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Written Answers

Volume 477: debated on Monday 16 June 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 16 June 2008

Wales

Departmental Accountancy

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's (a) chart of accounts and (b) resource account codes and usage descriptions for the 2008-09 financial year. (210980)

My Department does not produce separate chart of accounts or resource accounts.

As a small Department we use the financial accounting services of Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and adopt MOJ chart of accounts and resource account codes and usage.

We do have an operating cost unit of 40 and business entity codes within the MOJ chart of accounts as tabled:

Business entity codes

WA100

Wales Private Office

WA105

Wales Policy Office

WA110

Welsh Assembly

WY100

GPC Management—Wales

MOJ will be placing copies in the Library.

Wales Office accounts are included within the MOJ resource accounts under Request for Resources (RfR) 3.

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department spent on training courses for staff in the last (a) 12 months and (b) five years. (210570)

Information on spending by my Department is held by financial year. On training my Department spent £7,300 in 2007-08 and £55,800 in the last five years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what training courses were (a) available to and (b) taken up by civil servants in his Department in the last 12 months. (210585)

The information is as follows:

(a) Wales Office staff can access a wide range of training courses and other learning opportunities. These are delivered in a number of ways, through both internal and external providers including the Welsh Assembly Government, Ministry of Justice and National School of Government.

(b) Some training courses are provided corporately, at no cost to the Wales Office, and need only be agreed locally with line managers, information on every course taken is not collated centrally, and so is not readily available.

Fairtrade Initiative

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales pursuant to the answer of 13 March 2008, Official Report, column 953W, on the Fair Trade initiative, how much his Department spent on refreshments for official departmental meetings and engagements in each of the last three financial years; and what percentage of this total was spent on Fair Trade products. (211562)

Financial information for my Office is not held in the form requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Refreshments are ordered as part of office supplies in general and their cost is not identified separately.

Home Information Packs

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether any home information packs have been commissioned by his Department. (211929)

Welsh Language

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the National Assembly for Wales on a legislative competence order for the Welsh language; what his policy is on the operation of the Welsh Language Act 1993; what representations he has received on the provision of public services in the Welsh language in each of the last three years; and what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the extent of demand for the provision of public services in the Welsh language. (210553)

I have had a number of recent discussions with the First Minister regarding the proposal for an Order on the Welsh language. The Welsh Language Act 1993 provides a practical framework to promote and develop the use of the Welsh language in Wales. It has proved an effective tool in ensuring Welsh speakers are able to receive key public services in Welsh.

The Wales Office has recorded some 20 representations on the provision of public services in the Welsh language in the last three years. In the first year, these broadly covered Welsh language schemes, translation services, utility bills in Welsh and the use of Welsh in the European Union. In the second year, issues raised included the use of Welsh in the domestic energy sector and provision of Welsh language services in prisons. Issues raised over the last year have included the provision of translation services and future statutory provision on the Welsh Language.

I have not commissioned any recent research on the demand for the provision of public services in Welsh.

Women and Equality

Consultants

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what payments the Equality and Human Rights Commission has made to (a) Four Communications plc and (b) APCO Worldwide since its creation; and on what date and for what purpose the payment was made in each case. (202269)

The information is as follows:

(a) No payments were made by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to Four Communications plc.

(b) There is a fixed fee agreement with ACPO Worldwide to the value of £65,000 plus VAT for work covering campaigning, media advice and communications planning, however no payments have been made as yet.

Equal Pay: Civil Servants

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what recent discussions she has had on the gender pay gap in the civil service. (204307)

In January this year, I met with ministerial colleagues to discuss the subject of equal pay in the public sector, including the civil service. Action from this meeting is still ongoing, and further ones are likely to be held on the same subject.

House of Commons Commission

Vote Bundle

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many hon. Members have the Vote Bundle delivered to their office within the parliamentary estate. (211085)

190 hon. and right hon. Members have elements of the Vote Bundle delivered to their offices at their request.

Olympics

Olympic Delivery Authority: Welsh Language

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what recent assessment she has made of the level of demand for the services provided by the Olympic Delivery Authority to be provided in the Welsh language; and if she will make a statement. (210534)

To date, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has not received any requests for its services to be translated into the Welsh language. In relation to ODA publications, the ODA will translate its publications on request into alternative languages.

Olympic Games 2012: West Midlands

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what assessment she has made of the likely effects of the 2012 London Olympic Games on the black country. (210069)

The Government and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) are working to ensure that the benefits of 2012 reach across the UK. They have established a Nations and Regions Group (NRG) to oversee this work chaired by Charles Allen. The Black Country Consortium Ltd. is a key stakeholder on the West Midlands Leadership Group for the 2012 Games to ensure that the people of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton are fully engaged.

The ODA has already awarded 26 contracts to companies registered in the west midlands including a number of black country businesses who have won contracts related to the regeneration programme around the Olympic Park.

Black country businesses are being encouraged to sign up to the CompeteFor system through a series of business briefings being held across the west midlands region. Over 75 businesses attended the recent CompeteFor workshop held in the west midlands. Businesses in every constituency should be encouraged to sign up and get support to compete for and win contracts.

Additionally, two facilities from the black country—Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton and the University of Wolverhampton—offering four sports/disciplines, are to be included in the official London 2012 Pre-Games Training Camp Guide.

Church Commissioners

Floods: Norfolk

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners when the Church Commissioners were informed of the proposals set out by Natural England regarding the future maintenance of flood defences in North Norfolk; and what estimate the Commissioners have made of the number of churches at risk of flooding should the proposals be implemented. (210419)

The Archbishops’ Council's Cathedrals and Church Buildings division is aware of these proposals but was not formally involved in discussions with Natural England.

There is no central estimate of the number of churches at risk of flooding; this would be a matter for individual dioceses.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Angling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward proposals to regulate the selling of recreational fishing tackle. (211039)

The Marine Bill will include a ban on the use of gaffs and tailers when fishing for migratory or freshwater fish in inland waters or in the six nautical mile zone around the coast of England and Wales. DEFRA does not, however, propose to regulate the selling of fishing tackle.

Batteries: EU Action

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress his Department has made on the implementation of the EU Batteries Directive. (210054)

Responsibility for implementation is being shared between DEFRA and BERR; DEFRA is leading on the portable/household battery provisions, while BERR is leading on the automotive/industrial batteries and single market provisions. BERR is the overall lead Department.

A first consultation on proposals on ways to implement the directive was jointly published by DEFRA, BERR and the devolved Administrations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales on 21 December and closed on 13 March. We are currently preparing a joint official response.

A second consultation with draft regulations will follow in late summer.

As part of the BREW (Business Resource Efficiency and Waste) programme run by DEFRA, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) was asked to pilot collection schemes. WRAP worked in partnership with a range of local authorities, not for profit organisations and others to assess options for cost effective UK household battery collection. The results of these trials will help the Government and battery producers identify the best mechanisms and most efficient methods of collection that could be rolled out across the UK. WRAP'S report is due to be published shortly.

Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward amendments to the Climate Change Bill to provide for the appropriate level of carbon dioxide emission reductions required from transport within the non-traded emissions sector to be determined. (211445)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the Second Reading debate of the Climate Change Bill on 9 June 2008.

Climate Change

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of any increase in global temperatures of greater than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial mean temperatures on (a) provisions of food and water, (b) flooding and (c) migration. (211024)

[holding answer 13 June 2008]: An evaluation of the implications of such an increase in global temperatures on provisions of food and water and flooding, can be found in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This is available online.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research he has assessed on the likely level of stabilisation of global temperatures in relation to pre-industrial mean temperatures; what estimate he has made of the likely range of stabilisation temperatures; and what steps he plans to take to reduce the probability of stabilisation at the upper end of the temperature range. (211463)

Our assessment of future climate change comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). Warming over this century will be dependent on future human emissions of greenhouse gases.

Domestic Wastes: Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of household waste was recycled in each London borough in the most recent period for which figures are available. (210492)

The household recycling and composting rates for all London boroughs are calculated from data submitted to WasteDataFlow by local authorities for the period July to September 2007. This is the most recent period for which data are available. See footnote for exceptions.

Recycling and composting rates are affected by seasonal variation in waste generation and therefore the rates for the financial year 2007-08 may be notably different to the figures given in the following table.

Household recycling and composting rate July to September 2007

Authority

Percentage

Barking and Dagenham

21.50

Barnet

33.93

Bexley

44.17

Brent

21.65

Bromley

34.48

Camden

23.35

City of London

32.29

Croydon

23.38

Ealing

28.32

Enfield

29.33

Greenwich

27.22

Hackney

20.70

Hammersmith and Fulham1

23.63

Haringey

27.31

Harrow

39.02

Havering

24.04

Hillingdon

36.38

Hounslow

23.35

Islington

24.54

Lambeth1

23.10

Lewisham

20.97

Merton

26.08

Newham

13.58

Redbridge

22.25

Richmond upon Thames

35.75

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea1

24.28

Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames

23.95

Southwark

18.88

Sutton

35.43

Tower Hamlets

13.50

Waltham Forest

32.78

Wandsworth1

22.87

Westminster City Council

21.48

1 Recycling rates for these authorities are not available for July to September 2007. The figures are the recycling rates available for the most recent period, April 2006 to March 2007.

Flood Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the relative standards of protection against flood risk in rural and urban areas; and if he will make a statement. (209364)

The Environment Agency is currently updating its National Flood Risk Assessment and this will enable an assessment of the differences in standards of protection for rural and urban areas. Government investment is prioritised to maximise reduction in risk.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many of the 15 urgent recommendations of the Pitt review on the summer floods of 2007 have been implemented; how many of the interim conclusions of the Pitt review have been implemented; and how many of the additional 20 interim conclusions of the Pitt review published on 4 March 2000 have been implemented. (210431)

The Government agreed with the 15 urgent recommendations set out in the interim Pitt report. Significant progress has been made with all of them and Sir Michael reviewed our progress with them in April 2008. His review can be found on the Cabinet Office website.

The Government contributed DEFRA's views on the additional 92 interim conclusions to Sir Michael, many of which are already in progress, and looks forward to receiving his final report.

Flood Control: Felixstowe

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received from (a) local authorities and (b) hon. and right hon. Members on the adequacy of Felixstowe's flood defences in the last five years; and what actions he took in response to such representations. (209871)

According to departmental records, in the last five years Suffolk Coastal district council have written to DEFRA about the adequacy of Felixstowe's flood defences on three occasions. Ministers have also held two meetings with the right hon. Member on the adequacy of Felixstowe's flood defences during this period: in March 2006 with the then Secretary of State and in October 2006 with the then Minister of State.

The issues associated with these representations were focused on the Felixstowe flood defences and no action was taken other than providing clarification of the procedures in place, since these provide a fair and transparent means of prioritising funding to projects.

Floods: Insurance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 1 April 2008, Official Report, column 730W, on Flood Control: Finance, for what reasons insurance companies do not have direct access to data from the national flood and coastal defence database. (208450)

The Environment Agency’s National Flood and Coastal Defence Database contains some information about individuals such as names and addresses. Insurance companies are therefore not permitted direct access to this information as it falls under the Data Protection Act 1998.

In order for insurance companies to have direct access, significant changes would have to be made to the database to ensure that access to personal information is limited.

Forests: International Cooperation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's objectives are for the forthcoming G8 Environment Ministerial in Kobe, Japan; and whether he will be seeking an agreement to address illegal logging. (209369)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs attended this meeting on 24 to 26 May.

The three agenda items were climate change, biodiversity (covering illegal logging issues) and the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). The meeting produced a Chair's Summary, as well as agreeing a ‘3R Action Plan’ and a ‘Call to Action on Biodiversity’, linked to a ‘G8 Forests Experts’ Report on Illegal Logging’ that includes a menu of actions for G8 members to address illegal logging collectively and individually. These documents are publicly available on the website of Japan's Ministry of the Environment.

At the meeting, the UK made contributions on each of the three items.

On climate change, the Secretary of State's overall aim was to give impetus to the G8 summit and to engage in dialogue with G8+8 countries on climate change issues. There was a positive discussion on long-term climate goals which should send an appropriately strong signal to the G8 summit and a good discussion on carbon markets, with several parties explaining their intentions on national cap and trade schemes. There was also agreement to a further dialogue—the Kobe process—which will provide a valuable forum for informal discussions with major emitters.

On the 3Rs, the Secretary of State underlined the importance of improving resource efficiency and promoting more sustainable products and materials at national and international level. He pointed out that implementing the England Waste Strategy 2007 is expected to lead to an annual net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 9.3 million tons of CO2 equivalent, roughly the same as taking 3 million cars off the road each year. He stressed the need for strict compliance with the UN Basel Convention on the trans-boundary movement of waste, and for measures to promote environmentally sound ship recycling.

On biodiversity, the Secretary of State in his interventions focused particularly on forestry and illegal logging, emphasising that improved forest governance is essential to deliver reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) as well as to maintain forest biodiversity. He also underlined the importance of working to achieve the 2010 biodiversity target and ensuring effective follow-up to that target.

Insulation: Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the capacity of available facilities safely to capture and dispose of products containing ozone depleting substances, with particular reference to those contained within plastic foam insulation. (210701)

The UK has some of the largest and most modern fridge treatment plants in Europe. These recover ozone-depleting substances from the fridge insulating foam and circuits, as well as, in some cases, other equipment containing ozone-depleting substances.

There are two high temperature incinerators in the UK that are used to destroy waste ozone-depleting substances.

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. DEFRA has initiated discussions with building industry stakeholders to assess the current infrastructure available for dealing with the recovery or destruction of ozone-depleting substances in building foams and the technical and economic issues that arise.

Lighting: Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice he has provided to local authorities on the appropriate disposal of low-energy light bulbs containing mercury. (211261)

The Department has not issued specific advice to local authorities about the disposal of low energy light bulbs. The responsibilities of local authorities and producers are set out in a statutory code of practice.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs—the most common type of energy efficient bulbs) are covered by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. All local authorities in England are providing designated collection facilities for WEEE. Information about which sites take back CFLs (and other types of WEEE) is available on the recycle-more website at:

www.recycle-more.co.uk

Retailers that have joined a scheme to take back electrical and electronic equipment are funding the upgrade of local authority sites. Once CFLs have been collected, producers of the equipment have responsibility to fund treatment and recycling.

The Department has published background information on CFLs—their benefits in terms of energy efficiency as well as advice on their disposal at the end of their lives. This can be found on the DEFRA website at:

www.defra.gov.uk

Recycling: Greater London

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which London boroughs operate a kerbside recycling scheme for residential properties. (210347)

All London boroughs provide a kerbside collection service for recyclable material (best value performance indicator 91a). On average, 95 per cent. of households in London received a kerbside collection of at least two recyclables in 2006-07 (BV91b). The Household Waste Recycling Act 2003 requires authorities to provide a kerbside collection service of at least two recyclable materials by 31 December 2010.

Reservoirs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to change the criteria for assessing reservoir safety from a capacity-based definition to one based on risk; and if he will make a statement. (210854)

[holding answer 13 June 2008]: Reservoir safety issues are being considered by Sir Michael Pitt in his independent review of last summer’s floods and I await his recommendations.

Waste Disposal: Crime

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 14 January 2008, Official Report, column 868W, on waste disposal: crime, for what reasons the regulations will not come into force until April 2009; and if he will make a statement. (210364)

Proposals for strengthened powers for local authorities to stop, search and seize vehicles suspected of involvement in fly-tipping form part of a wider package of measures designed to tackle illegal waste activity which has been discussed with stakeholders during the course of the last year. The Government issued a consultation document on all these measures on 13 June 2008. This consultation will end in September 2008. Allowing sufficient time for consideration of responses and detailed policy development means that the legislation will not come into force before the common commencement date in April 2009.

Water Supply: Yorkshire and the Humber

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his latest estimate is of the water reserves of (a) Yorkshire and Humberside and (b) Leeds Metropolitan District; and if he will make a statement. (211184)

In Yorkshire and Humberside reservoir stocks currently stand at 86 per cent. full and groundwater levels are average for this time of year.

In south Humberside reservoir stocks are healthy, with reservoir levels at Covenham, for example, standing at 98 per cent. full. For the Leeds area specifically, stocks currently stand at 88 per cent. The Environment Agency continues to routinely monitor the situation.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Biofuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the cost of meeting the UK's provisional target under the proposed Renewable Energy Directive of 15 per cent. of total energy coming from renewable sources by 2020 with levels of use of biofuels of (a) 1 per cent. by volume of the road fuel market, (b) 5 per cent. by volume of the road fuel market, (c) 10 per cent. by volume of the road fuel market and (d) 10 per cent. of final consumption of energy used in transport. (210207)

[holding answer 11 June 2008]: There could be a range of different costs to meet the UK's share of the renewable energy target, depending on a range of factors. We will be setting out initial analysis of the potential costs of meeting the target in our renewable energy consultation, which will be published over the summer.

Broadband

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of levels of take-up of broadband in (a) Glasgow, (b) urban areas in Scotland and (c) urban areas in the UK; and if he will make a statement. (208249)

The matter raised is the responsibility of the independent regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom), which is accountable to Parliament. I have asked the chief executive of Ofcom to reply directly to the hon. Member. Copies of the chief executive's letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Business: Sustainable Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the ways in which adoption of sustainable development practices and technologies is likely to affect businesses. (209333)

BERR jointly chaired the Commission on Environmental Markets and Economic Performance (CEMEP) into sustainability and the potential benefits of a transition to a low carbon economy. The Government published their response on 1 May. BERR has commissioned research, due to report later this month, to investigate the business opportunities for the UK in moving to a low carbon economy and is supporting work by the OECD which will enable businesses and government to better understand the impacts on the environment, and company performance, of business activity on sustainable development. BERR is also working to develop an environment-adjusted productivity measure which may in the future be used to evaluate policies at the aggregate and sectoral level. In general, all published research commissioned by the Department is made available on the website.

Copyright: Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he expects to begin a public consultation on legislative proposals to require internet service providers and rights-holders to co-operate in the prevention and detection of illegal file-sharing. (209300)

Our preferred option remains a voluntary solution. We are keen to see an agreement that meets the criteria of fairness, legality, effectiveness and flexibility for all the parties involved. We have to recognise, though, that our hopes for such an agreement may be too ambitious. It would be very disappointing if we have to legislate—but nobody should doubt our willingness to do so if an agreement cannot be reached.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what discussions he has had with (a) internet service providers, (b) rights holders and (c) consumer groups on (i) voluntary co-operation and (ii) possible legislation against illegal file sharing; and what the outcomes were of those discussions. (209304)

Both Ministers and officials in BERR have had meetings with a wide range of internet service providers, rights holders and representatives of consumers both in the run up to, and following, the publication of the Creative Economy Strategy Paper on 22 February 2008 in which we announced that, while voluntary commercial solutions to the problem would be preferable, we would consult on legislation that would require internet service providers and rights holders to co-operate in taking action on illegal file sharing if suitable arrangements between ISPs and relevant sectors were not forthcoming or proved insufficient. Those discussions have significantly informed our understanding of the issues involved, the potential for an industry solution and possible regulatory approaches if necessary.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the number of music tracks illegally downloaded in each of the last five years. (209357)

BERR has made no such estimates. The nature of the problem means that it is very difficult to obtain robust data on. According to studies conducted by Jupiter Research, commissioned by the BPI, 6.5 million people in the UK engaged in online music “piracy” in 2007. A separate survey by Entertainment Media Research showed that in 2007 some 43 per cent. of respondents had downloaded unauthorised music from file-sharing sites, although a different survey by Olswang into convergence reported lower figures, whereby only 14 per cent. of respondents admitted unlawfully copying music.

Defence Export Services Organisation: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the operating budget of the Defence Export Services Organisation was prior to its move from the Ministry of Defence to become the UKTI Defence and Security Organisation; what the current budget is of the UKTI Defence and Security Organisation; and how much of that budget was moved from the Ministry of Defence. (202235)

[holding answer 6 May 2008]: For financial year 2007-08 the net operating costs for the Defence Export Services Organisation was £12.6 million. For the current financial year, the comparable budget allocated directly to the UKTI Defence and Security Organisation for administration costs is £11.7 million.

In line with the Machinery of Government transfers, the budget for defence trade promotion was transferred from the Ministry of Defence. The total budget transferred was £19.5 million/£19.2 million/£18.0 million for 2008-09/2009-10/2010-11, reducing, in line with the cost savings recently announced by the MOD. This transfer is for the full cost of UKTI DSO including the Defence Assistance Fund, the cost of staff based in our overseas offices, and all the central overheads and support costs previously incurred by other MOD budgets.

Digital Broadcasting: Sight Impaired

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps he is taking to ensure that the Usability Action Plan on Digital Television provides for (a) digital teletext, (b) talking menus and (c) audio description to assist the visually impaired. (209719)

The information is as follows:

(a) Access to digital teletext is provided for the visually impaired through equipment for use with TV sets which is produced by Portset Systems Limited. There are no plans at present to consider developments to this feature through the Usability Action Plan.

(b) A range of organisations, including RNIB and TV manufacturers, are working on the technical development of talking menus for the mainstream TV market. BERR is supportive of this work and, through the Usability Action Plan, will help in promoting such products at the appropriate time.

(c) Audio description is available through an increasing range of digital TV products. As part of the Usability Action Plan process, BERR has recently worked with Digital UK and representatives of the supply chain to launch an extension to the “digital tick”, known as the Digital Logo Scoreboard. This is a label which manufacturers can choose to use on product packaging to help highlight to consumers specified features of the product, including audio description. To date, 43 products have been registered to use the scoreboard, 38 of which provide access to audio description.

Fuel Poverty

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much each major energy supplier has agreed with his Department to contribute towards the total agreed commitment of £225 million to tackle fuel poverty over three years. (207366)

The individual allocations have been calculated by reference to each company’s market share based on customer account numbers. Each supplier has agreed to pay a contribution per customer account. The contribution per customer account is then multiplied by the number of customer accounts “owned” by a supplier to arrive at each supplier's contribution. A breakdown of suppliers' individual contributions cannot be made available as it contains commercially sensitive information and therefore remains confidential between the Department and the energy supplier.

Fuels: Prices

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent steps the Government have taken to help pensioners to meet the cost of rising fuel prices. (210395)

[holding answer 12 June 2008]: We are concerned about the impact of higher prices on vulnerable people including pensioners and we continue to encourage energy suppliers to adopt initiatives to mitigate their impact.

In Budget 2008, the Government said they would like to see the amount energy suppliers spend on social programmes increase to at least £150 million a year over the period ahead. A new voluntary agreement has recently been signed individually with the six major energy suppliers to treble their investment on social programmes in the next three years, reaching collective investment of £150 million by 2010-11. This will take spend to £100 million in 2008-09, £125 million in 2009-10 and £150 million in 2010-11.

In addition, winter fuel payments helped keep 11.7 million people warm in winter 2006-07 and Budget 2008 announced an additional one-off payment of £100 to over-80s households and £50 to over-60s households in 2008-09.

Finally, in the recent Ofgem fuel poverty summit a number of new initiatives were announced to improve the way we identify and target those in fuel poverty, provide support to vulnerable customers to use the competitive market effectively and ensure that tariff differentials are fair and justified.

Insulation: Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform who is responsible for the safe disposal of plastic foam insulation containing ozone-depleting substances. (210517)

I have been asked to reply.

Article 16 of EC Regulation 2037/2000 on substances that deplete the ozone layer includes obligations for the recovery for destruction of controlled substances, including the recovery of ozone-depleting substances from foam insulation in refrigeration equipment and, where practicable, substances contained in other products, installations and equipment. Any person having control of the controlled substances mentioned in Article 16 has a duty, under regulation 6 of The Environmental Protection (Controls on Ozone-Depleting Substances) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/528), to comply with those provisions.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he expects to reply to the letter of 22 April 2008, transferred from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire on animal testing (reference: 82241/MG). (209980)

[holding answer 10 June 2008]: I replied to the hon. Member for West Worcestershire on 4 June 2008.

Methane: Reserves

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what his estimate is of coal-bed methane reserves in the South and North Wales coalfields. (211094)

[holding answer 13 June 2008]: The Department has no current estimates of coal-bed methane reserves.

Oil: Cardigan Bay

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he plans to make a decision on oil licensing in (a) Cardigan Bay and (b) the Moray Firth following the results of the appropriate assessments; and how those decisions will be made public. (209963)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will make decisions on oil or gas licensing in Cardigan Bay and the Moray Firth once my officials have had the opportunity to consider the comments received from the consultation exercise carried out earlier this year. He is not yet in a position to give a definite date.

The decisions will be made public in the normal way by announcing them on BERR’s oil and gas website.

Renewable Energy: International Cooperation

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what consideration the Government have given to the proposal for the creation of an international renewable energy agency. (209767)

The UK attended a Preparatory Conference for the Foundation of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) hosted by Germany in April 2008. We are currently engaged in this German-led process and expect to be represented at working group meetings to be held at the end of June and September 2008.

We fully recognise the importance of renewable energy in global energy policy and are considering the merits of this proposed new international agency in the light of other existing organisations and initiatives in the field of renewable energy.

River Severn: Tidal Power

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to the answer of 15 May 2008, Official Report, column 1763W, on Tidal Power: River Severn, what assessment he has made of the independence of the companies awarded the contracts for feasibility studies; and what steps he has taken to ensure that those companies have no conflicts of interest. (209496)

As my answer of 15 May to the hon. Member made clear, tenders for the two contracts awarded so far as part of the Severn tidal power feasibility study—for a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and for advice on finance and ownership issues—were assessed against a number of criteria, including “the independence of the contractor and ensuring that there is no conflict of interest”.

Both the consortium led by Parsons Brinckerhoff and PricewaterhouseCoopers, to whom these contracts have respectively been awarded, made statements in their tenders to address this criterion. Their statements were probed at interview.

In the case of PricewaterhouseCoopers, no issues arose that required further consideration. Parsons Brinckerhoff provided assurances that they have no financial interests in the success of any barrage or tidal lagoon option, including their work on the Shoots barrage proposal in 2006 and 2007. My Department considered that questions of conflict of interest might nevertheless remain and, to deal with these, Parsons Brinckerhoff were asked to agree to assign any rights they might hold in respect of this work to the Secretary of State on a royalty-free basis, which they have done. They have also agreed to waive any moral rights they might have in respect of such work.

In addition, my Department is creating an independent panel of engineering experts to peer review the technical assessment of options the PB consortium is doing, with advice from the Royal Academy of Engineering and other professional institutes. Work delivered under the SEA contract will be published and publicly consulted on.

With these measures in place, my Department is fully satisfied in the independence of the PB consortium.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what analysis he has undertaken of the effect of the construction of a Severn Barrage on the archaeological footprint of the River Severn. (210144)

A study to investigate archaeological impacts of a Severn tidal power project is part of a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) which is being carried out by a consortium led by Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB). Wessex Archaeology is the specialist organisation charged with undertaking this study, including consulting relevant stakeholders, such as county archaeologists. A Call for Information, issued by PB in May, particularly requested any relevant data or research related to the effects on areas identified as of potential archaeological or cultural heritage importance.

In addition, both English Heritage and its Welsh equivalent, Cadw, are represented on the SEA steering group to ensure that the impact of any tidal range power scheme on the Severn's archaeology and heritage is properly considered.

Trade: Developing Countries

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent steps his Department has taken to make progress in the Doha development round of international trade talks. (210436)

The World Trade Organisation issued revised negotiating texts on agriculture, non agricultural market access (NAMA) and services in May. Negotiations are continuing among WTO members in Geneva.

The Government continue to work with the EU Trade Commissioner, other EU member states and other WTO members to achieve an ambitious, pro-development outcome to the Doha round in 2008.

Justice

Courts: Offensive Weapons

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance his Department has issued on the steps to be taken when a knife is discovered on persons attending court hearings. (208550)

Under section 139 Criminal Justice Act 1988, it is an offence to have any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed in a public place; the definition of ‘public place’ includes courts as a place to which the public have access. It is a defence to prove that a knife is carried for work, religious reasons or as part of a national costume. Section 139 only applies to those folding pen-knives with a blade of more than 3 in so possession of a pen-knife with a blade of this length or less is not an offence under the Act.

The powers of seizure and retention of items, and of exclusion from courts, are derived from sections 53 to 55 of the Courts Act 2003.

All knives, of whatever length, are among those items which Her Majesty’s Courts Service class as prohibited items and are not permitted inside any place where court business takes place. All bladed items must be surrendered to a court security officer and if not willingly surrendered, they may be seized by those officers. If the item is not surrendered or seized, the bearer will be excluded from entry into the court or removed. The police are informed of all offensive weapons surrendered or seized and court security officers follow the advice given by them. As possession of folding pen-knife with a blade of 3 in or less is not an offence, the court security officers would not normally advise the police of these items being retained.

If a court security officer reasonably believes that a bladed item is evidence of, or in relation to, an offence, then they contact the police as soon as possible after the item was surrendered or seized and provide them with information about the item, the person carrying the item and if appropriate, any difficulties they had in obtaining the item.

The court security officer will then follow the advice of the police who may attend, dispose of the item, and take any other appropriate investigative action.

If a person requests the return of an item when he/she leaves the court building, but the court security officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the item may be evidence of, or in relation to an offence, then the person is told that under section 55(2)(b), the officer has the power to retain it for up to 24 hours or until they have sought advice from the police. Items which are lawful to possess, such as folding pen-knives with the permitted length of blade, are returned when the owner asks for them.

The Courts Act itself gives no power to retain articles beyond either the 24-hour permitted period or the later point when the owner returns to collect it. If the police do not collect the item within the permitted period or at any rate before the owner returns to collect it, then the article must be returned.

Policy guidance on all aspects of security, including detailed guidance on the powers and practice of searching, and the seizure of prohibited items, is disseminated through the document Safe and Secure to all staff and contractors. In addition, court security officers receive full training on these powers and are not appointed until assurance is provided that this has been completed satisfactorily.

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much (a) his Department and its predecessor and (b) its agencies spent on training courses for staff in the last (i) 12 months and (ii) five years. (210565)

Responsibility for budgets and business training linked to business objectives is devolved to managers in business groups within MOJ, and there are no overall central figures available.

Providing management and leadership training in the corporate centre last year cost £1,448,000. Due to the significant machinery of government changes over the past five years we do not have comparative figures for previous years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what training courses were (a) available to and (b) taken up by civil servants in his Department in the last 12 months. (210573)

No central figures for the amount of training the Department has provided is available as different business groups within the Ministry of Justice have devolved responsibility for arranging training, linked to specific business objectives. This includes induction, job skills and a range of management and leadership support.

Driving Offences: Prosecutions

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prosecutions there have been for driving in a bus lane where the defence was that the driver entered the bus lane to make way for an emergency vehicle in the last three years; and how many such prosecutions were successful. (211448)

The Court Proceedings Database held by my Department does not identify the circumstances behind each case including what the defence might have said.

Female Genital Mutilation: Prosecutions

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prosecutions there have been under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003. (211045)

There have been no prosecutions under the 2003 Act since it came into force in March 2004. However, the Act is designed to help to prevent this unacceptable practice from happening in the first place and anecdotal evidence suggests that it is doing this. It is also being used to raise awareness among relevant professionals including police forces and others in the Criminal Justice System and those involved with health care, social services and the education sector so that girls at risk can be identified. There is evidence that the law is being pursued vigorously. The Metropolitan Police Child Abuse Investigation Command, for example, has specifically targeted female genital mutilation and produced a comprehensive training pack which has been disseminated widely to London’s schools and many other agencies. Ultimately, educating communities to abandon the practice is the best way forward to break the cycle of mutilation and the Act continues to be widely used for that purpose.

Juries

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many jury summons were issued in each of the last five years; and of these how many potential jurors were disqualified following the results of a Police National Computer check. (210630)

The following information outlines, on a year by year basis, the total number of jury summons issued and the number of potential jurors disqualified as a result of Police National Computer (PNC) checks.

Total jury summons issued

Potential jurors disqualified as a result of PNC checks

2007

482,226

207

2006

462,972

185

2005

462,633

193

2004

499,368

148

2003

527,766

139

Juries: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what arrangements are in place to compensate those who experience a loss of earnings as a result of jury service but who are self-employed or running new businesses and have as yet no track record of their earnings; and what arrangements are in place to provide appropriate levels of financial compensation for those jurors who draw a pension but also take on short-term contracted work. (211040)

All claims submitted for loss of earnings as a direct result of jury service, whether the juror is salaried, self-employed, or on temporary contracts, must be supported by the appropriate certificate or supporting documentation. Where an individual is running a new business and as yet there is no track record of earnings, some evidence of loss of earnings must be obtained, e.g. an authenticated letter from someone who would have offered work, quoting the remuneration or, other such documentary evidence that is available, subject to the approval by a senior officer at the Crown court. This is necessary to ensure that public money is spent carefully and the jury system is not open to abuse or fraud.

Limits on the allowance levels for financial loss are the same for self-employed and jurors on temporary contracts are they are for salaried jurors.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what account the Minister of State with responsibility for Freedom of Information took of the security implications of disclosure of people’s home addresses in preparing the letter dated 2 June to the hon. Member for New Forest, East on such disclosure; whether the security implications were considered as a factor in refusing disclosure of judges’ home addresses under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and if he will make a statement. (210202)

The individuals’ personal security was a factor in determining that to release the addresses would breach the privacy of the judges concerned.

Offensive Weapons: Yorkshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people were convicted for offences relating to the illegal possession of knives in a public place in South Yorkshire in each year since 1997. (210692)

The number of people convicted for offences relating to the illegal possession of knives in a public place, in the South Yorkshire police force area, from 1997 to 2006 are in the following table.

The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

Number of defendants found guilty at all courts for the illegal possession of knives in a public place1, in South Yorkshire police force area, 1997 to 20062, 3

Number

1997

53

1998

58

1999

63

2000

66

2001

114

2002

146

2003

147

2004

117

2005

169

2006

150

1 Includes the following offences:

Having an article with blade or point in public place—Criminal Justice Act 1988 S.139 as amended by Offensive Weapons Act 1996 S.3.

Having an article with blade or point on school premises—Criminal Justice Act 1988 S.139A (1)(5)(a) as added by Offensive Weapons Act 1996 S.4(1).

2 These data are on the principal offence basis.

3 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Prisoners Release: Reoffenders

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what categories of offences have been alleged to have been committed by prisoners recalled while on the End of Custody Licence scheme. (210635)

Approximately 1 per cent. of offenders placed on End of Custody Licence have been reported to NOMS as having reoffended or alleged to have reoffended. Data on ECL release and recall which have been published monthly since the scheme began, can be found at:

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

The categories of offences alleged to have been committed include: violence against the person, sexual offences, burglary, robbery, theft and handling, fraud and forgery, drug offences and motoring offences.

Prisons: Population

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he expects prison capacity in England and Wales to reach 86,000; and if he will make a statement. (210634)

I will respond to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Substantive answer from Jack Straw to Nick Herbert:

We estimate that prison capacity in England and Wales will reach 86,000 places around September 2009.

We are expanding prison capacity by 20,000 places and aim to achieve an overall net capacity of just over 96,000 by 2014.

Reoffenders

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the National Offender Management Service has conducted research on the actual or predicted recidivism rates of offenders by (a) custodial institution, (b) probation service area and (c) local criminal justice board area. (210633)

The Ministry of Justice is currently undertaking a programme of work to look at how best to produce these data (accounting for the different types of prisons and movement of offenders between prisons). This work should be completed by the end of the financial year 2008-09.

The Ministry of Justice has developed internal management information on reoffending for use by probation areas. These data show a timely area-based reoffending measure on a different basis from the published National Statistics on reoffending. Over the next few months as part of the local area agreements process, the Ministry of Justice will be working through plans for how best and when to publish these data.

The measure shows, for each of the 42 probation areas, the proportion of those on the probation caseload who reoffended within three months and were convicted within six months of the end of every quarter. This actual rate is compared to a predicted rate of reoffending. These experimental statistics are circulated to probation areas four times a year.

Local criminal justice board areas are coterminous with probation areas.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many offenders aged 18 to 24 years old reoffended within two years of leaving prison in the last five years. (210712)

The latest statistics on re-offending published in May 2008 report the re-offending rates over a one year follow up period.

The following table shows the one-year proven re-offending rates for offenders aged 18 to 24 years old leaving prison in the first quarter for 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Total number of offenders

Number of offenders that re-offended

Actual one-year re-offending rate (percentage)

2000 Q1

6,048

3,705

61.3

2002 Q1

5,983

3,735

62.4

2003 Q1

5,382

3,277

60.9

2004 Q1

5,454

3,118

57.2

2005 Q1

4,932

2,704

54.8

For more information on the latest re-offending statistics, including additional information on frequency and severity of re-offending please consult:

www.justice.gov.uk/docs/re-offending-adults-2000-05.pdf

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Apprentices: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much funding was allocated for apprenticeships in West Chelmsford constituency in each of the last five years. (210758)

Information on Learning and Skills Council (LSC) funding allocations is not available at parliamentary constituency level. The funding allocated to apprenticeships provision in Essex is provided in the following table. Local LSC funding data are only available from 2004-05.

Essex LSC apprenticeships funding allocation

£ million

Apprenticeships funding allocation

2004-05

14.8

2005-06

13.3

2006-07

14.1

2007-08

16.4

Source:

Learning and Skills Council

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will introduce a search function on his Department's website. (211209)

DIUS is currently working with our supplier to implement a basic search facility on our existing corporate website. In addition to this, we are undergoing a project to completely redesign and upgrade the technology of our website, which is an interim solution launched following the creation of DIUS last year. We aim to launch our new site, including more advanced search functionality, in the autumn.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will publish his Department's statistical releases on its website. (211210)

In line with the new arrangements for the release of National Statistics following the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, all statistical first releases relating to National Statistics are released through the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) website

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/.

In addition, the Department's statistical releases are released on the joint Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) and Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) Research and Statistics Gateway website

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

The Department's main website

http://www.dius.gov.uk/

contains a link to the Research and Statistics Gateway website.

Higher Education: Admissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many universities require candidates for admission to undergraduate courses to sit an aptitude test; what his Department’s policy is on the matter; and if he will make a statement. (210515)

HE admissions, including the use of entrance tests, are a matter for higher education institutions themselves. The Government do not have the power to direct institutions in the use of tests nor do they hold data centrally on admissions tests.

The number and range of entrance tests has, however, recently been the subject of research by the Supporting Professionalism in Admissions programme of work, who found that a relatively small number of institutions use tests (14 per cent.) and only 0.43 per cent. of courses in the UCAS scheme—there has not been a great burgeoning in usage.

It is a fundamental principle that universities should decide whom they should admit. It is important, however, that universities are open, clear and transparent about their admissions systems and policies.

We do not want to see a proliferation of admissions tests for tests sake. We would be concerned if additional tests were to impose burdens that particularly affect applicants from under-represented groups and or schools that are less familiar with preparing leavers for higher education.

Higher Education: Student Wastage

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what research his Department (a) has commissioned, (b) plans to commission and (c) has evaluated on the impact of top-up fees on university drop-out rates; when his Department last undertook a review of the matter that took into account (i) UK and (ii) international research; and if he will make a statement. (210520)

Student retention rates at higher education institutions in this country compare very well internationally. The UK ranks fifth in the OECD for first degree completion rates, out of 23 countries who report data in this area. A university education is now open to more students than ever before and the Government are totally committed to providing opportunities for all people to achieve their potential and to maximise their talent. The improved student finance support package, from academic year 2008-09 onwards, demonstrates that commitment.

It is too early to determine whether the introduction of variable tuition fees has had any impact on drop-out rates in higher education. The most recent information on the standard measure for non-completion dates from 2005-06, prior to the introduction of variable tuition fees in 2006-07. However, we will explore this issue further when more relevant data are available and feed this into the evidence base for the independent review of variable fees.

Table 1: Proportion of UK-domiciled full-time first degree starters at higher education institutions in England, who are projected to neither obtain an award nor transfer to another institution.

Percentage

2000-01

15.0

2001-02

13.8

2002-03

13.9

2003-04

14.4

2004-05

13.8

2005-06

13.9

Source: Performance Indicators in Higher Education, published by HESA.

The latest available information for higher education institutions in England is shown in Table 1.

Royalties

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills to how many artists of each type a resale royalty has been paid since February 2006. (211583)

This is a question best addressed to those responsible for collecting and paying artist’s resale right. I suggest my hon. Friend contacts the relevant collecting societies, who may be able to provide a breakdown of the payments they have made.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many resold artworks have been subject to the artists’ resale right since February 2006; and what those works cost in total. (211584)

According to independent research commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office, between 15 February 2006 and 31 July 2007, some 4,700 works sold at auction were eligible for resale right, having a value of approximately £162 million.

Students: Fees and Charges

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate he has made of the cost of abolishing university tuition fees for all undergraduate students from England studying at English universities. (209759)

There are no plans to abolish university tuition fees for all undergraduate students from England studying at English universities. The income from such fees generates about £2.5 billion annually for universities and it helps them to tackle the challenges we identified in framing the new fee and student support arrangements—to maintain and improve high standards, to expand and widen access to meet rising skill needs, and to compete globally. Record numbers of undergraduate students are going to universities both generally and from non-traditional backgrounds since we introduced our reforms in 2006.

Students: Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) how many and what proportion of part-time undergraduate students in England received a fee grant in the latest period for which figures are available; (206275)

(2) how many and what proportion of part-time undergraduate students in England received a course grant in the latest period for which figures are available.

Information from the Student Loans Company shows that, in the academic year 2006-07, of English domiciled part-time students, around 44,000 received fee grants and 46,000 received course grants. Each total represents around 10 per cent. of part-time undergraduate students. Part-time students need to be studying at 50 per cent. of the intensity of a full-time student to apply for both a fee and course grant.

This Government were 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. English-domiciled part time students in 2006-07 received £11 million course grant and £27 million fee grant, compared with £9 million course grant and £19 million fee grant in 2005-06.

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.

Visual Arts

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate has been made by the Government of the contribution made by artists' beneficiaries to the UK art market. (211580)

The Government have made no such estimate of the contribution to the art market of artists' beneficiaries.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment has been made by the Government of the impact of the EU Artists Resale Rights Directive 2001/84/EC on the UK art market. (211581)

The Government commissioned the Intellectual Properly Institute to produce an independent report on this issue. I refer my hon. Friend to my written statement of 2 April 2008 (column 59-60WS).

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate has been made by the Government of the change in size of the UK art market since 2006. (211582)

The Government commissioned independent research on the impact of artist’s resale right on the UK art market. This, and other research, has concluded that the UK art market had grown significantly over this period.

International Development

Bombs

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether he plans to provide additional assistance for those affected by the use of cluster munitions overseas. (210148)

When the cluster munitions convention comes in to force, it will be for affected countries to provide assistance to cluster munitions victims, and to seek support from international partners if necessary. The UK is already one of the world's leading donors to humanitarian demining, and since 2001 the Department for International Development (DFID) has spent over £70 million on clearing landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war, and helping victims in the worst affected countries. For example, DFID has contributed over £3.5 million towards clearance of the 40 square kilometres of southern Lebanon contaminated by unexploded cluster munitions during the conflict in 2006. One of our major partners, the Mines Advisory Group, has alone cleared over 17,000 unexploded sub-munitions in southern Lebanon since August 2006, allowing thousands of people to return home safely.

Gambia: Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) type and (b) value of aid his Department is giving to the Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Centre in Gambia; and if he will make a statement. (211192)

The Department for International Development (DFID) has not provided funds to the Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Centre in Gambia.

Iraq: Christianity

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether any estimate has been made of the number of Iraqi Christians (a) displaced and (b) killed since March 2003; and if he will make a statement. (210489)

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has registered some 280,000 Iraqi refugees throughout the region. Of the total registered, approximately 42,000 are Christians.

The International Organisation of Migration (IOM) estimates that out of an assessment of over a million individuals, approximately 55,000 are Iraqi Christians who have been internally displaced since 22 February 2006.

We do not have an estimate of the number of Iraqi Christians killed since March 2003.

It is not the UK's policy to provide direct assistance to any particular religious group in Iraq. Rather, we channel our assistance through established international organisations, notably the UN, with the mandate to provide protection to all refugees regardless of ethnicity or religion. We are committed to alleviating the humanitarian situation, both for internally displaced people in Iraq and for Iraqi refugees in the region. We have committed over £149 million in humanitarian assistance to international agencies working in Iraq and the region since 2003—including £17 million for this year.

Malawi: Agriculture

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to continue the support by his Department of the subsidy for the purchase of seed and fertiliser in Malawi for farmers. (210012)

The UK Government are providing £20 million to support the Government of Malawi's inputs and maize markets programme over four years (2007-2011), and indirectly about £5 million of support goes to agriculture and the inputs programme through DFID Poverty Reducing Budget Support.

As our support for the inputs and maize markets programme nears an end, we will review the programme in the light of Government of Malawi plans for the future. The President of Malawi has stated publicly that there should be a review of the programme after the election in 2009.

Natural Disasters

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what meetings he has held with representatives of the space industry on the development of earth observation satellites to undertake monitoring work on global weather patterns to reduce the impact of natural disasters in the last 12 months. (209769)

Although I have not held a meeting specifically to discuss the use of satellites in monitoring global weather patterns, I did meet representatives of UKSpace in June last year to discuss the benefits of space technology to development more widely. Department for International Development (DFID) officials have also met representatives of the space industry more than once over the past year. In October 2007 DFID hosted a “Space for Development” seminar, which included representatives from the British National Space Centre and the space industry.

DFID makes full use of UNOSAT, the UN programme which provides the international community with access to satellite imagery for use both in humanitarian relief and disaster prevention.

Transport

BRB: Residuary

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people are employed by the British Railways Board (Residuary); what that body's budget was in 2007-08; and when she expects the body to be wound up. (211444)

BRB (Residuary) Ltd.'s annual report and accounts for the year ending 31 March 2008 is currently being audited by external auditors. When this audit is complete, these accounts will be published on the company's website at www.brbr.gov.uk and will contain full financial results along with the number of staff employed for the period.

No date has been set for the formal winding up of the company.

Equality

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will take steps to establish a strategy to tackle age discrimination and promote age equality in the provision of goods and services (a) by the Department and (b) within the sector for which she has policy responsibility; and if she will make a statement. (210454)

Our aim is transport that works for everyone. In line with anti-discrimination legislation the Department for Transport has produced race, disability and gender equality schemes. We intend to unify these schemes into a single Equality Scheme which will also take account of other areas in which we wish to promote equality of opportunity: age, religion or belief, sexual orientation and human rights.

We have also developed regulations and issued good practice guidance to help deliver services that meet older people's mobility and personal security needs, as well as sponsoring a wide ranging research programme. Regular consultation and assessment help us monitor the effectiveness of our policies.

Public Transport: Concessions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will estimate the cost of mutual recognition of bus concessionary travel between England and Wales. (211208)

At present we have made no detailed assessment of the cost of introducing mutual recognition of concessionary bus passes between England and Wales.

Railways: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had with (a) Network Rail and (b) National Express East Anglia on disruptions caused by failures to the infrastructure on the line from Colchester to London Liverpool Street since 1 January 2008; and if she will make a statement. (211232)

Department for Transport officials meet regularly with Network Rail and train operators, including National Express East Anglia, to discuss performance across the network.

Speed Limits: Cameras

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average speed was of drivers successfully prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit in SPECS sites on the (a) M25 and (b) M11 in each of the last five years. (209808)

I have been asked to reply.

This information is not collected centrally. Available information records the numbers convicted of speeding, not the speeds at which they were travelling.

Culture, Media and Sport

BBC: Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will direct the Competition Commission to review the BBC’s use of its resources in the development of on-line TV services in collaboration with commercial enterprises. (210526)

Investigations are referred to the Competition Commission by various authorities with responsibility under UK competition law, such as the Office for Fair Trading or independent regulators. I have no authority to refer work to the Commission.

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much (a) his Department and (b) its agency spent on training courses for staff in the last (i) 12 months and (ii) five years. (210566)

The information is as follows:

(i)The Department for Culture Media and Sport has spent a total of £660,804 on learning and development for the financial year 2007-08. This figure includes spending from the L&D central and delegated divisional training budgets. It also includes learning and development events organised by DCMS and accessed by staff from the Royal Parks agency.

(ii) The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and its agency has a total learning and development spend of £3,349,724 for the last five financial years.

In the last five financial years:

Total spend (£)

2003-04

524,000

2004-05

604,917

2005-06

780,003

2006-07

780,000

2007-08

660,804

All figures include external venue costs where these were required to deliver training events.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what training courses were (a) available to and (b) taken up by civil servants in his Department in the last 12 months. (210574)

The training undertaken by the civil servants in DCMS within the last 12 months are:

Advanced experimental design and analysis

Annual Conference for Non-executives on Civil Service Boards

Association of Chartered Accounts (Papers F2 -F9)

Certificate in Personnel Practice

CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting

CIPD Employment Electives and People Management Development

Clean language and Symbolic Modelling

CMS/FOI

Coaching

Constructive Conversations

Diploma (Supported Further Education)

Doctorate of Business Administration

Effective Briefing

Effective Ministerial Correspondence

Effective Minute Taking

Effective selection

Equality Impact Assessment wash up session

Essential writing skills for all Civil Servants

EU Decision-making process and problem solving

Executive Masters in Business Administration

Excel 2000 Levels 1 & 2

Finance for Purchasers

Financial Aspects of Sponsorship

Gateway Reviewer

Government Economic Service Annual Conference

Government Framework

GSS AS/StO induction Course

HNC (Supported Further Education)

How Brussels works

How Government works

How Parliament works

Induction

Influential Manager

Intermediate NVQ level 3 Open Flexible Learning (AAT)

Interviewee skills

Intro to Government Finance

Intro to Programme Management

Intro to Projects in DCMS

Introduction to Purchasing

IODA

ISEB

IT Surgery

JEGS Training

Leaders UnLtd

Leading and Influencing

MA—Various (Supported Further Education)

Making Policy that Happens

Management and Personal Development for Women

Managing for the first time

MBTI Step 1 Qualifying

Mentoring

Mind Mapping Techniques

Minute taking

NLP Master class Intensive CPD weekend

Outlook

Performance Management

Personal effectiveness

Persuading and Influencing Stakeholders

PowerPoint

Presentation Skills

Prince 2 for Practitioners

Procurement and Contract management

Project basis

Project management Essentials

Risk Management and Supply Chain Vulnerability

SCS Base Camp

Stakeholder Management

Strategic Supply Chain Management

Stress Management

Succession planning and Talent Management Workshop

Team Awaydays

Time Management

Tourism Day—Using Evidence and Analysis

Use of Evidence and Analysis

Word

Young Public Sector Programme

Staff and managers identify any training requirements, including specialist, through personal development discussion. This is then submitted to learning and development for consideration that it meets the business, team and individual needs. Therefore the Department will provide any training that is relevant and has been requested.

Departmental Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when each of his Department's and its agencies' green transport plans were introduced; and if he will place in the Library a copy of each such plan. (209413)

The Department has not introduced a green transport plan. The Royal Parks, the Department's only executive agency, is developing one.

Football: World Cup

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what discussions the Minister for Sport has had with the Football Association (FA) on the constitution of the FA World Cup bid board; (211475)

(2) what discussions the Government's World Cup Ambassador has had with the Football Association (FA) on the constitution of the FA World Cup bid board.

The Government wholeheartedly support the Football Association's (FA) bid for the 2018 World Cup and we are working closely with them. I have met the FA Chairman and officials on a number of occasions, both accompanied by the Prime Minister's World Cup Ambassador and not, to discuss all aspects of the bid, including the constitution of the bid company. I will continue to do so.

Libraries: Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many public libraries in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) England offered internet access to users in each year since 1997. (210832)

The number of libraries with access to the internet in South Tyneside, the North-East and England as published annually by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy in Public Library Statistics are detailed in the table. There are no published figures for the number of libraries with internet access in the parliamentary constituency of Jarrow.

Libraries with internet access

South Tyneside

North East

England

Computerised service points open for 10+ hours1

1996-97

7

2

2

1997-98

7

2

407

1998-99

7

2

932

Static service points open for 10+ hours per week with internet access for public use

1999-2000

8

2

1,669

2000-01

8

2

2,100

2001-02

8

173

2,416

2002-03

8

187

2,965

2003-04

8

199

3,033

2004-05

8

230

3,479

2005-06

8

229

3,500

2006-07

9

231

3,494

1 Computerised service points do not necessarily denote that all the service points were connected to the internet

2 Denotes no published figures for internet access

Source:

Public Library Statistics published annually by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he plans to answer the letter of 4 April from the hon. Member for Harwich on film archives. (210372)

National Lottery

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what payments were made to the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt from (a) the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund and (b) the National Lottery Distribution Fund in each of the last three years. (210401)

Details of payments to the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt (CRND) can be found in Note 6 of the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund (OLDF) annual accounts and the National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDF) annual accounts, which can be found on the Department’s website:

http://www.culture.gov.uk/

or in the House Libraries. The 2007-08 accounts are expected to be laid before Parliament in October and will be placed on the Department’s website and in the House Libraries at that time. A summary of amounts received in the past three years is shown in the following table.

£000

NLDF

OLDF

2004-05

190

2005-06

179

2006-07

144

49

The Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund (OLDF) came into legal existence on 8 April 2005 under the terms of the Horserace Betting and Olympic Lottery Act 2004 (Commencement No. 2) Order 2005 (SI 2005/1134).

National Lottery: Buildings

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much office space was taken up by staff in his Department engaged on National Lottery Distribution Fund matters in each of the last five years. (210411)

[holding answer 12 June 2008]: In 2007-08 staff in the Department engaged on National Lottery Distribution Fund matters occupied approximately 29 m2 of office space. The Department does not hold information for the period 2003-04 to 2006-07.

Playing Fields: Planning Permission

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if he will break down by region the sites where planning applications relating to playing fields were accepted on sites that Sport England considered resulted in a detrimental impact to sport, in each year since 2001; (210441)

(2) how many planning applications relating to playing fields were accepted on sites that Sport England considered (a) resulted in a detrimental impact to sport and (b) did not result in an improvement to sport, in each year since 1997 for which figures are available.

Sport England has provided the following information on the number of planning applications which (a) resulted in a detrimental impact to sport, and (b) did not result in an improvement to sport, since 2001. Sport England does not hold this information by region nor do they hold central records relating to this prior to 2001.

Applications

2001-02

52

2002-03

76

2003-04

52

2004-05

47

2005-06

40

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many planning applications there were relating to playing fields, on which Sport England were consulted, in 2005-06, broken down by region. (210443)

Sport England has advised that the numbers of planning applications on playing fields, on which Sport England were consulted, in 2005 - 2006, by region is as follows:

Region

Applications

East

219

Midlands

96

London

46

North-east

80

North-west

112

South-east

259

South-west

138

West midlands

182

Yorkshire

174

Total

1,306

Public Libraries: Opening Hours

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many public libraries were open for more than 60 hours per week in (a) 1997 and (b) 2007. (211202)

[holding answer 13 June 2008]: According to the “Public Library Statistics” published by The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, in England there were seven library service points open for more than 60 hours per week in 1996-97 and there were 97 in 2006-07.

Regional Sports Boards

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the role of regional sports boards will be under the Sport England strategy for 2008 to 2011. (211456)

Regional Sports Boards will be replaced by a ministerial nominee in each region who will act as an advocate for community sport and help lever in regional funding from the public and private sector. A decision on the London Regional Sports Board will be made following discussions with the Mayor. The changes across all nine regions will be implemented in full by the end of the year.

Sport England will retain a regional presence through its network of nine regional offices, but their work will be more tightly focused. A new structure will be announced by the end of June.

Tourism

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with the Foreign Secretary on policies affecting inbound tourism. (210747)

[holding answer 13 June 2008]: Since the start of 2008, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I have exchanged detailed correspondence about issues relevant to the Strategic Review of Tourism Support, which is presently being taken forward by VisitBritain. The aim of these discussions was to make the best possible use of the overseas assets of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the British Council, along with VisitBritain’s overseas office network, in promoting inbound tourism. These discussions have contributed to the emerging findings of the Strategic Review, which is expected to report in July.

Tourism: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what method his Department uses to estimate the level of local authority expenditure on tourism; and if he will make a statement. (210410)

Figures for local authority tourism spending in England are derived from returns made by individual authorities to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Each year, local authorities in England report a breakdown of their revenue budgets for the forthcoming year in April and their revenue outturn for the previous year in July. All authorities are required to complete the forms and DCLG achieves a 100 per cent. response rate.

According to DCLG’s guidance to local authorities (Guidance Note RO6 on completing the General Fund Revenue Account Outturn for Cultural, Environmental and Planning Services), the following activities should be reported as tourism spending:

Marketing and policy—the marketing, development and promotion of tourism in the area concerned; the promotion and advertisement of the area to potential visitors; contributions to Regional Tourist Boards; grants and loans given to support organisations offering attractions or other tourist-related facilities; the provision of tourist conference facilities; and tourist research:

Visitor information—tourist maps and guides, “what’s on” leaflets, etc.;

Visitor centres—Tourist information Offices, Centres and Bureaux, and/or dedicated tourism staff for the provision of information to visitors.

An analysis of local authority tourism spending, along with other elements of public sector tourism funding, forms part of the present Tourism Framework Review, which is being led by VisitBritain. The review is expected to report in July.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department spent on tourism in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (210495)

DCMS spending on tourism is via grant in aid to VisitBritain which is broken down as follows:

£ million

2003-04

47.9

2004-05

48.4

2005-06

48.9

2006-07

49.9

2007-08

49.9

In addition to this £3.6 million, in each of these years was provided to the eight Regional Development Agencies and £1.9 million for each of these years to the London Development Agency, for the support of tourism.

Welsh Language

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent assessment he has made of the level of demand for the services provided by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies and non-departmental bodies to be provided in the Welsh language; and if he will make a statement. (210547)

DCMS has published a Welsh Language Scheme and uses a scoring system approved by the Welsh Language Board to ascertain which of its publications should be made in Welsh. The Department completed an assessment of the provision of services in Welsh in response to a request from the Welsh Language Board earlier this year.

World Creative Business Summit

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 4 June 2008, Official Report, columns 1016-7W, on the World Creative Business Summit, how much will be paid to (a) Edelman and (b) Acclaim for services related to this event. (210197)

DCMS has appointed Edelman and Acclaim through the Central Office of Information (COI) to deliver the World Creative Business Summit. We are currently working with COI and the agencies on delivery plans for the event. Exact payments to each agency will be agreed when plans are signed off.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Refugees

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings his Department has held with the Red Cross on the arrest and detention in adult criminal prisons of Afghan child refugees in Greece; and if he will make a statement. (209741)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has had no meetings with the Red Cross specifically regarding the arrest and detention of Afghan child refugees in adult criminal prisons in Greece. Greece, like many other EU countries, is bound by the Council Directive laying down minimum standards for the Reception of Asylum Seekers 2003/9/EC, the implementation of which is monitored by the European Commission. We welcome recent steps taken by Greece to improve conditions for asylum seekers, for example to create new reception centres in Samos, Amygdaleza (Attica) and Sparta.

Bangladesh: Prisoners

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Bangladesh about the (a) number and (b) conditions of political prisoners in that country. (209872)

Following the recent arrests throughout the country, the Bangladesh authorities have not released specific information on the number of political prisoners. The UK has consistently called on Bangladesh to ensure respect for fundamental individual rights, due process and judicial independence, consistent with her international obligations. My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary each emphasised this to Fakruddin Ahmed, Chief Adviser of the Bangladesh caretaker government, in meetings in London and Dhaka earlier this year.

Bermuda: Administration of Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the judgment of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of 28 February 2000, what representations he has made to the Government of Bermuda on legislative proposals to amend section 17(2) of the Court of Appeal Act 1964 of Bermuda regarding the grounds for appeal to the Court of Appeal against a judgment of the Supreme Court; and if he will make a statement. (208772)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made no representations to the Government of Bermuda on proposals to amend section 17(2) of the Bermuda Court of Appeal Act 1964.

We are aware of a motion put down in the Bermuda House of Assembly in March, noting the need to reform the law relating to double jeopardy where new evidence has emerged. We understand that the Government of Bermuda has not included any proposals to amend the Court of Appeal Act in its current legislative programme. Any change to the 1964 Act is a matter for the legislature of Bermuda.

Burma: Diplomatic Service

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the responsibilities of the Prime Minister's Special Envoy to Burma are; how many times he has visited the country; and what discussions he has had with the Burmese regime. (209370)

Appointed in August 2007, the UK Special Representative on Middle East and Special Projects advises my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary on countries within this remit, including Burma. He undertakes specific missions and initiatives as designated by my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary and contributes to policy planning within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In his current role, the UK Special Representative on Middle East and Special Projects has visited Burma once on 25 May 2008 when he accompanied my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development to the International Donors Conference, following Cyclone Nargis. Since taking up the Special Representative role, the only discussions he has had with the Burmese regime took place during this visit and focussed solely on humanitarian relief. He discussed Burma with the Governments of Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand in November 2007 and April 2008 and with the Government of India in April 2008.

Burma: Entry Clearances

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria determine the inclusion of names on the visa ban list under the EU Common Position on Burma. (209358)

The visa ban targets the military regime in Burma, those who benefit most from its misrule and those who actively frustrate the process of national reconciliation, respect for human rights and democracy.

The visa ban list, under Common Position 2006/318/CFSP, includes the names of members of the military regime, the military and security forces, significant individuals associated with the military regime who formulate, implement or benefit from policies that impede Burma's transition to democracy and their families and associates. Although certain measures imposed by this Common Position are directed at persons associated with the Burmese regime and members of their families, children under 18 are not, in principle, targeted.

Departmental Computers

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has issued guidance to staff in his Department to switch off personal computers when not in use; and if he will make a statement. (208175)

For reasons of technical security Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff are instructed not to switch off personal computers when not in use.

The implementation of the FCO's new information technology system, Future Firecrest, started in March this year. The first phase involves replacing ageing equipment in the UK; the replacement of similar equipment at posts overseas will start later this year.

The old technology provided no effective reduced power settings. Future Firecrest is configured to make the best use of new energy saving capabilities so that personal computers enter a mode drawing minimal power—between 2 per cent. and 5 per cent. of the amount when fully powered—after a short period of user inactivity. This will be a significant contribution to the FCO's plans to reduce its energy consumption in line with the new Government targets on sustainable operations on the Government estate announced in June 2006.

Departmental Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) press or communication officers his Department has hired and (b) contracts for such services have been agreed in the last three months, broken down by Civil Service grade. (208782)

The following response for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) includes information from FCO Services—a trading fund of the FCO.

In the last three months, two press or communication officers have been appointed. No further details can be provided, as to do so would allow these individuals to be identified.

It is possible that locally engaged press or communication officers have been hired within the last three months by the FCO's missions overseas, enabling us to engage better with people and Governments from other countries. However this information is not monitored centrally so it would incur disproportionate cost to collate.

No further contracts for press and communication services have been agreed in the last three months.

Departmental Vocational Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what proportion of its staff his Department has provided vocational training in the last three years. (209435)

All Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff have access to vocational training through a central Learning and Development team in London and a network of regional centres overseas.

European Union: Diplomatic Service

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost was of the UK Permanent Representation to the EU in each of the last 10 years. (208781)

The total cost of the UK Permanent Representation to the EU in the last 10 years was as follows:

£ million

1998-2002

1

2002-03

11.9

2003-04

11.8

2004-05

15.4

2005-06

216.3

2006-07

15.6

2007-08

3

1 Data on costs prior to 2001-02 are not held in a format that would enable us to answer the question without incurring disproportionate cost. 2 Data for the cost of the UK Permanent Representation to the EU for 2005-06 are not separately identifiable without incurring disproportionate cost. 3 Data are not yet available for the year 2007-08. Note: The figures tabled are management information figures which include all direct and indirect post expenditure including money spent by the centre on behalf of post including: Non-cash and cash items, administration costs, staff costs (UK based and locally employed) and programme costs.

Government Communication Headquarters: Photography

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons and on what authority photography at the Government Communications Headquarters has been prohibited. (210752)

[holding answer 13 June 2008]: Section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 makes it an offence for any person for any purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state to approach, inspect or be in the neighbourhood of a ‘prohibited place’ or to make or otherwise obtain a sketch (a term which encompasses a photograph) which might be directly or indirectly useful to a potential enemy. All Government Communications Headquarters sites are prohibited places for the purposes of the Act.