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Written Answers

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 14 January 2009

Scotland

Departmental Air Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many journeys (a) he and his predecessors and (b) his officials made by aeroplane in the course of their duties in each of the last five years. (246670)

The number of aeroplane journeys undertaken by Scotland Office Ministers and officials, in the course of their duties, is shown in the following table.

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Ministers

19

9

14

22.5

Officials

314.5

291

294

249.5

Total

333.5

300

308

272

A return journey is classed as one journey; if, for example, the outward leg of a journey is undertaken by air and the return by train, this is shown as half a journey. Figures are not available for years prior to 2004-05.

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

Departmental Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps his Department is taking to reduce the amount of energy it wastes. (244601)

The Government’s Delivery Plan for “Sustainable Procurement and Operations on the Government Estate”, published in August 2008, provides a full account of the initiatives Departments are taking to reduce their energy waste. The Government have committed to updating the Delivery Plan on a six- monthly basis, and the first of these updates was published on 18 December 2008.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department spent maintaining its website in each of the last five years. (245495)

Figures are only available for the period during which the current Scotland Office website has been in existence. The figure for 2004-05 includes the initial cost of designing and building the site.

Financial year

Cost (£)

2004-05

24,718

2005-06

4,964

2006-07

840

2007-08

2,990

Church Commissioners

Paid Posts

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners pursuant to the answer of 11 December 2008, Official Report, column 201W, on paid posts, for what reason the posts of Secretary to the Church Commissioners and Chief Financial Officer are reserved for practising Christians. (247500)

Both post holders have particular responsibilities for maintaining the Christian ethos of their organisations as well as representing the Church to others in society. Current discrimination legislation allows religious organisations to restrict appointment to Christians or Anglicans in those circumstances.

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners pursuant to the answer of 11 December 2008, Official Report, column 201W, on paid posts, whether the post of (a) Secretary to the Church Commissioners and (b) Chief Financial Officer could be filled by a practising Roman Catholic. (247501)

The Chief Financial Officer has a responsibility to help maintain the Christian ethos of the National Church Institutions and this post could be filled by a Roman Catholic or a person from any other Christian denomination.

The Secretary to the Church Commissioners has a particular responsibility for representing the Church of England and maintaining its ethos within the Commissioners and, as such, appointments have been restricted to Anglicans in the past.

Energy and Climate Change

Biofuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what percentage of the fuel used at Drax power station was (a) tar sands, (b) shale and (c) other oils in the last period for which figures are available. (247043)

The Department does not collect fuel usage data at this level of detail. Furthermore, the Department has given an undertaking that any fuel usage data that is collected from individual generators is used only for the purpose of producing aggregate statistics—company level data may be commercially sensitive and thus cannot be released.

Mining: Horses

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many ponies are working in mining enterprises. (247512)

Certain coal mining museums may keep ponies to illustrate their former role, but they are not employed in any underground capacity, nor are any ponies known to be working in other coal mining enterprises.

Renewable Energy: Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much his Department and its predecessors have spent on the development of (a) renewable fuels and (b) clean engines in the last three years. (245868)

I have been asked to reply.

The Department's expenditure in these areas falls to the Research Councils and the Technology Strategy Board.

Research Councils’ total expenditure on bioenergy (including biofuels and biomass) and clean engines was £8.45 million and £1.65 million respectively for the years 2005-08.

Technology Strategy Board’s total expenditure on collaborative R and D projects in the areas of bioenergy and clean engines was £2.98 million and £1.64 million respectively for the years 2005-08.

Warm Front Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many claims for assistance made through the Warm Front scheme are outstanding. (246876)

The current number of applications outstanding is 106,179. Each of these applications are at very different stages and will be eligible for a range of measures. Some customers are awaiting survey, others are awaiting work to be installed and others have an outstanding contribution to make to the cost of the work.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Departmental Public Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much public expenditure was incurred in respect of (a) Greatrex Associates, (b) Paul Sullivan Snooker and Pool, (c) Coffee Republic, (d) Bristol and District Retirement Council, (e) Cherubs Floral Design Ltd. and (f) Total Horsemanship Ltd in 2007-08; and for what purpose in each case. (240843)

[holding answer 8 December 2008]: From information held centrally, the core-Department's financial system records the following expenditure incurred with the businesses listed:

Name

Purpose

Expenditure (£)

Greatrex Associates

Executive Management Coaching

2000.00

Paul Sullivan Snooker and Pool

0

Coffee Republic

Sandwich Lunch at Conference

97.88

Bristol and District Retirement Council

Retirement Courses

440.00

Cherubs Floral Design Ltd

Flowers for Reception, Innovation Centre, Reading

1850.85

Total Horsemanship Ltd

Natural Horsemanship Course

240.00

Flood Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many local authorities have published schedules of works for maintenance of (a) rural rivers and (b) coastal areas at risk of flooding; and when each such schedule was published. (246110)

DEFRA does not currently collate information published by local authorities regarding the maintenance of river and coastal defences.

The Pitt review recommended that schedules should be published for each local authority area. The Government support this recommendation and the Environment Agency will publish information on planned maintenance, after consulting regional flood defence committees and other local stakeholders, from 2009-10.

Culture, Media and Sport

Departmental Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many members of staff in his Department have been (a) investigated, (b) suspended and (c) dismissed for losing (i) memory sticks, (ii) laptop computers, (iii) desktop computers and (iv) mobile telephones belonging to his Department in each year since 1997. (248246)

In the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, no members of staff have been (a) investigated, (b) suspended and (c) dismissed for losing (i) memory sticks, (ii) laptop computers, (iii) desktop computers and (iv) mobile telephones in each year since 1997.

Sports: Public Participation

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of people (a) under and (b) over 16 years who participated in at least one active sport in the last four weeks in each year for which figures are available. (247575)

The ‘Taking Part’ survey is a continuous household survey providing national data on participation in culture, leisure and sport by adults aged 16 and over. In those households containing at least one child aged 11 to 15, an interview is also conducted with a randomly selected child.

The following tables show the percentage and number of children and adults who participated in active sport in the past four weeks.

Table 1: Participation in active sport by children aged 11-15

Percentage

Population (Thousand)

2006

95

3,030

2007

95

2,980

Note:

Fieldwork for the child element began in January 2006 and runs on a January to December cycle.

Table 2: Participation in active sport by adults aged 16 and over

Percentage

Population (Thousand)

2005-06

54

21,330

2006-07

53

21,310

2007-08

54

22,190

Note:

Fieldwork for the main adult survey began in July 2005 and runs on a July to June cycle.

Leader of the House

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

To ask the Leader of the House what expert advisers have been commissioned by her Office since 1997; on what topic each was commissioned; and whether the adviser so appointed made a declaration of political activity in each case. (246960)

Since May 2007 there have been no expert advisers commissioned by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House. Information prior to 2007 can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Government are committed to publishing an annual list detailing the number and costs of special advisers. Information for 2007-08 was published by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 22 July 2008, Official Report, columns 99-102WS.

Transport

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what expert advisers have been commissioned by his Department and its agencies since 1997; on what topic each was commissioned; and whether the adviser so appointed made a declaration of political activity in each case. (246961)

The information requested is not held centrally and to compile a list would incur disproportionate cost.

The Department publishes on its website details of appointments to the public bodies which it sponsors.

Since 2003, the Government have published an annual list detailing the number and costs of special advisers. Information for 2007-08 was published by the Prime Minister on 22 July 2008, Official Report, columns 99-102W.

Luxembourg Rail Protocol

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the (a) purpose and (b) content of the Luxembourg Rail Protocol to the 2001 Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment; and if he will make a statement. (247041)

The Department for Transport has assessed the Rail Protocol to the 2001 Cape Town Convention on International Interests on Mobile Equipment, including undertaking both formal and informal consultations of the UK's principal rolling stock companies (ROSCOs) and rail industry. We have concluded that there is no advantage to the UK in ratifying the Protocol.

Park and Ride Schemes: Middlesbrough

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what support his Department plans to give to Middlesbrough's proposed park and ride facility; and if he will make a statement. (247950)

The Middlesbrough Local Transport Plan (LTP2) contains aspirations to introduce park and ride facilities. The Department for Transport is making £5.46 million available to Middlesbrough over the three financial years, 2008-11, through their LTP2 integrated transport block allocation. It is for Middlesbrough to determine how best to use this capital funding to deliver the stated outcomes of its plan.

There are also proposals to improve heavy rail services in the Tees Valley through the Tees Valley Metro project. The provision of a new station at Nunthorpe Parkway with associated car parking is an element of this package. The Department is committed to working with the Tees Valley Metro promoters to help them to develop their business case and I look forward to seeing the final document in due course. Funding for part or all of these proposals will need to be identified in the Regional Funding Advice (RFA2) transport investment programme for the North East. In this respect, the RFA2 response from the North East Region is to be submitted to Government at the end of February.

Railways: Mobile Phones

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to restrict mobile telephone signal provision to some or all carriages on rail services. (248135)

The Department for Transport does not micro-manage train franchises. The use of mobile phones on trains is a matter for the individual train operating companies, some of whom have placed restrictions on use by designating ‘quiet coaches'.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Taleban and (b) non-Afghan fighters have been killed by (i) UK and (ii) other NATO forces in Afghanistan since 2003. (247147)

I have nothing to add to the answer my predecessor gave on 6 May 2008, Official Report, column 832W, to the hon. Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell) and on 1 November 2006, Official Report, column 423W, to the hon. Member for North Devon (Nick Harvey).

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the security situation in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. (248118)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 75W, to the hon. Member for Kettering (Mr. Hollobone).

Colombia: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent in providing counter-narcotics assistance to members of the Colombian armed forces in each year since 2000. (247146)

We do not divulge the details of our counter-narcotics work in Colombia, including costs, because of the risk to the people concerned. The parliamentary ombudsman has upheld this approach.

Departmental Catering

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department’s working group on sustainable catering procurement objectives has made; what recommendations it has made; and if he will make a statement. (246136)

The original working group, which looked at a range of facilities management services, reported in July 2008, but did not make any specific recommendations in respect of sustainable catering.

The Defence Food Services Integrated Project Team has established a separate sustainability working group to look specifically at sustainable catering procurement.

Achievements to date include reducing the overall carbon footprint through reductions in storage and transport of ration packs and by amending the frequency of deliveries and routes to military establishments. The Defence Food Services Integrated Project Team has also introduced a range of ethically traded products and increased the proportion of food it sources from UK suppliers; initiatives are under way to increase this further. The team has also held a sustainability launch event which aimed to give small and medium suppliers the ability to improve their own environmental management.

Departmental Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department’s (a) pre Main Gate and (b) post Main Gate (i) category A, (ii) category B and (iii) category C procurement projects were as at 31 March in each year since 2002. (245124)

Details of the Department’s pre Main Gate and post Main Gate category A, B and C equipment procurement projects at 31 March 2002, 2003 and 2004 are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

I will place a list of the Department’s category A, B and C post Initial Gate Pre Main Gate and post Main Gate pre In Service Date equipment procurement projects for years ending 31 March 2005 to 2008 in the Library of the House.

Iraq and Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the deployment of armed forces to (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan has cost in (i) 2008-09 and (ii) each year since 2003-04; and what projection he has made of the cost in 2009-10. (246932)

The audited net additional cost to the MOD for the cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003-04 to 2007-08 are set out as follows:

Iraq

£ million

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Resource Costs

1,051

747

798

787

1,055

Capital Costs

260

163

160

169

402

Total

1,311

910

958

956

1,457

Afghanistan

£ million

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Resource Costs

36

58

148

560

1,071

Capital Costs

10

9

51

178

433

Total

46

67

199

738

1,504

The net additional cost of operations is volatile. Nevertheless, our current forecast of costs in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008-09 are set out in our winter supplementary estimates as follows:

Iraq, 2008-09

£ million

Resource Costs

1,141

Capital Costs

256

Total

1,379

Afghanistan, 2008-09

£ million

Resource Costs

1,511

Capital Costs

807

Total

2,318

Our final estimate for 2008-09 will be set out in the spring supplementary estimates. Our forecast costs for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for 2009-10 will be published in the main estimates in spring 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what time scale his Department has set for the transfer of the Merlin helicopter from operations in Iraq to Afghanistan. (247443)

In line with the time scales set out in the Prime Minister’s statement on Iraq on 18 December 2008, Official Report, columns 1233-35, the Merlin Battlefield Helicopter Force will remain fully committed to supporting UK forces in Iraq until circumstances allow for its withdrawal. We are already doing all we can to ensure a swift transition of the Merlin Force to Afghanistan, including the procurement of necessary equipment modifications for operations there. Nevertheless, we envisage a short period of around four months for the force to prepare for operations in Afghanistan after extraction from Iraq.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces personnel in each service he expects to remain in Iraq following the completion of Operation Archive. (244623)

As the Prime Minister set out on 18 December 2008, Official Report, columns 1233-35, we will complete our remaining military tasks in Iraq by 31 May 2009 and move to a normal bilateral defence relationship. The subsequent withdrawal of our forces will be complete by 31 July. As part of the future relationship, the Government of Iraq have indicated that they would like to continue to receive military training and education from the UK. We will shortly begin discussions to establish the precise scope of this training and education, which will inform the number and breakdown by service of any UK service personnel in Iraq after 31 July. Our current assumption is that this activity would involve around 400 UK service personnel.

Operation Archive is not concerned with the overall withdrawal of UK forces by 31 July 2009. Rather, it is the name given to the periodic removal from Iraq of equipment no longer required by UK forces.

Duchy of Lancaster

Deprived Communities

7. To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment he has made of the results of his Department's recent research on levels of aspiration in deprived communities; and if he will make a statement. (246518)

The Aspirations research, published jointly by the Social Exclusion Taskforce, DCSF and CLG in December 2008, is highly significant and directly informs the new Inspiring Communities programme announced in the New Opportunities White Paper yesterday.

Aspirations have an important influence on young people's educational attainment. This research found that young people in some deprived areas are less likely to develop high aspirations. These areas often feature close-knit social networks; stable populations and isolation from diverse economic opportunities. Government have made great progress in deprived areas but pessimistic attitudes can be formed over generations and are hard to shift.

The Government are investing £10.1 million in a new Inspiring Communities campaign, bringing together local businesses, schools, parents and the wider community to find innovative ways to inspire young people and tackle attitudinal barriers.

Official Statistics

8. To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment he has made of the procedures governing the release or publication of official statistics by civil servants, Government special advisers and Ministers. (246519)

The Government consulted on new rules for pre-release access to statistics in their final form early last year. It introduced secondary legislation into Parliament in the summer and following debate in both Houses the new rules came into force on 1 December. These rules substantially improve the procedures governing the release of official statistics.

Social Mobility and Economic Growth

9. To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment he has made of the effects of the Government's policies on social mobility and economic growth. (246520)

The recently published “Getting on, getting ahead” White Paper demonstrated that while social mobility did not increase in the eighties and early nineties, new evidence suggests this might be beginning to change.

The latest academic research shows there are encouraging signs, with educational results becoming less dependent on a person's social background, more young people from low income backgrounds going to university and evidence that mobility in work is starting to rise.

The “New Opportunities” White Paper sets out how the Government will continue to address the key drivers of social mobility.

Third Sector

10. To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment he has made of the cost-effectiveness of Government policies designed to build capacity in the third sector. (246521)

The Government invest in building the capacity of the third sector through Capacitybuilders and Futurebuilders; both have commissioned independent evaluations of their programmes. The National Audit Office has also been investigating the effectiveness, impact and value for money of Government investment in building the capacity of the third sector, and plans to report early this year.

12. To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what discussions he has had with representatives of the third sector on the effect on third sector organisations of the current economic climate. (246523)

After the third sector summit on 24 November 2008, the Government announced their intention to publish an Action Plan. The third sector was asked for input to help inform the plan and more than 80 submissions have been received from third sector organisations and individuals about the impact of the economic downturn and proposed responses. The quality of this input has been high, and we plan to publish the Action Plan in the coming weeks.

Government Statistics

11. To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of procedures to prevent the premature release of Government statistics. (246522)

Responsibility for setting and assessing good practice regarding the release of official statistics (other than pre-release access to official statistics in their final form) rests with the UK Statistics Authority. The Authority has just published its Code of Practice for Statistics, on which it consulted last year. The Government will implement the Code as it applies to the statistics they produce and use, and will take seriously any breaches of the Code.

Information: Unauthorised Disclosure

13. To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what role (a) the Cabinet Secretary and (b) his Department has in investigating unauthorised disclosures of information from Government departments. (246524)

The role of the Cabinet Office in leak investigations was provided to the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) by the Cabinet Secretary on Wednesday 11 December 2008. A copy of the memorandum was placed in the Libraries of the House.

Charities: Government Assistance

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps the Government are taking to support charities in the economic downturn. (246362)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for South-West Norfolk (Christopher Fraser) and the hon. Member for Kettering (Mr. Hollobone) to PQs 246147 and 246535.

Damian Green

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what role the Cabinet Office played in the circumstances leading up to the recent arrest of the hon. Member for Ashford. (241588)

The role of the Cabinet Office in leak investigations generally and in the specific investigation relating to Home Office leaks has been set out in a memorandum provided to the Public Administration Select Committee on 11 December 2008, a copy of which is available in the Libraries of the House.

Death: Cancer

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many people (a) contracted skin cancer and (b) died from melanoma in the latest period for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. (247085)

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated January 2009:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many people (a) contracted skin cancer and (b) died from melanoma in the latest period for which information is available. (247085)

The latest available figures for newly diagnosed cases of cancer (incidence) are for the year 2006 while the latest figures for deaths are for the year 2007.

Table 1 below provides the number of newly diagnosed cases of malignant melanoma of skin for 2006 and the number of deaths from malignant melanoma of skin for 2007.

Table 1: Registrations of newly diagnosed cases of malignant melanoma of skin1 in 2006 and number of deaths from malignant melanoma of skin1 in 2007, persons: England

Malignant melanoma of skin

Cases diagnosed in 2006

8,658

Number of deaths in 2007

1,710

1 Malignant melanoma of skin is coded to C43 in the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10).

Source:

Office for National Statistics

Death: Weather

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many people died from factors attributable to cold weather in (a) each London borough and (b) each English region in each of the last 10 years. (247032)

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated January 2009:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many people died from factors attributable to cold weather in (a) each London borough and (b) each English region in each of the last 10 years. (247032)

Estimates of excess winter deaths are based on the difference between the number of deaths during the four winter months (December to March) and the average number of deaths during the preceding four months (August to November) and the following four months (April to July). It is not possible to say whether these deaths were related to cold weather. The table attached provides the number of excess winter deaths in (a) each London Borough and (b) each government office region from 1997/98 to 2006/07 (the latest available).

Table 1. Number of excess winter deaths1,2 in each London borough and government office region, 1997-98 to 2006-07

Deaths (persons)

Area

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

London boroughs

City of London

0

0

10

10

0

0

-10

0

0

10

Barking and Dagenham

40

120

200

120

90

100

90

110

60

60

Barnet

150

260

290

60

240

130

110

140

100

50

Bexley

130

170

190

140

10

150

70

150

110

120

Brent

60

150

180

70

70

70

100

90

30

40

Bromley

50

280

260

190

50

150

120

120

130

150

Camden

80

120

120

70

50

60

70

90

50

30

Croydon

130

290

320

160

190

100

100

150

130

40

Ealing

110

140

210

50

120

120

70

150

50

60

Enfield

150

280

260

40

120

180

70

150

80

60

Greenwich

60

130

190

110

60

70

70

140

20

60

Hackney

60

120

120

60

40

90

0

50

80

60

Hammersmith and Fulham

10

90

120

80

60

100

0

110

50

70

Haringey

80

120

100

50

70

110

60

60

50

30

Harrow

120

140

150

100

80

60

80

90

70

40

Havering

30

230

290

50

150

180

170

160

100

90

Hillingdon

130

130

240

110

120

100

70

150

120

70

Hounslow

80

150

180

100

110

80

60

20

130

-10

Islington

40

100

80

20

70

40

40

80

70

70

Kensington and Chelsea

40

50

80

30

40

40

50

70

30

60

Kingston upon Thames

90

120

150

70

110

40

40

90

110

80

Lambeth

60

130

180

80

30

90

70

70

110

60

Lewisham

80

170

210

120

110

140

40

150

90

80

Merton

70

120

140

90

20

60

40

90

90

100

Newham

30

140

280

110

100

100

40

100

20

50

Redbridge

80

260

220

80

140

60

80

130

100

100

Richmond upon Thames

110

170

160

20

60

100

70

100

70

60

Southwark

100

80

210

110

60

40

50

80

50

80

Sutton

90

150

150

110

80

10

50

120

130

60

Tower Hamlets

50

140

110

80

50

30

10

80

80

60

Waltham Forest

70

170

190

120

60

100

30

170

70

50

Wandsworth

120

140

180

90

110

80

60

150

140

110

Westminster

50

100

130

100

70

40

60

30

40

30

Government office regions

North East

1,550

2,370

2,680

1,550

1,530

1,260

1,190

1,460

1,080

1,510

North West

2,770

7,350

6.090

3,730

4,040

3,180

3,560

4,440

3,000

3,430

Yorkshire and the Humber

2,460

4,760

4,620

2,570

2.840

2,230

2,710

3,250

2,070

2,330

East Midlands

2,000

4,090

3,820

2,200

2,300

2,050

1,990

2,460

1,990

2,010

West Midlands

2,460

4,860

5,290

2,590

2,670

2,610

2,560

3,590

2,710

2,670

East of England

2,540

4,800

4,880

2,430

2,790

2,480

2,280

3,290

2,810

2,570

London

2,520

4,940

5,870

2,780

2,750

2,810

2,040

3,440

2,560

2,070

South East

3,210

6,710

7,680

3,150

4,140

3,670

3,310

4,590

4,680

3,030

South West

2,240

4,130

4,730

2,270

2,740

2,360

2,290

3,220

2,840

2,780

1 The estimated number of excess winter deaths is the difference between the number of deaths during the four winter months (December to March) and the average number of deaths during the preceding four months (August to November) and the following four months (April to July). Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

2 Data are based on deaths occurring in each month.

Departmental Marketing

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many complaints about advertisements sponsored or funded by his Department were made to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in each year from 1997 to 2008; and how many of these were upheld by the ASA in each year. (246645)

The information requested is not held centrally, but a search of available records has not found any complaints about advertisements sponsored or funded by the Cabinet Office. The Advertising Standards Agency maintain a register covering the last five years of all the complaints made to them, with their decisions, on their website at:

http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/

Departmental Publications

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the date of publication was of the most recent edition of the Central Office of Information White Book. (241697)

Departmental Video Recordings

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster with reference to the answer of 13 October 2008, Official Report, column 949W, on departmental recordings, if he will list the names of external film production companies that have been used by the Central Office of Information in the last 12 months. (241898)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Central Office of Information. I have asked the chief executive to reply.

Letter from Alan Bishop, dated December 2008:

As Chief Executive of the Central Office of Information (COI), I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, with reference to the Answer of 13 October 2008, Official Report, column 949W, on departmental recordings, if he will list the names of external film production companies that have been used by the Central Office of Information in the last 12 months. (241898)

These are listed below.

Aardman Animations Limited

Academy Productions

Another Film Company

Bermuda Shorts Limited

Cheerful Scout

Gorgeous Enterprises Limited

Independent Films Limited

Jacaranda Productions Limited

Jack Morton Worldwide

Mustard

New Moon

Nexus Productions Limited

Partizan Lab

Passion Pictures Limited

Pretzel Films Limited

Pukka Films Limited

Rogue Films Limited

RSA Films Limited

Serious Pictures Film Company Limited

Stink Limited

The Edge Picture Company

Tomboy Films Limited

U-Dox Creative Agency

Straker Films

Defeatures

Radley Yelder

Feel Films

Underdog Media

Insight News Television Limited

Story House Films Limited

Moon Films Limited

Spank Corporation

Sledge Limited

Moxie Pictures

Th1ng

Tandem Films

Shine Limited

Wonky Films

Knucklehead Limited

Addiction

Duke

Plunge Films

Disclosure of Information

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will formally request the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden to return to the authorities all material which he has received as a result of unauthorised disclosure to him and which he considers so sensitive it cannot be put into the public domain; and if he will make a statement. (244693)

[holding answer 18 December 2008] The appropriate action to take for anyone in receipt of an unauthorised disclosure is to return the material to the relevant Government Department.

Government Communication Network

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many staff in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies (i) are classified as Government communicators and (ii) have access to the Government Communication Network. (242219)

The Cabinet Office does not classify staff as Government communicators. Its central communications unit currently includes 28.4 full-time equivalent professional communications staff, with a further eight employed in cross-Government roles in the Government Communication team.

Any civil servant who works in a communication role can register online as an individual to gain access to GCN and the resources it provides through its website. The Cabinet Office recruits to communication roles against GCN professional competences; it also encourages staff in these roles register for GCN to build their professional skills and experience and so help to improve Government communication.

Government Departments: Public Relations

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what representations the Central Office of Information has received calling for the establishment of an approved list of public affairs agency suppliers. (241757)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Central Office of Information. I have asked the chief executive to reply.

Letter from Alan Bishop:

As Chief Executive of the Central Office of Information (COI), I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, what representations the COI has received calling for the establishment of an approved list of public affairs agency suppliers. (241757)

Neither I nor our Director of News and PR have received representations for the establishment of such a list.

Health and Safety Executive: Advertising

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the (a) name and (b) cost was of each advertising campaign carried out by the Central Office of Information in relation to the Health and Safety Executive in each of the last five years. (240573)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Central Office of Information. I have asked the chief executive to reply.

Letter from Alan Bishop, dated December 2008:

As Chief Executive of the Central Office of Information (COI), I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what the (a) name and (b) cost was of each advertising campaign carried out in relation to the Health and Safety Executive by COI in each of the last five years [240573].

The information that you have requested is given in the table below.

HSE advertising expenditure

Campaign title

Total (£)

2003-041

2004-05

HSE Classified/Recruitment Advertising 2004-05

189,017

HSE Pitch Costs 2004-05

HSE Workplace Transport 2004-05

57,727

HSE Business Case Campaign 2004-05

967,054

1,213,798

2005-06

HSE Workplace Health Direct 2005-06

137,484

HSE MSD Campaign—Bad Backs 2005-06

1,390,660

HSE Classified Advertising

265,025

Slips and Trips Campaign 2005-06

1,455,545

HSE Agriculture Safety Ads 2005-06

5,675

HSE Classified/Recruitment Advertising (Barkers) 2005-06

7,142

HSE Miscellaneous 2005-06

11,616

HSE Waste and Recycling 2005-06

3,798

HSE Better Business SME Campaign 2005-06

1,097,461

HSE Noise Campaign 2005-06

47,697

Workplace Transport Police 2005-06

110,671

HSE Secondment Placement 2005-06

HSE Telegraph Business Club 2005-06

33,201

4,565,975

2006-07

HSE Backs 2006-07

1,597,220

Falls from Height 2006-07

813,298

HSE Dermatitis Campaign 2006-07

39,020

HSE Workplace Health 2006-07

90,414

HSE Asbestos 2006-07

48,426

HSE Recruitment Advertising 2006-07

78,715

HSE Telegraph Business Club 2006-07

56,843

Workplace Transport 2006-07

9,424

Respiratory Disease Briefs 2006-07

HSE Miscellaneous 2006-07

5,871

Overarching Campaign Strategy for HSE 2006-07

2,739,230

2007-08

Workplace Transport 2007-08

104,166

HSE Miscellaneous 2007-08

17,169

HSE Overarching Campaign Strategy 2007-08

HSE Dermatitis 2007-08

HSE Asbestos Campaign 2007-08

217,966

Slips Trips and Falls 2007-08

1,443,844

Workplace Health Connect 2007-08

Workboost Wales 2007-08

1,783,145

1 No advertising activity during 2003-04.

Liam Byrne

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will place in the Library a copy of the document “Working with Liam Byrne” produced for civil servants in the Cabinet Office. (241587)

It is not normal practice to publish internal working documents. But I am always happy to update the right hon. Member personally on matters of significance.

Life Expectancy

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the life expectancy of (a) men and (b) women in (i) North Yorkshire and (ii) England was (A) in 1987, (B) in 1992, (C) in 1997, (D) in 2001, (E) in 2005 and (F) at the latest date for which information is available. (247601)

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated January 2009:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the life expectancy of (a) men and (b) women in (i) North Yorkshire and (ii) England was (A) in 1987, (B) in 1992, (C) in 1997, (D) in 2001, (E) in 2005 and (F) at the latest date for which information is available. (247601)

Life expectancy figures are calculated as three year rolling averages and are available from 1991-93 onwards for local authorities and government office regions. Figures for counties are only available for 2005-07, therefore figures have also been given for Yorkshire and The Humber government office region.

The table below provides the period life expectancy at birth for (a) men and (b) women in (i) North Yorkshire county, (ii) Yorkshire and The Humber and (iii) England for 1991-93, 1996-98, 2000-02, 2004-06 and 2005-07 (the latest figures available).

Table 1: Period life expectancy at birth1, North Yorkshire county, Yorkshire and The Humber government office region and England2,1991-93, 1996-98,2000-02, 2004-06 and 2005-073

Years of life

Sex

North Yorkshire

Yorkshire and the Humber

England

1991-93

Male

73

74

Female

79

79

1996-98

Male

74

75

Female

79

80

2000-02

Male

75

76

Female

80

81

2004-06

Male

77

77

Female

81

82

2005-07

Male

79

77

78

Female

83

81

82

1 Period life expectancy at birth is an estimate of the average number of years a newborn baby would survive if he or she experienced the area's age-specific mortality rates for that time period throughout his or her life. The figure reflects mortality among those living in the area in each time period, rather than mortality among those born in each area. It is not therefore the number of years a baby born in the area in each time period could actually expect to live, both because the death rates of the area are likely to change in the future and because many of those born in the area will live elsewhere for at least some part of their lives.

2 Using boundaries as of 2008 for all the years shown.

3 Three year rolling averages, based on deaths registered in each year and mid-year population estimates.

National Income

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the change in UK gross domestic product was in each year since 1997-98. (247605)

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated January 2009:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question requesting details of the change in gross domestic product in each year since 1997-98. (247605)

Table A provides the latest GDP figures in real terms together with the annual growth rates for each calendar year since 1997. Data for 2008 will be first available with the publication of the Preliminary Estimate of GDP for the Fourth Quarter on 23 January.

Table A

GDP in real terms (£ million) (ABMI)

Percentage growth rate (IHYP)

1997

951,208

3.3

1998

985,506

3.6

1999

1,019,735

3.5

2000

1,059,658

3.9

2001

1,085,745

2.5

2002

1,108,508

2.1

2003

1,139,746

2.8

2004

1,171,178

2.8

2005

1,195,276

2.1

2006

1,229,196

2.8

2007

1,266,680

3.0

Note:

These figures are based on data published on 23 December 2008.

Non-profit Making Associations

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment his Department has made of the effects on the third sector of his Department’s strategy for commissioning public services. (246142)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment he has made of the effects on the third sector of his Department's strategies for commissioning public services. (246363)

Following the Public Administration Select Committee’s report on ‘Public Services and the Third Sector: Rhetoric and Reality’, the Government Response was published on 11 December 2008. This included an assessment of how far the Government’s vision of the state and the third sector working together at all levels and as equal partners can bring about real change in our public services. The Government welcomed the Committee’s recognition of the capacity of the sector to deliver excellent and innovative public services but also acknowledged the need to build a robust evidence base that supports the case for more public and private investment in the third sector as a delivery partner. This is why, through the Office of the Third Sector, £5 million has been invested in a new third sector research centre, led by Birmingham university, which will collect and disseminate evidence about the true social and economic value of the sector to society. Government are also investing in a four-year National Programme for Third Sector Commissioning, which is providing training for up to 3,000 commissioners of public services to ensure they get the best out of working with the third sector.

Pensioners

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many (a) men and (b) women he estimates will reach state pension age between the end of the first full week in December 2008 and the end of (i) January and (ii) February 2009. (246585)

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated January 2009:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your question asking how many (a) men and (b) women it is estimated will reach state pension age between the end of the first full week in December 2008 and the end of (i) January and (ii) February 2009 (246585).

The numbers of men and women projected to reach state pension age in Great Britain are:

8 December 2008 to 31 January 2009 inclusive: 46,000 males and 56,000 females

8 December 2008 to 28 February 2009 inclusive: 69,000 males and 85,000 females

These estimates are derived from the 2006-based national population projections for Great Britain published in October 2007.

Strategic Communications Unit

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what were the running costs of the Downing Street (a) strategic communications unit and (b) digital communications unit in the most recent year for which figures are available. (241773)

The communications budget, which includes the costs associated with the Strategic Communications Unit and the Press Office, for the financial year 2007-08 was £2.46 million. For the cost of digital communications I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) on 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1482W.

Voluntary Work

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what recent assessment he has made of the cost effectiveness of his Department’s policies on support for volunteering. (246144)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment he has made of the cost-effectiveness of his Department’s policies designed to support volunteering. (246364)

Over the 2008-11 CSR period the Office of the Third Sector will be investing £150 million in volunteering programmes. This supports a range of programmes including v, GoldStar, Volunteering for All and strategic funding to large national organisations.

The monitoring of these projects consists of formal monitoring meetings with delivery partners, tracking of volunteering numbers through the Government’s Citizenship Survey and, where appropriate, external programme evaluations.

In relation to the specific programmes, recent assessments show that v has created 875,000 volunteering opportunities since its launch in 2006, the GoldStar programme has run a programme of activities to promote good practice in volunteering and Volunteering for All has successfully delivered a number of campaigns to promote volunteering to groups at risk of social exclusion.

Written Questions: Government Responses

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the reason was for the time taken to reply to the hon. Member for Thurrock's question 231272 on assistant regional Ministers, tabled on 23 October 2008; and on what date a final draft answer was submitted to him for approval. (241210)

I have nothing further to add to the answer provided to my hon. Friend on 24 November 2008.

Young People

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many (a) male and (b) female 18-year- olds there were in each year since 2005; and how many of each there are expected to be in each year to 2015. (247129)

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated January 2009:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your question regarding how many (a) male and (b) female 18-year-olds there were in each year since 2005 and what the Office for National Statistics projects the number of 18-year-olds to be in each year to 2015. (247129)

The table below shows the United Kingdom population of males and females aged 18 for each year from 2005 to 2015. The figures up to and including 2007 are population estimates. The most recent national population projections, based on the population at the middle of 2006, have been used to provide the estimated population aged 18 from 2008 to 2015.

Population aged 18, United Kingdom, 2005 to 2015

Thousand

Population aged 18

Males

Females

Population estimates

2005

405

385

2006

417

392

2007

412

388

Population projections1

2008

417

392

2009

423

396

2010

415

391

2011

403

377

2012

398

372

2013

389

364

2014

386

362

2015

389

365

1 2006-based national population projections, ONS

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Aimhigher Programme

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills which Aimhigher projects are focused primarily on primary school pupils; and what the cost of each was in the last 12 months. (247136)

Aimhigher projects are delivered through the 44 area-based Aimhigher partnerships of schools, colleges and universities. Partnerships submit plans to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), summarising the type of activities they intend to undertake. However, they are not required to detail their activities with primary schools separately and do not set out the costs of individual activities.

From 2004 to 2007, HEFCE supported the ‘Professor Fluffy’ project based at the University of Liverpool. £274,000 was provided jointly from Aimhigher and HEFCE's own funds. The ‘Professor Fluffy’ project aims to raise awareness of higher education at an early age. In 2004, Professor Fluffy started a tour of primary schools in Greater Merseyside. In a project called ‘Professor Fluffy's Greater Merseyside Primary Roadshow’, year five and six pupils take part in a range of activities aimed at raising aspirations and introducing the vocabulary of higher education. The project reaches over 140 primary schools a year in Greater Merseyside of which 30 also participate in a visit into one of the colleges or universities. Professor Fluffy's resources are linked to the key stage 2 national curriculum and include the Professor Fluffy comic book, activity booklet and over 20 curriculum modules, e.g. five modern languages and a variety of STEM subjects. The children, and their parents, are also able to access Professor Fluffy's own interactive website which has had over a million pages viewed over the last couple of years. At the end of the programme each pupil receives a special Professor Fluffy certificate in a ‘graduation ceremony’ to celebrate their participation, together with their very own Professor Fluffy. In addition to the roadshow and university visits, a teachers' pack, offering five sessions, will be available shortly for purchase by schools. The Professor Fluffy concept and delivery models have been franchised to over 20 partners across the country. So far, Professor Fluffy has visited over 350 primary schools and talked to 30,000 primary pupils and their parents.

Higher Education: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills when he expects the higher education funding review to commence; when he expects the results of the review to be published; and what schedule has been set for the implementation of the review's recommendations. (247173)

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 this autumn. The timing and duration of the review and the publication of its results 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. It will then be for the House to consider how to respond to any recommendations.

Part-time Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate he has made of changes in the numbers of part-time students from higher education courses over the period of the next higher education funding review. (247174)

Numbers of part-time students in England have increased by over 200,000 to some 770,000 in 2006-07 since 1997-98 and we will continue to support increased HE participation in future. Our grant letters to HEFCE set out the expected growth in core fundable students (in full-time equivalent terms); however, no distinction between full-time and part-time students is made. Our plans allow for an increase of 30,000 full-time equivalent places by 2009-10 compared with 2007-08.

Prime Minister

Intelligence Services

To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the effect of the current economic situation on the budgets of the security services. (245843)

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Darling) set out the additional provisions for the single intelligence account for 2008-11 in the 2007 pre-Budget report and comprehensive spending review: “Meeting the Aspirations of the British People” (Cm 7227). Copies are available in the Library of the House.

Opposition

To ask the Prime Minister what preparations are in hand to provide briefing by civil servants to the Official Opposition and the Liberal Democrats in advance of the next general election. (246510)

Northern Ireland

Attorney-General for Northern Ireland: Public Appointments

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 11 December 2007, Official Report, columns 267-8W, on the Attorney-General for Northern Ireland: public appointments, what consultations his Department had in respect of arrangements for the appointment of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland. (245013)

The appointment of the Attorney-General for Northern Ireland is a matter for the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

Departmental Drinking Water

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 881W, on departmental hospitality, which companies provided the bottled water. (243248)

The companies that provided bottled water were as follows:

Antrim Hills Spring Water,

Ballygowan;

Classic Mineral Water.

Departmental Telephone Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many telephone numbers for which callers are charged at the rate applicable to 0845 numbers are used by (a) his Department and (b) its executive agencies for public access to services. (246985)

The Northern Ireland Office and its executive agencies use two telephone numbers for which callers are charged at the rate applicable to 0845 numbers. One number is used by the Department and one by an executive agency.

Inquiries

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which legal firms have worked on the Billy Wright inquiry; for what periods; who each firm represented; how much his Department has spent on legal fees for the inquiry; how much has been spent in the inquiry in each month since it was established; and when the inquiry is expect to report. (243380)

I am advised by the Billy Wright inquiry that the following legal firms have worked on it:

Legal firm

Period of engagement

Representation

Cleaver Fulton and Rankin Solicitors

January 2006

Legal services to the inquiry

John McAtamney and Co

April 20081

David Wright

Crown Solicitors Office

February 20051

A number of prison governors and officers

Treasury Solicitors

April 20071

Northern Ireland Prison Service, and the Northern Ireland Office

McCartan Turkington Breen Solicitors

March 20071

Police Service of Northern Ireland

Diamond Heron Solicitors

January 20051

Prison Officers Association

1 To date.

In accordance with the Billy Wright inquiry’s published funding protocol, witnesses to the inquiry are also entitled to reasonable legal advice at the inquiry’s expense and a number of firms have represented witnesses:

Legal firm

Period of engagement

Bircham Dyson Bell Solicitors

September 2008

Campbell and Caher Solicitors

March 2006

Edwards and Co Solicitors

December 2006

Ferguson and Co Solicitors

February 2007

Hart Coyle Collins Solicitors

August 2007

John J Rice and Company

April 2007

McBurney and Company Solicitors

April 2008

Madden and Finucane Solicitors

September 2007

O'Rorke McDonald and Tweed Solicitors

March 2006

Reid Black and Co Solicitors

July 2005

Trevor Smyth and Co Solicitors

August 2006 to April 2007

Corker Binning Solicitors

November 2007

Donnelly and Wall Solicitors

November 2008

McConnell Kelly and Co Solicitors

June 2005

Morrison and Broderick Solicitors

September 2006

S.C. Connolly Solicitors

November 2007

Some of these firms have represented only anonymous witnesses, some have represented only witnesses seen in public, and some have represented both. For security (to preserve anonymity) and public interest reasons (not all the witnesses of either type have yet been called to give evidence) it is not felt appropriate to release even the names of the ‘public’ witnesses before the end of the hearings. Once witnesses are called to give oral evidence the name of their legal representative is published on the inquiry website.

The total cost incurred by the Billy Wright inquiry for legal fees is £6.89 million.

The monthly spend of the inquiry is as follows:

Total resource

£000

2008-09

2007-08

2006-07

2005-06

2004-05

April

-222

421

191

27

May

1,304

416

145

114

June

776

955

292

239

July

843

1,608

185

105

August

770

428

232

120

September

265

1,011

254

167

October

811

-264

265

209

November

1,138

751

314

151

December

566

332

271

January

491

442

168

February

777

483

40

1

March

1,444

1,303

651

58

Total

5,685

8,604

4,438

2,262

59

Total capital

£000

2008-09

2007-08

2006-07

2005-06

April

0

0

0

0

May

0

0

0

29

June

0

0

0

1

July

0

122

0

2

August

0

0

0

-2

September

0

0

0

0

October

0

-122

0

0

November

0

0

0

3

December

0

0

-3

January

0

0

2

February

0

0

0

March

266

0

5

Total

0

266

0

37

The inquiry is expected to report by March 2010.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Advertising: Complaints

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many complaints were made to the Advertising Standards Authority regarding adverts sponsored or funded by his Department and its predecessor in each year since 1997; and how many were upheld. (242077)

Central records indicate that no complaints have been made to the Advertising Standards Authority regarding advertisements sponsored or funded by the Department or its predecessor, the DTI, in any year since 1997.

Companies: Mentally Ill

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many people have been removed from company boards on mental health grounds in each of the last five years. (241990)

[holding answer 9 December 2008]: There is no statistical breakdown available for the reasons why directors ceased to hold their appointments as there is no requirement for a company to give a reason for a director ceasing to hold appointment when, as required, it notifies the registrar of any change in its directors.

Departmental Correspondence

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many (a) letters and (b) e-mails received by his Department had not been responded to as at 15 December 2008. (244723)

The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members/peers correspondence. Information relating to 2008 will be published as soon as it has been collated. The report for 2007 was published on 20 March 2008, Official Report, columns 71-74WS. Reports for earlier years are available in the Libraries of the House.

In respect of e-mails, this Department will not be able to provide the information without incurring disproportionate cost. To do so would require gathering information from every official in the Department.

Departmental Official Hospitality

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much has been spent on (a) departmental Christmas parties and (b) staff entertainment in the last three years. (243739)

No official funds have been used for Christmas parties in the last three years. The Department does not separately record amounts spent on staff entertainment and figures could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will make it his policy to ensure that temporary and permanent employees at the same grade and at an hourly rate by his Department are paid at the same rate. (244399)

Staff employed by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) on short-term contracts are paid under the same pay systems that apply to permanent staff in BERR. They are salaried workers and are not paid at an hourly rate.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much has been allocated for bonuses for staff within his Department in 2008-09. (246589)

The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform awards non-consolidated bonuses in two formats:

1. Special bonuses to recognise performance in particularly demanding tasks or situations. Staff in receipt of a special bonus may also receive an annual performance award.

2. Annual performance awards paid to highly successful performers as part of the annual pay award.

Based on the information available the total amount spent on annual performance awards in 2008-09 is £2,240,592. Information on special bonuses paid in 2008-09 is not yet available, however the maximum expenditure is 0.4 per cent. of pay bill, in 2007-08 this was approximately £693,386.

This figure includes staff who were transferred from BERR to DECC as part of the October 2008 Machinery of Government changes as these staff received a BERR pay award in 2008.

Departmental Sick Pay

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much sick pay to staff in his Department cost in the last five years for which figures are available. (242224)

The estimated total cost of sickness absence in the Department in each year from 2003 to 2007 is as follows:

Average cost1 (£)

2008 (to November 2008)

1,650,240

2007

1,947,436

2006

2,213,308

2005

2,698,448

2004

3,375,352

1 Cost calculated for all years using the full-time equivalent figure for the Department in each of the last five years and the figure of £764 average cost per person sick (all staff), used in the “Analysis of Sickness absence in the civil service 2007” report published on the public civil service website at:

http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/statistics/sickness.asp

along with data for other Departments and agencies.

Japan: Trade

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps the Government are taking to promote trade between Japan and the United Kingdom. (245291)

Through UK Trade and Investment, the Government support initiatives and provide services across a range of sectors for UK companies seeking to do business in Japan, with a clear focus on activity that delivers maximum added value for business and the UK economy.

Royal Mail

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he plans to meet the Select Committee on Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to discuss the Hooper report. (245821)

I am happy to meet the Select Committee to discuss the Hooper Report when invited to do so.

My right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State appeared before the Select Committee for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) today.

Scandinavia: Trade

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the monetary value of trade between the UK and (a) Sweden and (b) Denmark was in each of the last five years. (245265)

The data requested are shown in the following tables:

£ million

UK exports of goods to Sweden

UK exports of services to Sweden

UK imports of goods from Sweden

UK imports of services from Sweden

2003

3,823

1,700

4,568

1,133

2004

4,356

1,701

5,118

1,148

2005

4,588

1,755

5,463

1,318

2006

5,246

1,964

5,985

1,357

2007

4,899

2,323

5,256

1,223

£ million

UK exports of goods to Denmark

UK exports of services to Denmark

UK imports of goods from Denmark

UK imports of services from Denmark

2003

2,180

1,528

3,399

783

2004

2,042

1,605

3,357

844

2005

2,314

1,541

4,393

927

2006

3,715

2,313

6,439

1,016

2007

2,180

2,371

3,430

996

Source:

UK Balance of Payments Pink Book, 2008 edition

Woolworths

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what options his Department has to assist Woolworths in the current economic climate; and if he will make a statement. (244340)

The company is in administration and the administrators are in charge. We have been closely following the administrators’ efforts to find purchasers for Woolworths’ stores and its wholesale business though neither Woolworths’ management nor its administrators have requested any Government assistance.

The Insolvency Service is doing all it can to get payments to those employees made redundant as soon as possible.

Yorkshire Forward

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the benefit to the local economy arising from the operation of Yorkshire Forward since 2006. (246169)

The Government have commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct an independent evaluation of the economic impact of RDAs. Their report has just been completed and I will be presenting it to the House shortly.

Treasury

Child Tax Credit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families claimed children's tax credit for 2002-03; if he will estimate the number of families who were eligible for the credit in that year; what the last date is on which claims for that year may be submitted; and if he will make a statement. (247170)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 14 July 2005, Official Report, column 1173W, and to paragraph 5.11 of Budget 2002, which can be found on the HM Treasury website at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/Budget 2002.pdf

Claims for children's tax credit for tax year 2002-03 must be submitted to HMRC by 31 January 2009.

Children: Day Care

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to his Statement of 24 November 2008, Official Report, columns 489-504, on the Pre-Budget Report, what form the proposed trials of systems to make child care payments more closely reflect child care costs are to take; where and when they are planned to take place; and when the results will be made available. (246899)

New Opportunities, published on 13 January 2009, provides further details on the pilots to make child care payments that more closely reflect child care costs at the time they are incurred. The document also announces the forthcoming publication of a refresh to the 10-year child care strategy, which will contain additional information on the pilots.

Cox Review

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) total and (b) staffing cost of the Cox review of creativity in business was. (247437)

The cost of the design, printing and distribution of the report of the Cox review of creativity in business, excluding internal staffing costs, was £34,420. half of which was met by the then Department of Trade and Industry. Any Treasury internal staffing costs associated with the review formed part of general departmental staff costs and are not therefore available separately.

Non-domestic Rates: Valuation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment has been made of the effect on the economy of the changes to business rates in ports made by the Valuation Office Agency. (245977)

I have been asked to reply.

It is not the Government's practice to make any specific assessment of the overall effect on the British economy of particular tax bills issued in the normal course of business under existing legislation. The legislation under which the VOA is operating is designed to ensure fairness in the tax system, so that businesses using similar properties face equivalent tax liabilities regardless of their location.

Private Finance Initiative

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the total capital value of all (a) operational and (b) non-operational signed private finance initiative projects is for (i) Government Departments, (ii) local authorities, (iii) the NHS, (iv) police authorities and (v) Government agencies; (247606)

(2) how many signed private finance initiative projects have become operational since 1997.

The full list of all signed PFI projects can be found on HM Treasury's website at:

www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/ppp_pfi_stats.htm.

For each PFI project, this list details the project name, the capital value, the constituency, the procuring authority and the annual unitary charge that needs to be paid over the life of the contract.

Welfare Tax Credits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) in how many and what proportion of disputed tax credit cases the liabilities were (a) wholly and (b) partly written off in each month since April 2003; (246901)

(2) how many and what proportion of tax credit claims were disputed in each month between April 2003 and April 2008.

The Tax Credit Office does not separately record whether an overpayment is written off in part or in full.

For information up to and including 2007-08, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 13 October 2008, Official Report, columns 1010-11W.

The corresponding information for October and November 2008 is provided in the following table:

Households

2008

Number of newly disputed overpayments

October

20,900

November

15,700

Work and Pensions

Airwave Service

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Airwave handsets issued to his Department's Fraud Investigation Service have been lost in each year since their introduction; and how many handsets issued to the service have been disabled by the service provider through (a) loss, (b) breakage and (c) other reasons in each such year. (246191)

The information is as follows:

(a) The Airwave service went live in the DWP in August 2007, and in the 2007-08 year, one radio was lost and disabled. Since then no radios have been lost.

(b) There have been no breakages to radio terminals that have necessitated a terminal to be disabled.

(c) In one or two instances the radios fitted to surveillance vehicles can be difficult to remove, so when these vehicles are in for routine mechanical servicing the radios are temporarily disabled, as a precaution, for the duration of the service.

Cold Weather Payments: Hertfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of households in (a) Hemel Hempstead, (b) Hertfordshire and (c) the UK which will be eligible for cold weather payments if the temperature falls below the level which triggers payment of the allowance in 2008-09. (243980)

The temperature criterion for cold weather payments is that the average temperature has been recorded as, or is forecast to be, 0° C or below over seven consecutive days at the weather station linked to the customer's postcode.

The estimated number of benefit units1 eligible for cold weather payments is not available by local authority, parliamentary constituency or county, but only by weather station.

The estimated number of benefit units1 eligible for cold weather payments in Great Britain in 2008-09 if the temperature criterion is met is 4.1 million.

1 Cold weather payments are made to benefit units rather than households. For example, a disabled adult on income support living with his mother on pension credit counts as two benefit units but would be thought of as one household.

Notes:

1. The estimate is the one most recently available, but it is only an estimate.

2. Estimates of the number of benefit units eligible for cold weather payments are not available by parliamentary constituency or county.

3. Information regarding cold weather payments in Northern Ireland is a matter for the Northern Ireland office. estimates of the number of households eligible for cold weather payments are not available.

Source:

Analysis of a scan of benefit recipients eligible for cold weather payments taken at the end of October 2008.

Housing Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average processing time was for (a) new housing benefit claims and (b) reassessed housing benefit claims (i) in total and (ii) in each of the smallest geographical areas for which figures are available in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (246597)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average length of time was for a housing benefit claim to be suspended pending a reassessment following notification of a change of circumstances (a) in total and (b) in each of the smallest geographical areas for which figures are available in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (246598)

Income Support: Ex-servicemen

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 16 December 2008, Official Report, column 616W, on income support: ex-servicemen, what proportion of the weekly payments of compensation schemes are disregarded; and if he will make a statement. (246761)

[holding answer 12 January 2009]: Normally for the income-related benefits, all income is taken into account, with disregards available only in specific circumstances.

Payments to ex-servicemen attract a disregard of £10 when calculating entitlement to income support and the other income-related benefits.

This disregard, which gives war pensioners an advantage over other disabled groups, is paid in recognition of the special nature of these payments.

Jobseeker’s Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many individuals receiving jobseeker's allowance were (a) UK born and (b) non-UK born, broken down by (i) local authority area and (ii) Government Office region, in each year since 1997; (247165)

(2) how many individuals receiving housing benefit were (a) UK born and (b) non-UK born, broken down by (i) local authority area and (ii) Government Office region, in each year since 1997.

Local Housing Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of local housing allowance payments have been made (a) directly to tenants, (b) directly to landlords on grounds of the tenant's vulnerability and (c) directly to landlords on the grounds that the tenant has rent arrears in excess of eight weeks, since April 2008. (247618)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to monitor the effectiveness of the implementation of provisions within local housing allowance regulations for local authorities to make direct payment to landlords in cases where claimants are vulnerable. (247619)

The Department is undertaking a review of local housing allowance over the two years from the commencement of its national roll-out in April 2008. As part of this review, we will be monitoring the effectiveness of direct payments to landlords in cases of vulnerable claimant.

Means Tested Benefits

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which benefits provided by his Department take account of assumed interest on saving in calculating entitlements; how frequently assumed interest rates are reviewed; when the last such review took place; what the assumed rate of interest is; and if he will make a statement. (246358)

Tariff income rules apply to all the income-related benefits for which the Department is responsible: income support; income-based jobseekers allowance; income-based employment and support allowance; pension credit; housing benefit; and council tax benefit.

For the information about tariff income, I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central (Jim Cousins) on 15 December 2008, Official Report, columns 418-19W.

National Workload Forecasts

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what (a) methodology and (b) assumptions Jobcentre Plus uses in calculating its national workload forecasts; and if he will make a statement; (245479)

(2) how often Jobcentre Plus updates its national workload forecasts; and what period is covered by each forecast.

[holding answer 12 January 2009]: A common methodology is used to produce the projections of workloads across the benefits, based on the estimates of caseload and new awards of benefit required to forecast benefit expenditure, and published at the pre-Budget report and the Budget. The caseload and new claims are projected using the most appropriate demographic, benefit payment, operational and policy information, and project forward Jobcentre Plus management information. The projections are also adjusted to take into account any seasonality in volumes.

The underlying assumptions vary according to the benefit, but are based on projecting forward recent trends, taking into account changes in relevant factors that are expected in the future. The number of assumptions underlying the projection is very large and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Jobcentre Plus updates its national workload projection once a quarter, on 31 January, 30 April, 31 July and 31 October. Each projection covers the period up to 2020-21.

Post Office Card Account

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library a copy of the (a) invitation to tender, (b) specifications and (c) descriptive documents relating to the Post Office card account tender process. (245474)

[holding answer 12 January 2009]: As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced to the House in his statement of 13 November 2008, the procurement exercise for a successor to the Post Office card account has been halted and instead another contract will be awarded to Post Office Ltd.

The tender process never reached a final conclusion. We have already published the notice that appeared in the Official Journal of the European Union (already in the Library) which set out what we intended to procure.

We do not intend to publish any other related documents.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the change in revenue which the Post Office will experience as a result of the award of the Post Office card account contract in each year of the contract period. (245475)

[holding answer 12 January 2009]: The Government are in the process of agreeing the detailed terms of a new contract with Post Office Ltd. The amounts to be paid to Post Office Ltd. will depend on a number of factors including customer behaviour. The financial details of the contract will remain commercially confidential.

Poverty: Children

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children were living in absolute low income in each region in each of the last 10 years. (244453)

Specific information regarding low income for the United Kingdom is available in "Households Below Average Income 1994/95-2006/07".

Information on the numbers of children below 60 per cent. of 1998-99 median income by region is set out in the following table. Three survey year averages are given for each of the regions as robust single year estimates cannot be produced because of volatility in estimates.

Number of children living in households with less than 60 per cent of absolute 1998-99 median household income held constant in real terms, by region or country: 1996-97-1998-99 to 2004-05-2006-07Million1996-97 to 1998-991997-98 to 1999-20001998-99 to 2000-011999-2000 to 2001-022000-01 to 2002-032001-02 to 2003-042002-03 to 2004-052003-04 to 2005-062004-05 to 2006-07Before housing costsNorth East0.20.20.20.10.10.10.10.10.1North West0.50.50.40.30.30.30.20.20.2Yorkshire and the Humber0.40.40.30.30.20.20.20.20.2East Midlands0.20.20.20.20.20.10.10.10.1West Midlands0.40.30.30.30.20.20.20.20.2East of England0.20.20.20.20.10.10.10.10.1London0.50.40.40.30.30.30.30.30.3South East0.30.30.20.20.20.10.10.20.2South West0.30.20.20.20.10.10.10.10.1England3.02.82.42.11.71.51.41.41.4Wales0.20.20.20.10.10.10.10.10.1Scotland0.30.30.30.20.20.20.20.10.1Northern Ireland1—1—0.10.10.10.10.10.10.1After housing costsNorth East0.20.20.20.20.20.10.10.10.1North West0.60.60.50.40.40.30.30.30.3Yorkshire and the Humber0.40.40.40.30.30.20.20.20.2East Midlands0.30.30.30.20.20.20.20.20.2West Midlands0.40.40.40.40.30.30.20.20.2East of England0.30.30.30.30.20.20.20.20.2London0.70.70.60.60.50.50.50.50.5South East0.50.40.40.40.30.30.30.30.3South West0.30.30.30.20.20.20.20.20.2England3.83.63.43.02.62.32.12.12.1Wales0.20.20.20.20.20.10.10.10.1Scotland0.40.30.30.30.20.20.20.20.1Northern Ireland1—1—0.10.10.10.10.10.10.1 1 Not available. Notes: 1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income data. 2. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response. 3. The reference period for Households Below Average Income figures is single financial years. Three sample years have been combined as regional single year estimates are subject to volatility. 4. The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication “Households Below Average Income” series, which uses disposable household income, adjusted (or "equivalised") for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living. Median incomes are used as the national average in the publication. 5. The figures are based on OECD equalisation factors. 6. Figures have been presented on both a Before Housing Cost and After Housing Cost basis. For Before Housing Cost, housing costs (such as rent, water rates, mortgage interest payments, structural insurance payments and ground rent and service charges) are not deducted from income, while for After Housing Cost they are. 7. Data for Northern Ireland are only available from 1998-99 to 2000-01 onwards. 8. Numbers of children in low-income households have been rounded to the nearest 100,000 children. Source: Households Below Average Income.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children lived in (a) absolute and (b) relative poverty in each year between 1979 and 1997. (246581)

The available information on the number of children living in relative and absolute low income since 1979 is given in tables 4.3tr and 4.4tr of the Households Below Average Income publication, published in June 2008, which is available in the Library.

Information is not available for all years requested.

Social Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Social Fund cases are currently being handled clerically; and if he will make a statement. (245450)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the monetary value of all social fund loans awaiting recovery. (245456)

Recoveries from social fund loans are recycled in the form of new loans. This means that, at the end of a financial year, the amount outstanding on all social fund loans is the total that the Government have invested in the social fund since its inception (apart from write-offs).

At 31 March 2008, the amount outstanding on all social fund loans in Great Britain was £906 million.

Notes:

1. social fund loans consist of Budgeting Loans and Crisis Loans.

2. The figure includes amounts outstanding on loans which have been partially repaid.

Source:

Social Fund Account 2007-08.

Social Fund: Funerals

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average length of time taken to process a funeral payment was in the latest period for which information is available; what the target time is; and if he will make a statement. (245816)

The information requested is given in the table.

Average length of time taken to process a funeral payment claim in Great Britain

Time period

Achieved (working days)

Standard (working days)

November 2008

13.9

16

Notes:

1. The processing time for an individual claim is measured in whole working days from the date of receipt of the claim to the date of the decision, inclusive.

The minimum processing time recorded for an individual claim is one day, even if the claim is processed immediately.

2. The figures are based on claims processed in the relevant time period not on claims received in that time period.

Source:

DWP Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System.

Communities and Local Government

Allotments

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of 22 July 2008, Official Report, column 236WH, on allotments, if she will make it her policy to extend the legislative protections which prevent allotments from being classified as previously developed land to residential gardens. (246036)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what timetable she has set for her Department's review of the practice known as garden grabbing; and whether she plans to appoint an independent panel to conduct the review. (246383)

As I confirmed to the House during the passage of the Planning Act, on 24 November 2009, Official Report, column 532, we are committed to a review of the evidence on the extent of development on back gardens to establish whether or not there is a clear and genuine problem. If there is a problem, we will consider action to remedy the situation, only if it would not undermine our objectives on housing.

The terms of the review are due to be decided shortly, and we will publish the information.

Community Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's 2005 publication, “Citizen Engagement and Public Services”, what progress has been made on plans to introduce neighbourhood improvement districts. (245989)

Community Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many local authorities have set up the multi-agency tension monitoring groups referred to in the document, “Guidance for local authorities on community cohesion, contingency planning and tension monitoring”, published in May 2008; what the estimated running cost will be of such monitoring groups is; and if she will make a statement; (245550)

(2) how many local authorities have submitted to their Government Office monthly tension monitoring reports referred to in paragraph 66 of the publication, “Guidance for local authorities on community cohesion, contingency planning and tension monitoring”, published in May 2008; and what use the Government make of these monthly reports;

(3) what safeguards exist to prevent people from misusing the tension monitoring groups referred to in the report, “Guidance for local authorities on community cohesion, contingency planning and tension monitorin”, published in May 2008, in relation to local grievances;

(4) what procedures will exist to enable individuals to appeal against inaccurate data about themselves gathered under the tension monitoring arrangements referred to in the report, “Guidance for local authorities on community cohesion, contingency planning and tension monitoring”, published in May 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Beckenham of 13 October 2008, Official Report, column 983W, on local authorities: surveillance, which local authorities are now undertaking tension monitoring according to records held by her Department. (245937)

Communities and Local Government does not hold a record of the number of local authorities who have set up multi-agency monitoring groups. Tension monitoring and contingency planning is about local partnership working and it is for local authorities to determine the systems they have in place and budget allocation needed to ensure they are able to effectively monitor tensions in their local areas.

The number of local authorities that submit monthly tension monitoring reports can vary each month. Communities and Local Government is therefore unable to keep a consistent record of the number of local authorities who submit monthly tension monitoring returns. We use the monthly reports to identify challenges to cohesion and to identify possible trends; this information is used to inform our strategy for supporting local authorities.

All contributors to the tension monitoring process are required to adhere to the principles of data collection set out in the Data Protection Act 1998. Each organisation that makes a contribution to tension monitoring should have local information sharing protocols in place.

The personal details of individual details are not required for tension monitoring reports. If an individual was mentioned it would be in the context of any civil arrangements brought by the local authority or as a result of any criminal procedures through the police/courts.

Council Tax

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what timetable her Department has set for council tax bills to be issued which include efficiency information. (245902)

The first council tax demand notices served on a person in respect of the 2009-10 financial year will be required to include efficiency information. The Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rating (Demand Notices) (England) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/3264), which implement this requirement, were laid before Parliament on 22 December.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the specification for the Valuation Office Agency's council tax banding support tool. (245907)

The specification of the Valuation Office Agency's council tax banding support tool is subject to commercial confidentiality. Accordingly, it will not be placed in the Library.

Departmental Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of the IT systems in (a) her Department and (b) its agencies are fully accredited to the Government’s security standards. (245382)

All IT systems within CLG and its agencies that handle protectively marked data are subject to Government security standards and processes. All such systems are accredited to the appropriate Government security standard.

Departmental Surveys

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department's central media and communication unit spent on public surveys in each of the last three years. (248033)

This information is not held in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Eco-Towns: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 3 November 2008, Official Report, column 122W, on eco-towns, how much funding has been (a) provided to date and (b) committed for the future to the Town and Country Planning Association in relation to work on eco-towns; and for what purposes. (245926)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 25 November 2008, Official Report, column 1266W. This set out details about the funding and work undertaken by the Town and Country Planning Association in relation to the eco-towns programme.

Fires

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many electrical fires have occurred in newly rewired or newly built properties in England in each of the last five years. [Official Report, 27 February 2009, Vol. 488, c. 3MC.] (247115)

Fire and rescue services in England do not collect information on property construction dates or a history of electrical maintenance in buildings when attending fires. Information on the number of building fires started by electrics is available in the following table. The latest statistics available are for 2007.

Fires started by electrical appliances/wiring in buildings, by source of ignition, England, 2003-071

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Country and source of ignition

England

15,226

79,502

75,983

72,451

67,709

Cooking appliances

1,386

1,441

1,485

1,502

1,419

Electric space heater

140

136

126

155

190

Plugs

56

55

76

96

81

Sockets and switches

308

316

362

371

387

Leads to appliances

495

523

434

429

380

Wire and cable

3,276

3,761

3,729

3,914

3,713

Washing machine

1,075

1,028

992

910

815

Dishwasher

443

427

370

351

381

Refrigerato