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Written Answers

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Justice

Departmental Equality

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether his Department met the civil service diversity targets set out on page 51 of Cabinet Office Annual Report 2007 by April 2008. (204713)

As a result of the establishment of the Ministry of Justice on 9 May 2007, we are currently in the process of revising our diversity targets for all under-represented groups. The MoJ is currently working with the Cabinet Office to agree new civil service-wide diversity targets.

The timetable for setting the MoJ's targets will be determined by guidance from the Cabinet Office, which is due late summer 2008.

Information Commissioner

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many cases are awaiting investigation by the Information Commissioner. (204897)

The Information Commissioner is an independent body created by statute with responsibility for handling complaints made to him under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 1998. The Information Commissioner has provided the answer to this parliamentary question.

At 31 March 2008, the number of cases awaiting investigation by the Information Commissioner was 1,363 for freedom of information casework and 1,237 for data protection casework.

Additionally, due to the volume of cases referred to the Information Commissioner under data protection, there were 2,250 cases awaiting classification as at 31 March 2008. Of these cases, it is estimated that approximately 60 per cent. would be resolved within 30 calendar days and 85 per cent. within 90 calendar days.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average length of time between acceptance of a case for investigation by the Information Commissioner and the commencement of the investigation was in the last period for which figures are available. (204898)

The Information Commissioner is an independent body created by statute with responsibility for handling complaints made to him under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 1998. The Information Commissioner has provided the answer to this parliamentary question.

The Information Commissioner deals with two types of cases: those that come under that Freedom of Information Act and those that come under the Data Protection Act. Between April 2007 and March 2008 the average length of time from receipt to commencement of investigation was 69 days for the Freedom of Information Act cases and 30 days for Data Protection Act cases. The average length of time to close an investigation once commenced, was 182 days from for Freedom of Information Act cases and 45 days for Data Protection Act cases.

Juries: Mental Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate the Government have made of the number of people who are not eligible for jury service for reasons related to their mental health. (205026)

In March and April 2008, the Jury Central Summoning Bureau summoned 62,559 people for jury service and disqualified 14,647 (23.4 per cent.). Of these, 1,524 were disqualified on grounds of mental health (2 per cent. of the total). These data are subject to the information supplied by the individual summoned.

Prison Service: Languages

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prison officers are proficient in speaking (a) Urdu, (b) Farsi, (c) Arabic, (d) Gujarati, (e) Punjabi, (f) Bangla, (g) Tamil, (h) Hindi, (i) Russian, (j) Turkish, (k) Cantonese, (l) Mandarin, (m) Somali, (n) Vietnamese, (o) Polish, (p) Albanian and (q) other languages spoken by non-English speakers serving custodial sentences in England and Wales. (205120)

It is not a requirement for prison officers to disclose the information requested and therefore it is not held centrally. To obtain the information would require contacting each prisoner officer at a disproportionate cost.

Prisoners Release

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of prisoners serving determinate sentences were released early in each of the last five years. (205121)

Table 10.3 shows the numbers of prisoners released on home detention curfew and the proportion this represents of all prisoners potentially eligible for early release under this scheme, based on the latest published data. Table 10.4 shows the number of determinate sentenced prisoners recommended for parole by the Parole Board and the proportion this represents of all those considered, based on the latest published data.

Table 10.3: Releases on home detention curfew 2002-06

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Number released on HDC

20,456

21,188

19,29

17,296

13,666

Percentage released of potential eligible cases

37

37

35

32

26

Table 10.4: Determinate sentence cases considered by the Parole Board

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Recommended for parole

3,175

3,206

3,794

3,718

2,478

Percentage of cases recommended out of those considered for parole

53

53

52

49

36

Source:

Tables 10.3 and 10.4 in Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2006, Ministry of Justice

Additionally, the end of custody licence scheme was introduced on 29 June 2007 and between then and 31 December 2007 there were 16,197 releases under the scheme.

Information about end of custody licence releases and recalls is published on a monthly basis on the Ministry of Justice website. The latest report was published on 30 April and refers to March as the reporting month:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/endofcustodylicence.htm

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Home Department

Antisocial Behaviour Orders

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many anti-social behaviour orders were issued against (a) persons aged under 16, (b) persons aged 17 to 18, (c) persons aged 19 to 25 and (d) persons aged over 25 years in (i) 2005, (ii) 2006 and (iii) 2007, broken down by police force area; and how many such orders have been breached; (203255)

(2) what recent estimate she has made of the rate of breach of anti-social behaviour orders;

(3) what recent estimate she has made of the extent to which anti-social behaviour orders are issued to persons with a diagnosed mental illness.

The latest available information on the number of antisocial behaviour orders (ASBOs) is up to 31 December 2006 and was published on 8 May.

ASBO data are available broken down by age group 10-17 and adults aged 18 and over, year of issue and Criminal Justice System (CJS) area level. CJS areas are coterminous with police force areas and the information is shown in table 1 placed in the House Library. The number of ASBOs breached for the first time in each year is shown in table 3 placed in the House Library.

The Home Affairs Select Committee Report on Anti-Social Behaviour (2004-05) found that inappropriate issuing of ASBOs, for example to people with mental health problems, is not a major problem in practice. Legislation allows the terms of an ASBO to be varied or for the order itself to be discharged if circumstances warrant it.

Home Office published material and training events stress the need for a staged and incremental approach to tackling antisocial behaviour and for specialist professionals to be involved in an assessment of people who have special needs. This advice is available to all antisocial behaviour practitioners, including those practitioners working in social services, in the form of a website, an extensive range of leaflets and the Respect Actionline, which provides professional advice by telephone.

We monitor the overall use of ASBOs on an ongoing basis and adjust policy in response. For example we recently made changes to the ASBO legislation in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 that juveniles’ ASBOs should be reviewed after one year. We will continue to build on and extend existing ASBO legislation as appropriate.

Crimes of Violence: Hertfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many crimes involving violence against a person were recorded in Stevenage constituency in each of the last five years; (200354)

(2) how many crimes involving violence against a person were recorded in Welwyn Hatfield constituency in each of the last five years.

Statistics are not collected specifically on a constituency basis. The Home Office does publish statistics at Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) area level. The number of offences of violence against the person for each of the last five years by CDRP is available on the Home Office website at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs08/cdrpog.xls

Also available is a look-up table that identifies which constituencies are associated with CDRPs. In many instances, a CDRP may comprise more than one constituency. Conversely, some constituencies will come within two or more CDRPs, either wholly or partially. The look-up table is available at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs08/cdrp-constituency-table.xls

Copies of both the statistics table and the look-up table are available in the Library.

Forensic Science: Genetics

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what percentage of forensic reports arising from low template DNA (LTDNA) analyses have included caveats on the reliability of the results; whether she plans to establish national (a) standards and (b) guidelines on the (i) collection, (ii) handling and (iii) storage of evidence that might yield DNA material by (A) police and (B) forensic services; and if she will make a statement; (201980)

(2) if she will take steps to establish national (a) agreement, (b) standards and (c) guidelines on how low template DNA profiles should be interpreted; and if she will make a statement.

The Home Office does not hold data on the contents of forensic reports; therefore it is not possible to supply the information on the percentage of reports with caveats.

The independent Forensic Science Regulator is responsible for developing standards in this area; the Home Office does not plan to establish separate guidelines or standards.

The Regulator has recently issued his response to the recommendations in ‘A Review of the Science of Low Template DNA Analysis’ which considers collection, storage and interpretation.

Homicide: Cheshire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many homicides there have been in Cheshire since 1998-99, broken down by method of killing. (204414)

[holding answer 8 May 2008]: Available information relates to the number of homicides recorded by Cheshire police between 1998-99 and 2006-07 and is shown in the following table.

Offences currently recorded as homicide1 by apparent method of killing: Cheshire police force area, combined data 1998-99 to 2006-072, 3

Apparent method

Number of homicides

Sharp instrument4

26

Blunt instrument

7

Hitting, kicking, etc

19

Strangulation5

9

Shooting6

Explosion

Burning

2

Drowning

Poison or drugs

6

Motor vehicle7

1

Other

3

Not known

4

Total

77

1 As at 12 November 2007; figures are subject to revision as cases are dealt with by the police and by the courts or as further information becomes available.

2 Data for 2007-08 are not yet published.

3 Offences recorded during financial years 1998-99 to 2006-07 are included. This is not necessarily the same period in which the incident took place or any court decision was made.

4 Includes knives and other sharp instruments.

5 Includes asphyxiation.

6 Includes shooting by crossbow.

7 Excludes death by careless/dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking.

Human Trafficking

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when Operation Pentameter 2 started and finished; how many police forces were involved; how many traffickers were (a) arrested and (b) charged with trafficking offences; how many trafficked persons were discovered; how many of these were (i) under 10 years old, (ii) children between 10 and 18 years and (iii) adults; and of the persons discovered, how many had been subjected to (A) sexual exploitation, (B) domestic servitude and (C) forced labour. (204742)

[holding answer 12 May 2008]: Operation Pentameter 2 began on 3 October 2007.

The fourth stage of the operation is ongoing. Operational outcomes will be published once the evaluation of the intelligence obtained and conduct of the operation is complete.

Human Trafficking: Social Security Benefits

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate her Department has made of the extent of the practice of smuggling babies into the UK for the purpose of benefit fraud; and what steps her Department is taking to prevent it. (205455)

The Home Office has not carried out an estimate of the extent of baby smuggling into the UK for the purpose of benefit fraud. However, the scoping report published by the Child Exploitation On Line Protection Centre (CEOP) in 2007 identified six children who had been trafficked specifically for benefit fraud.

The Government are aware of isolated cases where children have been brought into the country by adults for the purpose of claiming benefits. Since October 2007 the Paladin Team, a police-led multi-agency child protection unit based at London ports, has investigated two individuals suspected of trafficking children for benefit fraud. These are being progressed through the Criminal Justice System.

The Government deplore all forms of human trafficking and are determined to fight these through its UK Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking. The action plan is currently being updated.

Passports

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her most recent estimate is of the number of British citizens who do not have a valid UK passport. (204900)

The total number of passports issued by IPS and currently valid is estimated at 48,080,000 (an exact figure cannot be given because lost and stolen passports may not be immediately replaced).

When this figure is compared with the current population of the United Kingdom (61,412,000) it is estimated that 21.7 per cent. of the UK population do not hold a valid UK passport.

Theft: Architecture

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many (a) incidents of and (b) convictions in relation to theft of architectural features there were in England in each year since 1997; (205084)

(2) what steps she is taking to tackle the theft of architectural features from historic buildings in England.

The Home Office is not specifically tackling the theft of architectural features from historic buildings in England.

Local police and other partners in crime prevention and reduction have a wide range of measures and powers available for their use in tackling whichever crime and disorder issues are a priority for them. We would expect them to respond appropriately to prevent and investigate offences of such theft, as they would to other crimes, taking into account available resources and other demands and priorities.

Data on the numbers of such thefts, and prosecutions or convictions for such thefts, are not identifiable from information held centrally.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 7 May 2008, Official Report, column 831W, on Afghanistan: peacekeeping operations, what mechanisms are in place to ensure that unauthorised items are not posted by service personnel from the theatre of operations to the United Kingdom. (205123)

All mail is scanned before dispatch from Theatre. All prohibited items are removed and returned to the Theatre Distribution Office for investigation.

Armed Forces: Commonwealth

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will introduce a cap on the number of personnel recruited to the armed forces from Commonwealth countries. (204756)

The armed forces are proud to recruit high quality recruits from countries with close historical and political ties. While no decision has been taken to introduce a cap on Commonwealth and Republic of Ireland citizens, we are looking at the rising levels within the armed forces.

Commonwealth and Irish citizens make a huge contribution to the armed forces and bring a range of skills and talents, which enrich the service as a whole, and we would wish to continue to recruit them.

Armed Forces: Compensation

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many compensation claims were rejected where the time limit was part of the consideration in making the decision in each year since 2005. (205135)

As the armed forces compensation scheme only started from 6 April 2005 the five year time limit for any claims under the scheme has not yet expired and therefore no claims have been rejected under this criterion.

Armed Forces: Disability Living Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many claims for disability allowance have been refused under (a) the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and (b) the War Pension Scheme in each of the last 10 years. (203987)

A total of 5,475 disablement pension claims have been rejected under the War Pensions Scheme between 1 April 2001 and 31 December 2007. Figures are presented by financial year in table 1. Data are available in the format required only as far back as the financial year 2001-02.

A total of 1,650 compensation claims have been rejected under the Armed Forces and Reserves Compensation Scheme between its introduction on 6 April 2005 and 31 December 2007. Figures are presented by financial year in table 2.

Table 1: Rejected war pensions claims, each financial year since 2001-02

War Pensions Scheme

Financial year

Rejections

2001-02

925

2002-03

895

2003-04

850

2004-05

825

2005-06

815

2006-07

715

April 2007 to December 2007

450

Table 2: Rejected armed forces compensation claims, each financial year since the AFCS scheme was introduced

Armed Forces Pension Scheme

Financial year

Rejections

2005-06

165

2006-07

745

April 2007 to December 2007

740

Armed Forces: Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discount is offered to (a) service personnel and (b) service leavers living in properties owned by Annington Homes who wish to buy their accommodation. (203980)

The majority of service families accommodation (SFA) properties in England and Wales were sold to Annington Homes Ltd. (AHL) in 1996 under a sale and leaseback arrangement. When the Department no longer has a requirement for AHL properties, they are returned to AHL for disposal on the open market. Properties are unoccupied when they are returned to AHL.

While there is no obligation on AHL to offer discounts to current or former service personnel when selling its properties, it has in the past offered certain incentives, concessions or priority to personnel voluntarily. While there is no requirement on the Department to maintain a record of such sales, we understand that between 25 to 30 per cent. of properties have been sold in this way. We are exploring with Annington Homes what more can be done to help service leavers obtain accommodation.

Armed Forces: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what specific savings are being made in order to implement the armed forces pay review body recommendations for 2008. (205130)

No specific savings have been made to implement the armed forces pay review body recommendations for 2008.

Armed Forces: Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to increase the proportion of material supplied by British companies procured by or on behalf of the armed forces; and if he will make a statement. (204987)

[holding answer 12 May 2008]: The Defence Industrial Strategy sets out the UK's requirement for a sustainable industrial base and makes clear which industrial capabilities we need to retain in the UK to ensure we can continue to operate the equipment the way we chose to maintain appropriate sovereignty and protect national security. The Ministry of Defence procurement of non-warlike requirements is subject to the EC Public Procurement Regulations that requires such opportunities to be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Armed Forces: Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library copies of the joint service publications (a) JSP 498, (b) JSP 501, (c) JSP 510 and (d) JSP 512. (175456)

I shall arrange for copies of the four publications concerned to be placed in the Library of the House.

Armed Forces: Uniforms

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 6 May 2008, Official Report, column 834W, on armed forces: uniforms, what steps his Department takes to ensure no child labour is involved in the manufacturing of the Combat Soldier 95 uniform. (205126)

Defence clothing contract conditions stipulate that no person under the prevailing legal minimum age limit, and in any case never under the age of 14, is employed by any contractor or subcontractor. Combat Soldier 95 clothing is largely manufactured in China where the legal minimum age is 16. MOD staff have visited subcontractors and audited them to try to ensure compliance with Chinese legislation.

Ballistic Missile Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with (a) his United States counterpart and (b) the NATO Secretary-General on the prospective third site for a European-based missile defence system following the Secretary-General's speech on missile defence delivered on 5 May in Geneva. (205229)

The issue of ballistic missile defence is discussed routinely, both bilaterally with the United States Administration, and in NATO forums. It is not the practice of the Government to make public details of all discussions with foreign governments as this would, or would be likely to, prejudice international relations.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what pan-Balkans (a) Ready Battalion and (b) Standby Battalion Operational Reserve Force is available to support European Force Althea in Bosnia-Herzegovina. (204567)

The NATO/EU pan-Balkans Operational Reserve Force (ORF), currently made up of a battalion from the UK, Germany and Italy, continues to provide the necessary capability to reinforce both the NATO operation in Kosovo and EU operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH). The security situation in BiH is stable and current troop levels are considered sufficient. Should military commanders judge that reinforcements are required, the ‘Ready’ and ‘Standby’ ORF battalions are available to provide the additional support.

Defence Clothing and Textiles Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the risk analysis carried out to identify the organisation needed to maintain the service level to front line commands during the transitions from (a) Caversfield to Ensleigh and (b) Ensleigh to Abbeywood. (203186)

Risk analysis and management is an ongoing activity within the DE&S Collocation Project and across all areas of DE&S business. The effective management of risk has already led to the successful move from Andover to Abbey Wood of over 1,000 posts directly supporting the front line. I shall place the original risk analysis in the Library of the House as part of the relevant extracts of the internally approved investment appraisal for bringing forward the move of Defence Clothing Integrated Project Team (DC IPT).

Defence Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he last reassessed wear rates of UK military equipment; and whether he has made a comparison of wear rates between UK and US military equipment. (203331)

Each equipment type has its own maintenance requirement and ‘wear rates’ are not recorded centrally. We expect to repair and overhaul military equipment used on operations more often than is normally planned in through life costing. No comparisons have been made between UK and US military equipment.

Defence Estates: Cost Effectiveness

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what savings targets were set for Defence Estates for regional prime contracts in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09. (205131)

No in year savings targets were set for Defence Estates in 2007-08 or have been set for 2008-09 against the funding allocated to regional prime contracting.

Departmental ICT

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the performance of the Defence Information Infrastructure programme. (204351)

I remain content that the performance of the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) programme is continually assessed via its comprehensive governance structure. The fixed element of the DII programme is currently running behind its original implementation schedule; however, the deployable element, which will directly support our front line troops, is progressing on schedule to meet its declared delivery dates. The programme overall remains within 3 per cent. of its approved programme cost and is on track to deliver the benefits supporting its original approval.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 23 April 2008, Official Report, column 1924W, on departmental internet, whether it is possible to determine which creations and amendments to Wikipedia made before January 2008 were made by (a) military and (b) Civil Service personnel. (202382)

This information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 28 February 2008, Official Report, columns 1807-08W on departmental manpower, how many of the employees under 18 years of age are receiving at least one day's training per week. (204933)

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

Departmental Public Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what value of (a) RfR1 and (b) RfR2 (i) operating income and (ii) non-operating income was (A) appropriated in aid and (B) surrendered to the Consolidated Fund in each year from 2001-02 to 2006-07. (205469)

This information has been published in the MOD's annual report and accounts for the years in question, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. In summary:

£000

Operating income

Non-operating income

Financial year

Appropriation in aid

Surrendered to consolidated fund

Appropriation in aid

Surrendered to consolidated fund

2006-07

RfRl

1,478,181

34,608

498,287-

RfR2

15,557

5,047

2005-06

RfRl

1,346,570

76,272

374,320

1

RfR2

16,062

2004-05

RfRl

1,258,309

215,889

287,435

153,207

RfR2

2003-04

RfRl

1,377,823

85,315

367,798

137,325

RfR2

2002-03

RfRl

1,449,767

373,756

2

RfR2

2002-01

RfRl

1,308,607

42,810

336,533

322,557

RfR2

1 An amount collectable on behalf of the Consolidated Fund in respect of the QinetiQ sale £357,771,000 was also paid to the Consolidated Fund.

2 Amounts collectable on behalf of the Consolidated Fund in respect of repayment of QinetiQ loan £49,900,000 and sale of certain assets £44,300,000 were also paid to the Consolidated Fund.

3 An amount collectable on behalf of the Consolidated Fund in respect repayment of the QinetiQ loan £46,429,000 was also paid to the Consolidated Fund.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what value of (a) operating income and (b) non-operating income was (i) appropriated in aid and (ii) surrendered to the Consolidated Fund in each year from 1992-93 to 2000-01. (205470)

This information has been published in the MoD's appropriation accounts for the years in question, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. In summary:

£ million

Financial year

Appropriation in aid

Surrendered to the consolidated fund

1992-93

1,698

33

1993-94

3,054

70

1994-95

3,051

79

1995-96

3,060

121

1996-97

3,002

732

1997-98

3,309

88

1998-99

2,968

73

1999-2000

3,004

82

2000-01

3,145

25

The appropriation in aid did not distinguish between operating and non-operating income for these periods.

Departmental Stationery

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on official ministerial (a) business cards and (b) headed paper in each year since 1997. (201629)

Iraq Conflict

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department were first informed that a video tape existed of the United States aerial attack which killed Lance-Corporal Hull. (122369)

[holding answer 26 February 2007]: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given on 20 February 2007, Official Report, column 370W. The handling of the audio/video recording in question is being investigated. I will write to the hon. Gentleman when the investigation is complete and place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

Substantive answer from Bob Ainsworth to Julian Lewis:

You will recall that I wrote to you on 11 September 2007 about the investigation into the handling of the US cockpit recording of an attack on a UK light tank in Iraq on 28 March 2003. We have now received the Joint Army/RAF investigation report on the unauthorised disclosure of the cockpit recording and I am therefore able to give you a substantive response to the specific questions you asked in your parliamentary question (Reference 122369, Official Report, 5 March 2007 columns 1642/3W).

I can now confirm that officials were informed of the existence of the CD recording when preparing for the Board of Inquiry into the incident. The recording, among other material, was requested by the Board of Inquiry from the US authorities and received on 23 April 2004 via the MOD's Permanent Joint Headquarters. Ministers received written advice about the existence of the CD recording and its unauthorised disclosure on 2 February 2007 in relation to the issue being raised at the Coroner's inquest.

As a result of the failings identified, remedial action is being taken. A new security education programme is being introduced as part of a wider security awareness campaign to ensure that those involved in the handling of classified and sensitive material are aware of the rules and procedures to be followed. An instruction on the release of US (and other third country) material during legal proceedings has also been issued to all MOD personnel to remind them of their responsibilities in respect of the secure handling of protectively marked US material, and we are in the process of establishing new arrangements for the management of Boards of Inquiry and Inquests to ensure a more consistent approach across the Department. The US authorities have been informed of the investigation's findings and of the remedial action taken.

I can assure you that I take the protection of classified material, especially that entrusted to us by a close ally, very seriously, and the Permanent Secretary has asked the chain of command to consider whether administrative or disciplinary action against any individual is appropriate in light of the finding of the report.

Personnel Carriers

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many fully armed personnel carriers are deployed in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan. (202170)

[holding answer 28 April 2008]: I am withholding the information requested as its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Kosovo: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the rules of engagement will be of the UK operational reserve battalion for its deployment to Kosovo. (204145)

The UK Operational Reserve Force battalion will operate under a UK rules of engagement profile. I am withholding further information as its release would, or would be likely to. prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the mission for the deployment of the UK Operational Reserve Force to Kosovo is. (204565)

The UK Operational Reserve Force battalion will provide NATO with extra flexibility in maintaining peace and stability for all communities in Kosovo.

Massereene Barracks

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the proceeds of the sale of Massereene Barracks in Northern Ireland will be retained within his Department's budget or returned to the Exchequer. (205393)

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) retains the full benefit of disposal receipts, which form part of the Defence budget agreed with HM Treasury during the periodic spending reviews. In line with Treasury guidance, the proceeds of receipts are reinvested by the MOD in key priorities.

Military Aircraft: Helicopters

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 30 April 2008, Official Report, column 484W, on military aircraft: helicopters, what the average number of flying hours flown by helicopter pilots was in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan in the last 12 months. (204555)

Between 1 May 2007 and 30 April 2008, the average number of flying hours per helicopter pilot per two-month tour was 106 for those serving in Iraq, and 111 for those serving in Afghanistan.

Written Questions: Government Responses

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to answer 203199, on defence procurement, tabled by the hon. Member for New Forest East on 28 April 2008. (205549)

Duchy of Lancaster

Admiralty House

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who owns the freehold to (a) the Government flats in Admiralty House and (b) Admiralty Arch. (205436)

The Cabinet Office is responsible for the freeholds of both Admiralty House and Admiralty Arch.

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1692W, on Admiralty House: official residences, how many bathrooms the official residence occupied by Lord Malloch-Brown has. (205511)

Births

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many births there were in each primary care trust area in 2006-07. (205199)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 14 May 2008:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your question about how many births there were in each Primary Care Trust area in 2006-2007. (205199)

Birth statistics from the birth registration system are published on a calendar year basis. The latest year for which figures are available is 2006. The published number of live births in 2006 by Primary Care Trust area was provided to you by the Office for National Statistics in March 2008 in response to a previous question (ref 195752).

The first release of 2007 birth statistics for England and Wales is planned for summer 2008. The number of live births in 2007 by Primary Care Trust area is a subsequent product of the first release and will be sent to you by the Office for National Statistics once it is available, towards the end of the summer.

Departmental Catering

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the cost was of food and drink procured for working lunches attended by officials at which no external invitees were present in each of the last five years for which figures are available. (205520)

The information is not held centrally and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

All Cabinet Office expenditure on official hospitality including working lunches is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on principles set out in “Government Accounting” and the Treasury handbook on “Regularity and Propriety”.

Integrated Household Survey

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many households will be surveyed by the Integrated Household Survey in each year once the survey is fully implemented. (204887)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 14 May 2008:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question about how many households will be surveyed by the Integrated Household Survey in each year once the survey is fully implemented. (204887)

The Integrated Household Survey (IHS) is being implemented in a phased way, with four of the initial five component surveys already within the IHS. These are the General Household Survey, Expenditure and Food Survey, Omnibus and the English Housing Survey. The fifth survey, the Labour Force Survey, will join the IHS in 2009. At that point, approximately 200,000 individual households will be interviewed in the IHS annually, split across the five IHS survey modules.

From 2009, other new social surveys that start up may also become part of the IHS.

Ministers: Pay

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what the percentage increases in (a) pension contributions, (b) salaries and (c) expense allowances of (i) Cabinet Ministers, (ii) Ministers of State and (iii) Parliamentary Under-Secretaries were in each of the last five years; (205020)

(2) what the percentage increases in pension payments to former (a) Cabinet Ministers, (b) Ministers of State and (c) Parliamentary Under-Secretaries were in each of the last 10 years.

I have been asked to reply.

The pension contribution of Members increased from 9 per cent. to 10 per cent. of salary in April 2004 for those opting for one fortieth pension accrual. It remained at 6 per cent. of salary for one fiftieth accrual. These pension contribution rates also apply to ministerial salaries.

Further information on current and historical rates of ministerial salaries and allowances payable to Members is available in the House Library.

The increases in ministerial salaries are given in the following table.

Date of increase

Size of increase (percentage)

1 April 2003

2.25

1 April 2004

2.00

1 April 2005

2.80

1 April 2006

1.00

1 November 2006

0.99

1 April 2007

0.66

There was no difference in the percentage salary increases between Secretaries of State, Ministers of State or Parliamentary Under-Secretaries.

Increases in Allowances

All Secretaries of State, Ministers of State and Parliamentary Under-Secretaries in this House are generally entitled to claim the same allowances as any other Member. The exception is that Ministers who are not provided with an official residence in London in respect of their office are entitled to claim the London supplement. They may claim this alongside the additional costs allowance if they also qualify for that allowance.

As at 1 April each year—Size of increase (percentage)

Allowance

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Additional costs allowance

2.80

3.50

2.40

4.20

4.00

Bicycle

2.78

170.27

0.00

0.00

0.00

Communications allowance

4.00

Incidental expenses provision

2.80

3.49

2.20

4.40

4.00

London supplement

2.80

59.95

2.40

6.11

3.70

Motorcycle allowance

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

Staffing allowance

3.40

8.44

3.80

3.70

3.70

The motor mileage allowance increased by 2.6 per cent. on 1 April 2004. From 1 April 2005 the motor mileage rate was reduced by 30.68 per cent. for the first 10,000 miles, by 56.67 per cent. between 10,001 and 20,000 miles and by 6.02 per cent. for over 20,000 miles. There has been no change to the level of the motor mileage allowance since 1 April 2005.

As for many public pensions, the increases applied each April to pensions in payment under the parliamentary contributory pension fund, in excess of the guaranteed minimum pension, were linked to the increase in the retail prices index as at the previous September. These increases applied to pensions paid to former Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State and Parliamentary Under-Secretaries. The percentage increases for the last ten years were as follows.

April each year

Increase (percentage)

1999

3.2

2000

1.1

2001

3.3

2002

1.7

2003

1.7

2004

2.8

2005

3.1

2006

2.7

2007

3.6

2008

3.9

Mothers

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the average age of a first-time mother was in (a) the North West and (b) England in the most recent period for which figures are available. (204978)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated May 2008:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your request for information on the average age of a first-time mother in (a) the North West and (b) England in the most recent period for which figures are available. (204978)

It is not possible to provide the information requested because the number of previous children born to a woman is not collected from all mothers at birth registration.

Estimates of the mean age at first birth are published for England and Wales as a whole. ONS supplements the information on previous children collected from married mothers at birth registration with survey data to produce estimates of first births for England and Wales. However, it is not possible to produce these estimates for England or for sub-national areas.

Population: Wirral

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what information the Office for National Statistics holds on the numbers of people resident in Wirral, West constituency, broken down by age group. (205065)

The information falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 14 May 2008:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your question concerning the numbers of people resident in Wirral West constituency. (205065)

The latest population estimates for Parliamentary Constituencies in England and Wales are for mid-2005. The estimates for Wirral West constituency by age group are shown in the attached table.

Population estimates for Wirral West parliamentary constituency, mid-2005 (experimental statistics)

Quinary age groups

Persons

0-4

3,600

5-9

4,300

10-14

5,200

15-19

5,100

20-24

3,600

25-29

2,900

30-34

3,800

35-39

4,900

40-44

5,800

45-49

5,500

50-54

5,300

55-59

5,900

60-64

4,300

65-69

4,000

70-74

4,000

75-79

3,600

80-84

2,800

85+

2,200

All ages

76,900

Note:

These mid-2005 parliamentary constituency population estimates are consistent with the published mid-2005 local authority estimates (August 2007 revisions) and have been rounded to the nearest 100.

Source:

Office for National Statistics

Security: Greater London

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the Cabinet Office’s Annual Resource Accounts for 2006-07, in what ways the Government Secure Zone project has been delivered more slowly than expected; and what the (a) forecast and (b) outturn expenditure on the project was in 2006-07. (191175)

During 2006-07, the Government Secure Zone (GSZ) programme was delivered with (a) forecast expenditure of £13,351,000 and (b) outturn expenditure of £12,767,000 (grant and non-grant) within a total income of £13,386,000 (resource and capital). The main project within the GSZ programme (the “Whitehall Streetscape Improvement” project) was delayed by three months in obtaining planning permission, resulting in a slower delivery and consequential underspend of £619,000 for the 2006-07 financial year.

House of Commons Commission

Members: Video Conferencing

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission (1) what the reasons were for the decision not to extend the video conferencing trials on the parliamentary estate; and if the Commission will reconsider this decision; (205102)

(2) what assessment the Commission has made of the merits of video conferencing on the parliamentary estate as a means of reducing the need of staff and hon. Members to travel to meetings.

There has been no specific assessment of whether video conferencing would be an effective means of reducing the need of staff and Members to travel to meetings. Parliamentary ICT (PICT) has been running a very limited informal trial of two ‘table top’ video conferencing products to establish their technical viability and to gain some insight into their potential benefit. This is now complete.

PICT's work relating to Members ICT has been defined by the Administration Committee in its second report of 2006-07 “Information and Communication Technology Services for Members” (HC 498), as approved by the Commission. The report's recommendations and the programme of work that has been agreed with the Commission do not include extending the provision of video conferencing in the immediate future.

For Members who do wish to use this type of service a portable video conference facility can be booked via the room booking service for use in some of the meeting rooms in Portcullis House and PICT can offer some advice to Members on the products that they could consider and their cost if they wish to use this service in their own offices.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Construction: Prices

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether he has made a recent assessment of whether construction companies have engaged in price-fixing in the supply of services to the public sector. (205210)

This is a matter for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) which is currently investigating allegations of bid-rigging in the construction sector. Information about this investigation may be found in the OFT’s press release of 17 April 2008 which is published on their website at:

http://www.oft.gov.uk/news/press/2008/52-08

Departmental Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much his Department and its predecessor spent on carbon offsetting in each of the last three years; and to which companies payments for carbon offsetting were made in each such year. (204108)

BERR and its predecessor the DTI is part of the cross-government offsetting scheme called Government Carbon Offsetting Fund. All ministerial and official travel is being offset from 1 April 2006. Details are only available from this date.

For the period 2006-07 the total offsetting cost for air travel was £44,294.33 to offset 4469tCO2e. Data are currently being collected for the 2007-08 reporting year and will be available later in the year.

The GCOF is being managed by EEA Fund Management Ltd., who won the contract to source and deliver 255,000 Certified Emission Reduction Credits, with a provision for a further 50,000 credits, over three years from a range of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. Credits will be supplied from the project portfolio of Trading Emissions plc, to whom EEA is the investment adviser.

Grayling Political Strategy

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what payments (a) the UK Atomic Energy Authority and (b) Postcomm made to Grayling Political Strategy in each of the last five years; on what dates; and for what purpose in each case. (202252)

Since the hon. Member has asked for information specifically related to UKAEA and Postcomm’s direct involvement with Grayling, I have asked the companies to write to him directly with the information.

Leader of the House

Smoking

To ask the Leader of the House how many smoking shelters were built at each of her Department’s London buildings in each of the last five years. (205038)

Due to a machinery of government change in May 2007, the Leader of the House of Commons Office now forms part of the Cabinet Office. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will be answering this question shortly on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

Transport

Aviation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the environmental implications of airlines running empty or near-empty flights to retain slot allocation. (203388)

[holding answer 6 May 2008]: The EU airport slot allocation regulations require airlines to use their slots for 80 per cent. of the time or return them to be re-allocated to other airlines by the independent slot co-ordinator. The UK independent slot co-ordinator is not aware of any cases at present where an airline is flying empty aircraft to retain an airport slot. Such cases are very rare, the cost of fuel being a disincentive. Hence we have not made an assessment of the environmental impact.

Aviation: Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the future of aviation between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. (204423)

Under the devolution arrangements for Northern Ireland civil aviation is a reserved matter, for which the Secretary of State for Transport has policy responsibility. Under these arrangements, the Secretary of State and Department for Transport officials correspond with Northern Ireland Ministers and officials about a range of civil aviation policy issues.

M20

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the proposed starting date is for work on Junction 10A of the M20. (205413)

Subject to the satisfactory completion of the necessary statutory procedures and availability of funding, work is due to start in January 2012.

Speed Limits

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what encouragement the Government is giving to those local authorities that wish to introduce 20 mile per hour limits. (205758)

Local traffic authorities are responsible for setting local speed limits and have powers to introduce 20 mph speed limits and 20 mph zones if they believe it appropriate to do so. The Department encourages and supports any local authority wishing to introduce 20 mph speed limits.

This view is reflected in the Department’s guidance to local authorities on setting local speed limits, published in August 2006. In addition Traffic Advisory Leaflet 9/99 provides best practice guidelines on setting 20 mph speed limits and 20 mph zones.

Wales

Statutory Instruments

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many statutory instruments have been (a) made and (b) revoked by Ministers in his Department since 1997. (204760)

The Wales Office was only created in 1999. Since then it has made 57 statutory instruments and revoked none.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Admiralty House

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 5 March 2008, Official Report, column 2564W, on Admiralty House, what the cost of the repainting of Admiralty House for Lord Malloch-Brown's residence was after the former Deputy Prime Minister vacated the residence. (203033)

The cost of repainting two bedrooms, an adjacent corridor and one bathroom in the flat at Admiralty House totalled £7,137.42 (including value added tax). Admiralty House is a Grade 1 listed building and is maintained in line with that status.

Afghanistan: Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken by his Department to improve the education system in Afghanistan. (204363)

Improving access for all to quality education across Afghanistan is a critical element to our comprehensive approach to bring security, stability and reconstruction to Afghanistan.

The Department for International Development (DfID) has the UK lead in supporting education in Afghanistan. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that DfID provides funding (£55 million in 2007-08) to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund. This fund pays the salaries of over 100,000 teachers and 90 per cent. of the Ministry of Education's wage bill. In this way DfID funding has contributed to an increase from one million pupils in 2001 to six million today, and an increase from approximately 21,000 teachers in 2001 to more than 128,000 today. In addition, since 2002, over 2,000 schools have been built or reconstructed. Officials at our embassy in Kabul work closely with the Afghan Minister for Education, parliamentarians, officials, non-governmental organisations and teachers as they work to improve education in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what critical military gaps in NATO's deployment in Afghanistan remain to be filled. (203775)

Military requirements in Afghanistan are decided by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and laid out in the Combined Joint Statement of Requirement. Despite the recent increases in commitment made by many of our allies there remain shortfalls in some areas such as training and mentoring teams, combat troops, in the south and east, and support helicopters. The UK continues to work with partners to address these shortfalls.

Information on national contributions can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence and NATO websites:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/fco-in-action/uk-in-afghanistan/

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceIntemet/DefenceNews/InDepth/OperationsInAfghanistan.html

http://www.nato.int/isaf/index.html

Ballistic Missile Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the implications of missile defence policy for EU foreign policy. (204806)

[holding answer 13 May 2008]: I have had no discussion with my EU counterparts on the issue of missile defence in the context of EU foreign policy. The European security and defence policy gives the EU the capability to undertake civilian and military crisis management operations. It has no competence to consider ballistic missile defence.

Burma: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Burmese government on (a) human rights violations and (b) the introduction of democratic institutions in that country. (205094)

[holding answer 13 May 2008]: The lack of respect for democracy and human rights in Burma is of grave concern to the Government. We take every opportunity to raise concerns with the Burmese authorities, at the relevant multilateral organisations, and with countries in the region that have an influence over the regime. Before the devastating cyclone hit Burma, we called for urgent action ahead of the 10 May referendum because, as currently conceived, the process designed by the Burmese regime will not deliver the reconciliation, stability and prosperity that Burma needs. Nor will it address the long-standing violations of human rights. Since the cyclone hit Burma, our efforts have focused on seeking to provide humanitarian support.

China: Tibet

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the government of China to encourage it to (a) reach agreement with representatives of the Dalai Lama on Tibet and (b) publish a record of the discussions which it holds with those representatives. (203472)

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister spoke to Premier Wen about the situation in Tibet on 19 March, urging restraint and dialogue with the Dalai Lama. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary further emphasised the need for dialogue when he spoke to Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on 21 and 28 March, and 7 April. We have been raising the situation with the Chinese, both in Beijing and in London, on a regular basis. We are aware that Chinese officials met with representatives of the Dalai Lama on 4 May. We welcome this as the first step towards resumption of dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama and his representatives. We hope that dialogue will now continue, with substantive matters being discussed, in order to resolve the underlying issues.

We continue to urge greater transparency from the Chinese authorities on the issue of Tibet. However, it is for the Government of China and representatives of the Dalai Lama to decide whether or not to publicise the detail of their discussions.

Departmental Buildings

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has made for the future use of 1 Carlton Gardens following the decision not to use the property as a Ministerial residence; and if he will make a statement. (202840)

We are currently in negotiation with The Crown Estate about the future of the lease on 1 Carlton Gardens.

Departmental Freedom of Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many freedom of information requests made to his Department were (a) answered (i) within 20 days, (ii) within 40 days, (iii) within 60 days, (iv) after 60 days, (b) not answered and (c) answered citing an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as a reason not to provide the requested information in each year since the Act came into force. (201726)

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has published two annual reports containing statistical information on freedom of information requests received by monitored bodies including Central Government Departments in 2005 and 2006. These reports can be found at the following web address:

http://www.dca.gov.uk/foi/reference/statisticsAndReports.htm

The 2007 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) annual report is currently being drafted for publication in June 2008. However, statistics on requests received in each quarter of 2007 have been published and can be found via the MOJ website:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/freedomofinformationquarterly.htm

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) requires public bodies to respond to written requests within 20 working days of receipt, but allows additional time for the consideration of the public interest in disclosing the requested information.

The published reports provide statistics on the number of “non-routine” requests received during each period where: an initial response was provided within 20 working days; an initial response was given outside this time but a public interest test extension had been applied; an initial response was given outside this time and no public interest test extension was applied; and where no initial response had been given at the time the statistics were collected.

The 2006 FCO annual report provides statistics on the duration of the public interest test extensions in that year. Corresponding statistics for 2007 will be available when the 2007 annual report is published.

Information on requests where deadlines were extended beyond 40 days is not collected in the form requested; however the proportion of resolvable requests the Department answered “in time” (that is, meeting the deadline or within a permitted extension) in 2007 was 98 per cent.

For 2005 and 2006, the reports show the number of requests received by the department which were withheld, either in full or in part, where an FOIA exemption or Environmental Information Regulations exception was applied. For 2007, the number of such requests was 254, based on aggregated quarterly statistics from 2007. Requests withheld solely under the exemption applicable to “information available by other means” are not included; statistics on these are not collected centrally because they are dealt with as routine business.

Diego Garcia: Rendition

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1713W, on Diego Garcia: rendition, whether any UK official met each of the two individuals during their detention. (203522)

[holding answer 6 May 2008]: We have no information to suggest that the two individuals concerned met UK officials during their detention.

Gaza: Fuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on attacks against fuel convoys entering Gaza; and if he will make a statement. (204752)

[holding answer 12 May 2008]: We are aware that Palestinian militants have attacked crossing points at Nahal Oz on 9 April, Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz on 17 April and Erez on 21 April. We condemn such actions which serve only to increase the suffering of the people of Gaza. We urge all parties to ensure that basic humanitarian supplies, including fuel, are maintained.

India: Family Planning

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the government of India on population control policies. (204370)

I have been asked to reply.

The Department for International Development (DFID) has had discussions with officials of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of India on population issues in the context of the Reproductive and Child Health Programme (RCH-2), to which DFID contributes. DFID has committed £252 million to the programme from 2005 to 2011.

RCH-2, launched in April 2005, is the Government of India’s key programme to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for reducing maternal and child mortality. The programme seeks to expand the range of information and services available on contraception, particularly to the poorest populations. The programme will increase access to reversible methods of contraception, which will allow young women to delay childbearing and all women to have a longer interval between births. This will improve the health of children as well as mothers.

The most recent joint government and donor review of this programme took place in February 2008. The review found that there has been an increase in the provision of family planning, and particularly of reversible methods of contraception.

Iraq: Administration of Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which prosecuting authority has responsibility to prosecute alleged criminal offences committed by contractors working for HM Government in Iraq. (205426)

Jurisdiction over contractors working for the government in Iraq is covered by Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 17 (Revised) (CPA17).

Under CPA17, contractors are not subject to Iraqi laws and regulations in matters relating to the terms and conditions of their contracts. But the provisions of CPA17 are without prejudice to the exercise of jurisdiction by the sending state and the state of nationality of a contractor in accordance with applicable laws. The sending state may, however, waive immunity for contractors if requested.

If any personnel, employed by organisations contracted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), were suspected of committing a crime in Iraq, but appeared to be immune from Iraqi legal process, the FCO would refer them to the disciplinary authority of their employing organisation with a view to having them removed from our contract in Iraq. The FCO would also bring the matter to the attention of the UK police and/or the authorities of the individual's nationality. The decision whether to pursue a UK criminal investigation, and ultimately whether a prosecution should be undertaken in an individual case, would be a matter for the UK police and prosecuting authorities, acting independently from the Government.

In the case of suspected non-criminal misconduct, we would take up the matter with the employing organisation, and either investigate the matter or have the employing organisation do so and report to us, depending on the circumstances and the nature of the allegations.

Iraq: Embassies

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will initiate an independent inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse on the part of staff contracted to work at HM embassy, Baghdad. (205261)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) was made aware of these allegations in June 2007. The complainants were interviewed promptly and in detail by senior members of our embassy staff. However, as the allegations were made both by and against employees of a company contracted by the FCO, we asked the company concerned to send staff from its UK office to take forward the investigation. They did so thoroughly and professionally in June 2007 and we accepted their conclusions and recommendations. We have since reviewed this decision and have concluded that there are no grounds for reopening the case.

KBR

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contracts have been fulfilled for his Department by KBR in the last five years; what the (a) value, (b) purpose and (c) duration was of each such contract; and where the work to fulfill the contract was performed in each case. (205260)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently have one contract with KBR, for the provision of life support services to our Embassy in Baghdad and the Contingency Operating Base in Basra, Iraq:

at award this contract was valued at £3.5 million approximately per annum. This does, however, not take account of the varying requirements for supplies of fuel and water which are in part subject to demand;

the contract provides catering, commissary, laundry, cleaning, site waste removal/vector control services, site management and related resource in addition to providing bottled and tankered water and fuel supplies; and

the contract commenced in February 2006 and ends on 26 February 2009, and is due for re-tender shortly.

All FCO contracts are subject to a rigorous selection process so that we obtain best value for money. Any company engaged by the FCO needs to pass through a stringent and transparent procurement process, in line with public procurement guidelines and best practice. The same rigorous process is followed in the contract management and performance monitoring of these contracts.

Maldives: Elections

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contribution the UK is making to international efforts to ensure a fair election in the Maldives; and if he will make a statement. (204593)

The UK is providing financial support for Commonwealth efforts to improve the Maldivian legislative electoral framework. Free, fair and credible elections are a crucial element of democratic reform in the Maldives. My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, emphasised this point to Dr. Mohamad Asim, the Maldivian high commissioner in March. He also pointed out that the freedom of politicians and political parties to be able to campaign and debate freely was a cornerstone of democracy.

Nepal: Human Rights

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the government of Nepal on the observance of human rights. (204366)

Throughout the recent pre-election period, the UK maintained its strong support for the work of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other local, and international, human rights organisations in Nepal. In a joint public statement, issued on the eve of elections, we noted our deep concern at the election- related killings, abductions, disturbances and intimidation which were taking place in parts of the country. We also condemned those who had sought to disrupt the elections and stressed that the people of Nepal should be able to choose their new representatives, free from fear and threat. Following elections, we will continue to urge the Government of Nepal to investigate all cases of past human rights violations and abuses, and bring an end to the culture of impunity.

On 22 April, the UK joined an EU demarche to the Government of Nepal to protest about the violation of rights of Tibetan demonstrators in Kathmandu and elsewhere in Nepal, as well as the excessive use offered against them. The actions by Nepalese police violated individuals’ rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and we have urged a thorough investigation of these incidents.

Nepal: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the political situation in Nepal following the constituent assembly elections on 10 April 2008. (204365)

Along with the international community, the UK welcomed the largely peaceful elections to a Constituent Assembly which were held on 10 April. The election results clearly demonstrated the people of Nepal’s desire for peace and change and we are urging all parties to respect this mandate and work together to deliver lasting peace and development in Nepal. As a long-standing friend of Nepal, the UK stands ready to help support the new government at this critical juncture in the country’s transition.

Syria: Human Rights

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the government of Syria on human rights in relation to the universal periodic review conducted by the UN Human Rights Council. (204342)

Our ambassador in Damascus raised the periodic review of the UK by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) with officials at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 28 April. He welcomed the review, underlined our support for these mechanisms and looked forward to other states working with the HRC in the same constructive way.

Syria will be one of the last countries to be reviewed under the UN's new universal periodic review process in 2011. The UK has not yet engaged in dialogue with Syria on its review. However, we are prepared to do so when they start to prepare for this important process.

In the meantime, the UK continues to have serious concerns about the human rights situation in Syria, which has deteriorated worryingly in recent months. We continue to call on Syria to abide by its international obligations on human rights. Our embassy in Damascus, working with other EU missions, continues to press the Syrians to improve conditions in general as well as raising individual cases of concern.

Zimbabwe: Arms Trade

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Chinese authorities on the delivery of arms to Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. (203892)

We have lobbied the Chinese Government in Beijing not to supply arms to Zimbabwe on four occasions since a Chinese ship attempted to unload in Durban. The EU already has in place a ban on the sales of arms to Zimbabwe. We support a moratorium on arms sales until there is a return to democracy and good governance. We raised this with the support of other states in the UN Security Council.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Wastes

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the abolition of the agricultural buildings allowance for slurry storage facilities on (a) the average net income of farmers, (b) implementation of nitrate vulnerable zones and (c) trends in nitrate levels. (204211)

I have been asked to reply.

The withdrawal of the Agricultural Buildings Allowance (ABA) is part of a package of measures introduced at Budget 2007 which also saw the reduction of the main rate of corporation tax and the introduction of a £50,000 Annual Investment Allowance (AIA), allowing 95 per cent. of businesses to write off all their expenditure on plant and machinery (excluding cars) in the year in which it is made. The effect of this package will vary according to the particular circumstances of a business.

Slurry storage facilities may be considered plant and machinery and therefore be eligible for plant and machinery capital allowances (both the AIA and writing-down allowances) at 20 per cent. a year on any balance of expenditure not covered by the AIA where the storage of the slurry is incidental to its final use.

Departmental Aviation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost to his Department of air travel excluding carbon offsetting was in 2006-07. (198223)

For the period April 2006 to December 2007 inclusive, and from information held centrally, for core-DEFRA, the Animal Health Agency, the Centre for Environmental, Fisheries and Aquacultural Science, the Government Decontamination Service, and the Rural Payments Agency, expenditure on air travel by Ministers and officials was £3,447,090. Expenditure on travel is undertaken in accordance with departmental travel policy. For the financial year 2006-07, DEFRA will procure credits through the Government's Carbon Offsetting Fund to offset 2,864 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) for its flights.

Details of overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers are published annually by Government and is accessible at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/proprietyandethics/ministers.aspx

The list includes details about the number of officials accompanying a Minister when non-scheduled travel is used for the trip. Copies of lists covering information going back to the 1997-98 financial year are available in the Libraries of the House.

Expenditure on travel is undertaken in accordance with departmental travel policy.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent on the most recent redesign and implementation of his Departmental website. (200167)

The most recent redesign and implementation of the DEFRA website took place between January and April 2007. Redesign work was undertaken by a third party at a cost of £27,342; implementation was achieved using existing in-house resources.

Specifically, the cost of this work related to the development of new design options and usage guidelines, page templates and stylesheets, and improvements to the general accessibility of the site.

Departmental Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his most recent estimate is of the unfunded liability in present value terms of each public sector pension scheme for which his Department is responsible; and on what assumptions for (a) discount and (b) longevity the estimate is based. (200716)

DEFRA is not responsible for the administration of any public sector pension scheme but most of its staff are members of the Principal Civil Service Pension scheme (PCSPS). The information requested and other useful information is contained in the scheme's annual resource accounts which can be accessed via its website:

www.civilservice-pensions.gov.uk

and is also available from the House of Commons Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the unfunded liability in present value terms was of each public sector pension scheme for which his Department is responsible in each year since 1990-91. (200717)

Information on liabilities in present value terms is in the scheme's annual Resource Accounts (since 2000-01) although these are produced under differing sets of assumptions (e.g. on longevity), so are not directly comparable across years. The vast majority of DEFRA staff are members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS) and the Resource Accounts can be accessed via the scheme's website at:

www.civilservice-pensions.gov.uk

and are also available from the House of Commons Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) rate and (b) cost was of employer contributions for each public sector pension scheme for which his Department has responsibility in each year since 1990-91; and if he will make a statement. (200718)

The vast majority of DEFRA staff are members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS). The information requested is contained in the scheme's annual Resource Accounts since 2000-01.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the effect on his Department's expenditure would be of increasing the employee contribution to each pension scheme for which his Department is responsible by one per cent.; and if he will make a statement. (200719)

An increase to the employee contribution would have a nil effect on the Department's expenditure.

Facilities Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the reasons why an in-house bid has not been made with regard to his Department's plans to outsource the facilities management functions in his Department and its agencies. (194170)

[holding answer 14 March 2008]: Discussions have been held with departmental trade union side on the issue of an in-house bid. In those discussions, it was made clear that all bids would be treated equally. However, no such bid has been made. It is not for us to say why, but it should be noted that the proposed contract is far-reaching and requires far more than a replication of services currently delivered by the in-house team.

Fisheries: Quotas

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is on placing a limit on catches for all EU vessels fishing within the UK 12 mile limit. (204856)

DEFRA has no plans to place a limit on catches for all EU vessels fishing within the UK 12 mile limit.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanisms other than EU quotas there are to limit the activities of non-UK fishing vessels within the UK 12 mile limit in respect of (a) fish and (b) shellfish catches; and what mechanisms there are to enable EU member states to manage their own inshore shellfisheries without derogating from the Common Fisheries Policy. (204859)

The activities of non-UK vessels in our waters would be subject to the full range of controls under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), including limitations on effort for those capable of catching any of the relevant recovery or management plan stocks. Otherwise, individual member states may extend any more stringent national rules applying to their own vessels to those of other member states, providing the Commission, relevant Regional Advisory Councils and the member states concerned are content.

We have no EU measures on shellfish but certain member states have limits at national level.

Fisheries: Shellfish

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate he has made of changes in the (a) capacity of and (b) catch taken by non-UK fishing vessels with historical practice access to UK waters within the 12 mile limit and which target crabs and lobster since 1997; and whether the same minimum landing sizes of crabs apply to vessels from other EU member states and UK vessels when fishing in those waters; (204855)

(2) what data his Department receives on catches by fishing vessels from other EU member states within the six to 12 mile band of UK waters.

DEFRA does not hold data on changes in capacity and catches by foreign vessels within the 12 mile limit. Minimum landing sizes, as set out in EU legislation, must by complied with by all EU-flagged vessels.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what shellfish stock assessment measures there are in respect of the six to 12 mile band of UK waters for the purpose of enabling accreditation schemes to demonstrate sustainability. (204857)

There is a range of stock assessment measures in place for shellfish at regional, national and EU levels, but there are no national or EU measures which explicitly relate only to the six to 12 mile zone. Sea Fisheries Committees (SFC) have introduced, or are in the process of introducing, a number of measures for the explicit purpose of gaining Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditation, for instance South Wales SFC’s management of the Burry Inlet cockle fishery, and North East Sea Fisheries Committee’s (NESFC) attempt to gain accreditation for the local lobster fishery. These SFC measures, however, apply out to six miles only.

While none of the aforementioned measures has been introduced specifically for the purpose of enabling accreditation schemes to demonstrate sustainability, such measures are seen as an integral part of any shellfish management plan which would be a pre-requisite for gaining accreditation.

Flood Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the contribution of land management to reducing flooding. (204966)

DEFRA published the findings of a major review of the impacts of rural land use and management on flood generation in November 2004. Subsequently, further work was commissioned on the analysis of historical data sets to look for the impacts of land use and management change on flood generation. The final report will be published later this year.

As part of the Government’s making space for water delivery plan, the Environment Agency led a project to assess both the implications of land management change to flood risk at individual farm and catchment scale. This work included an update of the 2004 review.

Work was commissioned as part of the DEFRA-funded ripon project to model the effects of catchment scale land management in that area.

A research project to monitor and analyse the long-term impacts of land use change associated with the united utilities sustainable catchment management plan in North West has been commissioned under the joint DEFRA/Environment Agency flood risk management Research and Development programme.

Horses: Exports

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many horse and pony export licences were issued in each of the last three years. (205139)

The number of licences issued in each of the last three years, in connection with horses and ponies exported from English ports or airports, is as follows:

2007

2006

2005

Horses

4,630

3,967

4,034

Ponies

527

457

541

Total

5,157

4,424

4,575

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what analysis he has commissioned of the costs and benefits of the implementation of nitrate vulnerable zones. (204212)

We intend to announce and publish our response to the nitrate vulnerable zones consultation before Parliament breaks for summer recess. This will include a summary of what the Department plans to do as a result of the consultation responses.

The draft proposals which were subject to consultation earlier this year were costed.

Rural Areas: Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of visits made to the countryside in (a) the 12 months prior to and (b) each year since the Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000 gained Royal Assent; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the provisions of the Act on the numbers of people visiting the countryside. (204895)

No national monitoring of the number of visits made to the countryside was undertaken in the 12 months prior to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW) receiving Royal Assent on 30 November 2000. However, the UK Day Visit survey 1998 estimated that there were 1253 million visits to the countryside that year.

The Leisure Day Visits survey 2002-03 for England estimated that there were 1126 million visits to the countryside and a further 200 million to the ‘seaside coast’.

The England Day Visits survey 2005 reported that in the twelve months surveyed there were approximately 692 million leisure visits made to the countryside and a further 72 million leisure visits made to the ‘seaside coast’. Of these, 21.2 million trips were made to open access land which was introduced by the CROW Act and fully rolled out by October 2005.

Natural England is currently designing a new methodology for a day leisure visits survey and there is no further breakdown of figures available until the survey is published.

Due to differences in the methodologies, the figures in these surveys are not directly comparable.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Prison Service

7. To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent representations he has received on the pay scales of prison officers in the Northern Ireland prison service. (204422)

The pay scales for prison officers in the Northern Ireland Prison Service are recommended by the Prison Service Pay Review Body. The current scales were set as part of an agreed three year pay and efficiency agreement.

Security

8. To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment he has made of the security situation in Northern Ireland. (204424)

I welcome the publication of the 18th IMC report on 1 May indicating the continued significant improvement of the security situation in Northern Ireland.

I took that report into account in my recent review of specified organisations. I will lay today a draft order under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 which will result in the de-specification of the Ulster Volunteer Force/Red Hand Commandos and the specification of Oglaigh na hEireann.

Economy

9. To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the prospects for the Northern Ireland economy. (204425)

I have regular discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and we believe that the prospects for the Northern Ireland economy are very encouraging. Last week's successful US Investment Conference is an excellent illustration of Northern Ireland's potential for growth.

Criminal Justice and Policing: Devolution

10. To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the devolution of criminal justice and policing to Northern Ireland. (204428)

The Government are ready to transfer responsibility for policing and justice as soon as the Assembly requests this. The people of Northern Ireland want to see policing and justice devolve. Significant progress has been made on this since last May, not least with the publication of the Assembly's report which I laid before Parliament on 25 March 2008. I hope the parties will reach agreement on the timing without delay and complete the process of devolution.

PSNI

11. To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Catholics were recruited as police officers by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. (204429)

Between 29 April 2007 and 20 April 2008, 225 Catholic officers were recruited to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Energy Performance Certificates: Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what role his Department had in the (a) introduction of energy performance certificates for the sale of existing residential dwellings in Northern Ireland and (b) decision not to introduce home information packs in respect of sales of residential properties in Northern Ireland. (202821)

This is a devolved matter and the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Departments for Social Development and Finance and Personnel.

Prisoners: Self-Mutilation

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many instances of self-harm there were in each of Northern Ireland's prison and detention centres in each of the last three years. (204753)

The information requested is shown in the following table.

Incidents of self-harm

Financial year

HMP Maghaberry

HMP Magilligan

HMP HydebankWood

Total

2005-06

94

14

93

201

2006-07

88

10

108

206

2007-08

69

11

101

181

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Adult Education: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much his Department has spent to support adult learners completing their first full level three course in further education in each of the last five years. (205528)

Our ambition for higher intermediate skills (level 3) is critical to our future competitiveness and economic success. The Government's response to Leitch ‘World Class Skills: implementing the Leitch review of skills in England’ (July, 2007) committed to the Leitch level 3 ambition, which equates to 1.9 million more adults achieving level 3 by 2020.

In terms of milestones, this will mean moving from 49.2 per cent. of the adult population (19+) with level 3 or higher qualifications in 2006 to 56 per cent. by 2011 and up to 68 per cent. by 2020.

Using actual and planned learner numbers on full level 3 qualifications it is possible to estimate the level of public funding invested in these qualifications. This estimate covers expenditure on all full level 3 qualifications as data are not collected on the number of learners undertaking a first full level 3 qualification. The following table sets out information from 2005-06 to 2010-11 based on the structure of the 2008-09 Grant Letter to the Learning and Skills Council. It covers the years that we are able to estimate on the overall level of investment in full level 3 qualifications.

Estimated public investment in adult (aged 19+) full level 3 qualifications

£000 (rounded to the nearest £ million)

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Adult learner responsive model

248,000

254,000

268,000

313,000

373,000

412,000

Employer responsive model

36,000

42,000

88,000

143,000

168,000

362,000

Total

284,000

296,000

356,000

456,000

541,000

774,000

Apprentices

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what data he holds on the geographical distribution of apprenticeships; and if he will make a statement. (205319)

Data on the geographical distribution of apprentices are derived from the home postcode of each individual apprentice. This enables geographical analysis at any level of aggregation for which a postcode definition is available. We routinely make data available at regional and local authority level. Postcode information for those on apprenticeships in the Army is recorded against a single central address for security reasons.

The 16 to 18 participation statistical first release, published in June each year by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, provides a regional breakdown of those on apprenticeships and further information by region is available on the Learning and Skills Council's website. The individualised learner record also holds postcode data about apprenticeship providers and the location the apprenticeship is delivered.

Apprentices: Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many people who have completed apprenticeships since 1997 are presently unemployed; and how many of these are long-term unemployed. (205321)

The Annual Population Survey (APS) can be used to provide estimates about the labour market status of people who have completed an apprenticeship. It does not collect information about when the apprenticeship was completed and does not distinguish between publicly funded and other types of apprenticeship. Estimates from the APS show that of those people in England aged 16-35 in 2006 who had completed an apprenticeship 22,000 were unemployed according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition. This represents an ILO unemployment rate of 3.3 per cent. Around 8,000 of the 22,000 had been ILO unemployed for at least six months

Astronomy: Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much expenditure from the public purse was spent on research in (a) astronomy and (b) space science for 2007-08; and how much is planned to be spent for 2008-09; and what records he holds on comparative expenditure in other OECD states. (205313)

The Government provide funding to the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to support research and related postgraduate training in particle physics, astronomy, space science, nuclear physics, synchrotron radiation, neutron sources and high power lasers. STFC’s expenditure on research in astronomy and space science is set out below. The Government do not hold records of comparative expenditure in other OECD states.

Expenditure

£000

(i) 2007-081

(ii) 2008-092

(a) Astronomy

57,812

71,042

(b) Space Science

95,592

108,385

1 Figures for 2007/08 are based on current end of year figures.

2 Figures for 2008/09 are based on the provisional budget.

Further Education: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the average cost of a further education level 3 course is. (205529)

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) have a national funding rate for each level 3 qualification. The funding rate is based on the number of hours required to complete the course and includes a national fee assumption so that learners (not eligible for full fee remission) will contribute to the cost of the course. For the 2007/08 academic year the national fee assumption is 37.5 per cent. of the national funding rate.

The following table sets out the national funding rate for the most popular level 3 qualifications and the national fee assumption related to that type of qualification.

National funding rate and fee assumption for level 3 courses

£

Course type

National base rates1

Fee assumption (37.5 per cent.)

Key Skills

237

89

AS or A2 level (daytime study)

845

317

Applied AS or A2 level (daytime study)

2,641

990

GNVQ

2,641

990

Edexcel/OCR National Diploma

6,333

2,375

Edexcel/OCR National Certificate

5,103

1,913

Access to HE

3,051

1,144

1 Figures relate to duration of course rather than providing a per year rate as course lengths vary

While the national fee assumption is taken into account in the calculation of funding rates, it is for colleges and providers to determine the actual level of fee charged. It is therefore not possible to provide an average cost of a further education course to the learner.

In relation to the cost to the Department the average cost of a full level 3 course per year has been estimated at around £1,500 per year for the financial year 2007-08.

Higher Education: Northamptonshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will bring forward proposals to establish a multi-campus university in North Northamptonshire. (205709)

We want to give everyone who has the talent the chance to go to university whether they are about to leave school or already in work. Students should have access to local provision offering flexible courses to suit their needs. We are therefore delighted by the interest that our new university challenge has generated. This policy also offers places the opportunity to unlock the potential in their area by working with those involved in regeneration and economic planning to provide locally-based HE provision. We have already agreed to meet delegations from towns in North Northamptonshire to discuss these issues. Any proposals for new university campuses or centres of HE will be assessed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Job Creation: EU Economic Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate his Department has made of the number of jobs created as a direct consequence of the Lisbon Agenda; at what cost per job; and if he will make a statement. (205326)

The Lisbon Strategy for Jobs and Growth was re-launched in 2005 and in that period employment has increased by almost 6.5 million in the EU. Exchange of best practice between member states, on policies owned nationally, is at the heart of the strategy but focused on outcomes not costs.

Work and Pensions

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 6 March 2008, Official Report, column 2807W, on departmental manpower, how many of his Department's staff under 18 years old were receiving at least one day's training per week in the most recent period for which figures are available. (204840)

Information on how many of the Department's under 18-years-old were receiving at least one day's training per week is not held centrally; this information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employees in his Department (a) contracted out of and (b) contributed to SERPS/S2P in each year since 2001-02, broken down by (i) sex and (ii) age cohort. (195456)

Such information as is readily obtainable is given as follows.

The Principal Civil Service Pensions Scheme (PCSPS) is a ‘contracted out’ scheme. However, women aged over 60 and men aged over 65 cannot contract out of S2P. All other employees would be automatically contracted out of S2P unless they decided not to join the scheme.

We are unable to extract data for a number of staff during 2006-07 as this information is held on a legacy system, which could be accessed only at disproportionate cost. The available data is contained in the tables and is for the tax year 2006-07 relating to 91,504 staff and 2007-08 relating to 125,476 staff, broken down by (i) sex and (ii) age cohort.

Number contracted in at end of 2006-07 tax year

Gender

Age band 1 (under 21)

Age band 2 (21-25)

Age band 3 (26-30)

Age band 4 (31-35)

Age band 5 (36-40)

Age band 6 (41-45)

Age band 7 (46+)

Total

Female

0

0

0

0

0

0

1,765

1,765

Male

0

0

0

0

0

0

147

147

Total

0

0

0

0

0

0

1,912

1,912

Note:

No data prior to age band 7 available from data source due to disproportionate c