Written Answers to Questions
Monday 15 December 2008
Innovation, Universities and Skills
Charity Research Support Fund
The Department provides funding via the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). HEFCE’s quality related (QR) block grant for research to higher education institutions includes a “charity support element”. This element is calculated by reference to charitable research income, but is distributed as part of the QR block grant rather than as a separate fund.
Current and historic amounts of QR allocated this way are as follows:
Academic year 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 England total 135.5 180.0 184.9
The amount to be allocated for 2009-10 and any subsequent year will be determined by HEFCE in due course, having regard to the resources available for distribution at the time.
Further details of the method of allocation of QR is available in the HEFCE publication ‘Funding higher education in England: How HEFCE allocates its funds’.
The cross-Government Adapting to Climate Change Programme increases Government's capacity to adapt by ensuring a coordinated approach across all Departments and the public sector. This includes implementation of the adaptation aspects of the Climate Change Act, such as development of the national climate risk assessment. Information about the programme can be found at:
Work already undertaken by DIUS that will help us to build our capability to adapt to climate change includes: supporting the research councils' “living with environmental change” initiative; a £1 billion interdisciplinary research and policy partnership programme; convening a high level forum tasked with using cutting edge business practice to align the skills system behind the challenges and opportunities of a low carbon, resource efficient economy; and publishing the Science and Innovation White Paper including proposals on fostering private and public sector innovation which will help us to identify technological and social solutions needed for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Following a competitive procurement exercise run by the Cabinet Office, DIUS adopted the Public Sector Flex contract with Fujitsu Services. Under this contract every member of the Department, including the ministerial team, has been issued with a lightweight, encrypted laptop in place of a desktop PC. The laptops are leased from Fujitsu under the terms of the contract. Mobile phones are supplied to the Department as part of a corporate contract that includes rental and call costs. The cost of a Blackberry device used by Ministers in DIUS is £100. Three Ministers have made use of this facility since the creation of DIUS.
Departmental Official Hospitality
According to our records the following has been spent on ministerial hospitality since the creation of DIUS in June 2007:
£ 2007-08 5,206.5 2008-09 4,628.49
All spending on official entertainment is made in accordance with the principles set out in Managing Public Money.
Departmental Temporary Employment
In the Department, the number of people that have been employed through the agencies each year are as follows:
Reed Hays Total July 2007 to December 2007 6 4 10 January 2008 to October 2008 11 9 20 Total 17 13 30
July 2007 to December 2007
January 2008 to October 2008
Information on the average duration of appointments could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Education Maintenance Allowance
Undergraduate students are not eligible to receive the education maintenance allowance (EMA).
The EMA is for 16 to 19-year-olds in a programme of full-time further education, up to level 3, that meets the criteria for valid provision as determined by the Learning and Skills Council.
The information requested in the question is not collected centrally.
The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills' total budget for offender skills and employment includes allocations for prison libraries and Heads of Learning and Skills. Taking that total budget, and including funds passed to the Youth Justice Board for education in young offender institutions, and dividing by the prison population at 30 June each year, produces an average spend per prisoner.
The average amount spent per prisoner on education by this Department is set out in the following table.
Financial year Average cost per prisoner Total budget (£ million) 2003-04 1,560 116 2004-05 1,552 116 2005-06 1,836 141 2006-07 1,858 146 2007-08 1,966 156
Average cost per prisoner
Total budget (£ million)
Higher Education: Admissions
I have been asked to reply.
The information requested is not collected centrally by the Department.
Information on children looked after by local authorities is collected through the SSDA903 data collection. This collection includes information on children who are looked after, children who are adopted and children who were looked after and have left care. This information has been published in the Statistical First Release “Children looked after in England (including adoption and care leavers) year ending 31 March 2008” (SFR 23/2008), which is available on the Department's website via the following link:
Table G1 contains information on children aged 19 who were previously looked after aged 16 and gives details of their activity at aged 19 which includes numbers and percentages in higher education.
(2) how many higher education institutions were subject to sanctions by the Office for Fair Access for failing to meet agreed access targets in (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-07 and (c) 2007-08.
A higher education institution (HEI) must have in place an access agreement validated by the Director for Fair Access if they wish to charge variable fees. All such access agreements entered into by higher education institutions (HEIs) include indicators to measure progress in widening access. In the first academic year of variable fees (2006-07) 124 HEIs offering full-time publicly funded undergraduate provision had an access agreement. This rose to 128 in 2007-08.
The Director for Fair Access assesses for each year whether each institution has complied with the terms of its access agreement, and where he finds this is not the case he is empowered to impose sanctions. In his assessment for 2006-07, he found that all institutions were compliant with their access agreements, and therefore the issue of sanctions does not arise. The Director expects to publish his conclusions for 2007-08 early next year.
Higher Education: Kent
We said in our new “University Challenge” document published in March that locally-focused higher education not only has a role in reversing economic decline but can also be a major component of strategies of population growth, ensuring that new development has access to sources of skills and innovation. The Higher Education Funding Council for England is now looking at the responses to consultation on our new University Challenge policy but it is already clear that this is going to be a very successful policy, which has generated interest in all parts of the country. Decisions on which proposals should be supported will be exclusively for the Council.
Large Hadron Collider
CERN has recently completed its analysis of the incident that occurred in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) on 19 September which led to a large leak of helium and damage to a number of magnets. CERN has confirmed that the likely cause was a defective electrical connection between two of the LHC's magnets. CERN is now undertaking the necessary repairs to the LHC, and introducing additional precautionary measures so as to avoid further large helium release incidents. The repairs should be completed by end of June 2009.
Learning and Skills Council: Reorganisation
The White Paper ‘Raising Expectations: enabling the system to deliver’, set out proposals to ensure that the needs of learners (young people and adults) and employers are met by a more responsive system. Responsibility for the planning, commissioning and funding for education and training for 16 to 19 year-olds will transfer to local authorities, supported by a new Young People's Learning Agency. For adults we propose to build on the demand led approach, including through the creation of a new Skills Funding Agency and strengthened advice and support services for adults and employers.
In respect of young people, local partnerships, such as the 14-to-19 Partnerships and Children's Trusts, are all being strengthened ahead of the dissolution of the LSC. At the same time the Government are working to develop stronger local area agreements and multi-area agreement proposals to ensure that all partners are clear on roles, responsibilities and outcomes. Building stronger links between local, regional and national bodies is vital to ensure the outcomes for young people, adults and employers are continuously improved. That is why local authorities will be expected to work collaboratively with one another supported by a slim-line Young People's Learning Agency.
In respect of adult skills, the Skills Funding Agency will also work with and develop existing local partnerships. It will work, for example, in partnership with the Young People's Learning Agency, regional skills and employment boards and other local and regional skills bodies to respond quickly and flexibly to national, regional and local skills needs, including drawing up statements of regional priorities and ensuring that these are reflected in multi-area agreements and local area agreements. The SFA will also work with regional development agencies and local authorities in relation to economic development and worklessness.
We are also encouraging colleges and learning providers to co-operate with each other and with other key partners in order to meet the needs of employers in relation to skills training, and also to ensure that local strategic skills needs are met.
Our proposals will require legislation, which will be introduced early in 2009, as part of the Children, Skills and Learning Bill. Until the new arrangements are in place, the Learning and Skills Council will continue to be responsible for securing the effective delivery of post 16 learning. More detail on the pre-19 proposals can be accessed via this link,
More detail on the Skills Funding Agency can be found in the recently published 'Adult Skills Reforms: An Update', accessible via this link:
Overseas Students: Scholarships
I have not had any discussions with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) about the Overseas Research Student Award Scheme (ORSAS). Following a full evaluation of the effectiveness of the scheme, HEFCE decided earlier this year that continued investment after 2010/11 could not be justified given other competing priorities for funding.
Part-time Education: Grants
(2) what the maximum grant available for students studying part-time at a higher education institution is;
(3) what financial aid is available for individuals studying part-time at a higher education institution to cover living expenses for the duration of the course;
(4) what advice on fees is available to individuals wishing to study part-time for a degree at a higher education institution.
Two non-repayable grants are available to part-time students: a grant for fees and a course grant which is intended to cover the cost of books and travel. In 2008/09 the maximum fee grant is £1,180 for students who study at a rate equivalent to 75 per cent. or more of a full-time course. The maximum course grant is £255. The financial support package for part-time students has been specifically designed for them and recognizes that the needs of part-time and full-time students are not the same. Unlike full-time students, the majority of part-time students are in full-time employment, with 36 per cent. receiving full support for their fees from their employer. Therefore statutory funding for part-time students is not intended to cover living expenses. Fees for part-time courses are unregulated, thus fees will vary both from institution to institution and from course to course. Part-time students are therefore advised to get information on course fees by contacting the institution at which they want to study.
Students: Fees and Charges
(2) how long he expects the tuition fees review to take.
The then Secretary of State for Education and Skills, my right hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Clarke) has already published draft terms of reference for the review in his statement to the House in January 2004. These include the rates of return and patterns of subsequent employment of those who paid variable fees. The assurances we have previously given this House made clear that there would be an independent review of tuition fees, reporting to the House, once we had evidence on the first three years of the variable fee regime. The first three years of operation will not be concluded until autumn next year. The timing and duration of the review will enable us to fulfil the commitment given to the House in 2004 that there will be no vote before 2010 at the earliest, and to enable the review to present Parliament with an evidence-based report covering the full range of the issues it has been asked to consider through its terms of reference.
Students who attend NHS funded degree courses in: medicine or dentistry (from year 5 on the undergraduate course and year 2 on the postgraduate course), chiropody (including podiatry), dietetics, occupational therapy, orthoptics, physiotherapy, prosthetics and orthotics, radiography, audiology, speech and language therapy; dental hygiene or dental therapy; nursing or midwifery are eligible for a non-repayable means-tested NHS bursary, which can be supplemented by a reduced maintenance loan.
The reduced maintenance loan is not income assessed but the amount is dependent on location of study.
The following table shows the number of English domiciled students who have received a reduced maintenance loan.
Academic Year Number of students 2004/05 23,600 2005/06 25,400 2006/07 28,500 2007/08 31,900 Note: Table includes students who may have suspended or withdrawn from their course. Figures for 2003/04 are unavailable.
Number of students
Note: Table includes students who may have suspended or withdrawn from their course. Figures for 2003/04 are unavailable.
The legislative provisions for income contingent repayment student loans require that the rate of interest must: (i) be no higher than is necessary to maintain the value of the loan in real terms; and (ii) not exceed 1 per cent. above the highest of the base rates of a specified group of banks1 (the ‘low interest cap’). The interest rate is normally set every September to equal the retail prices index for the previous March—currently 3.8 per cent. Following the reduction in the Bank of England base rate by the Monetary Policy Committee on 4 December 2008, all the specified banks have reduced their base rates to 2 per cent. and the low interest cap comes into play. The Student Loans Company (SLC) have therefore reduced the interest rate for income contingent loans from 3.8 per cent. to 3 per cent. with effect from 5 December 2008 until further notice. The SLC have published this information on their website and in national newspapers.
The interest rate for loans taken out before 1998 (known as ‘mortgage style loans’) is not affected as these loans are governed by different legislation.
1 Bank of England; Bank of Scotland; Barclays Bank plc; Clydesdale Bank plc; Co-operative Bank plc; Coutts and Co.; HSBC Bank plc; Lloyds TSB Bank plc; Natwest Bank plc; the Royal Bank of Scotland plc.
Written Answers to Questions
Tuesday 16 December 2008
Crime Prevention: Northern Ireland
The community safety unit of the Northern Ireland Office has allocated a total of £6.175 million to Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) to deliver local initiatives and projects over the 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 financial years. The indicative allocation for each CSP has been determined using a funding formula which takes account of population, levels of recorded crime and deprivation in each locality. As part of these funding arrangements, CSPs are required to submit annual action plans supported by a strategic assessment of local needs and to agree to a set of terms and conditions. In addition, they have been directed to take cognisance of the NIO Safer Communities Public Service Agreement Key Performance Indicators around reducing antisocial behaviour incidents and violent crime and to contribute to a range of regional priorities for community safety.
Departmental Drinking Water
Departmental Sick Leave
The 15,287.57 working days lost within the Northern Ireland Office for the period 1 October 2007 to 30 September 2008 have been recorded under the following 11 categories:
Blood and Cardiovascular;
Digestive, Endocrine, Renal;
Nervous System, Eyes, Ears;
Medical Tests and Observation; and
Statistics provided by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency show that 164 staff in the Northern Ireland Office had one or more periods of long-term absence due to ill health in 2007-08. Long-term absence is defined as a period of 20 working days or more.
The Northern Ireland Office has a series of policies and procedures in place which aim to reduce the number of working days lost through illness. These include:
daily monitoring of sickness absence;
referral of absent staff to occupational health professionals for independent assessment of their fitness for work;
meetings of the Welfare Support Service with staff to focus on how to facilitate an early return to work;
staff returning from long term absence can return sooner by way of phased returns;
Welfare Support Services are available to meet with staff who are in work to help deal with issues which might otherwise cause them to be absent from work;
staff are encouraged to attend organised Health Awareness events;
fitness programmes are offered to NIO staff annually to encourage staff to improve their physical and emotional health;
variable working patterns are available to staff to enable a work life balance to be achieved;
mandatory return to work interviews are conducted to ensure that managers understand the reasons for absence and staff understand the consequences of absence;
cases where staff have repeated or persistent absence are considered individually and inefficiency due to absenteeism can ultimately lead to dismissal.
The following table details the number of working days lost through sickness absence within the Northern Ireland Office in each of the last five years. The Northern Ireland Office employs Northern Ireland civil servants and Home civil servants. The figure for 2003-04 includes Northern Ireland civil servants only. The remaining figures include Northern Ireland civil servants and Home civil servants.
Total days absence 2003-04 16,592.5 2004-05 18,364.5 2005-06 17,313.3 2006-07 18,631.8 2007-08 15,986.4
Total days absence
From 1 December 2007 to 1 December 2008 the total number of prisoners released from custody in the Northern Ireland Prison Service to the UK Border Agency and its predecessors was 56, broken down by month as follows:
Number December 2007 1 January 2008 0 February 2008 2 March 2008 3 April 2008 10 May 2008 10 June 2008 7 July 2008 5 August 2008 2 September 2008 3 October 2008 4 November 2008 9
Under the Northern Ireland Office's PSA target of Making Communities Safer, the Department is committed to reduce re-offending in Northern Ireland. While much is being done to address re-offending across the criminal justice system, a cross-government strategic approach is essential to making significant inroads into level of re-offending. To achieve this joined-up approach:
An Inter-Ministerial Group is being established—the NIO has secured agreement from OFMDFM to the establishment of a Ministerial Group on Reducing Offending to promote a cross departmental approach and ensure that a coherent, coordinated strategy is adopted to all aspects of offending;
A women offenders strategy is under development—a specific approach to women offenders is being progressed through a women’s strategy. As part of this initiative, a pilot women’s centre has been established to develop appropriate assessment tools and programmes focused on sustaining and supporting women offenders in the community;
Offenders learning and skills deficits are being addressed—the MO, in partnership with the Departments of Education and Employment and Learning, is establishing a Learning and Skills Forum. The forum will focus on making better use of existing education and skills training to provide a more joined up service for existing offenders and young people at risk of offending.
Reparation of Offenders
A list of accredited community-based restorative justice schemes is maintained by the Secretary of State and is available on the Northern Ireland Office website. The 15 schemes accredited under the Protocol for Community-based Restorative Justice (CBRJ) Schemes to date are as follows:
East Belfast Alternatives, East Belfast;
Greater Shankill Alternatives, West Belfast;
North Belfast Alternatives, North Belfast;
North Down Alternatives, Bangor;
Northern Ireland Alternatives Central Office, West Belfast;
Community Restorative Justice Ireland (CRJI) Central Office, West Belfast;
CRJI Colin, Belfast;
CRJI Falls, Belfast;
CRJI Greater Andersonstown, Belfast;
CRJI Upper Springfield, Belfast;
CRJI Derry Head Office, Derry;
CRJI Ballymagroarty, Derry;
CRJI Brandywell, Derry;
CRJI Creggan, Derry; and
CRJI Shantallow, Derry.
Young Offender Institutions: Construction
House of Commons Commission
Portcullis House: Mobile Phones
Parliamentary ICT are nearing the completion of a project to install the infrastructure needed to allow mobile carriers to boost their signals within Portcullis House. This work has been undertaken with T Mobile which is the default carrier for Parliament's mobile computing service. Improvements to T Mobile's signal strength should be available by February 2009. Other carriers will be invited to use the infrastructure also.
Departmental Data Protection
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 12W, to the hon. Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) with regards the Scotland Office spend on (a) taxis. The Office has incurred no costs on (b) potted plants or (c) works of art in 2007-08. The cost of (d) redecoration of its buildings in Edinburgh and London was £39,102. Under the terms of the building leases the Office is required to maintain the buildings to an acceptable standard of decoration and repair.
Departmental Rail Travel
Departmental Official Hospitality
My Department does not keep records of ministerial hospitality in this form, and the information could be extracted only at disproportionate cost.
All spending on official entertainment is made in accordance with the principles set out in Managing Public Money.
Culture, Media and Sport
In February this year the Government published “Creative Britain-New Talents for a New Economy, a strategy for the Creative Economy in the UK”, which sets out in 26 commitments the Government’s determination to move the creative industries from the margins to the mainstream of the UK economy.
The strategy includes commitments to encourage employers to create 5,000 new apprenticeships in the creative industries by 2013, and the establishment of a new, international event for business and the creative industries—the Creativity & Business International Network (c&binet)—the first of which will take place in 2009.
The Creative Industries Economic Estimates bulletins contain statistics on gross value added, exports, employment and numbers of businesses within the creative industries.
The publication of the 2008 bulletin has been delayed to allow additional time to investigate revisions that have been made to the source data.
The Department is aiming to publish the 2008 bulletin by the end of the year. It will be available on our website at
To help defend against electronic attack, it is standard good information security practice for corporate IT systems, not to publish internal IP addresses. When accessing internet websites, the IP addresses of all of the computers on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport internal office IT system are hidden behind the following IP addresses which are publicly available—22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199. These IP addresses are shared with other Government Departments that use the Government secure intranet.
Earlier this year DCMS commissioned independent research into set-top boxes including a return path to support bi-directional interactive services. That report did not include an estimate of costs.
However, the technical experts on the Department’s Emerging Technology Group, which keeps the Core Receiver Requirements under review, did arrive at an initial costing for including return path functionality to provide for broadband capability.
We will be re-examining both the rationale for and costs of enhancements to set-top-boxes as part of the Digital Britain report.
The Department makes bonus payments to its staff for two purposes: (a) special bonuses to reward outstanding contributions in particularly demanding tasks or situations; and (b) performance bonuses linked to the end of year staff appraisal, which are awarded to staff who have had a highly successful performance over a whole year.
All end of year bonuses for 2008-09, (for performance in 2007-08) have been paid. The total amount paid was £434,417. Of the special bonuses £100,560 has been allocated of which £25,580 has been paid.
[holding answer 8 December 2008]: A reply was sent to my hon. Friend on 15 December, explaining that we are unable to comment on the findings of the Community Pubs Inquiry Report at this time. However, we hope to be able to reply in full early in the new year.
(2) what steps the Government has taken to promote sport for families in Coventry.
Through our joint PE and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP), the Department is working with the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) to increase the take-up of sporting opportunities among five to 19-year-olds.
Our aim is to sustain and increase current levels of participation by those aged five to 16 in at least two hours of high quality PE and sport at school, and offer five to 19-year-olds at least three hours of sport beyond the school day, delivered by a range of school, community and club providers.
These ambitions will be realised through a range of programmes and activities delivered through Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust, and will be supported by increases in the number of coaches in schools, and a national network of competition managers within School Sport Partnerships.
I have been asked to reply.
Data showing the number of persons found guilty, and those issued with a fine, at all courts for Television Licence evasion in England and Wales, from 2003 to 2007, the latest available, are given in the following tables:
The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.
Number 2003 79,856 2004 89,240 2005 104,930 2006 115,470 2007 120,955 1 These data are on the principal offence basis. 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. 3 The TV licensing provisions of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 were replaced by new provisions in section 363 of the Communications Act 2003 which came into effect 1 April 2004.
1 These data are on the principal offence basis. 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. 3 The TV licensing provisions of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 were replaced by new provisions in section 363 of the Communications Act 2003 which came into effect 1 April 2004.
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Total number fined 78,923 87,735 103,716 113,985 120,114 Of which: Total number fined the maximum amount (£1,000) 1 2 4 12 2 Average fine amount (£) 114 132 120 129 137 1 These data are on the principal offence basis. 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.
Total number fined
Total number fined the maximum amount (£1,000)
Average fine amount (£)
1 These data are on the principal offence basis. 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.
Tourism: Isle of Man
VisitBritain’s marketing of England for tourism purposes includes the dissemination of material to people living on the Isle of Man. Any associated press activity is also shown in the Isle of Man. National campaigns taken forward by VisitBritain also target the Isle of Man.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for overseas marketing is in place between VisitBritain and the Isle of Man Government which sets out a framework, respective roles and responsibilities and working relationships for the benefit of promoting Britain and the Isle of Man effectively to overseas visitors. The Isle of Man Government pay VisitBritain an annual marketing fee in support of the MoU. This ensures that the Isle of Man has equivalent treatment to the other nations and regions of Britain.
Armoured Fighting Vehicles
(2) what the cost was of transporting armoured vehicles to and from Castlemartin Range in each of the last five years.
The number of training packages using armoured fighting vehicles that took place at Castlemartin Range in each of the last five years is shown below:
Number of training packages 2004 10 2005 10 2006 13 2007 10 2008 13
Number of training packages
The typical length of a training package is two weeks.
There are 40 Chinook Mk2/2a in the fleet.
‘Fully serviceable’ is interpreted as those aircraft in the Forward Fleet considered Fit for Purpose. Forward Fleet aircraft are those that are available to the Front Line Command for operational and training purposes, of which Fit for Purpose are those considered capable of carrying out their planned missions on a given date. In the latest month for which figures are available (October) an average of 19 were considered Fit for Purpose.
Aircraft which are not Fit for Purpose are considered to be Short Term Unserviceable and are able to be brought up to standard very quickly. During October only 11 aircraft were undergoing depth repair and not able to be bought up to standard quickly. Operational capability is measured in terms of flying hours rather than the number of airframes available.
The amount spent is £46.3 million. This figure represents expenditure in 2007-08 on public relations services (including sales marketing and advertising), service and civilian recruitment expenses and expenditure on schools and community relations initiatives. It includes expenditure by the defence agencies, but not by the MOD’s trading funds and Executive non-departmental public bodies, which lie outside the MOD’s accounting boundary.
The number of hours flown by each of the six Merlin helicopters acquired from the Danish Government in the last three months are shown in the following table in hours and minutes. Merlin ZK001 is still undergoing conversion at AugustaWestlands and is due to be delivered to RAF Benson on 9 January 2009.
September October November ZJ990 45:39 11:25 23:46 ZJ992 39:13 11:04 54:30 ZJ994 26:43 37:21 39:21 ZJ995 34:33 24:07 13:00 ZJ998 2:00 0 6:34 ZK001 0 0 0
Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations
Between 1 December 2007 and 30 November 2008 a total of 24 service personnel have suffered amputations due to injuries sustained while on operational deployment; one in Iraq and 23 in Afghanistan. These amputations can range from the loss of part of a finger or toe up to the loss of entire limb(s).
As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in his statement on 22 July 2008, Official Report, columns 660-63, preparing to transfer Basra International Airport to Iraqi civilian control is one of the key remaining tasks for UK forces in southern Iraq. Good progress has been made and the Iraqi civilian authorities now operate it as a civil airport during daylight hours. We remain on course formally to transfer responsibility for the airport to the Iraqi civilian authorities around the turn of the year.
Trade at Umm Qasr port has increased by 10 per cent. over the last year, and is forecast to increase by more than that again in 2009. Regeneration plans for the port are now being led and co-ordinated by the Iraqi Government, with support from Coalition personnel, including from the UK. UK personnel are providing advice and facilitation to the regeneration efforts, and UK forces are providing training to a company of Iraqi Marines guarding the port’s perimeter.
The cost of fitting glass cockpits to the RAF TriStar fleet is estimated to be in the order of £20 million. It is planned that this work will be completed by early 2011.
Departmental Disabled Staff
In respect of my Private Office, the Cabinet Office published its Single Equality Scheme in February 2008, which included a report on progress in meeting its disability equality duties. Copies are available in the Libraries of the House and on the Cabinet Office website at:
In respect of the Government Olympic Executive (GOE), the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (of which GOE is a part) published its first annual report on progress on disability equality in March 2008, available on the DCMS website:
The report describes progress on each item in DCMS's action plan and further action, for example, the establishment of a Disability Reference Group, plans to improve data collection on participation by disabled people in its sectors and work to improve the diversity of the boards of its public bodies.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
If the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES) decides that it is appropriate to suspend trade, the decision will be implemented in the EU under Article 4.2 of Council Regulation 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein.
We are not aware of plans to do this and the EU’s Scientific Review Group (SRG) is not separately considering suspending trade in this species as no concerns over trade have been raised. The UK has no plans to take unilateral action and if any concerns were brought to our attention we would first raise them through the SRG to ensure coordinated action across the single market.
DEFRA monitors occurrence of major animal disease outbreaks worldwide as an early warning to assess the risk these events may pose to the UK. These risk assessments are published on the DEFRA website.
DEFRA is in discussion with existing manufacturers of BTV1 vaccine, and companies with BTV1 vaccine in development, to encourage applications to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate for provisional marketing authorisations (PMAs). If vaccine should be required, the early granting of PMAs will help supply to the market to be achieved more quickly. DEFRA has not placed orders for vaccine against serotypes 1 or 6. To our knowledge, there are no BTV-6 vaccines yet in development.
We have an agreed policy for controlling incursions of any new serotypes under the existing UK Bluetongue Control Strategy. This strategy was reviewed recently in light of this year's experience and to address risk from other serotypes, and was published on the DEFRA website on 1 December.
DEFRA continues to urge industry to consider the risks and check the health and vaccination status of animals when sourcing any animals, from within the UK or abroad.
The following table breaks down the income from British Waterways' non-operational property endowment and share of joint venture profit and losses.
2007-08 2006-07 2005-06 Property income 33.3 32.1 30.3 Share of joint venture profits/losses1 -2.4 7.3 7.7 1 Net trading profit before tax
Share of joint venture profits/losses1
1 Net trading profit before tax
Dairy Products: China
The rules on imports are decided collectively at EU level. Imports of heat-treated milk, milk-based products and raw milk intended for human consumption from China into the EU are not permitted. Safeguard measures applying to products from China that contain dairy ingredients have been agreed by the EU and the Food Standards Agency has implemented them in the UK.
Departmental Disabled Staff
DEFRA produced a new Disability Equality Scheme at the end of 2007. This was developed to provide a more focused and effective scheme than the joint equality scheme which it succeeded. This new scheme was developed with the involvement of disabled people and was approved by the Equalities and Human Rights commission. It is published on the DEFRA website and can be found on:
We have made real and tangible progress for disabled staff over the past year. This progress, against the objectives set out in the Scheme’s action plan, will be reported in our Annual Progress Report on 31 December 2008.
To help defend against electronic attack, it is standard good information security practice for corporate IT systems, not to publish internal IP addresses.
When accessing internet websites, the IP addresses of all of the computers on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs internal office IT system are hidden behind the following IP addresses which are publicly available: 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206. These IP addresses are shared with other Government Departments that use the Government Secure Intranet.
Departmental Work Experience
(2) what the original completion date was for each of the Environment Agency's flood defence projects undertaken in the last five years; and what the latest expected completion date is in each case.
From 2004 to 2008 the Environment Agency's National Capital Programme Management Service was responsible for a total of 146 completed flood management projects. Of these, 83 were completed early or on time and 44 were completed within two months of the expected completion date. 19 projects were delayed by two months or more.
Information is not available for projects completed before 2004.
In most cases the projects are operational and protect houses before the final completion date of the construction works. For schemes completed within two months of the target date, the delays have been attributed to:
Poor weather conditions
High/low river flows
A list of the schemes delayed for more than two months, including the original and expected/actual completion dates and the reasons for the delay, where available, have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Project Completion date Reason St. Ives and Hemingsfords 2007-08 Increased scope due to additional works required by the customer. Alexander Docks 2006-07 An additional lock possession was required by the Ports Authority delaying the project by eight months. Bawdsey Sea Defences 2006-07 An increased level of environmental assessment was required, this coupled with poor weather conditions delayed the project. River Mersey FAS 2006-07 Changes in the design during the construction phase delayed the project. Regional Flood Warning Telemetry 2006-07 High level of public interest led to delays in gaining planning permission for this project. Maldon—Wisemans Quay 2005-06 This project started late due to contractor commitments, delaying the completion of this project. South East Weather Radar 2005-06 This project was delayed due to the timescales involved in procuring the radar from the United States. Lewes Mallingsbrook FAS 2005-06 The works involved considerable interface with existing services and suffered some delay from integrating project work with the utility companies carrying out diversions. The scheme was also set a very challenging target completion to respond to commitments given following the 2000 floods. Lydney Harbour 2004-05 Delay due to the tidal working conditions and obtaining approval for the works from English Nature. Eastern Rother—Robertsbridge FAS 2004-05 The proximity of the scheme to a large superstore delayed works as we needed to minimise the impact on the store and a large number of hypodermic needles buried in the soil delayed works while a method of dealing with them was found.
St. Ives and Hemingsfords
Increased scope due to additional works required by the customer.
An additional lock possession was required by the Ports Authority delaying the project by eight months.
Bawdsey Sea Defences
An increased level of environmental assessment was required, this coupled with poor weather conditions delayed the project.
River Mersey FAS
Changes in the design during the construction phase delayed the project.
Regional Flood Warning Telemetry
High level of public interest led to delays in gaining planning permission for this project.
This project started late due to contractor commitments, delaying the completion of this project.
South East Weather Radar
This project was delayed due to the timescales involved in procuring the radar from the United States.
Lewes Mallingsbrook FAS
The works involved considerable interface with existing services and suffered some delay from integrating project work with the utility companies carrying out diversions. The scheme was also set a very challenging target completion to respond to commitments given following the 2000 floods.
Delay due to the tidal working conditions and obtaining approval for the works from English Nature.
Eastern Rother—Robertsbridge FAS
The proximity of the scheme to a large superstore delayed works as we needed to minimise the impact on the store and a large number of hypodermic needles buried in the soil delayed works while a method of dealing with them was found.
DEFRA has overall policy responsibility for flood risk management and provides funding for schemes to Operating Authorities (Environment Agency, local authorities and Internal Drainage Boards). The funding for flood risk has been administered by the Environment Agency since April 2006. Information on potential projects is collected from operating authorities and the Environment Agency decides which projects to promote and their timing to meet the targets set by DEFRA. Since the projects are not formally approved until funding is confirmed none will have been postponed or have had their commencement delayed.
Flood Control: Databases
The Environment Agency has developed and now operates a National Flood and Coastal Defence Database (NFCDD).
Insurers are not provided with direct access to extract data from the NFCDD and requests for data are considered on a case by case basis.
NFCDD information is used to derive the Environment Agency’s national flood risk assessment and other products which are made available to insurers.
Floods: Repairs and Maintenance
I have been asked to reply.
Recommendation 11 of ‘The Pitt Review: Lessons learned from the 2007 floods’ was that:
“Building Regulations should be revised to ensure that all new or refurbished buildings in high flood-risk areas are flood resistant or resilient".
We will shortly be announcing the Government's response to the Pitt report.
Fly Tipping: Prosecutions
I have not made an estimate of the market value of the Forestry Commission. Its published Great Britain/England accounts for the year ending 31 March 2008, and which are available in the Library of the House, value its assets at £612.7 million, of which £487.9 million is attributed to the forest estate that the Commission manages.
Genetically Modified Organisms
Earlier this month the EU Environmental Council adopted a set of written conclusions on GM issues. Among other things, these set out an agreed view on the operation of the risk assessment process for genetically-modified organisms, including in respect of the role played by European Food Safety Agency in providing expert advice. The UK supported the adoption of the conclusions, the full text of which is available at:
The principles set down in the concordat continue to provide a clear framework for liaison between the four UK competent authorities on the matters covered by the agreement, including the assessment and authorisation of GMOs under EU Directive 2001/18.
Genetically Modified Organisms: Crops
In total 718 inspections of GM release sites have taken place since January 2000.
The Central Science Laboratory’s GM inspectorate has made 341 growing season inspections since it assumed its responsibilities in June 2000. Each part B trial site is inspected at least once when the crop is in the ground, but additional inspections may be undertaken at sowing or at harvest, or where an incident has occurred at the release site. The reports can be found on the internet at:
In addition the GM inspectorate has made 337 inspection visits following completion of trials. I have arranged for copies of the reports from these visits to be placed in the Library .
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was responsible for all inspections prior to 1 June 2000 and since then has retained responsibility for inspections of GM clinical trial applications. I have also arranged for copies of HSE’s 40 inspection reports to be placed in the Library.
There has been no commercial cultivation of GM crops in England, but maize variety T25, which has a Part C consent, was one of the crops grown in the farm-scale evaluation (FSE) research trials. There were 68 plantings of T25 as part of the FSEs after January 2000, of which 23 were vandalised.
My Department has received 205 post-release monitoring reports from consent holders since January 2000. These are available for inspection on the GMO public register held in DEFRA’s library. I have arranged for copies of them to be placed in the Library of the House.
International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tuna
The decision to set a total allowable catch (TAC) of 22,000 tonnes for the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic blue fin tuna fishery in 2009 was agreed by consensus at the meeting and therefore not subject to a vote.
While the UK would have ideally preferred the ICCAT to adopt a smaller TAC for blue fin tuna, the controls that have now been put in place for this fishery, coupled with the plan for contracting parties to demonstrate that they can comply with the plan or have their quotas suspended, mean that the fishery should now be effectively managed in order to prevent the over-fishing that has occurred in previous years.
Marine Management Organisation
To ensure that it is fit for purpose the Government intends the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to have the degree of independence from any one Minister or Department that the Marine Fisheries Agency, as an executive agency of DEFRA, currently lacks.
This independence from a single Department of Government is key as the MMO will deliver functions on behalf of Government as a whole—not just for DEFRA. There is also a strong desire across Government for stakeholders to be confident that the MMO is neutral.
It is largely for these reasons that the Government have decided that the MMO should be a non-departmental public body.
DEFRA has been aware of the potential funding required for a relocation for some time. My decision on location of the Marine Management Organisation will be taken into account when 2009-10 budget allocations within DEFRA are agreed in the new year.
We are aiming to put in place a significant number of marine plans over a 20 year period. We have not set out in the Marine and Coastal Access Bill either the number of plans or the deadline for their production because this is a new system which needs to evolve.
The figures in the impact assessment published alongside the Bill are based on 10 plans, although the eventual number of plans, and their size will depend on local ecological and regional characteristics and needs in the areas where planning is most needed. We envisage that plans will be created through a phased approach, with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) prioritising resources to the areas where it is determined that early planning will be of most benefit.
We aim to start developing the first plans as soon as the MMO is established. We will be examining these issues during the course of the next year and will consult with stakeholders as part of developing our approach.
Of the 43 new posts the Marine Management Organisation will create, 19 will be in marine planning.
Our impact assessment suggests that we may need teams of six to co-ordinate each plan, supported by resources from the wider organisation to address requirements such as science, data management and analysis, geospatial systems, legal advice, communications and stakeholder engagement.
Therefore depending on how many plans the MMO works on at any given time it would be likely to require dedicated staff with further input from a range of specialists. The MMO will not be working alone but will be seeking to involve marine and planning expertise from the stakeholder community. Ultimately the numbers engaged in the planning process will be determined by the priority allocated to planning and the availability of resources, in essence the needs of the business.
Pesticides: Health Hazards
The reports from Dr. Povey and Dr. Mackenzie Ross will be published when the current peer review has been completed.
The consolidated epidemiological and clinical reports from Dr. Fletcher's study have been passed to the Medical and Scientific Panel of the Veterinary Products Committee for their independent view of the findings. Once the Medical and Scientific Panel's views are received the consolidated report will be published.
The epidemiological report from Dr. Fletcher's study was published on the DEFRA website in June 2005 and can be found at:
Pet Travel Scheme
DEFRA undertakes extensive work in relation to rabies and other important diseases that may be carried by pet animals that arrive in the United Kingdom via both PETS (the Pet Travel Scheme) and those going into quarantine. Also, DEFRA regularly reviews the targeting of the resources it has available to carry out disease surveillance. Reviews are carried out in accordance with the reasons for Government intervention as set out in the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy. Consideration of re-allocation of surveillance resource between different animal species and diseases, to permit increased funding of surveillance in relation to cross-border pet movement, is included in this process.
(2) what plans his Department has to fund new mixed plastics recycling plants; and if he will make a statement.
(2) what the designated maximum number of prisoners is who can be housed in Chelmsford Prison;
(3) how many (a) adults and (b) young offenders there are in Chelmsford Prison.
On 12 December, the operational capacity of Chelmsford prison was 695. The number of adults and young offenders held in the prison overnight was 482 and 203 respectively. 276 prisoners shared a cell with another person. No prisoners were held three to a cell.
Community Orders: Per Capita Costs
Probation Services meets the cost of delivering Community Sentences through their grant as they see fit to meet their statutory duties. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 established the new Community Order as a single community sentence with a number of elements in respect of offences committed after 4 April 2005.
Probation Boards and trusts spent £614 million in 2007-08 supervising around 244,000 offenders. It is not currently possible to separate the cost of supervising offenders on community sentence as probation caseloads also include significant numbers of offenders that have been released from a custodial sentence or released temporarily into the community.
Work is in hand in the National Offender Management Service to ensure that all offender services delivered in custody and in the community are properly specified and costed so that commissioners can ensure that resources are targeted effectively to protect the public and reduce re-offending.
County Courts: Kent
In terms of key performance indicator 6, which deals with the proportion of small claims (claims up to £5,000) that are dealt with other than by a hearing (settlement), Kent has increased from 52.4 per cent. at the end of 2007-08, to 55.1 per cent. for the first six months of this year. Increased administrative support is being given to the Kent small claims mediator to improve the throughput of civil cases where the parties believe that mediation outside the courtroom may lead to settlement.
For key performance indicator 7, which measures the proportion of defended small claims that are completed (from issue to final hearing) within 30 weeks, there has been a decline in throughput of civil small claims cases in Kent in 2008-09 based on figures to the end of September 2008. Her Majesty’s Courts Service, Kent has taken the following steps to improve the performance. On small claims cases, deputy district judge sittings have increased by an additional 66 days to improve performance. Greater use is being made of listing a block of cases before two or more district judges sitting on the same day at the same location, thus utilising judicial time more effectively. A pilot exercise is being undertaken whereby the Kent small claims mediator attends that same court to offer on-the-spot mediation to parties awaiting hearing who wish to take advantage of this free mediation service. Closer scrutiny of the reasons for cases not meeting target will be carried out by court managers from December 2008.
In line with the key performance indicator to increase the amount of civil work initiated online, Kent has made progress and in October 2008, 67 per cent. of customers issued possession claims online as compared with 41.3 per cent. a year ago. Further work is planned to increase online take up.
In relation to (the supporting indicator, for) large multi-track cases (over £15,000), the system by which these cases are heard at each location at Kent within the same fortnight is being extended to three fortnights a year, rather than two, to improve performance against target. A review of all multi-track cases at Canterbury county court was recently carried out by the designated civil judge to ensure that cases were being dealt with in a timely manner and not incurring avoidable delay.
Supporting management information is provided in relation to the proportion of administrative process completed within five days. Kent’s performance is slightly below the South East region’s figure of 92.9 per cent., at 91.2 per cent. for the first six months of this year. During the first part of the year in Kent, a number of county court manager roles were covered on a temporary basis at Canterbury (seven months), Medway (ongoing temporary promotion), and Tunbridge Wells (temporary promotion, four months), as well as at Maidstone county court. The majority of court manager vacancies are now filled and with the training of new staff that has taken place, improvement in the management of administrative process at these sites is anticipated.
Kent has been included, as part of wider regional reviews including the Civil Listing Review, District Judge Complementing Review and Circuit Judge Complementing Review. These reviews have made recommendations on listing practices and the operation of concurrent jurisdiction for circuit and district judges and the requirement to hear civil work at the most appropriate level. These recommendations are now being considered by the area director and the designated civil judge with a view to realigning judicial resource where appropriate to bring improvement in performance across all areas of civil work.
Departmental Data Protection
In the ex-DCA, details of the number of staff investigated for losing and deliberately disclosing data and confidential information were not held centrally in a format that would enable us to answer this part of the question. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Information regarding suspensions and the outcome of disciplinary proceedings is held centrally and these records indicate that no members of staff have been suspended or dismissed since 9 May 2007 for these offences.
In the National Offender Management Service, details of the number of staff investigated or suspended for losing and deliberately disclosing data and confidential information are not held centrally in a format that would enable us to answer this part of the question. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Information regarding the outcome of disciplinary proceedings is held centrally and these records indicate that no members of staff have been dismissed since 9 May 2007 for these offences.
Departmental Public Consultation
The Ministry of Justice has not convened any citizens’ juries or randomly drawn panel of people to aid the Department’s policy making. However we recognise the important contribution that the public can make in this area and carry out a wide range of activities which allow Ministers and officials to listen to and understand the views of the public and stakeholders in developing policy.
(2) how many prisoners were removed from England and Wales under prisoner transfer agreements in the last year for which figures are available;
(3) how many prisoners were returned to (a) the Netherlands and (b) the Netherlands Antilles under prisoner transfer agreements in the last year for which figures are available.
In the calendar year 2007, 111 prisoners were transferred from England and Wales to other countries under relevant international prisoner transfer arrangements. Of these, 75 prisoners were transferred to the Netherlands and five prisoners were transferred to the Netherlands Antilles. No prisoners were transferred to the Ukraine.
Legal Aid Scheme
The information requested for each of the last five years is set out in the following table, taken from the Legal Services Commission’s annual reports. The figures exclude release of provision on dormant cases and charges for bad debt. The LSC’s management information system records acts of assistance rather than the number of individuals assisted. Some individuals may have received more than one act of assistance during the year and some acts of assistance may help more than one person.
Resource expenditure (£ million) Acts of assistance (Thousand) 2003-04 1,914 2,633 2004-05 1,769 2,435 2005-06 2,000 2,607 2006-07 1,983 2,659 2007-08 1,945 2,503
Resource expenditure (£ million)
Acts of assistance (Thousand)
The average cost of civil representation cases before income1 was £5,520 in 2007-08. The average cost of Legal Help by solicitors in 2007-08 was £265.The figures relate to cases that were closed in the year and include VAT.
The average cost of civil representation housing possession cases before income1 was £2,200 in 2007-08. This excludes cases that have been settled.
The average cost of Legal Help in housing possession cases was £200 in 2007-08. The figures relate to cases that were closed in the year and include VAT.
1 The figure shows the total amount that the LSC has paid for the case. The figure does not cover any of the money that the LSC will receive back as income, for example from costs and contributions.
National Offender Management Service Board
National Offender Management Service: Per Capita Costs
For 2007-08, the last full financial year for which figures are available, the average public sector Prison Service daily food cost per prisoner in England and Wales was £2.12.
No discrete cost data are held centrally for each meal but we estimate that for breakfast, lunch and dinner the approximate breakdown of the daily food cost is 20 per cent., 40 per cent. and 40 per cent. respectively. This calculates as follows:
£ Breakfast 0.42 Lunch 0.85 Evening Meal 0.85
This estimate will vary between establishments and actual costs will be dependant on local regimes.
Funding for the delivery of accredited offending behaviour programmes in custody is built into prison baselines and it is not possible accurately to disaggregate the cost of this work. The National Offender Management Service is currently undertaking a specifications, benchmarking and costings exercise which will provide accurate costings of the interventions delivered.
The additional funding allocated for accredited drug rehabilitation programmes is given in the following table:
£ million 2004-05 13.8 2005-06 19.4 2006-07 19.4 2007-08 19.4 2008-09 19.4
Probation Boards fund the cost of providing programmes for offenders in the community through their main grant. Data are available only on the allocation of funds to deliver programmes to offenders under probation supervision which is set out in the following table:
£ million 2005-06 77 2006-07 85 2007-08 86.5
There is no information relating to expenditure for years leading up to 2005.
Prison Service: Conditions of Employment
As part of the drive to deliver efficiency savings and improve the way in which the agency delivers its business, the Workforce Modernisation Programme proposes to streamline the number of management layers in establishments and reduce the number of managers by 1,100 over a period of five years. This will be achieved by setting a management benchmark at area level. There will be no need to impose compulsory redundancies to achieve this benchmark.
Workforce modernisation will also develop the capability of managers by clarifying their role, responsibilities, development opportunities and career progression arrangements. This modernisation will be implemented alongside new pay and grading arrangements to ensure that staff are paid fairly for the work that they do.
Prison Service: Industrial Relations
Prison Service: Manpower
Extensive engagement with staff, including governors and area managers, has led to the development of a set of proposals which the NOMS Board—including the chief operating officer—are satisfied will deliver more efficient ways of working while maintaining the current levels of safety and stability in establishments.
Prison Service: Sick Leave
The following table contains information on the total number of working days lost to the public sector Prison Service through sickness absence in each year since 2003-04. The table also shows the average number of working days lost per employee of the public sector Prison Service during the same period. An estimate has been made of the overall cost of absence (at 2007 prices) for the public sector.
Sickness absence accounted for 5.3 per cent. of all available working days in the public sector Prison Service in 2007-08. 41 per cent. of Prison Service staff had no sickness absence in the 12 months to June 2008. Sickness absence rates have fallen by 12 per cent. since 2003-04 and by 20 per cent. since 2002. The reduction in absence rates since 2003-04 has saved an estimated £10.8 million.
Information has not been provided for the privately contracted prisons. As private companies, the contractors bear the costs of their staff sickness. The costs do not fall on public funds.
Working days lost Average working days lost Estimated cost1 (£ million) 2003-04 628,623 13.31 83.4 2004-05 616,367 12.68 81.7 2005-06 589,211 12.17 78.1 2006-07 573,071 11.64 76.0 2007-08 590.936 11.70 78.4 1 The cost of a day is estimated as £132.62. This does not include other costs associated with sickness absence.
Working days lost
Average working days lost
Estimated cost1 (£ million)
1 The cost of a day is estimated as £132.62. This does not include other costs associated with sickness absence.