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Written Answers

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 5 November 2008

Leader of the House

Members: Allowances

To ask the Leader of the House what the limit on expenditure via the Communications Allowance in 2008-09 is, including transfers from Incidental Expenses Provision and Staffing Allowance to the maximum amount permissible. (232926)

The communications allowance is set at a maximum of £10,400 in 2008-09. This figure will be frozen for the next three years in accordance with the decision of the House on 3 July 2008.

The rules allow Members to transfer up to 10 per cent. of their staffing allowance, and up to 100 per cent. of their incidental expenses provision, into the communications allowance and Members may in certain limited circumstances carry forward an unspent balance or ask for an advance from the following year of up to 10 per cent. of the allowance.

Scotland

Departmental Mass Media

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which organisations provided media monitoring services to his Department in each of the last three years; and what the cost of each such contract was. (230225)

The Scotland Office recently renegotiated its media monitoring contract; however, the Office incurred the following expenditure on media monitoring:

£

PressData1

PA Mediapoint2

Newslink3

2005-06

18,000

Nil

Nil

2006-07

18.572

Nil

Nil

2007-08

12,150

5,651

2,892

1 Web-based press cuttings

2 Web-based news wire

3 Broadcast transcription

Departmental Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Rochford and Southend East (James Duddridge) of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 11W, on departmental procurement, what the monetary value of the expenditure undertaken in 2007-08 for goods or supplies was from (a) Bell Decorating Group, (b) ASM Locksmiths Ltd, (c) Celtic Manor Resort Limited, (d) Dentons Catering Equipment Limited, (e) John Lewis plc and (f) the Scottish Storytelling Centre; and what the purpose of the expenditure was in each case. (233389)

The information is as follows:

Supplier

Purpose of expenditure

Expenditure (£)

ASM Locksmiths, London

Lock repair

88.12

Bell Decorating, Edinburgh

Internal decoration of Melville Crescent premises

6,012.48

Celtic Manor Resort, South Wales

Overnight accommodation

435.00

Dentons Catering Equipment, London

Purchase of catering trolley

306.68

John Lewis

Purchase of kettles and television sets

2,111.90

Scottish Story Telling Centre, Edinburgh

Grant towards the production of “Identities: Tales of the United Kingdom”. This involved a grant towards a children's competition to celebrate 300 anniversary of the Union

11,900.00

Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre: Children

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland with reference to the announcement by his Department of 23 October 2008 on a pilot of an alternative to detention for children at Dungavel, when he expects the pilot to be operational. (232944)

I expect the Glasgow Alternatives to Detention pilot to be operational in early 2009. The exact date for commencement of the pilot will depend on the outcomes of ongoing discussions with our partners.

We are keen to minimise the detention of children where possible, and deal with the return of families in an appropriate and sensitive manner. The procedure will empower the families to make informed decisions on a return home through voluntary departure, and hopefully reduce the need for the enforced removals.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how long the trial for the pilot of an alternative to detention for children at Dungavel will last. (232950)

The Glasgow Alternatives to Detention pilot is expected to last 18 months, although this will be kept under review once the pilot is operational.

Electoral Commission Committee

Political Parties: Finance

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman), of 7 October 2008, Official Report, column 547W, on political parties: finance, what the name of the public sector consultant commissioned to provide public sector auditor advice is; and what the cost of this contract is. (232936)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has engaged the temporary services of Mr. Peter Norris, a professionally qualified auditor, through a recruitment agency to provide public sector auditor advice two days per week within its party and election finance directorate. This role is paid pro rota at pay level 1 which for London based staff ranges from £59,045-£74,997.

The Electoral Commission further informs me that it has recently contracted with PricewaterhouseCoopers to provide assistance with developing standard requirements and guidance on the completion of statements of accounts. The value of this contract is approximately £26,000.

Transport

Bus Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made towards achieving the target of increasing bus passenger journeys by 2010 by 10 per cent., as stated in his Department’s Transport 10 Year Plan of 2000; and against what benchmark progress towards achieving this target is being measured. (232013)

The target to increase bus passenger journeys by 10 per cent. by 2010 has now been superseded by one of a set of public service agreements (PSA) published in the cross-Governmental Spending Review 2004.

The new target outlines our aim, by 2010, to increase the use of public transport (bus and light rail) by more than 12 per cent. in England compared with 2000 levels, with growth in every region in the last three years.

With bus and light rail patronage already at 19 per cent. above the baseline, we are already on track to meet this target. London is largely responsible for the achievement.

While we are on course to achieve the national patronage target, the target for growth in patronage in every region remains challenging.

Bypasses

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made towards achieving the target of creating 100 new bypasses on trunk and local roads by 2010, as stated in his Department’s 2000 Transport 10 Year Plan; and which bypass road schemes were (a) started and (b) completed in each year since 2000. (232011)

The 10-year plan published in July 2000 set out a broad package of measures for improving transport. Over the 10-year period individual projects of the Highways Agency and local highway authorities would flow from the outcome of multi modal studies and decisions taken through regional transport strategies and local transport plans. Although the 10-year plan gave an indicative figure for bypasses this is not a target that the Government monitor performance against

On (a) the following list sets out the bypasses which have been started since 2000. On (b) I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs. Villiers) on 22 October 2008, Official Report, column 415W.

2000

A27 Polegate Bypass

A43 Silverstone Bypass

A43 Whitfield Turn-Brackley Hatch Improvement

A43 M40-B4031 Dualling

Burntwood Bypass Phases 1, 2 and 3 Staffordshire

A6023 Denaby Main Diversion Doncaster

A428 Crick Bypass Northampton (developer funded)

2001

A6 Great Glen Bypass

A6 Clapham Bypass

A66 Stainburn and Great Clifton Bypass

A500 Basford, Hough, Shavington Bypass

A650 Bingley Relief Road

A41 Aston Clinton Bypass

A151 Weston Bypass, Lincolnshire

C541 Addlethorpe Bypass and Bends Improvement, Lincolnshire

A143 Broome-Ellingham, Norfolk

A131 Great Leighs, Essex

A63 Selby Bypass

2002

A5 Nesscliffe Bypass

A10 Wadesmill to Colliers End Bypass

A6 Rothwell-Desborough Bypass

A6 Rushden and Higham Ferrers Bypass

A6 Alvaston Improvement

Barnsley Coalfields Link Road (aka Shafton Bypass)

A53 Hodnett Bypass Shropshire

A4146 Stoke Hammond and Linslade bypass (Northern Link), Buckinghamshire

A527 Biddulp Inner Bypass Staffordshire

Wyre Piddle Bypass Worcestershire

2003

A21 Lamberhurst Bypass

St. Clements Way Thurrock (aka West Thurrock Marshes Relief Road)

A350 Semington-Melksham Diversion Wiltshire

Mansfield Ashfield Regeneration Route, Nottinghamshire

2004

A5 Weeford-Fazeley Improvement

A47 Thorney Bypass

A421 Great Barford Bypass

A607 Rearsby Bypass, Leicestershire

A167 Chilton Bypass, Durham

A158 Coastal Access Improvement Phase 1—Partney Bypass, Lincolnshire

A57 Cadishead Way (Brinell Drive to City Boundary), Salford

A505 Baldock Bypass, Herfordshire

Barnstaple Western Bypass, Devon

Cradley Heath Town Relief Road, Sandwell

Sheffield Northern Inner Relief Road Stage 2 (Northern Section)

2005

A428 West Haddon Bypass, Northampton (developer funded)

South Lowestoft Relief Road, Suffolk

A142 Fordham Bypass, Cambridgeshire

A38 Northfield Regeneration Relief Road, Birmingham

Rugely Eastern Bypass Stage 2, Staffordshire

A4146 Stoke Hammond and Linslade Western Bypass, Buckinghamshire

Gloucester South West Bypass

2006

A66 Carkin Moor to Scotch Corner Improvement

A590 High and Low Newton Bypass

A419 Blunsdon Bypass

A38 Dobwalls Bypass

A197 Pegswood Bypass, Northumberland

A1198 Papworth Everard Bypass, Cambridgeshire

A612 Gedling Integrated Transport Scheme, Nottinghamshire

A429 Barford Bypass, Warwickshire

A158/C541 Coastal Access Improvement Scheme, Phase 2—Burgh Le Marsh Bypass Lincolnshire

A165 Reighton Bypass, North Yorkshire

Ridgmont Bypass and Woburn Link Road, Bedfordshire

2007

A3 Hindhead Improvement

A69 Haydon Bridge Bypass

Tunstall Northern Bypass, Stoke

Rugby Western Relief Road, Warwickshire

A47 Earl Shilton Bypass, Leicestershire

Bedford Western Bypass, Bedfordshire

Owen Street Level Crossing Relief Road, Sandwell

Selly Oak Relief Road, Birmingham

A595 Parton-Lillyhall Improvement

A58 Blackbrook Diversion, St. Helens, Merseyside

2008

A1073 Spalding to Eye Improvement Scheme, Lincolnshire/Peterborough

B1115 Stowmarket Relief Road, Suffolk

A34 Alderley Edge and Nether Alderley Bypass, Cheshire (advanced works started in September 2008—main works due January 2009)

A628 Cudworth and West Green Bypass, Barnsley

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many civil servants not in the senior civil service work in each of his Department's bargaining units on a (a) headcount and (b) full-time equivalent basis; and how many of these are employed on a (i) fixed-term, (ii) casual and (iii) permanent basis, broken down by Civil Service grade and pay band. (231746)

[holding answer 30 October 2008]: The Central Department and its agencies recorded the following total (a) headcount and (b) full-time equivalent figures across the various pay bands for (iii) permanent and (i) fixed term appointees:

End of September 2008 figures

Permanent

Fixed term

PB1

FTE

1,896.6

35.7

Headcount—Staff in Post

2,164

38

PB2

FTE

4,636.1

107.2

Headcount—Staff in Post

4,998

120

PB3

FTE

4,683.4

42.4

Headcount—Staff in Post

4,915

50

PB4

FTE

2,135.0

49.6

Headcount—Staff in Post

2,183

53

PB5

FTE

1,247.6

18.0

Headcount—Staff in Post

1,275

19

PB6

FTE

925.9

15.2

Headcount—Staff in Post

937

17

PB7

FTE

279.5

11.5

Headcount—Staff in Post

298

13

TM1A (Traffic Officers)

FTE

307.9

0.0

Headcount—Staff in Post

312

0

TM1B (Traffic Officers)

FTE

1,026.0

0.0

Headcount—Staff in Post

1,031

0

TM2 (Traffic Officers)

FTE

229.0

0.0

Headcount—Staff in Post

229

0

TM3 (Traffic Officers)

FTE

42.8

0.0

Headcount—Staff in Post

43

0

Total

FTE

17,410.0

279.7

Headcount—Staff in Post

18,385

310

Note:

All figures show end of September 2008.

Traffic officers are employed solely by the Highways Agency.

The Government Car and Despatch Agency could provide the information requested only at disproportionate cost.

The following (ii) casual employees were recorded within the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. Casual employees are not employed anywhere else within the Department.

End of September 2008 figures

Casual

PB1

FTE

186.4

Headcount—Staff in Post

220

PB2

FTE

206.9

Headcount—Staff in Post

223

Total

FTE

393.3

Headcount—Staff in Post

443

A breakdown of all data by bargaining unit can has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) contractors and (b) consultants work in each of his Department's bargaining units on a (a) headcount and (b) full-time equivalent basis. (231748)

[holding answer 30 October 2008]: The central Department and its agencies recorded the following headcount figures for (a) contractors and (b) consultants:

End of September figures

Contractors and consultants

DfT Central

262

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

58

Highways Agency

641

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

12

Vehicle Certification Agency

43

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

25

Total

1,041

Unfortunately, (a) contractors and (b) consultants had to be combined. This information is not available separately.

Contract and consultancy roles are generally recorded as one full-time equivalent position. Therefore the (b) full-time equivalent figure is the same as the headcount figure shown above.

The Driving Standards Agency and the Government Car and Despatch Agency could provide the information requested only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Temporary Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether any (a) contractor, (b) consultant and (c) member of staff from an employment agency, working in (i) his Department and (ii) DFT Human Resources was hired by single tender action. (232643)

[holding answer 3 November 2008]: Both the Department (i) and DFT Human Resources (ii) currently have contractors and consultants hired by single tender action.

Information about single tender actions for employment agency staff could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. However, agency staff are normally sourced through call-off contracts.

Driving: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what mechanisms are in place to alert the (a) police and (b) other relevant authorities to novice drivers who lose their licence having accumulated six penalty points and do not pass another driving test, but continue to have vehicles registered in their names. (232713)

[holding answer 3 November 2008]: Where a driver has driving entitlement revoked under the provisions of the New Drivers Act they must surrender their full licence and the revocation is recorded on the drivers' database. The police have full access to the data, at all hours and at the roadside.

The registered keeper of a vehicle is responsible for taxing the vehicle and for ensuring the registration details are kept up to date, but there is no requirement that they hold a driving licence. However, the police have full access to a vehicles' data, including the details of the registered keeper, at all hours and at the roadside.

London Airports: Smoking

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many police officers have (a) given a warning to and (b) arrested a passenger after a smoke alarm has been set off by a passenger smoking in a toilet at (i) Heathrow, (ii) Gatwick and (iii) Stansted airports in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. (231639)

[holding answer 4 November 2008]: We have been advised by the Home Office that the information requested on arrests is not collected centrally.

The arrests collection held by the Home Office covers arrests for recorded crime (notifiable offences) only, broken down at a main offence group level, covering categories such as violence against the person and robbery. Offences of illegal smoking in a public place are not notifiable offences and do not form part of the arrests collection.

Information on warnings given by police for these offences are not reported to the Home Office.

Motor Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles are registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; and how much revenue was generated from the licence fee in the latest period for which figures are available. (232699)

The total number of active registered vehicles as at 30 June 06.2008 is estimated to be 36.6 million.

Total vehicle excise duty collected for the financial year 2007-08 was £4,980 million (net of refunds).

Motor Vehicles: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many drivers were prosecuted for (a) driving without insurance and (b) driving without a licence in each year since 1997; and what the average fine for each of these offences was in each of those years. (229947)

I have been asked to reply.

Available information held by my Department for the offences of ‘using a motor vehicle uninsured against third party risks’ and ‘driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence’, from 1997-2006 (latest available) are contained in the following tables. Data for 2007 should be available at the end of November 2008.

Table A: Proceedings and average fines imposed at magistrates courts for the offence of using a motor vehicle uninsured against third party risks1, England and Wales, 1997-2006

Total proceedings

Average fine (£)

1997

397,133

224

1998

390,074

214

1999

387,419

212

2000

391,659

203

2001

388,298

150

2002

410,398

155

2003

447,267

160

2004

441,819

169

2005

392,763

177

2006

353,481

185

1 Offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 s. 143 (2).

Notes:

1. As from 1 June 2003, ‘driving a motor vehicle while uninsured against third party risks’ became a fixed penalty offence.

2. It is known that for some police force areas, the reporting of court proceedings in particular those relating to summary motoring offences is less than complete.

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

Table B: Proceedings and average fines imposed at magistrates courts for the offence of driving without a licence1, England and Wales 1997-2006

Total proceedings

Average fine (£)

1997

217,490

65

1998

225,324

59

1999

236,188

58

2000

254,077

61

2001

259,742

61

2002

277,107

64

2003

305,339

66

2004

311,006

68

2005

272,954

69

2006

230,647

71

1. Offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 s. 87 (1) and (2) as amended.

Notes:

1. It is known that for some police force areas, the reporting of court proceedings in particular those relating to summary motoring offences is less than complete.

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

Railways

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made towards increasing rail use by 50 per cent. by 2010 as referred to in his Department’s Transport Ten Year Plan of 2000; what the baseline year is against which this target is being measured; and how many passenger kilometres were travelled in each year since 2000. (232007)

As shown in the following table, rail passenger kilometres have grown by 28 per cent. since 2000-01, the base year for forecasting used in the 10-year plan.

Great Britain 2000-01 to 2007-08

Passenger kilometres (billions)

2000-01

38.2

2001-02

39.1

2002-03

39.7

2003-04

40.9

2004-05

41.8

2005-06

43.2

2006-07

46.2

2007-08

49.0

Growth between 2000-01 and 2007-08 (percentage)

28

Source:

ORR

Railways: Overcrowding

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria his Department relied upon when the decision was made to redefine to 10 people standing for every 100 seats what constitutes overcrowding on the railways. (229953)

[holding answer 27 October 2008]: No decision was made to redefine the Department for Transport’s planning criteria for train crowding. It remains unchanged from the earlier Strategic Rail Authority national criteria for crowding which, with the exception of CENTRO services before 2007, has been in place nationally since 2002.

The previous Centra standard was based on traditional compartment-style slam door trains with no designed standing space for passengers. These trains have now been replaced with modern sliding door trains.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made towards achieving the target of widening 5 per cent. of the strategic road network by 2010, as stated in the Transport 10 Year Plan of 2000 issued by his Department’s predecessor; against what baseline this target is measured; and what percentage of the strategic road network was widened in each year since 2000. (232014)

The 10-year plan published in July 2000 set out a broad package of measures for improving transport. Over the 10-year period, individual projects in the Highways Agency’s programme would flow from the outcome of multi modal studies and decisions taken through regional transport strategies. Although the plan gave an indicative figure for widening the strategic road network, this is not a target that the Government monitors performance against.

The following table provides detail of the schemes widened from 2000 to 2007 (the last full year for which data is available).

Year opened to traffic

Scheme

Total scheme length (kilometres)

2000

A30/A35 Honiton-Exeter (DBFO)

21.0

M66 Denton-Middleton (Contract 1)

6.0

M66 Denton-Middleton (Contract 3)

9.0

2001

No widening schemes completed

0

2002

No widening schemes completed

0

2003

A2/M2 Cobham to Junction 4 widening

10.6

A11 Roudham Heath-Attleborough Improvement

9.9

A1 Willowburn-Denwick Improvement

4.0

A46 Newark-Lincoln Improvement

13.0

A1033 Hedon Road Improvement

6.7

2004

A120 Stansted to Braintree Improvement

23.0

A2 Bean-Cobham Phase 1 Bean-Pepperhill

4.1

2005

A1(M) Wetherby-Walshford

5.0

M5 Junctions 17-18a Northbound Climbing Lane (Hallen Hill)

2.1

M4 Junction 18 Eastbound Diverge

3.0

M25 J12-15 Widening

11.4

2006

A1(M) Ferrybridge-Hook Moor

17.0

M60 J5-8 Widening

7.4

M5 Junctions 19-20 Southbound Climbing Lane (Naish Hill)

3.4

M5 Junctions 19-20 Northbound Climbing Lane (Tickenham Hill)

3.4

A249 Iwade-Queenborough Improvement (DBFO)

5.0

2007

A11 Attleborough Bypass

5.2

A428 Caxton Common to Hardwick Improvement

7.6

A30 Bodmin Indian Queens Improvement

11.5

A66 Carkin Moor to Scotch Corner Improvement

6.1

A66 Greta Bridge to Stephen Bank Improvement

4.7

M1 J31 to J32 Widening

2.0

Safety Belts

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of car occupants killed in road deaths were in the (a) front and (b) rear seats (i) wearing and (ii) not wearing seatbelts in the most recent year for which figures are available. (232712)

[holding answer 3 November 2008]: In 2007, there were a total of 1,432 car occupant fatalities in reported personal injury road accidents. Of these, 1,256 (88 per cent.) were front seat occupants and 175 (12 per cent.) were rear seat occupants.

Research reported in the published ‘Second Review of the Government's Road Safety Strategy’ and ‘Road Safety Research Report No. 76: Trends in Fatal Car-occupant Accidents’, both published on 26 February 2007, estimates that about a third (34 per cent.) of fatally injured car occupants were not wearing their seatbelts. A further 50 per cent. of cases involved a fatality wearing a seatbelt and in 16 per cent. of cases seat belt use was either unknown/unrecorded or non applicable.

85 per cent. of fatalities not wearing a seat belt were driving or travelling in the front passenger seat; fatalities were not wearing seat belts in 58 per cent. of accidents involving a rear seat death.

The Department has just launched its latest seatbelt campaign.

Trade Unions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many civil servants in his Department were seconded to work for (a) trades unions and (b) the Trades Union Congress in each year since 2003. (229103)

The central Department and its agencies have seconded no employees to (a) trade unions or to the (b) Trades Union Congress since 2003.

Transport: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what projections his Department has made of the level of (a) private investment in and (b) public spending on (i) the railways, (ii) roads and (iii) other forms of transport infrastructure between 2009 and 2014. (232032)

The long-term funding guideline (LTFG) for transport, announced as part of the outcome of the comprehensive spending review in October 2007, sets out indicative plans for total spending within the Department for Transport’s departmental expenditure limit of some £73 billion over the five years from 2009-10 to 2013-14. Of this total, some £19 billion is expected to be spent on railways (including DfT’s grant contributions towards the costs of Crossrail). £19 billion is expected to be spent on roads, along with a significant proportion of a further £4 billion identified as capital funding within ‘regional funding allocations’ (RFAs). The balance of the RFAs, plus the remaining £31 billion of the LTFG is planned to be spent on other transport services and infrastructure.

These figures do not include spending by Transport for London funded through its use of farebox revenues or Prudential Borrowing. The figures also exclude other local authority revenue funded through general grant (paid by CLG) and council tax, and any investment funded through Prudential Borrowing.

The DfT has made no comprehensive projections of levels of private investment in transport infrastructure.

Waterloo Station

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 4 June 2008 to my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr. Davey), Official Report, column 946W, on Waterloo station, whether the train operating company operating longer trains will be required to pay proportionately greater track access charges to Network Rail. (232714)

[holding answer 3 November 2008]: Train operating companies operating longer trains will be required to pay proportionately greater track access charges to Network Rail. This is due to the track access agreement variable charges being calculated by vehicle mileage.

Northern Ireland

Departmental Older Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people aged over (a) 55 and (b) 60 years were recruited by his Department in 2007-08; and what percentage in each case this was of the number of new recruits. (228748)

None of those people recruited to the Northern Ireland Office in 2007-08 has been over 55 years of age.

Until recently, age requirements for appointment to the civil service were that appointees should have reached the age of 16 on or before 1 July prior to the date of appointment, and be less than 65 years of age at the date of appointment. This policy has recently been reviewed and, with effect from 1 September 2008, there is no longer an upper age limit for appointees.

Departmental Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many civil servants working in his Department have pensions with a cash equivalent transfer value of over £1 million. (229546)

It is not appropriate to disclose pension information for civil servants other than board members whose details are shown in the Remuneration Report in annual Resource Accounts. A copy of the Northern Ireland Office Resource Accounts for financial year 2007-08 can be found in the Library or accessed electronically using the following link:

http://www.nio.gov.uk/resource_accounts_2007-08.08_resource_accounts.pdf

Northern Ireland Certification Officer

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has Ministerial responsibility for the Northern Ireland Certification Officer. (233539)

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has no ministerial responsibility in respect of the appointment of the Northern Ireland Certification Officer for Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations. This is a devolved matter for the Northern Ireland Department of Employment and Learning.

Parades: Belfast

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions the Northern Ireland Parades Commission has had with the organisers of the Belfast Pride Parade since 2 August 2008. (232876)

This is an operational matter for the Parades Commission. I have asked the Parades Commission Secretary to reply to the hon. Member directly, and will arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House and the Official Report.

Public Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what public relations companies are retained by his Department. (232872)

The Northern Ireland Office, excluding its Agencies and NDPBs, does not retain any public relations companies.

House of Commons Commission

House of Commons Staff (Sustainable Travel)

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what steps the Commission takes to encourage House of Commons staff to adopt sustainable travel to work options. (232750)

The Commission and the Management Board are committed to increasing environmental sustainability in the services the House Service delivers and in the way they operate. There are a number of initiatives which encourage staff to adopt sustainable travel to work options:

Transport loans—available to permanent and fixed-term employees with more than two months’ service. Loans are available for either a season ticket to cover journeys to and from work by public transport and/or a bicycle for travel to and from work. In the last financial year there were 345 season ticket loans and seven bicycle loans.

The House encourages cycling to work by providing a range of facilities across the Estate for bicycle storage and shower facilities for cyclists and others. There are currently 175 bicycle parking spaces on the House of Commons estate. Of these spaces, 36 have been added since 2007; 12 in Norman Shaw North inner courtyard and 24 in Canon Row.

Following discussions with the parliamentary authorities, Westminster city council has provided 46 additional on-street bicycle parking spaces on Millbank and six on Victoria Embankment just north of Portcullis House since 2007.

There will be a significant amount of work in the coming months to develop an environmental strategy for the House, and there is scope to develop a sustainable travel to work policy as part of that wider strategy.

Cycling

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what plans the Commission has to encourage House of Commons staff to purchase bicycles under the Cycle to Work scheme. (232868)

The possibility of implementing a cycle to work scheme for staff of the House is currently being investigated. There are a number of issues still to be resolved, but it is hoped to reach a decision in the next two months.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British casualties there have been in Afghanistan as a result of (a) military action and (b) other causes since May 2006. (232906)

Since May 2006 a total of 1,840 British casualties have been admitted to a field hospital in Afghanistan. 485 of these casualties were admitted to a field hospital as a result of military action (defined as wounded in action) and a further 1,355 were admitted with disease or non-battle injuries over the same period.

Casualty statistics for UK military and civilian personnel in Afghanistan are routinely updated each fortnight on the MOD website. The tables can be found at:

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FactSheets/OperationsFactsheets/OperationsInAfghanistanBritishCasualties.htm

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the projected net cost is of military operations in Afghanistan in (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2009-10. (232907)

The highly changeable nature of operations means that we are not able to provide accurate forecast costs for operations in Afghanistan until the winter supplementary estimates published later this month and for 2009-10 in the MOD's main estimates due to be published in April 2009.

Armed Forces: Deployment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance is given to members of the armed forces on (a) completion of a will prior to initial deployment and (b) the review of the will prior to each subsequent deployment; and what provision is made to ensure (i) the personal privacy of the individual making a will and (ii) the availability of an officer qualified to give advice. (232668)

Service personnel are reminded of the importance of making a will or reviewing it prior to each operational deployment. Service personnel may opt to use an MOD form or make private arrangements through a solicitor. Where an individual chooses to use the MOD form, they seal it, once completed and signed by a witness, in an official envelope that lists the service person’s basic details. The envelope is then stored securely at the Document Handling Centre until discharge or the submission of a revised will, when the sealed envelope is returned to the individual, or the death of the service person when the will is sent to the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre for forwarding to the executor. Although the services do not give advice on making a will, service personnel serving overseas can obtain guidance on what factors should be considered from service legal branches.

Armed Forces: Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average length of time spent in decompression was in (a) Cyprus and (b) elsewhere by troops returning from (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan in the most recent period for which figures are available. (233040)

The average length of time spent in decompression on Cyprus by troops returning from both Iraq and Afghanistan is 24 hours.

We believe this duration strikes the right balance between giving our people the opportunity to wind down at the end of an arduous operational tour whilst also meeting their very understandable desire to be reunited with friends and family as quickly as possible after a lengthy period away from home.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what proportion of regular troops returning from theatre undertook decompression in (a) Cyprus and (b) elsewhere in the most recent period for which figures are available; (233041)

(2) what proportion of reserve forces returning from theatre undertook decompression in (a) Cyprus and (b) elsewhere in the most recent period for which figures are available.

Regular and reserve troops from all formed units returning from active service in Iraq and Afghanistan undertake a period of decompression after leaving theatre. This decompression either takes place in Cyprus, if the troops are returning to permanent bases in the UK or Germany; or at the Al-Udeid base in Qatar, if returning to permanent bases in Cyprus.

Armed Forces: Insurance

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department negotiates insurance policy packages for service personnel. (233149)

Yes. MOD facilitates through commercial providers two commercial insurance schemes; PAX and Service Life insurance (SLI). PAX provides personal accident cover and SLI provide life cover for service personnel. However, these schemes are voluntary and are additional to the benefits which MOD already provides under the Armed Forces Pension and Compensation schemes.

Both PAX and SLI provide war risks cover, and neither increases its premiums for personnel deployed on operations. PAX premiums are the same for all personnel regardless of risks and the scheme has a membership of roughly one-third of the armed forces. The premiums of SLI vary according to gender, age and smoking history and are competitive because of a unique partnering agreement between MOD and the insurers.

Armed Forces: Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces personnel will have received payments from the armed forces pension fund in 2008 by the end of the year. (231142)

The information requested for 2008 is not yet available as the Resource Accounts for the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) for financial year 2007-08 have yet to be finalised. They will be available in the Library of the House by 31 January 2009.

The latest information available is for financial year 2006-07 and is as follows:

Pensions in payment as at 31 March 2007

Number

Members

266,864

Dependants

68,080

Ghurkhas

26,077

Total

383.021

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average payment per person to members of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme was in 2008. (232827)

The armed forces pension scheme (AFPS) resource accounts for financial year 2007-08 have yet to be finalised, but will be available in the Library of the House by 31 January 2009. However, the average annual pension paid to members as at 31 March 2007 was £6,936.461.

1 This figure is based upon pensions paid to former members of the armed forces, their spouses and dependants.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many individuals belong to the (a) old and (b) new Armed Forces Pension Scheme. (232835)

The armed forces pension scheme (AFPS) resource accounts for financial year 2007-08 have yet to be finalised, but will be available in the Library of the House by 31 January 2009. However, as at 31 March 2007, the number of members of the AFPS 1975 and AFPS 2005 are shown as follows:

Pension scheme

Active1

Pensioners2

Deferred3

AFPS 1975

162,060

382,684

AFPS 2005

23,350

337

Total

190,410

383,021

329,989

1 Active members are those currently serving in the armed forces, who have not yet been awarded a pension.

2 Pensioners are those who have left the service, their spouses and dependants, who are in receipt of a pension.

3 Deferred are preserved pensions that are payable when an individual reaches the age of 60 (AFPS 1975) or 65 (AFPS 2005). A separate breakdown of personnel who are members of AFPS 1975 and AFPS 2005 cannot currently be provided.

Armed Forces: Postal Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what limits have been placed on the (a) size, (b) weight and (c) number of parcels sent through the Christmas Parcel Appeal for members of the armed forces serving in theatres abroad; on what criteria these limits were established; and if he will make a statement. (233047)

There is no Christmas parcel appeal. Members of the public are being asked not to send unsolicited mail and packages, which could slow down the mail from friends and families of loved ones deployed away from home at Christmas time.

Under the Christmas freepost or the free mail service, however, small packets and packages (not exceeding the size of a shoe box, or weighing more than 2 kg) may be sent to a named individual. There is no limit to the number of these which may be sent. These conditions were set to optimise weight distribution on RAF aircraft en route to theatre, and on transport used within theatre, where HM forces mail, while given a very high priority, is only carried using spare capacity behind essential supplies of ammunition, medical supplies, food and water.

Armed Forces: Recruitment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) applicants to and (b) recruits into each of HM armed services came from each ethnic origin in 2007; and what targets he has set for recruitment of members of ethnic minority groups in 2008. (232576)

The information is not held in the format requested. Nevertheless, I am able to provide the following details of the overall number of UK based (i.e. not Commonwealth) ethnic minority (EM) recruits:

Financial year 2007-08

Intake goal

UK EM goals (Percentage)

Applicants

Number

Percentage

Naval Service

3.5

223

85

2.1

Army

4.3

197

413

3.6

RAF

3.6

353

52

1.8

1 Army officer applicants only: Other ranks details not available due to problems with new management information system.

Departmental UK EM recruiting goals form part of the overall armed forces EM representation goal (8 per cent. by 2013). A new round of UK EM recruiting goals began in financial year 2006-07. From 1 April 2006, and for the next four years the goals were set at 0.5 per cent. above the previous year's achievement for each service, or rolling forward the previous year's target—whichever was higher. The UK EM recruiting goals for FY 2008-09 are therefore:

Naval Service: 3.5 per cent;

Army: 4.3 per cent;

RAF: 3.6 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many recruits to (a) each of the armed forces and (b) each regiment were from each socio-economic background in the latest period for which information is available. (232577)

A person's socio-economic background is not relevant to service in the armed forces. As this information is not required, applicants are not questioned as to their socio-economic background, and no details are kept.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take steps to (a) identify and (b) make special provision for care leavers entering HM Armed Services. (232611)

Where a care leaver under the age of 18 wishes to join the armed forces, the local authority will be required to sign the consent form in lieu of a parent. Where the individual is over the age of 18, they may choose to tell the armed forces but there is no obligation on them to do so.

The services recognise the local authority’s statutory responsibility to take reasonable steps to keep in touch, or to re-establish contact if lost, with their care leavers, up to the age of 21. They will forward correspondence from local authorities to the individuals concerned. Care leavers are offered the support of the single service welfare services who may also liaise with the appropriate local authority on their behalf if necessary, and given access, should they request it, to the responsible local authority’s services to which they are entitled.

In addition, an identified care leaver being discharged early (i.e. with the less than four years of service) will be classified as a potentially vulnerable service leaver and offered additional assistance with housing, employment and other support as required.

Armed Forces: Uniforms

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the tender process for the future cut and sew contract will begin. (233004)

Work for the cut and sew contract tendering process is already under way and the advertisement is likely to be placed in the European Journal and the Contracts Bulletin by early 2009.

Armed Forces: Voting

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force personnel registered to vote in each year since 1997. (233056)

The information requested is not available prior to 2005. The following information was obtained from questionnaires sent to random samples of service personnel.

Percentage

Royal Navy

Army

RAF

2005

73

52

67

2006

84

51

72

2007

81

62

75

Armoured Fighting Vehicles: Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his Answer of 15 October 2008, Official Report, column 1248W, on armoured fighting vehicles: procurement, what plans his Department has to order military vehicles other than those of the models detailed in the Answer. (230158)

The Department has plans at varying degrees of maturity within its equipment programme to order various military vehicles. The most notable projects are Future Rapid Effects System, Operational Utility Vehicle System and Terrier Armoured Engineer Tractor. Additionally, I refer the hon. Member to the announcement on Protected Mobility vehicles to support current operations made by the Secretary of State for Defence on 29 October 2008.

Army: Self-mutilation

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date the study of self-harm at Catterick barracks described in evidence to the Defence Select Committee in its Duty of Care inquiry 2004-05 was completed; what the conclusions and recommendations of the study were; and if he will place a copy in the Library. (232809)

I believe my hon. Friend is referring to a study into self-harm carried out by a clinical psychologist based at Catterick but looking at incidents across the whole Army. A final written report was not completed. However, in September 2007, the clinical psychologist briefed the Army Suicide Prevention Working Group on his findings.

Conventional Forces Europe Treaty

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the (a) status and (b) effectiveness of the Conventional Forces Europe Treaty. (232601)

[holding answer 3 November 2008]: The United Kingdom, along with NATO allies, continues to honour all our obligations under the treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe (CFE) although Russia suspended its participation on 12 December 2007. With NATO allies, we therefore continue to promote engagement with Russia with a view to reaching an agreed way forward. Russia's actions in Georgia have called into question its commitment to the principles on which stability and security in Europe are based, principles which underpin the CFE regime. Nevertheless, with NATO allies, we remain firmly committed to the CFE treaty and wish to achieve the earliest possible entry into force of the Agreement on Adaptation.

The CFE treaty has enabled the unprecedented provision for information exchanges, on-site inspections (over 4 000 on-site inspections have been conducted) and on-site monitoring of the destruction of above limit equipment. It has reduced military capability across the treaty area (60,000 items of treaty limited equipment have been destroyed or removed from its area of application) and it has reduced the potential for surprise attack in the treaty area. The resulting transparency measures underpin European confidence and security building efforts.

Departmental Information and Communications Technology

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people are employed on the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) programme on overseas solutions (a) in the United Kingdom and (b) at each overseas location; and if he will make a statement. (232102)

The Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) programme does not explicitly differentiate between those staff working on the solutions required to deliver to sites in the UK and overseas.

Given that the DII footprint extends to some 2,000 sites, providing a detailed breakdown of DII staff numbers by site, and/or location, could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) civilians, (b) serving members of the armed forces and (c) consultants (i) are and (ii) have been employed in the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) programme; and if he will make a statement. (232103)

The NAO report published 4 July 2008 noted the number of staff within the Department's Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) and Integrated Project Team (IPT) elements of the programme was 570. This comprised some 490 civilian and 80 serving military (rounded). The number of consultants employed in specific roles numbered around 180 (SRO and IPT combined). Staff employed by the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) delivery partner, the Atlas consortium, vary but are typically 2,800. A further 91 staff, civilians and serving military, were employed in the Department's top level budget areas, again as identified in the NAO report.

In order for the Ministry of Defence to calculate the total number of civilians, serving members of the armed forces and consultants that have ever worked on the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) programme, the Department would need to take into account staff turnover, military rotation, delivery partner engagement and each contract that has been placed with consultancy firms; this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made on the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) programme in Kathmandu; when he expects the project to be completed; and if he will make a statement. (232108)

Kathmandu presents particular challenges for the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) programme given its remoteness from the UK mainland. The DII programme has already delivered an interim infrastructure to support the implementation of the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) application in Kathmandu and the Department assesses that the DII(F) solution can be completed by the end of 2009.

Departmental Liability

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what dates in each of the last five years his Department informed the House of the creation of contingent liabilities relating to his Department or its non-departmental public bodies. (232739)

The Ministry of Defence informed the House of contingent liabilities on the following dates:

2004

11 March

2 December

2005

5 April

2006

22 May

2007

26 November

2008

29 January

30 June

7 October

In addition, the Department informed the chairmen of the Public Accounts and House of Commons Defence Committees of a commercially sensitive contingent liability, which is no longer extant, on 28 November 2007.

Departmental Public Participation

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many citizens’ juries his Department has held since 1 July 2007; what the cost was of each; what issues were discussed at each event; and how many (a) Ministers and (b) members of the public attended each event. (227477)

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what personal training courses at public expense he has undertaken since his appointment. (230958)

Since taking up post on 3 October 2008 I have undertaken mandatory pre-deployment training in preparation for my recent visits to Iraq and Afghanistan.

EU Defence Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on the establishment of a European army; and if he will make a statement. (232598)

I have had no discussions with my European counterparts on the establishment of a European army. The UK’s policy remains that there will be no standing European army, navy or air force.

Ex-servicemen: Advisory Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what pilot studies have been established in England and Wales to offer assistance to former members of the armed forces on discharge. (232909)

The Ministry of Defence delivers a range of support to its personnel both as they leave service and as veterans. To develop services further, pilot schemes are sometimes run to evaluate which offer the most appropriate support. Two current pilot schemes are:

Mentoring of Early Service Leavers (ESLs)—those who have served up to four years. It has been in progress at Catterick Garrison since June 2007. It aims to establish whether one-to-one ‘light touch’ mentoring improves the outcomes for ESLs six months after discharge. Outcomes to be measured include housing, employment and other forms of well-being. This pilot will conclude in 2009 before evaluation and a report published of its findings.

Community-based mental healthcare for veterans. This has been in progress, led by the Health departments and with the support of the ex-service charities, notably Combat Stress since November 2007. The participating sites in England and Wales, based at national health service (NHS) trusts, include Stafford, Camden and Islington, Bishop Auckland, Plymouth and Cardiff. Each site will run a service for veterans with mental health problems for two years. Core principles include delivery of evidence based interventions and development of a service which is accessible and acceptable to veterans. Following evaluation and publication of the findings decisions will be made on wider roll-out of the service.

Ex-servicemen: Criminal Records

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to publish or evaluate research on the number of criminal convictions of former members of the armed forces. (233045)

We plan to conduct new research on veterans in prison in 2009 and we would hope to be able to evaluate and publish some initial findings in the same year.

Ex-servicemen: Homelessness

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of homeless veterans in the UK; and what steps he is taking to protect vulnerable servicemen and women who have left the armed forces. (230762)

Independent research on the problem was commissioned from the University of York by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and their Third Sector partners in the Ex-Service Action Group on homelessness among veterans. The results of this research were published earlier this year and found that the percentage of veterans among London’s homeless population was 6 per cent. in 2007 compared with 22 per cent. in separate research in 1997.

The MOD works closely with the DCLG and other Government Departments, veterans’ organisations and other service providers to ensure a co-ordinated and structured approach to this problem as it affects a small minority of our ex-service personnel. We aim to prevent new service leavers becoming homeless and to provide an effective safety net for those veterans who are homeless. Current measures, including new commitments in the July 2008 Service Personnel Command Paper, include:

Helping Service personnel with home ownership, including making available interest-free loans through the MOD’s Long Service Advance of Pay scheme, and providing access to shared equity mortgage schemes;

Enhancing housing advice which is available to service personnel and veterans and providing specific assistance including through The Single Persons Accommodation Centre for the Ex-Services (SPACES);

Mike Jackson House providing 25 units of secure short term supported accommodation built in Aldershot for young single ex-service leavers identified at risk of homelessness opened in March 2008 on land gifted by MOD;

Allowing service leavers to occupy ‘void’ MOD property as an interim measure after leaving;

Extending Key Worker status to enable service leavers to access the scheme 12 months after discharge;

Operating the MOD’s Nomination Scheme which facilitates service leavers’ access to housing with over 40 housing associations and local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales;

Changing legislation to enable service personnel to establish a ‘local connection’, so improving their access to social housing;

Issuing statutory guidance advising local authorities not to insist that veterans produce a possession order to demonstrate homelessness;

Publicising legislation that identifies ex-service personnel in certain circumstances as having a ‘priority need’ for local authority accommodation;

Providing MOD-gifted land as part of a joint venture with DCLG and the Housing Corporation to deliver supported housing projects for veterans;

Supporting initiatives from the voluntary sector, for example through the Ex-Services Action Group on Homelessness in London;

Working with the corporate, voluntary and government sectors to assist homeless ex-service personnel to return to sustained employment through schemes such as Project Compass.

We are working within the Department, across Government and with the Third Sector to deliver these policies and new commitments.

Ex-servicemen: Military Decorations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps the Government is taking to ensure that all those eligible for Veteran’s Badges are claiming their entitlement. (232980)

All those leaving the services now receive their HM Armed Forces Veterans Badge in their service leavers’ pack. For those not receiving the badge in this way, the details of eligibility and the application process are advertised on the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency website:

www.veterans-uk.info

The badge has also been publicised through Government and ex-service organisation publications and through local and national press articles featuring coverage of badge presentation ceremonies held by Government and external organisations. We are also promoting badge presentation ceremonies as a part of next year’s British armed forces and Veterans Day events. The position is kept under review, including considering opportunities to provide further publicity for the scheme.

Between May 2004 and 31 October 2008 over 674,000 HM Armed Forces Veterans Badges have been issued.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Chad: Internally Displaced Persons

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on incidents involving sexual violence in internally displaced persons’ sites and refugee camps in eastern Chad; and when he last raised this matter with the government of Chad. (226080)

The recent report of the UN Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Chad (August 2008) highlights the prevalence of rape and other grave sexual violence in Chad. Both armed groups and community members are reported as perpetrators of such violence. Most reported cases concern attacks and rapes of girls carrying out domestic activities outside Internally Displaced Persons sites. However, stigmatisation and taboo mean that the true extent of the problem is not known, although anecdotal evidence suggests that it is widespread. The report of the UN Secretary-General states that the Chadian Government have not been able or willing to prevent rape and ensure child protection against sexual violence.

We have not raised this issue directly with the Chadian Government. We do, however, support multilateral efforts to address sexual violence in Chad. For example, the UK is a member of the UN Working Group on children and armed conflict. The Working Group is finalising a letter to the Government of Chad, urging them to address impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence.

Commonwealth: Asylum

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on whether Commonwealth states whose subjects frequently request asylum in the UK on grounds of political persecution should be suspended from the Commonwealth. (227833)

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) deals with member countries that are judged to have violated the Harare Declaration, which lays down the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values. CMAG assesses the nature of any infringement and recommends measures for collective Commonwealth action. CMAG can recommend suspension from the Councils of the Commonwealth as one of those measures, though this has not historically occurred as a result of asylum claims relating to a member of the Commonwealth.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions UK diplomats have had with the Governments of Commonwealth countries on claims for asylum on political grounds by people from those countries. (227835)

We have regular discussions with Commonwealth countries about a range of issues, including human rights, which can have an impact on asylum claims. Individual asylum cases are dealt with on a case by case basis, and in confidence. We do not discuss them with other Governments. All asylum seekers are treated the same regardless of which country they come from. The key concern in all cases is the risk to the individual on return to their home country.

Guinea: Human Rights

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the level of human rights abuses in the Republic of Guinea. (228216)

In September 2008, EU ambassadors in Guinea reported on the human rights situation ahead of an Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement mission to the country. The Article 96 mission will shortly be reporting its findings to the EU. The Minister for Europe will then write to the European Scrutiny Committee to provide an update on Article 96 discussions including human rights.

The Minister for Europe’s last letter to the European Scrutiny Committee contained in the Select Committee on European Scrutiny’s 22nd report can be found at:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmeuleg/16-xx/16xx15.htm

The UK remains particularly concerned about the slow pace of democratisation and the lack of progress by the Guinean government to implement the terms of its agreement with local unions following the general strike of 2007, including establishment of a commission of inquiry into the events surrounding the strike and the deaths of over 100 Guineans during the strike.

Ivory Coast: Human Rights

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his European Union counterparts on the incidence of human rights abuses in Côte d'Ivoire. (228200)

Our non-resident ambassador to Côte d'Ivoire, based in Accra, frequently visits the country and discusses human rights, including those concerned with the electoral process, with his EU counterparts. Our ambassador last visited in July and will visit again this month. Our political officer in Abidjan also meets other EU ambassadors once a fortnight. Our officials have visited France, most recently in July, and have discussed human rights issues in Côte d'Ivoire with their French counterparts.

The UK supported the renewal of the mandate of the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire in July 2008, including its work towards ensuring the protection of and the respect for human rights. Members of the UN Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict discussed concerns about the level of sexual violence and violations of children’s rights in Côte d'Ivoire in September.

Mauritania: Sanctions

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had discussions with the US Administration on the possible imposition of sanctions on Mauritania. (232192)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I have not had any discussions with the US Administration on the possible imposition of sanctions on Mauritania following the 6 August coup. Government officials are in regular contact with the US Administration regarding Mauritania.

On 17 October the US Administration announced that they had imposed travel restrictions to the United States on certain members of the Mauritanian military junta and the Government.

The UK condemned the coup on 6 August and called for the release of the President and the restoration of democratic institutions, and we have been working with EU partners to press for the restoration of democracy in Mauritania. On 20 October the EU met with representatives from the Mauritanian regime to discuss procedures under Article 96 of the Cotonou agreement, which provides for appropriate measures when the ‘essential and fundamental elements’ of the agreement (such as democracy) have been infringed. Mauritanian proposals did not meet EU requirements, and they were given one month to provide the EU with proposals for the restoration of the constitutional order which satisfy EU requirements. If the Mauritanians fail to do this within a month the EU will close consultations and appropriate measures, including possible targeted sanctions, will be considered. These measures may cover any aspect of the EU-African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) relationship, but there will be an analysis of their impact, and humanitarian and emergency assistance should not be affected.

The UK hopes that the Mauritanians will produce acceptable proposals within the timeframe given in order to move towards the swift restoration of democracy in Mauritania.

The UK is also working with other international partners to try to secure a return to democracy in Mauritania. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies suspended military activities to be carried out with Mauritania in September, and are reviewing activities on a case by case basis.

Nigeria: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what progress has been made on the establishment of a trading and advisory support package to improve the security situation in the Niger Delta, referred to in the Prime Minister’s press conference with the President of Nigeria on 18 July 2008; and what (a) financial and (b) technical assistance the Government plans to contribute; (232105)

(2) what progress has been made towards establishing a maritime security training centre in the Gulf of Guinea referred to in the Prime Minister’s press conference with the President of Nigeria on 18 July 2008; and what (a) financial and (b) technical assistance the Government plans to contribute.

I have been asked to reply.

Following my right hon. Friend’s July 2008 press conference with the President of Nigeria, the Ministry of Defence hosted a visit from the Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff. The discussions focused on how to improve maritime security in the Niger Delta and on how the UK might provide training support.

The UK will provide training assistance in two areas—improving operational planning processes and in-shore small boat operations. The UK is supporting the creation of a Joint Maritime Security Training Centre. The new Nigerian CDS and Navy Chief appointed in August remain fully committed to the project and have endorsed the use of a military site close to Lagos for the Centre.

We have redirected the main focus of the British Military Advisory and Training Team in Nigeria from broader peacekeeping to support for maritime security and in October a naval officer joined the team to enhance its maritime expertise. The Africa Conflict Prevention Programme has allocated £500,000 for the project this financial year. Architectural plans for the centre have been drawn up and, working in partnership with Nigeria, the focus of this year’s activity is on construction of the facility and ensuring that the instructional equipment will be available for training, which should start in earnest in 2009.

This support is part of wider UK efforts to persuade the Nigerian Government to take forward a peace process for the Niger Delta which embraces development and good governance.

Somalia: Piracy

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the African Union and the EU on measures to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1816; what the UK’s position is on the implementation of the resolution; and if he will make a statement. (226100)

The UK co-sponsored UN Security Council Resolution 1816, which calls for measure to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia. The UK also supported a further UN Security Council Resolution, 1838, which calls upon states to deploy naval vessels and aircraft to take necessary action to suppress acts of piracy.

The Government believe that the full implementation of these resolutions is vital to address increasing incidents of piracy and armed robbery in and around Somali waters. We are working through the EU and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) on military options to counter piracy, and on the specific naval contribution the UK could make to such efforts. The EU has established a team to co-ordinate maritime activity in the region and is preparing a naval counter piracy mission off the coast of Somalia, for which the UK will be providing the operation commander and the operation headquarters. We are clear that such efforts must be co-ordinated with other maritime forces in the region, including NATO and Combined Taskforce 150. Options for supporting both UN Security Council Resolutions have been raised with African Union partners during the formal EU-African Union contact meetings.

Somalia: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the political situation in Somalia. (228183)

The political situation in Somalia was most recently on the agenda for the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting on 15 September 2008. FCO officials regularly discuss the issues with EU officials at a working level.

Sudan: Detainees

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what reports he has received of the Sudanese Government's decision to detain Ali Kushayb; and if he will make a statement; (230361)

(2) what assessment he has made of the decision to have Ali Kushayb tried by the Sudanese courts instead of the International Criminal Court; and if he will make a statement.

We are aware of reports that Ali Kushayb has been arrested in Sudan and will be tried by the Government of Sudan. We continue to call on the government of Sudan to co-operate fully with the International Criminal Court over the two existing arrest warrants, which includes one for Kushayb. We hope Kushayb's arrest is a step towards this. There can be no impunity for crimes committed in Darfur.

Sudan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government supports the proposal to widen the mandate of the UN mission in Sudan to include demarcation of the border between North and South Sudan; and if he will make a statement. (212287)

The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), under its mandate to support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), is empowered to support the North and the South on border demarcation. UNMIS provides technical and logistical support to the Technical AD Hoc Border Committee, as requested by the UN Security Council in Resolution 1812 (30 April 2008).

The UK fully supports UNMIS in its efforts to ensure complete implementation of the CPA.

Sudan: Voluntary Organisations

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make an assessment of the effects of his Department's travel advice for Sudan on organisations which rely on overseas volunteers to work in that country. (230985)

Our travel advice is given on a purely advisory basis. It is designed to help British travellers make their own decisions, on an informed basis, about travelling abroad. We assume no legal responsibility to those who read the travel advice and who may choose to take it into account when making any decisions relating to a particular country.

Uganda: Armed Conflict

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Ugandan Government on their forcible disarmament programme. (228175)

The Ugandan Government launched a disarmament programme in the Karamoja region of northern Uganda in 2001. This programme has continued as part of the Karamoja Integrated Disarmament and Development Plan, launched in 2008. In co-operation with partners in Uganda we have visited the Karamoja region and raised concerns both on the ground, with the Ugandan military and civil society organisations and with the government in Kampala. With partners we are currently seeking a meeting with the Ugandan Government to discuss the security and human rights situation in Karamoja.

Uganda: Human Rights

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Uganda about human rights abuses by the Lord’s Resistance Army. (228174)

We have repeatedly condemned the actions of the Lord’s Resistance Army and the heinous crimes they have committed.

The Government are actively engaged in dialogue with the Government of Uganda on a range of issues relating to northern Uganda, including human rights. We continue to strongly support efforts to restore peace and stability to the region and are working closely with the Government of Uganda and international partners in efforts to implement the Final Peace Agreement and the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan to ensure that the people of northern Uganda benefit from a sustained peace. The British Government have provided £60 million of humanitarian assistance to northern Uganda since 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in Uganda. (228177)

Although some serious problems persist, including extra-judicial detention and limitations on the freedom of the press and assembly in the approach to the 2006 elections, our overall assessment is that there is continuing progress in Uganda’s human rights performance. The Uganda Human Rights Commission’s 10th Annual Report showed a 14 per cent. reduction in registered complaints in 2007 against the previous year. The UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ last report said that there had been a distinct improvement in the human rights and security situation observed in conflict-affected northern and north-eastern Uganda and that they recognised Government efforts towards strengthening the protection and promotion of human rights. The Ibrahim Index of African Governance also records improvement in Uganda’s human rights situation. There are active civil society organisations working largely unhindered in the human rights field contributing greatly to investigative and accountability efforts.

Our high commission in Kampala closely follows the human rights situation and regularly discusses human rights issues with the Ugandan Government, the Uganda Human Rights Commission and other interested parties. We continue to push for more action on topics such as politically motivated harassment, illegal detention, torture, media freedom and the rights of people in northern Uganda, including in the Karamoja region.

Zimbabwe: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on (a) the appointment by President Mugabe of members of his Zanu-PF party to key cabinet positions and (b) assessments of his constitutional mandate for doing so. (230359)

Robert Mugabe's attempt to allocate ministerial portfolios unilaterally runs counter to the spirit and letter of the political agreement signed with the two Movement for Democratic Change parties on 15 September. Zimbabwe deserves a government which reflects the will of the Zimbabwean people as expressed in the 29 March elections, which gave Morgan Tsvangirai and those opposed to Mugabe a clear majority.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the position of Thabo Mbeki as official mediator between Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change; and if he will make a statement. (230360)

Former President Mbeki deserves thanks for the work he has done so far and for his continuing efforts. Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai are primarily responsible for following through on the 15 September agreement. But it is increasingly clear that the current mediation effort is running out of steam. We are encouraging former President Mbeki, South Africa, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union to work collectively towards a resolution that reflects the 29 March election outcome without further delay.

Duchy of Lancaster

Breast Cancer: Males

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what percentage of all breast cancer diagnoses in England in each of the last five years were diagnoses to men. (231060)

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 31 October 2008:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what percentage of all breast cancer diagnoses in England in each of the last five years were diagnoses to men. [231060]

Table 1 gives the percentage of all newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer in England that were in men, for each year from 2001 to 2005 (the latest data available).

Table 1. Percentage of all newly diagnosed cases of malignant neoplasm of breast-which were in males, England, 2001-052

Percentage

2001

0.6

2002

0.7

2003

0.8

2004

0.7

2005

0.6

1 Newly diagnosed cases of cancer registered with malignant neoplasm of breast, identified using code C50 of the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision.

2 Cases which occurred in each calendar year, and had been registered by the time that the file was closed for the latest year reported.

Source:

Office for National Statistics

Charities: Bank Services

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment has been made of the effects of the Icelandic banking crisis on the investment returns of UK charities in the forthcoming financial year. (233363)

As agreed at a meeting between Ministers and charity representatives on Friday 10 October, the Cabinet Office is working with the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (acevo), the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the Charity Finance Directors Group (CFDG) and the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) to ascertain the full extent of investment assets affected by the position of the Icelandic Banks.

On 28 October, the Minister for the Third Sector received information from a number of third sector bodies about the effect of the collapse of the Icelandic banks on UK Charities. This includes estimates based on data collected by acevo, the Association of Charitable Foundations, the CDFG, the NCVO, the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations and Wales Council for Voluntary Action. This information has identified £86.2 million invested by 46 charities in the Icelandic banks. Background information has been collected for 39 of the 46 charities, including the identification of the individual charities which have been most significantly affected.

We continue to work with third sector partners and HM Treasury to assess the effect on UK charities. As part of this process, we are consolidating our information for a sector-wide summit with NCVO on 24 November.

Civil Servants: Manpower

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many full-time equivalent civil servants were employed in the City of York by each Government department and executive agency in each year since 1996-97. (230251)

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated October 2008:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning how many full-time equivalent civil servants were employed in the City of York by each Government department or executive agency in each year since 1996-97.(230251)

In order to provide the information requested for York, an ad hoc analysis has been required. This analysis is based on the Mandate collection (1997-2006) which provides approximately 90 per cent coverage of Civil Service departments and agencies and the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (2007 only) which provides 100 per cent coverage. For years prior to 2003 coverage is lower. For comparison purposes, employment numbers for the Yorkshire and the Humber region are therefore presented alongside the statistics for York i) as published for the total Civil Service and ii) as available from the Mandate survey. The breakdown by department and agency (as available from Mandate and the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey) is provided in Annex B.

Annex A: Civil Service Employment for Yorkshire and the Humber and York, 1997 to 20071

Permanent employees; Full-time equivalent

Year2

Civil Service Yorkshire and the Humber3

Civil Service (Mandate only) Yorkshire and the Humber

Civil Service York

1997

32,270

17,350

41,560

1998

32,010

17,450

41,460

1999

31,860

17,320

41,490

2000

33,060

18,120

41,630

2001

33,890

19,370

41,760

2002

35,050

22,490

42,140

2003

35,570

25,190

42,420

2004

39,140

27,270

42,760

2005

38,670

34,200

42,850

2006 (30 September)

36,920

33,160

42,680

2007 (30 September)

36,330

n/a

52,270

1 Numbers are rounded to the nearest 10.

2 1 April unless otherwise stated.

3 1997-2006 figures are based on Mandate collection and departmental returns to provide 100 per cent. coverage. The 2007 figure is based on the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey.

4 Mandate only - incomplete coverage of Civil Service departments

5 Excludes employees of Central Science Laboratory. If Central Science Laboratory employees are included the estimate for York would change to 2,850 (see Annex B).

Sources:

(Unpublished) Mandate collection 1997-2006;

(Unpublished) Annual Civil Service Employment Survey 2007.

Annex B: Civil Service employment in York1

Permanent employees, full-time equivalent

Department name

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Attorney General's Departments

Crown Prosecution Service

140

140

150

150

160

180

170

200

270

300

180

Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

10

10

10

10

Treasury Solicitor's

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

30

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Ministry of Justice

Ministry of Justice (excl. agencies)

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

HM Courts Service

40

40

30

30

30

40

40

40

40

n/a

80

HM Land Registry

90

130

140

150

150

150

150

130

130

120

100

Public Sector Prison Service

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

80

Ministry of Defence1

Ministry of Defence (including Royal Fleet Auxiliary)

460

300

280

170

180

190

200

220

230

570

630

Army Base Repair Organisation

10

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

10

Defence Secondary Care Agency (MOD)

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

MOD Police (MOD)

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

70

100

n/a

n/a

RAF Training Group Defence (MOD)

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Army Training and Recruiting Agency (MOD)

10

10

10

10

10

20

20

20

20

n/a

n/a

Defence Communications and Services Agency (MOD)

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Defence Estates (MOD)

n/a

30

n/a

n/a

n/a

Defence Dental Agency (MOD)

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Army Personnel Centre (MOD)

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Defence Vetting Agency (MOD)

n/a

..

..

60

160

160

180

330

310

n/a

n/a

Defence Housing Executive (MOD)

n/a

n/a

20

20

20

20

20

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Health

Meat Hygiene Service

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

70

Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

20

Home Office

Home Office (excl agencies)

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

20

n/a

HM Revenue and Customs

HMRC (excl agencies)

180

190

210

220

240

230

210

230

220

190

170

Valuation Office

40

40

30

30

30

30

30

40

40

30

30

Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (excluding agencies)

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Department for Education & Skills (former)

Department for Education & Skills (former)

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Department for Work and Pensions

DWP Corporate and Shared Services

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

10

10

60

60

60

Child Support Agency

10

10

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Job Centre Plus

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

240

210

220

The Rent Service

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

10

Pension Service

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

280

310

20

10

10

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (excl. agencies)

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

310

290

310

330

370

380

Animal Health

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

10

Central Science Laboratory

370

400

410

550

560

600

630

620

610

600

5803

Pesticides Safety Directorate

200

190

200

200

180

180

170

180

190

180

180

State Veterinary Service

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Department for Transport

Driving Standards Agency

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

Communities and Local Government

Ordnance Survey

10

10

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a = Not applicable.

Notes:

1 Numbers are rounded to the nearest 10, and numbers less than five are represented by “—”.

2 MoD provided consolidated figures for 2006.

3 The Annual Civil Service Employment Survey uses post code to derive location. Central Science Laboratory (CSL) is classified as being in Ryedale based on post code information but is included here for consistency with previously published estimates.

Source:

Mandate collection (1997-2006)

Unpublished Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (2007)

Civil Servants: Pensions

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the average payment per person to members of the Civil Service Pension Scheme was in 2008. (232828)

The mean pension payment made to civil service pensioners in 2006-07 was published in the Cabinet Office Annual Report and Resource Accounts 2006-07 [HC 897].

Details of payments made under the Civil Service Pension Scheme in 2008 will be included in the Cabinet Office Annual Report and Resource Accounts 2007-08 which will be published in due course.

Death: Methadone

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many deaths attributed to methadone addiction were recorded in London in each of the last five years. (232444)

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 31 October 2008:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many deaths attributed to methadone addiction were recorded in London in each of the last five years. (232444)

The attached table provides the numbers of deaths for which the underlying cause was drug poisoning and methadone was mentioned on the death certificate either alone or together with other substances, in London government office region, from 2003 to 2007 (the latest year available).

The information collected at death registration does not specify whether the deceased was addicted to the substances mentioned as contributing to the death.

Number of deaths attributed to drug poisoning1 where methadone was mentioned on the death certificate, London government office region, 2003-072,3,4

Deaths

Methadone mentioned only

Methadone and other substances

Total mentions of methadone

2003

8

9

17

2004

19

7

26

2005

12

8

20

2006

28

11

39

2007

21

9

30

1 Cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Deaths were included where the underlying cause was due to drug poisoning (shown in following table) and where methadone was mentioned on the death certificate.

2 Based on boundaries as of 2008.

3 Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.

4 Where methadone was the only drug mentioned on the death certificate, and where methadone was mentioned with other substances.

ICD-10

Description

F11-F16, F18-F19

Mental and behavioural disorders due to drug use (excluding alcohol and tobacco)

X40-X44

Accidental poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

X60-X64

Intentional self-poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

X85

Assault by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

Y10-Y14

Poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances, undetermined intent

Departmental Television

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Beckenham of 7 October 2008, Official Report, column 557W, on departmental television, which channels are subscribed to as part of the Sky mixes selection. (232959)

The Sky mixes selection to which my Department subscribes provides for the full range of channels available under the Sky World package and covers the following categories which are described in detail on the company’s website; News and Events, Sport, Style and Culture, Variety, Kids, Knowledge, Music and Movies.

Disadvantaged: Fareham

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what super output areas there are in Fareham constituency, ranked by level of deprivation; and what criteria are used to determine deprivation. (231753)

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated October 2008:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what Super Output Areas there are in Fareham constituency, ranked by level of deprivation; and what criteria are used to determine deprivation. (231753)

The attached table includes a list of all Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) which fall within the parliamentary constituency of Fareham. Entries are ranked in order of deprivation—with the most deprived LSOAs at the top.

The two columns included show the ranking of each Lower Layer Super Output Area in terms of deprivation:

(1) within the parliamentary constituency of Fareham; and,

(2) compared to all LSOAs in England.

Low ranks indicate a high level of deprivation—so the most deprived LSOA in Fareham is Fareham 003C which is ranked 6,420th most deprived LSOA in England (from a total of 32,482 SOAs).

The most commonly used indicator of deprivation, and that applied here, is the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2007 (IMD07). The IMD07 combines a number of indicators, chosen to cover a range of economic, social and housing issues, into a single deprivation score for each small area in England. More details on the construction and uses of the IMD07 can be obtained from the Communities and Local Government website:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/comunities/neighbourhoodrenewal/deprivation/deprivation07/

The ONS run Neighbourhood Statistics service—http:/neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk enables users to identify the location of individual SOAs and also to view the different ‘domains’ of deprivation which make up the IMD.

Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in Fareham parliamentary constituency ranked by deprivation (IMD 2007) (PQ621)

IMD07

LSOA code

LSOA name

Parl. con. name

Fareham rank

England rank

E01022732

Fareham 003C

Fareham

1

6,420

E01022738

Fareham 011D

Fareham

2

10,306

E01022739

Fareham 011E

Fareham

3

10,345

E01022734

Fareham 003E

Fareham

4

15,190

E01022728

Fareham 011A

Fareham

5

15,360

E01022723

Fareham 008C

Fareham

6

15,916

E01022781

Fareham 007A

Fareham

7

18,192

E01022761

Fareham 012B

Fareham

8

19,155

E01022736

Fareham 011C

Fareham

9

19,769

E01022760

Fareham 012A

Fareham

10

21,848

E01022764

Fareham 012D

Fareham

11

22,000

E01022735

Fareham 011B

Fareham

12

22,376

E01022722

Fareham 008B

Fareham

13

22,524

E01022737

Fareham 008E

Fareham

14

23,079

E01022733

Fareham 003D

Fareham

15

23,115

E01022769

Fareham 008G

Fareham

16

24,213

E01022787

Fareham 002E

Fareham

17

24,341

E01022724

Fareham 008D

Fareham

18

24,351

E01022755

Fareham 006A

Fareham

19

25,021

E01022758

Fareham 001A

Fareham

20

25,156

E01022721

Fareham 008A

Fareham

21

25,928

E01022768

Fareham 010D

Fareham

22

26,306

E01022762

Fareham 012C

Fareham

23

26,773

E01022792

Fareham 006D

Fareham

24

26,852

E01022780

Fareham 002D

Fareham

25

27,600

E01022782

Fareham 007B

Fareham

26

28,493

E01022730

Fareham 003A

Fareham

27

28,517

E01022757

Fareham 005D

Fareham

28

28,537

E01022765

Fareham 010C

Fareham

29

28,547

E01022729

Fareham 004E

Fareham

30

28,638

E01022742

Fareham 009C

Fareham

31

28,791

E01022754

Fareham 002C

Fareham

32

29,021

E01022743

Fareham 004F

Fareham

33

29,079

E01022740

Fareham 009A

Fareham

34

29,247

E01022727

Fareham 004D

Fareham

35

29,363

E01022788

Fareham 002F

Fareham

36

29,443

E01022753

Fareham 002B

Fareham

37

29,508

E01022759

Fareham 010A

Fareham

38

29,529

E01022774

Fareham 001E

Fareham

39

29,789

E01022763

Fareham 010B

Fareham

40

29,970

E01022731

Fareham 003B

Fareham

41

30,006

E01022766

Fareham 008F

Fareham

42

30,028

E01022786

Fareham 007D

Fareham

43

30,278

E01022789

Fareham 007E

Fareham

44

30,285

E01022751

Fareham 005B

Fareham

45

30,304

E01022773

Fareham 001D

Fareham

46

30,496

E01022785

Fareham 007C

Fareham

47

30,578

E01022756

Fareham 006B

Fareham

48

30,604

E01022772

Fareham 001C

Fareham

49

30,608

E01022783

Fareham 009D

Fareham

50

30,937

E01022767

Fareham 012E

Fareham

51

30,990

E01022725

Fareham 004B

Fareham

52

31,156

E01022749

Fareham 002A

Fareham

53

31,333

E01022741

Fareham 009B

Fareham

54

31,400

E01022771

Fareham 001B

Fareham

55

31,517

E01022720

Fareham 004A

Fareham

56

31,616

E01022784

Fareham 009E

Fareham

57

31,673

E01022770

Fareham 010E

Fareham

58

31,714

E01022791

Fareham 006C

Fareham

59

31,811

E01022750

Fareham 005A

Fareham

60

32,002

E01022726

Fareham 004C

Fareham

61

32,108

E01022793

Fareham 006E

Fareham

62

32,166

E01022790

Fareham 005E

Fareham

63

32,429

E01022752

Fareham 005C

Fareham

64

32,444

Government Departments: Correspondence

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what estimate he has made of the average daily number of messages sent between officials or Ministers in all Departments by means of an instant message system; and by what means such messages are saved. (232479)

The Department has made no estimate of the average daily number of messages sent between officials of Ministers in all Departments by means of an instant message system or the means by which such messages are saved.

Greater Manchester

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much funding (a) his Department and (b) Capacitybuilders has given to (a) the Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations, (b) Greater Manchester Voluntary Sector Support and (c) Greater Manchester Voluntary Sector Learning Consortium in the last 24 months. (233241)

The Cabinet Office has not directly funded these organisations in the last 24 months.

Over the past two years Capacitybuilders has awarded grants to Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations (GMCVO) under various programmes. GMCVO is the accountable body for Greater Manchester Voluntary Sector Support and. Greater Manchester Voluntary Sector Learning Consortium, so these are not independent organisations.

The total funding received is as follows:

Financial year

Funding to GMCVO (£)

2006-07

540,847

2007-08

460,021

Total

1,000,868

Figures for the 2008-09 financial year will be available once the departmental accounts have been audited and laid before Parliament, expected to be shortly before the summer recess.

Local Government: Manpower

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many full-time equivalent total employee jobs there were in English local government in each year since 1996. (232670)

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

Letter from Dennis Roberts, dated November 2008:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning how many full-time equivalent total employee jobs there were in English local government, according to Office for National Statistics figures, in each year since 1996.1 am replying in her absence. (232670)

The Office for National Statistics collects employment statistics for the public sector, including local government, as part of the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey. A consistent time-series for full-time equivalents is only available back to 1999. The requested statistics are attached at Annex A.

Annex A: Employment in local government, England, 1999 to 2008

Full-time equivalent, Thousand, not seasonally adjusted

Year1

Local government

1999

1,456

2000

1,471

2001

1,461

2002

1,466

2003

1,486

2004

1,509

2005

1,527

2006

1,552

2007

1,558

2008

1,543

1 Quarter 2 figures are used as an annual reference point.

Source:

(Unpublished) Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey.

NHS: Information and Communications Technology

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish the papers from the 2002 seminar on NHS IT held at Downing Street. (233304)

Papers relating to the 2002 seminar on NHS IT held at Downing street were released following a Freedom of Information request and can be found on the Cabinet Office website at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/foi/reading_room.aspx

Copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Office for National Statistics: Internet

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps the Office for National Statistics is taking to develop its website. (232690)

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

Letter from Dennis Roberts, dated November 2008:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what steps the Office for National Statistics is taking to improve its website. I am replying in her absence. (232690)

The Statistics and Registration Service Act gained Royal Assent in July 2007 and lead to the creation of the UK Statistics Authority on 1 April 2008 (the ONS is now the executive arm of the Authority). At the same time, the Authority (via ONS) launched a new Publication Hub which provides a single portal to new national statistics releases from the Government Statistical Service. ONS is currently undertaking a further redevelopment of this Hub, in order to provide additional services to users, including enhanced search and a new online Catalogue of official statistical products and supporting documentation, underpinned by a theme-based Taxonomy classification of all products. ONS is also redeveloping its own website in order to improve the way in which its statistics are presented, both in its publications and in the way in which the underlying data is made available to users. It is planned to implement the initial changes over the course of the next six months, and to continue to enhance the websites thereafter.

The impact of these changes will be to enhance public confidence in official statistics. Statistical press releases from government departments are already being published on the Hub; free from Ministerial influence. In addition, there will be an improved experience for users of statistics by providing greater coherence in the publication of statistics over the internet, consistent with the ‘transformation of government’ agenda. Users should experience easier access to statistics, whilst at the same time gaining wider knowledge of all available official statistics. The provision of ONS datasets and an ability to analyse the data on-line will enhance the satisfaction of statistics users.

Older Workers

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what estimate he has made of the percentage of the workforce which will be over age 65 in (a) 2012, (b) 2015 and (c) 2020. (231840)

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 31 October 2008:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question on the percentage of the workforce which will be aged over 65 in a) 2012, b) 2015 and c) 2020 (231840).

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) labour force projections published in January 2006, the percentage of the workforce aged 65 and over will be 2.2 per cent in 2012, 2.4 per cent in 2015 and 2.4 per cent in 2020.

The workforce is defined as those who are economically active which includes all people aged 16 and over who are either in employment or 1LO unemployed.

The labour force projections used to answer this question are ONS’s best estimate available of the future labour force, based on demographic and activity rate trends available in 2005. Since their publication new population estimates and population projections have been produced. The labour force projections are therefore not consistent with figures published in the monthly Labour Market Statistics First Release. ONS is working to update the labour force projections using more recent activity rate trends and up-to-date population estimates and projections. We expect that revised labour force projections will be published in spring 2009.

Given these estimates are derived from a sample survey and use modelling techniques to project past trends forward over a long time period of time they are subject to a margin of uncertainty.

Further information on the methodology behind the current labour force projections is available from the National Statistics website at:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/CCI/article.asp?ID=1346&Pos=1&ColRank=&Rank=224

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what percentage of the workforce is aged over (a) 50, (b) 65 and (c) 70. (231952)

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 31 October 2008:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what percentage of the workforce is aged over (a) 50, (b) 65 and (c) 70. (231952)

The workforce has been defined as people aged 16 and over who are economically active. Economically active comprises all those in employment plus those unemployed. The table provides the percentage shares of the total economically active population for the age groups requested.

The estimates are derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) using the latest data available (April-June 2008). As with any sample survey, estimates from the LFS are subject to a margin of uncertainty.

The estimates in the table are derived from the LFS microdata which are weighted using the official population estimates published in autumn 2007. They are not entirely consistent with the figures published in the monthly Labour Market Statistics First Release which are weighted using more up-to-date population estimates.

Percentage share of total economically active1 population, aged 16+, three month period ending June 2008, United Kingdom, not seasonally adjusted

Age

Economically active (percentage)

50 and over

26.2

65 and over

2.3

70 and over

0.8

1 Economically active comprises all those in employment plus those unemployed

It should be noted that the estimates:

exclude people living in most types of communal establishment (e.g. hotels, boarding houses, hostels, mobile home sites etc).

Source:

Labour Force Survey

Population

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what the latest population projections for the UK are for (a) 2031, (b) 2056 and (c) 2081; (232200)

(2) what estimate has been made of when the population of the UK is expected to reach 70 million;

(3) what estimate has been made of the effect on total UK population of zero net migration by (a) 2031, (b) 2056 and (c) 2081.

[holding answer 3 November 2008]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 31 October 2008:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your questions asking:

(1) what the latest population projections for the UK are for (a) 2031 (b) 2056 and (c) 2081. (232200);

(2) what estimate has been made of when the population of the UK is expected to reach 70 million (232201); and

(3) what estimate has been made of the effect on total UK population of zero net migration by (a) 2031 (b) 2056 and (c) 2081 (232202).

The most recent national population projections, based on the population at the middle of 2006, were published by the Office for National Statistics on 23 October 2007. The main, or principal, projections are based on the best assumptions available at the time of future expected levels of migration, fertility and mortality. The attached table below gives the projected UK population under the principal projections for the three years requested (1).

Under the principal projection the population of the UK is projected to reach 70 million in 2028 (2).

Variant projections are also produced to show the effect of plausible alternative projections based on higher or lower assumptions. These can be used to illustrate the consequences of a particular set of assumptions. ONS publish a variant projection based on the assumption that net migration is zero throughout the projection period. The projected UK population totals for this variant projection can also be found in the table below (3).

Total projected population of the UK 2006—based national population projections

Million

Principal projection (1)

Zero migration variant projection (3)

2031

71.1

63.8

2056

78.6

61.5

2081

85.3

57.3

International Development

Emergency Lending

5. To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what conditionality is being applied to emergency UK lending to developing countries in response to the global financial situation. (233025)

The UK Government are not directly providing emergency lending to developing countries in response to the global financial situation. The Department for International Development (DFID) has already initiated a ‘vulnerability study’ of our PSA—public service agreement—countries to help inform future funding decisions. We continue to support international financial institutions in their efforts to provide emergency financial support.

Afghanistan

6. To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department’s delivery of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. (233026)

DFID has responded swiftly to the humanitarian situation through capable operational agencies, particularly the World Food Programme (WFP). Since January, we have committed £16.5 million to alleviate food shortages. This includes:

(i) £11 million to help feed 4.5 million people; and

(ii) £5.5 million to provide agricultural input including seeds, fertilisers, technical assistance to boost food production, and credit.

We are monitoring the situation.

Millennium Development Goals

8. To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with his G8 counterparts on meeting their commitments of funding for the achievement of the millennium development goals, with particular reference to Africa. (233028)

I have regular discussions with my G8 counterparts in the course of international business in relation to the achievement of the millennium development goals, including at the UN MDG summit in New York on 25 September. The UK is on track to provide 0.7 per cent. of our national income in overseas development assistance by 2013 and we encourage others to do so.

Burma

9. To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Burma; and if he will make a statement. (233029)

10. To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Burma; and if he will make a statement. (233030)

14. To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Burma; and if he will make a statement. (233034)

Humanitarian conditions in the areas of Burma hit by Cyclone Nargis have improved significantly since access to international aid was opened at the end of May. DFID has contributed £45 million to the relief effort. However, very many people in the Irrawaddy Delta remain highly vulnerable.

DFID’s pre-cyclone programme of £12 million in 2008-09 continues to help people suffering severe poverty across Burma, as well as Burmese refugees in Thailand.

Kosovo

11. To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what humanitarian aid his Department is providing to Kosovo; and if he will make a statement. (233031)

The Department for International Development (DFID) is fully engaged in assisting the new country of Kosovo. DFID no longer provides direct humanitarian assistance to Kosovo as this is no longer required, apart from the provision given by the UNHCR to the small number of internally displaced persons remaining. UNHCR has been the sole provider of this support since the UN Administration in Kosovo closed its humanitarian section in 2001.

In 2007-08, DFID provided £3.2 million to Kosovo in development assistance, directed at helping establish effective governance in Kosovo.

Ethiopia

12. To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid his Department is providing to Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement. (233032)

The Department for International Development’s (DFID) programme in Ethiopia is focused on: improving governance and accountability; promoting human development, including better health, education, water and sanitation; supporting sustainable growth; and providing humanitarian support. We expect to spend £165 million in Ethiopia this year, including at least £35 million in response to the humanitarian crisis.

The Secretary of State visited Ethiopia last month to assess the impact of UK support. He commended the good progress made on expanding access to basic services and raised concerns at the humanitarian situation in the Somali region of the country, and the expected impact of proposed legislation to regulate civil society funding and activities.

Horn of Africa

13. To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department is providing for famine relief in the horn of Africa. (233033)

The Department for International Development (DFID) has contributed over £120 million in 2008 towards unmet humanitarian needs in the horn of Africa. These funds are in support of short-term food aid and supplementary feeding programmes, emergency water and sanitation, as well as medium-term cash and food-based safety net programmes in the worst affected areas.

The Secretary of State, who visited Ethiopia last month to assess the impact of UK support, has expressed concern about the need to expand access to relief operations both in the Somali region of Ethiopia and in Somalia.

Zimbabwe

15. To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. (233035)

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. (233027)

In a deteriorating humanitarian situation, 5 million people will rely on food aid by early 2009. Cholera risks are increasing, strained health services are collapsing and recent reports suggest only 40 per cent. of teachers present at school. Aid agencies are working to make the best of the next growing season. Zimbabwe will likely remain dependent on food aid for some time to come. DFID will spend £44 million this year meeting basic needs.

Afghanistan: Christian Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the number of attacks on Christian aid workers in Afghanistan since January 2008; and if he will make a statement. (232124)

The Department for International Development (DFID) does not make estimates as to the number of attacks on UK aid workers in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan NGO Security Office (ANSO) produces reports that include details of security incidents involving NGOs. The reports do not disaggregate incidents by faith.

Afghanistan: Health Centres

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funds the Government (a) has provided and (b) plans to provide for the health clinic in Musa Qala, Helmand province, Afghanistan; and when he expects the project to be completed. (232089)

The UK Government have provided $308,336 for the construction of the district centre health clinic in Musa Qala. This clinic is due for completion in November 2008, with doctors and support staff ready to start work once the project is finished.

The UK Government also provided $329,777 for the health clinic in Towghli Kell, Musa Qala. This project is now complete and the clinic is open, providing affordable public health facilities to the community.

Afghanistan: Roads

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the condition of the main bazaar road in Musa Qala, Helmand province, Afghanistan; what funding the Government have provided for the reconstruction of the road; and if he will make a statement. (232090)

The UK Government, through the cross-governmental Stabilisation Unit, provided $200,000 to pave the 750 metre road through the bazaar in Musa Qala district centre. This project was identified as a priority by the local community, and its construction provided employment for local workers.

The new road, with drainage channels, is an improvement on the previous mud track. Alongside other UK-funded road projects in Musa Qala, this project has enhanced the freedom of movement for local inhabitants and provides improved access to market for local traders.

Afghanistan: Utilities

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department has taken to improve the (a) electricity and (b) water supply in Musa Qala, Helmand province, Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. (232088)

Joint Department for International Development (DFID), Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) and Ministry of Defence (MOD) funding pays for the fuel for the generator which supplies the main bazaar area of Musa Qala town. The UK provincial reconstruction team has also conducted an electrical survey and general infrastructure assessment of Musa Qala, to help the District Governor and Executive Shura plan future programmes.

Musa Qala also receives electricity from the Kajaki dam on a rotation of two days on, two days off. The Kajaki dam will provide for the long-term electricity requirements in Musa Qala. A large-scale programme to increase the power supply from Kajaki dam is being undertaken by USAID, with security support from the UK-led Task Force Helmand. Power output from Kajaki is due to double by spring 2009, improving electricity supply to Helmand, including Musa Qala.

The UK-led provincial reconstruction team in Helmand, with joint DFID, FCO, and MOD funding, is constructing two water towers and distribution centres in Musa Qala, to supply safe water to the community at a central location.

In addition, with DFID funding, 175 drinking water wells are being constructed in several locations in Musa Qala district through the Ministry of Reconstruction and Rural Development.

Democratic Republic of Congo

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what response his Department has made to the humanitarian crisis in Democratic Republic of Congo; and if he will make a statement. (233948)

Following a request from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Department for International Development (DFID) is organising relief flights with plastic sheeting, blankets, water purification tablets and buckets for immediate distribution to those in need. DFID funded partners are able to get some assistance to those displaced and in need in and around Goma and some of the secure outlying areas. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and non-governmental partners such as Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), Merlin and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) have been providing immediate relief aid such as emergency food, health, shelter and non-food items.

DFID is one of the largest and most active humanitarian donors in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A recent additional £5 million contribution for the crisis in North Kivu brings our total contribution in 2008 to £42 million. We are also engaged with humanitarian contacts, not least as current chair of the Good Humanitarian Donorship Group in DRC, to help assess the situation, co-ordinate donors and ensure that together donors respond to priority needs.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Internally Displaced Persons