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Written Answers

Volume 473: debated on Friday 14 March 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Friday 14 March 2008

Health

Cancer: Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average spend per patient by each cancer network was in England in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (194177)

The following tables show estimated cancer spend per 100,000 unified weighted population by cancer networks between 2003-04 and 2006-07.

The information for 2006-07 takes account of network changes of the period as well as changes in primary care trust boundaries.

Information on the average cancer spend per patient by each cancer network is not available.

Estimated cancer spend per 100,000 unified weighted population by cancer network

Cancer network

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

3 Counties

7,352,905

8,803,135

9,605,444

Arden

5,946,311

7,869,109

8,143,444

Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire

7,322,342

7,951,176

9,110,814

Black Country

5,466,811

7,154,351

7,215,802

Central South Coast

6,454,941

7,514,424

7,905,812

Derby/Burton

6,105,247

7,651,118

8,551,917

Dorset

8,410,611

8,095,934

8,999,355

Greater Manchester and Cheshire

5,929,702

6,890,628

8,391,498

Humber and Yorkshire Coast

6,538,239

7,656,806

9,089,945

Kent and Medway

6,856,214

7,892,461

8,728,802

Lancashire and South Cumbria

6,711,127

7,616,983

8,321,579

Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland

5,939,039

7,444,614

8,545,102

Merseyside and Cheshire

4,828,824

5,896,231

7,266,085

Mid Anglia

7,342,966

8,736,832

10,177,584

Mid Trent

6,986,351

8,463,279

9,501,574

Mount Vernon

5,674,107

6,666,115

7,235,566

Norfolk and Waveney

7,922,431

9,403,802

10,000,083

North East London

5,540,609

6,775,849

6,873,358

North London

6,616,266

7,800,055

8,197,962

North Trent

6,426,320

7,756,204

8,462,155

North West Midlands

5,964,855

6,310,657

7,424,388

Northern

5,951,231

7,911,981

8,598,384

Pan Birmingham

5,896,215

6,198,081

7,881,867

Peninsula

7,717,605

8,722,304

10,072,957

South-east London

5,307,468

7,329,549

7,838,521

South Essex

6,772,353

7,549,734

7,701,955

South-west London

7,460,896

7,865,838

7,994,424

Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire

7,537,915

8,442,021

8,510,842

Sussex

6,023,842

7,000,668

7,689,727

Teesside, South Durham and North Yorkshire

6,127,683

6,888,277

7,731,358

Thames Valley

6,598,528

7,547,632

8,312,444

West Anglia

6,954,469

7,868,446

9,438,327

West London

6,609,489

6,913,761

6,803,347

Yorkshire

6,832,843

8,261,949

8,664,021

Notes:

1. Figures for 2003 -04 are for primary care trust (PCT) net spend.

2. Figures for 2004-05 and 2005-06 are PCT Net spend by population.

3. Where a PCT falls under the responsibility of two cancer networks, the totality of their expenditure is included in both cancer networks’ figures.

Estimated cancer spend per 100,000 unified weighted population by cancer network

Cancer network

2006-07

Anglia

8,042,243

Arden

9,099,693

Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire

8,415,338

Central South Coast

8,543,103

Derby/Burton

8,407,591

Dorset

9,672,039

Essex

7,592,103

Greater Manchester and Cheshire

8,355,187

Greater Midlands

8,308,205

Humber and Yorkshire coast

8,824,434

Kent and Medway

8,034,291

Lancashire and South Cumbria

8,674,769

Leicester

8,304,508

Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland

8,965,735

Merseyside and Cheshire

8,022,190

Mid Trent

10,037,619

Mount Vernon

6,312,047

North-east London

6,824,097

North London

7,195,893

North of England

8,524,982

North Trent

8,099,633

Pan Birmingham

8,050,154

Peninsula

7,775,190

South-east London

7,012,894

South-west London

8,717,608

Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire

9,215,183

Sussex

7,691,610

Thames Valley

8,199,193

West London

6,142,160

Yorkshire

9,139,579

Notes:

1. Figures are PCT net spend by population.

2. Where a PCT falls under the responsibility of two cancer networks, the totality of their expenditure is included in both cancer networks’ figures.

Chlamydia: Screening

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 7 March 2008, Official Report, column 2854W, on Chlamydia screening, what performance management routes are being used by his Department; and if he will make a statement. (194384)

The performance management routes being used are through regular and frequent discussions with strategic health authorities who are accountable for delivery among their organisations.

Health Services: Voluntary Organisations

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made towards ensuring third sector organisations providing services in (a) Lincolnshire and (b) England are awarded three-year contracts. (193319)

Information on the proportion of contracts awarded to third sector providers that are for three years is not collected centrally. However, the Department fully supports the expectation that Government Departments pass on the certainty of longer-term funding, where appropriate, to the third sector organisations that they and their agencies fund.

The Office of the Third Sector (OTS) has proposed a staged approach to implementing three-year funding. The Department will work between now and 31 October 2008, to establish the arrangements needed to ensure reporting in 2009 on the proportion of funding arrangements between primary care trusts (PCTs) and third sector organisations that allow for three year funding, that do not impose unnecessary burdens on PCTs.

The 2008-09 NHS Operating Framework included the message that PCTs should not feel prevented from entering into three year agreements with local partners including small and medium enterprises and the third sector that establish practical measures to maximise their capacity to deliver health and well-being outcomes.

Hospices: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospices in England received funding from his Department in the last 12 months. (194379)

It is for individual primary care trusts (PCTs) to decide the level of funding they allocate to end-of-life-care services, including hospices, based on assessments of local needs and priorities. The level of funding a hospice receives is a matter for negotiation between the local PCT and the hospice.

In September 2006, the Government established a £40 million capital fund, which adult hospices were able to bid for to improve their physical environments. The funding has been made available as part of the dignity in care for older people work, although it will benefit all adult patients using hospice facilities. In April 2007, Ministers announced that 146 hospices, with 191 projects, had been allocated funding from the fund.

Incontinence: Medical Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what expenditure his Department has incurred on the review of Part IX of the drug tariff in 2008; and what the total cost of the review has been to date. (194455)

In 2008, the Department has spent £125,000 on the Part IX Review of the Drug Tariff up to 31 January, which is the latest figure available.

The total cost of the review to date is £2.25 million.

NHS: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the NHS will seek reimbursement from pharmaceutical manufacturers for expenditure on ineffective Select Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors. (193485)

We have no plans to seek reimbursement from pharmaceutical manufacturers in respect of Select Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).

The Committee on Safety of Medicines Expert Working Group on the safety of SSRIs undertook a comprehensive review of the safety of this entire class of drugs, examining all available evidence and reviewing all the regulatory advice issued. In December 2004, it concluded that the balance of risks and benefits of all SSRIs in adults remains positive in their licensed indications; however prescribers and patients should be more aware of the side effect profile of these medicines and the need for close monitoring of patients being treated for depressive illness or anxiety disorders.

NHS: Stress

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the annual cost of stress-related illness to the NHS. (194274)

Palliative Care

To ask the Secretary of State for Health by what mechanisms his Department maintains standards in care plans for people in receipt of end of life care. (194377)

The Supportive and Palliative Care Guidance published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that assessment and discussion of patients’ needs for physical, psychological, social, spiritual and financial support should be undertaken at key points during the care pathway and that cancer networks should ensure a unified approach to the assessment and recording of patients’ needs. The national health service has been required to set out action plans to achieve compliance with the NICE recommendations and cancer networks now have this unified approach in place. Implementation is being monitored by strategic health authorities. The End of Life Care Strategy, which covers care for all adult patients and which is due to be published this summer, will also address this issue.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department has issued on co-ordination of the provision of choice and dignity in end of life care between strategic health authorities, primary care trusts and hospices in the last twelve months. (194378)

The Department has not issued guidance on the co-ordination of the provision of choice and dignity in end of life care between strategic health authorities, primary care trusts and hospices in the last 12 months. However, the 2008-09 NHS Operating Framework, which clearly sets out a relatively small number of main priorities for the NHS for the coming year, states that a key element of the forthcoming national End of Life Care Strategy for adults will be to improve people’s access to high-quality services, close to their home. Central to the delivery of this change will be the development of rapid-response services and co-ordination centres. The strategy, which is due to be published this summer, will, among other issues, also address choice and dignity in end of life care.

Suicide: Essex

To ask the Secretary of State for Health in what proportion of suicides in Essex the victim was previously known to be at risk by (a) the NHS and (b) social services in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (193501)

Information is not held centrally about people identified as at risk of suicide by the national health service or social services who later take their own life.

The following table shows number of patients in the former Essex strategic health authority (SHA) who took their own life who were on enhanced care programme approach (CPA). The CPA is used to assess the care needs of, and provide a package of care for, people with severe mental illness. People on enhanced CPA are more likely to have multiple needs, require more frequent and intensive interventions and have higher levels of risk. However, not everyone on enhanced CPA will necessarily be identified as at risk of suicide.

Suicides under enhanced CPA1, Essex SHA

Number of people under enhanced CPA who committed suicide

Percentage of total number of suicides

2001

11

31

2002

9

24

2003

17

35

2004

16

37

2005

18

43

1 For 2001, the data refer to patients under standard and enhanced CPA. For 2002 to 2005, the data refer only to people under enhanced CPA.

Source:

The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness

Tranquillisers: Pregnant Women

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what services are provided to pregnant women to assist withdrawal from (a) voluntary and (b) involuntary or prescribed tranquilliser addiction. (191167)

The maternity services standard of the ‘National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services’ states that women who have substance misuse problems are at greater risk of problem pregnancies and their care should be provided by an integrated multidisciplinary and multi-agency team.

All national health service maternity care providers and mental health trusts should have in place joint working arrangements for maternity and mental health services, including arrangements for direct access by midwives, general practitioners and obstetricians to a perinatal psychiatrist.

Justice

Administration of Justice: Fees and Charges

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what changes HM Courts Service has made to the fees applying to court lists and registers for 2008-09. (193217)

No changes have been made to the fees for photocopying court lists and registers. There is a minimum fee of £5 for up to 10 sheets and 50p thereafter payable for a copy of any document provided by the court.

Asylum and Immigration Tribunal: Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what categories of information and variables are recorded on the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal database. (193329)

The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal’s database was designed to hold all information relevant to the administration of an appeal case, together with data essential for monitoring and reporting on the tribunal’s performance. Due to the sheer volume of database categories, variables and fields, to provide a full list or comprehensive summary of these elements would be unwieldy, and to place such information in the public domain would breach agreements between the tribunal and its contracted software developers.

Departmental Official Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the total cost was of overnight accommodation for (a) civil servants, (b) special advisers and (c) Ministers in his Department staying overnight in (i) mainland Great Britain, (ii) Northern Ireland, (iii) the Republic of Ireland and (iv) other countries in the last 12 months. (193534)

It is not possible to list the costs spent on overnight accommodation by the Department in the last 12 months as the expenditure is not separately identifiable within the Department’s accounts and may be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the rules set out in the “Ministerial Code” and “Travel by Ministers”, copies of which are available in the Library of the House for the reference of Members. All official travel by civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the “Civil Service Management Code”, a copy of which is also available in the Library of the House for the reference of Members.

Prisoner Escapes

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the number of prisoners who escaped from open prisons in each month since January 2007, broken down by (a) prison and (b) offence for which convicted; and if he will make a statement. (193511)

Records show that the level of absconds is the lowest for 10 years. Statistics show that since 1996 the rate of absconds has reduced by half.

Data showing the number of prisoners who have absconded from open or semi-open prisons between January 2007 and February 2008 broken down by (a) prison and (b) offence for which they are convicted is shown in the following tables.

Currently abscond levels are the lowest since centralised recording of figures began in 1995.

Offence

Askham Grange

Ford

Grendon

Hatfield

Hewell Grange

Hollesley Bay

Kirkham

Leyhill

Lindholme

Affray

1

1

1

1

Burglary

1

13

11

14

6

4

30

16

Arson

Assault

1

1

1

2

Assisting illegal immigrants

1

Attempt to commit theft

1

Attempt to pervert the course of justice

1

Attempted murder

1

Murder

1

1

Robbery

4

5

4

3

4

7

12

9

1

Breach

4

1

1

2

2

Conspiracy to commit theft

Drugs

2

7

2

8

1

10

8

Criminal damage

Customs evasion (not drugs related)

Driving

4

1

3

4

3

3

Deception

2

1

1

Fail to surrender

1

False imprisonment

False instruments

1

Fraud

Handling stolen goods

1

1

1

1

Holding warrant

1

1

Illegal immigrant/detainee

1

Import/export/drug

1

1

1

Inflict grievous bodily harm

1

1

3

Kidnapping

1

Make off without paying

Manslaughter

1

Other criminal offences

1

Other violence offences

Possession of an offensive weapon

1

1

Possession of firearm with intent. Endanger life

Rape

1

Receiving stolen goods

Sec 40 convictions during original sentence

1

Taking and driving away

1

1

2

Theft

6

1

1

9

6

Threatening/disorderly behaviour

Trespass

1

Wounding

2

1

4

3

Not recorded

1

2

1

2

1

Grand total

9

55

23

33

17

20

80

60

1

Offence

North Sea Camp

Norwich

Standford Hill

Stoke Heath

Sudbury

Thorn Cross

Usk

Wealstun

Grand total

Affray

1

5

Burglary

19

18

17

29

1

12

191

Arson

1

1

1

1

4

Assault

2

1

1

5

1

15

Assisting illegal immigrants

1

Attempt to commit theft

1

Attempt to pervert the course of justice

1

Attempted murder

1

1

3

Murder

1

4

7

Robbery

4

7

17

19

3

5

104

Breach

6

1

3

1

21

Conspiracy to commit theft

1

1

Drugs

4

6

4

10

8

70

Criminal damage

1

1

Customs evasion (not drugs related)

1

1

Driving

3

2

2

1

2

28

Deception

1

5

Fail to surrender

1

False imprisonment

2

2

False instruments

1

Fraud

1

1

Handling stolen goods

1

2

7

Holding warrant

1

1

4

Illegal immigrant/detainee

1

Import/export/drug

3

Inflict grievous bodily harm

1

1

2

9

Kidnapping

1

Make off without paying

1

1

Manslaughter

1

2

Other criminal offences

1

Other violence offences

1

1

Possession of an offensive weapon

1

3

Possession of firearm with intent. Endanger life

1

1

1

3

Rape

1

2

Receiving stolen goods

1

1

2

Sec 40 convictions during original sentence

2

1

1

1

6

Taking and driving away

1

1

5

2

13

Theft

3

6

2

1

1

36

Threatening/disorderly behaviour

1

1

Trespass

1

Wounding

1

1

2

7

1

22

Not recorded

1

1

3

3

1

16

Grand total

54

1

53

1

59

85

9

39

599

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Rutherford Appleton Laboratory: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what he plans to spend on the operation of the Diamond facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in each of the next three financial years. (194449)

The Science and Technology Facilities Council, (STFC) plans to spend £26.997 million on Diamond operations in 2008/09. The planned spend for the following two financial years is to be discussed and agreed between STFC and Diamond Light Source.

Home Department

Stop and Search

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many stop and searches were carried out by police under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in each year since the Act’s introduction; and how many and what percentage of those searches resulted in arrest. (163715)

[holding answer 13 November 2007]: Information on stop and searches and resultant arrests under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 from 2001-02 to 2004-05 (latest available) is given in the following table.

For 2005-06 data I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden (David Davis) on 10 March 2008, Official Report, column 78W.

Searches of vehicles1 and occupants, and pedestrians under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 20002 and resultant arrests3, England and Wales, 2001-02 to 2004-05

Stop and searches in order to prevent acts of terrorism

Total searches

Resultant arrests3

Percentage of arrests

2001-02

10,200

189

2

2002-03

32,100

380

1

2003-04

33,800

491

1

2004-05

35,800

455

1

1 Searches may be conducted on vehicles only, occupants only or both may be searched. Where a vehicle and driver occupier are searched simultaneously the search is recorded against the driver (occupant). Any other passengers searched are recorded as occupants.

2 The Terrorism Act 2000 came into force on 19 February 2001.

3 Includes arrests under the Terrorism Act, arrests for terrorist related matters and other serious crimes.

Note:

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 police officers. 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.

Terrorism

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of those arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences since 11 September 2001 have at some point claimed asylum. (168341)

[holding answer 26 November 2007]: The information requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Children, Schools and Families

Children: Poverty

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps the Government have taken to move children out of poverty since 1997. (194175)

The Government have set an ambitious target to halve child poverty, from a 1998-99 baseline by 2010, and to eradicate it by 2020. Since 1998-99, Government have halted the rising trend and 600,000 children have been lifted out of relative low-income.

Work, for those who can, remains the best route out of poverty and the Government are committed to supporting families to find work, to stay in work and to progress so that they can build a sustainable future for themselves and their families. Since 1997 the lone parent employment rate has increased by 12.5 percentage points to 57.2 per cent. and employment levels overall are at the highest level ever recorded.

Since 1997 the Government have also radically reformed the system of financial support for families. As a result of the Government's reforms to the tax and benefit system in Budget 2008, from April 2010, in real terms:

households with children will be, on average, £2,000 better off;

households with children in the poorest fifth of the population will be on average £4,500 better off as a result of measures introduced since 1997. (The full list for households with children in the poorest fifth since 1997 is: England £4,500, Wales £4,000, Scotland £4,100, NI £4,800, UK £4,500).

Budget 2008 announced measures that will make significant further progress towards the target of halving child poverty by 2010 by:

increasing the first child rate of child benefit to £20 a week from 2009;

disregarding child benefit in calculating income for housing and council tax benefit from October 2009;

increasing the child element of the child tax credit by £50 a year above indexation from April 2009 to further help low to middle income families.

Through these measures the Government are investing an additional £950 million in tackling child poverty by 2010-11, lifting up to 250,000 additional children out of poverty by 2010-11. Including the reforms announced in Budget 2007 and the 2007 pre-Budget report and comprehensive spending review, measures announced in the last year will lift over 500,000 children out of poverty.

We are also committed to improving public services to ensure that children receive the best start in life. There are now 2,557 Sure Start children's centres in England, providing services to more than two million children and their families and over 9,500 schools (one in three of total) are now providing core extended services, including: child care, study support, parenting support, family learning, access to wide range of specialised support for pupils; and opening up facilities to the community.

We will continue to build on this. Compared to 2007-08, by 2010-11, the Government will be investing an additional £2 billion a year in public services to alleviate child poverty and break cycles of deprivation, including spending on child care, schooling in deprived areas, educational attainment, health inequalities, emotional well being, disabled children and school transport.

In March 2008 ‘Ending child poverty: everybody's business’ was published. The report builds on the considerable evidence base and analysis of child poverty and considers: the causes and consequences of child poverty; costs associated with childhood experiences of poverty, for both individuals and society; the impact of Government action so far; and policy direction for the future.

In addition to the tax credit and benefit measures announced in this year’s Budget the document announces £125 million in innovative pilots over the next three years. This represents a real investment in approaches that might make a substantial contribution to eradicating child poverty. The Government will use the results of these pilots to inform future action.

Education: Business

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he plans to take to encourage businesses to assist in the education of children. (194173)

The Secretary of State recognises the significant contribution that business can make to young peoples' achievements and aspirations and encourages schools and colleges to build meaningful partnerships with employers in a wide range of areas.

The National Council for Educational Excellence is considering how businesses can contribute more to achieving educational excellence and will report to the Prime Minister in the summer.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Departmental Official Hospitality

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much was spent by his Department and its agencies on (a) alcohol and (b) entertaining in the last 12 month period for which information is available. (187787)

My Department has spent approximately £1 million on entertainment during the last 12 month period. It is not possible to separate the spend relating to alcohol from this overall figure. This spend was through its contracted service provider.

This figure also includes hospitality booked by external bodies including other Government Departments using our conference facilities. It is not possible to separate this spend from that of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Metals: Exports

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the value of scrap metal exports was in each of the last three years; and what the main destinations of those experts were over that period. (193805)

The following figures taken from HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics give the value of UK exports of waste and scrap (largely of ferrous metal, copper, aluminium, precious metal, nickel and tin) to selected countries.

£ million

2005

2006

2007

World total

1,631

2,335

2,691

Belgium

84

140

161

France

80

118

144

Germany

116

231

238

Spain

260

287

305

Rest of European Union

150

281

334

China

223

417

452

India

219

121

154

Turkey

84

245

227

United States

108

130

95

Rest of World

308

366

580

Storage: Hazardous Substances

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department has taken to ensure the security of chemical storage facilities in areas of high population density against terrorist attack. (192520)

I have been asked to reply.

The Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 1999 place a statutory responsibility on establishments holding significant amounts of specified dangerous substances to take all measures necessary to prevent major accidents and limit their consequences. In addition, the Health and Safety Executive advises local authorities on applications for development around such sites in order to limit the growth of population that could be affected by a major incident.

In addition, specific chemical storage sites receive protective security advice and training from police Counter Terrorism Security Advisers and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI). In addition, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced on 14 November 2007, Official Report, column 667 a review of the protective security arrangements in place around hazardous substances. This review is being led by my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Security and Counter-Terrorism (Lord West) and is currently under way.

Wines: Sales

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment the Government have made of the health effects of restricting the sale of UK-produced lower alcohol wines; and if he will make a statement. (186854)

I have been asked to reply.

The recent change in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) methodology for estimating alcohol consumption (“Estimating alcohol consumption from survey data: improved method of converting volumes to units, ONS, November 2007”) has highlighted how gradual increases in alcohol levels of wine over a period of years have contributed to increased alcohol consumption in the United Kingdom.

The Department will launch a campaign in May 2008 to help consumers estimate their alcohol consumption in units and to understand why this matters for their own health.

The Government believe that industry can also play an important part in helping to moderate rising alcohol levels by providing a wider range of choices for consumers. We will continue to press the European Commission to allow European Union (EU) winemakers to have greater flexibility to produce low alcohol wine, which is prevented by current EU rules. We would wish to encourage this as a socially responsible industry action in support of the National Alcohol Strategy.

Written Questions

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he expects to answer question 178201, tabled by the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South on 8 January 2008, on fuel poverty. (193491)

Culture, Media and Sport

Ipsos MORI

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what payments his Department has made to Ipsos MORI in the last 24 months; and for what purposes. (193865)

According to our records, we have made one payment to Ipsos MORI in the last 24 months of £91,000 (excl. VAT) for a survey on ‘the experience of smaller establishments in applying for live music authorisation’.

Museums and Galleries: Fees and Charges

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if his Department will subsidise the entry fee to cultural institutions for children from low income households to ensure that every child experiences five hours of culture a week. (189068)

On 13 February 2008 we announced a £25 million Find Your Talent programme of 10 pilots that will trial ways of delivering a structured five hour cultural offer.

This programme, which will help inform our plans for a national roll out of the offer, builds on the Government’s already considerable investment into these areas. This includes the support we give to enable free entry to National Museums, the Creative Partnerships programme which will receive over £110 million over the next three years, and the recently announced £332 million programme to support school music.

We have published a prospectus seeking applications from partnerships in local areas around the country and each partnership can apply for up to £2.5 million over three years. While we would expect the majority of money to be spent directly on new activity for young people it can also be used for skills assessments, training and CPD to those implementing delivery, or subsidising entry fees to local cultural institutions.

Playing Fields

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 11 March 2008, Official Report, column 7WS, on playing field statistics, which 40 applications led to a detrimental impact on sport, broken down by local authority. (194462)

97 per cent. (1,176) of 1,216 concluded planning applications affecting playing fields in 2005-06 resulted in improved or protected sports provision. The 40 (3 per cent.) approved planning applications in 2005-06 that were considered by Sport England to be a detriment to sport are listed in the table. None of the 40 cases resulted in the complete loss of a playing field, the detrimental impact on sport included issues such as loss of space around the margins of a field, temporary loss of school playing field space during rebuilding works, or the creation of a new sporting facility which did not meet all of Sport England’s design standards. Sport England maintained an objection to each of these 40 applications that was overruled by the local authority.

Site name

Local authority

Land West of Gardiners Lane South

Basildon

Kings Norton Boys School

Birmingham

Automotive Lighting Factory (former) and Cannock Ind Centre (x 3 planning applications)

Cannock Chase

Liskeard and Looe Rugby Club

Caradon

Neigbourhood Nursery (Beacon Junior and Infants School)

Carrick

Playing Field

Cheltenham

Durham City Football Club

Durham

Former Itec Site

Easington

Pebsham CP School

Hastings

Walpole Highway Primary School

King’s Lynn and West Norfolk

Clifton Nursery School

Kingston upon Hull

Dryclough C E (C) Infant School (x 2 applications)

Kirklees

Mile Oak Community Centre

Lichfield

Romans Field School

Milton Keynes

Wolverton Park Sports Ground

Milton Keynes

Ashcombe Primary School

North Somerset

Gordano School

North Somerset

Site of Nuneaton Rugby Club/AFC

Nuneaton and Bedworth

Former Old Manor Hospital

Salisbury

Gay Meadow

Shrewsbury and Atcham

Long Stratton High School

South Norfolk

Wincanton Sports Ground

South Somerset

St. Dominies School

South Staffordshire

Parkside Primary School

Stafford

Croft School

Stratford-on-Avon

Stratford Town Football Club

Stratford-on-Avon

Earl Soham Primary School

Suffolk Coastal

Land at Pipers Way

Swindon

Wilnecote Sports Centre

Tamworth

Former Willenhall Radiator Grounds

Walsall

Leighswood School

Walsall

Play Area Rear of High Terrace

Wear Valley

Lowbourne Junior School

West Wiltshire

Goodyear Site

Wolverhampton

Wilden All Saints First School

Wyre Forest

St. Johns C of E First School

Wyre Forest

Stourport High School

Wyre Forest

Transport

A264: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) fatal and (b) non-fatal accidents occurred on the A264 between Stone Cross and Blackham in each of the last 10 years. (194537)

The numbers of reported personal injury road accidents which occurred on the A264 between Stone Cross and Blackham in 1997 to 2007 are given in the table:

Number of accidents

Year of accident

Fatal

Serious

Slight

Total

1997

0

1

7

8

1998

0

3

4

7

1999

0

2

6

8

2000

0

1

5

6

2001

0

0

3

3

2002

0

l

7

8

2003

0

1

4

5

2004

0

2

0

2

2005

0

1

0

1

2006

0

0

2

2

A4: Heathrow Airport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport where she plans the A4 to run in relation to Heathrow airport in proposals in the ‘Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport’ consultation; and what assessment she has made of the security implications of the location of the road. (193692)

It is expected that the routing of the A4 would be largely unaffected by the proposals in the ‘Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport’ consultation document. It is, however, expected that sections of the road would pass in tunnels underneath aeroplane taxiways between the existing airport campus and the new runway. If proposals are taken forward, further work would need to be carried out as part of a comprehensive transport assessment prior to the airport operator submitting any planning application: this would include any security implications of the location of the A4. This would be done in consultation with the Highways Agency, TfL—Transport for London—and local authorities.

Aviation: Security

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assurances she has obtained from foreign Governments whose airlines utilise armed air marshals on the co-operation by such marshals with UK police officers on aircraft on British soil. (193492)

The Department for Transport has not sought assurances from foreign Governments regarding cooperation by foreign air marshals with UK police officers. Policing at UK airports is a matter for the respective police forces and the Home Office.

Biofuels: Imports

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what percentage of biodiesel used in the UK was imported from the US in 2006-07; (184169)

(2) what steps are taken to determine whether biodiesel imported from the US has been produced sustainably; and what certification requirements apply to such imports.

The Government do not presently hold precise data on the provenance of the biofuels used in the UK. We will have more accurate data once the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) comes into effect in April. Under the RTFO, transport fuel suppliers who wish to earn Renewable Transport Fuel certificates in respect of their biofuels will have to report to the Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) on matters such as the country of origin and wider sustainability of those fuels. Further detail on the reporting requirements is available via the RFA’s website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/rfa

We are aware that during 2006 and 2007 a significant proportion of the biodiesel sold in the UK was imported from the US. There are currently no sustainability or certification requirements on these or other imports of biofuel into the European Union, and the UK Government do not have the power unilaterally to impose any such restrictions. We have expressed our concerns on this issue to the European Commission at the highest level and are supporting their efforts to press for legislative changes in the US. Once the RTFO is in force, transport fuel suppliers importing biodiesel from the US will be subject to the same sustainability reporting requirements as outlined above.

Departmental Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her policy is on shredding in her Department and its agencies. (191770)

The policy on shredding in the Department for Transport is based on guidance from the Cabinet Office’s Manual of Protective Security. This requires material to be shredded using equipment of an approved standard, commensurate with the material’s level of protective marking.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency: Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many members of staff were involved in the publishing of DVL Today in each year since it was first published. (191704)

Since November 2003 (edition 25) the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has not had any members of staff working full-time on the external publication DVL Today. Instead, the work is distributed between several members of staff. The estimated number of working hours per edition is shown as follows.

Estimated number of working hours

Editor

74

Three print unit staff

76

Two design staff

26

Total

176

1 Hours altogether.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the annual cost of the publication DVL Today was in each year since it was first published. (191721)

DVL Today is published twice a year in April and October; the first edition was produced in 1991. Since November 2003 the publication has been produced in-house. The annual in-house cost of publishing both editions for each calendar year since 2003 is around £6,500. Prior to 2003 the magazine was produced by external publishing companies, unfortunately this pre-dates our current accounting system and to access the data from our previous accounts system would incur disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the estimated readership is of DVL Today. (191722)

We issue approximately 19,000 copies of each issue of DVL Today to our customers (we have 22,000 of each edition printed). The publication is also available on Driver and Vehicles Licensing Agency’s corporate website for reading/download by customers. DVL Today is published twice a year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many copies of DVL Today were printed in each year since it was first published; and how many copies were posted to readers in each year. (191723)

Since November 2003 (edition 25) we have had 22,000 copies of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s external publications DVL Today printed. Of these, approximately 19,000 of each edition are posted to readers. DVL Today is published twice a year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost of posting DVL Today to readers was in each year since it was first published. (191724)

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) produce approximately 44,000 copies of DVL Today per annum; approximately 36,000 of these are distributed outside DVLA central to Automated First Registration and Licensing dealers, our Local Office Network and other motoring organisations. Distribution costs (mainly postage) for DVL Today for the calendar year 2007 were £5,114.

Emergency Services: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 31 January 2008, Official Report, column 538W, on emergency services: accidents, how many accidents occurred involving blue light vehicles from the (a) police force, (b) fire service and (c) ambulance service in each of the last five years; and how many (i) deaths and (ii) serious injuries resulted from accidents in each such category, broken down by region. (190861)

The numbers of reported personal injury road accidents involving vehicles from (a) the police force, (b) the fire service and (c) the ambulance service and the number of resulting fatalities and seriously injured casualties in each region for each of the last five years are shown in the tables:

(a) Police

Number of accidents

Government Office Regions

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

North East

133

129

123

119

118

North West

352

291

333

362

351

Yorkshire and the Humber

351

311

320

274

259

East Midlands

171

165

157

122

109

West Midlands

219

232

238

198

218

East of England

195

189

198

162

160

South East

299

290

245

243

258

London

110

74

70

19

32

South West

171

149

157

165

161

Wales

88

88

95

82

91

Scotland

95

107

90

71

70

Great Britain

2,184

2,025

2,026

1,817

1,827

(b) Fire service

Number of accidents

Government Office Regions

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

North East

9

4

11

3

4

North West

20

25

17

17

9

Yorkshire and the Humber

20

11

7

7

6

East Midlands

4

7

9

4

5

West Midlands

7

15

14

3

1.2

East of England

10

6

10

13

9

South East

8

15

18

15

11

London

12

16

11

7

17

South West

9

10

9

10

7

Wales

3

6

5

3

4

Scotland

8

10

7

9

7

Great Britain

110

125

118

91

91

(c) Ambulance service

Number of accidents

Government Office Regions

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

North East

8

7

11

10

18

North West

46

44

35

36

24

Yorkshire and the Humber

40

37

30

33

25

East Midlands

20

25

26

24

23

West Midlands

28

36

31

20

23

East of England

34

26

22

16

21

South East

37

49

30

45

44

London

42

47

47

34

31

South West

19

38

31

26

27

Wales

20

29

14

20

19

Scotland

14

15

15

20

19

Great Britain

308

353

292

284

274

(a) Police

Number of casualties

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Government Office Regions

Fatal

Serious

Fatal

Serious

Fatal

Serious

Fatal

Serious

Fatal

Serious

North East

2

10

1

16

3

20

0

19

2

13

North West

7

57

9

26

3

58

7

47

11

55

Yorkshire and the Humber

1

54

0

29

3

47

2

46.

6

33

East Midlands

8

26

3

23

6

23

0

13

1

26

West Midlands

1

28

3

29

3

35

2

23

3

25

East of England

5

33

4

28

3

19

3

20

1

23

South East

2

53

4

41

5

35

7

31

4

30

London

1

21

0

4

1

15

0

0

0

6*

South West

3

26

1

15

2

25

2

13

1

18

Wales

4

10

1

9

1

4

1

7

0

8

Scotland

0

15

1

25

1

12

2

3

1

7

Great Britain

34

333

27

245

31

293

26

222

30

244

(b) Fire service

Number of casualties

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Government Office Regions

Fatal

Serious

Fatal

Serious

Fatal

Serious

Fatal

Serious

Fatal

Serious

North East

0

1

0

0

0

1

1

1

0

2

North West

0

0

1

0

1

3

0

2

0

1

Yorkshire and the Humber

0

3

1

7

2

2

0

1

0

0

East Midlands

0

0

1

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

West Midlands

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

1

East of England

0

1

1

0

0

1

0

2

0

1

South East

0

2

0

1

0

6

0

2

0

4

London

0

0

0

8

0

2

0

2

0

7

South West

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Wales

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

Scotland

0

0

0

3

0

2

1

3

0

0

Great Britain

0

9

4

24

4

18

2

13

0

18

(c) Ambulance service

Number of casualties

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Government Office Regions

Fatal

Serious

Fatal

Serious

Fatal

Serious

Fatal

Serious

Fatal

Serious

North East

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

North West

0

3

0

4

0

3

0

0

0

5

Yorkshire and the Humber

0

9

0

5

0

8

0

10

0

3

East Midlands

0

4

2

3

3

4

0

2

0

5

West Midlands

0

4

0

4

0

1

0

3

0

0

East of England

1

5

1

3

1

5

2

3

1

6

South East

1

11

2

5

0

1

1

3

1

6

London

1

8

3

17

0

11

0

4

1

10

South West

2

4

2

5

0

4

0

1

1

2

Wales

0

3

1

1

0

1

1

2

0

3

Scotland

0

1

0

6

0

5

1

4

1

2

Great Britain

5

52

11

54

4

43

5

32

5

43

Heathrow Airport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she has received representations from BAA plc regarding a fourth runway and seventh terminal at Heathrow Airport. (191716)

Heathrow Airport: Planning Permission

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether she plans to make permission to build a third runway or sixth terminal at Heathrow airport contingent on a limit on further expansion; (191696)

(2) whether she plans to make permission to build a third runway or sixth terminal at Heathrow Airport subject to a cap on the maximum number of flight movements at the airport.

The recent consultation “Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport”, which closed on 27 February, was about the Government’s policy towards expansion at the airport. No decision will be made until we have analysed the many thousands of responses we have received. It would not be appropriate to speculate on the outcome of that process. In addition, the decision would in any event be subject to obtaining the necessary planning and other statutory consents.

Inland Waterways

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the levels of traffic on major rivers and other inland waterways between 1997 and 2000. (191760)

The information requested is shown in the following table.

UK inland waters traffic, 1997 to 2000

1997

1998

1999

2000

Goods lifted (million tonnes)

Total

58.5

57.3

53.8

49.0

Of which:

Non-seagoing

4.8

4.3

4.3

4.3

Seagoing

53.7

53.0

49.5

44.7

Goods moved (million tonne-kilometres)

Total

1.9

2.0

1.9

1.7

Of which:

Non-seagoing

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

Seagoing

1.7

1.8

1.7

1.5

Source:

Department for Transport Statistics Bulletin: “Waterborne Freight in the United Kingdom 2006”

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she will answer Question 177350, tabled by the hon. Member for Portsmouth South on 9 January 2008, on the Portsmouth to Cardiff rail service. (193490)

Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 21 February 2008, Official Report, column 885W, on motor vehicles: excise duties, if she will provide equivalent information for each year since 1996. (191749)

The number of vehicles wrongly impounded is available for the last two financial years only. The information available was provided in my answer of 21 February 2008, Official Report, column 885W.

Parking Offences: Unpaid Fines

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the effect on the revenue to local authorities of the non-payment of parking fines in respect of vehicles where their legal keepers by virtue of their registration are (a) non-EEA—European economic area—nationals and (b) nationals of other European Union member states; if she will bring forward proposals to address the effects on revenue; and if she will make a statement. (193688)

This information is not held centrally. The enforcement of decriminalised traffic contraventions is a matter for the relevant local authorities, They are not required to provide such information to the Government.

Enforcement of penalty charges issued to keepers of foreign registered vehicles is a Europe wide challenge that needs a Europe wide solution. The Government are awaiting an expected draft directive from the European Commission on cross border enforcement, which will include road traffic matters.

Provisions are also included in the Local Transport Bill currently progressing through Parliament which will enable the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to request information from foreign registration authorities on behalf of UK authorities who wish to pursue unpaid penalties incurred by motorists in foreign registered vehicles.

Passenger Ships

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the environmental impact of cruise ships operating from UK ports; and if she will make a statement. (192396)

No specific assessment of the environmental impact of cruise vessels has been undertaken. Cruise vessels are treated as any other vessel for the purposes of UK and international legislation and are required to comply with the relevant international standards.

Ports: Waste Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much revenue was raised by setting a mandatory charge for port waste reception facilities irrespective of use for entering a UK harbour in each year since 2003; and how much the scheme cost in each year. (192398)

Charges for use of port waste reception facilities are set by the port or terminal in question and established on a commercial basis to cover the cost of the provision of waste reception facilities. The Government do not record the costs of administering such schemes or the money collected through them.

In approving port reception facility plans the Maritime and Coastguard Agency considers the calculation of the charge to ensure it is proportionate to the cost of providing waste reception facilities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many ship operators were convicted following steps taken by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as a result of non-compliance with the Port Waste Reception Facilities Regulations 2003 in each of the last five years, broken down by the port, harbour or terminal authority where the non-compliance occurred; and if she will make a statement. (192399)

No ship operators have been convicted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in the last five years under the Port Waste Reception Facilities Regulations 2003.

Roads: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 21 February 2008, Official Report, column 886W, on roads: accidents, if she will provide this information for every parliamentary constituency. (191750)

Tables showing the numbers of reported personal injury road accidents, the number involving drivers under the age of 21, and the resulting fatalities in each parliamentary constituency in 1997 to 2006 have been deposited in the Libraries of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 20 February 2008, Official Report, column 737W, on roads: accidents, if she will provide the equivalent figure for each parliamentary constituency. (191753)

Tables showing the numbers of (a) deaths and (b) injuries resulting from personal injury road accidents in each parliamentary constituency by age of casualty have been deposited in the Libraries of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road traffic accidents occurred in (a) Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency and (b) Lancashire in 2007. (194718)

The information requested is not available. Statistics on reported personal injury road accidents in 2007 are due to be published in June 2008.

Rolling Stock

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many new train carriages (a) entered and (b) were removed from service in each year since 2004; and how many are expected to (i) enter and (ii) be removed from service in (A) 2008, (B) 2009, (C) 2010 and (D) 2011. (190608)

[holding answer 29 February 2008]: The number of vehicles which have entered service since 2004 are as follows:

Number

2004

1,360

2005

710

2006

210

2007

15

We do not hold the numbers which were removed from service as this number constantly changes depending on the commercial deals made by the Train Operating Companies (TOCs). However, I would point out that there is very little useable stock available and the Department’s High Level Output Specification (HLOS) is about growing capacity of the network. The numbers which are expected to enter service will depend on the vehicle delivery profile which is agreed with the manufacturer at contract signature.

Transport: Pollution Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when (a) her Department and (b) its agencies’ green transport plans were introduced; and if she will place a copy of these plans in the Library. (191762)

The Department for Transport’s Travel Plan was published on its website on 28 November 2006. A copy has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Communities and Local Government

Antisocial Behaviour

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what the timetable for the implementation of (a) community call to action and (b) councillor call to action is; (193786)

(2) what steps she is taking to extend the community call to action to all local authority services.

“Strong and prosperous communities—The Local Government White Paper Implementation Plan: One Year On”, published in November 2007, states that Councillor Call for Action will be implemented during 2008.

On 27 December 2007 Communities and Local Government published the “Local Petitions and Calls for Action Consultation”, which seeks views on the implementation of the Councillor Call for Action. Paragraph 19 of the consultation document proposes a duty on local authorities to respond to local petitions where the subject of the petition relates to the functions of the local authority, or other public services with shared delivery responsibilities with the local authority. Paragraph 43 of the document states that the Government believe their proposed duty on local authorities to respond to qualifying petitions would amount to a community call for action, but seek views on whether other steps should be taken. The consultation will close on 20 March.

Audits

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what requirements her Department and its agencies place on contractors in relation to audit of personal data and IT equipment. (176628)

There is no centrally held information on requirements that are placed on contractors in this regard. Individual contracts will impose particular requirements on contractors in relation to audit of personal data and IT equipment but terms and conditions vary between contracts, and there is no standard condition which runs across all contracts.

Bellwin Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the value of applications made to her Department and its predecessors by local authorities under the Bellwin scheme was in each year since 1997. (193867)

Since 1997, the Bellwin scheme has paid out the following amounts (to the nearest £1,000):

Amount (£)

1997-98

170,000

1998-99

440,000

1999-2000

350,000

2000-01

4,100,000

2001-02

25,800,000

2002-03

184,000

2003-04

0

2004-05

1,900,000

2005-06

1,940,000

2006-07

55,000

2007-08

116,026,000

1 To date.

The Department does not hold comprehensive historical records of all applications, not all of which will have resulted in the activation of the scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much (a) has been paid and (b) is outstanding for payment to local authorities in respect of claims under the Bellwin scheme in 2007. (193868)

To date, £16,025,831 has been paid to local authorities under the Bellwin scheme in 2007-08. Around £6 million of claims are being assessed.

Community Relations: Democracy

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable is for the publication of a White Paper on democracy and community engagement; and if she will make a statement. (194296)

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced, on 5 March, proposals to prepare a White Paper on plans to unlock talent in local communities and give people a real say on improving local services and promoting active citizenship. We will be developing a range of proposals over the coming months, and plan to publish the White Paper in the summer. We want a wide range of people to contribute to the thinking that goes into the White Paper, including practitioners and community activists, local government, trade unions and people in the public services.

Council Tax: Second Homes

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what constraints there are on local authorities on how they use the revenue from council tax levied on second homes. (193241)

There are no constraints on how a local authority uses council tax revenue other than the need to satisfy itself that it is operating within the powers conferred on it by Parliament.

Councillors: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to introduce a national pay system for local government councillors. (193833)

The Secretary of State will be publishing the Government’s response to the Councillors Commission report, (which included a recommendation on a National Framework of Allowances for councillors), later in the spring, following consultation with other Government Departments and key partners.

Departmental Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she has taken to reduce her Department’s carbon dioxide emissions in the next financial year. (191019)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 18 February 2008, Official Report, column 11W.

Departmental Official Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the cost was of overnight accommodation for (a) civil servants, (b) special advisers and (c) Ministers in her Department staying overnight in (i) mainland Great Britain, (ii) Northern Ireland, (iii) the Republic of Ireland and (iv) other countries in the last 12 months. (193526)

The breakdown of information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, the following table sets out the overall UK and overseas accommodation expenditure incurred by Communities and Local Government (for civil servants and Ministers) in the last 12 months.

1 March 2007 to 29 February 2008

£

UK accommodation costs

748,937

Overseas accommodation costs

89,920

All travel by civil servants and Ministers is conducted in accordance with requirements of the Civil Service Management Code and the Ministerial Code.

Departmental Plants

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department spent on pot plants in each of the last five years. (192052)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 3 September 2007, Official Report, column 1644W. Since then the Department has purchased additional new plants at a cost of £845.00, during the period 1 July 2007 to 29 February 2008.

Departmental Property

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many residential properties her Department owns; how many of these are vacant; and how many of these have been vacant for longer than (a) three, (b) six and (c) 12 months. (192991)

Communities and Local Government owns 39 residential houses at the Fire Service College, one of our executive agencies. Five are currently vacant. Of these, one has been vacant for less than three months, three houses have been vacant for between six and 12 months and one for longer than 12 months. Two of the vacant houses will be occupied by mid-April 2008.

Departmental Public Participation: Opinion Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what payments her Department has made to opinion research companies or consultants in the last 24 months, other than to Ipsos MORI; at what cost; and for what purposes. (191645)

The information requested is not held centrally and could be supplied only at disproportionate cost.

Empty Property: Rates and Rating

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the costs of (a) administration of and (b) collection of revenue from empty property rates. (193761)

The impact assessment accompanying the Non-Domestic Rating (Unoccupied Property) (England) Regulations 2008 No. 386, which was laid before Parliament on the 26 February 2008 gives details and assessment of the net additional costs arising from the reform to empty property rates. It is anticipated that local government will face a one-off additional cost during 2007-08 totalling £1.66 million and the Government are in the process of preparing a funding package to ensure that cost is funded.

Fire Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many incidents on or near water were attended by the Fire Service in each year since 1994, broken down by (a) brigade and (b) region. (193026)

Fire Services: Consultants

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Hendon of 18 December 2007, Official Report, column 1325-6W, on fire services: consultants, what the recent re-categorisation of costs referred to was. (192413)

The re-categorisation of costs referred to was triggered by HM Treasury in November 2006. As well as setting in motion a detailed review of existing consultancy spend to ensure that it was correctly classified against programme and administration budgets, Departments were instructed to use the 2001 Office of Government Commerce (OGC) definition of consultancy and professional services. The OGC definition states that consultancy and professional services should not include staff substitution or interim management nor steady state contractor or service provision. The common definitions for consultancy and professional services work were implemented to move towards consistent treatment and monitoring of such expenditure across all Government Departments.

Grassland: Fires

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many grassland and heathland fires there were in each year since 1986, broken down by (a) fire authority and (b) region. [R] (193024)

The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The following table provides figures for 1995 to 2006.

Grassland and heathland fires by fire and rescue authority and Government Office region, England, 1995 to 2006

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

England

133,495

77,037

47,881

28,494

45,201

38,579

48,753

47,940

110,460

41,071

50,789

65,608

North West

29,635

18,028

8,054

3,963

6,221

5,815

7,293

6,833

17,959

6,561

7,406

10,505

Cheshire

3,272

2,157

990

521

772

763

1,310

1,138

2,346

920

990

1,656

Cumbria

655

842

267

112

236

294

373

280

1,003

487

457

500

Lancashire

3,433

2,600

936

390

557

735

974

1,551

3,264

1,385

1,343

1,567

Greater Manchester

11,782

5,391

2,746

1,078

2,145

1,702

2,173

1,948

6,401

1,550

1,855

3,099

Merseyside

10,493

7,038

3,115

1,862

2,511

2,321

2,463

1,916

4,945

2,219

2,761

3,683

North East

8,936

6,478

4,566

2,321

4,563

4,114

4,554

4,452

8,628

3,048

3,995

6,626

Cleveland

1,665

1,258

743

424

764

862

993

1,194

1,979

755

1,169

1,701

Durham

2,082

1,416

1,358

656

1,068

833

1,028

857

1,894

710

933

1,533

Northumberland

863

555

408

163

397

466

413

393

961

313

331

481

Tyne and Wear

4,326

3,249

2,057

1,078

2,334

1,953

2,120

2,008

3,794

1,270

1,562

2,911

Yorks and Humberside

20,450

8,713

4,709

3,308

5,690

4,173

5,982

5,818

12,886

3,885

5,672

7,098

Humberside

2,344

1,912

1,002

741

947

111

836

1,062

2,277

736

928

1,135

North Yorkshire

673

359

309

188

268

240

314

344

657

276

359

470

South Yorkshire

7,837

3,433

1,794

1,518

2,317

1,755

2,307

2,508

5,006

1,396

2,111

2,551

West Yorkshire

9,596

3,009

1,604

861

2,158

1,401

2,525

1,904

4,946

1,477

2,274

2,942

West Midlands

19,566

8,552

6,375

3,583

5,550

6,393

6,994

7,849

15,836

5,970

7,029

10,802

Hereford and Worcester

1,416

812

582

293

421

455

478

601

1,212

510

521

803

Shropshire

1,162

433

512

335

472

470

652

682

1,049

525

483

837

Staffordshire

4,356

2,078

1,328

827

992

1,109

1,420

1,362

2,918

1,181

1,412

1,974

Warwickshire

1,727

800

460

274

442

397

349

466

814

307

371

444

West Midlands

10,905

4,429

3,493

1,854

3,223

3,962

4,095

4,738

9,843

3,447

4,242

6,744

East Midlands

12,316

6,244

3,606

2,917

4,522

3,441

4,479

5,218

11,035

4,114

5,063

5,982

Derbyshire

2,544

1,342

666

436

732

640

705

758

1,604

565

1,035

1,002

Leicestershire

2,355

1,209

624

573

774

712

778

860

2,055

624

701

769

Lincolnshire

1,143

734

407

327

513

334

443

433

994

420

458

617

Northamptonshire

1,414

613

390

283

302

263

476

507

1,225

439

510

681

Nottinghamshire

4,860

2,346

1,519

1,298

2,201

1,492

2,077

2,660

5,157

2,066

2,359

2,913

East

8,571

6,835

4,908

3,197

3,910

3,281

3,851

4,285

10,269

3,697

4,825

6,222

Bedfordshire

942

576

402

231

410

248

318

371

1,141

296

458

452

Cambridgeshire

623

796

502

393

436

423

372

549

990

373

528

659

Essex

3,790

3,026

2,036

1,429

1,659

1,384

1,687

1,586

3,834

1,584

2,216

2,517

Hertfordshire

1,135

563

863

508

695

552

617

647

2,153

578

700

838

Norfolk

1,111

966

527

333

400

365

463

629

1,137

449

443

1,015

Suffolk

970

908

578

303

310

309

394

503

1,014

417

480

741

South West

8,831

4,754

3,191

1,959

2,770

2,897

3,949

3,321

6,777

3,373

4,000

4,565

Avon

2,250

775

357

336

591

613

970

988

2,171

868

1,474

1,484

Cornwall

1,212

822

505

205

334

352

389

346

624

388

421

610

Devon

1,641

1,063

814

425

533

554

676

570

1,006

656

546

840

Dorset

2,020

947

824

553

765

832

1,223

732

1,174

776

870

725

Gloucestershire

632

419

221

175

193

211

199

223

700

229

322

360

Somerset

539

340

254

139

174

156

217

221

506

238

167

285

Wiltshire

530

375

214

125

177

174

267

231

589

208

197

253

Isles of Scilly

7

13

2

1

3

5

8

10

7

10

3

8

South East

13,669

7,923

6,251

3,467

5,705

4,098

6,250

5,650

13,565

5,573

5,941

7,035

Berkshire

2,087

1,027

774

432

538

461

631

657

1,550

614

698

824

Buckinghamshire

1,179

496

469

195

388

237

279

303

819

269

262

335

East Sussex

689

482

357

190

314

335

438

255

818

245

223

389

Hampshire

4,048

1,914

1,591

923

1,536

1,224

2,179

1,792

4,059

1,792

1,646

2,255

Isle of Wight

153

131

95

55

91

65

125

83

140

54

59

83

Kent

2,373

1,758

1,298

899

1,401

735

1,094

1,096

2,861

1,029

1,455

1,431

Oxfordshire

565

507

378

198

287

233

303

326

710

334

299

330

Surrey

1,821

1,056

851

351

735

465

751

710

1,755

820

899

942

West Sussex

754

552

438

224

415

343

450

428

853

416

400

446

London

11,521

9,510

6,221

3,779

6,270

4,367

5,401

4,514

13,505

4,850

6,858

6,773

Note:

Data for 2006 are provisional.

Holocaust Memorial Day

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent representations she has received about including commemoration of Raoul Wallenberg in Holocaust Memorial Day; and if she will make a statement. (194374)

Communities and Local Government have received no representations to include commemoration of Raoul Wallenberg in Holocaust Memorial Day.

Liverpool City Council: Audit

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking following the recent Audit Commission corporate assessment report into Liverpool City Council. (193954)

The Department is working closely with colleagues and officials in the Local Government Association, IDeA—Improvement and Development Agency for local government—Audit Commission, Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnership, Government Office for the North West (GONW), and the city council itself, to ensure that a package of support for Liverpool is available.

To this end, an improvement board, with external membership including GONW, IDeA, and the Audit Commission, has been set up by the city council to provide continued support and challenge. Peer support from other local government authorities is also being developed.

Local Authorities: Collective Worship

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will issue guidance to local authorities on the saying of prayers at council meetings. (194230)

The Department has no plans to issue guidance to local authorities on prayers at council meetings.

Local Authorities: Petitions

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps local authorities will be required to take in response to a petition with a specified number of signatures under her Department’s proposals. (193787)

On 27 December 2007 Communities and Local Government published the “Local Petitions and Calls for Action Consultation”, which seeks views on a proposed duty on local authorities to respond to local petitions, and the number of signatures required to trigger a response. The consultation will close on 20 March.

Local Authorities: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what powers Oftenant will have to (a) inspect local authorities and (b) set and monitor performance indicators for local authorities. (194409)

As announced on 15 October 2007, we have appointed an independently chaired advisory panel to give further advice on the technical work needed to bring local authority landlords within the regulator's scope.

Plastic Bags

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer to the hon. Member for Bromley of 4 February 2008, Official Report, column 852W, on plastic bags, whether the two orders were for 300,000 bags in total or for 300,000 bags each for order. (193790)

Public Bodies: Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the estimated cost is of (a) establishing and (b) maintaining the data interchange hub in each of the next three years. (193814)

The data interchange hub project is being delivered in a phased manner, with the first production release due to go into service in April 2008. The phases beyond this have not been scoped in detail, and as a result estimated costs, if agreed, are not yet available. The current estimated cost up to 1 April 2008 is just under £690,000, including the costs of system development and testing, programme management, and communications with stakeholders. The annual maintenance costs are under negotiation, and the Department is efficiently and effectively re-using existing departmental systems and infrastructure to its benefit as regards both the development and maintenance costs of the system.

Standards Board for England: Complaints

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average cost was of the Standards Board for England processing and assessing a complaint in the most recent year for which figures are available. (191661)

The average cost per case incurred by the Standards Board in undertaking the initial assessment to decide whether or not to refer a matter for investigation was £393 in 2006-07.

The average cost per completed investigation, including the cost of that initial assessment, was £12,772 in 2006-07.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Drinking Water

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has made to other Government Departments on ceasing the use of bottled water and providing tap water instead; if he will publish the responses received; and if he will make a statement. (187972)

The use of bottled water for meetings and other official business is to be phased out across the whole Government estate.

On 6 March, the Cabinet Secretary wrote to the head of every Government Department suggesting they should replace bought-in bottled water with tap water for all meetings in future.

A number of Departments including DEFRA have already stopped using bottled water for official meetings but the proposal is to extend the ‘tap water only policy’ throughout Government Departments.

The new policy is expected to come into effect by the summer.

Enviros Consulting

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what payments have been made by (a) his Department and (b) WRAP—the Waste and Resources Action Programme—to Enviros Consulting in the last 36 months; and for what purpose in each case. (192182)

The total value of payments made by DEFRA to Enviros Consulting since 1 April 2005 is £6,426,420.53. However, due to the number of payments made, further breakdown of each project’s purpose could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The following table shows each of the projects Enviros has undertaken for the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) over the last three years.

Project/programme

Payment (£)

Communications via Local Partners (BCLF) total

73,309.59

Construction (General) total

772.89

Evaluation total

56,900.00

Executive total

2,544.25

Local Authority Support total

27,335.50

Local Authority Training total

278,742.52

Local Communications Fund (BCLF) total

105,233.02

Manufacturing Support (Wood) total

25,378.90

Organics (Added Value) total

27,148.82

Organics (Building Infrastructure) total

7,461.95

Organics (Promoting Compost Use) total

38,048.08

Organics total

172,582.90

Plasterboard total

122,805.44

Policy total

21,579.93

Procurement total

106,515.68

Recycle at work total

15,112.25

Regional Development Agency Support total

28,899.96

Regional Economic Development total

152,305.20

ROTATE total

69,460.49

Small Medium Enterprises total

133,290.39

Manufacturing Support (Wood) total

31,663.90

Total

1,497,091.66

Fisheries: EC Action

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department plans to consult on the European Fisheries Fund Operational Programme in March 2008; and if he will make a statement. (191740)

The consultation on the European Fisheries Fund UK Operational Programme was launched on 6 March. Copies of the draft Operational Programme are on the DEFRA website.

Fisheries: Inspections

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many joint inspections carried out with HM Revenue and Customs in relation to the enforcement of fishery protection there were in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement; (193145)

(2) how many infringements were recorded as a result of fisheries inspections in each year since 1997; how many infringements (a) were minor and required no follow-up action and (b) required follow-up action; and if he will make a statement;

(3) how many inspection reports in relation to fisheries were completed in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement.

This information is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the performance of inspections carried out in relation to the enforcement of fishery protection. (193146)

The measurement of the performance of inspections carried out in relation to the enforcement of fishery protection is a complex issue.

Comparisons of the number of inspections carried out per year, or the number of inspections per patrol vessel per day are simple performance indicators which give a very broad overview but give no indication of the numerous factors which may have affected that performance and no meaningful measurement of effectiveness.

In the last three years the Marine and Fisheries Agency has moved to a more targeted risk-based system of inspection, taking account of fisheries under pressure, quota restrictions, previous offending, and other such factors.

The Marine and Fisheries Agency are currently in the process of developing methods to strengthen the gathering and use of intelligence and more accurately assess the effectiveness of inspection activity.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many inspectors monitoring landings in the fishing industry there were in each year since 1997; in which landing places they were operational; and if he will make a statement. (193201)

Information on the numbers of fisheries inspectors is provided in the Annual Reports on Monitoring the Application of the Common Fisheries Policy submitted by the United Kingdom pursuant to Article 35 of Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2847/93. Copies of these reports will be placed in the House Library. Copies of the report for 1997 are not available and the 2007 report has not been completed yet.

The locations of fisheries inspectors have been adjusted slightly over the period since 1997 in order to ensure that the inspectors are located most effectively, as the activity at some landing ports has declined and others have increased. Inspectors are located in such a way that all landing places within England and Wales can be monitored.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effect of changes to the budget of the Marine and Fisheries Agency for 2008-09 on the number of landings inspectors; and if he will make a statement. (193203)

The budget agreed with the Marine and Fisheries Agency for 2008-09 should have no implications on the number of landings inspectors employed by the Marine and Fisheries Agency.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many fisheries inspectors have access to VMS data and the MCSS database; which other staff have such access; and if he will make a statement. (193204)

All Marine and Fisheries Agency inspectors and operational focused administration staff have access to VMS—vessel monitoring system—data and the MCSS database as appropriate and in accordance with operational requirements.

Flood Control: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much of his Department's flood protection budget will be spent on administration in 2007-08. (185615)

The definition of administration is subjective and open to interpretation.

The estimate of direct administrative spend on flood risk management in DEFRA is some £2 million. This covers direct pay, expenses and training for DEFRA Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management staff and consultancy.

Environment Agency flood risk management activities carry a share of administrative costs in relation to the overall £1 billion budget. Using the definition agreed with the National Audit Office for its report on building and maintaining river and coastal flood defences in England, the Environment Agency estimates its costs in support of flood risk management activities in 2007-08 to be:

Activity

£ million

Policy and Process Development

7.4

Corporate Information Systems Development and Support

7.8

Regional: Management, Finance, Legal, Estates, Human Resources, Facilities and Business Services, Accommodation, Strategy and Corporate Affairs and Customer Services

35.4

National: Environmental Assessment Service, Payments and Payroll, Science, Library and Information, Audit, Recruitment, Procurement, Transport, Financial/HR System and Support Centre and Customer Contact Centre

7.7

Central Directorates: Chief Executive's Office including Board, Corporate Affairs, Operations, Finance, Property Team, HR and Legal

6.7

Total

65.0

The Environment Agency continues to drive its efficiency programme to develop better ways of working to reduce costs and deliver more for the environment. Environment Agency efficiency targets over the spending review period are £25 million per annum, of which some £15 million will be flood risk management.

Floods: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to allocate funding in accordance with the Pitt Recommendations following the summer floods 2007. (192082)

It has not yet been determined how the money to fund work arising from the Pitt review will be allocated. A decision is not expected until after the final report has been produced and the recommendations within it considered and prioritised. In the meantime we are pursuing the urgent recommendations from the interim report in December.

Warm Front scheme: Disadvantaged

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will assess the likely effect of the reduction of the annual funding for the Warm Front grant on the delivery of services to settlements of fewer than 10,000 people classified as (a) hard to reach and (b) hard to treat, with particular reference to the (i) waiting times for installation and (ii) the average amount customers will have to pay as a top-up. (191424)

No direct assessment has taken place, and DEFRA has no plans to do so in future.

However, Warm Front will continue to target properties that are difficult to reach and treat to enable them to benefit from the scheme. This includes those in settlements of fewer than 10,000 people.

As confirmed in the Government's 5th Annual Report on the UK's Fuel Poverty Strategy published in December 2007, funding for the Warm Front scheme for 2008-11 period will be just over £800 million.

Litter

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to review the regulations over the timing of litter picking set out in the Environment Protection Act 1990; and if he will make a statement. (192141)

Response times for street cleansing are set out in the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (available from the DEFRA website) which was revised in 2006.

Sea Fishing: White Fish

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has made a comparative assessment of the potential value of the recreational sea fishery for bass and the value of commercial landings of bass. (189945)

No. The potential value of recreational fishing for bass and the value of commercial landings of bass measure different things and therefore are not directly comparable. The potential value of recreational fishing for bass would include expenditure by anglers on items such as travel and accommodation, whereas the value of commercial landings of bass covers only the value of fish landed and does not take account of the economic contribution of related activity such as processing. However, in developing any management measures for stocks of interest to anglers, I would want to assess where possible the potential value of the measure to both recreational anglers and commercial fishermen.

I am currently consulting on a draft recreational sea angling strategy which considers a package of measures for the development of recreational sea fishing. The consultation closes on 31 March.

Whales: Nature Conservation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) pursuant to the answer of 18 February 2008, Official Report, column 280W, on whales: nature conservation, when he will hold the meeting of like-minded anti-whaling countries; whether there will be any Ministers present; and if he will make a statement; (193206)

(2) whether he has written to any other countries to encourage them to join the International Whaling Commission; and if he will make a statement.

The UK commissioner to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) hosted a meeting of like-minded anti-whaling countries immediately prior to the inter-sessional meeting of the IWC on 5 March 2008 in Heathrow, London. There were no Ministers present. However, I do plan to attend the annual IWC meeting in Chile in June this year.

I have not yet written to any countries on the issue of membership. However, as stated in previous responses to questions from the hon. Member, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State (Hilary Benn) has recently written to 18 countries, encouraging them to join the IWC for the greater protection of whales.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what his objective is for the inter-sessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission to be held on 6 to 8 March 2008; and if he will make a statement; (193207)

(2) which countries are attending the inter-sessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission to be held on 6 to 8 March 2008;

(3) if he will place in the Library a copy of the (a) agenda and (b) minutes of the inter-sessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission, of 6 to 8 March 2008; and if he will make a statement.

The UK’s policy on whaling did not change either in the build up to, or during the course of, the inter-sessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The UK continues to support the IWC Moratorium on commercial whaling and opposes all forms of whaling, other than limited whaling operations by indigenous people for subsistence purposes, to meet a defined and substantiated need.

The agenda from the meeting, the list of its attendees and the statements it generated are all currently available on the IWC website, with a full report from the chair to follow in due course.

Duchy of Lancaster

Departmental Expenditure Limits

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to his written statement of 19 February 2008, Official Report, columns 34-37WS, on the departmental expenditure limit 2007-08, what the reasons are for the drawdown on the reserve for matched funding in the spring supplementary estimate exceeding that forecast in the winter supplementary estimate by £74,729,000. (194572)

The drawdown was to provide agreed match funding to ‘v’; v is a charity which helps introduce young people to volunteering.

The amount of £4,729,000 was in addition to the amount drawndown in the winter supplementary estimate and not in excess of it.

Voluntary Organisations: Contracts

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what tendering process was undertaken for the contract to administer the Grassroots Grants programme. (194574)

The Community Development Foundation (CDF) was appointed as the lead national partner administering the Grassroots Grants programme under the terms of a framework agreement between CDF and Cabinet Office.

A fair and open competitive procurement exercise in 2005, compliant with EU rules and UK Government policy and procedures, identified CDF as one of four partners to the framework agreement. These organisations can then be selected through a call-off arrangement to administer strategic and other grant programmes. The tender panel concluded that CDF should be first choice for projects that have a community interest.

In 2007 the Office of the Third Sector issued a formal Request to Participate to CDF under the framework agreement, and CDF submitted a detailed proposal that fully demonstrated their suitability as lead national partner for Grassroots Grants.

Defence

Air Force: Deployment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average unit tour interval was for each (a) aircraft and (b) helicopter crew type in the Royal Air Force in the latest period for which figures are available. (193091)

The following table provides the latest average tour intervals between deployments for the crews of the aircraft and helicopter types specified. It should be noted that there may be variances for individual crew members.

Weeks

Average crew tour interval

Aircraft type

Tornado GR4

52

Harrier

40

Tristar

21

VC10

12

C130

10

Nimrod Rl

10

Nimrod MR2

35

BAe 125

10

Helicopter type

Chinook

32

Puma

32

Merlin

32

Tour lengths for crew on different aircraft/helicopter types vary from three to 12

weeks.

Armed Forces: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel have (a) not received their salaries in full and (b) not received any salary payment in each of the last 12 months; what the total sums (i) underpaid and (ii) not paid were; and how much is outstanding. (175794)

The number of underpayments resulting from joint personnel administration system errors in the last 12 months is as follows:

Underpayments

February 2007

0

March 2007

54

April 2007

252

May 2007

11,181

June 2007

90

July 2007

416

August 2007

246,305

September 2007

3722

October 2007

50

November 2007

311

December 2007

2

January 2008

0

1 The majority of the underpayments were caused by University Officer Training Corps input of bounties and training nights. Other factors were mess subscriptions and disturbance allowance. There were a further 3,340 minor errors due to the migration of some Army data elements. These were mainly resolved in June, although the level of detail to distinguish between overpayment and underpayment is not held.

2 Comprised 35,553 incorrect deductions of £3.00 in respect of contributions to the discontinued Royal Navy and Royal Marines Dependants’ Fund, and 10,752 underpayments of Home to Duty Travel claims for Reservists averaging £20-£30. The former was re-credited to pay accounts in October, and the latter underpayments paid in September.

3 A further 4,249 errors occurred when an incorrect rank on JPA generated an erroneous payment. The level of detail to distinguish between overpayment and underpayment is not held. Corrective action was taken in time for the October 2007 pay run.

The total sums underpaid, not paid and still outstanding are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, local cash payments are always available to individuals and in the vast majority of cases once a central pay error is identified, it is corrected within one or, at most, two months.

In accordance with the former Armed Forces Personnel and Administration Agency’s performance against key target 1 (timeliness of pay), as set out in its annual corporate plan and annual report and accounts, 773 monthly salary payments, out of a total of more than three million, were paid late in financial year 2006-07, the last full financial year available. The definition of a late payment is when no money is paid into an individual’s account on the designated day for that month. In all cases where late payments will result in hardship, the unit to which an individual is assigned is authorised to make cash payments in lieu.

Delays or errors in individual payments can also occur as the result of late or incorrect inputs by unit human resources staff, and failures to follow the correct processes within the payroll area. This information is held centrally.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the in-service dates were of the (a) Mastiff, (b) Bulldog and (c) Vector vehicles. (193874)

The in service dates for Mastiff (tranche 1), Bulldog and Vector (tranche 1) were, 31 December 2006, 31 August 2006, and 31 March 2007 respectively.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many equipment failure reports (a) were filed in each year since 2003 and (b) have been filed in the last 12 months for each armoured vehicle type . (193875)

As reported by the users, the approximate number of equipment failure reports filed in each year since 2003 and filed in the last 12 months for each armoured vehicle type are:

Vehicle Type

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008 so far

Last 12 Months

Challenger 2

2467

1737

1629

1369

1148

145

997

CVR(T)

445

252

194

372

304

70

324

FV430 Bulldog

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

165

56

210

FV430 Mk2

447

480

363

325

289

21

252

Mastiff

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

163

103

261

Saxon GWR and Patrol

45

66

21

10

4

0

2

Titan

n/a

n/a

n/a

183

418

8

402

Trojan

n/a

n/a

n/a

131

677

9

643

Vector

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

56

65

120

Warrior

590

668

576

899

603

102

606

The equipment failure reporting system (EFRS) is the mandated system for equipment users to report failures, such as accidental damage, maintenance related failures and breakdowns, or the failure of an item fitted to the vehicle. It does not incorporate the results of subsequent investigations and therefore does not differentiate between what might later prove to have been a problem caused by operator error or damage sustained as a result of operations. Nor does this data record the severity of a failure which might have no discernible impact on operational capability or safety.

Departmental Land

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of land owned by his Department is unused; and if he will make a statement. (193010)

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) keeps its estate in Great Britain (around 240,000 hectares) under continual review to ensure that it is no larger than is required for defence purposes. Land and property may be temporarily used for many purposes and no central record is maintained.

Under Treasury guidelines, we seek to dispose of surplus property as quickly as possible. A list of sites either currently in disposal or where a decision has been taken to dispose in the future is available in the Library of the House and is regularly updated. In addition, information regarding property for sale can be found on the Defence estates website at:

www.defence-estates.mod.uk

Departmental Official Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost was of overnight accommodation for (a) civil servants, (b) special advisers and (c) Ministers in his Department staying overnight in (i) mainland Great Britain, (ii) Northern Ireland, (iii) the Republic of Ireland and (iv) other countries in the last 12 months. (193528)

This information is not held centrally in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, the Ministry of Defence operates a Central Hotel Booking Service, which accounts for the great majority of all temporary overnight hotel requirements for civil servants, special advisers and Ministers. For the period from March 2007 to February 2008, the total civilian bookings through the Central Hotel Booking Service contract were £12.9 million.

These figures do not cover cases where, for instance, costs of accommodation may be included within a training cost or otherwise be paid for direct by budget holders; or where private arrangements are made and costs reclaimed locally overseas. Nor does the figure include non-departmental public bodies which do not use the contract.

In addition the cost of claims made by civilian staff through the central travel and subsistence service for local accommodation outside the Central Hotel Booking Service in 2006-07 was £2.15 million.

Departmental Public Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether consideration has been given to applying gender responsive budgeting to his Department's budget. (192103)

The UK Government are supportive of efforts to achieve gender equality and continue to work very closely with both the Women's National Commission and the Women's Budget Group on promoting gender equality within the UK. In 2004, HM Treasury undertook a pilot project on gender analysis of expenditure with the Women's Budget Group. The project demonstrated the value of gender analysis in some areas and identified what tools and expertise were necessary within Government to carry out gender analysis, but that further work was needed before gender responsive budgeting could be implemented. In 2008, HM Treasury will be conducting further work that will determine whether it is prudent and feasible to disaggregate departmental expenditure statistics by gender.

The MOD has a number of initiatives to promote gender equality where appropriate.

Afghanistan and Iraq: Defence Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what standard issue equipment each soldier deployed to (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq receives; and at what cost per soldier in each case. (193407)

The following list shows standard personal equipment, which is typical of that issued to British Army personnel when deploying to either Iraq or Afghanistan. The total cost of this equipment amounts to around £2,500 per individual.

The actual equipment an individual is supplied with will vary dependant on the role of the soldier, the time of year in which they deploy and whether they have previously been supplied with any of the listed items. Neither does the list include any other items an individual may need on a particular deployment which were supplied to them, for example, as part of their “initial issue” kit.

Item

Lightweight Desert Jacket

Desert Trousers

Desert Combat Smock

Socks

Desert Shorts

Desert T-shirts

Rank Slides

Desert Helmet cover

Desert Combat Gloves

Desert Hat

Desert Sandals

Combat underwear

Mk6A Helmet

General purpose belt

Hot weather shirts

Warm weather safety boots

Lightweight Desert Combat boots

Combat ear protection

Pad Knee/Elbow Desert

Thermal Sleeping Mat

Daysack

Op Travel Bag

Thermal Mug

Shelter Sheet Desert

Bag Shelter Sheet

Insect Net Protector (Mos Net) Bed

Cover Rucksack Small (Pouches)

Cover Rucksack Large

Spectacles Combat (Sunglasses)

ID Discs

Goggles Combat

Eyewear Prescriptive Lens Fitment

Washing net

Warm Weather Sleeping Bag

Compression Sack

Liner Sleeping Bag

Vest Tactical Load Carrying

Head Net Insect

30 Litre Patrol Pack

Shemagh

Rag Sweat Desert

Snap Link Rappeller

MK12 General Purpose Binocular

Silva compass

General Service watch

SA80 A2 Individual weapon (Magazine and Sling cleaning Kit)

Right Angle torch

Padlock

Enhanced Combat Body Armour

First Field Dressing

Notebook/Pencil

Lipscreen

Sunscreen

Insect Repellent

Foot Powder

Entrenching Tool Hand

Personal Medical Kit

NBC clothing

Operational Medical Record Card

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK armed forces personnel were based in Iraq on 1 January 2008; and how many there were on 1 January in each of the previous three years. (182162)

The approximate number of established posts for UK armed forces personnel in Iraq on each of those dates are as follows:

As at 1 January each year

Number approximate

2008

4,700

2007

7,100

2006

8,000

2005

8,000

The actual number of UK military personnel in theatre at any one time varies significantly for a range of reasons, including roulements, rest and recuperation periods and temporary troop deployments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the Territorial Army have been killed in operations in Iraq since 2003, broken down by (a) rank and (b) regiment. (194444)

As at 12 March 2008, five UK Territorial Army personnel have died while on deployment in Iraq since the start of operations in 2003; three privates, one corporal and one sergeant.

At the time of their deaths two members of the Territorial Army were serving with the 52nd Lowland Regiment, one was serving with the 150 (Yorkshire) Transport Regiment (Volunteers), one was serving with the Royal Military Police and one was serving with the Tyne-Tees Regiment.