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Written Answers

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 22 May 2008

Northern Ireland

Departmental Official Hospitality

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many receptions he has hosted and funded in his capacity as Secretary of State in the last 12 months; which individuals and organisations (a) were invited to and (b) attended each reception; and what the cost was of each reception. (203851)

I will publish in due course a list providing information relating to official receptions hosted by Ministers in this Department in the 2007-08 financial year.

Departmental Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cash equivalent transfer value is of the public sector pensions of the 10 highest paid members of staff in his Department and its Executive agencies; and if he will make a statement. (200760)

For the most recent information available, I refer the hon. Member to the NIO Resource Accounts, a copy of which can be found at:

http://www.nio.gov.uk/nio_resource_accounts_2006_-_2007.pdf

Departmental Public Participation

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 7 May 2008, Official Report, column 930W, on departmental public participation, how much each (a) survey, (b) questionnaire and (c) other service cost; and how many participants there were in each. (205449)

The information requested is shown in the following table.

Survey by

Cost (inclusive of VAT)

Number of participants

Millward Brown Ulster

£21,385.00

1,422

NI Statistics and Research Agency

Survey 1: £338,398.83

14,000

Survey 2: £42,424.84 (total of three modules)

21,238

Module 1: £15,510.00

Module2: £15,752.34

Module 3: £11,162.50

SMR (Social and Market Research)

No breakdown available to show the cost of the survey and focus groups. The total cost which included an evaluation exercise was £29,345.63. This cost was split between three partners, making the NIO contribution £9,781.88

Survey: 769

Nine Focus Groups: 57

1 The figure of 4,000 participants refers to the target number of participants as the final number of achieved interviews is not yet known.

2 As the three modules were part of the one survey, each had the same number of participants.

Departmental Translation Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was spent by his Department on translation and interpretation services in 2007-08, broken down by language. (205178)

During 2007-08, the following amounts were spent by the Northern Ireland Office, its Executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies on translation and interpretation services, broken down by language.

Language

Cost (£)

Sign Language

20,066.35

French

21,592.38

Polish

263,900.45

Cantonese

14,739.32

Portuguese

63,045.53

Lithuanian

238,146.92

Slovakian

43,615.12

Latvian

34,139.36

Braille

380.94

Irish

1,341.58

Mandarin

50,381.39

Ulster Scots

432.74

Cypriot

1,956.39

Czech

11,437.05

Flemish

583.72

German

9,459.61

Romanian

45,207.86

Spanish

16,141.22

Swedish

1,185.25

Thai

3,023.72

Turkish

4,223.32

Bengali

7,694.36

Chinese

69.00

Farsi

1,265.02

Greek

16.50

Hindi

776.82

Hungarian

19,347.49

Russian

86,380.86

Ukrainian

514.96

Vietnamese

366.00

Arabic

15,707.17

Estonian

816.61

Bulgarian

5,864.89

Bengali

3,643.28

Tetum

4,344.54

Urdu

1,940.96

Italian

1,858.17

Georgian

1,064.66

Albanian

2,251.17

Tagalog

876.21

Dutch

354.45

Serbian

184.50

Punjabi

184.28

Malayalam

1,658.88

Afghan Pashto

254.30

Telephone Interpreting for Police Service NI (45 various languages, mainly ethnic minority)

64,919.00

Police Service NI, Translations (breakdown of various languages not available)

177,619.00

Others (mainly ethnic minority)

2,252.75

Total

1,247,226.05

Women and Equality

Departmental Public Participation

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what (a) surveys, (b) questionnaires and (c) other services were provided by polling companies for the Government Equalities Office in financial year 2007-08, broken down by company. (200007)

The Government Equalities Office has not directly commissioned any polling companies to provide surveys, questionnaires and other services during the financial year 2007-08 but has worked with the Department for Communities and Local Government on the Citizenship Survey; worked with the Office for Disability Issues on the ONS Omnibus Survey and part-funded research into the public sector duties carried out by Schneider Ross.

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Apprentices

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will break down the most recent number of apprenticeships by (a) region, (b) industrial sector, (c) sex and (d) whether or not the apprenticeships were at advanced level in each case. (203927)

The information requested is contained in tables, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many (a) apprenticeships and (b) advanced apprenticeships there were in (i) his Department and (ii) the agencies for which he is responsible in the most recent year for which figures are available. (206797)

The Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills was created as a result of Machinery of Government Changes in June 2007.

The Government skills strategy “Building Professional Skills for Government” was launched in April this year. This includes a commitment to establish 500 additional Pathfinder apprenticeships from September 2008. Neither the Department nor its agencies have such apprenticeship arrangements in place yet. Government Skills are leading on implementation and plan to launch the Pathfinder apprenticeships over the summer.

Apprentices: North Yorkshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many apprenticeships were (a) started and (b) completed in Vale of York constituency in each of the last three years. (206677)

Information is not available at parliamentary constituency level. Information for North Yorkshire and York is provided in the following table.

Local authority1

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Apprenticeship starts for the last three years

North Yorkshire2

4,469

3,489

3,228

York

772

586

649

Apprenticeship completions for 2003-04 to 2005-06

North Yorkshire2

1,368

1,543

2,171

York

153

226

343

1 Indicates a local authority that has more than 10 per cent. of apprentices funded by the MOD.

2 Data given allocate apprentices by their home postcode, where a learner is engaged in residential learning for the MOD they are allocated the LA of where they are based.

Departmental Domestic Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills on how many occasions he visited (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland in an official capacity in the last 12 months. (204393)

Since the creation of the Department in June 2007, I have not visited Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland in an official capacity.

Departmental Orders and Regulations

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many statutory instruments have been (a) made and (b) revoked by Ministers in his Department since its establishment. (204765)

27 statutory instruments, general and local, have been made and 34 revoked by Ministers of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills since its establishment on 28 June 2007.

Departmental Public Participation

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills pursuant to the answer of 6 May 2008, Official Report, column 809W, on departmental public participation, what the (a) cost, (b) subject and (c) number of respondents was for each (i) survey, (ii) questionnaire and (iii) other service. (206031)

The following table states the following (a) cost, (b) subject and (c) number of respondents; for each of the services provided by the companies.

Service provided

Name of company

Method

Number of respondents

Total cost (£)

Student finance messaging research

Define Research and Insight Ltd

Qualitative interview—groups

128

57,595.00

Student finance creative research

Define Research and Insight Ltd

Qualitative interview—groups

104

41,780.00

Student finance tracking research

Continental Research

Quantitative—face-to-face interview

2,040

111,787.50

Student finance—insights

Define Research and Insight Ltd

Qualitative interview—groups and depths interview

36

18,800.00

HSE student support England 2007-08

Jigsaw Research Ltd

Quantitative—face-to-face interview

784

57,000.00

Student finance—DVD research

Continental Research

Quantitative—telephone survey

200

12,500.00

Define messages for parents on student finance

Seventy 2 Point

Qualitative—survey

770

2,200

Higher Education: Business

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and (b) the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship on a national network of university enterprise clusters. (206943)

In line with its strategies for enterprise, innovation, and high level skills, Government announced an additional £300,000 per annum of funding for the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE) for it to establish university enterprise networks. Ministers in this Department and that of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform have asked officials to ensure that NCGE bring forward robust plans to develop and manage networks of higher education institutions which will encourage widespread adoption of best practice in enterprise education.

Higher Education: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills whether he has plans to exempt those undertaking a Masters level course in Teaching and Learning from the policy of not funding students on courses that lead to qualifications equivalent to or lower than they already hold. (207201)

Students who already hold one Masters level qualification and want to study another higher education qualification at an equivalent or lower level will not be exempt from the general ELQ policy. They will only attract institutional funding if the course relates to the initial training of teachers or is co-funded by employers. But because the policy is a redistribution of funding and not a withdrawal, it will allow more students than would be possible under the current system to progress from an undergraduate level qualification to a Masters level course in Teaching and Learning.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills when he plans to answer the letter of 7 March from the right hon. Member for Manchester Gorton, with regard to Dr. J. Byrne. (203888)

Science: Voluntary Organisations

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills with which third sector organisations his Department is working as a strategic partner on projects relating to science and innovation. (206299)

DIUS is working with a number of strategic partners from the third sector on projects related to science and innovation including the Association of Medical Research Charities, the Leverhulme Trust, the Wellcome Trust, the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the British Academy, the UK Resource Centre for Women in SET, STEMNET, The British Association for the Advancement of Science, Ecsite-uk, the Gatsby Foundation, Demos and the Foundation for Science and Technology .

Students: Fees and Charges

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of equalising the tuition fee arrangements of part-time first-degree students with those of full-time first-degree students; and if he will make a statement. (202816)

There are around 200,000 part-time first degree undergraduates compared to around one million full-time. To estimate the cost to the public purse of giving part-time students the same tuition fee arrangements is complicated due to their diverse nature. We can give very broad estimates based on the assumptions we hold for full-time students and replicating the exact same package of support. This enables us to estimate the resource cost of fee loans in the region of £150 million per year if all part-time students had fees of £3,000 per year; and £75 million if we assume they are studying at 50 per cent. intensity and are charged fees of £1,500 per year.

These estimates assume that part-time students are identical to full-time students in every respect except they are part-time. They are highly dependent on uncertain factors such as eligibility for and take-up of support, level of fees charged and earnings following completion of the course, all of which have been assumed the same as for full-time students.

This Government was the first to introduce statutory support for part-time students, in 2000/01. In 2006/07, we introduced the most generous package of financial support ever for part-time students in England. This included increasing the maximum fee grant by 27 per cent. and an above-inflation increase in the income threshold for receiving this support. The part-time package is different from the support available to full-time students because it has been designed to meet the particular needs of part-time students. Unlike full-time students, many part-time students are in full-time employment—two thirds according to the Woodley report, published at the end of 2004. That report also found that 36 per cent. of part-time students receive full fee support from their employer. We must ensure that statutory student support is carefully focussed to achieve maximum benefit.

Training: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will bring forward proposals to require employers which recruit immigrant labour to fund training and skills programmes for British workers. (206843)

We have no current plans to require employers to fund skills training for British workers. However, as announced by the Prime Minister, we will be consulting on a new right to request time to train. The new right would require employers to consider seriously requests from employees for time away from their mainstream duties to undertake relevant training. From this autumn employers will need to prove that they cannot fill skilled vacancies with resident labour or that they are recruiting into recognised skill shortage areas before employing skilled migrant labour. Employers, individuals and the Government must all improve their efforts and investment if we are to deliver our ambition of a world class skills base. Train to Gain has engaged almost 83,000 employers with more then 390,000 workers starting learning programmes. We have ambitious plans to expand Train to Gain with increased funding from around £520 million this year to over £1 billion in 2010.

Vocational Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what role the (a) Skills Funding Agency and (b) Young People's Learning Agency will play in local authority involvement in skills training. (205439)

The White Paper ‘Raising Expectations: enabling the system to deliver’ published March 2008 sets out plans to respond to the education and skills challenges for young people and adults. It outlines the roles of the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA).

The SFA will be responsible for the demand-led services for adults and employers incorporating Train to Gain and skills accounts. It will underpin a new Adult Advancement and Careers Agency, the National Employer Service and the National Apprenticeship Service. The SFA will have a national and regional presence as well as having a role sub-regionally, working with local authorities and other partners to support local area agreements (LAAs) and Employment and Skills boards.

The YPLA will be responsible for supporting local authorities in discharging their new strategic commissioning role for 16 to 18 education and training. We anticipate that the YPLA will be established as a non-departmental public body (NDPB) and that its governance will include representatives of the key delivery partners, including local authorities. Its primary role will be to moderate the commissioning plans of local authorities for the purpose of budgetary control and ensuring that the new curriculum entitlement is delivered across every area of the country. Similar to the SFA, the YPLA will have both a national and regional presence.

Further details of the roles of the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) are set out in the White Paper. The consultation period for the White Paper ends on 9 June 2008 and we are currently running consultation events in each region with a range of stakeholders including local authorities.

Children, Schools and Families

Cadets: Armed Forces

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether his proposals for cadet forces will involve changes in the level of funding for existing combined cadet forces (CCF) units in schools; what estimate he has made of CCF funding per CCF member in (a) 1997, (b) 2000, (c) 2007 and (d) 2010; and if he will make a statement. (200528)

I have been asked to reply.

Cadet Forces, where affiliated to the MOD, are wholly funded by a combination of MOD resources and charitable funding raised by the Cadet Forces’ own endeavours. The present funding for the current MOD affiliated membership will not be affected by any initiative from the Department for Children, Schools and Families. CCF funding per CCF member is summarised in the following table:

Number of CCF Cadets

Funding per Cadet (£)

2000

40,551

328

2007

42,593

312

Note: The change in funding is as the result of efficiency gains over the past three years such as improved property management.

The number of CCF members in 1997 is not known. Funding for 2010 is not yet allocated, nor has the number of likely Cadets been estimated.

Our aspiration, shared by our colleagues in the DCSF, is to increase the opportunity for as many young people as possible, from all backgrounds, to experience the benefits of the Cadet experience.

Children’s Centres

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many Sure Start children's centres were open on (a) 31 March and (b) the latest date for which figures are available. (207078)

On 31 March 2008 there were 2,906 Sure Start children’s centres. As of 21 May there are 2,907 designated centres. Local authorities are currently planning the final phase of the delivery of children’s centres so that by 2010 there will be 3,500 centres, one for every community.

Essex

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families on how many occasions he has visited Essex in the last 12 months. (204972)

Ministers in the Department for Children, Schools and Families have visited Essex three times since June 2007. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code.

Written Questions: Government Responses

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when he will reply to Question 200528 on school cadet forces, tabled on 18 April 2008 by the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton. (203955)

House of Commons Commission

Freedom of Information

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission whether it is the Commission's policy to release the home addresses of (a) senior and (b) middle-ranking officials of the House of Commons, if requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and what the Commission's assessment is of the implications for personal security resulting from the release of such data. (207218)

The terms of Freedom of Information Act 2000 require that each request for information held by the House of Commons is treated on its merits. The implications referred to would depend on the scope of any such request.

Parliament: Waste Management

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how much waste was (a) produced (b) recycled and (c) incinerated by the Parliamentary Estate in each year from 2002 to 2007. (202189)

The quantities of waste (a) produced, (b) recycled and (c) incinerated by the parliamentary estate in each financial year from 2002 to 2008 are given as follows:

Waste

Tonnes

(a) Produced

(b) Recycled

(c) Incinerated

2002-03

2,767

699

2,068

2003-04

2,319

608

1,711

2004-05

1,916

561

1,355

2005-06

2,101

801

1,300

2006-07

2,035

862

1,173

2007-08

1,989

954

1,035

In the previous answer to the hon. Member for Brent, East (Sarah Teather) on 25 July 2006, Official Report, column 1642W, a figure of 2,252 tonnes was given for the total waste produced in the 2005-06 financial year. This total included waste deposited in builders’ skips; all the other years’ figures excluded this waste stream and the 2005-06 totals have been amended to ensure a consistent approach.

Olympics

Olympic Games 2012: Employment

To ask the Minister for the Olympics (1) what estimate she has made of the proportion of jobs relating to the 2012 Olympic games which will go to women; (204694)

(2) what steps her Department has taken to increase the proportion of women employed in jobs relating to the 2012 Olympic games.

As of May 2008 the percentage of women working for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), or their contractors, was 11.9 per cent. This figure includes all women involved in construction, management, administration, professional, consultant and design and also incorporates the small number of venues outside the Olympic Park. Going forward, the ODA in conjunction with the London Development Agency is establishing a “Women into Construction” project that will focus on supporting women working directly on the construction programme for the 2012 games.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has a strong diversity and inclusion policy for the recruitment and retention of staff and volunteers that covers gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion and age. This will be regularly monitored for its effectiveness, and builds on the prominence of diversity and equality as key components of London's bid for the games.

Five of the 11 members of LOCOG's Management Committee as published on its website are women.

LOCOG also requests equal opportunities policies from potential suppliers, which are also a requirement of CompeteFor (the online brokerage service by which companies register for contracts connected to the games).

As of May 2008 the percentage of women employed in the Government Olympic Executive is 37.5 per cent.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Government plans to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan. (206717)

We keep the size and scale of the UK military commitment to Afghanistan under regular review and will make further adjustments where necessary, as we have in the past.

Armed Forces: Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average annual (a) capital and (b) running cost of a regional rehabilitation unit has been in the last three years. (199494)

The MOD has 15 Regional Rehabilitation Units (RRUs) in the UK and Germany. Responsibility for their individual management is shared between the single Service commands, with oversight from the Joint Medical Command. However, each Service funds its respective RRUs differently, with funding provision coming from a variety of areas, which are not uniquely identifiable, before being subsumed within the overall establishment or Station budget.

RRUs are not always located within discrete sole-use buildings and the average capital costs could therefore only be provided at a disproportionate cost.

The average annual staffing costs of a typical RRU is £477,600.

On average, each of the RRUs will spend approximately £10,000 per annum replacing and servicing equipment.

Defence: Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding was allocated to the armed forces for expenditure on equipment in each year since 1997. (205765)

Outturn expenditure on the procurement of equipment (including both military and non-military equipment used by Service and civilian personnel) from 1997-98 has been published annually in UK Defence Statistics (UKDS) by the Defence Analytical Services Agency. UKDS can be found at:

www.dasa.mod.uk

and are available in the Library of the House.

However, data are not consistent across this period because of internal changes in responsibility for Defence equipment procurement and the introduction of Resource Accounting and Budgeting (RAB). Figures were produced on a cash basis until 2000-01. Full implementation of these accounting changes meant it was not possible to produce figures for the period 2001-02 to 2002-03 that were consistent for these years since the full adoption of RAB across the Department was not completed until 2003-04. A new data series using full RAB accounting has been produced annually since 2003-04. Outturn figures for 2007-08 will be published in UKDS 2008 later in the year.

Departmental Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any officials in his Department were disciplined or dismissed for (a) breaches of data protection requirements and (b) inappropriate use of personal or sensitive data in each of the last three years for which figures are available. (205905)

Eco-Towns: Land

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 6 May 2008, Official Report, columns 837-38W, on eco-towns, (1) in which of the shortlisted sites his Department has sold or otherwise disposed of land in the last 10 years under arrangements whereby his Department would benefit from a future sale of the land; (207155)

(2) what estimate he has made of the sale price (a) before and (b) after shortlisting of (i) the sites owned by his Department and (ii) sites sold by his Department in the last 10 years.

The Ministry of Defence would benefit from a further sale of land at the following locations sold within the last 10 years: RE Long Marston Depot, RAF Coltishall and Bordon-Whitehill.

There are far too many variables at this early stage in the consultation process and we have therefore not made estimates of the value of sites before or after shortlisting.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what basis service personnel qualify for (a) an Iraq Medal and (b) bars to the Iraq Medal; what changes have been made to this procedure since the conflict began; and if he will make a statement. (206902)

The qualification criteria for the Iraq Medal and clasp are published in Command Paper 6135 presented to Parliament in February 2004 and subsequently amended by Command Paper 6936 dated October 2006, copies of which were placed in the Library of the House. On 5 December 2007 Her Majesty the Queen approved a further amendment to the criteria for all current operational medals to include those whose qualifying service is prematurely curtailed by imprisonment, detention or internment.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to write to those hon. Members who raised issues but did not receive a response from the Minister for the Armed Forces during the debate on defence in the world on 8 May 2008. (206629)

As is usual following Defence debates in the House, responses will be sent by myself and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence to a number of hon. and right hon. Members—including the hon. Member—on issues which, due to time constraints, I was unable to address fully in my closing speech. Copies of these letters will also be placed in the Library of the House.

Navy: Piracy

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 6 May 2008, Official Report, column 840W, on the Navy: piracy, whether pirates arrested at sea by the Royal Navy are (a) taken on board Her Majesty’s ships and (b) rendered to UK jurisdiction; and what discussions his Department has had with officials in the Home Department on the potential for such pirates to claim asylum in the United Kingdom. (206628)

Our records suggest that no pirates have been arrested by the Royal Navy since the Second World War. If a pirate were to be arrested, they would remain in UK custody until such time as they were either lawfully transferred to another nation or returned to the UK criminal justice system.

MOD officials regularly liaise across Whitehall on issues relating to operations, including on piracy.

First World War: Anniversaries

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what national plans there are to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the First World War armistice in 2008. (206279)

Culture, Media and Sport

Culture Leadership Programme

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many (a) placements, (b) courses, (c) coaching opportunities and (d) mentoring opportunities have been organised by the Cultural Leadership Programme; and how many people have taken part in each of these types of activity. (206240)

[holding answer 16 May 2008]: An evaluation of the Cultural Leadership Programme (CLP) is currently under way. The CLP is in the process of collating output data from partner organisations and institutions and therefore the full impact of the programme is not available yet. The Department expects to receive the evaluation in early autumn 2008.

Gambling: Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations he has made to the United States administration on the effect of US law on UK business interests in the United States, with particular reference to (a) online gambling companies and (b) companies providing financial services to the online gambling sector. (206563)

The UK maintains a constructive relationship with the US Administration in relation to a wide variety of subjects within the broad spectrum of trade issues, including those relating to gambling.

Officials have raised the concerns of the gambling industry with the relevant US authorities, and will continue to do so when appropriate opportunities present themselves.

Prime Minister

Airports

To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his statement on 14 May 2008, Official Report, column 1392, on the draft legislative programme, to which decisions on airports he was referring. (207082)

The Government's policy on aviation is set out in ‘The Future of Air Transport’ White Paper (CM 6046), December 2003; ‘The Future of Air Transport Progress Report’ (CM 6977), December 2006; and the consultation on Heathrow Airport—‘Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport’, November 2007.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Landfill

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the merits of using incineration to reduce use of landfill; and if he will make a statement. (206753)

Recovering energy from waste (including via incineration) can offer a considerable climate change benefit compared to the alternative of landfill. This is primarily through avoided landfill methane emissions, with energy generated from the biodegradable fraction of waste also offsetting fossil fuel power generation.

While incineration is preferable to landfill, this should not displace waste from management further up the hierarchy (e.g. minimisation, reuse, recycling/composting).

Meat: Smuggling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures are in place to prevent the importing of bush meat. (206294)

While there is no precise definition for bush meat, it is generally understood to mean the meat of wild animals hunted for food, derived mainly from Central and West African countries.

Where the animals that have been hunted are rare or endangered they may be listed and their international trade controlled on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), an international agreement signed by 172 countries including the UK, which aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

In a recent study commissioned jointly by DEFRA and HMRC, of 230 samples DMA tested just five were found to be from CITES listed species. The summary report is available on the DEFRA website.

Additionally, while bush meat is not thought to be a significant risk to animal health in the UK as it does not enter the animal food-chain, HMRC has powers to deal with animal products that are imported outside the veterinary checks regime under the Products Of Animal Origin (POAO) Regulations. This function is carried out at the border by HMRC’s delivery partner the UK Border Agency.

The UK Border Agency’s strategy is to deter and detect illegal imports of POAO from entering Great Britain (responsibility for Northern Ireland is with DARDNI). Frontline multifunctional officers are trained to tackle a range of high risk goods at the border, including POAO. There are also a number of detector dogs based around GB who are trained to detect POAO. Traffic is targeted from high risk countries based on risk assessment and intelligence.

DEFRA and HMRC have undertaken a number of publicity and awareness raising initiatives to inform travellers and the UK public of the regulations.

Ozone Layer: EU Law

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the environmental impact of non-implementation of EC Regulation 2037/2000 in so far as it relates to building foam. (207223)

The use of ozone-depleting substances in building insulation foams has been banned in the EU since the beginning of 2004. Most of these foams are currently still in buildings but it will be important to prepare for the time when large scale volumes of these insulation foams need to be disposed of where practicable.

DEFRA has initiated discussions with building industry stakeholders about current infrastructure available for dealing with demolition waste and the technical and economic issues that arise.

Sewers

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to complete the consultation on the transfer of private sewers to sewerage undertakers; and if he will make a statement. (207159)

The Government announced in February 2007 their decision to transfer private sewers and lateral drains draining to the public sewerage system into water company ownership. We subsequently published a public consultation in July 2007 on implementation options for the proposed transfer. The consultation also posed questions on the scope of assets to be included in the transfer and ways in which the creation of new private sewers can be prevented.

A summary of responses was published in March 2008 and we are currently considering in detail the issues raised with the help of a steering group of key stakeholders. The work of the steering group will inform the decision on the timing of transfer and we expect to complete this by the summer.

Waste Management: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which golf courses have been granted paragraph 19A exemptions from waste management licensing. (205611)

It has not been possible to indicate which paragraph 19 exemptions are for golf course developments. Identifying the exemptions relating to golf courses could only be achieved if a significant administrative exercise were to be undertaken by the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency currently has over 2,700 registered paragraph 19 exemptions, in addition to over 37,000 such exemptions for agricultural waste, across England and Wales.

This exemption is provided for the use of waste in ‘relevant work’, such as in the construction of recreational facilities or highway improvements. At the point of registration there is no requirement to specify what type of facility the waste will be used in.

Work and Pensions

Children

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what percentage of children reached a good level of development by scoring six points on all the assessment scales for personal, social and emotional development and communication, language and literacy scales of the Foundation Stage Profile; and what progress has been made towards meeting this part of his Department's Public Service Agreement target; (200811)

(2) with reference to his Department's Public Service Agreement for 2005-2008 (Technical Note), page 9, what the agreed Public Service Agreement target is for the proportion of children to reach a good level of development at the end of the Foundation Stage by 2008;

(3) what proportion of children have achieved a good level of development by scoring six points on all the assessment scales for personal, social and emotional development and communication, language and literacy scales of the Foundation Stage Profile in (a) the 30 per cent. most disadvantaged super output areas and (b) the rest of England in each year since 2003;

(4) what progress has been made towards meeting his Department's Public Service Agreement target 2.

I have been asked to reply.

The Department for Children Schools and Families and the Department for Work and Pensions have joint responsibility for this public service agreement target, (which is PSA target 2 for DWP and PSA1 for DCSF). The target, set in 2005, is to improve children's levels of development in the communication language and literacy and personal, social and emotional development scales of the foundation stage profile so that by 2008 53 per cent. of children reach a good level of development and inequalities between the level of development achieved by children in the 30 per cent. most disadvantaged super output areas and the rest of England are reduced by four percentage points from 16 per cent. to 12 per cent. A good level of development is defined as scoring at least six points on all seven of the personal, social and emotional development and communication, language and literacy assessment scales at the end of the foundation stage.

The foundation stage profile was introduced in the academic year 2002-03 and was expected to take a number of years to bed in. Overall national summary data for FSP was first published in 2003 as ‘Experimental Statistics’ and in 2004 as ‘National Statistics’. However, a background of ongoing improvements to teacher assessment and moderation mean it is difficult to draw meaningful statistical judgments about the progress made, particularly in super output areas, between 2003 and 2004. For this reason information on levels of good development has only been published since 2005. The figures are shown in the table.

2005

2006

2007

Percentage of all children achieving a good level of development in maintained schools

48

44

45

Percentage of children living in the 70% least deprived super output areas achieving a good level of development in maintained schools

54

50

51

Percentage of children living in the 30% most deprived super output areas achieving a good level of development in maintained schools

37

33

35

Figures for 2005 and 2006 are based on sample data and are subject to sampling error. Figures for the gap between the most disadvantaged areas and the rest include only those children for whom postcode information was available. Improvements to moderation mentioned above have affected the reliability of 2005, 2006 and 2007 data; we expect 2008 results (due to be published in autumn 2008) to form a secure baseline and the PSA targets on early years foundation stage results for 2011 are to improve from this baseline.

The final figures on the foundation stage profile in England were published in Statistical First Release 32/2007 “Foundation Stage Profile 2006/2007: National Results (Final)” on 11 October 2007, a copy of which is available on my Department’s website

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000752/index.shtml

Children: Disabled

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children with a disability were categorised as materially deprived in each year since 1997; and what proportion of children in each age group this represented in each such year. (204650)

Being in material deprivation and low income is defined as being in a household with a household income of less than 70 per cent. of contemporary median income and a material deprivation score of greater than 25. Full details of the way scores are constructed are available in the public service agreement document ‘Halve the number of children in poverty by 2010-11, on the way to eradicating child poverty by 2020’ which can be found at

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/B/9/pbr_csr07_psa9.pdf

The available data are shown in the following tables.

Table 1: Number of children with a disability and material deprivation, UK in households in low income

Million

Number of children

2004-05

0.2

2005-06

0.1

Source:

Households Below Average Income , 2004-05 to 2005-06

Table 2: Children with a disability in households in low income and material deprivation as a proportion of all children by age band, UKPercentageAge0 to 45 to 1011 to 1516 to 182004-0511212005-061121 Notes:1. The reference period for Households Below Average Income figures is single financial years.2. A child is defined as anyone aged under 16 or an unmarried 16 to 18-year-old in full-time non-advanced education.3. Information on households in low income and material deprivation is only available from 2004-05.4. The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication ‘Households Below Average Income’ (HBAI) series, which uses disposable household income, adjusted (or “equivalised”) for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.5. Low income and material deprivation is one of the three indicators for measuring child poverty. The other two measures are absolute low income, which includes households with incomes below 60 per cent. of the median income held constant in real terms from a 1998-99 baseline, and relative low income, which includes households with incomes below 60 per cent. contemporary median income.6. Children with a disability are children with a long-standing illness, disability or infirmity, and who have a significant difficulty with day-to-day activities. Everyone in this group would meet the definition of disability in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), but these estimates do not reflect the total number of children covered by the DDA as the Family Resources Survey, the source of the HBAI series, does not fully collect this information.7. The figures are based on OECD equivalisation factors.8. Numbers of children have been rounded to the nearest 100,000 children, while proportions of children have been rounded to the nearest percentage point.9. Small year-on-year movements should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response.Source:Households Below Average Income, 2004-05 to 2005-06

Children: Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when parents who are making child support agency payments calculated under the framework in force prior to March 2003 will have their payments recalculated under the formula which now applies. (207085)

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Cotswold (Mr. Clifton-Brown), on 18 February 2008, Official Report, column 226W.

Departmental Official Hospitality

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many receptions he has hosted and funded in his capacity as Secretary of State in the last 12 months; which individuals and organisations (a) were invited to and (b) attended each reception; and what the cost was of each reception. (203856)

We will publish, in due course, an annual list relating to official receptions hosted by Ministers in the Department for Work and Pensions during the course of the previous financial year.

Disabled

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people with a (a) disability and (b) learning disability are employed by his Department. (206509)

The latest figures based on the position at 31 March 2008 are that 5,982 staff across the Department have declared that they are disabled. The figures are based on the numbers of staff who have voluntarily declared themselves as being disabled. However, we are aware that not all disabled staff declare their disability for departmental records, and the true figure may be higher than the figures shown. For example, the 2008 DWP Staff Survey (which is completed anonymously), showed that 9,977 of respondents considered themselves to have a long standing health condition or disability.

The Department does not collect data on the number of people with a learning disability it employs, and to provide information on this could only be at a disproportionate cost. Staff are encouraged to declare whether they consider themselves disabled, but are not asked to state the nature of the disability.

Health and Safety Executive: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library copies of the Health and Safety Executive’s retention and recruitment plans covering policy capacity when it moves to a single headquarters. (207273)

Through recruitment of new staff to the single headquarters in Bootle, retention of key London staff through the transition period, flexibility to adapt the pace of change to any emerging pressures and continual senior management oversight, HSE will continue to maintain business continuity and deliver the major benefits that the single HQ will bring. The HSE chief executive regularly reports on progress to the HSE board and this information is available on the HSE website.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff at the Health and Safety Executive office at Rose Court, London have expressed a firm interest in relocating to a single headquarters in Bootle. (207274)

10 members of staff initially expressed an interest in relocating to Bootle. A firmer number will be available in the summer after the final preference exercise has been conducted.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether an equality impact assessment was carried out prior to the Health and Safety Executive’s proposal to move to a single headquarters. (207275)

An equality impact assessment was carried out as part of the business case developed for the proposal to move to a single headquarters.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the changes in the number of posts which will result from the Health and Safety Executive's establishment of a single headquarters. (207276)

We do not envisage the move to a single headquarters in Bootle resulting in any reduction in the overall total of HSE posts. We shall however be filling posts in Bootle on the basis of establishing initially a sufficient number of qualified staff to undertake core and essential work rather than seeking immediately to fill every potentially vacant post. This will allow us to staff up more effectively the requirements of the new health and safety strategy as progressively become clear.

Jobcentre Plus: Telephone Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will provide hon. Members with the telephone number for the out-of-hours service operated by Jobcentre Plus on behalf of his Department. (206539)

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 22 May 2008:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking if he will provide hon. Members with the telephone number for the Out Of Hours Service operated by Jobcentre Plus on behalf of his Department. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

The Out Of Hours Service telephone numbers are already made available to “referring agencies” such as social services and the police. If any hon. Members themselves offer out of hours access in their surgeries over the weekend and wish to become known as a referring agency then we are happy to make local arrangements for access to the out of hours service telephone number.

Jobseeker’s Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether a person with (a) a mental health condition and (b) a drug or alcohol addiction claiming jobseekers allowance has access to (i) the Pathways to Work scheme and (ii) condition management programmes through the Pathways to Work scheme. (203272)

Pathways to Work is specifically designed to encourage recipients of incapacity benefits to consider opportunities for starting or returning to work. Jobseeker’s allowance customers are, therefore, not eligible for Pathways to Work.

Instead, jobseeker’s allowance and other benefit customers with drug-related problems have access to the voluntary Progress2Work programme. Progress2Work provides, through specialist contractors, additional help for customers disadvantaged by their drug misuse. These specialists aim to support customers through provision, training and employment.

Under the flexible new deal, beginning in October 2009, service providers can decide to offer condition management programmes as part of the tailored back-to-work action plans drawn up for longer-term jobseeker’s allowance customers. Customers with a history of drug and alcohol misuse can currently also volunteer for early access to the New Deal Gateway and this arrangement will continue under the flexible new deal.

Personal Accounts Delivery Authority: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the (a) budgeted and (b) current projected (i) running and (ii) set up costs of the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority are in its first year of operation; (205492)

(2) how much has been spent on establishing and running the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority;

(3) whether he expects the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority to meet its objectives without exceeding its budget;

(4) what the (a) original budget, (b) current projected cost and (c) cost to date of setting up personal accounts is.

I refer the hon. Member to the report from the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority, a report on the Personal Accounts delivery authority’s plan for delivery . I am placing a copy of the report in the House Library

Social Security Benefits: Sanctions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he plans to publish the Jobcentre Plus review of the sanctions regime for benefit claimants announced on 20 February. (207161)

We will publish the conclusions from the review as part of the Government’s proposal for the next stage of welfare reform.

Justice

Apprentices

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) apprenticeships and (b) advanced apprenticeships there were in (i) his Department and (ii) the agencies for which he is responsible in the most recent year for which figures are available. (206795)

Six members of staff employed within the Ministry of Justice undertook apprenticeships during the financial year 2007-08.

The Ministry of Justice is participating in the Apprenticeships Pathfinder being organised by Government Skills, with an intake likely in September. Numbers are likely to be substantially larger than in previous years. We are also participating in the Civil Service West Midlands Apprenticeships pilot.

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) UK citizens born in the UK, (b) UK citizens born abroad and (c) foreign nationals were employed as staff by his Department and its agencies in each of the last five years. (206544)

Information on the nationality of public sector staff within the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is not held centrally. This could be collected only at disproportionate cost. Information on nationality is included on an individual’s application form, which he/she completes at the start of the recruitment process. This is to ensure that the applicant meets nationality requirements under the civil service recruitment code for employment within MOJ.

Legal Services Commission: Complaints

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) when complaints procedures were first introduced by the Legal Services Commission; and what the terms of those procedures were; (206632)

(2) what changes have been made to the complaints procedures of the Legal Services Commission since they were first introduced; and what the reasons were for such changes;

(3) what the complaints procedures of the Legal Services Commission are;

(4) what training and guidance has been provided to the Regional and acting Regional Directors of the Legal Services Commission on the terms of the Legal Services Commission complaints procedures; when it was provided to them; and how it was provided;

(5) what training and guidance has been provided to the account managers of the Legal Services Commission on the terms of the Legal Services Commission complaints procedures; when it was provided; and how it was provided.

The LSC’s approach to dealing with complaints is part of its overall focus on customer services. It strives to maintain the highest standards of customer service and effective complaint handling. Success at this is measured through a customer services score target. The LSC expects to have achieved its customer services score target of 90 per cent. for 2007-08.

When the Legal Services Commission was established in 1999, it inherited its complaints procedure from the Legal Aid Board (the body previously responsible for administering legal aid).

The LSC improved its complaints handling procedures following a review in February 2004. The complaints review team developed a new definition of a complaint and added a second tier review system to ensure consistency across the LSC. The new procedure was introduced in April 2004.

Details of the LSC’s complaints procedure can be found on the Commission’s website at:

http://www.legalservices.gov.uk/docs/cls_main/How_to_ Complain_to_the_Legal_Services_Commission_May_07.pdf

In terms of training, when the LSC’s new complaints procedure was launched in April 2004, all staff were notified of the changes and given access to the relevant guidance and policy documents on the intranet.

Once the new procedure was in place, specific training was provided on a local basis to complaint handlers who are nominated to co-ordinate responses, offer guidance to colleagues and maintain quality and consistency.

Account managers may be involved in drafting responses to complaints from providers. Regional directors deal with complaints only in exceptional circumstances.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he plans to reply to the letter of 25 March 2008 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on Miss A. S. Galtrey. (206965)

My right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Children and Youth Justice (Beverley Hughes), and I replied jointly to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on 19 May 2008. We apologise for the delay.

Offenders: Electronic Tagging

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what sentencing guidelines are given to courts on the use of electronic tagging orders combined with curfews and the circumstances in which such a sentence would be appropriate;

(2) what guidance his Department has issued on using a combination of curfews and electronic tagging in sentencing; and under what circumstances his Department considers such sentencing appropriate. [206949] (206938)

Curfew may be imposed under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 as a requirement of a community order or of a suspended sentence order for offences committed on or after 4 April 2005. The Act requires that such a requirement must be electronically monitored unless this is not possible or it is judged inappropriate in a particular case.

The independent Sentencing Guidelines Council issued guidance to the courts on 2003 Act sentences in December 2004. The guidelines give examples of where curfew might be appropriate as part of a community order for offences in the low, medium and high seriousness ranges. They also say that electronic monitoring should be used with the primary purpose of promoting and monitoring compliance with other requirements, in circumstances where the punishment of the offender and/or the need to safeguard the public and prevent re-offending are the most important concerns.

The court may obtain and consider a pre-sentence report prepared by the National Probation Service (NPS) before sentencing. Comprehensive departmental guidance to the NPS on 2003 Act sentences was issued in 2005, explaining how curfew and electronic monitoring might be used. Other departmental guidance on specific aspects of sentencing, which may include references to curfew and electronic monitoring, is issued as necessary.

Open Prisons: Prisoners Release

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners in open jails in England and Wales had been deemed not suitable for release on temporary licence at the most recent date for which figures are available. (206872)

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell), on 7 March 2008, Official Report, column 2834W.

Release on temporary licence is the mechanism that enables prisoners to participate in necessary activities, outside of the prison establishment, that directly contribute to their resettlement into the community and their development of a purposeful law abiding life.

The eligibility requirements are set out in Prison Service Order 6300 Release on Temporary Licence, which is available on the Prison Service website. Eligible prisoners must pass a rigorous risk assessment before temporary release is granted.

Information on those considered unsuitable for release under temporary licence is not centrally available, would require manual inspection of individual prisoners’ records and could not be provided without disproportionate cost.

Personal Injury: Compensation

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) when he will publish a summary of responses to the consultation on the law on damages; (206701)

(2) when he plans to publish his Department's response to the consultation on the law on damages.

We aim to publish a summary of responses to the consultation paper on the law of damages together with the Government's response to the consultation before the summer recess.

Prison Service: Safety

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what mechanisms are in place to protect prison staff from assault by prisoners. (205534)

Public and private sector prisons are each required to have a local violence reduction strategy, which involves regular analysis of problem areas, consideration of solutions and an action plan to reduce violence. A whole prison approach is encouraged, engaging all staff, all disciplines and prisoners in challenging unacceptable behaviour, problem-solving and improving personal safety for all. A good practice toolkit supports the violence reduction strategy and guides establishments to develop practical solutions, including environmental and physical measures as well as alternative ways of managing behaviour.

Public and private sector prison staff receive the appropriate training to ensure they have required skills and knowledge to deal with potentially violent situations in prisons and protect themselves from assault.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor has supported the Prison Officer Association's Zero Tolerance Campaign to ensure prisons are a safer place to live and work.

Prisoners

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners in adult prisons had previously been (a) children in care, (b) children in foster care and (c) adopted children in each of the last five years. (207072)

In response to part (a) of the question, I refer the hon. Member to my answer given on 29 April 2008, Official Report, column 391W, to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws).

Information on the total number of prisoners in all prison establishments in England and Wales who were in local authority care at some point when under the age of 16 is not centrally available.

However, a Social Exclusion Unit report “Reducing re-offending by ex-prisoners” published in 2002 reported that 27 per cent. of the prison population had been taken into care as a child against an average across the general population of 2 per cent.

In response to parts (b) and (c), there is no available information on which to provide an answer.

Prisoners Release: Reoffenders

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment since 1997 have been subsequently released and committed further crimes and been re-imprisoned. (203302)

To provide the information requested would require data matching between different sources of information, and manual checking of individual records which could be carried out only at disproportionate cost. Data migration for the Department’s new database is currently under way and will be subject to data quality assurance. I hope to write to the hon. Member by the middle of June to provide as much of the information requested as can be obtained reliably from the new database at that time.

Prisoners: Females

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what monitoring is conducted of the care needs of women from Wales who serve custodial sentences in prisons in England after their return to Wales on release. (201604)

All prisoners who serve 12 months or more are subject to a period of statutory supervision on release. Those sentenced to any period in custody who are under 21 years at the point of release will also be supervised by the probation service on a standard three-month licence.

In relation to women prisoners returning to Wales, this applies wherever they were imprisoned. Prisoners on licence are seen by the probation service who assess and manage their risk and needs in order to reduce reoffending and this assessment includes any gender issues. Additionally, NOMS Cymru is running the Women’s Turnaround Project, a demonstration project for women based in Cardiff. The project is self-referral with services delivered through the third and private sectors and has close links with HMP Eastwood Park and offers an opportunity for women to be supported with their resettlement needs.

Prisoners: Learning Disability

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what (a) special programmes and (b) specific education provision his Department provides for prisoners with learning disabilities. (206377)

I have been asked to reply.

The terms ‘learning disability’ and ‘learning difficulty’ are most usually used to refer to mental health and education issues respectively. As the question refers specifically to ‘education provision’, my response sets out what we do to meet the needs of prisoners with learning difficulties.

There are no special programmes or education provision in place for prisoners with learning difficulties specifically. Instead, as part of the Offenders’ Learning and Skills Service, education providers are obliged to assess for and meet the additional learning support needs of offenders with learning difficulties who are engaged in learning and skills programmes available to the prison population more generally.

Prisoners: Rehabilitation

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 12 May 2008, Official Report, column 1381W, on prisoners: rehabilitation, what plans his Department has to assess the effects on the rehabilitation of prisoners of the interaction between inmates and prison guards on prison councils. (206962)

The Ministry of Justice currently has no plans to carry out a formal assessment of the impact of prison councils on the rehabilitation of prisoners.

Road Traffic Offences: Electronic Tagging

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many of the electronic tagging orders imposed during sentencing for road traffic offences have been issued in respect of (a) driving while disqualified, (b) drink driving and (c) other offences since 1999. (206939)

The following table shows how many of the electronically monitored curfew orders imposed during sentencing for road traffic offences have been issued in respect of (a) driving while disqualified, (b) drink driving and (c)other summary motoring offences since 1999, up to 2006.

Under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, an electronically monitored curfew became one of a number of requirements of the new community order for adults that courts could impose for offences committed after 4 April 2005. Since its introduction courts have only recorded the number of community orders imposed rather than the requirements used. The table from 2005 therefore reflects the number of curfew orders for juveniles and a declining number of orders given to adults for offences committed before 4 April 2005.

Electronic tagging orders imposed during sentencing for road traffic offences, 1999 to 2006

Driving while disqualified

Drink driving

Other summary driving offences

Other driving offences

1999

61

30

35

402

2000

141

62

30

716

2001

199

92

58

1,092

2002

437

168

107

2,060

2003

759

305

245

3,177

2004

1,040

541

395

5,055

2005

666

371

556

5,183

2006

171

101

104

2,892

Note: These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. Source: NOMS Analytical Services, Ministry of Justice.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many of those convicted for road traffic offences have received a sentence including both a curfew and an electronic tagging order since 1999. (206940)

The following table shows how many of those convicted for road traffic offences received a sentence including a curfew that was to be electronically monitored since 1999, up to 2006. Under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, an electronically monitored curfew became one of a number of requirements of the new community order for adults that courts could impose for offences committed after 4 April 2005. Since its introduction courts have only recorded the number of community orders imposed rather than the requirements used. The table from 2005 therefore reflects the number of curfew orders for juveniles and a declining number of orders given to adults for offences committed before 4 April 2005.

Electronic tagging orders1 imposed during sentencing for road traffic offences, 1999-2006

Driving while disqualified

Drink driving

Other summary driving offences

Other driving offences

Curfew order with electronic tagging

Other form of electronic tagging

Curfew order with electronic tagging

Other form of electronic tagging

Curfew order with electronic tagging

Other form of electronic tagging

Curfew order with electronic tagging

Other form of electronic tagging

1999

61

30

35

402

2000

141

62

30

716

2001

199

92

58

1,091

1

2002

437

168

107

2,059

1

2003

759

305

245

3,175

2

2004

1,040

541

395

5,054

1

2005

664

2

371

277

5,176

7

2006

168

3

101

104

2,878

14

1 Exclusion orders with electronic tagging were introduced in the Powers of Criminal Court (Sentencing) Act 2000. Source: NOMS Analytical Services, Ministry of Justice.

These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.

Young Offender Institutions: Restraint Techniques

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which recommendations of the Carlile inquiry into the physical restraint of children in custody have been implemented. (207075)

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone) on 28 January 2008, Official Report, column 153W.

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) published its response to Lord Carlile’s inquiry in July 2006. Since that time, the YJB has been working hard to implement those of the recommendations that it accepted.

The YJB has implemented a code of practice across the secure estate for children and young people and is actively monitoring establishments’ compliance. It has also improved monitoring and data collection arrangements and undertaken a safeguarding review. The YJB is developing a work force development programme for the young people’s secure estate and is working with the Children’s Workforce Development Council to agree core competencies for people working with children.

The YJB is also in the process of developing more sophisticated conflict resolution techniques. Pilots in restorative justice and therapeutic crisis intervention techniques are both under way. The YJB has also considerably increased the number of outdoor exercise facilities for young people.

The YJB’s safeguarding review team has completed its work and is expected to report to Ministers shortly.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Corporate Responsibility

14. To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what advice and assistance his Department provides to companies on their corporate and social responsibilities in relation to the local community in which they are situated. (206994)

BERR encourages UK companies to build effective corporate responsibility practices into their operations. In addition to the legal framework, BERR helps UK companies operating internationally to take into account their economic, social and environmental responsibilities in these countries. BERR offers advice and assistance for all UK companies operating in the UK or overseas via the Corporate Responsibility website.

Work-life Balance

15. To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps the Government have taken to assist workers with dependants to manage their work-life balance. (206995)

The Government have doubled the rate of maternity pay, extended maternity leave, and introduced paid adoption and paternity leave. In addition, carers and parents of children under six have the right to request flexible working, and we have just announced as a result of the Walsh Review that this will be extended to parents of children up to 16.

Post Office Network

16. To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will make a statement on progress on the post office network consultation. (206997)

To date, 28 out of the network change programme's 47 area plans have gone out to public consultation and final decisions have been announced for 20 of them.

Business Support

18. To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps he plans to take to simplify business support. (206999)

In March this year, the Government published their document “Simple Support, Better Business”, outlining the steps they will take to simplify publicly funded business support by 2010. The main route to secure support from Government in all its forms will now be through Business Link, where services are being expanded and developed.

Energy Supplies

19. To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions he has had with energy supply companies on assistance to vulnerable consumers. (207000)

I held a number of discussions with the six largest energy supply companies during March and April, securing individual agreements with them to treble their collective spend on assistance to vulnerable customers from around £50 million to around £150 million a year by 2010-11.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the future security of UK energy supplies. (206990)

As set out in the Energy Markets Outlook report published in October 2007 we currently have enough gas and electricity supply infrastructure to enable demand to be met until about the middle of the next decade. However, additional investment will be needed to meet demand after that. Provided that the commercial and regulatory environment remains favourable we expect the market to make the necessary investment.

Royal Mail

20. To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will make a statement on the future of the Post Office and Royal Mail. (207001)

The Government are providing total funding of up to £1.7 billion up to 2011 to modernise and reshape the post office network and to put it on a stable footing.

Royal Mail needs to transform into a modern, efficient postal services provider so that it can compete in a liberalised market. The Government have made available £1.2 billion to enable the management to implement its business plan to achieve this.

The Government announced an independent review of the postal services sector on 17 December 2007. Following the publication of its initial findings, which paint a stark picture of the huge changes in the postal market, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has asked the review panel to bring forward ideas urgently, including changes to the system of regulation, to meet our ambition for a Royal Mail that provides a timely and efficient postal service for domestic and business consumers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will make a statement on Postcomm's proposal for the part-privatisation of Royal Mail. (206998)

Postcomm's proposal that Royal Mail should have greater access to private capital was part of a submission to the independent Review of the postal services sector.

It would not be appropriate to have a running commentary on points made in submissions to what is an independent review.

The review panel is expected to report to the Secretary of State later this year.

Agency Workers

21. To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to the oral statement by the Prime Minister of 14 May 2008, Official Report, columns 1385-89, on the draft legislative programme, when he plans to complete consultation on legislative proposals on the treatment of agency workers. (207002)

Following my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's statement, the Government have been in close contact with the CBI and TUC and welcome the agreement that they reached on 20 May on how fairer treatment for agency workers should be promoted. The Government will now engage with their European partners to seek agreement on the terms of the agency workers directive that will enable this agreement to be brought into legal effect in the UK.

Nuclear Power

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the effect on manufacturing industry of building a new generation of civil nuclear power stations. (206978)

The building of new nuclear power stations in the UK could create up to tens of thousands of new jobs. It will be a major opportunity for our manufacturing and construction sectors, with a significant proportion of the work likely to be done in the UK.

Energy: Metering

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what consultations his Department has held on policies relating to smart meters over the last five years. (206981)

My Department held consultations on metering and billing in November 2006 and August 2007. We have also undertaken extensive impact assessment work on smart metering, which we've published for informal consultation. We will decide finally on smart metering for domestic consumers and small businesses following the second report from the smart meter trials—due in November.

EU Law

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what progress has been made on the implementation of the recommendations of the Davidson review on implementation of EU legislation. (204152)

All the Davidson review recommendations have either been implemented or are in the process of being implemented.

Insurance mediation directive

In July 2007, legislation came into force to remove the insurance activities of freight forwarders and storage firms from the scope of Financial Services Authority insurance regulation, where the insurance activity relates to a commercial customer. HM Treasury will reconsider the case for extending the exemption to cover retail customers once codes of practice of sufficient standard are in place.

The Financial Services Authority has made progress in addressing those recommendations on the insurance mediation directive for which it is responsible by publishing new, simplified insurance conduct of business rules in December 2007 that replaced a number of detailed prescriptive rules with greater reliance on principles; completing a review of the retail mediated activity return (RMAR) which will result in a 30 per cent. net reduction in the number of data elements required from end 2008; and publishing a consultation paper in March 2008 to seek views on proposals to reform the Client Assets Sourcebook with the intention to simplify the structure following the implementation of the markets in financial instruments directive.

MOT testing

The Department for Transport intends to issue a consultation document in the near future.

Animal scientific procedures

The Home Office has committed to reduce the administrative burdens arising from the regulation of animal experiments by at least 25 per cent. by 2010. So far, a standard wordings list has been posted on its website for use by personal licence applicants and licensees; fast-track personal licence processes have been put in place; and a revised web-based Certificate of Designation form has been posted.

Close links

The Financial Services Authority published a consultation paper on the close links requirements in December 2005

(http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pubs/cp/cp07_21.pdf)

to examine whether there are opportunities for reducing the burdens on firms. HM Treasury is currently reviewing the application of the threshold conditions to firms not covered by the directive.

Consumer sales directive

BERR has asked the Law Commission and Scottish Law Commission to review the current legislation, with a view to recommending simplification and rationalisation where possible to make the law easier for all users to understand and use.

Fisheries

The draft Marine Bill was published on 3 April 2008. Consultation on it and the impact assessment closes on 26 June 2008.

Waste and other regulatory regimes

DEFRA and CLG have consulted on improving the interface between the planning and environmental permitting systems. Consultants are now developing a protocol involving the main regulators to deliver a more effective interface when carrying out their respective roles.

Formal consultation on a revised suite of exemptions from environmental permitting is proposed for July 2008, to come into force in October 2009.

The Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007, which came into force on 6 April 2008, replace over 40 statutory instruments with a single set. This is expected to result in a reduction of administrative burden of £72.3 million over 10 years.

An informal consultation on a review of inert waste legislation covering the issues raised by the Davidson review closed on 21 March 2008. A summary of the responses and proposals for further action will be available by summer 2008.

Waste framework directive

The Commission guidance on by-products was published in February 2007. Due to the pace of negotiations on the proposed revisions to the EU waste framework directive, DEFRA has not yet published for consultation its draft updated guidance on waste, including the definition of waste, but intends to do so shortly.

Food hygiene training for food handlers

The Food Standards Agency has implemented this recommendation in full.

Road haulage operator licensing

The Department is currently taking part in negotiations on a proposed new EU regulation on access to the occupation of road transport operator—which would replace the existing EC directive that sets European rules on operator licensing. The financial standing requirements form part of those discussions.

For further details on all this, please see departmental simplification plans which can be found at:

http://www.berr.gov.uk/bre/policy/simplifying-existing-regulation/simplification-plans/2007/page44068.html

Best practice recommendations

The Davidson review recommendations on how the Government could improve their approach to handling European legislation in general have mostly been incorporated into a revised version of The Transposition Guide—guidance for officials on negotiating and implementing EU law effectively—which was published in September 2007:

http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file44371.pdf

The Statute Law Database went live in December 2006. It contains secondary legislation made since 1 January 1991. There are no plans to consolidate the secondary legislation until the consolidation of primary legislation is complete.

Impact Assessments

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what requirements his Department places on (a) Ministerial departments and (b) the Office of Fair Trading to produce impact assessments as part of the consultation process on regulatory guidance; and if he will make a statement. (204192)

Government's guidance on Impact Assessments and Consultation are both available online at the location provided. The Government are of the strong opinion that the Impact Assessment process strengthens policy-making, and as such is an integral part of the development of new policy.

The Office of Fair Trading, as an independent entity, may exercise its professional judgment on appropriate adaptations to central Government's Impact Assessment process, in accordance with the particular needs of its regulatory activity. However, OFT recognises the importance of maintaining the spirit of the Impact Assessment process in relation to its regulatory activity and apply it where possible.

Impact Assessments:

http://www.berr.gov.uk/bre/policy/scrutinising-new-regulations/preparing-impact-assessments/page44077.html

Consultation:

http://www.berr.gov.uk/bre/cyconsultation%20guidance/page44420.html

Internet: Halifax

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the number of households in Halifax with a broadband connection to the internet at the latest date for which figures are available. (206983)

Figures for Halifax specifically are not available but the Ofcom “Nations and Regions” report published in May 2007 provided figures for the Yorkshire and Humber region. The report showed 100 per cent. of premises in the region connected to DSL enabled exchanges as well as 42 per cent. of premises able to access broadband through cable technology. Take-up of broadband within the region was at 42 per cent. of all adults in 2006, up from 34 per cent. in 2005 and 57 per cent. of SMEs had broadband connections in 2006. In addition 87 per cent. of the region was covered by at least two mobile operators offering a 3G service, over which mobile broadband could be delivered.

Overseas Trade: USA

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations he has made to the United States administration on the enforcement of legal restrictions on the operation of UK businesses in the US. (206566)

We intervene with the US authorities where and when appropriate, when we consider the commercial interests of UK business to be adversely affected by discriminatory US legislation. Most recently we intervened with the Office of the US Trade Representative in relation to the withdrawal of commitments relating to gambling under GATS Article XXI.

Post Offices

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions he has had with Post Office Ltd. about its trials of outreach branches. (204295)

I regularly discuss a range of post office network issues with Post Office Ltd. including the outreach element of the network change programme. I have also had recent discussions with the company about their decision to extend trials of outreach service provision into urban communities.

Post Offices: Essex

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations he has received on trials of post office outreach branches in Essex. (204724)

Post Office Ltd has confirmed that, under its network change programme covering East Essex and Suffolk, a number of post offices will be closed and replaced with an outreach service. The company will publish its network change proposals for the South Essex, South Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire area plan, covering Castle Point constituency, in June and it is likely that this will also include proposals for outreach services. Post Office Ltd recently announced that it had decided to extend trials of outreach service provision into urban communities.

Postal Services: Underground Railways

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment his Department has made of the merits of reopening the postal transport system under Central London for Royal Mail purposes. (203950)

[holding answer 7 May 2008]: The Department has not made any assessment of the merits of reopening Mail Rail. Consideration of the use of Mail Rail is an operational matter for Royal Mail.

Regional Development Agencies: Non-Profit Making Associations

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what each regional development agency’s (a) budgets and (b) objectives are for support for social enterprise in the next three years. (203687)

The RDAs’ proposals for support for social enterprise covering the next three years will be set out in their corporate plans which are currently being finalised and will be published later this year.

Students: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will request the Low Pay Commission to take into account the financial position of students in its report on potential changes to the minimum wage to support younger workers; and if he will make a statement. (203691)

[holding answer 6 May 2008]: The Government set the Low Pay Commission remit earlier this year. They requested the Low Pay Commission to make recommendations on the national minimum wage, taking into account a wide range of factors, including the position for young workers.

Working Hours: Pregnancy

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the maximum number of hours is that an employer can require a pregnant employee to work; and if he will make a statement. (202520)

[holding answer 29 April 2008]: The maximum number of hours a pregnant woman can be required to work is 48 hours per week, unless she (the pregnant employee) has signed a waiver.

However, this may be reduced if the hours of work pose a risk to the expectant mother or her unborn child.

Employers have a duty to protect the health and safety at work of all employees, including new and expectant mothers and mothers who are breastfeeding. As part of this duty employers are required to carry out a specific risk assessment paying particular attention to risks that could affect the health and safety of the new or expectant mother or her child.

Employers are obliged to do what is reasonably practicable to control risks such as making changes to the working conditions; hours of work or offer alternative suitable work. If none of these steps adequately reduces the risk the employee must be suspended from work on full pay to protect her and her unborn child.

Transport

A21: Sevenoaks

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the Highways Agency plans to resurface the Sevenoaks section of the A21 with low-noise surfacing. (207221)

The agency used quieter surfacing during maintenance works in 2002 on the A21 section from Dibden Lane Overbridge to the A225/B245 interchange at Sevenoaks Weald and on the crawler lane, constructed in 2006, which runs just north of the lay-by near Morleys Lane Interchange to just north of the Gracious Lane Overbridge on the northbound carriageway.

The latest technical surveys for the A21 Sevenoaks Bypass show it is in good condition. Current policy following the 2004 spending review is that roads are only resurfaced when required for maintenance or safety reasons. The Highways Agency therefore has no plans to carry out further resurfacing works on the Sevenoaks section of the A21 with low noise surfacing within its current programme.

When the bypass does require resurfacing in the future, for safety and maintenance reasons, quieter surfacing will be used.

Air Routes: Heathrow Airport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions she has held with the Civil Aviation Authority on routes for departures from Heathrow Airport. (206953)

Planning and regulation of all UK airspace is the responsibility of the independent aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority. The process for making changes to airspace is governed by the CAA's Airspace Change Process. Under this process it is for an airspace change sponsor to develop and consult upon proposals. It is then for the CAA to assess proposals against regulatory requirements and either approve or reject them.

In accordance with this process, on 21 February NATS launched a consultation on its proposals for changes to Terminal Control North airspace. These proposals include changes to departure routes from Heathrow Airport heading to the north and north east.

As part of the regulatory process the CAA might consider seeking the Secretary of State's views on environmental aspects of the proposals and may seek her approval for the change. It would therefore be premature and inappropriate for the Secretary of State, or any other member of this Department, to discuss the specifics of the proposal with the CAA, or any other party, whilst it is subject to the rigours of the independent Airspace Change process.

Airports: Public Safety Zones

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the public safety zones for each airfield in Hampshire were last reviewed. (207198)

Of the two airports in Hampshire where Public Safety Zones (PSZs) have been established, Southampton was reviewed in 1999 and Farnborough in 2004. DFT Circular 1/2002 states that risk contours around airports will be remodelled at intervals of about seven years. A phased review programme covering all established PSZs is due to commence later this year.

Biofuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration she has given to the merits of amending biofuel targets to base them on potential greenhouse gas savings. (206140)

On 21 June 2007 the Government stated that they aim from April 2010 to modify the renewable transport fuel obligation so that biofuels are differentiated according to their greenhouse gas savings. An informal policy paper examining some of the issues relating to this aim was published in October 2007 and is available at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/environment/rtfo/secrtfostake/informalpolicypaper.

Subsequent to the June 2007 announcement, the European Commission published in January 2008 a draft renewable energy directive proposing that only biofuels that deliver a 35 per cent. minimum greenhouse gas saving would be eligible for certificates under such schemes as the UK's RTFO. A draft amendment to the fuel quality directive also proposes that transport fuel suppliers be required to reduce the carbon intensity of their fuels, which could effectively incentivise those biofuels which deliver a high level of greenhouse gas savings. Negotiations are ongoing on the detail of both of these draft directives, and the Government will continue to discuss with the Commission and other member states how the stated aims to modify the RTFO in 2010 will fit with whatever requirements ultimately emerge from them.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the likely effect on global food prices of the EU’s goal to achieve 10 per cent. biofuels by 2020. (206658)

The Government take very seriously concerns over rising global food prices. A large number of factors, including biofuel demand, maybe contributing to the situation. That is why the Secretary of State for Transport has asked Professor Ed Gallagher, chair of the Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA), to lead a review into the indirect effects of biofuels production. The review will closely examine the effects of UK and EU biofuel support policies on global commodity and food prices as well as environmental impacts, and the review will report at the end of June.

Further details are available on the RFA’s website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/rfa/reportsandpublications/reviewoftheindirecteffectsofbiofuels.cfm

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has also asked the World Bank to look into food markets and the impacts of subsidies in time for the next G7 meeting of world leaders in June.

Bus Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what dates since 1 January 2007 (a) Ministers and (b) officials from her Department met representatives from (i) Stagecoach, (ii) First Group, (iii) Go-Ahead and (iv) Arriva on departmental premises to discuss bus-related matters. (203338)

[holding answer 1 May 2008]: Ministers and officials have met representatives from these companies on many occasions on departmental premises since 1 January 2007 to discuss bus-related matters. In addition, the Bus Partnership Forum, which includes Ministers and representatives of these companies, has met on 19 March 2007, 10 July 2007, 15 November 2007 and 16 May 2008. On 19 March 2008, the Secretary of State and the Minister of State held a meeting which included representatives of these companies.

Bus Services: Concessions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many full-time equivalent officials are working on matters related to the determination of operator appeals connected with the national concessionary bus fare scheme; and what the average length of time has been between submission of appeal and determination; (206556)

(2) what recent assessment she has made of the consistency of appeal decisions in respect of operator appeals under the national concessionary bus fare scheme;

(3) what percentage of appeals have been decided (a) fully and (b) partly in favour of bus operators in respect of the 2007 national concessionary bus fare scheme; and how much has been awarded to bus operators to date;

(4) how many appeals have been registered by operators against the 2008 national concessionary bus fare scheme; and if she will place a list of those operators in the Library.

[holding answer 19 May 2008]: There are the equivalent of around four full-time officials working on matters relating to the determination of bus operator appeals, including legal and economic specialists. There were also two independent decision makers appointed on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport for the 2007-08 appeals although neither works full time. The average length of time between appeal submission and issue of a determination was 10 months. The issues are complex and it is imperative that each appeal is considered fairly, and this takes time.

The Secretary of State has not made any assessment of the consistency of the appeal decisions. Determinations of appeals are made by independent decision makers appointed on her behalf. They consider each case on the basis of the evidence submitted by each applicant and the relevant travel concession authority (TCA), with professional economic and legal advice from officials in the Department.

Appeals determinations in the year 2007-08 were either upheld, in which case the decision makers directed the TCA to modify their schemes to award additional reimbursement to the operator, or they were dismissed. To date, for 2007-08 appeals, 33 were upheld and 34 were dismissed. The decision makers are appointed to determine whether or not the arrangements in a TCA’s concessionary travel scheme are appropriate with respect to reimbursement for the services provided by the applicant operator. Based on estimates of outturn data, around £6.5 million additional reimbursement was directed to be paid, in total, to operators whose appeals were successful in 2007-08.

There were 102 appeals by bus operators regarding reimbursement arrangements in 2007-08, of which, 25 were withdrawn and three were not valid. Of the remaining 74, to date, 67 have been determined. The following is a list of operators who lodged appeals. Some operators had lodged appeals in more than one TCA. Two appeals have so far been lodged against 2008-09 schemes.

Anglian Bus and Coach Ltd.

Arriva Midlands

Arriva North East Ltd.

Bakers Coaches

Bournemouth Transport Ltd.

Bowers Coaches Ltd.

Brighton and Hove Transport

Brylaine Travel Ltd.

Burtons Coaches Ltd.

Castleways (Winchcombe) Ltd.

Centrebus Ltd.

Choice Travel

Compass Travel (Sussex) Ltd.

D and G Coach and Bus Ltd.

East Kent Road Car Ltd. (Stagecoach in East Kent)

East Midland Motor Services Ltd.

Eastbourne Buses Ltd.

Excel Passenger Logistics Ltd.

F. Hunt (Coach Hire) Ltd.

First Devon and Cornwall Ltd., jointly with First Hampshire and Dorset Ltd. and First Somerset and Avon Ltd.

First Hampshire and Dorset Ltd.

First PMT Ltd.

First South Yorkshire Ltd.

Go West Midlands Ltd.

Hants and Dorset Bus (Damory Coaches)

Hodson Coaches Ltd.

Konect Bus Ltd.

Leicester City Bus (First Leicester)

Lincolnshire Road Car (Stagecoach in Lincolnshire)

Marchwood Motorways

MAS Special Engineering Ltd.

MetroBus Ltd.

Midland Red South Ltd. (Stagecoach in Warwickshire)

Norfolk Green (Go West)

North Shropshire Community Transport Ltd.

Northampton Transport Ltd. (First Northampton)

Nu-Venture Coaches Ltd.

Oxford Bus Co.

P. C. Coaches of Lincoln Ltd.

Plymouth City Transport

Powells Bus Ltd.

Pulham and Sons (Coaches) Ltd.

Red and White Services Ltd. (Stagecoach in South Wales)

Regal Busways

Sleafordian Taxi Co. Ltd.

Solent Blue Line

Stagecoach Devon

Stagecoach East Midlands

Stagecoach in Cambridgeshire (Cambus)

Stagecoach in Lincolnshire

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire

Stagecoach in Yorkshire

Stagecoach North West

Stagecoach South

Stagecoach West

Stagecoach Yorkshire

Stephensons of Essex Ltd.

T. M. Travel Ltd.

Thames Travel (Wallingford) Ltd.

Thamesdown Ltd.

Tourist Coaches

Trent Barton Buses

United Counties Omnibus Co. Ltd. (Stagecoach East)

W. H. Nelson Coaches (Wickford) Ltd.

West Midlands Travel Ltd.

Wilfreda Luxury Coaches Ltd.

Wilts and Dorset Bus

Departmental Public Participation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultants have been contracted by her Department to conduct public participation activities in the last three years; and how much expenditure her Department has incurred on each such contract to date. (206206)

Driving Tests

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the criteria are for determining driving test centre (a) location, (b) relocation and (c) closure; what (i) primary and (ii) secondary legislation governs such considerations; what changes have been made to each enactment; what recent representations she has received on the location of driving test centres; and if she will make a statement. (207131)

When considering the location, relocation or closure of a driving test centre, the Driving Standards Agency follows the “Code of Practice on Written Consultations—Driving Test Centres”. This is a ministerially agreed document which is available from the DSA website. The current service levels for travelling distance to a practical car driving test centre are:

Population density

Distance criteria

>=1250/km2

No more than 7 miles

101-1249/km2

No more than 20 miles

0-100 km2

No more than 30 miles

The target for practical motorcycle test candidates is that most should be able to reach a multi-purpose driving test centre within 30 to 45 minutes travelling no more than 20 miles.

There is no legislation that governs the location, relocation or closure of driving test centres. These are administrative matters for DSA. The Agency takes account of the views of Ministers when formulating policy on driving test centre location and closures. Since May 2007 DSA has received the following representations on the location of driving test centres:

Two adjournment debates regarding the closures of Trowbridge and Minehead driving test centres.

10 parliamentary questions on driving test centre location since November 2007.

317 letters regarding the future or closure of a driving test centre.

Driving Under the Influence

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what comparative assessment her Department has made of the effects on driving ability of consumption of (a) cannabis and (b) alcohol; and if she will make a statement; (206624)

(2) whether her Department has a means by which to measure the extent to which driving ability may be compromised by the consumption of cannabis; and if she will make a statement.

The Department has investigated the combined effects of cannabis and low amounts of alcohol. The report ‘The influence of cannabis and alcohol on driving’ was published in 2002 by TRL Ltd (formerly the Transport Research Laboratory) and is available free on-line as report TRL 547 at:

www.trl.co.uk/store/report_list.asp?pid=211&pno=9&searchtext=&advancedsearch=&allwords=&submitted=1

The Department has not commissioned research specifically comparing the effects of cannabis with differing levels of alcohol.

The Department has also investigated the effect of cannabis on driving. The report ‘The influence of cannabis on driving’ was published in 2000 as TRL477 which is similarly available on-line at

www.trl.co.uk/store/report_list.asp?pid=211&pno=11&searchtext=&advancedsearch=&allwords=&submitted=1

In addition the Department's Road Safety Research Report No 12 ‘Cannabis and driving: a literature review and commentary’ was published in 2000 and is available on-line at:

www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/research/rsrr/theme3/cannabisanddrivingareviewoft476

Highways Agency: Noise

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been allocated to the Highways Agency for noise reduction measures in each of the three financial years from 2008-09; and what proportion of the Highways Agency's budget this represents in each year. (207222)

The Highways Agency's budget includes an annual £5 million ring-fenced allocation for noise mitigation measures in the most serious and pressing cases, where practical and cost-effective measures can be provided. These measures are applied to the entire strategic road network. This annual allocation for noise mitigation is scheduled to continue until the end of the current spending review period i.e. 2010-11.

Noise mitigation measures are also included in the agency's improvement schemes, where warranted, as it is more cost-effective to do this work concurrently with other scheme works. The cost of these works is subsumed within the overall cost of the individual schemes making it difficult to extract the exact figure allocated to noise mitigation without a disproportionate commitment of resources.

Additionally low noise surfacing materials are used as a matter of course when major maintenance is required on the strategic road network. As the noise reduction results are a secondary benefit it would be inappropriate to assign costs from resurfacing to noise reduction alone.

Luton Airport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions she has held with the Civil Aviation Authority on publication of the Western Airspace Extension review for Luton Airport. (206969)

Following the introduction of revised airspace arrangements at London Luton Airport in May 2006, the CAA conducted a post-implementation (operational) review in accordance with the requirements of the Airspace Charter and Airspace Change Process (Stage 7). The post-implementation review was published on 31 January 2008. There is no requirement within the Airspace Charter or Airspace Change Process for the CAA to engage with the Secretary of State for Transport in respect of operational reviews and no such discussions took place.

Road Signs and Markings: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Highways Agency spent on replacing missing and vandalised traffic signs in each year since 1997. (207311)

Roads: Construction

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether any Highways Agency road building contracts are the subject of investigation by the Office of Fair Trading. (205105)

Seas and Oceans: Environment Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps are being taken to produce a working definition of a region for the purposes of allocation of responsibility for maritime and coastal pollution following the first Aquamarina group meeting in Brussels in March 2008. (206767)

The Government are not taking any action to develop a definition of “region” following the meeting of the Aquamarina group.

Aquamarina is a working group of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe—CPMR (an organisation of local and regional government representatives), set up to monitor progress on the new Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union, commonly known as the "Blue Book", which has been brought forward by the European Commission.

National governments, including the UK, are not routinely represented on the Aquamarina group. However, the UK Government have been actively engaged in discussions at EU level on proposals brought forward by the European Commission in connection with the Blue Book.

Shipping

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what obligations ship owners are under to inform the Maritime and Coastguard Agency of cargoes lost overboard in (a) British and (b) international waters. (207296)

Reporting requirements for the loss of polluting goods, containers or packages overboard are addressed under the Merchant Shipping Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Reporting Requirements) regulations 2004/2110.

All vessels operating in UK controlled waters must inform the Coastguard of any such losses from the vessel itself or of sightings of containers and packages drifting at sea.

For UK vessels operating in international waters a report must be made to the authority of the coastal state of any losses of polluting goods, containers or packages which pose a threat to the coastline or a related interest of that state.

Stansted Airport: Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will estimate how many additional tonnes of carbon dioxide would be generated by a second runway at Stansted over its lifetime, calculated according to the methodology used to estimate additional carbon dioxide produced for a third runway at Heathrow as shown in Annex B, paragraph 2.23 of the Heathrow consultation document. (206724)

Our current forecasts of UK aviation carbon dioxide emissions were reported in “UK Air Passenger Demand and CO2 Forecasts” (November 2007), available at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/aviation/environmentalissues/ukairdemandandco2forecasts/

According to these forecasts, the opening of a second runway at Stansted airport in 2015 would cause carbon dioxide emissions from UK aviation from the time of opening to 2075 to rise by 135MtCO2, equivalent to