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Written Answers

Volume 478: debated on Monday 23 June 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 23 June 2008

Transport

Aviation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the Written Ministerial Statement of 26 March 2008, Official Report, columns 11-12WS, on Royal and Ministerial air travel, what the cost will be of the small aircraft for official travel within the UK. (211872)

Following the Department’s approval for the acquisition of a small fixed wing aircraft, the royal household are currently conducting an evaluation exercise (including costings) in preparation for the issue of tender documentation for issue later this year.

Departmental Marketing

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department and its agencies spent on branding and marketing activity in 2007-08. (212048)

Expenditure by the Department for Transport and Executive agencies was as follows:

£

DFT Central

26,700,000

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

10,400,000

Highways Agency

1,600,000

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

1,075,000

Driving Standards Agency

299,700

Government Car and Despatch Agency

171,800

Vehicle Certification Agency

80,500

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

30,000

Major areas of spend were on campaigns such as THINK! road safety; ACT ON CO2; concessionary bus fares; aviation security and vehicle taxation.

Electrification

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made in meeting the Government’s targets to increase the electrification of railways. (212330)

The Government have not set any targets to increase rail electrification. However, the Department for Transport is working closely with the rail industry to re-examine the business case for electrification, explore how costs can be reduced and to agree priority schemes. The aim is to produce an indicative implementation plan by the end of 2008.

Great Western Trains: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will place in the Library the Public Performance Measure Moving Annual Average statistics for (a) First Great Western services for each year since 2006 and (b) the train operating companies which ran those services now operated by First Great Western during 2002 to 2006. (212754)

The figures are as follows (period 1 starts 1 April each year. No figures are available for early 2002 for Wessex Trains, as it had been created by splitting up another franchise the previous year. First Great Western Link took over from Thames Trains on 1 April 2004):

Percentage

Rail 4-weekly period

Old First Great Western

Thames Trains/ First Great Western Link

Wessex Trains

2002-03

1

72.1

80.4

n/a

2

72.7

80.5

n/a

3

73.5

80.6

n/a

4

74.9

81.0

n/a

5

75.1

81.0

n/a

6

74.8

81.1

n/a

7

75.1

81.5

81.9

8

74.0

81.0

81.4

9

73.2

80.7

81.4

10

72.1

80.4

80.9

11

71.1

79.8

80.7

12

71.3

79.6

81.0

13

71.9

79.2

81.1

2003-04

1

72.0

78.8

81.0

2

72.2

78.7

81.4

3

71.5

78.1

81.5

4

71.0

77.8

81.6

5

70.3

77.3

81.6

6

70.0

77.0

81.9

7

69.0

76.3

82.0

8

70.0

76.7

82.6

9

71.4

77.4

82.7

10

72.2

77.6

83.1

11

73.4

78.2

83.3

12

73.7

78.6

83.5

13

73.9

79.1

83.7

2004-05

1

74.3

79.5

84.1

2

74.6

79.7

84.1

3

75.5

80.3

84.2

4

76.5

81.1

84.3

5

77.9

81.6

84.7

6

78.8

82.0

84.8

7

80.1

82.8

84.8

8

79.6

82.8

84.8

9

80.1

82.9

85.3

10

80.4

83.1

85.5

11

80.1

83.1

85.6

12

79.8

83.0

85.6

13

79.6

82.9

85.4

2005-06

1

79.4

83.0

85.3

2

79.1

82.9

85.3

3

78.1

82.6

85.0

4

77.0

82.3

84.7

5

77.0

82.6

84.8

6

76.9

82.8

85.1

7

76.6

83.1

85.2

8

76.2

83.2

85.2

9

74.9

82.9

84.7

10

74.8

83.0

84.6

11

75.1

83.1

84.8

12

75.0

83.3

85.0

13

74.5

83.5

85.2

New First Great Western

Percentage

2006-07

1

82.9

2

83.1

3

83.6

4

83.8

5

83.7

6

83.5

7

83.5

8

84.1

9

84.2

10

84.0

11

83.4

12

83.3

13

83.2

2007-08

1

83.0

2

82.8

3

82.7

4

82.5

5

82.4

6

82.7

7

82.6

8

82.3

9

82.5

10

82.4

11

82.8

12

83.0

13

83.1

2008-09

1

83.6

2

83.9

Railways: Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many trains stop daily at (a) Preston, (b) Chorley, (c) Adlington, (d) Blackrod and (e) Horwich Parkway stations. (212674)

This public timetable information is available in various hardcopy versions (such as the “UK Rail Timetable” published by The Stationery Office), or can be electronically downloaded from the Network Rail website (http://www.networkrail.co.uk/) as “Electronic National Rail Timetable” (eNRT). Current train service information is also available through the National Rail website

(http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/).

Railways: Voluntary Sector

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will visit the North York Moors Railway to meet the volunteers who man the operation to discuss the running of the railway. (212663)

The Secretary of State for Transport has no immediate plans to visit the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations she has received on the effect on volunteers in community and other railways of recent rising fuel costs in enabling them to travel to railway stations; and if she will make a statement. (212664)

The Secretary of State has not received any direct representations on this issue. Community Rail volunteers are typically members of the communities those railways serve. They therefore tend to live close to those railways, and often have low transport costs in getting to the relevant local rail stations.

Travel: Concessions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department is taking to make the monetary value of a concessionary bus pass available to elderly people with mobility difficulties for use on other forms of transport; and if she will make a statement. (210032)

There are no proposals to give residents eligible for concessionary travel the monetary value of a concessionary bus pass as an alternative to taking it up. The Concessionary Bus Travel Act 2007 preserves the flexibility of Travel Concession Authorities (TCAs) to enhance their schemes locally at their own expense. At its discretion a TCA can choose to offer its residents travel vouchers or tokens for local use in taxis. The offer of any such enhancement and the monetary value of it is entirely a matter for the TCA as vouchers or tokens are not part of the statutory entitlement to concessionary travel.

Work and Pensions

Child Support Agency: Bolton

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when a Minister in his Department last visited the Child Support Agency offices in Bolton. (212024)

There have been no visits by Ministers within the Department to Child Support Agency offices in Bolton. However, both I and my noble Friend Lord McKenzie of Luton made several visits to Child Support Agency offices in the last year.

Child Support Agency: Telephone Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has considered the merits of replacing the 0845 telephone number for the Child Support Agency with a local-rate telephone number. (212073)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 23 June 2008:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has considered the merits of replacing the 0845 telephone number for the Child Support Agency with a local rate telephone number. [212073]

The Child Support Agency’s 0845 telephone numbers are charged at the rate of a local call from a landline telephone. Calls from mobile phones are charged at a rate determined by the service provider.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Children: Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what level of income is protected with regard to the recovery of Child Support Agency arrears via a deduction from earnings order; and what other limits restrict the extent to which such arrears may be recovered. (210923)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 23 June 2008:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what level of income is protected with regard to the recovery of Child Support Agency arrears via a deduction from earnings order; and what other limits restrict the extent to which such arrears may be recovered. [210923]

In new scheme cases the non-resident parent should be left with a minimum of 60% of net earnings after making child maintenance payments. This is set out in the Child Support (Collection and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, Regulation 11(2).

The protected earnings rate on the old scheme may also enable deductions up to 40% of net earnings, though this may vary from case to case as the figure takes personal circumstances into account.

The Agency has set a ceiling for each deduction from earnings order which ensures that the maximum deduction does not exceed 40% of net earnings, leaving 60% of earnings protected.

The Agency will consider imposing the maximum deduction through a deduction from earnings order where child maintenance arrears are outstanding and the non-resident parent does not agree an acceptable repayment schedule. The Agency is committed to collect more money for more children and get tougher on non-resident parents who avoid their financial responsibilities.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what factors are taken into account by the Child Support Agency when calculating the repayment of arrears.[Official Report, 30 June 2008, Vol. 478, c. 6MC.] (212802)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to my right hon. Friend with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 23 June 2008:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what factors are taken into account by the Child Support Agency when calculating the repayment of arrears. [212802]

There are a number of factors to consider where child maintenance debt is outstanding and the non-resident parent is not able to offer full repayment immediately. Before deciding whether it is appropriate to collect arrears of child maintenance the Agency will consider the welfare of any child likely to be affected by an agreement. There is also a requirement for each parent to make adequate financial provision for their children which is a basic principle of the Child Support Act 1991. The actual negotiation process will establish the relevant facts, request further details where necessary and review representations made by the non-resident parent. The aim is to achieve the best possible agreement on behalf of all parties.

If the Agency cannot secure immediate repayment in full from the non-resident parent, it aims to reach agreements that will see arrears paid back within two years wherever possible. Before forming an opinion about accepting a repayment offer, the Agency will take into account the circumstances of the case and all other relevant considerations.

In some cases where an agreement cannot be reached which takes appropriate account of the welfare of the children affected, the non-resident parent's obligations and other relevant circumstances, it may be necessary to pursue recovery through legal enforcement methods. This is a key feature of the Operational Improvement Plan, launched in April 2006.

The Agency collected or arranged more than £1 billion in maintenance in the twelve months to March 2008, of which £126m was arrears. This is almost twice the £68 million of arrears collected in the year to March 2006 before the full introduction of the Operational Improvement Plan.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Housing Benefit: Foreigners

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of expenditure on (a) housing benefit and (b) council tax benefit for non-UK nationals in (i) 1997 and (ii) the most recent year for which figures are available; (208649)

(2) how many non-UK citizens received (a) housing benefit and (b) council tax benefit in each year since 1997, broken down by (i) EU nationals and (ii) non-EU nationals receiving such benefits; and what the 10 nationalities with the greatest number of claims were in the most recent year for which figures are available.

Social Security Benefits

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department’s forecasts are for (a) on-flow, (b) off-flow and (c) stock estimates for (i) incapacity benefit, (ii) income support, broken down by statistical group, and (iii) employment and support allowance for each of the next five years. (209940)

[holding answer 10 June 2008]: The available information is in the following tables. The information is provided for the period up to the end of the Government’s spending plans, 2010-11, and does not take account of any future policy announcements.

Incapacity benefits and employment support allowance: estimated number of claimants, flows onto and off benefit

Thousand (estimated outturn)

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Stock

Incapacity Benefit

2,400

2,220

1,930

1,670

Severe Disablement Allowance

220

200

190

180

Employment and Support Allowance

n/a

100

280

480

On-flows

Incapacity Benefit

600

320

40

20

Severe Disablement Allowance

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Employment and Support Allowance

n/a

280

580

600

Off-flows

Incapacity Benefit

640

460

260

250

Severe Disablement Allowance

20

20

10

10

Employment and Support Allowance

n/a

60

350

420

Notes:

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 thousand. Components may not sum due to rounding.

2. Figures relate to adults of working-age.

3. Severe disablement allowance closed to new claimants in April 2001.

4. Employment and support allowance (ESA) is introduced in October 2008 and replaces incapacity benefit for new claimants. Figures for 2008-09 for ESA therefore relate to six months only.

5. Figures for on-flows to incapacity benefit from 2008-09 onwards include estimates of claimants who are likely to have a break in their claim and will be allowed to receive incapacity benefit again under linking rules.

6. Figures are consistent with benefit expenditure tables available on the DWP website through the following link:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/expenditure.asp

Income support: Estimated number of claimants, flows onto and off benefit

Thousand (estimated outturn)

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Income Support stock

2,120

2,050

1,730

1,510

of which:

Sick or disabled

1,250

1,200

990

860

Lone Parent

760

730

610

520

Others

120

120

130

130

Income Support on-flow

720

530

270

240

of which:

Sick or disabled

440

260

10

0

Lone Parent

220

210

190

180

Others

60

60

70

70

Income Support off-flow

740

680

580

440

of which:

Sick or disabled

450

390

200

110

Lone Parent

240

240

320

270

Others

60

60

60

60

Notes:

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 thousand. Components may not sum due to rounding.

2. Income support on the grounds of incapacity will no longer be payable to new claimants after the introduction of employment and support allowance in October 2008.

3. Figures for ‘Others’ include income support for carers, pregnant women and ex-minimum income guarantee claimants.

4. Figures are consistent with benefit expenditure tables available on the DWP website through the following link:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/expenditure.asp

Vertex Data Science

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what representations he has received on the performance of Vertex Data Science Ltd in providing services at the Child Support Agency centre in Bolton; (212020)

(2) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Vertex Data Science Ltd in delivering the objectives of the Child Support Agency;

(3) what representations he has received on the retention of staff by Vertex Data Science Ltd at the Child Support Agency’s offices in Bolton.

The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 23 June 2008:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what representations he has received on the performance of Vertex Data Science Ltd in providing services at the Child Support Agency centre in Bolton. [212020];

What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Vertex Data Science Ltd in delivering the objectives of the Child Support Agency. [212022]; and

What representations he has received on the retention of staff by Vertex Data Science Ltd at the Child Support Agency’s offices in Bolton. [212025]

Vertex Data Science Ltd. manages the CSA Bolton site, a unit the Agency established to deal with cases which for technical reasons can not be processed on the new computer system (CS2) and therefore need to be administered clerically. By moving all the clerical work undertaken by the Agency to this one site from September 2006, the Agency was able to release people to focus on other improvement work outlined in the Operational Improvement Plan, including reducing the number of uncleared applications and strengthening enforcement. This has contributed to the Agency meeting or exceeding all of its 2007/08 Secretary of State targets and collecting over £1 billion in child maintenance for over 750,000 children.

Since September 2006, Vertex has arranged and collected more than £40 million of maintenance payments. While the arrangement has contributed to the Agency’s improvement, there have also been some operational issues which have impacted on client service. The Agency took steps to ensure that our service to clients improved by renegotiating the contract with Vertex to allow them to focus on keeping maintenance flowing to children. The Agency also increased its resource dedicated to progressing clerical cases by retaining responsibility for new clerical cases until first payment stage.

In addition, all complaints with MP or Independent Case Examiner involvement, as well as those cases that require a review are now being dealt with by specialist caseworkers within the Agency. Clerical cases represent less than three per cent of all assessed cases. While the administration of these cases will continue to present a challenge, the Agency is continually working with its contractors to improve the service to these clients.

The Agency is committed to implementing an IT upgrade which will introduce a series of system checkpoints, reducing the number of stuck cases which currently need to be administered clerically.

The retention of employees at CSA Bolton is a matter for Vertex Data Science Ltd as they are responsible for employing the people required to deliver the service, under the contract which currently runs to September 2008.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Scotland

Radioactive Wastes: Waste Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had on the siting of nuclear waste disposal facilities in Scotland. (212948)

The Secretary of State has had no recent discussions on the siting of nuclear waste disposal facilities in Scotland, which is a devolved matter there.

Revenue and Customs: Closures

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the proposed closure of HM Revenue and Customs offices in Scotland. (212919)

None. HMRC is conducting an estates review as the organisation has identified that it can operate more efficiently, estimating that it has around 30 to 40 per cent. excess office space overall. This review follows the creation of the department from the former Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise and aims to make savings totalling £100 million by 2011. In doing so, HMRC is committed to matching its future business strategy with the correct provision of accommodation and people by consulting with staff, trade unions, MPs, local authorities and other stakeholders. The consultation regarding Scottish proposals ends on 30 July and I urge all stakeholders to participate in the process.

Leader of the House

Departmental Pay

To ask the Leader of the House what estimate she has made of the average pay per hour worked by (a) permanent and (b) temporary staff in her Office in the last period for which figures are available, broken down by pay band. (212503)

The Office of the Leader of the House of Commons is part of the Cabinet Office for these purposes. The pay scales for Cabinet Office staff by pay band will be given in the answer by that Department.

Departmental Trade Unions

To ask the Leader of the House which trades unions represent members of staff in her Office. (212477)

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), Prospect and the First Division Association (FDA) have a partnership agreement with the Cabinet Office and represent different sections of Cabinet Office staff.

Members: Allowances

To ask the Leader of the House what allowance is payable to hon. Members successful in the ballot for private Members’ Bills to assist with drafting costs; when the allowance was last increased; what the value of the allowance is expressed in prices at the date it was last increased; whether she plans to increase it; and if she will make a statement. (212423)

Provision was made by resolution of the House of 29 November 1971 for a payment of not more than £200 towards drafting assistance for those Members coming in the first ten places in the ballot for private Members’ Bills. The provision has not been increased since that date and would now be worth a little over £2,000 expressed in current prices.

There have been very few claims against the allowance for many years. Alternative sources of assistance to Members have increased greatly since 1971 and, as the Government’s response to the Procedure Committee’s Fourth Report of Session 2002-03 (HC 333) made clear, the Government have undertaken that the resources of Parliamentary Counsel will be applied to Bills which are likely to pass “for the purpose of ensuring that its terms give effect to its supporters’ intentions” (Second Special Report from the Procedure Committee of Session 2003-04 HC 610, para. 20). The Government accordingly have no plans to propose an increase in the sum.

Members: Pay

To ask the Leader of the House how much the most recent review of hon. Members' pay and allowances cost. (213340)

The cost of the review of parliamentary pay and pensions conducted by Sir John Baker was £11,696.40. This figure cost covers Sir John Baker’s 15 days spent on the review since the end of January, reimbursement of his PA’s cost and the publication of the report (Cm 7416) on Tuesday 17 June.

Olympics

Contractors: Transport

3. To ask the Minister for the Olympics if she will have discussions with Transport for London on the use of London Underground by contractors working on the Olympic site. (212560)

The Olympic Park will have an estimated 9,000 workers on-site at peak construction time in 2010. In addition, an estimated 12,000 workers will be operational on the Olympic Village and Stratford City Development sites.

Workers will use a range of public transport including LU to travel to and from the Olympic Park site. In liaison with TfL, the ODA has studied the potential impact of this demand on the London Underground network and concluded that the impact is manageable.

Both the ODA and the Government Olympic Executive (GOE) are working with London Underground (LU) and Transport for London (TfL) to ensure that the plans to transport workers to and from the Olympic Park site are efficient and cause minimum disruption.

Labour Statistics

4. To ask the Minister for the Olympics how many local residents are employed on the construction of facilities for the London Olympics; and how many of those were unemployed prior to taking up such employment. (212561)

The ODA and partners are working hard to ensure that we take advantage of the tremendous opportunity that the Games provide us to improve employment and skills levels of East Londoners. Currently, 451 local residents from the five Olympic host boroughs are employed on the Olympic site. 21 per cent. of these were previously unemployed.

Costs

6. To ask the Minister for the Olympics what her most recent estimate is of the likely cost of the 2012 London Olympics. (212563)

In March 2007 I announced that the overall public sector Olympics funding package was £9.325 billion and that budget is unchanged. The costs of delivering the venues and infrastructure in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games will not exceed that budget.

LOCOG are responsible for staging the Games, which is being funded by the private sector.

Budget Forecast

7. To ask the Minister for the Olympics if she will make a statement on the most recent budget forecast for the 2012 London Olympics. (212564)

In March 2007, I announced a funding package of £9.325 billion for the Games. This funding package has not changed.

London Aquatic Centre

8. To ask the Minister for the Olympics how much the London aquatic centre will cost. (212565)

The Aquatics Centre and its integrated bridge will be delivered within the agreed budget of £303 million which was announced in April 2008.

Paralympics

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what discussions she has had with the International Paralympics Committee on provision of facilities for athletes with learning disabilities to train for the 2012 London Paralympics. (212562)

I have had no discussions specifically about the training and participation of athletes with an intellectual disability.

As the hon. Member will know, people with intellectual disabilities are currently precluded from competing in the Paralympic games. Although ultimately a matter for the International Paralympic Committee, I know this matter is subject to review.

I am aware of the great enthusiasm of athletes with intellectual disabilities, and the importance they place on having the opportunity to compete in 2012.

Olympic Games 2012: Cost Effectiveness

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what criteria she plans to use to assess whether the 2012 London Olympic Games provide value for money. (212619)

The Olympic programme is subject to regular National Audit Office Value for Money Audits. The latest NAO Report—‘Preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: Progress Report’—was published on 20 June 2008. Previous reports have covered risk assessment and management (February 2007) and the budget for the 2012 Games (July 2007).

The success of the 2012 games will also be assessed against other published indicators, in particular those identified in “Public Service Agreement 22 (PSA 22)—Deliver a successful Olympic Games and Paralympic Games with a sustainable legacy and get more children and young people taking part in high quality PE and sport”. The PSA 22 delivery agreement was published by HM Treasury in October 2007.

Wales

Departmental Furniture

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many (a) chairs, (b) desks and (c) other office furnishings have been purchased by his Department and its agencies in each of the last five years; and at what cost in each case. (211759)

In the last five years, my Department has made the following purchases in respect of departmental furnishing.

(a) Eight chairs at a cost of £1,028.07;

(b) Seven desks at a cost of £771.50;

(c) Other office furnishings totalling £439.70.

This brings the total spend to £2,239.27. These purchases were all made in the financial year 2006-07.

Departmental Home Working

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people in his Department are authorised to work from home. (212513)

Eight members of Wales Office staff have laptops and related equipment which enables them to work from home. Some use this on an ad hoc basis, while others have a more regular working from home arrangement.

A further 11 members of staff have Blackberries, which enable them to keep in touch by email while they are out of the office or travelling.

Departmental Inquiries

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what independent inquiries have been commissioned by his Department in the last five years; what the (a) purpose and (b) cost was of each; and what steps were taken following each such inquiry. (212314)

Departmental Vetting

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what procedures his Department follows for checking the criminal records of employees; and if he will make a statement. (213139)

The Wales Office only recruits existing civil servants and does not conduct criminal records checks itself.

All staff are required to have counter terrorism clearance (and in some cases developed vetting). This includes disclosure and checking of all criminal convictions (spent and unspent).

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Carbon Emissions: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 June 2008, Official Report, columns 386-87W, on carbon emissions: finance (1) what the main manmade contributing sources of output are of the six gases which are required to be reduced according to Kyoto targets; (212846)

(2) what volume of carbon dioxide emissions was produced in the UK in the latest year for which figures are available; and what target in tonnes has been set for such emissions under the Kyoto protocol.

[holding answer 20 June 2008]: The main sources of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) in the UK in 2006 were energy supply (40 per cent. of total UK CO2 emissions in 2006), transport (24 per cent.), business (17 per cent.) and residential (15 per cent.). The main sources of methane emissions (CH4) in the UK in 2006 were waste management (41 per cent. of total UK CH4 emissions in 2006) and agriculture (38 per cent.). The main sources of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions in the UK in 2006 were agriculture (68 per cent. of total UK N2O emissions in 2006) and transport (15 per cent.). The primary source of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the UK is release of refrigerants. The primary sources of Perfluorochemicals (PFCs) are from aluminium smelting and electronics manufacture. The primary sources of Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) in the UK are from magnesium smelting and from the release of SF6 used in electrical insulation.

In 2006, emissions of UK carbon dioxide were 554.4 million tonnes. This figure includes emissions from the Crown Dependencies and those Overseas Territories that have joined the UK's ratification of the Kyoto protocol. This figure includes emissions and removals from land-use, land-use change and forestry, as accounted for under the Kyoto protocol. Our Kyoto target is to ensure emissions of the six greenhouse gases controlled under the protocol throughout the period 2008-12 are no higher than 3.412 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This equates to average emissions of no higher than 682.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. UK emissions in 2006 were 652.34 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent. This figure does not take into account additional emissions savings delivered through UK participation in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) which was estimated to be 34 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2006.

Climate Change: Developing Countries

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made on the research project designed to help developing countries adapt to and plan for the consequences of climate change, announced at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change summit in December 2007; and if he will make a statement. (210348)

I have been asked to reply.

The UK and the Netherlands are funding research into the economics of adaptation, to build our understanding of the benefits and costs of adapting to climate change in developing countries. The research team has made good progress since December 2007. Six countries have been identified as possible case studies, and detailed discussions have so far taken place in Vietnam, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Bangladesh and Bolivia, with a visit to Ghana from the research team due shortly. All of these countries have welcomed the initiative and expressed their demand for such analysis.

We expect the first report from the research team next month. This will consist of a methodological and literature review. This report will be made publicly available. This will be the case for all interim reports produced in advance of the final study, which will be published towards the end of next year.

Dredging: River Thames

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what navigation safeguards will be applied to protect shipping and marine craft during dredging of the Thames in connection with the London Gateway Port; (212087)

(2) when dredging of the Thames will commence for the channel to accommodate the London Gateway Port.

Consents to undertake dredging to develop and subsequently maintain navigational areas within the London Gateway Port are given by the London Gateway Port Harbour Empowerment Order 2008, issued by Department for Transport that came into force on 16 May 2008.

The timing of the proposed dredging is a commercial decision for the new Harbour Authority, London Gateway Port Ltd.

Responsibility for maintaining navigational safety within the tidal Thames is the responsibility of the Port of London Authority.

Fisheries: Quotas

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that additional fishing quota allocated to the UK is used in a sustainable way. (213258)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many tonnes of plaice were caught in area 7E in each of the last three years; and what percentage of the UK's quota for plaice this represented in each year. (213259)

Information on catches of plaice by the UK fishing fleet in the Western English Channel (Area 7E) is shown in the following table.

Plaice quota and landings for UK vessels

Total UK end-year quota for plaice (Tonnes)

Plaice caught in Area 7E (Tonnes)

Percentage

2005

16,722

882

5

2006

15,648

962

6

2007

14,317

677

5

Flood Control: EU Grants and Loans

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether a flood defence scheme in Powick, Worcestershire, would be eligible for European funding made available from bodies other than the Environment Agency. (212815)

[holding answer 20 June 2008]: Yes, other funding sources can be utilised for Flood Defence Schemes such as Powick in Worcestershire.

European funding has been used to deliver Flood Defence Schemes around the country. These funds supported partnership approaches including between local authorities, regional development agencies, developers and the Environment Agency.

Flood Control: Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what grants are available to enable people to finance flood defences for domestic properties; and if he will make a statement. (212967)

Currently there is no Government grant scheme offering assistance to those wishing to install property-level resistance and resilience measures.

However, we have undertaken a £500,000 pilot scheme looking at the best way of providing financial assistance to people to install flood proofing measures on a mix of individual properties including both dwellings and small businesses. Through the local authorities and Environment Agency teams working on these pilot projects, we will monitor the effectiveness of the chosen solutions as and when they are tested through flooding.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002 [1] local authorities have some flexibility in providing discretionary assistance for repairs and adaptations. It is for local authorities to decide the circumstances in which to give discretionary assistance and what form that assistance may take (e.g. grants, loans, equity release schemes etc.).

Genetically Modified Organisms: Seeds

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy on the use of terminator seeds is. (212632)

[holding answer 20 June 2008]: In 2000 a decision was reached under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that ‘terminator’-type seeds should not be approved for field trials or commercial release without an appropriate assessment of their possible impact. As a party to the CBD we support that decision. There are no terminator seeds in commercial use anywhere in the world at present, and as far as we are aware there are no plans for any to be introduced in the foreseeable future.

Marine Fisheries Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had on the career development of staff of the coastal offices of the Marine and Fisheries Agency following the entry into force of the proposed Marine Bill. (212013)

Responsibility for career development in the Marine and Fisheries Agency rests with the chief executive, his management team and individual staff members. They will be considering issues relating to career development and training as part of the continued development of the agency, mindful of the Marine Bill and the agency's probable transition to a Marine Management Organisation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate he made of the cost of reforming the Marine and Fisheries Agency to meet the policy objectives set out in the draft Marine Bill; (212008)

(2) what estimate he has made of the cost of establishing the Marine Management Organisation as a non-departmental public body.

The proposed Marine Management Organisation (MMO) will be an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB) charged with making the sustainable development of the marine area a reality.

The MMO will be built on the Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA) and where practicable we are transferring functions to the MFA in advance of the establishment of the MMO. I am keen to achieve a smooth transition from the Marine and Fisheries Agency to the Marine Management Organisation, and to start work towards the new organisation in good time. A budget of £1 million has been allocated to support the continued development of the Marine and Fisheries Agency in 2008-09, mindful of its probable transition to the MMO. This work is not dependent on the parliamentary process.

Indicative one-off set-up costs for establishing the MMO as an NDPB have been included in the Draft Marine Bill Impact Assessment which was published on 3 April 2008.

Communities and Local Government

Buildings: Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make a statement on (a) the ruling of the European Court of Justice in relation to the use of on-site power generation through energy service companies and (b) the implications of the ruling for the Government’s strategy on zero-carbon buildings. (212736)

The Government are currently considering the implications of the judgement including the impact on its strategy on zero carbon buildings.

Citizenship: Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) pursuant to the Answer of 10 December 2007, Official Report, column 115W, on citizenship: education, what further progress her Department has made in (a) disseminating guidance for teaching materials for use in citizenship courses in madrassahs and (b) increasing the take-up of such materials; (212961)

(2) pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2007, Official Report, column 405W, on community relations: religion, what progress her Department has made in establishing an advisory group on citizenship education classes run by mosque schools.

In conjunction with the Department for Children, Schools and Families, a contract has been awarded to the Schools Development Support Agency (SDSA) to work with Muslim communities to review existing work and develop citizenship classes for use in mosque schools. SDSA are currently developing good practice materials to trial in a range of madrassahs across six local areas.

An advisory group for this work has been established and has met. Membership of this group includes individuals from across Muslim communities and educational professionals.

Community Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she plans to pilot the specialist cohesion teams to support local authorities facing cohesion challenges referred to on page 25 of the report, Guidance for local authorities on community cohesion contingency planning and tension monitoring, published in May 2008. (212931)

The first pilot of Specialist Cohesion Teams will be in the Norfolk district of Breckland. We are in the process of choosing a second pilot. We aim to start both pilots late July 2008.

Community Relations: Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer of 29 February 2008, Official Report, column 1989W, on community relations: housing, when her Department plans to publish revised guidance to local authorities on the importance of the strategic housing role and the preparation of housing strategies. (212959)

We aim to publish advice to local authorities about housing strategies as part of guidance on ‘Creating Strong, Safe and Prosperous Communities’ shortly. Guidance about the importance of the strategic housing role will be published later in the year.

Community Relations: Islam

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the report produced for her Department by Four X Ninety Ltd. on understanding Muslim ethnic communities. (212627)

Communities and Local Government has commissioned the Change Institute to conduct research on Understanding Muslim Ethnic Communities. This work has not yet been completed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department has developed the framework of minimum standards for all imams and Muslim chaplains engaged by the state referred to in the Preventing Violent Extremism report published in April 2007. (212930)

Communities and Local Government commissioned The Experience Corps (TEC) to develop a framework of standards and a recruitment process for institutions engaging Muslim chaplains in public service. This was developed in consultation with a range of Government Departments, relevant sectors and institutions, faith organisations and chaplaincy groups. The draft framework and recruitment process, which we plan to pilot during 2008-09, will shortly be published on the Department's website.

Community Relations: Migration

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent steps the Government have taken to help local communities manage the effects of migration. (212276)

On 11 June 2008, we published a cross-government plan on ‘Managing the Impacts of Migration: A Cross-Government Approach’. This sets out a range of current and future government actions which support local areas in maximising the benefits of migration while minimising any negative impacts at local level. The document can be viewed on the website of Communities and Local Government at:

www.communities.gov.uk/publications/communities/migrationimpact

Copies are also available in the Library of the House.

Community Relations: Religion

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when the Government plans to publish its interfaith strategy. (212936)

Corporate Hospitality: Thames Gateway

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many receptions the Thames Gateway project has held in each of the last five years. (212192)

Our records show that the Thames Gateway Executive has held the following receptions:

FY2003 and FY2004

No receptions held

FY2005

Reception at the Thames Gateway Forum, the UK’s foremost exhibition focusing on the Thames Gateway

FY2006

Reception at the Thames Gateway Forum, the UK’s foremost exhibition focussing on the Thames Gateway

Reception at MIPIM, an international exhibition for real estate professionals and investors

FY2007

Reception at the Thames Gateway Forum, the UK’s foremost exhibition focusing on the Thames Gateway

Christmas Stakeholder Reception

Departmental Aviation

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many individual domestic air flights were undertaken within mainland Britain by representatives of (a) her Department and (b) its agencies in the most recent year for which figures are available; and at what cost. (210947)

Figures supplied by the Department’s travel booking service show representatives from the Department undertook 605 individual domestic air flights in 2007-08 financial year, at a cost of £66,813. This total includes figures for officials within Government offices.

The Department’s agencies report domestic flight details as follows for the last financial year;

Agency

Number of flights

Cost (£)

Planning Inspectorate

101

66,813

Queen Elizabeth 2nd Conference Centre

0

0

Fire Service College

22

1,020.68

Ordnance Survey

1,004

115,426

Travel by Ministers and civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the “Ministerial Code” and the “Civil Service Management Code” respectively.

Departmental Expert Panels

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who the members are of each of her Department's expert panels. (212746)

In response to the Department's capability review, the Department set up three expert panels to provide analytical advice in the following policy areas: (i) housing markets and planning; (ii) neighbourhoods cities and regions; and (iii) housing and communities (social and affordable housing). Membership of the respective panels is shown in annex tables Al, A2 and A3 respectively.

Annex A1: Membership of the housing markets and planning analysis (HMPA) expert panel

Panel member

Lead panel member:

Professor Michael Ball

Reading University

Panel members:

David Adams

Glasgow University

Peter Bibby

Sheffield University

Neil Blake1

Experian

Also on NCRA panel

Glen Bramley

Heriot Watt University

Paul Cheshire1

LSE

Also on NCRA panel

Christopher Cobbold

DTZ

Simin Davoudi

Newcastle University

Danny Dorling1

Sheffield University

Also on NCRA and HCA panel

Alan Evans

Reading University

Also on NCRA panel

Diana Kasparova

Policy Studies Institute

Dave King

Anglia University

Philip Leather

Salford University

Chris Leishman

Glasgow University

Alex Marsh1

Bristol University

Also on HCA panel

Geoffrey Meen1

Reading University

John Muellbauer

Oxford University

Gwilym Pryce

Glasgow University

Yvonne Rydin

UCL

Christine Whitehead

LSE

Peter Williams1

Independent Consultant

Also on HCA panel

Cecilia Wong

Manchester University

Annex A2: Membership of the Neighbourhoods, cities and regions (NCRA) expert panel

Panel members

Lead panel member:

Michael Parkinson

Liverpool John Moores University

Panel members:

Neil Blake1

Experian

Joint with HMPA

Paul Cheshire1

LSE

Joint with HMPA

Ian Cole1

Sheffield Hallam University

Joint with HCA

Mike Coombes

Newcastle University

Danny Dorling1

Sheffield University

Joint all three panels

Ian Gordon

LSE

Anne Green

Warwick University

Carol Hayden

Shared Intelligence

Adrian Healy

ECOTEC

Paul Lawless1

Sheffield Hallam University

Joint with HCA

Geoff Meen1

Reading University

Joint with HMPA

Henry Overman

LSE

Anne Power

LSE

Patricia Rice

Oxford University

Graham Russell

Amion

Ludi Simpson

Manchester University

Stephen Syrett

Middlesex University

Vince Taylor

Vince Taylor Assoc

Ivan Turok

Glasgow University

Peter Tyler1

Cambridge University

Joint with HCA

Annex A3: Membership of the housing and communities (HCA) expert panel

Panel members

Lead panel member:

Professor Mark Stephens

York University

Panel members:

Jeff Austin

Independent Consultant

Shaun Bennett

Civis Consultants

Bob Blackaby

Independent Consultant

Tim Blackman

Durham University

Ian Cole1

Sheffield Hallam University-

Also on NCRA panel

David Cowan

Bristol University

Danny Dorling1

Sheffield University -

Also on NCRA and HMPA panel

Suzanne Fitzpatrick

York University

Kenneth Gibb

Glasgow University

David Hall

Tribal Group

Adrian Jones

Independent Researcher

Michael Jones

Cambridge University

Paul Lawless

Sheffield Hallam University

Also on NCRA panel

Alex Marsh

Bristol University

Also on HMPA panel

Sarah Monk

Cambridge University

David Mullins

Birmingham University

David Ormandy

Warwick University

Hal Pawson

Heriot Watt University

Rob Rowlands

Birmingham University

Rebecca Tunstall

LSE

Peter Tyler1

Cambridge University -

Also on NCRA panel

Peter Williams1

Independent Consultant-

Also on HMPA panel

1 Denotes membership of more than one expert panel

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 2 June 2008, Official Report, column 537W, on departmental pay, who conducts the assessments of senior staff for bonuses. (212685)

The process for performance assessment and differentiation for all senior civil servants is fully outlined in the SCS Performance Management Guidance 2008/09 produced by Cabinet Office and available through their website:

www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Under the SCS Performance Management Framework, managers may seek wider feedback from staff, peers and/or customers regarding an individual's leadership, performance management and capability building skills/behaviour. The manager and job-holder will then review individual performance against objectives, plus leadership behaviour demonstrated throughout the year. Proposed performance grouping and associated bonus recommendations are submitted to the Department's Senior Pay Committee for final moderation and ratification.

The Communities and Local Government Senior Pay Committee comprises the Permanent Secretary (Chair), Directors General, a non-Executive Director and key departmental representatives.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer of 2 June 2008, Official Report, column 537W, on departmental pay, how many bonuses were awarded to members of the home information pack team in 2007-08; and at what cost. (212686)

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) on 27 February 2008, Official Report, column 1594W.

Departmental Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 2 June 2008, Official Report, column 538W, on departmental procurement, if she will place in the Library a copy of the list of names and addresses of each organisation that supplied goods or services to her Department in 2007-08, from purchase order data held in the departmental financial system. (212669)

Deprivation Indicators

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 29 April 2008, Official Report, column 312W, on the index of deprivation, whether permission has been gained to publish the underlying indicators. (212790)

Where permission was received the underlying indicators were published on the Department's website on 30 May 2008.

Homelessness: Voluntary Organisations

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent steps the Government have taken to work with voluntary organisations to reduce levels of homelessness. (212275)

Tackling homelessness is a key priority for the Government. We hold regular meetings with voluntary organisations such as Homeless Link and Shelter to help us drive forward our homelessness agenda.

We provide significant grant funding to voluntary organisations to tackle homelessness. In December 2007 we announced homelessness grant funding of at least £150 million over the next three years 2008-11 to continue to support local authorities and voluntary sector organisations to tackle and prevent homelessness in their area. This is the biggest ever cash injection for homelessness services.

In addition, we have also allocated £51 million of homeless grant for the period 2008-11 directly to the voluntary sector and £79.6 million capital funding has been allocated for 2008-11 to local authorities who will work in partnership with voluntary organisations to build on the success of improving hostels and day centres.

As part of our measures to further prevent and tackle youth homelessness we established the National Youth Homelessness Scheme (NYHS) jointly led by Centrepoint and YMCA England.

Housing: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the annual funding to the National Housing Revenue Account necessary to ensure that improvements to housing stock condition are sustainable. (212326)

This is work that is currently being taken forward in the context of our Review of Council Housing Finance. The review is due to report to Ministers in spring 2009, after which there will be a period of wider consultation on proposals.

Housing: Low Incomes

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent steps the Government have taken to increase provision of affordable housing. (212274)

On 14 May we announced three initiatives. The first is a £100 million expansion of the open market homebuy scheme, available for new build homes only. In 2008-09 this will enable 2,500 more first time buyers to purchase a new build home of their choice on the open market under our shared equity scheme.

The second is that the Housing Corporation will be spending up to £200 million in 2008-09 on funding RSLs to purchase unsold new build stock from developers, either for social rent, or for sale to first time buyers through our homebuy low cost home ownership scheme.

Finally, we have expanded the eligibility criteria so that all first time buyers with a household income under £60,000, who could not otherwise afford to buy, will be eligible for all our homebuy products.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the research commissioned by her Department on the Evaluation of Social Homebuy Scheme for Affordable Housing (reference RAE 3/6/135); and what the cost was of the research. (212745)

The report was published on 12 June 2008 in electronic format only at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/social homebuyevaluation

The total cost of the research was £160,877.40. This comprised a contract for £157,734.25 with the University of Birmingham to conduct the research and £3,143.12 typesetting and publication preparation costs.

Olympic Games

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) Ministers and (b) officials from her Department plan to attend the Beijing Olympic Games; to what purpose in each case; and what estimate she has made of the cost. (212108)

No Ministers or officials from the Department are planning to attend the Beijing Olympic Games.

Squatters

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2008, Official Report, column 980W, on squatters, when her Department or its predecessors last issued guidance to (a) the police and (b) local authorities on managing squatting. (212722)

Communities and Local Government has not issued any guidance to the police and/or local authorities on the specific issue of managing squatters, in this period.

Thames Gateway

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what date in June 2008 she plans to publish an annual report on the Thames Gateway in June 2008; and if she will make a statement. (212755)

We are currently working with our partners to develop an annual report for the Thames Gateway, which we expect to be able to publish in the next few weeks.

Thames Gateway: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of Thames Gateway funding for Castle Point was allocated to (a) Canvey Island and (b) other areas of Castle Point constituency in each of the last five years. (213024)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 17 June 2008, Official Report, columns 824-26W.

All the Thames Gateway funding for Castle Point projects to date has been allocated to Canvey Island in each of the last five years.

Travelling People: Planning Permission

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what support or funding Planning Aid has given to Traveller groups on (a) planning applications, (b) planning appeals and (c) High Court challenges. (212628)

Planning Aid offers support to Traveller groups on planning applications and appeals both through its casework and community planning activities. Planning Aid would normally refer cases involving a High Court challenge to organisations that specialise in supporting this process.

Planning Aid does not provide direct funding for Traveller groups, nor would it support their legal costs.

International Development

Burma: Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what reports he has received on the additional guidelines for seeking travel permission and aid distribution clearance put in place by the Burmese authorities on 9 June; and what representations his Department has made to the Burmese authorities on this matter. (212074)

On 9 June the Ministry of Planning issued a new set of “Guiding Principles” to be followed by the UN, INGOs and NGOs in carrying out cyclone relief. The new guidance stated that all visas and permissions for internal travel and for the import and distribution of relief supplies were to be obtained through relevant line ministries, rather than centrally through the Ministry of Social Welfare. On 20 June the Government of Burma retracted the “Guiding Principles” and reverted to the previous system where all visas are processed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all travel permits by the Ministry of Social Welfare. We hope that this will be a positive move in facilitating access.

Developing Countries: HIV Infection

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government has taken to widen accessibility to treatment for people with AIDS in developing countries. (209715)

On 2 June the UK Government launched their updated AIDS strategy “Achieving Universal Access—the UK's strategy for halting and reversing the spread of HIV in the developing world”. The strategy sets out the UK's response to tackling HIV and AIDS in developing countries to 2015, including access to treatment. Working with others, the UK will work to reduce drug prices and increase access to more affordable and sustainable treatment over the long-term. This could yield cost efficiency savings of at least £50 million per annum, enough to fund medicines for an additional one million people every year.

The UK Government launched the Medical Transparency Alliance (MeTA) in May. By disclosing information on the price, quality and availability of medicines, MeTA will help to increase public accountability and improve access to medicines, including HIV treatment. The UK will also continue to support UNITAID, the international drugs purchase facility, to reduce the cost of HIV treatment.

Starting in 2008, the Department for International Development will support a new regional programme on Access to Medicines in Southern Africa. The programme will spend £10 million over the first three years to deliver more affordable, quality medicines and diagnostics, including for HIV and AIDS.

A copy of the updated strategy and supporting evidence paper have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. These are also available on the Department for International Development (DFID) website:

www.dfid.gov.uk.

Peacekeeping Operations: Misconduct

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with UN officials on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of children by peacekeepers; what measures have been proposed to prevent such abuse; and if he will make a statement. (211883)

I have been asked to reply.

The UK takes all allegations of misconduct by UN and other peacekeepers extremely seriously and we believe strongly that UN personnel must uphold the highest standards of behaviour. The vast majority of UN peacekeepers uphold those standards while doing important work in difficult and dangerous circumstances.

The UN is responsible for tackling allegations of misconduct directly with troop contributing countries. We will continue to work closely with the UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations and other partners to ensure that its ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards incidents of abuse is implemented in full.

We are providing support to the UN's efforts to assess, prioritise and respond to the sexual exploitation and abuse of children by UN peacekeepers and aid workers. This includes taking concrete measures to address both the military and civilian branches of peacekeeping support operations. One such measure, the UN's Conduct and Discipline Units, is funded by the UK's Conflict Prevention Pool. These teams work to ensure that all peacekeeping personnel undergo training on UN standards of conduct relating to sexual exploitation and abuse, and that all allegations of wrongdoing are reported upon and followed up with appropriate action. In the UN Mission in Liberia, for example, the number of cases reported to the UN was reduced by half from 2006 to 2007.

We have been successful in working with the UN to instigate policy changes aimed at preventing and tackling sexual exploitation and abuse. These include: a Victim's Assistance Strategy to provide assistance to survivors of sexual violence perpetrated by UN personnel; a more robust Model Memorandum of Understanding between the UN and Troop Contributing Countries; an upgraded Welfare and Recreation Strategy for peacekeeping and related personnel; and a resolution on ‘Criminal accountability of UN officials and experts on mission’.

The UK supports efforts to protect the world's most vulnerable children from sexual abuse. To further strengthen the UN's approach, the UK supported the UN Secretary-General's recent recommendation to include, where appropriate, child protection advisers within the mandates of peacekeeping missions. As an active member of the UN Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, we will continue to work to improve the effectiveness of existing UN monitoring, reporting and disciplinary mechanisms.

Through its Conflict Prevention programme, the UK also helps to train military personnel for peacekeeping operations. Good conduct and respect for human rights is an integral part of all training courses. The UK will continue to provide training on peace support operations for troops from other countries, which covers conduct and discipline, particularly the importance of protecting civilians in accordance with international law.

Prime Minister

Devolution: Northern Ireland

To ask the Prime Minister what subjects were discussed during his talks with the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin at the time of the establishment of the new Northern Ireland Executive; what the outcome was of such discussions; and if he will make a statement. (213121)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for North Southwark and Bermondsey (Simon Hughes) on 18 June 2008, Official Report, columns 918-19W.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Prime Minister what response he made to President Bush's public request for the presence of UK armed forces in Iraq to be maintained; and if he will make a statement. (213343)

I refer the hon. Member to the press conference I held with President Bush on 16 June 2008. A transcript of this is available on the No. 10 website:

http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page15783.asp

and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Joint Intelligence Committee: Honours

To ask the Prime Minister how many members of staff of the Joint Intelligence Committee have received honours in the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (211985)

The Joint Intelligence Committee is supported by a Secretariat based in the Cabinet Office. The Honours Lists are published in The London Gazette on the occasion of the Queen's birthday in June and at new year. The lists sets out which Department civil servants are from.

Northern Ireland Executive: Finance

To ask the Prime Minister whether he plans to make any changes to financial arrangements relating to the Northern Ireland Executive following recent talks between the Government, Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party. (213122)

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave at my monthly press conference on 12 June 2008. A transcript is available on the No. 10 website:

http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page15739.asp

and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Culture, Media and Sport

Swimming

10. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport by what procedure local authorities will be able to access Government funding for free swimming programmes; and if he will make a statement. (212575)

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave earlier to my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Kidney).

12. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what effect he expects his proposal to introduce free swimming to have on quality of life in areas of high deprivation. (212580)

There are some unique health benefits to swimming, particularly so for the over 60s. Swimming is also the most popular physical recreation for adults, and a key means of increasing the amount of exercise people take. But we know that cost can be a barrier to participation for some, and that this can be exacerbated in areas of high deprivation.

13. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the process is for local authorities to apply for central Government funding for the provision of free swimming. (212581)

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave earlier to my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Kidney).

Television Services: Sight-impaired People

11. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he has taken to ensure that digital switchover will not adversely affect blind and partially-sighted people. (212579)

Blind or partially sighted people are eligible for the Digital Switchover Help Scheme which provides help with equipment, installation and after-care support.

Audio Description (AD), an additional narration on TV programmes that describes on-screen action, is accessible through the equipment provided by the scheme.

The Government, Digital UK and the help scheme, continue to consult the RNIB about how best to help people with visual impairments through the switchover process.

Community Regeneration

14. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with Sport England on its contribution to community regeneration; and if he will make a statement. (212582)

I have had no recent discussions with Sport England on this subject.

Sport England has recently developed a new strategy focused on a world leading community sports system. This will sustain and increase participation in grassroots sport among all groups and allow everyone to develop their sporting talent to the full.

Sport is a key player in a number of areas of community social regeneration. Sports projects can have a significant impact by breaking down barriers and providing positive opportunities for people to mix with others. Sport can also help reduce crime and antisocial behaviour; and increase peoples' levels of trust and community involvement.

Lottery Costs

16. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he next expects to meet the chief executives of the lottery funds to discuss administrative costs. (212584)

I have no plans to do so. We encourage lottery distributors to keep their administrative costs as low as possible and they are committed to this.

Listed Sporting Events

17. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he plans to begin the review of the listed sporting events regime. (212585)

Any decision on the commencement of a review of listed events will be made following the outcome of Ofcom’s current review of Public Service Broadcasting and the findings of the Government’s Convergence Think Tank.

Young People: Empowerment

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how his Department plans to deliver the Government's pledge to empower young people through sport. (212570)

The DCMS and DCSF have joint responsibility to deliver the PE and Sport Strategy for Young People and to date over £2.2 billion has been committed through the strategy up to 2011.

Government will continue to work through our delivery partners to engage and empower more young people in sport. Sport England, under their new strategy, will work in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust to develop more opportunities for young people to participate in high quality coaching and competition and gain greater access to the club system.

Binge Drinking

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the measures in the Licensing Act 2003 in combating binge drinking. (212583)

The evaluation of the Licensing Act 2003 was published on 4 March this year. Our main conclusion was that businesses and consumers have been using the freedoms provided but that more could be done to rebalance action towards enforcement and crack down on irresponsible behaviour. There are, however, limits to the impact licensing law can have on the personal behaviour in terms of consumption. We have therefore announced, in the Youth Alcohol Action Plan, measures which are designed to tackle binge drinking among young people. The Government also expect to consider further action when the ongoing Alcohol Price, Promotion and Harm review reports this summer.

Arts: Publicity

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many press officers and public affairs employees were employed by (a) the Big Lottery Fund, (b) the Arts Council, (c) the Heritage Lottery Fund, (d) Sport England, (e) UK Sport and (f) the UK Film Council in each of the last three years; and at what cost. (206727)

[holding answer 20 May 2008]: Figures for the number of press officers and public affairs employees in each of the last three years, and their cost, as provided by the bodies in question, are set out in the following table. Some of these bodies cover the whole of the United Kingdom and others cover only England. The figures represent the total number of individuals employed during each financial year, not the number of full-time equivalents. Many of these individuals spent only a small proportion of their time on press and/or public affairs work, and some were only in post for part of a financial year.

2007-082006-072005-06

Number

Cost (£)

Number

Cost (£)

Number

Cost (£)

Big Lottery Fund

18

606,009

15

538,473

15

509,350

Arts Council England

8

172,484

9

157,002

9

253,050

Heritage Lottery Fund

6

240,193

6

222,820

5

211,472

Sport England

4

164,819

7

183,924

5

239,101

UK Sport

5

168,798

4

152,271

4

119,528

UK Film Council

2

75,136

2

69,404

2

82,009

Culture: Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made on the selection of the Find Your Talent pilot areas. (212578)

On 29 May 2008 we announced the 10 selected Find Your Talent pilots that will trial ways of offering children and young people a range of high quality cultural experiences for five hours a week, both in and out of school.

The organisations leading these pilots are:

Bolton borough council;

The Creative Foundation (serving Shepway District and including Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh);

Customs House (North and South Tyneside);

Hampshire county council;

Leeds Children's Services;

Leicestershire county council;

Liverpool City Region1 Partnership (serving three Merseyside neighbourhoods);

North Somerset;

Telford and Wrekin council; and

Tower Hamlets.

The pilots will begin their work in September 2008.

Departmental Inquiries

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what independent inquiries have been commissioned by his Department in the last five years; what the (a) purpose and (b) cost was of each; and what steps were taken following each. (211121)

DCMS regularly invites external sectoral experts to contribute to policy evaluation and reviews, but there have been no formal retrospective independent inquiries into decisions, or courses of actions, commissioned by DCMS during the last five years.

Departmental Marketing

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department and its agency spent on branding and marketing activity in 2007-08. (212028)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and its agency, The Royal Parks, spent a combined total of £39,922 on branding and marketing activity in 2007-08.

Departmental Translation Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was spent by his Department on translation and interpretation services in 2007-08, broken down by language. (205186)

The cost of translation and interpretation services in 2007-08 broken down by language were as follows:

Language

Cost (£)

Translation Services

Welsh

18,660.75

Interpretation Services

British Sign Language Interpreter

350

Football: Sports Grounds

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations his Department has received on the campaign for safe standing areas in top-flight football grounds in England in the last 12 months; what plans he has to meet with football clubs and supporters groups to discuss this matter; and if he will make a statement. (212848)

[holding answer 20 June 2008]: I have received a number of representations on the campaign for safe standing areas. I have discussed this matter with the Football Association, local authorities, the police and the Home Office. The consensus among all parties is that there is no wish to re-introduce any standing areas at grounds in the top two divisions.

No new evidence has been presented to suggest that there is a single more effective way of achieving safety as well as public order than all seater stadia. The Government therefore remain fully committed to the current policy.

Strip Clubs

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the Home Department on the regulation of lap dancing clubs. (212260)

I have had a number of meetings and telephone conversations with my hon. Friend, the Minister for Crime Reduction, about concerns relating to the regulation of lap dancing and similar establishments. He has agreed to consider, along with relevant ministerial colleagues, whether we need to do more to support local communities in controlling these establishments. As a first step, I have recently written to chief executives of local authorities to clarify the powers available under the Licensing Act and to seek their views on whether these, and other controls, are sufficient to respond to the concerns of local people. I am arranging for a copy of my letter to be deposited in the Library of the House.

Tourism

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effect of the global economic climate on tourism to the UK; what steps he plans to take to address those effects; and if he will make a statement. (210186)

It is too early to say if the current economic climate is affecting tourism to the UK. But indications for both inbound and domestic tourism remain positive for 2008.

The latest inbound tourism figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the number of visitors to the UK for the three months to April 2008 was, at 8.4 million, broadly the same as in 2007, and 5 per cent. up on the previous three months.

Northern Ireland

Crimes of Violence: Sexual Offences

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in Northern Ireland were (a) prosecuted for and (b) convicted of serious sexual assault in each of the last three years. (211337)

The following table outlines the number of prosecutions and convictions for serious sexual assaults by type of offence for the calendar years 2002 to 2006 (the latest available years).

Data are collated on the principal offence rule; so only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

Prosecutions and Convictions for serious sexual assault offences by type of offence 2004 to 2006

2004

2005

2006

Offence

Prosecutions

Convictions

Prosecutions

Convictions

Prosecutions

Convictions

Rape

29

15

21

4

32

11

Attempted rape

8

3

9

4

5

0

Gross indecency with child

5

3

10

6

6

5

Buggery with male person, 16 years or over without consent

1

0

0

0

0

0

Buggery with boy under 16 years of age

11

6

3

1

7

3

Buggery with a woman

1

1

0

0

0

0

Buggery with a girl

3

1

2

0

1

0

Unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under 14 years

4

4

4

3

3

3

Unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under 17 years

3

2

4

4

6

5

Incest by man on female

0

0

1

1

1

1

Forcibly abducting a female with intent to carnally know her

0

0

1

0

0

0

Indecent assault on female

89

57

85

51

109

73

Indecent assault on male

20

17

16

11

14

8

Indecent assault on female child

8

3

20

18

5

2

Indecent assault on male child

6

4

8

5

1

0

Indecent exposure with intent to assault a female

3

2

5

2

9

6

Total

191

118

189

110

199

117

Domestic Rates

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what records his Department holds on the size of the average domestic rate bill in Northern Ireland in each year since 1997. (205438)

Domestic Violence

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many cases of domestic violence were reported to the police in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years, broken down by (a) police command unit and (b) council area. (211349)

The Chief Constable has provided the following answer:

The following table details how many cases of domestic violence have been reported to the police in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years. The figures are broken down by police command unit, which map onto district council areas, with the exception of Belfast. The four command units for Belfast when combined reflect the council area. Protection of the public from violent and sexual offenders remains a top priority for government. The launch of the new five-year regional strategy to tackle sexual violence and abuse in Northern Ireland is aimed at reducing the unacceptably high level of these kinds of offences.

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Antrim

706

595

688

Ards

843

1,012

858

Armagh

482

497

534

Ballymena

584

516

600

Ballymoney

272

232

286

Banbridge

431

406

433

Carrickfergus

480

419

460

Castlereagh

432

493

485

Coleraine

1,072

1,183

998

Cookstown

503

386

367

Craigavon

1,403

1,460

1,283

Down

670

792

674

Dungannon and South Tyrone

406

476

355

East Belfast

1,336

1,513

1,376

Fermanagh

609

557

592

Foyle

1,691

1,561

1,742

Larne

313

272

329

Limavady

460

564

551

Lisburn

1,551

1,819

1,539

Magherafelt

345

342

323

Moyle

128

145

139

Newry and Mourne

960

954

832

Newtownabbey

973

941

963

North Belfast

2,157

2,231

2,199

North Down

919

867

862

Omagh

723

789

728

South Belfast

999

886

968

Strabane

498

479

484

West Belfast

1,113

1,069

1,428

Northern Ireland

23,059

23,456

23,076

Offensive Weapons: Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many pupils in Northern Ireland were found to be in illegal possession of (a) a weapon and (b) drugs on school premises in each of the last three years. (211347)

The Chief Constable has provided the following answer:

The number of pupils in Northern Ireland who have been found to be in illegal possession of a weapon on school premises in each of the last three years is as follows:

Number

2005-06

5

2006-07

9

2007-08

6

These figures are based on the following offences -possessing article with blade or point and possession of offensive weapon on school premises.

The number of pupils who have been found to be in illegal possession of drugs on school premises in each of the last three years is as follows:

Number

2005-06

5

2006-07

3

2007-08

1

The number of arrests for possession of drugs on school premises includes the offence of intent to supply.

Police Service of Northern Ireland: Recruitment

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were recruited to the Police Service of Northern Ireland from each Neighbourhood Renewal area in each of the last five years. (208233)

The Chief Constable has provided the following information:

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Campaign number

C5

C6

C7

C8

C9

C10

C11

C12

C13

Total

Belfast

2

4

4

1

4

3

2

5

3

28

Londonderry

2

1

2

1

1

0

0

1

1

9

Other

4

8

4

3

5

8

2

3

3

40

Notes:

1. Belfast includes: Andersonstown, Crumlin/Ardoyne, Falls/Clonard, Greater Shankill, Inner North Belfast, Outer West Belfast, Rathcoole, South West Belfast, Upper Ardoyne/Ballysillan, Upper Springfield/Whiterock.

2. Londonderry includes: Outer West Derry and Waterside.

3. Other includes: Bangor, Brownlow, Coleraine Churchlands, Coleraine East, Colin, Downpatrick, Enniskillen, Limavady, Lurgan, Newry, Portadown North West.

There were no recruits from the following Neighbourhood Renewal Areas: Armagh, Ballyclare, Ballymena, Coalisland, Dungannon, Inner East Belfast, Inner South Belfast, Ligoniel, Omagh, Strabane, Tullycarnet, Triax City Side.

This analysis is based on postcode information provided at time of application (correspondence address). Not all applicants provide a valid postcode.

The PSNI tasks its recruitment agent to advertise extensively across Northern Ireland to reach all sections of the community and remains committed to a police service that represents all communities in Northern Ireland.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of (a) mentoring or shadowing programmes and (b) pilot police cadet schemes as methods of increasing recruitment of young people from a Protestant background in inner city areas of Northern Ireland into the Police Service of Northern Ireland. (208235)

The Chief Constable has advised that the Police Service organises work experience schemes to promote an understanding of careers in policing. These schemes are not reviewed in order to specifically identify whether they are effective in attracting young people from a Protestant background in inner city areas of Northern Ireland.

There is no pilot police cadet scheme.

The PSNI tasks its recruitment agent to advertise extensively across Northern Ireland to reach all sections of the community and remains committed to a police service that represents all communities in Northern Ireland.

Racial Hatred

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were the victim of racially-motivated attacks in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years, broken down by (a) police command unit and (b) council district. (211348)

The Chief Constable has provided the following answer:

The following table details the number of people who have been the victim of racially-motivated attacks in each of the last three years. The figures are broken down by police command unit, which map onto district council areas, with the exception of Belfast. The four command units for Belfast when combined reflect the council area.

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Antrim

37

66

50

Ards

28

31

18

Armagh

20

14

15

Ballymena

53

41

63

Ballymoney

7

6

1

Banbridge

4

10

4

Carrickfergus

6

18

18

Castlereagh

21

23

33

Coleraine

37

26

17

Cookstown

21

17

11

Craigavon

78

71

81

Down

13

17

8

Dungannon and South Tyrone

102

58

38

East Belfast

74

79

81

Fermanagh

29

33

31

Foyle

27

19

15

Larne

2

8

3

Limavady

7

9

8

Lisburn

43

58

37

Magherafelt

17

22

16

Moyle

7

2

4

Newry and Mourne

35

42

24

Newtownabbey

52

78

84

North Belfast

62

82

98

North Down

20

47

35

Omagh

13

23

12

South Belfast

106

126

149

Strabane

2

3

2

West Belfast

13

18

20

Northern Ireland

936

1,047

976

Sheridan Group

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, columns 1387-8W, on the Sheridan Group, when his Department referred the matter to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI); when the PSNI responded; and if he will make public the response he received from the Chief Constable detailing the actions taken by the PSNI to investigate allegations of criminal activity by the Sheridan Group. (207872)

Following the allegations, the NIO contacted the PSNI on a number of occasions about the matter. These contacts were at the highest level in both organisations.

The Chief Constable subsequently advised that the PSNI had no evidence to suggest the Sheridan Group had been engaged in criminal activity. The action taken by the PSNI to investigate the allegations is a matter for the Chief Constable.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for how long British troops have been operating in Zabul Province; how many troops are based there; what their mission is; and what assessment he has made of the security situation in the province. (210641)

British troops of the Third Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, plus support elements, totalling up to around 400 personnel, deployed to Zabul Province on 3 June 2008. The troops form the Regional Battlegroup (South), whose mission is to undertake mobile operations against known Taliban areas of activity across the southern region, without being tied to a particular geographical area.

The security situation in Zabul province is generally similar to other areas of the southern region of Afghanistan, in that ISAF forces continue to make progress in disrupting Taliban activity and thereby enabling reconstruction and development activity.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many fatalities of ISAF members there have been over the last five years. (212458)

The UK armed forces have suffered 106 fatalities in Afghanistan since 2001. We do not comment on the casualties suffered by other nations, which are matters for the countries concerned.

Aircraft Carriers

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of high-tech contracts arising from the construction of the two new aircraft carriers will be competitively tendered. (212094)

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance estimates that over 60 per cent. of procurement subcontracts (by value) will be competitively tendered.

Armed Forces

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what support is provided to the families of British service personnel killed in action. (212166)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 27 February 2007, Official Report, column 1145W, to the hon. Member for Lancaster and Wyre (Mr Wallace).

Armed Forces: Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of (a) 1 star, (b) 2 star, (c) 3 star and (d) 4 star officers in the armed forces were serving abroad at the most recent date for which figures are available. (213161)

Figures for the stationed location of UK regular forces are available in Tri-Service Publication (TSP) 10: “UK Regular Forces stationed location”.

Information by rank of those who are serving abroad is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) 1 star, (b) 2 star, (c) 3 star and (d) 4 star officers in the armed forces occupy service accommodation as their main place of residence. (213162)

Information on whether service accommodation is the main residence of the officers concerned is not collected centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) 1 star, (b) 2 star, (c) 3 star and (d) 4 star officers there were in each of the services in each year since 1997. (213163)

Information on the strength of the UK regular forces by rank is published in table 2 of Tri-Service Publication 9, “UK Regular Forces Rank Structure” (TSP 9). Copies of the most recent and historical publications can be found at:

www.dasa.mod.uk

In TSP 9, 4 star officers are referred to as OF-9, 3 star officers as OF-8, 2 star officers as OF-7 and 1 star officers as OF-6. 1997 data are not available on our website and are provided in the following table:

UK regular strength of 1 to 4 star officers, at 1 April 1997

1 star

2 star

3 star

4 star

Naval Service

82

30

9

4

Army

170

43

10

6

RAF

95

34

8

5

Notes: 1. Figures less than 100 have been left unrounded so as not to obscure the data. 2. Those above 100 have been rounded to the nearest 10.

Armed Forces: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the income of a private soldier who had completed basic training was as a proportion of that of a (a) 1 star, (b) 2 star, (c) 3 star and (d) 4 star officer in each year since 1997. (213164)

The basic pay of a trained private soldier, expressed as proportion of that of a (a) 1 star, (b) 2 star, (c) 3 star and (d) 4 star officer in each year since 1997 is shown in the following table:

Privates annual pay expressed as a percentage of annual pay of a:

1 star officer

2 star officer

3 star officer

4 star officer

1997

16.34

15.09

13.34

9.88

1998

16.42

15.43

13.54

10.10

1999

16.47

15.60

13.69

10.21

2000

16.67

15.78

13.84

10.33

2001

16.98

15.36

13.76

10.33

2002

17.06

15.10

12.93

10.50

2003

17.15

15.36

13.16

10.69

2004

17.21

15.37

13.17

10.69

2005

17.21

15.37

13.04

10.24

2006

17.26

15.42

13.07

9.95

2007

18.27

16.55

14.03

10.36

2008

17.54

16.52

14.04

10.49

The minimum rate of pay has been used for each rank. The figures reflect basic pay only, i.e. those rates paid in accordance with an individual's rank, trade and seniority. Other elements of the military remuneration package, such as specialist pay and allowances, are not included.

Armed Forces: Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 9 May 2008, Official Report, column 1209W, on the armed forces: vehicles, for what reasons and when the restrictions on speed and distance in relation to dual purpose vehicles referred to in the answer were brought in; when they were brought in; and if he will make a statement. (212312)

[holding answer 19 June 2008]: Speeds and distance regulations for dual purpose vehicles (DPVs) were introduced in January 2005. They were brought in to mitigate some of the risks of using standard seating systems, established following a risk review.

Enhanced seating systems are being progressively phased in through the DPV fleet, a programme which began in May 2007, to improve comfort and safety. In September 2007 the speed and distance restrictions for enhanced seating systems were introduced.

Army: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the current average individual separated service rate is for each unit in the (a) infantry, (b) Royal Corps of Signals, (c) Royal Logistics Corps, (d) Royal Engineers and (e) Royal Artillery. (211974)