extra costs, such as fuel, and recipients are free to spend the benefit according to their own priorities and requirements.

Influenza

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made in developing arrangements for (a) sickness certification and (b) payment of benefits as preparation for dealing with any future pandemic influenza outbreak; and if he will make a statement. (164972)

The precise characteristics and impact of an influenza pandemic will only become apparent as the virus emerges, so that the pandemic threat and the UK's level of preparedness are constantly evolving. DWP continues to be involved in drawing up and revising the UK pandemic flu plan, along with other Government Departments. Plans aim for the continuation of everyday activities as far as practicable, including the availability of sick pay and state benefits.

Appropriate changes to sickness certification, which balance the interests of patients, employers and the NHS, will be introduced as and when necessary to help achieve that aim. During an influenza pandemic, DWP will aim to continue services that support people into work, but will give priority to maintaining financial support. Customer payments, which are largely automated, will continue to be paid. DWP and HMRC have robust business continuity plans in place to ensure that the administration and key services that support these payments can be maintained during a pandemic.

Local Authorities: Equal Opportunities

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with the Treasury on the appropriate level of resources for local authorities in relation to their obligations under the disability equality duty. (162609)

The Department held discussions on this issue with the Department for Communities and Local Government (then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) as part of the development of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005.

We provided local authorities with an additional £11 million over the last two financial years, in line with our responsibilities under the New Burdens rules for the work which authorities were required to carry out to develop a disability equality scheme.

Pensions: British Nationals Overseas

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many recipients living overseas have had their state earnings related pension frozen; and how much it would cost to uprate those pensions (a) with and (b) without back payments. (169581)

We estimate that the state earnings related pension is paid to around 110,000 overseas recipients of the UK state pension who live in countries where the pension is not uprated.

The estimated cost to uprate this element of the state pension is around 18 million in 2007-08 and it would cost around £170 million in 2007-08 if this was backdated and arrears paid.

Note: Estimates based on the latest available September 2006 RPWB dataset (5 per cent. administrative data sample).

Social Security Benefits: Pensioners

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the value was of attendance allowance and disability living allowance payments to people over retirement age living in the Huddersfield local authority area in (a) 1996 and (b) 2006-07. (162543)

Information about the value of attendance allowance and disability living allowance payments to people over retirement age is in the following tables.

Kirklees local authority

Status

Year

Annual expenditure (£ million) cash terms

Attendance allowance

Outturn

1996-97

15.4

Provisional outturn

2006-07

21.1

Disability living allowance

Outturn

1996-97

8.7

Provisional outturn

2006-07

22.2

Kirklees local authority

Status

Year

Annual (£ million) 2007-08 prices expenditure

Attendance allowance

Outturn

1996-97

20.3

Provisional outturn

2006-07

21.8

Disability living allowance

Outturn

1996-97

11.5

Provisional outturn

2006-07

23.0

Notes:

1. The 1996-97 caseloads used in the apportionment of expenditure are based on 5 per cent. samples, which have been calibrated to 100 per cent. data.

2. 100 per cent. data has been used to apportion expenditure for 2006-07.

3. All figures have been rounded to the nearest £100,000.

4. Expenditure has been converted from cash terms to 2007-08 prices using GDP deflators which were published alongside the 2007 pre-Budget report and comprehensive spending review.

5. All figures are consistent with the 2007 pre-Budget report and comprehensive spending review, as well as expenditure information published on the internet at www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/expenditure.asp.

Source:

Expenditure has been taken from departmental accounting systems and combined with 100 per cent. statistical data to identify the proportion of expenditure paid to people over retirement age living in Kirklees local authority.

Social Security Benefits: Peterborough

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people on benefits in Peterborough constituency had been in receipt of benefits continuously for over 12 months in each year since 1997, broken down by (a) active and (b) inactive benefits. (165918)

The information is in the following table.

Working age claimants of active or inactive benefits with a duration of over 12 months in the Peterborough parliamentary constituency, as at May each year

Active benefits1

Inactive benefits2

1997

3,110

6,100

1998

2,160

6,200

1999

2,000

6,500

2000

1,770

5,600

2001

1,640

5,700

2002

1,450

5,880

2003

1,740

5,930

2004

1,800

5,940

2005

1,960

5,740

2006

2,210

5,750

2007

2,280

5,820

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 case loads 1997 to 1999 figures are rounded to the nearest 100 and for 2000 onwards are rounded to the nearest 10.

2. Inactive benefits case loads for 1997 to 1999 have been uprated by applying 5 per cent. proportions to 100 per cent. WPLS data.

3. Active benefit case loads are rounded to the nearest 5.

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.

Defence

Armed Forces: Compensation

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 13 November 2007, Official Report, column 121W, on armed forces: compensation, how many multiple injuries cases there were in each financial year since 2005-06. (166112)

The information requested is not held centrally for the War Pensions Scheme and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. However, I am able to provide details of the number of awards made under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme for multiple injuries in each year. These are shown in the following table:

Multiple injury awards1, 2

Number

April 2005-March 2006

20

April 2006-March 2007

160

April 2007-September 2007

100

1 Data have been rounded to the nearest five. 2 Figures show the year in which the award was made, this is not necessarily the year in which the injury/illness occurred.

Armed Forces: Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the contribution that can be made to remedying homelessness by releasing void married quarters to Annington Homes. (168241)

None. The alternative use of surplus service families accommodation returned to Annington Homes Limited (AHL) is a matter for the company.

Armed Forces: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) percentage recruitment gap and (b) percentage change in personnel numbers of each regiment was in the latest year for which figures are available. (167886)

Officers are not recruited against regimental targets but against a whole Army requirement. It is only after completing officer training and commissioning that an officer joins a particular regiment.

Army recruitment targets are broken down by arm/service for soldiers. There are no recruitment targets set for the small arms school corps or the Army physical training corps because recruits are required to serve as a soldier before they are entitled to join.

The following tables provide details of army officer and soldier recruitment targets and achievement for the financial year 2006-07, and the change in Army officer and soldier full-time trained strengths between 1 April 2006 and 1 March 2007.

Army recruitment targets and achievements during financial year 2006-07

Rank

Arm/service

Recruitment target

Number recruited

Recruitment percentage

Officers

840

780

92.9

Soldier

Total

13,070

12,660

96.9

Household Cavalry

170

170

100.0

Royal Armoured Corps

630

630

100.0

Royal Artillery

1,030

970

94.2

Royal Engineers

1,370

1,340

97.8

Royal Corps of Signals

870

750

86.2

Infantry

4,260

4,310

101.2

Army Air Corps

190

210

110.5

Royal Logistics Corps

2,410

2,100

87.1

Army Medical Service

450

430

95.6

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

1,060

1,290

121.7

Adjutant General Corps

400

260

65.0

Intelligence Corps

160

160

100.0

Corps of Army Music

70

40

57.1

Notes:

1. Figures for Army recruitment targets and achievement have been taken from recruiting databases and cannot therefore be compared directly to National Statistics published by the Defence Analytical Services Agency.

2. The counts of targets and achievements have been rounded to the nearest 10. Due to the rounding methods used, totals may not always equal the sum of the parts. Numbers ending in “5” have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

Army full-time trained strength (excluding Gurkhas)

Rank

Arm/Service

Strength 1 April 2006

Strength 1 March 2007

Change percentage

Officers

Total

14,020

14,180

1.2

Soldier

Total

83,270

81,760

-1.8

Household Cavalry/Royal Armoured Corps

4,650

4,650

-0.1

Royal Artillery

6,270

5,980

-4.9

Royal Engineers

7,620

7,690

0.9

Royal Corps of Signals

7,520

7,220

-4.3

Infantry

21,160

20,830

-1.8

Army Air Corps

1,480

1,510

2.0

Royal Logistics Corps

13,990

13,740

-2.0

Army Medical Service

2,880

2,760

-4.1

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

8,900

8,780

-1.5

Adjutant General Corps

5,610

5,280

-6.6

Small Arms School Corps

120

120

1.6

Intelligence Corps

1,180

1,200

1.4

Army Physical Training Corps

410

400

-2.8

Corps of Army Music

880

840

-6.0

Long Service List

610

610

-0.7

Notes:

1. Full-time trained strength includes full-time reserve service (FTRS) figures but excludes Gurkhas.

2. Figures exclude; Gurkhas, Home Service Battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment, mobilised reserves,

Territorial Army and other reserves.

3. Due to ongoing data validation following the introduction of the new Joint Personnel Administration (JP A) System, there is no Arm/Corps information currently available from 1 March 2007 therefore it is only possible to provide strengths data for 2006-07 from 1 April 2006 to 1 March 2007.

4. The counts of targets and achievements have been rounded to the nearest 10. Due to the founding methods used, totals may not always equal the sum of the parts. Numbers ending in “5” have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles: Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether Land Rover has been invited to participate in the tender process for the new defence vehicle; how many vehicles are included in the tender; what the size is of the vehicle in the tender; and which companies were included in the tender process. (168644)

[holding answer 27 November 2007]: It is envisaged that up to 16,000 vehicles could be procured under the Operational Utility Vehicles System (OUVS) programme to replace the in-service light utility vehicle capability currently provided by truck utility light, truck utility medium, truck utility medium (heavy duty) and truck utility heavy. The exact user requirements have yet to be fully defined, but it is expected that a range of vehicles will be required, providing payloads of between one to six tonnes.

OUVS is currently in the concept phase and an invitation to tender has not yet been issued. An expression of interest advertisement was published in both the European Official Journal and the Defence Contract Bulletin in September 2007, which has attracted over 50 responses from industry, including Land Rover.

Bosnia: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library the (a) Crisis Management Concept, (b) Military Strategic Options, (c) Initiating Military Directive, (d) Status of Forces Agreement, (e) Status of Mission Agreement and (f) Rules of Engagement for (i) Operation Althea and (ii) the EU military mission to Chad and the Central African Republic. (165884)

Status of mission agreements apply to civilian led missions only, and therefore do not apply to either Operation ALTHEA or the forthcoming mission to Chad and the Central African Republic as they are/will be military missions.

The forthcoming EU military mission to Chad and the Central African Republic is still in the planning stage and the status of forces agreement and the rules of engagement have not yet been agreed.

Operation ALTHEA followed on from the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia Herzegovina and the NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) before it. As a result, United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1551 and 1574 established that the Status of Forces Agreements contained in Appendix B to Annex 1-A of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina apply with respect to the EU mission. The General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found on the Office of the High Representative and EU Special Representative to Bosnia Herzegovina website and on the NATO website:

http://www.ohr.int/

http://www.nato.int/

I am withholding the other information requested as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice international relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Departmental Conditions of Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people in his Department earned a salary over £100,000 in each year since 1997. (167190)

The number of staff, including UK-based civilian staff, staff of trading fund agencies and the armed forces, earning annual basic salary of £100,000 or more is as follows:

Number

1997-98

1

1998-99

1

1999-2000

10-20

2000-01

10-20

2001-02

30-40

2002-03

40-50

2003-04

40-50

2004-05

50-60

2005-06

60-70

2006-07

100-110

1 Less than 10

Note:

Numbers are shown in tranches to allow for slight differences in the basis for data from different payroll systems

Departmental Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of inquiries received by his Department from the public were responded to within (a) one week, (b) 14 days, (c) 28 days, (d) two months and (e) three months; and in what percentage of cases it took (i) over three months and (ii) over one year to respond. (167382)

The Ministry of Defence has only been able to record this information since 12 September 2006 when a new database was introduced. However, figures are only available for 60 per cent. of correspondence received and only for correspondence answered within 20 working days. The figures below are for correspondence received between 12 September 2006 and 31 October 2007.

41 per cent. answered substantively within five working days;

59 per cent. answered substantively within 10 working days;

85 per cent. answered substantively within 20 working days.

The MOD undertakes to answer all correspondence within 15 working days and 80 per cent. was answered substantively within that target.

The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members/Peers correspondence. The Report for 2006 was published by way of a written ministerial statement on 28 March 2007, Official Report, column 101WS. Information for 2007 will be published as soon as it is ready after the end of the calendar year.

Departmental Health Insurance

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many officials in (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies have private health insurance provided as part of their employment package. (167934)

None. Private medical insurance does not form any part of the remuneration package offered by the Ministry of Defence or its agencies.

Departmental Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many reports have been made to his Department's nominated officers under paragraph 16 of the revised civil service code since its publication on 6 June 2006; (162465)

(2) how many allegations of victimisation for whistleblowing have been reported to his Department by departmental staff since 6 June 2006;

(3)when his Department's whistleblowing procedures were reviewed to reflect the provisions in the revised civil service code.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Cabinet Office Minister for the East Midlands on 19 November 2007, Official Report, columns 596-97W.

Departmental Land

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what land surplus to his Department's requirements it is (a) selling, (b) leasing and (c) intending to (i) sell and (ii) lease; and what the size and name of each relevant site is. (168854)

A list detailing surplus sites throughout the UK that the Department is either presently selling, or intending to sell in the future, is available in the Library of the House. The list was last updated in August 2007.

Exservicemen: Military Decorations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many veterans resident in Gloucestershire have applied for the Veterans badge. (168910)

The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency records have identified that a total of 4,128 veterans lapel badges have been issued to residents who have included Gloucestershire in their address.

Hercules Aircraft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the Hercules fleet have been fitted with explosive suppressant foam; and if he will make a statement. (167637)

All Hercules aircraft that are routinely deployed on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are now fitted with explosion suppressant foam.

I do not intend to give regular updates on progress with this programme as to do so would ultimately reveal the total number of Hercules aircraft equipped with this capability and this information would, or would be likely to, prejudice the security of the UK armed forces.

Iraq: Defence Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the availability of reconnaissance equipment for operations in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan. (167474)

The provision of intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance equipment is regularly and routinely assessed by the permanent joint headquarters in liaison with commanders in theatre. There are sufficient assets available for our current commitments. As the operational environment continues to evolve we make adjustments where necessary, including through the urgent operational requirements process. I am withholding any further information as its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Military Aircraft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) aircraft, broken down by type and (b) tanks were withdrawn from service in each year since 1997. (165066)

The following table provides details of the numbers of main battle tanks withdrawn from service with the armed forces in each year since 1997:

Equipment

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

[Challenger 1 (CR1 MBT)

0

0

14

74

90

88

96

53

8

3

0

Challenger 2 (CR 2MBT)

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

140

0

1 20 CR2 MBT are being used as a source of spares. A further 20 remain in storage pending a disposal decision

I will write to the hon. Member with the corresponding information for aircraft and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Military Bases: Colchester

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to hand (a) the former Garrison Church, (b) the former Garrison Theatre and (c) the Victorian Gymnasium over to the developers of the Colchester Garrison site. (168886)

The former Garrison Church is expected to be handed over to the developers of the Colchester Garrison site on 3 December 2007. The Garrison Theatre, part of Goojerat Barracks, may be handed over at any time after 28 December 2007, in accordance with the contract. The Victorian Gymnasium has already been passed to the developer, subject to a lease back arrangement, pending the provision of new facilities under the terms of the Private Finance Initiative, when the old Gymnasium will no longer be required. The new facilities are expected to be completed by mid 2008.

Patrol Craft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what agreement has been reached between his Department and Vosper Thorneycroft (UK) Ltd. to supply three river class offshore patrol vessels; and when the lease will end; (168228)

(2) what steps he plans to take at the end of the lease period for the river class offshore patrol vessels; and if he will make a statement.

The lease arrangement for the three river class offshore patrol vessels currently in place with the VT Group PLC (formerly Vosper Thorneycroft (UK) Ltd.), was let in 2003 for an initial period of five years, with an option to extend for a further five years. The decision was made in December 2006 to exercise this option and the lease arrangement will now expire in 2013. While arrangements for the provision of vessels beyond 2013 will be dependent on the continuing requirement to provide UK Fishery Protection on behalf of DEFRA, contract arrangements would be subject to defence competition policy.

Puma Helicopters

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date the RAF Puma helicopter, lost in Iraq on 20 November, first entered service. (167968)

[holding answer 26 November 2007]: The RAF Puma helicopter ZA938 lost in Iraq on 20 November 2007 entered service on 4 February 1981. The safety record of the Puma has been good, and is comparable with other helicopters operated by the MOD.

Treasury

HM Revenue and Customs

13. To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the performance of HM Revenue and Customs over the last two years (169075)

The latest assessments of all Departments' PSA targets are published on the Treasury website.

HMRC's departmental report in May 2007 showed that 17 of the 23 performance measures underpinning their PSA targets have shown improvement since April 2005.

15. : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the performance of HM Revenue and Customs over the last two years. (169077)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Rugby (Jeremy Wright) (UIN 169075) earlier today.

20. To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made in the HM Revenue and Customs work force change programme in Newport; and if he will make a statement. (169082)

HM Revenues Customs consulted widely earlier this year on its initial proposals for reducing its estate in the Cardiff urban centre—Cardiff, Newport and Pontypridd—to match future business requirements. Detailed feasibility work is being carried out taking account of all the consultation feedback received from staff, unions, hon. Members, Assembly members and local authorities. HMRC hopes to announce decisions early next year.

25. To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the performance of HM Revenue and Customs over the last two years. (169087)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Jeremy Wright) (UIN 169075) earlier today.

Carbon-neutral Operations

16. To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to make the operations of his Department carbon neutral. (169078)

The Treasury is committed to meeting the Government's target to become carbon neutral by 2012, and annually publishes its strategy for reducing its environmental impact.

The Department has reduced carbon emissions from its office estate by 19.5 per cent. since 1999-2000, sources all electricity from renewable sources, and off-sets departmental air travel.

The Treasury will continue to take action to reduce emissions. Opportunities to offset emissions will be explored once levels have been reduced as much as possible

Northern Rock: Debts

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the value is of subordinated debt owed by Northern Rock to the Exchequer; and if he will make a statement. (169079)

The value of subordinated debt owed is a matter for Northern Rock and the Bank of England. We would not comment on any lending from the Bank of England.

International Financial Markets

18. To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has with his international counterparts on the performance of international financial markets. (169080)

The Chancellor regularly meets with his international counterparts to discuss a range of topical issues. More recently, there has been increased focus on financial market developments. In terms of specific meetings where this issue has been discussed, these have included the G7 and G20 Finance Ministers meetings on 19 October and 17-18 November respectively, as well as the meetings of European Finance Ministers in September and October. The Chancellor has also taken part in a range of bilateral meetings with his international counterparts where financial market developments have been discussed.

HM Revenue and Customs: Personal Data

19. To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues and children’s organisations on the implications for child protection of the recent loss of personal data by HM Revenue and Customs. (169081)

The police continue to have no reason to believe that these data have been used for fraudulent purposes or criminal activity. The Government have discussed the broader implications of the incident with a range of organisations, and have considered appropriate steps to manage any risks resulting from the unlikely event that these data fall into the wrong hands.

22. To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer who will bear liability arising from any fraudulent use of the personal data relating to child benefit lost by HM Revenue and Customs. (169084)

The police continue to have no reason to believe that these data have found their way into the wrong hands and are not aware of any evidence that they have been used for fraudulent purposes or criminal activity.

Skills Shortages

24. To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the impact on the UK economy of skills shortages. (169086)

The independent Leitch Review of Skills found no evidence that skill gaps or shortages have held back economic growth, though it did recommend that the Government raise their ambitions on improving the skills of the work force.

The 2007 National Employer Skills Survey conducted by the Learning and Skills Council highlights falls in the proportion of employers reporting skills gaps and the percentage of all vacancies caused by skills shortages.

The Government are increasing their investment in improving the skills of the population. Expenditure on higher education and adult skills in England will grow by over £2 billion over the next three years.

QinetiQ

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues at the Ministry of Defence on the National Audit Office report on the privatisation of QinetiQ. (169083)

The Government accept the recommendations made in the NAO report, and welcome the work undertaken to highlight lessons that can be applied in the future.

Tax Credits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of administration of the tax credit system. (169085)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave the hon. Member for South-West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous) earlier today.

Child Benefit: Personal Records

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people he estimates will be directly affected by the loss of personal data from the child benefit database in each London borough. (168119)

The missing information contains details of all child benefit recipients, including those in London boroughs.

The acting Chairman of HM Revenue and Customs is writing to all customers affected by the loss of child benefit data.

Information on families receiving child benefit at 31 August 2006 by local authority and parliamentary constituency is published as part of National Statistics and can be found in tables 2 and 3 of Child Benefit Statistics Geographical Analysis which are available on HMRC’s website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/child_benefit/geog-aug06.pdf

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many child benefit claimants in (a) Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency and (b) the London borough of Bexley are affected by the loss of bank account details by HM Revenue and Customs. (168169)

The missing information contains details of all child benefit recipients, including those in Bexleyheath and Crayford and the London borough of Bexley. The acting chairman of HM Revenue and Customs is writing to all customers affected by the loss of child benefit data.

Information on families receiving child benefit at 31 August 2006 by local authority and parliamentary constituency is published as part of National Statistics and can be found in tables 2 and 3 of child benefit statistics geographical analysis which are available on HMRC’s website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/child_benefit/geog-aug06.pdf

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) children and (b) adults in (i) East Cambridgeshire, (ii) South Cambridgeshire, (iii) Cambridgeshire and (iv) the South East Cambridgeshire constituency have had their personal details lost in the recent security breach at HM Revenue and Customs. (168721)

The missing information contains details of all child benefit recipients, including those in East Cambridgeshire, South Cambridgeshire, Cambridgeshire and the South East Cambridgeshire. The acting chairman of HM Revenue and Customs is writing to all customers affected by the loss of child benefit data.

Information on families receiving child benefit at 31 August 2006 by local authority and parliamentary constituency is published as part of National Statistics and can be found in tables 2 and 3 of child benefit statistics geographical analysis which are available on HMRC’s website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/child_benefit/geogaug06.pdf

Corporate Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information his Department holds on the level of corporate tax rates in each of the OECD economies in each year since 1990. (167867)

Data on corporate tax rates in OECD countries are publicly available from the OECD tax database, which can be accessed from the OECD’s public website at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/26/56/33717459.xls. These data are available from 2000.

Council Tax: Rebates

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost to the Exchequer of rebating (a) £100, (b) £200, (c) £300 and (d) £400 in council tax to all households with at least one resident (i) over the age of 65, (ii) under the age of seven and (iii) under the age of 11. (166631)

The following table gives the requested information.

Households containing

Council tax rebate (£)

A person aged 65 and over (£ million)

Children aged 7 and under (£ million)

Children aged 11 and under (£ million)

100

300

280

390

200

610

560

780

300

940

850

1,180

400

1,290

1,140

1,580

Notes:

1. Estimated cost for 2007-08, net of council tax benefit expenditure.

2. Estimates for Great Britain.

3. Estimated using HM Treasury tax-benefit simulation model using Family Resources Survey 2005-06 uprated to 2007-08 levels of prices and earnings.

4. Assumes 100 per cent. take-up of benefits.

5. Modelled by reducing original council tax liability before council tax benefit is calculated.

Departmental Documents

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his Department's (a) policy and (b) practice is on classifying documents as not for National Audit Office eyes. (167622)

Departmental Telephone Services

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what information his Department collects and monitors in relation to the telephone contact centres for which his Department is responsible; (166542)

(2) which telephone contact centres are the responsibility of his Department; what mechanisms are in place to monitor their effectiveness; and how many people have been employed in each of those centres in each year since they were established.

HMRC currently operates 21 contact centres through its centrally managed customer contact directorate. These handle the bulk of inbound customer initiated telephone calls. Additionally there remain a number of helplines and back office telephony services that are operated outside of this contact centre network.

The effectiveness of the HMRC contact centre operations is monitored through standard departmental management arrangements, through customer satisfaction surveys, through membership of the industry-wide Contact Centre Association and by active participation in the recently established Contact Council, set up following publication of Sir David Varney's report: “Service Transformation: a Better Service For Citizens and Businesses, a Better Deal for Taxpayers” published alongside the 2006 pre-Budget report and available at

www.hm-treasury.gov.uk.

With regard to staff numbers, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 26 July 2007, Official Report, column 1453W.

HMRC collects and monitors a wide range of information in respect of its contact centre operations including call volumes, caller demand, service levels achieved and customer satisfaction survey results.

Productivity: Public Sector

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what revisions to the definition of public sector productivity there have been since 1997; and how many times this definition has changed since 1997. (166746)

Productivity is the relationship between inputs and outputs and the measurement of public sector output and therefore of public sector productivity is technically complex. The Atkinson review was set up by the National Statistician to independently review the future development of measures of government output, productivity and associated price indices. Following the Review's report in 2005 the National Statistician set up within the Office of National Statistics (ONS) the UK centre for the Measurement of Government Activity (UKCeMGA) to take forward the review's findings. This work is continuing and regular progress reports are published by UKCeMGA on their website.

Revenue and Customs: ICT

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for how long the computer system in the HM Revenue and Customs office at Bradford has been out of operation; what the reasons were for the failure of the system; and what steps he is taking to ensure that such failures are not repeated. (167969)

According to our records, the computer system in the HM Revenue and Customs office in Bradford is not out of operation.

Revenue and Customs: Prosecutions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many criminal prosecutions were brought against HM Revenue and Customs staff for matters relating to their employment in the last year for which figures are available. (168051)

HM Revenue and Customs currently has around 87,000 staff. In the last financial year commencing 1 April 2006 and ending 31 March 2007, 15 criminal prosecutions were completed against HM Revenue and Customs staff for matters relating to their employment.

Tax Allowances: Agriculture

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what value of roll-over relief was claimed in respect of gains made on agricultural land in the latest year for which figures are available. (168757)

Taxation: Domicil

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of non-domicile tax status personnel currently associated with the UK for at least part of the year; how many have incomes of (a) less than £100,000, (b) £100 to 500,000, (c) £500,000 to £1 million, (d) £1 to 5 million, (e) £5 to 20 million, (f) £20 to 50 million, (g) £50 to 100 million and (h) in excess of £100 million; and what revenue would be raised if a tax were applied of (i) 40 per cent. to each category below £1 million, (ii) 50 per cent. to each category between £1 million and £5 million and (iii) 60 per cent. on each category above £5 million. (166164)

[holding answer 20 November 2007]: Information on how long non-domiciled individuals are present in the UK within a particular year is not available.

Information is only available on the numbers of individuals indicating non-domicile status on their self assessment (SA) returns. The last full year's SA data relate to 2004-05, in which there were 115,000 indicating non-domicile status. HMRC's live systems show the latest figure (as at August 2007) for 2005-06 is 114,000 individuals.

Information on worldwide incomes for non-domiciles is not available. A breakdown by UK taxable income of the individuals who indicated non-domicile status through SA tax returns in 2005-06 is as follows (data as at April 2007).

Total taxable income (lower limit)

Numbers indicating non-domicile status

£0

84,000

£100,000

23,000

£500,000

3,000

£1,000,000

1,000

£5,000,000

100

All

111,000

Note:

This total number is smaller than reported above as more returns were processed between April and August 2007. Income bands above £5 million have been grouped together to protect tax payer confidentiality.

The total UK tax liability of those indicating non-domicile status in 2005-06 (as at April 2007) was £3.9 billion. Applying tax rates of (i) 40 per cent. to individuals with less than £1 million UK taxable income, (ii) 50 per cent. to individuals with between £1 million and £5 million UK taxable income and (iii) 60 per cent. to individuals with £5 million taxable income or more in 2005-06 would have raised around £6.3 billion, i.e. an additional £2.4 billion. This is a theoretical maximum, not taking into account personal allowances, other tax rates or behavioural effects, such as rearranging tax affairs to take more income out of UK tax, reducing hours worked or leaving the UK altogether.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will estimate the average earnings of those registered as non-domiciled in the UK; (166352)

(2) how many and what proportion of non-domiciles for taxation purposes have been resident in the UK for more than 10 years.

Information is only available for individuals indicating non-domicile status on their self assessment (SA) returns. Income data for such individuals are only available annually. For 2005-06 these data (as at April 2007) included 111,000 individuals, of whom 65,000 declared UK employment income averaging approximately £140,000. In addition, 13,000 declared foreign source employment income averaging approximately £60,000.

Based on a small scale sampling exercise in 2004 covering cases processed by HMRC expatriate and complex personal return teams, it has been estimated that around 10,000 individuals indicating non-domicile status per year have been resident in the UK for more than 10 years. This represents approximately 9 per cent. of the 115,000 individuals indicating non-domicile status in 2004-05, the last full year of data.

VAT: Game Birds

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much unpaid VAT was (a) detected and (b) reclaimed by the HM Revenue and Customs Game Shooting Industry National Pilot Project; (168915)

(2) how much unpaid income tax has been recovered through the HM Revenue and Customs Game Shooting Industry National Pilot Project;

(3) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the HM Revenue and Customs Game Shooting Industry National Pilot Project.

The shoot project is ongoing. To date VAT assessments have been issued for £6 million. This figure is expected to double within the lifetime of the project.

The project began in HM Customs and Excise as a VAT initiative. However, HMRC always seeks to take a cross tax view of initiatives when possible. Earlier this year the VAT results then available were reviewed for signs of any additional income tax liability. Risks of underpaid income tax have only been identified in a small proportion of the cases reviewed and as yet no income tax has been recovered

No assessment of the effectiveness of the shoot project has been made.

Welfare Tax Credits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 12 November 2007, Official Report, column 25W, on welfare tax credits, how many full-time equivalent staff at HM Customs and Revenue are working to complete the review of tax credits awards from 2003 to 2006. (166412)

[holding answer 20 November 2007]: Around 130 Tax Credit Office staff are currently working directly on the cases arising from this exercise. As the review progresses, the Tax Credit Office will assign resources so that these awards are put on a sound footing as soon as is practicable. HMRC remain committed to improving the services they provide to tax credits customers.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 12 November 2007, Official Report, column 25W, on welfare tax credits, how many tax credits claimants are subject to reduced payments as a consequence of alleged over payments from 2003 to 2006 which are now the subject of the review by HM Customs and Revenue. (166413)

[holding answer 20 November 2007]: The number of households whose current tax credits awards are reduced to recover an overpayment that is the subject of this review is not readily available, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The awards which are being reviewed, however, do accurately reflect the households' circumstances at the time the original decision was made. The process by which HM Revenue and Customs took the relevant new information into account was not correct. The review will simply put the affected awards on the proper administrative footing, and the majority of those affected by the review will not see any impact on their tax credits award.

Welfare Tax Credits: EC Nationals

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate he has made of the amount of (a) working tax credit and (b) child tax credit overpaid to A8 nationals working in the UK in the last 12 months. (167651)

Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer from how many declared bankrupts the Tax Credit Office has reclaimed tax credit overpayments. (167647)

Since May 2004 HM Revenue and Customs is aware of around 1,500 cases where claimants have notified the Department that they are bankrupt.

Information is not available for the number of claimants who have notified the Department they are bankrupt but are continuing to pay back an overpayment of tax credits.

If any claimant disputes HMRC's decision to recover an overpayment from them, then HMRC will suspend the recovery of the overpaid tax credits while the reasons for the dispute are looked into.

Prime Minister

Anti-Semitism

To ask the Prime Minister for what reasons question 167389 on the cross-Government working group on anti-semitism, was transferred to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government; what criteria he uses when deciding to transfer a question; how many questions tabled to him have been transferred to other Government Ministers since June 2007; and if he will make a statement. (169532)

Questions are answered by the responsible Minister. Details of transfers can be found in the daily ‘Questions Book’, copies of which are available in the Vote Office.

Departmental Accountability

To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answers of 19 November 2007, Official Report, columns 576-77W, on departmental accountability, for what reasons he did not provide the information requested in the questions tabled. (169624)

I have nothing further to add to the answer I gave the hon. Member on 19 November 2007, Official Report, columns 576-77W.

Diego Garcia: USA

To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 19 November 2007, Official Report, column 577W, on Diego Garcia: USA, for what reasons he did not state whether he would ensure a Parliamentary debate before any decision is taken on the use of Diego Garcia by the US Administration. (169623)

I have nothing further to add to the answer I gave the hon. Member on 19 November 2007, Official Report, column 577W.

Joint Intelligence Committee

To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to publish the names of attenders of Joint Intelligence Committee meetings. (167336)

Details of the membership of the Joint Intelligence Committee can be found on the UK Intelligence Community Online website at:

http://www.intelligence.gov.uk/central_intelligence_machinery/joint_intelligence_ committee.aspx.

A copy of this webpage has been placed in the Library of the House.

Ministerial Changes: Ministry of Defence

To ask the Prime Minister what additional cost to the public purse there will be from the appointment of Baroness Taylor of Bolton to replace Lord Drayson as Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support; and if he will make a statement. (165546)

Ministerial salaries are paid in accordance with the Ministerial and Other Salaries Act 1975. The Act limits the number of ministerial salaries to 109.

NHS

To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of the (a) agenda, (b) minutes and (c) action points of the meeting held by his predecessor on 17 October 2006 with strategic health authority chief executives. (167839)

Details of this meeting can be found on the Number 10 website at

http://pm.gov.uk/output/Page10227.asp.

A copy of this webpage has been placed in the Library of the House.

Opinion Leader Research

To ask the Prime Minister how many contracts were awarded by his Office to Opinion Leader Research in each year since 1997; and what was (a) the title and purpose, (b) the cost to the public purse and (c) the dates of (i) tender, (ii) award, (iii) operation and (iv) completion and report to the Department in each case. (165325)

I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given to her by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office on 26 November 2007, Official Report, column 132W.

Security Guards: Illegal Immigrants

To ask the Prime Minister when he was first informed that illegal migrant workers had been given clearance to work in sensitive security posts. (168605)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden (David Davis) on 19 November 2007, Official Report, column 578W.

Terrorism

To ask the Prime Minister (1) on what dates he has consulted the (a) Director of Public Prosecutions, (b) the Attorney-General and (c) the Solicitor-General on Government proposals to increase the number of days a suspect may be held under anti-terror legislation since June 2007; (169253)

(2) when he last met the Director of Public Prosecutions to discuss counter-terrorism policy.

I have regular meetings and discussions with ministerial colleagues and others on a wide range of subjects.

Trade Unions

To ask the Prime Minister how many meetings he has had with trades union leaders since 27 June; which leaders he met; when and where such meetings took place; and if he will make a statement. (169286)

My officials and I have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals on a range of subjects.

Uganda: Human Rights

To ask the Prime Minister what representations he made to President Museveni during the Commonwealth Heads of State Conference on (a) the human rights situation in Uganda and (b) the peace talks with the Lord's Resistance Army. (168062)

I discussed a wide range of issues with President Museveni during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda including the UK Government's support of the Juba peace talks.

World Cup: Football

To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 13 November 2007, Official Report, column 232W, on World Cup, what the dates were of meetings since 28 June held between him or officials working on his behalf and the Football Association at which the appointment of the Government's World Cup ambassador was discussed. (167840)

I have nothing further to add to the answer I gave the hon. Member on 13 November 2007, Official Report, column 232W.

Written Questions

To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answers of 19 November 2007, Official Report, column 577W, on (a) mass media and (b) departmental official engagements, for what reasons he did not provide the information requested in the questions. (169625)

I have nothing further to add to the answer I gave the hon. Member on 19 November 2007, Official Report, column 577W.

Public Accounts Commission

Government Departments: Data Protection

To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission what assessment has been made of the efficacy of data protection practice to safeguard against the unauthorised release of data which have been adopted by Government departments and agencies when subject to audit by the National Audit Office. (170030)

This is not a matter for the Commission. The Comptroller and Auditor General has, by statute, complete discretion in the discharge of his functions, and the Commission therefore does not intervene in the day to day running of the National Audit Office. The hon. Member may wish to write to the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Alternative Energy: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the Government's capacity targets are for the commercial development of (a) wave energy and (b) tidal energy in UK waters by (i) 2012, (ii) 2020 and (iii) 2030. (166961)

The Government have not set capacity targets for individual technologies but provide a range of support measures to facilitate the development of wave and tidal energy.

These include £35 million already committed for innovative industry-led technology development under the Technology Strategy Board's technology programme and £50 million under BERR's marine renewables deployment fund to support the first larger-scale demonstration projects.

We have consulted on banding the RO so as to provide greater levels of support to these emerging renewable technologies.

Defence: Exports

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the value was of defence exports in each of the last five years for which full year data are available; and if he will provide a table showing (a) the UK share of the global defence exports market in each year and (b) the split by (i) number and (ii) value of contracts in sterling between government-to-government contracts or agreements and non-government-to-government contracts or agreements. (168382)

[holding answer 26 November 2007]: I have been asked to reply.

The following table shows our estimate of the share of the global defence market for which UK exports account in the years 2002 to 2006.

UK market share (Percentage)

2002

22

2003

22

2004

20

2005

18

2006

18

The value of orders won by UK industry is shown in UK Defence Statistics 2007, Table 1.14. A copy of which is available in the Library of the House and also online at:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/natstats/ukds/2007/cl/table114.html

The other information is not held in the format requested. We estimate, however, that around two-fifths of the value of UK defence exports in the years 2002 to 2006 relates to business under government-to-government agreements. During these years three such agreements have contributed to this overall share of UK exports.

Fuel Poverty

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he plans to publish the Annual Progress Report for 2007 on the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy. (166771)

[holding answer 21 November 2007]: The Government will publish shortly their annual progress report on fuel poverty covering 2005 which will include statistics of households in fuel poverty in England in 2005.

Microgeneration

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what percentage of the UK's electricity is supplied from sources using microgeneration technologies; and if he will make a statement. (167003)

In 2006, five gigawatts of installed capacity of renewables produced 4.5 per cent. of electricity generated in the United Kingdom. We estimate that there are approximately 100,000 microgeneration installations in the United Kingdom. However specific figures for the amount of electricity generated by microgeneration are not available.

Natural Gas: Distribution

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent estimate he has made of the number of households with access to mains gas supply. (167507)

[holding answer 27 November 2007]: My Department does not hold information about the number of households that have access to mains gas, whether or not they take it up. Ofgem's Domestic Retail Market Report (June 2007) states that there are 21.5 million domestic gas customer accounts in Great Britain.

Power Stations

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what research his Department has undertaken on the capacity of existing power station sites in the UK to accommodate (a) nuclear new build and (b) renewable technologies. (168174)

As part of the Government's preparations for the 2006 Energy Review report, the Department commissioned Jackson Consulting to produce a discussion paper looking at the issues that would be relevant to the siting of any new nuclear power stations. The paper included a preliminary assessment of the suitability of existing nuclear power station sites for any new build and also included the suggestion that opportunities for new build might exist at other power station sites. The paper, which represents the views of the authors Jackson Consulting alone, was published by the Department on its website on 23 May 2007 as a background paper to the Government's consultation on the future of nuclear power.

The Department is currently considering responses to the consultation on nuclear power. If the Government were to confirm their preliminary view that it would be in the public interest to allow private sector energy companies the option of investing in new nuclear power stations, we have proposed to undertake a strategic siting assessment (SSA), in combination with a strategic environmental assessment, to develop robust, objective and transparent criteria for assessing the suitability of sites for new nuclear power stations.

On renewables, in July 2006 the Department published on its website a study by IPA and Mitsui Babcock into the economics of co-firing, the ability of existing fossil fuel stations to burn a proportion of biomass to generate electricity.

Renewable Energy: Seas and Oceans

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) if he will modify the operation of the Marine Renewables Development fund (a) to accommodate the changing needs of British renewable companies and (b) to develop a marine energy industry in the UK; (166973)

(2) how much of the Marine Renewables Development Fund has been allocated to date; and to which schemes funds have been allocated.

The Marine Renewables Deployment Fund (MRDF) provides support for early commercial scale wave and tidal-stream demonstration projects. To date no individual demonstration projects have been supported under the MRDF as progress towards full commercialisation of these technologies has been slower than expected. The MRDF has offered £4.5 million support to the proposed Wave Hub project (at:

www.wavehub.co.uk)

and £2 million has been allocated to a programme of environmental research for these technologies.

The Renewables Advisory Board is currently conducting a review of the marine sector including reasons for the low take-up to date of the MRDF. A final report is expected later this year and we will consider any recommendations carefully.

Wave Power

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the contribution of wave and tidal energy towards meeting renewable targets; and if he will amend the system of renewable obligation certificates for the renewable energy sector to encourage the development of wave and tidal energy. (167036)

A report by the Carbon Trust ‘Future Marine Energy’ at:

www.thecarbontrust.co.uk/Publications/publicationdetail.htm?productid=:CTC601

estimated that together offshore wave and tidal-steam energy has the potential to meet between 15 per cent. and 20 per cent. of current UK electricity.

The Government are currently considering the responses to the consultation on our proposals to amend the renewables obligation to provide greater levels of support for emerging technologies including wave and tidal energy.

Wind Power

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many wind farms there are in (a) Ribble Valley, (b) Lancashire and (c) England. (168304)

[holding answer 26 November 2007]: There are no wind farms in the Ribble Valley. However, there are three wind farms in Lancashire and one of these, Caton Moor, is near the Ribble Valley. England has a total of 148 wind farms.

Northern Ireland

Crimes of Violence: Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the level of violent crime in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years. (163161)

The number of violent crimes recorded by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in the last three years is as follows:

Number of violent crimes

2004-05

32,512

2005-06

34,408

2006-07

35,223

1 April to 30 September 2007

16,313

Violent crime includes offences against the person such as, murder, manslaughter, wounding with intent and GBH with intent. It also includes sexual offences such as, rape and indecent assault on a female, robbery and hijacking.

The Northern Ireland Policing Plan 2007 to 2010, commits the PSNI to reducing the total number of violent crimes by 2 per cent. by 31 March 2008. Targets are measured against a baseline at 31 March 2007.

Excellent progress has been made against this target; violent crimes recorded by the police have been reduced by 15.7 per cent. for the first six months of this year, compared with the same period last year.

Culture, Media and Sport

Commonwealth Games: Glasgow

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what lottery funding will be made available for the hosting of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. (168328)

National Lottery grant-making decisions are made independently of Government by the lottery distributing bodies. I understand that Glasgow's Candidate City File for the 2014 Games set out the various revenue streams that were expected and that this did not include any revenue from the lottery.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what increase in jobs he expects the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games to bring to Scotland in each year from 2007. (169441)

Sport in Scotland, including the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and its legacy, is the responsibility of the Scottish Executive. We are, however, committed to working with the bid partners to ensure a successful Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Digital Broadcasting

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) which areas (a) can receive all digital multiplex signals, (b) have partial coverage and (c) are unable to receive any digital multiplex signals via digital terrestrial television in each region; (168996)

(2) what percentage of each region is covered by each digital broadcasting multiplex signal on (a) terrestrial, (b) cable and (c) satellite broadcasting platforms;

(3) what the percentage coverage was of each digital broadcasting multiplex signal in each region broadcasting from each digital platform in each of the last five years.

The matters raised are the responsibility of the Office of Communications (Ofcom), as independent regulator for the communications sector. Accordingly, I have asked the chief executive of Ofcom to reply directly to the hon. Member. Copies of the chief executive's letter will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Football: Tickets

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent representations he has received about the pricing regime of Premier League football tickets for the 2007-08 season; and if he will make a statement. (169536)

I have received correspondence regarding ticket pricing from a wide number of stakeholders including supporters groups, clubs and fans.

Ticket pricing is a matter for the football authorities and it would not be right for Government to seek to intervene in these issues directly.

However, there is a clear role for Government to play in acting as a ‘critical friend’ to football, and in seeking to facilitate useful debates around areas of concern across all levels of sport.

The Government are committed to ensuring that all football clubs are run in the best possible way and that they remain a focal point of their local community and I will continue to highlight the concerns of supporters in my regular discussion with the football authorities.

Olympics

Official Gifts

To ask the Minister for the Olympics if she will place in the Library a list of gifts and hospitality given by members of the Olympic Delivery Authority; and if she will make a statement. (169374)

The Olympic Delivery Authority intends to publish its gifts and hospitality register early next year.

Olympic Delivery Authority: Business Interests

To ask the Minister for the Olympics if she will place in the Library the latest copy of the Olympic Delivery Authority's register of (a) interests and (b) gifts and hospitality. (168400)

[holding answer 26 November 2007]: The Olympic Delivery Authority intends to publish its first (a) register of Board members’ interests, and (b) its gifts and hospitality register, early next year.

Transport

Bus Services: Concessions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to ensure that buses in all areas have smart-card readers when smart cards for nation-wide pensioners travel concessions are introduced. (169477)

The Government have no immediate plans to fund the roll-out of smart readers on buses. It would not be practical to require smart readers to be installed in buses in all areas in time for April 2008 when the national bus concession is introduced.

Operators and local authorities are free to work together to implement full smart ticketing and we fully support such action. There are substantial advantages to bus operators and local authorities in going ‘smart’—reduced fraud and much better data on how many concessionary journeys are being made, which will help with reimbursement arrangements.

Crossrail Line

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether it is planned that a single operator will run all passenger trains on Crossrail tracks. (168661)

I refer the hon. Member to section 8, ‘Crossrail Operations’, of the Heads of Terms for Crossrail that has been agreed between the Department for Transport and Transport for London, which was placed in the House Library by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport on 26 November and which states:

“Agreement has not yet been reached as to whether there will be a single Crossrail TOC [Train Operating Company] or more than one Crossrail TOC”

Crossrail Line: Paddington Station

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had on the interaction of new Crossrail services and existing commuter rail links running into Paddington. (168662)

The Crossrail services will subsume inner suburban services, and there will be complementary longer distance commuter services. Stops by express trains are not affected. There has been consultation by a variety of means, including: during project development; as part of the hybrid bill process; through the Crossrail Railway Stakeholders’ Forum that I chair and by the Office of Rail Regulation on the application for access rights for Crossrail services contained in an access option.

Emergency Services: Motorways

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the number of occasions on which emergency vehicles have used the hard shoulder for access to an incident on each of the motorways in the North West Region in the last 12 months. (169512)

The Department for Transport does not hold records in relation to the number of occasions that vehicles, belonging to the Emergency Services, have used the motorway hard-shoulder in the North West for access to incidents.

Gatwick Express

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what involvement her Department has had in the alteration of timetables and services on the Gatwick Express over the last 12 months. (168689)

There have been no alterations to Gatwick Express services during the last 12 months. The department has, however, agreed a Deed of Amendment to the Southern franchise, which, among other things, will provide for the extension of some morning and evening peak Gatwick Express services from and to Brighton. These changes are scheduled for introduction in December 2008.

Railways: Fares

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what conclusions she has reached following her Department's review of unregulated rail fares; and if she will make a statement. (164636)

The Department has not undertaken a formal review of unregulated fares. Unregulated fares are a matter for train operators. The Department continues to listen to the representations of Passenger Focus and has invited them to take a greater role in commenting on the specification of future franchises.

Railways: Safety Measures

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the answer of 20 December 2005, Official Report, column 2932W, when she expects the Rail Safety Standards Board research into passenger emergency evacuation procedures to be published. (168921)

The Rail Safety and Standards Board published its research on 31 July 2007. The findings are available on the RSSB website www.rssb.co.uk.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether any people have died as a result of using emergency egress windows as a means of escape following a train crash. (168927)

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) is unaware of any people having died as a result of using designated emergency egress windows as a means of escape following a train crash.

Road Traffic: Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of her Department’s spending has been devoted to measures to reduce the amount of traffic generated by the school run in each of the last five years. (164630)

The development of measures to reduce the amount of traffic generated by the school run does not fall neatly into boxes that enable us to say what proportion of the Department’s spending has been devoted to these in each of the last five years. This is because, in addition to the expenditure on centrally managed programmes, a considerable amount of expenditure is committed by local highway authorities that receive funding from the Department through the Local Transport Plan (LTP) settlement and determine their own priorities.

The Mayor of London also receives funding from the Department via a total transport grant through Transport for London (TfL) and bus operators receive Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) which makes bus services cheaper. The DfT integrated block element of the LTP settlement was worth £547 million in 2006-07, while TfL received £2.4 billion and bus service operators received £380 million in BSOG.

In addition we can, however, identify the amount of funding allocated for regional and local authority school travel advisers through the “Travelling to School” project, for ‘Links to Schools’ and for other initiatives such as ‘Bike It’ that promote and support cycling to school. (Prior to April 2004, the Department awarded a number of bursaries to local authorities to enable them to employ school travel plan co-ordinators rather than school travel advisers.) The levels of expenditure in each of the last five years are shown as follows:

£ million

Regional and LASTAs

‘Links to schools’

Bike it

2002-03

1.935

2003-04

1.935

2004-05

3.75

10

2005-06

3.75

2

0.3

2006-07

3.75

4.2

0.312

We know that local authorities spent the following amounts of funding received through their LTP settlement on providing ‘Safe Routes to School’. The figure for 2006-07 has still to be audited.

£ million

‘Safe routes to school’

2002-03

27.737

2003-04

24.33

2004-05

26.319

2005-06

25.398

2006-07

19.457

This provides only a partial picture. Other funding allocated to local authorities through the LTP settlement will have been allocated to measures that will contribute to reducing traffic generated by the school run but they are not designed solely for this purpose. Examples will include other road safety and traffic calming schemes, road maintenance and cycle lanes.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will list each motorway and trunk road building project that has been submitted for the targeted programme of improvement scheme; and which schemes (a) have been (i) successful and (ii) unsuccessful and (b) are still being considered. (163226)

The following schemes have been approved for entry to the Targeted Programme of Improvements (TPI), since its inception. The six schemes shown as “suspended” were not prioritised for funding by the regions within their Regional Funding Allocations to 2015-16.

Project name

Open to traffic

A1 Willowburn—Denwick Improvement

Yes

A1 (M) Ferrybridge—Hook Moor

Yes

A1 (M) Wetherby—Walshford

Yes

A2 Bean—Cobham Phase 1 Bean—Pepperhill

Yes

A2 Bean—Cobham Phase 2 Pepperhill—Cobham

Under construction

A2/A282 Dartford Improvement

Under construction

A5 Nesscliffe Bypass

Yes

A5 Weeford—Fazeley Improvement

Yes

A6 Great Glen Bypass

Yes

A6 Rushden and Higham Ferrers Bypass

Yes

A6 Rothwell—Desborough Bypass

Yes

A6 Clapham Bypass

Yes

A6 Alvaston Improvement

Yes

A10 Wadesmill to Colliers End Bypass

Yes

A11 Roudham Heath—Attleborough Improvement

Yes

A14 Rookery Crossroads GSJ

Yes

A21 Lamberhurst Bypass

Yes

A23 Coulsdon Inner Relief Road

Transferred to TfL

A27 Polegate Bypass

Yes

A34 Chieveley/M4 Jet 13 Improvement

Yes

A41 Aston Clinton Bypass

Yes

A43 Silverstone Bypass (A43 M40—B4031 Dualling)

Yes

A43 Whitfield Turn—Brackley Hatch Improvement (A43 M40—B4031 Dualling)

Yes

A43 M40—B4031 Dualling

Yes

A46 Newark—Lincoln Improvement

Yes

A63 Selby Bypass

Yes

A66 Stainburn and Great Clifton Bypass

Yes

A120 Stansted to Braintree Improvement

Yes

A249 Iwade—Queenborough Improvement (DBFO)

Yes

A303 Stonehenge

Under review

A421 Great Barford Bypass

Yes

A500 City Road and Stoke Junction Improvement

Yes

A500 Basford, Hough, Shavington Bypass

Yes

A650 Bingley Relief Road

Yes

A1033 Hedon Road Improvement

Yes

M25J12-15 Widening

Yes

M60 J5-8 Widening

Yes

A11 Attleborough Bypass

Yes

A11 Fiveways—Thetford Improvement

In preparation

A47 Thorney Bypass

Yes

M6 Carlisle to Guardsmill Extension

Under construction

A63 Melton Grade Separated Junction

Yes

A14 Haughley New St—Stowmarket Improvement

Under construction

A3 Hindhead Improvement

Under construction

A38 Dobwalls Bypass

Under construction

A595 Parton—Lillyhall Improvement

Under construction

A1 Peterborough—Blyth GSJ

Under construction

M62 Junction 6 Improvement

Under construction

A46 Newark—Widmerpool Improvement

In preparation

A30 Bodmin Indian Queens Improvement

Yes

A483 Pant—Llanymynech Bypass

Suspended

A5117/A550 Deeside Park Junctions Improvement

Under construction

A419 Blunsdon Bypass

Under construction

A66 Temple Sowerby Bypass and Imp at Winderwath

Yes

A1 Dishforth to Leeming Improvement (A1 Dishforth to Barton)

In preparation

A1 Bramham—Wetherby (Including Wetherby BP)

Under construction

A1 Leeming to Barton Improvement (A1 Dishforth to Barton)

In preparation

A64 Rillington Bypass

Suspended

M40/A404 Handy Cross Junction Improvement

Yes

A47 Blofield to North Burlingham Dualling

In preparation

A66 Greta Bridge to Stephen Bank Improvement

Yes

A66 Carkin Moor to Scotch Corner Improvement

Yes

A428 Caxton Common to Hardwick Improvement

Yes

A30/A382 Merrymeet Junction

Yes

A66 Long Newton Junction

Under construction

A1 Stannington Junction

Yes

A69 Haydon Bridge Bypass

Under construction

A419 Commonhead Junction

Yes

M4 Junction 18 Eastbound Diverge

Yes

M5 Junctions 17—18a Northbound Climbing Lane (Hallen Hill)

Yes

M5 Junctions 19-20 Southbound Climbing Lane (Naish Hill)

Yes

M5 Junctions 19-20 Northbound Climbing Lane (Tickenham Hill)

Yes

M1 J19/M6 Improvement

In preparation

A14 Ellington—Fen Ditton Improvement

In preparation

A57/A628 Mottram in Longdendale, Hollingworth and Tintwistle BP

In preparation

A45/A46 Tollbar End Improvement

In preparation

M1 Junction 6a to 10 Widening

Under construction

M1 Junction 10 to 13 Widening

In preparation

A1 Morpeth to Felton Dualling

Suspended

A1 Adderstone to Belford Dualling

Suspended

A1/A19/A1068 Seaton Burn Junction Improvement

In preparation

A19/A184 Testos Grade Separated Junction

In preparation

A505 Dunstable Northern Bypass (A5 to M1 Link)

In preparation

A421 Bedford to M1 Junction 13

In preparation

A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling

In preparation

M40 Junction 15 (Longbridge Roundabout)

In preparation

A64 Colton Lane GSJ

Yes

A590 High and Low Newton Bypass

Under construction

M20 Junction 10A

In preparation

A30 Garland Cross to Chiverton Cross

Suspended

A30 Temple to Higher Carblake Improvement

Suspended

A27 Southerham to Beddingham Improvement

Under construction

M1 J21-30 (Phase 1)

Under construction

M1 J21-30 (Phase2)

In preparation

M25 J1b-3 Widening (Section 3)

Under construction

M25 J5-7 Widening (Section 2)

In preparation

M25 J16-23 Widening (Section 1)

In preparation

M25 J23-27 Widening (Section 5)

In preparation

M25 J27-30 Widening (Section 4)

In preparation

A21 Kippings Cross to Lamberhurst Improvements

In preparation

A23 Handcross to Warninglid Widening

In preparation

A453 Widening (M1 J24 to A52 Nottingham)

In preparation

M25 Junction 28/A12 Brook Street Junction Improvement

Under construction

M27 J11-J12 Climbing Lanes

In preparation

M27 J3 To J4 Widening

In preparation

M1 J30 to J31 Improvement

In preparation

M1 J31 to J32 Widening

Under construction

M1 J32 to J34 South Improvement

In preparation

M1 J34 North to J37 Improvement

In preparation

M1 J37 to J39 Improvement

In preparation

M1 J39 to J42 Improvement

In preparation

M1 J31-32 N/B Collector/Distributor

In preparation

M62 J25 to J27 Improvement

In preparation

M62 J27 to Jct 28 Improvement

In preparation

The Highways Agency carries out a wide range of investigations to establish whether or not improvement schemes are required to address particular issues and problems on the trunk road network. A complete list of schemes which have been considered since the start of the Targeted Programme of Improvements could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

A number of schemes are currently being prepared and will be submitted in due course for a decision on whether they should be added to the roads programme. However, no applications are currently being considered.

Severn Bridge: Tolls

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the effects on the public purse of costs arising from removing the tolls from the two Severn bridges; and if she will make a statement. (168774)

No estimate has been made of the effects on the public purse of costs arising from removing the tolls from the two Severn bridges.

Current legislation allows the concessionaire for the Severn Crossings to charge tolls until a defined amount has been collected from the tolling regime. At that time, the Severn Crossings will revert to the ownership of Government. There are no plans to terminate the concession agreement in advance of this. Current estimates are that ownership of the Crossings will revert to Government in 2016.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the effect of the Severn Bridge toll arrangements on traffic flows (a) east and (b) west on the A48 in Gloucestershire. (168775)

No recent assessments have been made by the Highways Agency of the impact of the Severn Bridge toll arrangements on traffic flows eastbound and westbound on the A48 in Gloucestershire.

South West Trains: Rolling Stock

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will urge South West Trains to replace the Desiro Class 450 units on the Portsmouth to London services in the interests of passenger comfort. (169337)

I have no plans to do so.

The introduction of the Class 450s to the Stagecoach South Western Franchise (SSWT) has meant that older trains have been replaced with newer stock. This has led to an increase in overall capacity allowing greater numbers of passengers to have a seat during their journey.

Transport for London: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the outcomes were of meetings held between her Department and Transport for London as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review about (a) their future funding needs and (b) liabilities they may face as a result of Metronet’s entry into administration. (163474)

As a result of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Department for Transport has agreed a settlement with TfL through to 2017-18, which reflects the expected increased costs of the PPP going forward and makes provision for costs arising from Metronet’s Administration. The agreed levels of funding and borrowing are:

£ million (cash)

TfL grant

TfL borrowing

2007-08

2708

600

2008-09

2785

1250

2009-10

2842

1100

2010-11

3252

300

2011-12

3158

400

2012-13

3305

400

2013-14

3460

300

2014-15

3622

600

2015-16

3720

600

2016-17

3822

600

2017-18

3924

600

Transport: Anniversaries