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Written Answers

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 24 January 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 23 January 2008

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Christmas

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills whether it is his Department’s policy to use (a) incandescent light bulbs and (b) LED lights for festive decorations on departmental premises. (173499)

The Department uses incandescent lights for its festive decorations. However, we shall be reviewing our policy for next year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what his Department’s policy is on the selection of (a) real and (b) artificial Christmas trees for his Department’s festive decorations; and how real trees are disposed of. (173524)

The Department is split across sites and has four Christmas Trees on its Estate. Two of these trees are real and are recycled by our foliage company. One of the artificial trees is reused each year. The other artificial tree is hired from our foliage company and returned to them at the end of the hire period.

Climate Change

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) intends to take by (i) 2012 and (ii) 2020 in relation to adaptation to the effects of climate change as they affect his departmental responsibilities; and if he will make a statement. (166425)

[holding answer 6 December 2007]: The steps the Department has taken and intends to take are set out in the Sustainable Development Action Plan (SDAP), ‘Learning for the Future’, covering 2006-08. We recently submitted a progress report on this to the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), the Government’s independent watch dog on sustainable development.

SDC will shortly be publishing their analysis of the progress of Government Departments.

We are currently working on the content of a new SDAP that will cover 2008-10. This will incorporate the Government’s overall intentions as laid out in the recent Climate Change Bill and the cross-Government Adaptation Policy Framework to be published in the spring.

Subsequent SDAPs are likely to continue to reflect the work of the Department in addressing the effects of climate change on children, schools and families.

Departmental Coordination

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many people in his Department are responsible for liaising with the Department for Children, Schools and Families. (178124)

Following the machinery of government changes last year, three separate Departments were established with clear demarcation of responsibility. However, we have sought to maintain effective communication links across the three new Departments to minimise disruption to our customers. A range of officials in DIUS are in regular discussion with the Department for Children, Schools and Families across a number of issues, covering both policy and the provision of corporate services. The issues being discussed and number of people involved varies.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many letters his Department and its predecessors received from hon. Members and Peers in each session of Parliament since 1997. (174929)

I have been asked to reply.

The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members/Peers correspondence. Information relating to 2007 will be published as soon as it has been collated. The report for 2006 was published on 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 101-04WS. Reports for earlier years are available in the House Library.

Overseas Students: Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department takes to check the employment status of foreign nationals in the United Kingdom to study. (178127)

I have been asked to reply.

Foreign nationals with permission to study in the United Kingdom may work up to 20 hours per week during term time or full-time during vacations without the need to seek permission from their local Jobcentre Plus office or to obtain a work permit. It is the responsibility of an employer to establish that a foreign national is entitled to take employment in the UK. The Border and Immigration Agency has provided a helpline for employers to check the status of foreign nationals who seek to work in the United Kingdom.

Union Learning Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department has taken to implement the recommendations of the evaluation of the Union Learning Fund, 2001 to 2005, undertaken on behalf of the former Department for Education and Skills by York Consulting Ltd. (178576)

The main recommendations of the evaluation of the Union Learning Fund (2001-05) concern improving the level of management information provided by participating trade unions, particularly on learner referrals and outcomes; improving the level of support provided to help Union Learning Representatives (ULRs); and engaging strategically with employers to help ensure the long term sustainability of union learning activity initiated by the Union Learning Fund (ULF).

Officials from my Department have been working with unionlearn the TUC’s new learning organisation to address these issues. Work has been done to improve the management information systems of ULF projects which will capture more information on the numbers taking Skills for Life, Level 2 and Level 3 courses. Additional support systems have been put in place at national, regional and local level to help Union Learning Representatives to carry out their duties more effectively. A new electronic tool, the “Climbing Frame” has been developed which is designed to help ULRs support learners to progress through different levels of study and a new “Quality Award” for learning providers that helps ULRs to identify accessible high quality provision for learners.

These strengthened support systems for ULRs will help to secure the future sustainability of union learning initiatives and underpin the work that unionlearn is doing to help those trade unions involved in ULF to develop effective strategic partnership working with employers. Over 200 learning agreements were established last year between unions and employers involved in ULF, helping to embed successful projects into long-term planning.

Children, Schools and Families

Education Maintenance Allowance: Barnet

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many students in Barnet have (a) applied for, (b) enrolled for and (c) received an education maintenance allowance during the 2007-08 academic year; what assessment he has made of the effect of education maintenance allowances on staying-on rates in education in Barnet; and if he will make a statement. (177926)

The LSC operate the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) scheme for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and hold the information about take-up and payments made under the scheme. Mark Haysom, the LSC’s chief executive, will write to the hon. Gentleman with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House Library.

We do not collect information on the impact of EMA specific to Barnet, however EMA was subject to a thorough evaluation during its pilot stage. The results indicated an increase in participation by 16-year-olds of 3.8 per cent. points nationally and 4.1 per cent. points nationally for 17-year-olds.

In addition a further analysis of the impact of EMA on participation and attainment was commissioned by the LSC and a copy of the results, with a summary of the key findings, was placed in the House Library on 3 December 2007.

Letter from Mark Haysom, dated 23 January 2008:

I am writing in response to your Parliamentary Question that asked; "How many students in Barnet have (a) applied for, (b) enrolled on a course to be supported by and (c) received an education maintenance allowance during the current academic year; what assessment he has made of the effect of education maintenance allowances on staying on rates in education in Barnet."

EMA take-up is defined as young people who have received one or more EMA payments in the academic year.

The following table shows EMA applicants, enrolments and take-up for Barnet Local Authority Area:

Barnet2007-08

Number

Applications received

3,172

Enrolled applicants

2,719

Scheme take-up

2,628

EMA take-up data showing the number of young people who have received one or more EMA payments during 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07 and to date in 2007/08 is now also available on the LSC website, at the following address:

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

Sure Start Programme

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many and what proportion of (a) children and (b) families (i) who are black and minority ethnic, (ii) with English as an additional language, (iii) with special needs and disabilities and (iv) with a lone parent (A) have been provided with information on and (B) are accessing Sure Start programmes and services; what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of those programmes and services; and if he will make a statement; (180988)

(2) what the capacity of provision for child care through Sure Start programmes was in each of the last five years; how many and what proportion of (a) families and (b) children (i) received information on and (ii) accessed this provision over this period; what average proportion of capacity was used over that period; and if he will make a statement.

All Sure Start Children’s Centres provide information and advice to parents and carers on a range of subjects including local child care and education services for three and four-year-olds. Centres serving the most disadvantaged communities in England must provide integrated early learning and full daycare as part of their core services while centres serving less disadvantaged communities may provide integrated early learning and daycare places where local demand is not being met by existing, good quality providers. The information requested about different groups of families receiving information and taking up services, including integrated early learning and daycare, is not collected centrally by my Department. Data on the capacity of provision for child care through Sure Start programmes in the last five years are not collected centrally.

The ongoing National Evaluation of Sure Start (NESS) produced initial findings on the impact of the early Sure Start Local Programmes in November 2005. These gave a very early indication that Sure Start is succeeding in making a difference to a large number of parents and children and is doing particularly well in affecting parenting practices. Because we know that some Sure Start Children’s Centres have more work to do to reach the most disadvantaged families from April this year we have committed additional resources which will enable local authorities to fund two more outreach workers in centres serving the most disadvantaged communities.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Aerials

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate has been made of the additional number of mobile phone masts required to meet future demand of further generations of mobile telecommunications equipment. (177098)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government encourage mast and site sharing wherever possible, and network operators have an obligation under current planning procedures to demonstrate that they have considered all mast and site sharing options. Future sharing of network infrastructure would reduce the rate of growth of base station sites.

There is no current estimate of the number of additional mobile phone masts required to meet future demand of further generations of mobile telecommunications equipment. This is due to the fast moving nature of the telecommunications industry.

The actual number of base stations required in the future will depend on growth of demand and the availability of spectrum as well as the choice of technology available to meet that demand.

Business: Regulation

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what his most recent estimate is of the cost of regulation to UK industry. (176965)

In 2005 Government undertook an exercise to measure, for the first time in the UK, the administrative burdens of regulations on businesses and the third sector. The administrative burden as of May 2005 was £13.4 billion. More information can be found at:

http://bre.berr.gov.uk/regulation/reform/simplifying/plans.asp

Information on the total costs of regulations (not just administrative burdens) to UK industry is not currently held centrally and there is no established methodology for measuring these on a consistent basis.

Business: Wiltshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what (a) public and (b) private/public sector partnership support is available to small and medium-sized enterprises in South Wiltshire. (180947)

The publicly funded Business Link service provides information and advice to small and medium enterprises, and where appropriate brokers clients on to public and private sector providers of business support.

Northern Arc Ltd. is contracted by the South West Regional Development Agency to provide the Business Link service in South Wiltshire. Northern Arc Ltd. maintains a local presence in the area by running business start-up clinics from their office in Salisbury College. Further information on the Business Link service can be found at www.businesslink.gov.uk/southwest or by telephoning 0845 600 9966.

In addition to this, the South Wiltshire Economic Partnership (SWEP), is a partnership between the district and county councils, local businesses and business organisations. It works in partnership with others to drive forward the growth of the south Wiltshire economy by supporting existing businesses and other organisations and by attracting inward investment. By providing the local business community with a single voice on economic development issues, SWEP also works to influence all levels of government and to provide a focus for the delivery of strategic change. SWEP is administered by Salisbury district council economic development team. More information on the partnership and its activities can be found at:

www.salisbury.gov.uk/swep

Businesses can sign up to receive news on the partnership, strategic projects in the district and events by e-mailing: swep@salisbury gov.uk

Post Offices

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what Government support and advice is available to community groups who wish to operate their local post office as a community business. (179597)

[holding answer 17 January 2008]: Information and support on operating a local post office is available on the Post Office Ltd. website at www.ukpo.com/subpostmaster. In addition, sub-postmasters and community groups are free to seek advice from their local Business Link or RDA about any ongoing retail operations. This would be a matter for the individual retail outlet. Retailers can contact their local Business Link via the national helpline on: 0845 600 9006 or visit their website at:

www.businesslink.gov.uk.

Post Offices: Closures

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what research he has undertaken into the likely effects of the proposed post office closures on rural and semi-rural areas. (177877)

[holding answer 21 January 2008]: It is Government policy, announced in May 2007 in response to the national public consultation on the post office network, to ensure national coverage and reasonable access to post office services with particular regard to vulnerable consumers and to rural and remote areas. Access criteria have been introduced to achieve this and in developing its closure proposals Post Office Ltd. has also to take into account a range of factors relating to accessibility of service provision and the local impact of changes to it. Under area plan proposals published so far, on average 90.7 per cent. of the population covered will see no change in the branch they currently use and 99.3 per cent. will see either no change or still be within one mile of their nearest post office.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many post offices have closed under the Network Change Programme. (180478)

The Government strategy for the post office network includes provision for 2,500 compensated closures and 500 new outreach services.

Post Office Ltd. is responsible for implementing the network change programme at a local level. It is developing a rolling programme of some 50 local consultations on detailed area plans, based on groups of parliamentary constituencies. Following final decisions on the proposals for the first area plans after local consultations, individual post office closures are now taking place. Area plan consultations are ongoing and will continue well into 2008.

Post Offices: Reorganisation

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent representations he has received on his proposals to restructure the post office network; and if he will make a statement. (180042)

The Department has received a range of representations for Members of Parliament, local authorities and other correspondents about the restructuring of the post office network, both in general terms and in the context of specific proposals included in Post Office Ltd.’s area plans. To 18 January, 14 area plans have been published and put to local consultation, consultations on 11 plans have closed and final decisions announced on six plans. In response to comments received during the public consultation period, closure proposals for 15 individual offices have so far been withdrawn.

Public Holidays

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent consideration his Department has given to the introduction of new bank holidays. (181010)

The Department receives representations on this issue from time to time. However the present pattern of bank holidays in the UK is well established and accepted, and the Government have no current plans to change the arrangements.

Union Modernisation Fund: Audit

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what procedures are in place to monitor and audit the public monies remitted to trades unions under the auspices of the Union Modernisation Fund; and if he will make a statement. (180990)

[holding answer 22 January 2008]: In line with normal arrangements for Government funding, all UMF projects are regularly monitored for progress and expenditure to ensure accountability and the protection of public funds. All projects are required to allow site visits by BERR officials. Failure to comply with such monitoring activity may result in sanctions, including withholding or reclaiming of funds.

On completion, each project is required to produce an independent accountant’s report. The report accompanies the final claim and confirms that the union has expended the sums in respect of which all claims have been made.

In addition, BERR is working with Leeds University Business School to conduct a phased evaluation of the fund. Phase one evaluated the operational effectiveness of the first round of bidding. Phase two will evaluate the success of supported projects and the impact of monies via a series of case studies. An interim phase two evaluation report was published in December 2007.

Culture, Media and Sport

Arts Council of England: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many regularly-funded organisations will be supported by Arts Council England in 2008-09. (179699)

[holding answer 17 January 2008]: I announced in October last year that grant in aid for Arts Council England would rise to £467 million by 2010-11—an increase of £50 million over current levels.

The Arts Council operates at arm’s length from the Government and decisions about which arts organisations to fund are entirely for them.

Arts Council England will make a full announcement at the beginning of February when final decisions have been taken.

Arts Council of England: Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what changes Arts Council England plans to make to funding criteria and allocation mechanisms; what changes it has made in the last 24 months; and what (a) internal guidance and (b) external guidance has been amended accordingly. (179445)

[holding answer 16 January 2008]: The Arts Council operates at arm’s length from the Government and decisions about which arts organisations to fund are entirely for them. Their fundamental criteria are set out in their Royal Charter

“to develop and improve the knowledge, understanding and practice of the arts [and] to increase accessibility of the arts to the public in England.”

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which local organisations in each region received funding from Arts Council England in each of the last three years; how much funding was received in each case; and how much each such organisation is expected to receive from Arts Council England in 2008-09. (179447)

[holding answer 16 January 2008]: I announced in October last year that grant in aid for Arts Council England would rise to £467 million by 2010-11—an increase of £50 million over current levels.

A list of organisations which received Arts Council funding between 2005-06 to 2007-08 will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The Arts Council operates at arm’s length from the Government and decisions about which arts organisations to fund are entirely for them. They have said the following in response to requests to see the detail of the organisations listed in their proposals for 2008-09:

“Our proposals for non-renewal of funding cannot be made available until our National and Regional Councils make final decisions. This information is considered confidential and commercially sensitive during the response period. This is especially so in the case of a recommendation that might be overturned by the National Council or a Regional Council. Regularly funded organisations who have a right to respond to our recommendation, should be able to do so freely without fear that our intention to reduce or stop their funding is potentially unnecessarily, and without their consent, released into the public domain. A full announcement will be made at the beginning of February”.

Departmental Land

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what stage has been reached in his Department’s plans to sell the area of land located to the north of the British Library; what recent estimate of the value of the site has been made; and whether the Department will receive a proportion of the proceeds of any such sale. (181179)

[holding answer 22 January 2008]: The sale of the land is proceeding: each party has now agreed the ‘heads of terms’ and the contract should be finalised by the end of February.

The department’s agents valued the site prior to the sale at £45 million but with an expectation of higher bids following the marketing campaign and the completion of St. Pancras station.

In line with Treasury budgeting guidance, DCMS may indeed retain a proportion of the proceeds. The sale also enables the Department to meet almost the entire sum represented by its target for asset sales over 2008-11.

Internet: Children

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps the Government has taken to make the internet safer for child users. (179150)

[holding answer 15 January 2008]: The Government take internet safety extremely seriously, particularly in relation to children.

In September 2007, the Prime Minister announced a review into the risk to children of exposure to harmful or inappropriate content in video games and online. The review will also assess the effectiveness and adequacy of existing measures to help prevent children from being exposed to such material and help parents understand and manage the risks of access to inappropriate content.

Dr. Tanya Byron is conducting this review and will report to Ministers in March 2008.

Other activity in this area includes the following:

(a) The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which operates an internet hotline for people to notify them of child abuse images online. Internet service providers are liable to prosecution if they do not remove sites notified to them by the IWF.

(b) The Home Office Task Force on Child Protection on the Internet, which was set up in 2001 and has published:

Good Practice Guidance for Search Providers and Advice to the Public on How to Search Safely.

Good Practice Models and Guidance for the Internet Industry on—Chat Services, Instant Messaging and Web Based Services.

Good Practice Guidance for the Providers of Social Networking and Other User Interactive Services.

(c) Cyberbullying guidance, which was launched in September 2007 by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, provides practical help and guidance for parents and pupils on how to deal with any cyberbullying incidents.

(d) The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) which was set up in 2006, combines its enforcement powers with the business sector, Government and other interested organisations all focused on tackling child sex abuse policy. CEOP had some notable successes last year in bringing prosecutions.

(e) The EU Safer Internet Plus Programme promotes a safer use of online technologies particularly by children, and supports those fighting illegal and harmful content ranging from child abuse images to racism. IWF and CEOP receive funding from this programme.

(f) Many internet service providers and mobile companies work in partnership with Government in providing parents and children with practical help and advice on their websites.

Theatre: Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many regularly-funded theatre-based producing companies in the regions will be supported by Arts Council England in 2008-09. (179701)

[holding answer 17 January 2008]: The Arts Council operates at arm’s length from the Government and decisions about which arts organisations to fund are entirely for them.

Arts Council England will make a full announcement at the beginning of February when final decisions have been taken.

Tourism: Greater London

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the average expenditure per head by overseas tourists visiting London in the last five years. (179278)

The table shows the average expenditure per visit by overseas tourists to London for the latest years for which data are available.

Average expenditure per visit

London (£, current prices)

2002

499

2003

502

2004

481

2005

494

2006

502

Source:

International Passenger Survey (ONS).

The figures exclude expenditure relating to fares for travel to and from the UK, and include expenditure by same day transit visitors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the number of (a) overseas and (b) UK tourists who visited London in the last five years. (179279)

The tables show (i) the number of overseas visits and (ii) the number of overnight trips by UK residents to London for the latest years for which data are available.

Overseas visits

London (million)

2002

11.6

2003

11.7

2004

13.4

2005

13.9

2006

15.6

Source:

International Passenger Survey (ONS).

Domestic overnight trips by UK residents1

London (million)

2002

16.1

2003

14.3

2004

12.8

2005

10.7

2006

11.0

1 The methodology for the UKTS changed in 2005 meaning that comparisons with previous years should be treated with caution. This change occurred as a result of concerns with the quality of 2004 data, which are thought to be an under-representation of the true position.

Source:

UK Tourism Survey (National Tourist Boards).

It is not possible to provide a time series for the number of day visits by UK residents to London as the survey is run intermittently.

Transport

Bicycles: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) cyclists and (b) motorcyclists have suffered (i) non-fatal casualties and (ii) death on (A) urban and (B) rural roads in Great Britain in each year since 1997. (180935)

The information requested is given in the table:

Number of fatal and non-fatal casualties in reported personal injury road accidents by urban/rural roads and road user type GB: 1997-2006

Number of casualties

Urban

Rural

Pedal cyclist

Motorcyclists

Pedal cyclist

Motorcyclists

Fatal

Non fatal

Fatal

Non fatal

Fatal

Non fatal

Fatal

Non fatal

1997

95

20,206

164

15,814

88

4,222

344

8,129

1998

81

18,854

151

16,058

77

3,862

345

8,004

1999

83

18,722

178

17,039

88

3,811

360

8,492

2000

67

17,071

177

18,822

59

3,318

421

8,649

2001

69

15,737

186

19,481

67

3,149

394

8,606

2002

63

14,110

222

18,893

64

2,824

387

8,802

2003

60

14,091

213

18,502

54

2,810

480

9,194

2004

73

13,821

185

17,037

61

2,676

399

7,999

2005

73

13,751

179

16,284

75

2,657

390

7,961

2006

87

13,424

176

15,240

59

2,626

423

7,485

Number of casualties

All1

Pedal Cyclist

Motorcyclists

Fatal

Non fatal

Fatal

Non fatal

1997

183

24,453

509

23,983

1998

158

22,765

498

24,112

1999

172

22,668

547

25,645

2000

127

20,485

605

27,607

2001

138

18,976

583

28,227

2002

130

16,977

609

27,744

2003

114

16,919

693

27,718

2004

134

16,514

585

25,056

2005

148

16,413

569

24,255

2006

146

16,050

599

22,727

1 Includes roads with unallocated urban/rural marker

Bull Bars: Regulation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will seek to amend EU regulations on the fixing of metal bull bars to new vehicles to cover vehicles which had such bars fitted when the present regulations entered into force. (181555)

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many officials in her Department and its agencies received bonuses in each year since 2002. (178962)

All civil service Departments are encouraged to develop non-consolidated bonus payments to recognise performance, in accordance with the civil service reward principles agreed by the Cabinet Office.

The information requested for the years prior to 2005-06 are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Detailed records for the number of civil servants who received staff bonuses during the period stated only exist for the following years:

Number

2005-06

12,622

2006-07

12,241

The 2006-07 figures do not include figures from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) as they have yet to complete payments to staff.

Departmental Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her Department’s policy is on recycling. (174398)

Due to the dispersed nature of the Department for Transport estate an overarching recycling policy approach has not been adopted. Instead, the Department looks to utilise the available schemes in each of the areas in which it has sites. The Department, including its agencies, has embedded recycling and waste reduction into sustainable development action plans and environmental management systems, where applicable, with the aim of achieving the recognised sustainability on the government estate waste targets.

For the scale of the recycling schemes currently utilised by the Department for Transport I refer the hon. Member to my response on 15 January 2008, Official Report, columns 1086-88W. Additionally, I refer the hon. Member to my earlier answer given on 17 December 2007, Official Report, column 1172W, which showed the volumes and percentage of recycling undertaken by the Department for Transport.

Driving Standards Agency: Rural Areas

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether her Department carried out impact assessments before the introduction of multi-purpose test centres in rural areas; and if she will make a statement. (180499)

A draft Regulatory Impact Assessment was published as part of the consultation entitled “Delivering the new motorcycle test” in December 2002. This was revised in the light of responses to that consultation. The amended Impact Assessment was published in the Response to Consultation report in March 2004.

Driving Standards Agency: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons the Driving Standards Agency’s professional development training will be outsourced; and if she will make a statement. (180501)

The Driving Standards Agency is currently working with representative bodies and other stakeholders on the development of a Continuing Professional Development initiative for approved driving instructors which would inform a future consultation paper. No decisions have been made as to the development of the delivery.

Driving: Age

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment she has made of whether to change the age at which an individual can start driving. (181450)

I refer to the answer given on 15 January 2008, Official Report, column 1088W to the right hon. Member for East Yorkshire (Mr. Knight).

Government Mail

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many deliveries were lost by Government mail in the last year for which figures are available. (181328)

I refer the right hon. Member to my answer of 19 November 2007, Official Report, column 460W given to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban).

Roads: Death

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport at which times of day incidents causing the deaths of drivers aged between 17 and 25 years occurred in each of the last 10 years, broken down by hourly interval. (180390)

The number of reported personal injury road accidents resulting in 17 to 25-year-old car driver fatalities by hour of accident for Great Britain from 1997 to 2006 are shown in the table.

Number of fatal accidents

Hour of accident

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

00:00

24

18

17

15

20

25

26

24

24

21

01:00

10

24

24

19

13

17

12

24

22

24

02:00

23

10

11

11

21

13

17

19

14

17

03:00

12

12

10

11

15

11

23

12

10

17

04:00

10

2

9

9

7

9

8

13

9

12

05:00

9

5

2

13

6

9

6

15

8

10

06:00

12

10

4

9

6

10

16

9

14

8

07:00

18

11

11

13

16

17

7

12

15

11

08:00

17

19

12

12

14

18

15

18

17

17

09:00

9

12

6

7

7

7

9

8

3

10

10:00

10

13

10

10

5

9

12

4

6

11

11:00

11

5

3

9

5

9

5

9

4

9

12:00

11

9

5

7

9

9

13

8

15

11

13:00

16

12

11

13

7

13

7

9

7

6

14:00

4

9

14

7

9

10

16

3

10

17

15:00

14

10

7

6

8

10

15

5

8

13

16:00

10

12

14

10

13

8

15

10

15

18

17:00

16

14

11

12

13

18

16

17

11

21

18:00

22

28

13

13

16

13

25

20

22

20

19:00

15

15

14

11

26

15

18

16

22

19

20:00

22

22

20

23

23

18

13

23

26

22

21:00

26

14

19

26

18

29

19

22

25

23

22:00

25

26

21

17

31

26

26

26

32

20

23:00

28

18

22

29

24

23

20

32

21

31

Total

374

330

290

312

332

346

359

358

360

388

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in how many road traffic accidents in which a driver aged between 17 and 25-years-old died there were (a) no passengers, (b) passengers aged between 17 and 25 and (c) passengers aged over 25 in the vehicle in each of the last 10 years; and if she will make a statement. (180428)

The numbers of reported personal injury road accidents involving 17 to 25-year-old car driver fatalities with (a) no passenger casualties, (b) at least one 17 to 25-year-old passenger casualty and (c) at least one passenger casualty aged over 25 are given in the table.

No passenger casualties

At least one 17 to 25-year-old passenger casualty

At least one passenger casualty aged over 25

1997

227

120

23

1998

198

109

18

1999

172

89

20

2000

193

96

23

2001

200

108

14

2002

209

120

16

2003

220

108

21

2004

232

97

18

2005

218

114

16

2006

223

135

21

Data are shown for passenger casualties as information on uninjured passengers is not collected. Accidents may be included in both columns (b) and (c) as a vehicle may have a 17 to 25-year-old passenger casualty as well as a passenger casualty aged over 25.

Safety Belts

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what files are held by her Department on (a) the Road Traffic (Seat Belts) Bill of Sessions (i) 1978-79 and (ii) 1979-80 and (b) the Safety of Children in Cars Bill of sessions (A) 1978-79, (B) 1979-80 and (C) 1980-81; and if she will make a statement. (180774)

The Department’s records for the periods in question do not show files specifically relating to these Bills. Many files from that period have now been destroyed or transferred to The National Archive.

Speed Limits: Driving Offences

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to ensure that every person referred to a speed awareness course in Lancashire undertakes the course. (180509)

The Department is not responsible for ensuring the attendance of offenders at speed awareness courses. Courses are offered at the discretion of the Police, as an alternative to prosecution, to speeding offenders for whom they feel it is the most productive option. Should an offender agree to attend a course but fail to do so, the offer of a course is withdrawn and the offence reverts to a prosecution.

Vehicle Registration: Fines

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many fines the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has issued relating to the lack of notification of change of vehicle ownership in the last two years. (180594)

The number of penalties issued by the Agency in respect of a failure to notify a change of vehicle ownership is as follows:

Financial year

Number

2005-06

52,640

2006-07

42,078

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many appeals against fines imposed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for non-notification of change of vehicle ownership have been made in the last two years; how many of these were successful; on what grounds such cases were successful; and if she will make a statement. (180596)

The Agency does not hold statistics to advise the total number of appeals received in cases which involve non-notification of change of vehicle ownership. These details could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The number of non-notification of change cases closed following further investigation is as follows:

Financial year

2005-06

2006-07

Compassionate grounds

388

423

Data discrepancy

3,062

2,603

No offence

11,467

8,652

Communities and Local Government

Coastal Areas

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made in establishing a cross-departmental working group to examine coastal towns. (180655)

The inaugural meeting of the cross-departmental working group on coastal towns, convened by officials from this Department, will be held on 6 February 2008.

Departmental Freedom of Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of freedom of information requests received by her Department have given rise to responses that have been published by her Department. (180211)

Communities and Local Government has adopted a selective disclosure policy whereby only the most high profile pieces of information and those of wider public interest are published as a matter of course on the disclosure log on its website at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/coporate/about/freedom-of-information/disclosure-log/

To date, 5 per cent. of responses to requests made to Communities and Local Government and its predecessor Department, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 since 1 January 2005 have been published.

Fire Services: injuries

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many firefighters, following injury (a) retired and took their pensions due to injury, (b) were re-employed within the Fire Service in other roles and (c) left the Fire Service without their pension, in each of the last five years. (180809)

Available information, for ill-health retirements due to injury, which relate to all Fire and Rescue Staff (uniformed and non-uniformed) is set out as follows:

Ill-health retirements due to injury England 2001-02 to 2005-06

Number

2001-02

168

2002-03

184

2003-04

115

2004-05

382

2005-06

244

Source:

Annual returns to Communities and Local Government

Information on re-employments and leavers without pensions is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Flood Control: Essex

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when the Scot Wilson Strategic Flood Risk Assessment for Mid Essex and Colchester will be published; and what the reasons are for the time taken to publish it. (180712)

The strategic flood risk assessment (SFRA) work undertaken by Scott Wilson was split into two phases. Phase 1 successfully completed in November 2006, with Phase 2 involving the delivery of the individual SFRA chapters to suit local development framework (LDF) timetables. This is a joint piece of work commissioned by Chelmsford, Colchester, Maldon and Braintree local planning authorities to help inform their emerging LDFs.

A number of factors led to the delay in publication of this study. In August 2007, the Environment Agency requested that the scope of the study be changed to take into account new guidance in planning policy statement 25 ‘Development and Flood Risk’ and the accompanying practice manual to take account of the possible impacts of climate change for river systems, such as the incidence of higher density rainfall. This required the engagement of additional consultants to undertake reruns of the fluvial models, which took further time. However, undertaking this further work means that the final SFRA aims to comply with most recent Government guidance and provide the most up to date information in relation to flooding that also includes consideration of the potential impacts of climate change.

Greater London Authority: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if her Department will initiate a review into (a) the governance of the London Development Agency and (b) the operation of arrangements for the scrutiny of the Mayor of London’s advisers. (178338)

[holding answer 14 January 2008]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 15 January 2008, Official Report, columns 773-74.

Green Belt

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 10 December 2007, Official Report, columns 131-39W, on green belt, how many hectares were designated green belt in (a) Durham district and (b) Easington district in 1997. (180199)

Heating: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will introduce legislation to require the retrospective implementation in council housing of the 2004 British Standard for water system thermostats. (180971)

Last summer we began a wide ranging review of the Building Regulations to see whether any changes to the legal requirements might be made that would further improve the robustness and safety of hot water systems in all new homes and homes undergoing alteration and major building works. We do not want to pre-judge the outcome of this review.

In parallel we are working with our colleagues in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and in industry to see whether additional guidance and a more robust approach to ensuring the proper implementation of legal provisions relating to safety in existing housing is needed.

This review and our joint work with HSE and the industry will, of course, take account of the findings of the coroner, following the tragic death of Rhianna Hardie.

Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what criteria the decision made to grant the housing market renewal scheme £1 billion of Government funding on 11 October 2007 was based. (166231)

Decisions to grant the housing market renewal programme additional funding of around £1 billion for 2008 to 2011 were taken as part of allocations within the Department for Communities and Local Government following the comprehensive spending review 2007.

The new funding reflects in part the initial success of the programme in narrowing the gaps in house prices and vacancies between pathfinders and their regions, as recognised in the National Audit Office’s recent report on the programme. It also recognises that more remains to be done—in some cases, to continue to tackle problems of deep-seated structural need, where markets are reviving more slowly; and in others to ensure that the housing market renewal and growth programmes can be taken forward together where appropriate, responding to emerging issues including the need for more affordable housing.

Decisions on allocations to individual areas will be taken shortly.

Housing: Empty Property

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many domestic dwellings in England are classified as empty. (180160)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell) on 9 January 2008, Official Report, columns 547-48W.

Housing: Low Incomes

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will allow the redesignation of disused or underused farm buildings for the purposes of developing affordable housing. (180189)

Planning Policy Statement 7: “Sustainable Development in Rural Areas” (PPS7) sets out a supportive approach to the re-use of buildings in the countryside where this would meet sustainable development objectives. Conversion for economic development uses is preferred but residential conversions may also be acceptable. Isolated new houses in the countryside will require special justification for planning permission to be granted but this may be provided if accommodation is needed, for example, to enable agricultural, forestry or other workers to live at or in the vicinity of their place of work.

Any dwellings will count as new housing for the purposes of Planning Policy Statement 3 “Housing” (PPS3). PPS3 highlights the need for local authorities to plan for the provision of market and affordable housing in rural areas that contributes to the creation and maintenance of sustainable rural communities in market towns and villages. It also sets out how local authorities in rural areas should consider allocating and releasing sites solely for affordable housing, including using a rural exception site policy.

It is for local planning authorities to determine planning applications, such as those for the development of disused or underused farm buildings for housing, in accordance with the statutory development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

Housing: Vista Panels

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what contracts have been provided to Vista Panels by the Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder schemes. (180156)

None of the Housing Market Renewal Pathfinders is known to my Department to have had a direct contract with Vista Panels.

Local Government Business Growth Initiative

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the local government business growth initiative (LEGI); and how much additional funding has been provided under the LEGI to local authorities. (178465)

I understand my hon. Friend means this question to relate to Local Authority Business Growth Incentives Scheme (LABGI) rather than Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI).

At the end of the first year of LABGI, we revisited the methodology used to calculate the level of funding given to local authorities to ensure that the scheme continued to deliver an incentive for local authorities to maximise local economic growth. As a result, the scheme was simplified by removing the ceiling on payments made to local authorities.

On 7 January 2007, the Government announced that, following further consideration of new legal challenges that have been made against the current scheme and the inherent uncertainty that this caused to the remaining LABGI pot, it intended to re-consider all aspects of the approach used to distribute the remaining resources available for Year 3 of the LABGI scheme. The full statement can be found at

http://www.local.odpm.gov.uk/finance/labgi/statementyr3pay.pdf

In October 2006, the Government published an issues paper, which sought views on reform of LABGI. This set out the Government’s intention to develop an incentive as a full and permanent part of the local government finance system and to phase this in from 2009-10, with funding of £50 million doubling to £100 million in its second year. We are now considering the responses that have been received.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Harborough of 20 December 2007 on the eco-town proposal in Harborough. (181136)

[holding answer 22 January 2008]: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Dhanda) replied to the hon. Member on 17 January.

Muslims: Females

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to her answer of 18 December 2007, Official Report, columns 1338-9W, on Muslims: females, which academics, theologians and leading Muslim women attended the two roundtable meetings in which women’s access to mosque life was discussed; and who attended the two wider stakeholders meetings. (181184)

[holding answer 22 January 2008]: In my right hon. Friend’s answer of 18 December, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government identified two roundtable meetings at which the issue of women’s access to mosque life was discussed. The following academics and theologians attended the first of these meetings:

Name

Prof. Tariq Ramadan

University of Oxford

Prof. Tim Winters

University of Cambridge

Dr. Anas Sheikh-Ali

AMSS UK

Prof. Ron Geaves

Liverpool Hope University

Sheikh Gamal Manna

Muslim College

Dr. Usama Hasan

Middlesex University

Mehri Niknam

Joseph Interfaith Foundation

Dr. Shahid Raza

British Muslim Forum

Dilwar Hussein

Islamic Foundation

Dr. Musharraf Hussain

Karimia Institute

Prof. Haleh Afshar

University of York

Maleiha Malik

Kings College London

The following stakeholders attended the second meeting.

Name

Batool Al Toma

Islamic Foundation

Parvin Ali QBE

FATMA Women’s Network

Naheed Arshad-Mather

Chair, Yorkshire and Humber Regional Panel

Zuleka Dala

Mental Health Development Team, Yorkshire Primary Care Trust

Reedah El-Saie

Barrister

Shahda Khan

Principal Community Cohesion Officer, Middlesbrough Council

Sabira Murtaza Lakha

World Federation of Khoja Shi’a Ithna Asheri

Adeeba Malik

QED-UK

Sabin Malik

Principal Community Cohesion Officer, London borough of Hounslow

Andleen Razaq

Diversity Awareness Trainer, Metropolitan Police Force

Shahien Taj

Henna Foundation

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government also identified two stakeholder roundtable meetings. The following persons attended one or both of these meetings:

Name

Yousif al-Khoei

Al-Koei Foundation

Khurshid Ahmed

British Muslim Forum

Irfan Chishti

Sufi Muslim Council

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

British Muslims for Secular Democracy

Parvin Ali

FATIMA Women's Network

Shahien Taj

Henna Foundation

Dr. Abdul Bari

Muslim Council of Britain

Abdulkarim Kubica

Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre

Shaista Gohir

Muslim Women’s Network

Mohammed Imran

Muslim Youth Helpline

Hashim Duale

Somali Community, Leicester

Yahya Birt

City Circle

Sabira Lakha

World Federation of Khoja Shi’a Ithna Asheri

Aneela Majid

British Muslims for Secular Democracy

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department has published good practice guidance on initiatives to support the role of Muslim women in the community since the report on preventing violent extremism was published. (181186)

[holding answer 22 January 2008]: The good practice guide on effective initiatives to strengthen the role that Muslim women play in their communities was published on 23 January.

Property

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when a consultation paper will be published on proposed reforms to the property search market. (179225)

Regeneration: Coventry

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what grants her Department has provided for the re-development of Coventry in the last 12 months; and what (a) grants and (b) loans for that purpose are planned for the future. (180717)

There have been no specific Communities and Local Government grants or loans provided for the re-development of Coventry in the last 12 months apart from a contribution to Coventry’s New Deal for Communities (NDC) initiative based in three deprived outer estates in the north east of the city.

Religious Buildings: Planning

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in respect of how many sites applications for planning permission for change of use from a place of worship to (a) private housing, (b) commercial usage, (c) community functions and (d) other usage have been granted in each of the last 10 years. (180429)

The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Communities and Local Government collects quarterly aggregate statistics on development control from all local planning authorities in England. However, we do not collect information on individual planning applications.

Repossession Orders: Housing Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many possession orders were (a) suspended and (b) dismissed relating to properties owned by (i) registered social landlords and (ii) local authority housing departments because of non-payment of housing benefit by local authorities in the latest period for which figures are available. (181100)

I have been asked to reply.

Data are not available relating to the number of possession actions initiated by social landlords or local authority housing departments which were suspended or dismissed on the grounds of non-payment of housing benefit by local authorities. This information could be compiled centrally only at disproportionate cost.

However, the Ministry of Justice publishes general quarterly statistics on mortgage and landlord possession actions. This publication includes court-level data on the number of suspended orders, and is available from the statistics pages of the Ministry of Justice website.

Rural Areas: Business

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to promote rural towns as desirable places to set up and expand businesses. (181160)

The Government’s review of sub-national economic development and regeneration (known as the SNR), published in July 2007, set out policies designed to enable all places, including rural towns, to reach their economic potential.

Regional development agencies lead work to drive economic development in the regions. However, under the proposals set out in the SNR, local authorities will play an increasingly important role in driving forward economic development and will develop and deliver the regional strategy alongside the RDAs. The SNR also proposed a new economic appraisal duty for local authorities, which would require each upper tier local authority to assess the economic circumstances and challenges in its area. The Government will be consulting on these proposals shortly.

Rural Areas: Renewable Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to assist rural households on planning issues in relation to alternative sources of energy and microgeneration. (181163)

The Planning Policy Statement on climate change we published at the end of 2007 sets out new planning rules to boost the use of local renewable and low carbon energy. These expect local planners, whether in rural or urban locations, to promote and encourage alternative sources of energy and microgeneration when they help cut carbon emissions. We are also going to make it easier for householders including those in rural areas to install microgeneration equipment without the need to apply for planning permission, subject to certain safeguards to minimise the impact on others. Our aim is to amend the relevant legislation in the spring. Where the proposal would still require a planning application, and it is in line with our new policy rules for cutting carbon emissions, we expect it to be handled expeditiously and sympathetically.

Home Department

Arrests

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) prosecutions have been made and (b) fixed penalty notices have been issued by (i) police and (ii) local authorities for (A) fly tipping, (B) graffiti, (C) dog fouling, (D) the dropping of litter and (E) parking offences in each year since 1997. (176115)

I have been asked to reply.

Information on prosecutions at magistrates courts is held by the Ministry of Justice for (A) fly tipping offences, (B) ‘other’ criminal damage, (C) dog fouling, (D) littering and (E) parking offences since 1997; these are provided in the following tables. The offence class of ‘other’ criminal damage includes, but cannot separately identify, offences of graffiti. Data on fly posting offences cannot be separately identified from the data held by the Ministry of Justice.

(A) Fly tipping

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates court

2006

1,791

2005

1,550

2004

1,317

2003

985

2002

922

2001

732

2000

648

1999

564

1998

516

1997

393

(B) ‘Other’ criminal damage

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates court

2006

13,478

2005

12,368

2004

13,359

2003

13,852

2002

14,152

2001

13,820

2000

12,802

1999

13,932

1998

14,148

1997

13,734

(C) Dog Fouling

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates court

2006

404

2005

473

2004

461

2003

454

2002

355

2001

366

2000

341

1999

294

1998

184

1997

45

(D) Littering

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates court

2006

2,031

2005

1,447

2004

909

2003

552

2002

333

2001

457

2000

466

1999

506

1998

496

1997

506

(E) Parking Offences

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates court

2006

9,059

2005

10,972

2004

14,710

2003

17,729

2002

17,554

2001

18,966

2000

19,624

1999

22,869

1998

23,572

1997

21,051

Data are collected by DEFRA on the number of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued by local authorities, and how many had subsequently been taken to prosecution due to non-payment. Police Community Support Officers can issue FPNs if they have the relevant approval; such FPNs are issued on behalf of the local authority and are included in the aggregated figure provided by each local authority to DEFRA each year. FPNs cannot be issued for fly tipping offences.

The numbers of FPNs issued for each offence each year are included in the following tables.

(B) Graffiti

Reporting year (April to March)

Number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued

Number of cases taken to court following non-payment

2006-07

42

2

2005-06

47

3

2004-05

19

2

As the power to issue FPNs for graffiti offences was introduced in 2003, statistics do not exist prior to this date.

(C) Dog Fouling

Reporting year (April to March)

Number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued

Number of cases taken to court following non-payment

2006-07

3,675

205

2005-06

4,066

303

2004-05

3,557

330

2003-04

2,742

193

2002-03

2,036

127

2001-02

2,311

190

2000-01

1,817

91

1999-2000

1,545

111

1998-99

1,321

90

1997-98

292

11

(D) Litter

Reporting Year

Number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued

Number of cases taken to court following non-payment

2006-07

43,624

2,144

2005-06

33,033

1,002

2004-05

25,216

1,100

2003-04

7,565

266

2002-03

12,820

169

2001-02

11,615

175

2000-01

2,247

66

1999-2000

2,970

30

1998-99

4,777

13

1997-98

727

74

The parking offences for which a FPN can be issued are nuisance parking and abandoned vehicles, as defined in the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. The first year of available data is for the period April 2006 to March 2007.

Reporting yearApril 2006 to March 2007

Number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued

Number of cases taken to court following non-payment

(E(i)) Nuisance parking

1,657

0

(E(ii)) Abandoned vehicles

469

16

The police can issue penalty notices for disorder (PNDs) which can include offences such as littering. The littering offence was added to the PND scheme in 2004 when it was rolled out nationally.

Data on the number of PNDs issued for littering broken down by police force area are published as a part of the publication ‘Penalty Notices for Disorder’ for 2004 data and as a part of ‘Criminal Statistics, England and Wales 2006’ (for 2005 and 2006 data). These are available on the Ministry of Justice website.

Asylum

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will give a breakdown by (a) sex and (b) age group of asylum applicants granted leave to remain in the UK via (i) asylum status, (ii) exceptional leave to remain, discretionary leave to remain or humanitarian protection, (iii) the 1998 backlog exercise and (iv) the 2000 family ILR exercise in each year since 1997. (177337)

Information on initial decisions by sex for years 2001 to 2006 are available from the annual Statistical Bulletins Asylum Statistics United Kingdom.

Information on initial decisions by age of applicants for years 1997 to 2000 are available from the annual Statistical Bulletins Asylum Statistics United Kingdom, information for 2001 to 2006 will be placed in the House Libraries. Categories and the presentation of data changed in 2001 and this is reflected in the tables provided.

Information on the 1998 backlog exercise and the 2000 family ILR exercise is not available broken down by age and sex and could be obtained by examination of individual case records only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what proportion of the people whose asylum cases (a) were considered under the Legacy Casework Programme were unsuccessful have been removed and (b) are awaiting removal; and if she will make a statement. (179102)

In her update to the Home Affairs Select Committee of 17 December 2007, Lin Homer (the chief executive of the Border and Immigration Agency) stated that 52,000 cases have been concluded by the Case Resolution Directorate, of which about 16,000 have led to removals. We do not hold information on how many cases have been considered and are awaiting removal.

Lin Homer gave an undertaking to update the Home Affairs Select Committee every six months.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seeker legacy cases have been recognised in (a) Newcastle and (b) the North East; and how many such cases have been determined. (178191)

[holding answer 15 January 2008]: The information requested cannot be provided except by examining individual case records at disproportionate cost.

Asylum: Applications

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines are issued to case decision-makers in the Borders and Immigration Agency on the economic and social consequences for applicants for indefinite leave to remain of the time taken to make decisions on individual applications. (177616)

There is no specific guidance issued to caseworkers on the economic and social consequences of time taken to process a decision on Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications.

The Border and Immigration Agency have time based targets for dealing with such applications, the majority of which are met. Targets that are 70 per cent. of all decisions on in time applications requesting indefinite leave to remain are made within 20 days of receipt and that 90 per cent. are decided within 70 days.

Asylum: Dublin II Agreement

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers her Department has requested the return of under the Dublin II Agreement in each year since it came into force. (180255)

Approximately 7,920 requests have been made by the United Kingdom under the provisions of the Dublin II regulation since its introduction on 1 September 2003. Statistics on the number of requests between September and December 2003 is unavailable. The yearly breakdown is as follows:

Number

2004

2,320

2005

1,840

2006

1,960

2007

1,800

These figures are based on management information. This information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols, is subject to change and should be treated as provisional. These figures have been rounded to the nearest five.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers have been returned to the UK under the Dublin II Agreement in each year since it came into force. (180256)

A total of approximately 1,165 asylum seekers have been returned to the UK from other EU countries under Dublin provisions since 2004. The Dublin II regulation was introduced on 1 September 2003 and replaced the Dublin convention. The statistics, as follows, include returns under both the Dublin convention and regulation as we are unable to provide figures on the Dublin regulation alone. Returns information from September to December 2003 is unavailable. A yearly breakdown is as follows:

Number

2004

90

2005

265

2006

440

2007

370

These figures are based on management information. This information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols, is subject to change and should be treated as provisional. These figures have been rounded to the nearest five.

Asylum: Social Security Benefits

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons were in receipt of asylum support in each year since 1 January 2004, broken down by nationality; and how many in receipt of such support had been refused asylum. (180675)

The numbers of asylum seekers in receipt of support broken down by nationality are published annually in the Asylum Statistics United Kingdom bulletins. The latest bulletin for 2006 and historic publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics website at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html

Information on decision outcomes relating specifically to supported asylum seekers is not available and could be produced only at disproportionate cost.

Campsfield House Detention Centre: Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost was to public funds of responding to the break-out from Campfield House Detention Centre in August 2007. (180113)

[holding answer 22 January 2008]: Any costs incurred by the Border and Immigration Agency as a result of the disturbance in Campsfield House in August 2007 are reclaimed from the contractors through a joint insurance arrangement.

Council of Europe Convention on Human Trafficking

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects to complete the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Human Trafficking. (179564)

[holding answer 17 January 2008]: The Government are determined to prioritise the effort to tackle the misery of human trafficking. That is why we intend to ratify the Convention before the end of this year, subject to achieving necessary changes to domestic legislation in all parts of the UK.

Crime: Romania

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) Romanian and (b) Bulgarian nationals have been arrested by Metropolitan Police officers since January 2007. (168006)

The arrests collection undertaken by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform provides data only on persons arrested for recorded crime (notifiable offences) broken down by age group, gender, ethnicity, police force area and main offence group. The nationality of the arrestee does not form part of this collection.

Crimes of Violence

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many cases of actual bodily harm police cautions were used in each of the last five years; and what proportion of such cases were first offences. (176117)

Data showing the number of offenders cautioned, proceeded against and found guilty of actual bodily harm offences in England and Wales from 2002 to 2006 have been provided by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform and are given in the following table.

Information is not available on the number of these cases which were first offences.

Number of offenders cautioned, and defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for actual bodily harm offences1, in England and Wales, 2002 to 20062, 320022003200420052006Proceeded against 34,78535,95530,10928,09126,231Found guilty15,02615,08714,66316,07116,663Cautioned15,77320,39725,70738,09442,171 1 Includes the following offences:Assaults occasioning actual bodily harm (malicious wounding), Offences against the Person Act 1861 section 47 (in part).Racially aggravated assaults occasioning actual bodily harm (malicious wounding), Offences Against the Person Act 1861 section 47 (in part) as amended by Crime and Disorder Act 1998 section 29(1)(b) & (2).Religiously aggravated ABH, Offences Against the Person Act 1861 section 47 as amended by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 section 29(1)(b) & (2).Racially or religiously aggravated ABH, Offences Against the Person Act 1861 section 47 as amended by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 section 29(1)(b) & (2).2 These data are on the principal offence basis.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 courts and police forces. 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.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much her Department and its agencies spent on end-of-year bonus payments in each of the last five years. (171531)

End of year bonus payments for staff in Home Office headquarters, the Border and Immigration Agency, and for senior civil servants across the Home Office are linked to performance appraisals. The following table provides the amount paid in end of year bonuses to these staff in the last four years:

Amount paid (£)

2002-03

2,067,878

2003-04

3,361,516

2004-05

4,287,676

2005-06

4,449,667

Figures for 2006-07 are subject to some change as data are not yet complete.

Staff in the Identity and Passport Service receive end of year corporate bonuses, and change agent bonuses. As the corporate bonuses were only introduced in 2003-04 the following table provides information for the last four years only:

Amount paid (£)

2003-04

388,874

2004-05

731,484

2005-06

1,068,482

2006-07

1,253,045

Staff in the Criminal Records Bureau do not receive end of year bonuses.

Data are not available from the Prison Service, who were formally an agency of the Home Office prior to transferring to the Ministry of Justice, as obtaining these data is possible only at disproportionate cost.

Entry Clearances

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many dependants have entered the UK with foreign nationals obtaining a grant of an after-entry application to (a) vary leave, (b) vary leave for permit-free employment and (c) vary leave for business in each year since 1997; (177387)

(2) how many holders of student visas of each nationality have been granted an extension of their entry visa on (a) two occasions and (b) three or more occasions in each year since 2001;

(3) how many foreign nationals granted an after entry application (a) to vary leave, (b) to vary leave for permit-free employment and (c) to vary leave for business had obtained (i) a previous extension of leave and (ii) two or more previous extensions of leave in the last year for which figures are available;

(4) how many (a) applications and (b) refusals there were of applications for after entry variation of leave for (i) permit-free employment and (ii) business in each year since 1997;

(5) how many grants of after entry applications to vary leave for business were made in (a) each year since 1997 and (b) each quarter since 1 January 2004; what the percentage change in grants made was between each such period; and how many foreign nationals of each nationality obtained such a grant in each year since January 2004;

(6) how many grants of after entry applications to vary leave for permit-free employment were made in (a) each year since 1997 and (b) each quarter since 1 January 2004; what the percentage change in grants made was between each such period; and how many such grants were made (i) in each category and (ii) for foreign nationals of each nationality in each of the last three years for which such figures are available.

The information requested could be obtained only by the detailed examination of individual case records at disproportionate cost.

Entry Clearances: Health Professions

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether overseas doctors and international medical graduates are eligible for highly skilled migrant status; and whether there is any restriction on numbers by category of medical specialty; (181168)

(2) what joint Home Office and Department of Health groups have responsibility for planning highly skilled migrant programme numbers in relation to service and training needs.

Migrants may come to the UK or extend their leave here under the highly skilled migrant programme, subject to gaining sufficient points against four objective criteria (qualifications, previous earnings, age and UK experience) and meeting any other requirements for that category in the immigration rules. There is no restriction on numbers by category of medical speciality. National health service workforce planning is a matter for the Department of Health.

Entry Clearances: Pakistan

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many spouses from Pakistan left the marital home before being granted indefinite leave to remain and were allowed to stay in the UK as a result of an administrative decision by her Department in each year since 2000. (179774)

The requested information is not readily available and could be obtained only by examining individual case files at a disproportionate cost.

The number of Pakistani spouses who left the marital home and were subsequently recorded as being granted indefinite leave to remain on the basis of domestic violence since 2003 is shown in the table.

This information has not been quality assured and is not a national statistic. It should be treated as provisional management information and may be subject to change. Data have been rounded to the nearest five.

Number of cases

2003

15

2004

70

2005

40

2006

65

2007

70

Entry Clearances: Students

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether those applying to extend their student visa are asked whether they have previously had their visa extended. (180588)

[holding answer 21 January 2008]: When a student applies for an extension to their student visa the application form requires the student to provide details of their previous studies if the student has previously been granted permission to study in the United Kingdom. Their application is supported by their passport or travel document which will include their previous visa extension.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what checks are made on whether students whose visas are extended for further academic study attend their new courses. (180589)

[holding answer 21 January 2008]: One of the provisions of the student rules is that a student needs to provide evidence of enrolment from an institution on the Register of Education and Training Providers before an extension may be granted.

If a student fails to attend, the institution must provide details to the Border and Immigration Agency on demand.

When a student applies for an extension to their leave, the application form requires the institution to provide written confirmation of the student’s attendance.

Under the proposed new Points Based System, there will be a mandatory requirement on institutions to report non-attendance of their students. This will be supported by sanctions on the institutions and may include removal from the sponsorship register for failure to meet this requirement.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many student visa extensions were granted for students (a) to pursue a full-time recognised degree course, (b) to pursue a weekday daytime course involving a minimum of 15 hours per week, (c) to attend a full-time course of study at an independent fee paying school, (d) to re-sit an examination, (e) to write up a thesis, (f) to follow a nursing training course at a recognised nursing educational establishment, (g) as a sabbatical officer and (h) for another purpose in 2006. (180590)

[holding answer 21 January 2008]: The information in the form requested could be obtained by the detailed examination of individual case records only at disproportionate cost.

However, statistics on decisions on applications for an extension of leave to remain are published in chapter 4 of the Command Paper ‘Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 2006’. This publication may be obtained from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics website:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html

Genetics: Database

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research projects have been undertaken using data from the National DNA Database; and if she will make a statement. (164672)

[holding answer 15 January 2008]: Data from the National DNA Database (NDNAD) have been provided to the following organisations for research purposes.

Forensic Science Service:

10 projects relating to assistance to forensic providers for R and D papers, not specific investigations.

one project relating to police operations, requiring anonymised NDNAD profiles.

one project relating to database improvements.

Home Office:

two Research Development and Statistics projects relating to match reporting.

one project relating to police operations on behalf of Interpol (this was reported as G8 rather than Interpol in response to an earlier Freedom of Information Act query).

one project relating to database improvements (these data are now provided as routine management information and no longer classified as research).

one project to identify new leads on undetected prolific offenders involved in at least one serious crime offence.

Greater Manchester Police:

one project relating to police operations, checking against the NDNAD for named individuals.

Merseyside Police:

one project using exhibits from solved cases.

LGC (forensic services provider):

one project relating to assistance to forensic providers for R and D papers, not specific investigations.

one project on the further development of familial searching software.

one project on the confirmation of rarely found types of DNA.

Cellmark Forensic Services:

one project on the further development of familial searching software.

Immigrants: Carers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she plans to change the minimum salary regime for senior carer work permit renewals; and if she will make a statement. (179782)

Work permit salary guidance for all occupations is kept continuously under review, and is updated in line with the latest and most robust salary data available from industry. Salary guidance for senior care workers is no exception.

The current rate is derived from Skills for Care’s National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC), which is the most comprehensive salary data we have identified for this sector.

Work permit applications, including extensions, are assessed against the going rate at the time that the application is made. It has always been a requirement, for any job, that work permit holders must be paid at least equal to the going rate that would normally attract a suitably skilled resident worker. It is essential that we prevent skilled migrants from being exploited as a source of cheap labour, and salaries for skilled resident workers from being undercut.

As part of the transitional measures we are putting in place for existing work permit holders, an exceptional in-country extension may be granted for a maximum of 12 months for those senior care workers who have had work permits approved prior to 31 December 2003. The requirement for employers to pay the current going rate will be exceptionally waived, providing the salary is at least equal to that on the previous work permit approval.

This is part of a package of transitional measures we have introduced to assist the sector in maintaining continuity of care whilst it adapts its staff recruitment and retention practices to more effectively target the resident work force.

Immigration

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the cases in which leave to remain in the UK was granted under the legacy exercise related to (a) failed asylum seekers and (b) asylum seekers whose cases had yet to be considered. (177362)

[holding answer 10 January 2008]: We do not hold this information in the format requested and to obtain it would involve disproportionate cost.

Immigration Controls

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into the effects of reducing the coverage of the resident labour market test; (177450)

(2) what estimate she has made of the proportion of jobs covered by the requirements of the resident labour market list;

(3) pursuant to her answer of 10 December 2007, Official Report, column 86W, on immigration controls, what decisions she has made on the future operation of the resident labour market test; and what estimate she has made of the number and proportion of jobs which would no longer be subject to the labour market test if the test threshold was set at a salary of (a) £30,000, (b) £40,000 and (c) £50,000 a year.

We will ensure that under the PBS we continue to protect the privileged position held by British workers in the job market.

Immigration Controls: Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the juxtaposed UK immigration controls at Paris, Lille and Brussels cost in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07. (180330)

[holding answer 21 January 2008]: The information is as follows:

(a) The juxtaposed UK immigration controls at Paris, Lille and Brussels cost £7,102,500 in 2005-06.

(b) The juxtaposed UK immigration controls at Paris, Lille and Brussels cost £8,492,000 in 2006-07.

Migrant Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what publications the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) provide for nationals of Bulgaria and Romania explaining the procedures for confirming their status as self-employed persons to the relevant United Kingdom authorities; what evidence is required by the BIA to establish that such nationals are self-employed; and what penalties have been imposed on such nationals who have not satisfied the BIA that they are self-employed. (179154)

The Home Office has produced a booklet for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals entitled ‘Living and Working in the UK’, detailing the rights and responsibilities of ‘A2’ nationals from 1 January 2007. Further information on what documentation to apply for, relevant criteria and application forms can be found on the BIA website.

A ‘self-employed person’ is someone who has established themselves in the UK in order to pursue activity as a self-employed person. Examples of evidence to prove such status includes:

Invoices showing payment for services or contracts to provide services

Evidence from HMRC of national insurance special reference number

Evidence from HMRC of registration for tax

Evidence from HMRC of national insurance contributions

This list is not exhaustive. More information can be found on the HMRC website here:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/selfemployed/

If a Bulgarian or Romanian national falsely claims to be a self-employed person, they are not residing in the UK in accordance with the Accession Regulations and may be subject to prosecution and/or a Fixed Penalty of £1,000 may be issued. We do not routinely record this information.

Organised Crime: Romania

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department has taken in co-operation with the Romanian police to tackle criminal Romanian gangs operating in London. (168004)

Tackling the menace of organised crime is a top priority for the Government. The establishment of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in 2006 signalled the Government’s determination to make the UK one of the toughest places in the world to operate, irrespective of nationality.

We have been working for some time and continue to do so, with Romanian authorities and crime agencies to identify, and close the door to organised crime groups. The close working relationship has resulted in two Romanian police officers being placed with the Metropolitan police ‘Operation Golf’ to help identify children who they believe were trafficked out of Romania by an organised crime network for the purpose of criminal exploitation.

Police: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the average pay is for all grades of police officer in England; (174717)

(2) what the average pay for a police constable in England including all allowances is in 2007-08.

Information on average salary by rank is not held centrally. Information on pay scales for all police ranks was taken from the Police Negotiating Board Circulars available at the Office of Manpower Services website:

www.ome.uk.com.

Pay scales for all police officer ranks in England from 1 September 2006

Pay scale

Constable

£21,009-£32,985

Sergeant

£32,985-£37,071

Inspector

£42,264-£45,843

Inspector (London)

£44,118-£47,709

Chief Inspector

£46,779-£48,705

Chief Inspector (London)

£48,645-£50,568

Superintendent

£56,274-£65,565

Chief Superintendent

£67,200-£71,031

Assistant Chief Constable

£81,954-£95,613

Deputy Chief Constable (including Deputy Metropolitan Commissioner)

£98,346-£193,959

Chief Constable (including Metropolitan Commissioner)

£117,468-£234,939

Police officers are entitled to a range of allowances as set out in the Police Regulations 2003 and the Secretary of State’s determinations under the regulations. Some of the principle allowances are:

Officers serving in the Metropolitan or City of London forces are eligible for:

£

London Allowance

4,338

London Weighting

2,055

A South East England Allowance is payable to members of the forces listed as follows at the rates given:

£

Essex, Herts, Kent, Surrey, Thames Valley

2,000

Beds, Hants, Sussex

1,000

As set out in the Police Negotiating Board Circular 03/16 some posts (determined by the chief office and police authority) are eligible for a special priority payment. The payments can be between £500 and £3,000 and exceptionally up to £5,000.

Stop and Search

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many stops and searches were conducted (a) in total and (b) per 1,000 population in each police force area, in each year since 1997; and what percentage of (i) the total and (ii) the number in each area resulted in an arrest in each year. (172871)

The available information by financial year is given in the tables placed in the House Library.

Health

Abortion

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2008, Official Report, column 574W, on abortion, what the (a) prefix and (b) title is of each file held by his Department on (i) the Abortion (Amendment) Bill of Session 1987-88, (ii) the Unborn Children (Protection) Bills of Sessions (A) 1984-85, (B) 1985-86 and (C) 1987-98 and (c) the Abortion Act 1967; and if he will make a statement. (180870)

Autism: Elderly

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to assist elderly people who are on the autism spectrum. (180091)

The provision of services for people with autism is a matter for the appropriate local authority and national health service bodies who are required to prioritise and allocate funding for services based on their assessment of the needs of their local populations.

The “Putting People First” Concordat sets out a shared vision for the transformation of social care. It articulates the common aims and values that will guide all the participants in modernising adult social care. Ensuring individualised responses for older people including people with autistic spectrum conditions, will be part of this transformation. This may be through provision of direct payments or individual budgets should current pilots prove successful. These provide greater choice and control for people needing support, and place the person who is supported at the centre of the process.

Cancer: Prescriptions

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prescriptions were issued in relation to cancer in the latest year for which figures are available; and what proportion of these were (a) exempt from charges and (b) paid for by pre-payment certificate. (181193)

Departmental Equality

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to paragraph 29, page 35 of his Department’s resource accounts for 2006-07, if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department’s Commission for Racial Equality Action Plan. (178279)

As noted in the resource accounts, the action plan was incorporated into the Department’s single equality scheme (where it is included in chapter 14). The scheme was published in June 2007 and is available at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Policyandguidance/Equalityandhumanrights/SingleEqualityScheme/index.htm

A copy of the scheme has been placed in the Library. The Department is working to produce a revised single equality scheme by 29 February 2008.

Drugs: Rehabilitation

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many drug rehabilitation clinics there were in (a) Romford, (b) Essex and (c) Greater London in the most recent period for which figures are available. (179655)

Food: Cloning Animals

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department’s policy is on the cloning of animals for food production; and if he will make a statement. (180671)

The sale of foods and food ingredients derived from cloned animals falls within the scope of the Novel Foods Regulation (EC) 258/97. The authorisation and labelling of novel foods is decided on a case-by-case basis and no applications have been received to date for the authorisation of products derived from cloned animals. Any application would be evaluated on the basis of the information provided. In the meantime, foods obtained from cloned animals cannot be sold for human consumption.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the European Food Standards Agency’s draft scientific opinions relating to the (a) food safety, (b) animal health and welfare and (c) environmental impact of cloned animals, their offspring and the products obtained from these animals; and if he will make a statement. (180672)

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued its draft opinion for consultation on 11 January 2008. The Food Standards Agency is examining the food safety aspects of the draft opinion and will provide its comments to EFSA before the end of the consultation period, which runs until 25 February 2008. Animal health and welfare and the environmental impact of farming practices are the responsibility of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Health Education: Religious Practice

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what health advice his Department provides related to religious observance; and what (a) advice and (b) funding was received from relevant faith organisations in each case. (179174)

The Department recognises that we all now live in a multicultural, multi-faith society. The Department is committed to recognising the needs of patients and staff of diverse religious groups, and to responding sensitively and appropriately to these needs.

In November 2003 the Department published “NHS Chaplaincy: Meeting the Religious and Spiritual needs of Patients and Staff”, which aims to ensure that national health service chaplaincy services reflect the religious diversity of the communities the NHS serves. This guidance was developed with advice from the Multi-Faith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy, an independent group, which includes representatives from nine faith communities.

In September 2007 the Department funded an independent organisation called Communities in Action to produce a “Ramadan Health Guide” providing information and advice on maximising health gain during the Muslim fast, which was developed in consultation with a number of Muslim community organisations and clinicians.

In December 2007 the Department published a leaflet entitled “Going to Hajj or Umrah?” This leaflet explains and offers advice on some of the risks concerning meningitis for travellers to the Muslim pilgrimage.

Following the introduction of the Equality Act (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2006, the Department has commissioned independent consultants to develop a practical guide to these regulations, which prohibit discrimination on grounds of religion or belief in the provision of goods, facilities and services.

In each case, no funding was received from faith organisations in the development of this advice.

Hepatitis B

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) males and (b) females in each age group had hepatitis B in (i) Southend, (ii) Essex and (iii) England and Wales in each of the last 10 years. (177138)

Surveillance of hepatitis B is based upon reports of confirmed acute hepatitis B diagnoses from laboratories in England and Wales. The information available, which is from 1998 to 2003 and down to regional level, is shown in the following tables.

Laboratory confirmed cases of acute hepatitis B, England and Wales, 1998 to 2003

1998

1999

2000

Age group

Male

Female

Not known

Total

Male

Female

Not known

Total

Male

Female

Not known

Total

<1

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

years 1-4

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

years 5-9

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

5

years 10-14

<5

<5

<5

6

<5

<5

<5

6

<5

<5

<5

<5

years 15-24

124

99

<5

225

107

92

6

205

98

80

6

184

years 25-34

212

79

5

296

164

72

<5

240

192

56

10

258

years 35-44

106

35

<5

145

109

27

<5

138

99

31

<5

131

years 45-54

66

20

<5

86

63

11

<5

74

61

14

<5

75

years 55-64

26

<5

<5

29

28

5

<5

34

25

8

<5

35

years >=65

16

9

<5

26

18

7

<5

28

14

6

<5

20

Years Not known

19

8

<5

28

17

<5

<5

21

9

4

<5

14

Total

574

256

13

843

512

223

17

752

503

204

20

727

200120022003

Age group

Male

Female

Not known

Total

Male

Female

Not known

Total

Male

Female

Not known

Total

<1

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

years 1-4

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

years 5-9

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

years 10-14

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

5

<5

<5

<5

<5

years 15-24

71

73

<5

147

112

92

<5

208

67

52

5

124

years 25-34

140

51

<5

195

208

77

<5

289

156

70

5

231

years 35-44

96

31

<5

130

158

46

<5

206

137

35

<5

172

years 45-54

52

7

<5

62

69

16

<5

86

67

19

<5

87

years 55-64

23

<5

<5

26

42

7

<5

51

37

9

<5

47

years >=65

15

5

<5

20

17

7

<5

24

20

10

<5

30

Years Not known

11

<5

<5

15

12

5

<5

21

<5

<5

<5

8

Total

411

173

15

599

622

256

17

895

494

200

15

709

Laboratory confirmed cases of acute hepatitis B, East of England, 1998 to 2003

1998

1999

2000

Age group

Male

Female

Not known

Total

Male

Female

Not known

Total

Male

Female

Not known

Total

<1 year

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

1-4 year

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

5-9 years

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

10-14 years

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

15-24 years

<5

6

<5

6

5

7

<5

12

5

12

<5

17

25-34 years

11

<5

<5

13

16

4

<5

20

15

6

<5

21

35-44 years

<5

<5

<5

<5

5

<5

<5

6

6

<5

<5

8

45-54 years

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

55-64 years

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

>=65 years

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

Not known

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

Total

22

10

<5

32

31

12

<5

43

33

23

<5

56

200120022003

Age group

Male

Female

Not known

Total

Male

Female

Not known

Total

Male

Female

Not known

Total

<1 year

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

1-4 years

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

5-9 years

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

10-14 years

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

15-24 years

6

5

<5

11

10

5

<5

15

<5

<5

<5

5

25-34 years

11

<5

<5

15

16

7

<5

23

<5

7

<5

9

35-44 years

5

5

<5

10

12

<5

<5

14

8

<5

<5

11

45-54 years

6

<5

<5

8

<5

<5

<5

<5

5

<5

<5

9

55-64 years

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

>=65 years

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

5

Not known

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

Total

29

15

<5

45

43

18

<5

61

23

20

<5

43

Notes:

1. Since 2003, the completeness of data on whether hepatitis B infections are acute or chronic infection has decreased and therefore figures for 2004 onwards are not reliable. The HPA is working to improve the quality of information on acute hepatitis B reporting and provisional data for 2007 should be available later this year.

2. Data are reported by laboratory rather than by the patient’s place of residence. Therefore, any breakdown of data below regional level is not considered reliable.

3. Where fewer than five cases were reported for an area, the table indicates the number of cases reported as <5 rather than the actual number in order to reduce the risk of deductive disclosure of an individual’s identity.

Source:

Health Protection Agency (HPA).

Human Embryo Experiments

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2008, Official Report, column 591W, on human embryo experiments, what the (a) prefix and (b) title is of each file held by his Department on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill of Session 1989-90; and if he will make a statement. (180869)

The prefixes and titles of the files held by the Department, concerning the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill of session 1989-90, and related papers are shown in the following table:

File prefix

File title

INW0014/0030/0001/01/VO5

HF&E Bill 1990 Consultations

INW0014/0030/0001/01/VO6

HF&E Bill 1990 Warnock Report Consultations

INW0014/0030/0001/01/VO7

HF&E Bill 1990 Warnock Report Consultations

INW0014/0030/0001/01/VO8

HF&E Bill 1990 Warnock Report Consultations

INW0014/0030/0001/01/VO9

HF&E Bill 1990 Warnock Report Consultations

INW0014/0030/0001/01/V10

HF&E Bill 1990 Warnock Report Consultations

INW0014/0030/0001/02/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 Post Warnock Consultations

INW0014/0030/0001/02/VO2

HF&E Bill 1990 Post Warnock Consultations

INW0014/0030/0001/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 Warnock Report

INW0014/0030/0001/VO2

HF&E Bill 1990 Warnock Report

INW0014/0030/0001/VO3

HF&E Bill 1990 Warnock Report

INW0014/0030/0001/VO4

HF&E Bill 1990 Post Warnock

INW0014/0030/0001/VO5

HF&E Bill 1990 Post Warnock

INW0014/0030/0002/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 H of L Committee Stage Amendments

INW0014/0030/0002/VO2

HF&E Bill 1990 H of L Committee Stage Amendments

INW0014/0030/0002/VO3

HF&E Bill 1990 H of L Committee Stage Amendments

INW0014/0030/0003/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 Lords Report Stage

INW0014/0030/0003/VO2

HF&E Bill 1990 Report Stage

INW0014/0030/0003/VO3

HF&E Bill 1990 Report Stage

INW0014/0030/0004/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 H of L 2nd and 3rd Reading

INW0014/0030/0005/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 Commons 2nd Reading

INW0014/0030/0006/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 Commons Committee

INW0014/0030/0007/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 Standing Committee

INW0014/0030/0008/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 Lords Consideration of Common's Amendments

INW0014/0030/0009/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 Notes on Clauses

INW0014/0030/0010/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 Various Papers

INW0014/0030/0011/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 Interim Licensing Authority

INW0014/0030/0011/VO2

HF&E Bill 1990 Confidentiality Provisions

INW0014/0030/0012/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 Confidentiality Provisions

INW0014/0030/0012/VO2

HF&E Bill 1990 Hansard

INW0014/0030/0012

HF&E Bill 1990 Hansard

INW0014/0030/0013/VO1 to VO7

HF&E Bill 1990 Disclosure of Information

INW0014/0030/0014/VO1 to VO3

HF&E Bill 1990 Surrogate Arrangement Bill

INW0014/0030/0015/VO1 to VO2

HF&E Bill 1990 Policy on Legislation

INW0014/0030/0016/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 Code of Practice

INW0014/0030/0017/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 Appointments

INW0014/0030/0018/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 DTI: Restrictive Trade Practices

INW0014/0030/0019/VO1

HF&E Bill 1990 Post Warnock

INW0014/0030/0019/VO2

HF&E Bill 1990 Consultation Documents Responses Legal Nursing Post Warnock

INW0014/0030/0019/VO3

HF&E Bill 1990 Consultation Documents Responses Post Warnock

INW0014/0030/0136/VO2

HF&E Bill 1990 Disclosure of Information

INW0014/0030/VOO24

HF&E Bill 1990 H of L Committee Stage Amendments

INW0030/0001/0001/VO1 to VO4

HF&E Bill 1990 Warnock Report Consultations

Meat Hygiene Service

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Meat Hygiene Service has to alter its method of charging from headage to hourly rates. (180081)

We understand from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) currently charges industry for a proportion of the costs it incurs in carrying out meat hygiene and animal welfare official controls at approved meat premises. Businesses are charged the lower of the hourly MHS staff costs of delivering the official controls or a charge calculated from specified rates per animal or tonne of meat that is processed.

The FSA Board decided last July that the MHS should seek to progressively recover an increasing proportion of the cost of the meat hygiene and animal welfare controls that it provides and should seek to introduce charges for specified risk material official controls. At the same time, the MHS was required to improve efficiency.

The MHS is making significant changes to its operation that will reduce total costs in real terms from £91.3 million in 2006-07 to £75.0 million in 2011-12. In transforming, the MHS will continue to provide assurance that the meat industry produces safe meat for consumers.

The MHS is working with the FSA and with industry stakeholders to develop a charging system that will encourage the efficient use of MHS staff.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the (a) operation and (b) cost efficiency of the Meat Hygiene Service; (180082)

(2) what plans he has to reform the operation of the Meat Hygiene Service; and if he will make a statement;

(3) if he will make it his policy to replace the Meat Hygiene Service with private commercial inspection organisations.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has reviewed the delivery of official controls currently undertaken by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) in approved meat premises and a range of possible alternatives. This led the FSA board to set the MHS challenging targets to reduce the total and net costs of its operations over the next three financial years; to improve its productivity; to make full and cost effective use of its independent contractors; and to develop new charging arrangements. The board also decided that work should continue on preparations to pilot an alternative delivery model for its further consideration later this year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will contribute to the Meat Hygiene Service’s current consultation on charges; and if he will publish the results of the consultation. (180085)

We understand from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that the responses to the consultation are being considered and that a summary of them will be submitted to Ministers in the normal way when the regulations to which they relate are submitted for approval. We understand that the responses summary, with joint FSA/Meat Hygiene Service comments, will be published on the FSA’s website.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received on the operation of the Meat Hygiene Service. (180086)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the operating cost of the Meat Hygiene Service was in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. (180087)

The operating costs (including inflation) of the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) for the last 10 years are:

£ million

1997-98

55.0

1998-99

63.1

1999-2000

66.9

2000-01

64.6

2001-02

77.7

2002-03

81.2

2003-04

82.1

2004-05

83.0

2005-06

88.2

2006-07

91.3

During this period MHS activity has increased and includes: the introduction of specified risk material controls; an increase in the attendance level of official veterinarians as required by European Union legislation; additional activity required during the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak; and additional work involved in the introduction of the system to allow over-30-month beef to enter the human food chain.

In real terms, MHS costs have remained relatively flat since 2001 and are forecast to fall in 2007-08.

The MHS transformation plans will see a reduction in total costs in real terms from £91.3 million in 2006-07 to £75.0 million in 2011-12, carrying out its role efficiently.

NHS: Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the direct health care costs, in current prices, of obesity (a) in the most recent year for which figures are available and (b) in 2050 or the latest year for which an estimate is available. (180421)

In 2005 the Government asked the Government Office for Science’s Foresight programme to examine the scale of the obesity problem. They estimated that in 2007, the total cost to the national health service of diseases in which body mass index is a risk factor was £17.4 billion, of which obesity is estimated to account for £1 billion. The Foresight