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Written Answers

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Wales

Departmental Disciplinary Proceedings

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff in his Department were disciplined for (a) bullying and (b) harassment of colleagues in each of the last three years. (254082)

Departmental Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps his Department is taking to advise staff of pension options available to them in relation to added years or additional voluntary contributions. (253258)

The Wales Office does not employ financial advisers. The HR team can talk to staff about pension options and provide information, but are not qualified to advise on their individual financial circumstances or retirement needs. They will always advise the individual to discuss their pension options (including added years and AVCs) with a qualified Independent Financial Adviser before making a decision.

Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent estimate he has made of the effects of globalisation on levels of employment in (a) Wales and (b) Blaenau Gwent. (250942)

The effects of globalisation on employment in Wales must be seen as both a challenge and a significant opportunity.

The Government are working to maximise the gains to the UK economy from globalisation while at the same time attempting to mitigate the downside risks associated with globalisation, by raising productivity and competitiveness.

In relation to overseas markets the Government and National Assembly for Wales seek every opportunity to maximise export and inward investment opportunities.

Scotland

Barnett Formula

6. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the mechanisms by which the Barnett formula operates. (253064)

Welfare Reform

7. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the likely effects of welfare reform on people in Scotland. (253065)

I have regular discussions with my right hon. Friend on a range of issues, including the measures in the Welfare Reform Bill. The reforms will give people the help they need to move away from a life on benefits, and put in place a new conditionality regime for those people who are able to work with the right support.

Job Losses

8. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent assessment he has made of trends in numbers of job losses in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. (253066)

The trends in claimant count in Scotland are in the range of a low of 67,700 in 1974 to a high of 334,000 in January 1987. Today there are 97,000 people on jobseeker's allowance in Scotland.

Forth Crossing

9. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Scottish Executive and the Chancellor of the Exchequer on UK Government assistance for the financing of the construction of a new Forth crossing. (253067)

I plan to meet shortly with my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary and Mr. John Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary in the Scottish Government to discuss funding for this vitally important project.

High-speed Rail Link

10. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on a high-speed rail link between London and Scotland. (253068)

My right hon. Friend and I hold regular discussions with ministerial colleagues across Government about a wide range of issues.

National Minimum Wage

11. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on steps to ensure that businesses in Scotland are complying with the requirement to pay the national minimum wage. (253069)

I have regular discussions with the Chancellor on a range of issues. We are committed to effective national minimum wage enforcement through new penalties contained within the Employment Act 2008, awareness raising initiatives and an increased enforcement budget.

European Social Fund

12. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with Scottish Executive Ministers on the use of the European social fund in Scotland. (253070)

I, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, have had no recent discussions with Scottish Ministers concerning the use of the European social fund in Scotland. European social fund money for Scotland goes directly from the European Commission to Scottish Ministers and it is up to them whether they wish to use this money to provide, for example, careers advice, skills training and support for unemployed people in Scotland. The UK Government have committed to doing this for people in England.

Digital Switchover

13. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on digital switchover in Scotland. (253071)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on a range of issues, including digital switchover. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport visited the Borders region in advance of Scotland’s first digital switchover last autumn and met with local council and interest groups. My right hon. Friends are hosting a broadcasting summit in Glasgow on the 19 March which will be attended by numerous representatives of Scotland’s broadcasting and creative industries.

Local Government Finance

14. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on mechanisms for allocating the block grant to Scotland in 2010 and 2011. (253072)

Retained Firefighters

15. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues for the purposes of agreeing the UK’s position in EU discussions on the effect on retained firefighters in Scotland of an end to the voluntary opt-out from the provisions of the EU working time directive. (253073)

There have been no specific discussions. However, the UK Government will continue to work with the Scottish Government on this matter. Protecting communities across Scotland, and the UK, is our top priority.

The amendments to the Common Position voted by the European Parliament on 17 December are the latest step in a complex negotiation. Implementation of the working time directive, by setting a 48-hour maximum to the working week, would greatly reduce the hours which firefighters working the retained duty system could be available for duty. The UK Government therefore place great importance on retaining their opt-out from the directive.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many hits his Department’s blog has received in each month since its launch. (248515)

The number of visits to the Secretary of State’s blog each month since its launch in October 2008 is set out in the following table:

Month

Number of hits

October 2008

5,077

November 2008

4,910

December 2008

4,450

January 2009

5,142

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps his Department has taken to publicise its blog; and what the cost of such activity was. (248516)

The Secretary of State launched his blog:

http://www.scotlandoffice.gov.uk/secretary-of-state-blog/

on 6 October 2008. It was publicised by press notice as part of the departmental press office’s routine communications activity, and as such it is not possible to provide a discrete cost.

Departmental Overseas Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many overseas visits Ministers in his Department have undertaken in the last 12 months; to which destinations; and how many departmental staff accompanied the Minister on each occasion. (253002)

In the last 12 months the following overseas visits have taken place:

Date

Minister

Destination

Departmental staff

August 2008

Minister of State for Scotland

Norway

2

November 2008

Secretary of State for Scotland

Iceland

3

December 2008

Secretary of State for Scotland

Germany

1

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what (a) training, (b) coaching and (c) personal development courses each Minister in his Department has received since 2005; and what the cost of providing this training was. (252987)

Since 2005, Ministers in the Scotland Office have received training in Presentation and Public Speaking Skills and have participated in Introduction Workshops for New Ministers.

Departmental Written Questions

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he plans to answer Questions (a) 248515 and (b) 248516 tabled on 13 January 2009, on his Department’s blog. (253330)

Transport

British Railways Board (Residuary): Parking

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the workplace parking charges being introduced by Nottingham city council will be passed on to staff members in whole or in part of British Railways Board (Residuary) Ltd where those staff have offices located within the workplace parking charging zone. (253772)

No decision has been taken by Ministers on whether or not to confirm Nottingham city council’s workplace parking levy order. It would not be appropriate, while the scheme is being considered, to speculate on the implications of the city council’s proposals for any employers located in Nottingham or their staff.

Compulsory Purchase: Hagley

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on the compulsory purchase of the Prince of Wales public house at Stourbridge Road, Hagley, Worcestershire; how much has been spent on (a) compensation payments, (b) legal costs, (c) provision of a mobile unit in the car park, including associated personnel costs and (d) other costs in connection with the purchase; and if he will make a statement. (249330)

The Prince of Wales Public House was purchased by the Highways Agency on 14 July 1993 for £325,000 following a request from the owner to purchase under blight provisions in connection with the A449/A456 Kidderminster-Blakedown-Hagley bypass. A breakdown of this amount by compensation payment and legal costs is currently unavailable because the information is archived.

The total cost of the mobile unit and associated on site security to date is £30,660.

Other costs include management fees to the Highways Agency's managing agents to date of £24,194, and legal costs of £110,647 which were incurred in connection with protracted legal proceedings culminating in a High Court hearing to obtain vacant possession following the lease of the property. Costs were awarded to the Highways Agency and they are seeking to recover them.

The property is now surplus and will be sold.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency: Fines

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much money the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has collected in fines from vehicle owners for failure to notify change of ownership in the most recent year for which figures are available; for what purpose this money has been used; and if he will make a statement. (253564)

During the period January 2008 to December 2008 the DVLA collected £1,943,667 in fines as a result of failure to notify change of keeper.

All money collected is returned to Treasury.

Driving Offences: Insurance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps he has taken to reduce the number of people who drive without insurance. (253502)

Measures introduced in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 gave the police improved access to the motor insurance database. This enabled them to have data on uninsured vehicles for use with their automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) equipment. The police were also given powers to seize, and in appropriate cases destroy, vehicles being driven uninsured. In 2007 around 150,000 vehicles were seized.

The Road Safety Act 2006 introduced a new offence of being a registered keeper of a vehicle for which there is no valid motor insurance. Further regulations are required to bring the provisions into force. We are consulting on these and the details of the proposed scheme for Continuous Insurance Enforcement.

Rather than relying on the police to spot vehicles in use, Continuous Insurance Enforcement would identify uninsured drivers by frequent comparison of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s vehicle register and the insurance industry’s database. Those that ignore warning reminders that their insurance has expired and take no action would be sent a fixed penalty notice and fine of £100, and may be liable to court prosecution, the vehicle clamped, impounded and disposed of.

Driving under Influence

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received on reducing the drink-drive limit from its current level in the last 12 months. (253196)

We have received a number of representations for and against reducing the prescribed alcohol limit for driving. On 20 November 2008, we published a paper, Road Safety Compliance Consultation, inviting views on the matter, and expect a range of responses by the deadline of 27 February. An analysis of the responses we receive will be published in due course.

Heathrow Airport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will hold discussions with the Mayor of London on the future expansion of Heathrow airport. (252889)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, has regular meetings with the Mayor of London. These cover a broad range of London transport issues. It is likely that this could include the development of Heathrow airport.

Public Transport: Rural Areas

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Government have taken to improve public transport provision for rural communities. (253826)

[holding answer 3 February 2009]:We are supporting the provision of rural bus services by means of Rural Bus Subsidy Grant (RBSG), which is now paid to local authorities as part of their area-based funding. Since its introduction in 1998, over £500 million has been made available for the support of rural bus services in this way; £57 million has been allocated this year.

In addition, a total of £110 million has been awarded to authorities successful under the Rural Bus Challenge (RBC) programme from 1998 to 2003. This scheme has encouraged the development of innovative solutions to meeting rural transport needs. Many of the 300 projects initially supported by RBC funding are now continuing with mainstream funding from local authorities and other sources.

The rules for the route registration of local bus services have been amended. This has enabled the introduction of flexibly routed, demand-responsive bus services. We also extended to these services eligibility to receive Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) from the Department for Transport. BSOG eligibility has also been extended to include community transport operators, with over 1,000 operators, many in rural areas, now claiming BSOG.

The Local Transport Act 2008 includes a number of important steps to enable local authorities to secure better local bus services in rural and urban areas alike by means of:

more effective partnerships with bus operators

making the introduction of quality contracts (i.e. franchising as in London) a more realistic option

a new regime to deliver improved punctuality

measures to support development of the community transport sector and to extend to the Private Hire Vehicle sector the ability to provide taxibuses

The Department has implemented the community rail policy on many rural routes, particularly branch lines. This policy aims to bring together the efforts of the train operating company, Network Rail (NR), the local authority and also local communities to put local or rural services on a steady footing by working together to promote and support local rail operations, increase patronage and awareness of the service. In each individual case, the route is assessed and designated as a ‘Community Rail’ route, supported by a Community Rail Partnership.

Railways: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) injuries and (b) deaths have occurred in accidents on railway crossings in (i) Lancashire and (ii) the UK in each year since 1998. (253723)

The data below are based on incidents reported to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR 95). Figures for 2008 are provisional and may change with the receipt of coroners’ findings for inquests that are currently outstanding.

The following tables cover incidents at level crossings in Great Britain, as the ORR is not responsible for rail safety in Northern Ireland.

Table: 1 Fatalities and injuries at level crossings 1998-20081 (excluding trespassers and suicides) Great Britain

Fatalities

Lancashire figures

Injuries

Lancashire figures

Total

Lancashire figures

1998

13

1

40

2

53

3

1999

11

1

26

0

37

1

2000

13

0

28

0

41

0

2001

10

0

20

2

30

2

2002

14

1

32

1

46

2

2003

16

1

26

0

42

1

2004

16

0

64

0

80

0

2005

15

0

21

0

36

0

2006

8

0

28

1

36

1

2007

11

0

14

0

25

0

20081

15

0

27

0

42

0

1 Provisional figures

Table: 2 Fatalities and injuries to trespassers and suicides at level crossings 1998-20081 Great Britain

Year

Fatalities

Lancashire figures

Injuries

Lancashire figures

Total

Lancashire figures

1998

12

0

0

0

12

0

1999

8

1

0

0

8

1

2000

9

0

2

0

11

0

2001

10

0

3

1

13

1

2002

13

0

0

0

13

0

2003

15

1

0

0

15

1

2004

12

0

1

0

13

0

2005

20

2

3

1

23

3

2006

19

1

0

0

19

1

2007

17

0

0

0

17

0

20081

15

1

2

0

17

1

1 Provisional figures

Railways: Bus Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of rail replacement bus services in each of the last 12 months. (253983)

[holding answer 3 February 2009]: Only one rail replacement bus service is funded by the Department for Transport. This is the service between Ealing Broadway and Wandsworth Road. Estimate of cost for this service since the start of operation in December 2008 is £1,410 in December 2008 and £1,880 in January 2009.

The rules for the route registration of local bus services have been amended. This has enabled the introduction of flexibly routed, demand-responsive bus services. We also extended to these services eligibility to receive bus service operators grant (BSOG) from the Department for Transport. BSOG eligibility has also been extended to include community transport operators, with over 1,000 operators, many in rural areas, now claiming BSOG.

The Local Transport Act 2008 includes a number of important steps to enable local authorities to secure better local bus services in rural and urban areas alike by means of:

more effective partnerships with bus operators;

making the introduction of quality contracts (i.e. franchising as in London) a more realistic option;

a new regime to deliver improved punctuality; and

measures to support development of the community transport sector and to extend to the private hire vehicle sector the ability to provide taxibuses.

The Department has implemented the community rail policy on many rural routes, particularly branch lines. This policy aims to bring together the efforts of the train operating company, Network Rail (NR), the local authority and also local communities to put local or rural services on a steady footing by working together to promote and support local rail operations, increase patronage and awareness of the service. In each individual case, the route is assessed and designated as a ‘community rail' route, supported by a community rail partnership.

Railways: Freight

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effects on the environment of the decision to reduce funding for rail freight schemes. (253179)

The Government are not reducing funding for rail freight. We have recently announced additional funding of £67 million to the Sustainable Distribution Fund. £61 million of this is allocated to the capital budget from which the freight facilities grant allocations are made, and in the last 18 months the Government have announced record levels of rail freight investment to support continued growth including £200 million towards the development of a strategic freight network and over £150 million of funding towards the provision of infrastructure enhancement for freight through the Productivity Transport Innovation Fund.

Railways: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of (a) demand for a high-speed rail link between London and Scotland and (b) the effect of such a rail link on levels of demand for domestic flights. (253501)

A new company, High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd. has been formed to develop the case for high speed services between London and Scotland

As a first stage, the company is expected to bring forward proposals for Britain's second new high speed line, between London and the West Midlands, by the end of the year, and to consider the potential for new lines to serve the North of England and Scotland.

The company will need to assess the likely environmental impact and business case of different routes—including the propensity for modal shift from road, air, and conventional rail.

Roads: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many (a) deaths and (b) serious injuries have been attributed to drivers speeding in the last (i) six months, (ii) 12 months and (iii) five years; (253855)

(2) how many deaths of children under 13 years old have been attributed to drivers speeding in the last (a) six months, (b) 12 months and (c) five years;

(3) how many deaths (a) in total and (b) of children under 13 years old have been attributed to drivers speeding in the last 12 months.

The numbers of (a) killed and (b) seriously injured casualties and (c) deaths of children under 13 years old resulting from reported personal injury road accidents, where either ‘exceeding speed limit’ or ‘travelling too fast for conditions’ was recorded as a contributory factor are given in the table for each of the last three years.

Number of casualties

All casualties

Children under 13 old years

Killed

Seriously injured

Killed

2005

793

5,024

9

2006

856

4,998

22

2007

727

4,555

8

Total

2,376

14,577

39

Note:

Includes only accidents where a police officer attended the scene and in which a contributory factor was reported.

Information regarding contributory factors is only available from 2005. Data for 2008 will be available from the end of June 2009.

Roads: Tolls

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 1105W, on tolls, whether the local authorities in road pricing demonstration project areas were consulted about the decision to conduct the demonstrations in their areas. (253514)

Neither the Government nor their contractors have consulted the local authorities whose boundaries will be used as the framework for data collection within this research project, nor is there a requirement to do so. The locations for the trial activity chosen by our contractors will have no bearing on the project results.

Rolling Stock

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding his Department has allocated for new rolling stock in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12. (253312)

In July 2007, the Department for Transport issued a statement of funds available for implementing its high level output specification (£10 billion) during Control Period 4 (2009-14). This includes provision for procurement of 1,300 additional coaches. The phasing of expenditure by year which depends on the delivery and implementation programme is not yet finally determined.

Tintwistle Hollingworth and Mottram Bypass

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which organisations he has met to discuss the Mottram Tintwistle bypass. (249318)

The Secretary of State for Transport has so far met Tameside metropolitan borough council to discuss the Mottram-Tintwhistle bypass. In recent years Ministers in the Department for Transport have met a number of stakeholders to discuss the same scheme.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Birds of Prey: Genetics

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what process his Department has put in place for the use of DNA testing to track the movement of peregrine falcons and merlins suspected of having been taken illegally from the wild after they have been sold on to new owners. (253750)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 27 January 2009, Official Report, column 319W to my hon. Friend the member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Ms Smith).

British Airports Authority

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) meetings and (b) correspondence (i) he, (ii) other Ministers in his Department and (iii) officials in his Department have had with representatives from BAA since 3 October 2008; when each meeting took place; who attended each meeting; and what the subject of each meeting was. (252765)

[holding answer 29 January 2009]: DEFRA Ministers have had no meetings with BAA since 3 October 2008.

DEFRA officials attended a meeting on 13 November 2008 with the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee at which representatives of BAA were present, and in which DEFRA officials made a presentation about the public consultation on the guidance for airport operators to produce action plans under the terms of Environmental Noise Regulations 2006.

In relation to correspondence, Richard Norman replied on behalf of BAA to the DEFRA Consultation on the Guidance for Airport Operators to produce action plans under the terms of the Environmental Noise Regulations 2006. There has not been any subsequent correspondence from DEFRA to BAA.

Common Fisheries Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 22 January 2009, Official Report, column 1587W, on the Common Fisheries Policy, (1) when he plans (a) to complete a detailed impact assessment of the proposals and (b) formally to consult on the proposals; and if will make a statement; (253400)

(2) when he plans to make a formal response to the Council of Ministers and the European Commission on Article 47 of the proposed Council Regulation establishing a community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy;

(3) with reference to the provisions of Article 47 of the proposed Council Regulation establishing a community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy, how much quota he plans to allocate to recreational sea anglers, broken down by species in each fishing area and expressed as a percentage of overall national quota; and if he will make a statement.

My officials are currently engaged in discussions with the EU presidency, the Commission and other member states over the detail of the Commission’s proposal for a council regulation establishing a community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy. As part of that discussion, officials will be asking the Commission for further clarification on the intent of article 47. Once we have that clarification, we will be able to better understand the potential impact of article 47 as drafted, including the implications for quota, and can then respond formally to the council. My intention is to consult on the proposal by the end of February. An initial impact assessment will form part of that consultation.

Departmental Catering

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which (a) food and (b) drinks suppliers have been used by his Department in each of the last three years; and how much his Department paid to each such supplier in each of those years. (248386)

From information held centrally, the Department’s expenditure with its major catering services providers in each of the last three years is as follows:

Supplier

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09 April to November

Baxter Storey

1,791,601.00

1,799,984.00

1,160,628.00

Eurest

335,595.00

508,593.00

340,234.00

Mellors

66,861.20

79,595.73

84,370.00

Aramark

88,434.00

91,985.00

41,677.00

ABM

18,901.00

19,846.00

12,304.00

Just Deli

43,351.00

45,519.00

29,436.00

Star

12,440.00

13,060.00

9,140.00

The ratio of food to beverages expenditure is 55 per cent. to 45 per cent. A detailed analysis of the breakdown of the expenditure on food and beverages across all sites and for all suppliers could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make it his policy that temporary and permanent employees of his Department employed at the same grade receive the same hourly rate of pay. (248411)

It is the policy of DEFRA and its Executive agencies that both temporary and permanent employees appointed to the same grade are paid within the same pay range. Temporary employees are defined as those employed directly by the department or its agencies and does not include individuals sub-contracted through a third party.

Differences in hourly pay rates between temporary and permanent employees can occur within the same pay range due to a number of business reasons. Permanent members of staff have more opportunity to progress higher up the pay range due to the likelihood of their being in post for longer and receiving more annual pay awards.

Differences can also occur in hourly pay rates when employees, within the same grade and pay range, are appointed on pay rates above the minimum of the pay range due to the skills and experience that they bring to the position.

Environment Protection: Demolition

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which body is responsible for (a) monitoring the environmental impact of demolition sites and (b) ensuring that correct procedures are followed in the disposal of hazardous waste from building material at such sites. (252652)

The main body responsible for monitoring the environmental impact of demolition sites is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Some responsibility may also lie with the local authority (e.g. nuisance).

Waste producers have a responsibility under Duty of Care which is monitored by the Environment Agency. All wastes must go to appropriate sites that are permitted by the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency checks compliance at these sites. Much of the waste from demolition is not disposed of but re-used and recycled.

Fisheries: Quotas

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to his Department’s Marine Programme Plan for 2008-09, whether the quota reform task group has been established. (253399)

Access to fisheries is being considered as part of the wider common fisheries policy reform process which is now underway, and due for completion in 2012. The UK governance framework for this negotiation will ensure all stakeholders get the opportunity to feed in their views.

In addition, I have recently announced my intention to establish a more targeted advisory group, including industry and community representatives, to support work to achieve our goal of sustainable access to inshore fisheries. I expect this group to be set up by the spring. This work is closely aligned with the work on CFP reform and long term reform of the wider UK industry.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the draft proposals of the Quota Management Change Programme (QMCP) produced prior to the withdrawal of the Scottish Executive from the QMCP; and if he will make a statement. (253427)

Discussions on the quota management change programme were incomplete when the Scottish Executive withdrew from the process in June 2007. Moreover, subsequent developments have in any case overtaken certain aspects of these discussions. Therefore, I do not intend to publish documents relating to these internal discussions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the inclusion of recreational sea angling catches in national quota derives from recommendations of the Quota Management Change Programme. (253428)

No. The proposal to count recreational sea angling catches, in certain circumstances, against a member state’s quota forms part of the recently published Commission proposal for a Council regulation establishing a community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy. The UK Government had no discussions with the Commission prior to the publication of the proposal.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to his Department's Marine Programme Plan for 2008-09, when he plans to consult on the principles of quota separation; and if he will make a statement. (253431)

Last year, the Scottish Executive put forward a number of proposals to amend the existing quota management arrangements. We have yet to see any firm proposals following their consultation last year. The current quota management and licensing rules and management arrangements remain in place.

It is my strong preference to take forward discussions on quota management and licensing arrangements reform through the wider discussions on common fisheries policy (CFP) reform, now under way. This is the best way to make sure we end up with a workable approach that reflects the needs of all four Administrations and ensures we engage with the Commission and other member states productively throughout the negotiation, and that the wishes of the UK are fully reflected in the final outcome.

Floods: Motorways

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the Answer of 14 July 2008, Official Report, columns 29-30W, on floods, which stretches of motorway have a significant flood risk probability according to the Environment Agency’s flood vulnerability database. (252491)

The flood vulnerability database draws heavily on information held by other parties, and provides a summary of vulnerability to flooding in each 100 metres of land in England and Wales.

Information on motorways at risk of flooding was provided by publicly available ordinance survey data. However to geographically identify and describe each section of motorway at significant flood risk would incur disproportionate cost.

In response to the floods of 2007 and Sir Michael Pitt’s recommendations the Highways Agency has been investigating the resilience of the strategic road network to flooding. The Highways Agency is currently reviewing the Environment Agency’s fluvial flood risk maps and information on ‘Areas Susceptible to Surface Water Flooding’ to identify vulnerable locations and develop appropriate contingency measures. This work is ongoing.

Food: Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to announce a review of the public sector food procurement initiative. (252686)

[holding answer 29 January 2009]: DEFRA commissioned an evaluation of the public sector food procurement initiative (PSFPI) in October 2008. The evaluation is looking at what has worked well, what could be improved and will provide recommendations for the future. The final report of the evaluation is due in early February, after which we intend to publish the key findings and our response to its recommendations.

Food: Public Sector

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the Answer of 11 November 2008, Official Report, column 1130W, on 10 Downing Street: catering, what the remit of the public sector food procurement initiative is; and whether the initiative has adopted a policy on using genetically-modified food and ingredients. (250041)

The PSFPI’s remit is explained in the guide “Putting it into practice” that can be seen at

http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/policy/sustain/procurement/resources.htm.

The primary aim is to support the Government’s Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy for England, which aims to deliver a world class sustainable farming and food sector that contributes to a better environment and healthier, prosperous communities.

DEFRA’s catering toolkit asks public bodies to specify in contracts that suppliers: “Clearly label any genetically modified products used, including the presence of any genetically modified ingredients used in the preparation of the food”.

This is consistent with the Food Standard Agency’s advice on EC Regulation 1829/2003 (GM Food and Feed Regulation) that requires all foods that either consist of or contain live GMOs or foods or ingredients derived from GMOs to be labelled and traceable throughout the food supply chain.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Aid Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the operation of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Aid Scheme by the Rural Payments Agency, with particular reference to the administration of its operational programmes. (252582)

Noise: Pollution

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance his Department has issued on how local authorities should deal with noise complaints. (252631)

DEFRA has issued the following guidance on how local authorities should deal with noise complaints:

Guidance to Local Authorities in England—Noise Offence Act for licensed premises;

Neighbourhood Noise Policies and Practice for Local Authorities—A Management Guide (jointly with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health);

Guidance on Section 69 to 81 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

These can all be found on the DEFRA website.

Pet Travel Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many pets have entered the UK from abroad in each of the last three years. (241469)

The total number of pets entering the UK through quarantine or under the PETS scheme is as follows.

Number

2005

82,983

2006

94,289

2007

102,233

Pigmeat

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with pork retailers and processors on proposals for a fully integrated supply chain for pork products. (252105)

Ministers in DEFRA have for several years promoted with retailers and processors the benefits of strong supply chain relationships for agricultural products including pork. I met with pork processors on 11 December 2008 and meet regularly with retailers to discuss a range of issues including supply chain. I welcome the recent report of the EFRA Committee into the State of the English Pig Industry and I am studying its recommendations carefully.

Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of trained local authority recycling officers. (252921)

It is the local authorities’ responsibility to recruit and train their staff, including recycling officers. However, the Waste and Resources Action Programme under its Local Authority Support Programme can provide support and guidance to officers on operational, communications and waste prevention activities.

Recycling: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department plans to introduce statutory targets for levels of recycling by local authorities. (252922)

Statutory Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI) targets for levels of recycling by local authorities were last set for 2007-08.

These were replaced in April 2008 by the new National Indicators. These are now the only measures on which central Government will manage outcomes delivered by local government working alone or in partnership.

DEFRA has no plans to reintroduce any additional targets for levels of recycling by local authorities.

Rodents

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of changes to the rat population in each of the last four years; what provision his Department makes for the removal of (a) rats and (b) other vermin by local authorities; and what information his Department holds on the charges applicable. (253200)

The latest report on rodent presence in domestic properties as revealed by the English House Condition Survey data for 2002-03 and 2003-04 is available on DEFRA’s website. Key findings are that the occurrences of rats inside and outside properties in these years are not significantly different from those observed in 2001.

Under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949, local authorities are responsible for ensuring that their districts are kept so far as practicable free from rats and mice. Should local authorities fail to discharge their responsibilities under the 1949 Act, DEFRA has certain default powers to initiate action.

Sewers: Fats

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the percentage of sewer blockages caused by used cooking oil, fat, soils and greases in the last 12 months. (253712)

Water UK, the representative body for the water industry, estimates that there are on average around 200,000 sewer blockages in England and Wales each year, of which fats, oils and greases are responsible for up to 75 per cent.

Soil: EU Action

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions are planned with his European Union counterparts on the draft Soil Framework Directive. (253922)

Discussions on the draft Soil Framework Directive have been ongoing at official level since the German presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2007. DEFRA officials have taken part in bilateral meetings with like-minded and other member states to explain UK concerns. Discussions have also been held at ministerial level with a number of member states, including the Czech Republic, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Member states were unable to reach a common position at the Environment Council in December 2007. Since then, the UK has continued to engage in discussions both officially and at ministerial level, and will continue actively to do so in the light of the Czech presidency’s indication that it intends to seek political agreement at the June 2009 Environment Council.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Reconstruction

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which organisation has managed each project funded by his Department in Helmand province since 2005; what the budget of each was; how much has been spent in each case; what monitoring, impact assessments and evaluations have been undertaken; and if he will make a statement. (245776)

The UK took responsibility for Helmand province through the establishment of a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in 2006. The PRT combines the efforts of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Department for International Development (DfID) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a comprehensive approach to development. Accordingly, the PRT delivers reconstruction and development projects from a tri-departmental budget managed jointly by FCO, DflD and MoD. £7.04 million was spent in 2006-07 and £9.99 million in 2007-08 from the Global Conflict Prevention Pool. To date, £14.08 million (of a Stabilisation Aid Fund budget of £34.41 million) has been spent in 2008-09. Prior to the establishment of the PRT in 2006 there was no specific allocation of funding to Helmand province.

The tri-departmental funding facilitates a range of projects in Counter Narcotics, Rule of Law, Strategic Communications, Governance, Political activities and Area Based Stabilisation. These projects are administered in Lashkar Gah or London dependent on the implementing agent. Projects are managed through a range of partners including the Afghan government, local community organisations, international or local non-governmental organisations or external contractors. Programmes are reviewed and updated monthly by an official in our Embassy in Kabul and the PRT in Lashkar Gah. Projects are evaluated at six-monthly intervals.

In addition to this tri-departmental budget the FCO spent £17,000 in 2007-08 from its bilateral programme fund, on Helmand specific projects.

Burma: Religious Freedom

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the State Peace and Development Council in Burma on its recent order to close churches in Rangoon. (253435)

We are concerned that the Burmese regime has imposed restrictions on churches and other places of worship for religious minorities in Rangoon. We condemn the marginalisation or persecution of any community based on their religious beliefs. The regime’s actions are part of a wider deterioration of the human rights situation in Burma and the UK will continue to ask the UN Secretary-General’s Good Offices mission and representatives of the UN human rights bodies to raise our concerns with the State Peace and Development Council.

China: Human Rights

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the outcome of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue meeting of 12 to 13 January was, with specific reference to Tibet; and if he will make a statement. (249326)

Issues discussed at the recent human rights dialogue included China’s co-operation with international human rights mechanisms, the death penalty, reform of the administrative detention system, religious freedom in Xinjiang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea border-crossers and freedom of expression. We held detailed discussions on disability and mental health issues, and the role of the prosecutor in the UK and China in upholding defendants’ rights. We welcomed the decision to make permanent more liberal regulations on foreign journalists, but also raised our concerns about the continued detention of a signatory of charter 08. We handed over a list of 50 other individual cases and asked for further information about these. We urged China to implement the recommendations of the UN Committee Against Torture and to issue open invitations to UN Special Rapporteurs to visit China. With reference to Tibet, we made clear that we remain concerned about the apparent lack of due process for those in detention in Tibet, restrictions on freedom of religion and lack of transparency. We urged renewed dialogue between the Chinese Government and representatives of the Dalai Lama to resolve the underlying issues, and pressed for agreements on visits by foreign journalists and diplomats.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on national caveats applicable to the operations of troops deployed with the UN peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and if he will make a statement. (240833)

Certain troop contributing countries to the UN peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo have placed what the UN refers to as ‘theatre specific restrictions’ with regard to the geographical deployment of their troops and on mission chain of command. In my contacts with colleagues from troop contributing countries, I have encouraged them to be as flexible and responsive to the recent crisis as possible.

Departmental Buildings

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much has been spent on (a) maintaining, (b) decorating and (c) otherwise improving departmental buildings in the last five years; how much has been spent on wallpaper since 2001; and what plans there are for further spending on departmental decoration. (248054)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has spent the following on maintaining, decorating and improving departmental buildings, at home and overseas, for the financial years 2004-05 to 2007-08.

£ million

Costs of maintaining and decorating departmental buildings

Cost of improving departmental buildings

2004-05

37.6

38.8

2005-06

43.3

43.0

2006-07

41.1

53.0

2007-08

45.2

76.4

The cost of wallpaper is not recorded separately and figures prior to 2004-05 cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.

The FCO maintains a forward programme for the upkeep of its UK estate as do our overseas posts. For 2008-09, the FCO has budgeted £17.4 million for building maintenance. Information about planned future expenditure by our overseas posts is not kept centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Japan: Tourism

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK citizens visited Japan in (a) 2007 and (b) 2006. (245262)

According to figures supplied by the Japanese Ministry of Justice, in 2007 192,148 British citizens and 30,681 British Nationals (Overseas) visited Japan. In 2006, 186,633 British citizens and 33,618 British Nationals (Overseas) visited Japan.

Middle East: Armed Conflict

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the merits of suspension of Israel’s application for membership of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development until allegations of war crimes during Israel’s military operation on Gaza have been fully investigated; and if he will make a statement. (250332)

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) launched accession negotiations with Israel in 2007. Following the submission of Israel’s initial memorandum, which sets out the current state of Israel compliance with the OECD body of law and best practice, negotiations have consisted so far of technical scrutiny of the memorandum. Any political issues about the Israeli accession will be considered once the technical phase is over.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the number of (a) rockets and (b) mortar shells fired at Israel by Hamas in each year since 2001. (253015)

According to the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs the number of rockets and mortars fired at Israel between 2001-08 is as follows:

Number of rockets and mortars fired

2001

249

2002

292

2003

420

2004

1,157

2005

417

2006

968

2007

1,645

2008

3,102

Sri Lanka: Armed Conflict

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken to restrict access to funding and resources on the part of Tamil forces. (252000)

[holding answer 29 January 2009]: I have been asked to reply.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or “Tamil Tigers” was proscribed by the then Home Secretary in 2001 under the terms of the Terrorism Act 2000. One of the consequences of proscription is that the resources of the organisation are defined as “terrorist property.” The definition of “terrorist property” is money or other property likely to be used for the purposes of terrorism, including any resources of a proscribed organisation. As such, there are a number of provisions, also contained in the Terrorism Act 2000, which make it unlawful to carry out specified fundraising activities if the person intends or has reasonable cause to suspect that the money or property may be used for the purposes of terrorism. The specified activities include inviting another to provide money or other property, receiving money or other property, providing money or other property, or possessing money or other property.

The LTTE is also subject to financial sanctions, i.e. an asset freeze, as a result of being both designated domestically by HM Treasury and listed under EU Council Decision 379.

A wide range of law enforcement and other agencies conduct operations to prevent financial resources reaching terrorist organisations, and the investigation of alleged terrorist finance offences is a matter for the police.

Stem Cells: Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the seminar on stem cell research organised by the British Embassy in Israel on 26 and 27 March 2008; and if he will make a statement. (247756)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what files his Department holds on the seminar on stem cell research organised by the British Embassy in Israel on 26 and 27 March 2008; and if he will make a statement. (247757)

A brief report of the seminar was compiled by the science and innovation attaché at our embassy in Tel Aviv, which also has files covering the logistical arrangements for the seminar.

USA: Foreign Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government have taken to initiate contacts with the incoming US administration. (248111)

[holding answer 19 January 2009]: The Government have excellent links with the incoming Administration. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has met President-elect Obama twice in 2008, and spoken to him on other occasions. We have long standing ties with Vice-President-elect Biden as well as the nominees for Secretaries of State, Defence and Treasury, as well as with nearly all other prospective Cabinet Secretaries. These strong Cabinet relations are mirrored at all levels, thanks to the work of our embassy in Washington and our other US posts in establishing, cultivating and building strong links with officials who will work in the White House and across the incoming Administration.

Justice

Driving Under Influence

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people were convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol in each of the last five years, broken down by police authority. (253289)

Available information held by the Ministry of Justice on convictions at all courts for offences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs for the years 2003 to 2007 (latest available) is provided in the following table. Data for 2008 should be available in the autumn of 2009.

The data provided cover both drink and drugs offences combined, as volumes of convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs cannot be provided separately.

Findings of guilt at all courts for offences of driving etc. after consuming alcohol or taking drugs1, by police force area, England and Wales, 2003-072,3

Number of offences

Findings of guilt

Police force area

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Avon and Somerset

2,666

2,692

2,595

2,457

2,490

Bedfordshire

1,072

1,028

1,050

1,152

1,064

Cambridgeshire

933

1,083

1,214

1,268

1,240

Cheshire

1,905

2,128

1,709

1,866

1,804

Cleveland

981

1,071

959

1,032

948

Cumbria

843

907

853

859

868

Derbyshire

1,617

1,874

1,645

1,520

1,466

Devon and Cornwall

2,667

2,560

2,446

2,336

2,247

Dorset

1,264

1,239

1,207

1,156

1,191

Durham

1,170

1,277

1,168

1,002

1,051

Essex

2,622

2,853

2,549

2,697

2,553

Gloucestershire

890

913

834

812

725

Greater Manchester

4,743

4,811

4,653

4,570

4,462

Hampshire

3,663

3,743

3,372

2,993

2,974

Hertfordshire

1,904

1,881

1,836

1,860

1,830

Humberside

1,445

1,623

1,592

1,518

1,071

Kent

2,811

3,010

2,907

2,824

2,836

Lancashire

2,652

2,706

2,723

2,775

2,756

Leicestershire

1,725

1,754

1,631

1,512

1,520

Lincolnshire

1,111

1,209

1,176

1,274

1,233

London, City of

230

169

184

168

189

Merseyside

2,687

2,849

2,964

2,737

2,541

Metropolitan Police

12,621

13,227

12,887

13,075

12,237

Norfolk

1,274

1,240

1,265

1,335

1,246

Northamptonshire

799

922

853

1,016

879

Northumbria

2,747

2,675

2,561

2,559

2,482

North Yorkshire

1,194

1,131

1,244

1,261

1,194

Nottinghamshire

1,644

1,669

1,626

1,699

1,517

South Yorkshire

2,089

2,224

2,220

2,019

2,023

Staffordshire

1,733

1,733

1,718

1,657

1,704

Suffolk

1,213

1,332

1,103

1,158

1,058

Surrey

1,464

1,425

1,503

1,413

1,517

Sussex

2,430

2,368

2,379

2,475

2,479

Thames Valley

3,884

3,539

3,474

3,419

3,356

Warwickshire

918

845

871

895

994

West Mercia

1,797

1,689

1,917

2,008

1,904

West Midlands

5,233

5,584

5,693

5,554

5,483

West Yorkshire

3,720

3,897

3,863

3,587

3,429

Wiltshire

1,031

1,024

1,038

1,028

816

England

87,392

89,904

87,482

86,546

83,377

Dyfed Powys

995

986

932

927

906

Gwent

1,149

1,188

1,129

1,188

1,097

North Wales

1,326

1,349

1,364

1,335

1,297

South Wales

2,840

2,811

2,811

2,675

2,546

Wales

6,310

6,334

6,236

6,125

5,846

England and Wales

93,702

96,238

93,718

92,671

89,223

1 Data provided cover summary offences of driving etc. after consuming alcohol or taking drugs (which cannot be reliably distinguished separately).

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

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

Source:

The Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Evidence and Analysis Unit

Antisocial Behaviour: Fixed Penalties

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice in respect of which offences contained in the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 penalty notices for disorder have been issued in the last three years. (253144)

The offences for which a penalty notice for disorder (PNDs) is available, together with the numbers issued for each offence in 2005, 2006 and 2007 (the last three years for which confirmed data are available) are included in the following table. PND data for 2008 will be available in November 2009.

Number of penalty notices for disorder issued to offenders of all ages by offence, England and Wales 2005-07

Offence

2005

2006

2007

Higher Tier Offences (£80)

Wasting police time

2,525

3,933

3,966

Misuse of public telecommunications system

405

909

1,193

Giving false alarm to fire and rescue authority

92

106

96

Causing Harassment, alarm or distress

64,007

82,235

77,827

Throwing fireworks1

642

682

649

Drunk and disorderly2

37,038

43,556

46,996

Criminal Damage (under £500)3

12,168

20,620

19,946

Theft (retail under £200)3

21,997

38,772

45,146

Breach of fireworks curfew4

33

53

39

Possession of category 4 firework4

13

28

22

Possession by a person under 18 of adult firework4

47

76

106

Sale of alcohol to drunken person5

32

47

81

Supply of alcohol to a person under 18

3

60

54

Sale of alcohol to a person under 183

2,058

3,195

3,583

Purchasing alcohol for a person under 183

170

407

555

Purchasing alcohol for a person under 18 for consumption on the premises

83

60

64

Delivery of alcohol to a person under 18 or allowing such delivery3

209

297

431

Lower Tier Offences (£50)

Trespassing on a railway

220

1,042

1,527

Throwing stones at a train/railway

20

15

25

Drunk in a highway

3,138

2,712

2,066

Consumption of alcohol in a designated public place

712

1,061

1,544

Depositing and leaving litter3

737

1,169

1,374

Consumption of alcohol by a person under 18 on relevant premises3

84

75

85

Allowing consumption of alcohol by a person under 18 on relevant premises3

27

14

11

Buying or attempting to buy alcohol by a person under 185

21

73

158

Totals

Total Higher Tier Offences

141,522

195,036

200,754

Total Lower Tier Offences

4,959

6,161

6,790

Total all offences

146,481

201,197

207,544

1 Offence moved from the lower tier (£50) to the upper tier (£80) on 5 March 2004.

2 Offence moved from the tower tier (£50) to the upper tier (£80) on 1 November 2004.

3 Offence added with effect from 1 November 2004.

4 Offence added with effect from 11 October 2004.

5 Offence added with effect from 04 April 2005.

Note:

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

Closure Orders: Merseyside

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on how many occasions courts in Merseyside issued a closure order in 2008. (253401)

On one occasion. Southport county court was closed from 4.00 pm on 23 December 2008 until 10.00 am on 2 January 2009.

Community Orders: North Yorkshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many community orders were issued in (a) the area covered by Hambleton and Harrogate councils and (b) the North Yorkshire area in (i) 2003, (ii) 2004, (iii) 2005, (iv) 2006 and (v) 2007. (253143)

The available information is shown in the following table:

Number of community sentences issued in North Yorkshire police force area, 2003-07

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

All community sentences

2,434

2,547

2,842

2,598

2,712

Of which community orders1

n/a

n/a

1,017

1,650

1,651

n/a=Not available or Not Applicable

1 Community orders were introduced on the 4th of April 2005 and are available for offences committed on or after that date, and for offenders aged 18 and over.

Note:

These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system

Source:

OMS Analytical Services, Ministry of Justice Ref: PQ(OMSAS) 026-09 (28/01/2009)

Data held by the Ministry of Justice are available by Police Force Area (PFA) and the table shows the figures for North Yorkshire PFA. These data are made available for smaller areas because detailed checks on sentencing data are not carried out at court level.

Criminal Cases Review Commission

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps the Criminal Cases Review Commission plans to take to reduce its level of case accumulation; and how the Commission will monitor the effectiveness of those steps. (253149)

The Criminal Cases Review Commission expects to bring about further improvements in the number of applicants awaiting review and the time taken to review their cases by refining casework processes as part of an ongoing project.

Since that project started three years ago, the number of cases waiting for review by the Commission and the average waiting time of each case has fallen significantly. For instance, in March 2005 there were 360 cases awaiting review. In December 2008—the last full month for which figures are available—there were 90.

Between September 2005 and December 2008, the time that applicants in custody with complex cases had to wait for the review of their cases to begin fell from 20 months to six months.

Casework trends are analysed and steps to bring about improvements are discussed in various forums including weekly meetings of the senior management team and monthly meetings of the full Commission. All non-confidential casework policies can be seen on the publications section of the Commission's website at

www.ccrc.gov.uk

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how the Criminal Cases Review Commission measures the (a) effectiveness, (b) efficiency and (c) economy of its policies. (253150)

The Commission's policies all feed into the performance of its core function—reviewing alleged miscarriages of justice. The effectiveness and efficiency is assessed through the performance of the Commission.

The Commission uses a set of eight key performance indicators to help it monitor and manage performance. The indicators help the Commission measure waiting times, waiting lists and time taken to reach certain key stages in the life of each case such as time to allocation and time to completion. The Commission sets targets in each of these areas and measures its performance against those targets. Targets and performance are reviewed regularly by the Commission and the senior management team. Performance across most KPIs has improved substantially over the last two years.

Commission policies are regularly reviewed with input from Commissioners and staff and revised as necessary.

The KPIs are developed by managers and Commissioners and approved by the Commission. They appear in the CCRC business plan and are reported on annually in the annual report—both documents are available on the Commission's website at

www.ccrc.gov.uk.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what procedures apply to the (a) recruitment, (b) training and (c) assessment of the welfare of the Criminal Cases Review Commission's expert staff. (253151)

The Commission's Recruitment and Equal Opportunities policies seek to ensure that all the Commission's recruitment activity is fair and open.

The Commission provides in-house training for staff and Commissioners to share knowledge and expertise and promote good practice. The Commission also supports external training for staff in line with the aims of the organisation.

The Commission takes seriously the welfare of all its staff. Human Resources staff and line managers are responsible for supporting staff dealing with various day-to-day welfare issues.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps the Criminal Cases Review Commission has taken to increase the public's understanding of its role. (253152)

The Commission issues a press release about every referral it makes to the appeal courts. The organisation, and its chair in particular, seek appropriate opportunities to engage with local and national media about the work of the Commission, miscarriages of justice in general and about individual cases as far as possible.

Commissioners and Commission staff give regular presentations about the Commission and its work at universities, law clinics and at other events and venues.

The Commission tends to focus on specific sections of the public likely to have an interest in its work and on reaching those who may have legitimate reason to make an application to the Commission for review of an alleged miscarriage of justice. For instance, the Commission holds stakeholder events for groups and individuals interested in the issues and runs an annual programme of visits to prisons of all kinds to increase informed awareness of the Commission among prisoners and prison staff. The Commission advertises in media directed at the prison population and is developing ways of feeding information and material into the training of prison officers providing legal advice to prisoners.

Departmental Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department is taking to advise staff of pension options available to them in relation to added years or additional voluntary contributions. (253272)

The Ministry of Justice and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) asks new and re-employed civil servants to complete a pension questionnaire which enables them to be sent details of the pensions options available to them on joining the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS). On the basis of their reply, information is subsequently provided to them on added years and additional voluntary contributions.

For existing staff, information is available on the Ministry of Justice’s intranet site. This site also directs staff to the Civil Service Pensions website and provides contact details for Capita Hartshead who are the Ministry of Justice’s Authorised Pensions Administration Centre (APAC), both of which can also provide information about these options to interested staff. NOMS staff have access to the Ministry of Justice intranet and can phone the Home Office Pension Service (NOMS APAC) help desk for advice and are also provided with details of the Civil Service Pensions website address when they join.

The purchase of added years was replaced by added pension from 1 March 2008 and this change was given prominent publicity in June 2007 and again in February 2008.

From time to time, relevant pension-related information is published on the Ministry of Justice’s intranet and brought to the attention of employees.

Information on the 36 probation boards and six probation trusts has not been included, as their members of staff are not employees of the Ministry of Justice. Probation staff are generally eligible for membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme.

Glen Parva Young Offenders Institution

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when the building of the planned extension of Glen Parva Young Offenders Institution will be (a) started and (b) completed; how many additional places and what facilities for young offenders the extension will provide; what facilities currently available will be removed; and what the total cost will be of the extension. (253352)

Solutions are being developed on behalf of the Youth Justice Board (YJB) to build a new prison adjacent to the site of the existing Glen Parva YOI; this is not an extension to the existing Glen Parva YOI for young adult males.

Planning permission is due to be submitted in the summer of 2009. If this is granted, work is anticipated to start in late 2009 and expected to be completed in early 2012.

The new prison will create approximately 360 new prison places and, as this is a new self-contained prison for young men aged 15-17, no existing facilities will be removed from the existing establishment. The development at Glen Parva will include facilities for young people to take part in a variety of training and education activities to help them gain the necessary skills they need on release to help reduce their risk of reoffending. The total cost of the project has not been determined and will be subject to competition over the next six to eight months.

Legal Services Ombudsman

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many (a) applications and (b) successful applications for judicial review of decisions made by the Legal Services Ombudsman have been made in each year since 2002; (253131)

(2) how many (a) applications and (b) successful applications for judicial review of decisions made by the Legal Services Ombudsman there have been in each year since 2002.

Although the Legal Services Ombudsman is independent of Government, we understand from her annual reports that:

In 2004-05, 14 applications for Judicial Review were made. None were successful.

In 2005-06, eight applications were made. None were successful.

In 2006-07, nine applications were made. None were successful.

In 2007-08, eight applications were made. Five have been unsuccessful. The three remaining cases continued into 2008-09 and were subsequently unsuccessful.

According to the Office of the Legal Services Ombudsman there are no records available to confirm the number of applications for Judicial Review between 2002-04.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent representations he has received on the performance of the (a) Legal Services Ombudsman and (b) Legal Complaints Service. (253284)

The Legal Services Regulation and Redress Division (LSRRD) in the Ministry of Justice is responsible for the policy relating to the regulation of legal services in England and Wales.

During 2008, LSRRD received 56 representations regarding the performance of the Legal Services Ombudsman, and 37 representations regarding the performance of the Legal Complaints Service.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many complaints he has received regarding decisions made by the Legal Services Ombudsman in each of the last five years. (253319)

The Office of the Legal Services Ombudsman is independent of Government. Therefore, the Department does not deal with complaints regarding decisions made by the ombudsman.

The ombudsman’s report in individual cases is final and there is no appeal against it. However, consumers can challenge her decisions in the courts through application for Judicial Review.

Magistrates: Age

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many magistrates are aged between (a) 20 and 29, (b) 30 and 39, (c) 40 and 49, (d) 50 and 59 and (e) 60 and 69 years old. (253157)

The information requested is as follows:

The age of magistrates as at 28 January, 2009

Age

Number

(a) 20-29

134

(b) 30-39

993

(c) 40-49

4,344

(d) 50-59

9,557

(e) 60-69

14,390

Mental Health Tribunals

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether specialist legal advice is routinely made available to people who are the subject of a mental health tribunal. (253296)

Legal aid is available for representation in the first-tier tribunal and upper tribunal for mental health proceedings. It is available without reference to the means of the applicant in the first-tier tribunal.

National Mediation Helpline: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what funding his Department provided to the National Mediation Helpline in each of the last three years. (253585)

Since the launch of the National Mediation Helpline in March 2005, the year on year costs are as shown in the following table:

Justice Department funding of the National Mediation Helpline, 2005-08

£

2005-06

73,880

2006-07

50,523

2007-08

72,094

Prison Accommodation

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many new prison places he plans to provide by 31 December 2009. (253677)

At 31 December 2009 we will have delivered over 6,000 new prison places since April 2007. This includes over 2,100 new prison places in 2009.

Prisoners Release: Reoffenders

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people released from prison less than half way through their sentence had reoffended before the date originally set for the end of the sentence in each of the last three years, broken down by offence. (253388)

Information about the length of time that a prisoner spent in prison cannot be extracted from the Police National Computer database and we do not collate this information from the prisoner discharge dataset in the production of reoffending data. These are the two key sources for producing statistics on reoffending following a discharge from prison.

Further information on the one year rates of reoffending can be found at

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

Prisoners: Bullying

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what measures are in place to prevent bullying of prisoners by other inmates. (253154)

Since 2004, every public sector prison has been required to have in place a local violence reduction strategy. From mid 2007 this policy has been applied to both the public sector and contracted estate. Under the strategy each prison is required to undertake regular analysis of any problem areas, consider solutions and provide an action plan to improve personal safety and reduce violence. All closed establishments are required to undertake a cell-sharing risk assessment to inform cell allocation. The violence reduction strategy is due to be reviewed during 2009.

Prisoners: Islam

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of prisoners in each high security prison in each of the last five years were Muslim. (253160)

Figures showing the numbers and percentages of Muslim prisoners in each high security prison establishment in England and Wales on 30 June each year can be found in the following table.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Numbers and proportions of Muslim prisoners by each high security prison, June 2004 - June 2008.

Prison

Muslim prisoners

Percentage of total

30 June 2004

Belmarsh

147

16

Frankland

56

8

Full Sutton

82

14

Long Lartin

58

13

Manchester

112

9

Wakefield

26

5

Whitemoor

74

18

Woodhill

85

11

Total Muslim prisoners

640

Total all prisoners

5,547

Muslims as percentage of all

12

30 June 2005

Belmarsh

145

16

Frankland

63

9

Full Sutton

85

14

Long Lartin

67

15

Manchester

126

10

Wakefield

32

6

Whitemoor

75

17

Woodhill

93

12

Total Muslim prisoners

686

Total all prisoners

5,615

Muslims as percentage of all

12

30 June 2006

Belmarsh

154

17

Frankland

73

10

Full Sutton

82

14

Long Lartin

91

21

Manchester

171

14

Wakefield

51

7

Whitemoor

73

17

Woodhill

107

14

Total Muslim prisoners

802

Total all prisoners

5,802

Muslims as percentage of all

14

30 June 2007

Belmarsh

175

19

Frankland

73

10

Full Sutton

77

13

Long Lartin

105

24

Manchester

159

13

Wakefield

61

8

Whitemoor

94

20

Woodhill

114

14

Total Muslim prisoners

858

Total all prisoners

5,917

Muslims as percentage of all

15

30 June 2008

Belmarsh

181

20

Frankland

60

8

Full Sutton

109

19

Long Lartin

106

24

Manchester

144

12

Wakefield

66

9

Whitemoor

140

34

Woodhill

113

14

Total Muslim prisoners

919

Total all prisoners

5,828

Muslims as percentage of all

16

Prisoners: Racial Harassment

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many racial incidents were reported by prisoners during 2008; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of subsequent investigations. (253153)

In 2008 there were 8,911 incidents of alleged racism reported by prisoners—of those 2,849 were about the behaviour of other prisoners and 6,062 were concerned with the actions of members of staff. A small proportion consist of allegations of misconduct by staff and all such matters are subject to disciplinary investigation under the code of conduct and discipline.

All investigations into reported acts of racism are overseen and signed off by the Governor or Deputy Governor. In addition the area manager conducts bi-annual checks of a random' sample of investigations.

‘Race Review 2008’ recently published by NOMS and available in the Library sets out the current assessment of race equality in the prison service, including the effectiveness of these systems and plans for work further to improve them.

Reoffenders: Sentencing

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proportion of people released on (a) probation and (b) licence who subsequently committed a further crime were returned to prison in each of the last three years. (253336)

The following table sets out the number of offenders who were released on licence and who were subsequently recalled to custody, having been charged with committing a further offence in the period of their licence in the year 2007-08 and between April and December 2008, as notified to the National Offender Management Service. Accurate data on the reasons for recalling determinate prisoners who were on licence were not held centrally prior to April 2007 and to compile such data would incur disproportionate cost.

Offenders recalled for committing further offences are normally recalled at the point at which the charge is laid. Inevitably therefore, some of the cases listed would have either resulted in acquittal or would not have proceeded to trial, as the charges were subsequently withdrawn.

Furthermore, there will have been prisoners released on licence and who were charged with offences after their licence period had expired. They would not have been liable to recall.

The proportion of offenders recalled for committing further offences cannot be expressed as a proportion of the number of releases, as offenders may be recalled at any point during a licence and on more than one occasion, particularly with respect to licences that can be several years in duration.

Offenders recalled for further charges

April 2007 to March 2008

12,604

April 2008 to December 2008

12,081

1 These figures exclude all those recalled from early custody licence. It also excludes those recalled from home detention curfew who had a sentence of less than 12 months as they would not have been under probation supervision.

Speed Limits: Cameras

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many charges for speeding offences were discontinued because the location of the speed camera failed to comply with the guidance in each of the last five years; (253021)

(2) how many charges for speeding offences were discontinued because of a breach of the guidance on co-located signs in each of the last five years;

Charging data are not held by my Department. Prosecutions data are normally provided in lieu.

The number of proceedings at the magistrates court for speeding offences, and the number discontinued, for 2003 to 2007 (latest available) are given in the following table.

Statistical information collected centrally on the number of persons proceeded against for offences of contravening speed limits does not identify the reason why the proceedings are discontinued.

The number of proceedings at the magistrates court for speeding offences1 and the number discontinued, England and Wales, 2003-07 2, 3, 4

Number of offences

Proceeded against

Proceedings discontinued

2003

165,495

1,465

2004

172,327

1,540

2005

192,238

1,809

2006

180,630

1,759

2007

177,917

1,753

1 Offences under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 ss. 16, 81, 84, 86, 88 7 89; Motor Vehicles (Speed Limits on Motorways) Regs. 1973; Parks Regulation (Amendment) Act 1926—byelaws made thereunder.

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

3 Volumes of convictions for camera detected speed limit offences cannot be accurately established because in many cases the method of detection is not identified in the court data. It is not known exactly in how many cases it was in fact a camera or a visual detection by a police officer.

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

Source:

Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Evidence and Analysis unit.

Young Offenders: Reoffenders

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many persistent young offenders were (a) arrested and (b) sentenced at (i) magistrates’ courts and (ii) the Crown Court in (A) Vale of York constituency and (B) England in each year since 1997. (253142)

Statistics on Persistent Young Offenders (PYOs) split by court type, as requested in the question, are only available from 1999 onward. The closest geographic level to the Vale of York for which robust numbers are available is the North Yorkshire police force area.

The PYO figures are designed to measure the speed and efficiency of the youth justice system, through monitoring the pledge to halve the average time from arrest to sentence for dealing with PYOs in England and Wales from 142 days in 1996 to 71 days. However, numbers of PYO cases are not a reliable measure of overall levels of youth crime, and will give a misleading view of the true trend if used for this purpose.

The following tables show the number of PYOs dealt with in England and Wales and for North Yorkshire. The breakdowns are based on whether the cases were heard in the magistrates courts or in the Crown court.

The number of persistent young offenders in England and Wales, by court jurisdiction

All courts

Magistrates courts

The Crown court

1997

9,868

1998

11,079

1999

12,014

9,815

2,160

2000

13,233

11,961

1,264

2001

13,854

12,889

961

2002

14,244

13,218

1,024

2003

14,244

13,297

941

2004

14,492

13,511

974

2005

14,827

13,894

924

2006

15,528

14,476

1,043

2007

16,512

15,414

1,095

The number of persistent young offenders in North Yorkshire, by court jurisdiction

All courts

Magistrates courts

The Crown court

1997

120

1998

126

1999

155

132

23

2000

184

169

15

2001

161

141

20

2002

158

151

7

2003

167

160

7

2004

188

181

6

2005

182

171

9

2006

203

191

12

2007

252

236

16

Notes:

The Police National Computer data can contain records where the type of court in which the case was heard was unknown. This missing information only impacts a very small minority of cases, and was more a feature of the data in the past than in the present. Thus, the sum of cases heard in magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court in each year is less than all cases heard in England and Wales.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) publishes the data in the aforementioned table as National Statistics. Further information on persistent young offenders can be found on the dedicated page of the MOJ website:

www.justice.gov.uk/publications/averagetimearresttosentencepyo.htm

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of performance against the 71-day target for the average time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders. (253148)

Overall statistics on persistent young offenders (PYOs) are available from 1997 to 2007.

These figures are derived from police national computer data, and used to monitor the pledge to halve the average time from arrest to sentence for dealing with PYOs in England and Wales from 142 days in 1996 to 71 days.

The PYO figures are designed to measure the speed and efficiency of the youth justice system, through monitoring the pledge to halve the average time from arrest to sentence for dealing with PYOs in England and Wales from 142 days in 1996 to 71 days. However, numbers of PYO cases are not a reliable measure of overall levels of youth crime, and will give a misleading view of the true trend if used for this purpose.

The following table shows the number of PYO cases heard, and the average time interval (in days) from arrest to sentence for dealing with these juvenile offenders in England and Wales. It also provides a breakdown based on whether the cases were heard in the magistrates courts or in the Crown court.

Average time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders

All courts

Magistrates courts

The Crown court

Cases

Days

Cases

Days

Cases

Days

1997

16,010

141

1998

18,605

125

1999

21,151

108

18,851

96

2,271

212

2000

23,131

95

21,146

83

1,976

218

2001

25,393

76

23,752

68

1,632

196

2002

26,116

68

24,280

63

1,829

178

2003

26,086

66

24,481

58

1,590

188

2004

26,363

69

24,698

61

1,653

186

2005

27,037

68

25,498

61

1,526

192

2006

28,252

72

26,529

63

1,704

214

2007

30,683

65

28,904

57

1,769

206

Note:

The police national computer data can contain records where the type of court in which the case was heard was unknown. This missing information only affects a very small minority of cases, and was more a feature of the data in the past than in the present. Thus, the sum of cases heard in magistrates' courts and the Crown court in each year is less than all cases heard in England and Wales.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) publishes the data in the above table as National Statistics. Further information on persistent young offenders can be found on the dedicated page of the MOJ website:

www.justice.gov.uk/publications/averagetimearresttosentencepyo.htm

Culture, Media and Sport

Broadband: Job Creation

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the number of jobs that will be created by increased funding for new broadband networks in (a) 2009, (b) 2010 and (c) 2011 under the Government’s plans to create up to 100,000 new jobs through public works; and what proportion of these jobs he estimates will go to British workers. (248745)

I have been asked to reply.

This Department has not made precise estimates of the number of jobs that will be created by increased funding for broadband networks and has not estimated how many of these will go to British workers. However, we believe, like many nations that investment in new broadband networks opens the way to a whole range of job opportunities, both during and post construction of the new networks. NESTA estimates that universal super-fast broadband in the UK could directly create 600,000 new ICT jobs and add £18 billion to GDP over four years with even larger indirect benefit. There have been a number of other announcements from international competitors in recent weeks, which make reference to new employment and economic benefits.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to increase capital expenditure on a new broadband network as part of the Government's plans to create up to 100,000 new jobs through public works. (248752)

I have been asked to reply.

There are no plans for an immediate increase in public capital expenditure on a new broadband network. The Caio Review concluded that there was no case for public sector intervention but recommended that Government along with Ofcom should take a lead role in shaping broadband policies that could support and inform the activity of regulators and industry players on their journey toward Next Generation Access. The Government will respond to the recommendations made in the review in due course.

We published the interim Digital Britain Report, an action plan to secure the UK's place at the forefront of innovation, investment and quality in the digital and communications industries, on 29 January, seeking comments by 12 March.

Creativity and Business International Network

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what deposit has been paid to The Grove in Hertfordshire for the use of its facilities for the inaugural Creativity and Business International Network; and what payment has been agreed. (250245)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend, the Minister with responsibility for culture, creative industries and tourism, gave him on 14 October 2008, Official Report, column 1210W. The cost of hiring The Grove is included within the £1 million allocated towards the running of the World Creative Business Conference in each of the next three years, including 2008-09.

Cricket: Public Participation

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of (a) the effectiveness of the 3 times 30 minute weekly participation target for cricket, (b) the effect this target has had on the England and Wales Cricket Board's recent Whole Sport Plan award from Sport England, (c) the effect of the reduction in the England and Wales Cricket Board's grant from Sport England on disabled and women's cricket and (d) participation rates in cricket in each year since Sport England began to provide funding for cricket; and if he will make a statement. (246122)

[holding answer 12 January 2009]: Sport England has announced that the England and Wales Cricket Board will receive nearly £38 million of 2009 to 2013 Whole Sport Plan funding to deliver its plan for cricket. This represents the largest award made to any of the 46 national governing bodies receiving Whole Sport Plan funding. The final breakdown of these awards is still being finalised with NGBs. It will also be open to the ECB to supplement this further through bidding for the significant extra funding streams which will be available, as they currently do.

In answer:

(a) Sport England is responsible for getting 1 million more people playing sport—three times 30 minute sessions of at least moderate intensity per week—and will measure this through the Active People Survey. As part of their Whole Sport Plan funding, national governing bodies will be responsible for increasing one times 30 minute weekly participation in their sport as a contribution towards the global target. Given this, the varying intensities of longer duration sports, and the emphasis on the sustain strand of the Sport England strategy, the one times 30 measure represents an effective gauge of a sport’s contribution to Sport England’s participation objectives.

(b) Therefore three times 30 minute participation in Cricket was not a contributory factor in the assessment of the ECB's funding submission. Sports were asked to demonstrate how they could increase one times 30 minute participation as part of the funding process.

(c) It is the ECB's responsibility to manage the sport of Cricket, creating opportunities for all. The ECB submission contains specific interventions for women and girls, and disabled cricket. Sport England's investment into the ECB will seek to encourage the grow, sustain and excel outcomes for these priority groups, and funding for these areas of work will be allocated to the ECB accordingly.

Sport England has carried out two Active People Surveys. Active People 1 (between October 2005 and October 2006) shows one times 30 minute cricket 16+ participation as 195,200. Active People 2 (between October 2007 and October 2008) shows one times 30 minute cricket 16+ participation as 204,900. One times 30 participation data are not available prior to Active People 1.

Departmental Telephone Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for what reasons the telephone number given for each of the private offices of Ministers in his Department in the List of Ministerial Responsibilities is that of his Department’s main switchboard. (251693)

[holding answer 27 January 2009]: The telephone number included in the List of Ministerial Responsibilities routes callers to the Department’s Public Engagement and Recognition Unit, who are able to provide responsive advice to hon. Members on issues such as the progress of correspondence and parliamentary questions.

The List of Ministerial Responsibilities is a public document, published on the Cabinet Office website. As such, members of the public may also require assistance from the public engagement and recognition unit, which aims to answer as many calls as possible without transfer. Switchboard staff in the unit are able to transfer any calls requiring contact with Ministers direct to Private Offices.

Departmental Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what expenditure his Department has incurred in providing transport for Ministers between Parliament and Departmental premises in each of the last five years. (251881)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport on 26 January 2009, Official Report, column 6W. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code.

Exercise

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the number of (a) men and (b) women over the age of 18 years who have participated in at least 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity physical activity on five or more days of the week in each of the last three years. (252810)

The Taking Part survey is a continuous household survey providing national data on participation in culture, leisure and sport.

The following table shows the percentage of men and women aged 19 and over who have participated in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity level sport on at least five separate days in the past week.

Participation in moderate intensity sport on at least five days in the past week, by adults aged 19 and over

Percentage

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Men

12

13

15

Women

10

10

10

Note that these figures are survey estimates which each sit within a range.

For further information about the methodology and a full definition of moderateintensity sport, see the final assessment of SR04 PSA3 at:

http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/publications/5653.aspx

Exercise: Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the number of children aged (a) five to 11, (b) 12 to 16 and (c) 17 to 18 years who have undertaken 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each day in each of the last three years. (252811)

The Taking Part survey provides data on participation in culture 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.

Child respondents are asked to indicate on how many days in the past week they have participated in at least an hour of active sport outside school lessons. Table 1 shows the percentage of children who had participated in the past week. The child survey began in January 2006 and data are therefore available for 2006 and 2007 only.

Table 1: Participation in active sport for at least an hour during the past week, by children aged 11 to 15

Percentage

Days

2006

2007

0

32

30

1

17

17

2

15

14

3

10

11

4

8

8

5

5

6

6

3

4

7

10

10

Note that these figures are survey estimates which each sit within a range. The information has been extracted from the report published in October 2008, Headline findings from the child survey 2007. The full report and accompanying data workbooks are available at:

http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/publications/5481.aspx

Adult respondents to Taking Part are asked on how many days in the past week they have participated in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity level sport. Table 2 shows the percentage of 16 to 18-year-olds who had participated in the past week.

Table 2: Participation in moderate intensity sport for at least 30 minutes during the past week, by adults aged 16 to 18

Percentage

Days

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

0

38

40

39

1

13

16

16

2

12

9

9

3

9

9

10

4

6

4

6

5

6

6

5

6

3

4

3

7

13

11

12

Note that these figures are survey estimates which each sit within a range. For further information about the methodology and a full definition of moderate intensity sport, see the final assessment of SR04 PSA3 at:

http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/publications/5653.aspx

Film

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent steps his Department has taken to support independent film makers. (253801)

The UK Film Council, the Government's strategic agency for film, provides a range of support for independent filmmakers.

Their New Cinema Fund distributes £5 million lottery funding per year to support independent filmmakers and emerging talent. The Fund also supports several short film schemes to help new filmmakers develop their talent, enabling many new directors to make the transition from short films to full length features.

The Prints and Advertising Fund distributes £2 million lottery funding to UK distributors to enable wider distribution and publicity for films which might otherwise have only a limited distribution, helping independent filmmakers to reach a wider audience.

The Premiere Fund distributes £8 million lottery funding per year to support the production of independent and mainstream, commercially-driven feature films that can attract audiences around the world.

The Development Fund distributes £4 million lottery funding per year to broaden the quality, range and ambition of film projects and talent being developed in the UK. The fund helps filmmakers of all experience levels to develop their ideas and screenplays into viable feature films and delivers support for both first-time feature filmmakers and established filmmakers.

The UK Film Council also allocates £7.5 million per year to nine regional and three national screen agencies across the UK, supporting their efforts to build a clear film strategy and provide financial support for a wide range of film related activities. Screen West Midlands is the regional screen agency that covers the Coventry South constituency.

Independent filmmakers working in the UK also have the opportunity to access the film tax relief, which last year distributed £104 million in support of British Film.

Gambling: Regulation

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) how many inspections have been carried out by the Gambling Commission in each year since the development of the annual visit programme; (252804)

(2) how many follow-up visits have been made by the Gambling Commission in each year since the development of the annual visit programme;

(3) how many (a) warnings have been issued and (b) licences revoked under the Gambling Commission’s compliance process in each year; and what the (i) reason for the action taken and (ii) type of operation was in each case;

(4) how many compliance officers the Gambling Commission employs;

(5) how many visits made by Gambling Commission compliance officers under the compliance process to each type of operator were (a) programmed, (b) advisory, (c) complaint, (d) revisit, (e) survey and (f) other in each year since the process began;

(6) how on many visits by Gambling Commission compliance officers to each type of operator evidence was found of (a) operational risk, (b) crime and disorder risk, (c) fair and open risk, (d) risk to children, (e) risk to other vulnerable people and (f) external risk in each year since the compliance process began.

The Gambling Commission has advised that it carried out a total of 5,545 visits and 620 follow-up visits between 1 September 2007, when the Gambling Act 2005 came into force, and 31 December 2008.

The Gambling Commission has advised that a list of revocations and formal warnings issued under the Compliance process, including the type of licence holder and details of the decision, is available on its website at:

http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/Client/mediadetail.asp?mediaid=477

The Gambling Commission has also advised that an additional 50 licensed operators have had their licence revoked following the non-payment of their annual licence fee.

The Gambling Commission has advised that it intends to publish details of its annual visit programme for 2008-09 in its next Annual Report.

The Gambling Commission currently employs 59 compliance managers.

Gaming Machines

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans his Department has to review the number of Category B3 machines in adult gaming centres. (253232)

[holding answer 2 February 2009]: The Department has no plans to review the number of Category B3 machines in adult gaming centres.

Homecoming Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what role his Department is playing in relation to the Homecoming Scotland 2009 initiative. (253089)

[holding answer 2 February 2009]: VisitBritain have advised that they are working closely with VisitScotland to support Homecoming Scotland 2009. VisitBritain have planned online and public relations activities incorporating the Americas, Asia and Europe.

Legal Opinion

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the cost was of external legal services provided to his Department in each of the last five years. (251348)

On the basis of available records, the total cost to the Department of external legal advice in each of the last five years is shown in the following table:

Cost to Department of Culture, Media and Sport of external legal advice

Financial year

£

2003-04

490,242.08

2004-05

791,050.23

2005-06

456,480.95

2006-07

251,011.67

2007-08

428,524.32

Music: Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department is taking to encourage the learning of musical instruments by young people. (253140)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working closely with the Department for Children, Schools and Families to promote music for young people through the package of funding for music education, which was announced in November 2007. This totals £332 million over three years and includes investment in singing, new instruments and free music lessons.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport provides financial support for the arts through Arts Council England, which makes funding decisions independently of Government.

The Arts Council provides funding of £10 million per year to Youth Music so that it can continue its work of complementing music in the national curriculum by supporting activities outside of school hours. Youth Music works alongside formal and community-based sectors to support music-making and training. This includes helping young people with the fewest opportunities to learn musical instruments.

Take It Away is an Arts Council initiative designed to help more people get involved in learning and playing music. The scheme allows individuals to apply for an interest-free loan of up to £2,000 for the purchase of any kind of musical instrument. Children and young people are a particular priority for the scheme and over a quarter (26 per cent.) of all customers have purchased an instrument for a young person under 18 ears of age.

Official Cars

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what cars of what engine cubic capacity are (a) owned and (b) leased by his Department. (250028)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport on 26 January 2009, Official Report, column 10W about cars provided by the Government Car and Despatch Agency.

Public Houses