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Written Answers

Volume 487: debated on Monday 9 February 2009

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 9 February 2009

Scotland

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which websites are operated by his Department in addition to its main website; and what the operating budget for these websites is. (251306)

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which websites were operated by his Department in addition to its main website in the last five years. (251309)

Until 2006 the Scotland Office also operated a website on behalf of the Commission on Boundary Differences and Voting Systems, chaired by Professor Sir John Arbuthnott.

Since completion of the Arbuthnott Commission's work it has only operated the departmental website: www.scotlandoffice.gov.uk.

Departmental Public Appointments

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which of the public appointments for which his Department is responsible are due to be (a) renewed and (b) filled in the next 24 months; what the (i) remit, (ii) salary, (iii) political restriction, (iv) eligibility requirement and (v) timetable for each appointment is; and what records his Department keeps in respect of such appointments. (254246)

The Secretary of State for Scotland is responsible for appointing two commissioners to the Boundary Commission for Scotland. The commission is an independent and impartial advisory body, responsible for reviews of constituencies and regions for the Scottish Parliament, and constituencies in Scotland for the Westminster Parliament. One of the current commissioner appointments will run until 31 December 2010, the other until 6 June 2011. The posts are part time and require around one to two days work per month during the period of a boundary review. Commissioners are paid a daily fee, currently £486, for attending commission meetings and for meeting preparation. Applicants are expected to have a good understanding of the social geography of Scotland, the structure of constituencies for the Westminster and the Scottish Parliaments, and the electoral system. There are no statutory political restrictions, but it is recognised that commissioners are expected to be politically neutral. Appointments are made following Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) and other relevant guidance.

The Secretary of State may also appoint, at the request of the commission, assistant commissioners, to "inquire into, and report to the Commission upon, such matters as the Commission think fit". In practice, assistant commissioners are appointed to conduct public inquiries into the commission's provisional recommendations. In Scotland, it is customary for Sheriffs Principal who preside over the relevant areas to be appointed for this purpose given their unquestioned independence and impartiality, and their local connection to the areas under consideration. These appointments are unpaid, and made for the duration of the inquiry process, typically a few months.

The Scotland Office retains all official records relating to the appointment of both commissioners and assistant commissioners.

Economic Situation

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions his Department has had with outside organisations to discuss policy to reduce the impact of the recession on matters within his Department's responsibility. (254063)

As one would expect, the Secretary of State for Scotland has regular engagements with outside organisations including relevant Government Departments on a range of issues relating to the economy.

Mass Media

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the cost of his Department's contracts with press monitoring services was in each of the last five years. (251265)

The information requested is as follows:

£

PressData (web-based press cuttings)

PA Mediapoint (web-based news wire)

Newslink (broadcast transcription)

2003-04

18,215

0

0

2004-05

19,817

0

0

2005-06

18,000

0

0

2006-07

18,572

0

0

2007-08

12,150

5,651

2,892

Solicitor-General

BAE Systems: Saudi Arabia

To ask the Solicitor-General what the cost to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was of defending the legal action challenging the decision to drop the investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption against BAE Systems plc in relation to Saudi Arabia; how much was paid to the legal team acting for the SFO in the case; what the fees were of Jonathan Sumption QC for representing the SFO in the appeal to the House of Lords; and from which budget these costs were met. (252134)

The total cost to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of defending the legal action challenging the decision to drop the investigation into BAE Systems plc, as far as relating to Saudi Arabia, was £372,099.67. These costs comprise counsel fees, Treasury Solicitor fees and associated printing costs, and relate to both the hearing in the Divisional Court and the appeal in the House of Lords.

The legal team acting for the SFO (that is, external counsel and Treasury Solicitors) was paid £344,144.37.

Jonathan Sumption QC was paid £53,377 to represent the SFO in the appeal to the House of Lords.

All the above costs were met from the normal SFO budget.

All costs stated are exclusive of VAT.

Wales

Economic Situation

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions his Department has had with outside organisations to discuss policy on reducing the effect of the recession on matters within his Department’s responsibility. (254066)

I have regular engagements with outside organisations on a range of issues relating to the Welsh economy.

I have recently met the Federation of Small Businesses Wales, the CBI and the Wales Trades Union Council. In addition I attend the regular meetings of the National Economic Council and the All Wales Economic Summits.

Non-domestic Rates

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales with reference to the Answer of 16 July 2008, Official Report, column 458W, on non-domestic rates: Wales, whether the 2005 council tax revaluation in Wales was revenue-neutral excluding the effect of transitional relief. (253518)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to my answer of 24 April 2008, Official Report, column 2180W. The 2005 council tax revaluation and rebanding exercise was revenue-neutral in that increases in council tax receipts during the year of the revaluation and subsequently arose from councils’ decisions on raising council tax, rather than the revaluation. The rises were in line with increases in previous years.

The increase in band D council tax was 3.8 per cent. between 2004-05 and 2005-06; 4.5 per cent. between 2005-06 and 2006-07, and 4.4 per cent. between 2006-07 and 2007-08.

Shellfish: Dredging

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the Welsh Assembly Government on legislation to establish powers to prohibit scallop dredging in Welsh waters. (254264)

I recently discussed with the Welsh Assembly Government provisions in the Marine and Coastal Access Bill that will abolish Sea Fisheries Committees and provide Welsh Ministers further powers to manage fisheries, including scallop dredging, in Welsh waters.

At present local authority Sea Fisheries Committees are taking the lead role in managing scallop fisheries, within six nautical miles of the Welsh Coast. The Welsh Assembly Government have existing powers to regulate scallop dredging in Welsh waters—principally section 5 of the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1967.

I understand that discussions are taking place between WAG and other relevant organisations to develop a joint approach to seek to manage the situation in Cardigan bay.

Welsh Assembly Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will place in the Library copies of correspondence between officials and Ministers in his Office and Welsh Assembly Government Ministers and officials on the Welsh Language Legislative Competence Order in the last two years. (254618)

We have had frequent exchanges with Welsh Assembly Government Ministers and officials on the Welsh Language Legislative Competence Order. To make all such exchanges available in the Library would restrict our ability to conduct business effectively.

However, the Wales Office has released some information relating to exchanges on the proposed order. It is available on the Wales Office website:

www.walesoffice.gov.uk/foi/disclosures

Welsh Language

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish all legal opinions and advice obtained by his Department relating to the Welsh Language Legislative Competence Order. (254735)

We have received legal opinions and advice relating to the Welsh Language Legislative Competence Order from a number of sources. To make such advice available would restrict our ability to conduct business effectively.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what (a) features, (b) rights and (c) sanctions will accrue to the Welsh language when it acquires official status under the Welsh Language Legislative Competence Order. (254737)

The Legislative Competence Order on the Welsh Language, when made, will confer legislative competence on the National Assembly for Wales in respect to the matters specified in the order. It will not confer official status on the Welsh language.

The explanatory memorandum accompanying the proposed order explains its scope and content in detail. I have today laid these documents as a Command Paper before the House for pre-legislative scrutiny. Copies have been placed in the Library and can be found in the Vote Office.

Prime Minister

China

To ask the Prime Minister what recent discussions he has held with the Chinese Prime Minister on (a) human rights in China and (b) increasing British exports to China. (254573)

Premier Wen visited the UK on 31 January-2 February for the annual UK-China summit, during which time we held a series of discussions.

I refer the hon. Member to the ‘UK-China Summit: Key Outcomes 2009’ which is available on the number 10 website:

http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page18214

I also refer the hon. Member to the ‘UK-China joint statement’, issued on 2 February, which is also available on the website:

http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page18220

Copies of both web pages have been placed in the Library of the House.

Personal Care Services

To ask the Prime Minister whether his Office has incurred any expenditure on his behalf for (a) haircuts, (b) make-up, (c) hairdressers and (d) make-up artists. (253657)

Defence

Absent Without Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what percentage of service personnel (a) went absent without leave and (b) deserted in each of the last 10 years. (254034)

Records held centrally on service personnel who have gone absent without leave (AWOL) relate to the number of incidents reported, not to the number of personnel. Therefore, individuals with multiple periods of absence are recorded more than once. For this reason the percentage of service personnel who went absent without leave in each of the last 10 years cannot be provided. The following table shows absence without leave statistics for each service by calendar year for each of the last 10 years:

Incidents of reported AWOL

Royal Navy1

Army

Royal Air Force

1999

35

2,055

15

2000

55

2,710

25

2001

90

2,645

25

2002

110

2,950

25

2003

120

2,820

35

2004

185

3,030

55

2005

195

2,715

35

2006

155

2,330

10

2007

115

2,290

25

2008

125

2,105

5

1 Over this period there have been a number of changes to the criteria for reporting absentees in the RN.

Notes:

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 5.

2. While the figures reflect the number of reports of AWOL, it may come to light later that there are extenuating circumstances and therefore does not reflect the number of personnel who went on to be formally charged with AWOL.

The following table shows the number of service personnel convicted of desertion in each of the last 10 years:

Convictions of desertion

1999

18

2000

8

2001

3

2002

7

2003

3

2004

3

2005

6

2006

8

2007

2

2008

14

1 This figure does not include the last quarter of 2008 for the RN.

Afghanistan: Official Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) delays and (b) cancellations of VIP visits there have been in Afghanistan in the last 12 months. (251649)

Every effort is made to ensure that VIP visits to operational theatres proceed smoothly. However, on occasion, there are inevitably difficulties due to adverse weather, equipment serviceability and competing operational requirements for finite air and aviation resources. Visits are also on occasion cancelled for reasons without the control of my Department. We do not collate detailed statistics on the number of VIP visits delayed or cancelled and generating robust statistics could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how long it will take to modify Merlin helicopters for use in Afghanistan; and how much this will cost. (254831)

It is expected to cost around £50 million to modify the Merlin helicopters for use on operations in Afghanistan. We are doing all we can to ensure a swift transition to Afghanistan. Nevertheless, we envisage a short period of around four months for the Merlin force to prepare for operations in Afghanistan after extraction from Iraq.

Air Force: Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what multi-activity contracts (MACs) the Royal Air Force has; and what the (a) scope, (b) monetary value and (c) date of expiry of each MAC is. (254361)

The scope of each individual multi-activity contract (MAC) is different, covering a range of services that support the operation of the station. These services may include, for example, cleaning, waste disposal, transport and supply and management of consumables. For large training units the MAC is often linked directly with the contract to provide the training output.

The monetary value and date of expiry of each RAF multi-activity contract is contained in the following table.

Location of MAC

Expiry date

Current estimated annual monetary value (£ million)

RAF Valley

March 2012

13.8

RAF Cranwell

March 2013

13.2

RAF Northolt/Uxbridge

March 2010

9.7

RAF Brampton/Wyton/Henlow

March 2011-March 2012

7.9

RAF Shawbury

March 2012

6.3

RAF Brize Norton

March 2010

5.4

RAF Lyneham

March 2012

4.5

RAF Cosford

December 2011

4.4

RAF High Wycombe

March 2010

4.2

RAF Halton

March 2010

4.0

RAF Linton

March 2010

2.0

Air Surveillance and Control System (ASACS)/RAF Fylingdales

March 2009

2.6

Armed Forces: Parades

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many military tattoos are held each year in the UK; and at which locations they are held. (254926)

Details of all military tattoos and locations are not retained centrally by the MOD. The MOD does not currently run any tattoos; they are operated by commercial organisations who will hold their own records.

Arms Trade: Treaties

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with representatives from the defence industry about the proposed Arms Trade Treaty. (255007)

I have regular discussions with representatives of the defence industry and defence trade associations on a range of issues, but to date have not specifically discussed the proposed Arms Trade Treaty.

The Ministry of Defence fully supports the Government’s effort to establish an Arms Trade Treaty that will help prevent the irresponsible trade in conventional weapons. The Department is an active member of the cross-Whitehall team led by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that is taking forward this work within the United Nations. The cross-Whitehall team maintains a dialogue with the defence industry through regular stakeholder group meetings. During 2009 this work will support the UN process, which is considering elements that might be included in an eventual legally binding treaty.

Defence Intelligence Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the size of the Defence Intelligence Staff was in each year since 1997. (253716)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer my predecessor gave on 15 June 2006, Official Report, column 1384W, to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker), which provides the size of the Defence intelligence staff (DIS) for the years 1997 to 2006. The information for subsequent years is: April 2007—4,748; April 2008—4,308 staff; and is forecast as 4,365 staff for April 2009.

Defence: Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on measures to retain (a) skills and (b) employees vital to the defence industry in the current economic climate; (253465)

(2) what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the economic climate on the defence industry, with particular reference to the industry's capacity to (a) retain skilled workers and (b) meet procurement deadlines.

The Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS) promotes a sustainable and competitive UK defence industrial base. This ensures the retention of the specialist skills necessary to deliver the capabilities needed by our armed forces. Defence Ministers have regular discussions with representatives from the defence industry both individually and in the forum of the National Defence Industries Council on a wide range of issues including the effect of the current economic climate on the industry.

Departmental Catering

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 14 January 2009, Official Report, column 486W, on departmental catering, which ethically traded products the defence food services integrated project team has introduced; and if he will make a statement. (254100)

Ethically traded products purchased by defence food services integrated project team, which is responsible for the procurement of food for the armed services on operations and on exercises overseas, are set out in the following list:

90 per cent. of tea and coffee from fair trade sources

100 per cent. of pork from British sources

100 per cent. of milk from British sources

100 per cent. of eggs from British sources

100 per cent. of whole gammons from British sources

100 per cent. of fish from managed sources

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 14 January 2009, Official Report, column 486W, on departmental catering, what recommendations the Sustainability Working Group has made on the procurement of Fairtrade goods for use in (a) his Department's London headquarters and (b) the military establishment; and if he will make a statement. (254101)

The Sustainability Working Group was established within the Defence Food Service Integrated Project Team (DFS IPT) to identify opportunities to extend sustainable procurement of food for the armed services on operations and on exercises overseas. The procurement of catering for MOD's London headquarters and for all military establishments is therefore outside the scope of the Working Group.

Where, however, the DFS IPT identifies Fairtrade products that meet MOD quality requirements and offer value for money, they may be listed on the core range of products supplied for operational feeding to UK armed forces personnel "in barracks" not covered by the Pay As You Dine programme.

Catering in MOD's London headquarters is provided as part of a multi-activity contract. An extensive range of Fairtrade products is available that includes all coffee served in the deli bar, coffee bar and in the vending machines. A range of other Fairtrade beverages, fruit juices, snack bars and cakes is also available.

For those military establishments where catering is provided through the Pay As You Dine programme, or as part of a multi-activity contract, the catering contractor may choose to offer Fairtrade products as part of his strategy, although the requirement does not specify that he must. There are a wide variety of such contracts in place across the Department and information on Fairtrade products on offer is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Financial Penalties

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any administrative financial penalties may be levied by his Department and its agencies. (253597)

The MOD and its defence agencies and trading funds have no statutory powers to levy such penalties.

Departmental Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effects of his Department's procurement practices on British defence manufacturers. (253732)

MOD procurement practices are designed to ensure that our armed forces have the best equipment available while at the same time ensuring value for money for the taxpayer. The defence industrial strategy recognises the crucial role that the UK defence industry plays in delivery of capability to the front line and promotes a sustainable and globally competitive UK defence industrial base. Defence Ministers have regular discussions with representatives from the defence industry both individually and in the forum of the National Defence Industries Council.

EU Battlegroups

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to paragraph 90 of the Explanatory Memorandum of 11 December 2008 on the French Presidency Report on European Security and Defence Policy, European Union Document No. 16686/08, (a) how many troops and (b) what military assets the UK has contributed to the Force Catalogue. (254422)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer my predecessor gave on 4 March 2008, Official Report, column 2348W.

Ex-servicemen: Military Decorations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Veteran’s Badges have been issued to residents of Bolton. (254610)

According to our records, a total of 1,679 veterans who have applied giving Bolton as part of their address, have been issued with HM Armed Forces Veterans Badge.

HMS Endurance

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what reports he has received of the recent flooding incident on HMS Endurance; and if he will make a statement; (251893)

(2) what plans he has for transporting HMS Endurance to the United Kingdom; and what estimate he has made of the cost of such transportation;

(3) when he expects repairs to HMS Endurance to be completed; and when he expects HMS Endurance to be operational.

Ministers were notified of the flooding incident in HMS Endurance's engine room on 16 December 2008 and officials have kept us informed of the situation to date.

A contract has now been signed with Dockwise who will return HMS Endurance to the UK by the heavy lift vessel MV Target. It is currently estimated that the ship will return to the UK around 20 March 2009, weather permitting. Subject to detailed survey, our intention is that the ship will then be repaired prior to her return to service at a date yet to be agreed. I am withholding the cost of the heavy lift contract and the projected repair costs as they are commercially sensitive.

Service Accommodation

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent steps the Government have taken to improve service accommodation. (252615)

[holding answer 9 February 2009]: In addition to the increased investment in service accommodation in recent years, over £8 billion will be spent in the next decade, including some £3 billion on improving and upgrading accommodation. The MOD is restrained in much of the work on SFA by the contract with Annington Homes signed in 1996.

Since 2003, some 29,000 new or improved single living accommodation bed-spaces have been delivered with a further 30,000 planned by 2013.

Regarding service family accommodation (SFA), over 13,000 properties have been upgraded to the highest standard for condition since 2001, with a further 600 planned in this financial year (FY) and 800 in each year thereafter.

In addition to upgrading SFA, around £32 million was spent in FY 2007-08 on improvements such as new kitchens or bathrooms, improving the quality of life for service families.

Service Personnel: Retention

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are being taken to increase levels of retention of service personnel. (252613)

[holding answer 9 February 2009]: Taking the armed forces as a whole, retention rates are relatively stable and we have seen no unexplained peaks of personnel leaving in the last 10 years. There is real concern, however, that in some important areas exit rates are too high and appear to be increasing, if only slightly, year on year. These pinch point trades are continuously monitored and specific action is taken to improve retention and indeed recruitment. The recent Command Paper (July 2008) set out over 40 measures aimed at addressing many of the disadvantages of service life while the Government's response to the Report of Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces has now been presented to Parliament detailing how we have accepted the majority of recommendations. In addition, a wide range of measures are in place to improve retention, including career management, improvement to conditions of service and work/life balance, commitment bonuses and targeted financial retention initiatives.

Justice

Bail Accommodation and Support Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 21 January 2009, Official Report, column 1554W, on approved premises; how many bail hostels other than those operated by ClearSprings (a) operate and (b) are planned to open in (i) Eastbourne and (ii) England. (254096)

The properties provided by ClearSprings are not bail hostels. What were known as approved hostels, probation hostels and bail hostels are now approved premises. There are 97 approved premises in England, and four in Wales. None is in Eastbourne, and there are no plans to open one there or to expand the number of approved premises in England or Wales. The core purpose of approved premises is to protect the public from offenders who pose a significant risk of harm, and, at 30 November 2008, only 157 of the 2,205 places were filled by defendants on bail.

Civil Proceedings: Legal Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on how many occasions wasted costs have been ordered against the defence in Crown courts in each of the last five years; and what the total sum awarded was in each case. (254258)

Information on wasted costs orders against the defence in the Crown court and the total sum awarded in each case is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses: Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost was of the 2006 recruitment campaign for a Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses. (254024)

The total cost of the 2006 recruitment campaign for the role of Victims’ Commissioner was £96,625.

The recruitment exercise for the role of Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses was carried out according to the code of practice for public appointments. The recruitment exercise included the use of an executive search agency specialising in public appointments which targeted individuals perceived to be of the right calibre for the role and public advertisements in relevant publications. However, we were not successful in identifying a candidate with all of the appropriate skills necessary for the proposed role and Ministers decided not to appoint.

Coroners: Leicestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what the average time taken for a coroner to hold a treasure inquest, once requested, was for finds from Leicestershire in 2007; and if he will make a statement; (254575)

(2) what the longest time taken by a coroner to hold a treasure inquest, once requested, was for cases reported in (a) 2006, (b) 2007 and (c) 2008; and if he will make a statement.

The Ministry of Justice collects statistics on the number of finds under the Treasure Act 1996 reported to coroners in England and Wales during each calendar year, the number of treasure inquests concluded during the year and, of these, the number of verdicts of treasure returned. Information is not collected on the time taken to conduct treasure inquests.

Informal figures are, however, collated by the British Museum. These show that in 2007, the British Museum requested that coroners in Leicestershire hold seven treasure inquests. An average time taken between the inquests being requested and a verdict being returned is not available because one of these inquests is still ongoing, although the time taken for the other six ranged from 82 days to 515 days. A statistical average based on such a small number of cases would be very volatile and heavily dependent on the particular circumstances of each case.

The longest time taken by a coroner to hold a treasure inquest for cases reported in 2006, 2007 and 2008 is not yet known from the British Museum figures, because some inquests from each of these years have still not reached a conclusion.

Departmental Public Appointments

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which of the public appointments for which his Department is responsible are due to be (a) renewed and (b) filled in the next 24 months; what the (i) remit, (ii) salary, (iii) political restriction, (iv) eligibility requirement and (v) timetable for each appointment is; and what records his Department keeps in respect of such appointments. (254235)

The Ministry of Justice is responsible for 40 public bodies which have over 9,000 members. These appointments are not centrally co-ordinated and therefore the activity required to provide an answer to the question raised exceeds the acceptable cost parameters.

Ministerial appointments to public bodies are regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments in accordance with the Public Appointments Order in Council 2002 and conducted in accordance with the Office of the Commission for Public Appointments Code of Practice. Appointments to these bodies and the records pertaining to them are subject to audit conducted by external auditors engaged by the Commissioner.

Duchy of Cornwall

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the constitutional status of the Duchy of Cornwall; and if he will make a statement. (255056)

The Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate that funds the public, charitable and private activities of the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Prince Harry.

Information Commissioner: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he plans to announce the Information Commissioner's budget for 2009-10. (255445)

The Information Commissioner is funded by a combination of grant in aid from the Ministry of Justice to pay for his freedom of information responsibilities and notification fees paid direct to the Commissioner by data controllers to pay for his data protection work.

Discussions are continuing with the Commissioner on the level of his grant in aid for 2009-10. A decision is expected shortly and will be notified to the Commissioner. The final figure will be published in the Main Estimate 2009-10 in April.

Following consultation last year, secondary legislation will shortly be introduced to Parliament to provide for tiered notification fees payable by data controllers. This will increase the Information Commissioner's funding in line with his estimate of the cost of meeting both his existing and proposed new statutory data protection responsibilities. The tiered notification fees will come into effect from October this year.

Magistrates Courts: Closures

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 19 January 2008, Official Report, columns 1125-6W, on magistrates' courts at Lyndhurst, for what reason any closure of Lyndhurst magistrates' court would be temporary; what criteria would be used to decide when to re-open it following such a temporary closure; and if he will make a statement. (251267)

As part of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), HMCS Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (HMCS HIOW) has to make efficiency savings over the next three years. The proposal to close Lyndhurst temporarily and transfer its work to Southampton, a modern purpose- built magistrates court is one of a series of measures identified by local management to improve efficiency and reduce the running costs of the area during this period.

No decision has yet been made but consideration will be given to the needs of those who live and work in the New Forest area and their ability to access justice.

A decision to re-open a court following temporary closure would depend on the prevailing factors at that time. All decisions to close individual courts permanently are for Ministers.

Magistrates Courts: Wisbech

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans HM Courts Service has for Wisbech magistrates court. (254005)

Wisbech magistrates court is a two criminal court room building in an accessible part of Wisbech. The building is co-located alongside the local police station (Cambridgeshire Constabulary) and its custody suite which is accessed by the courthouse. Cambridgeshire Constabulary are the tenants of HMCS. Many of the building services are linked to the adjacent police station. The courthouse has the use of two cells under a shared arrangement with the police and the Prisoner Escort Service (PECS). Recently Cambridgeshire Constabulary has made public its intention to move custody arrangements to a new county facility in March, Cambridgeshire from the end of March 2009 and will no longer provide this at Wisbech police station. The Wisbech police station will remain as an operational unit. HMCS have been actively involved in discussions with both the Cambridgeshire Constabulary and the PECs delivery organisation (GSL) as to how HMCS can ensure practical occupation of the cell area in order for the HMCS business to continue to operate as usual. Without the use of an available and suitable on-site custody suite the use of the courthouse would be considerably reduced which is why the local HMCS area has been working proactively alongside both Cambridgeshire Constabulary and PECs to resolve this situation successfully. There are no current plans or proposals to change or reduce the use of this courthouse.

Mass Media

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost of his Department's contracts with press monitoring services was in each year since it was established. (251173)

The Ministry of Justice was created in May 2007. The cost for press monitoring services in 2007-08 was £103,385.63.

Media monitoring services include clippings of newspaper articles on subjects relevant to the Department that are compiled on a daily basis and summaries of broadcast news programmes throughout the day. It is important to monitor the climate of opinion so policy development can take place in the fullest context. Media monitoring is one way to do this and also provides useful instant feedback on policy announcements.

In common with other Government Departments of a similar size, the Ministry of Justice also monitors a wide range of media to ensure Government policy is reported accurately to the public to enable clear understanding of the work of Government and that inaccuracies are spotted and corrected.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he plans to reply to the letter of 22 December 2008 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. I. Laing. (253874)

National Identity: Languages

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the United Kingdom has an official language. (254736)

The UK does not have an official language defined in statute, although English is the predominant language by custom and usage. In addition, under the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages the UK Government have recognised Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Irish, Scots, Ulster Scots and Cornish as minority languages within the UK.

Offenders: Personal Records

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 2 February 2009, Official Report, column 918W, on offenders: personal records, whether the Offenders Index is updated regularly; and when it was last updated. (254832)

The Department no longer uses the Offenders Index to provide routine data on reoffending and criminal history. We are currently analysing the final cohorts of offenders extracted from the Offenders Index which are based on data up to December 2006. The Ministry of Justice has no plan for further updates.

Since 2005, the Ministry of Justice has been using data extracted from its police national computer database to provide the published figures on reoffending. This database is updated weekly.

Reoffenders

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average adult reoffending rate was for (a) men and (b) women ex-prisoners after their release in the last five years for which figures are available. (254010)

The following table shows the one-year reoffending rates for offenders leaving custody in the first quarter of the years 2002 to 2006, by gender. The table shows the proportion of offenders who committed at least one further offence and the number of further offences committed per 100 offenders.

One-year reoffending rates, offenders leaving custody by gender, 2002-06

Number of offenders

Actual reoffending rate (Percentage)

Number of offences per 100 offenders

Males

2002

Q1

14,385

55.0

283.8

2003

Q1

13,202

53.9

276.8

2004

Q1

14,359

51.8

249.9

2005

Q1

13,353

49.1

227.0

2006

Q1

13,178

46.6

207.5

Females

2002

Q1

1,193

55.8

340.9

2003

Q1

1,156

54.1

305.1

2004

Q1

1,402

53.7

285.2

2005

Q1

1,242

49.1

244.8

2006

Q1

1,202

45.0

218.6

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

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

Reparation by Offenders

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many reparation orders under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 have been issued by each court in each year since 2005. (254179)

The available information is contained in the following table.

Number of reparation orders1 issued in England and Wales by court type and force area, 2005-07

Year/court type

2005

2006

Magistrates court

Crown court

Total

Magistrates court

Crown court

Total

Avon and Somerset

61

61

74

74

Bedfordshire

8

8

16

16

Cambridgeshire

28

1

29

40

40

Cheshire

36

36

16

16

Cleveland

45

45

49

49

Cumbria

8

8

4

4

Derbyshire

44

44

39

39

Devon and Cornwall

86

86

98

1

99

Dorset

35

35

34

34

Durham

41

41

67

67

Essex

51

51

69

69

Gloucestershire

8

8

14

14

Greater Manchester

190

1

191

212

2

214

Hampshire

68

68

48

48

Hertfordshire

45

45

64

64

Humberside

125

125

118

118

Kent

88

88

114

114

Lancashire

100

100

160

160

Leicestershire

44

44

66

66

Lincolnshire

16

16

29

29

Merseyside

80

80

90

90

Metropolitan Police

202

1

203

311

2

313

Norfolk

26

26

70

1

71

North Yorkshire

69

69

55

55

Northamptonshire

—-

Northumbria

429

429

479

479

Nottinghamshire

152

152

162

1

163

South Yorkshire

130

130

168

168

Staffordshire

70

70

88

88

Suffolk

87

87

86

86

Surrey

70

70

69

69

Sussex

89

89

144

144

Thames Valley

74

74

85

85

Warwickshire

34

34

63

63

West Mercia

41

41

41

41

West Midlands

116

116

96

96

West Yorkshire

185

185

170

170

Wiltshire

16

16

33

33

Dyfed-Powys

5

5

6

6

Gwent

45

3

48

47

47

North Wales

52

52

69

69

South Wales

112

112

75

75

Total

3,211

6

3,217

3,738

7

3,745

Number of reparation orders1 issued in England and Wales by court type and force area, 2005-07

Year/court type

2007

Magistrates court

Crown court

Total

Avon and Somerset

87

87

Bedfordshire

22

22

Cambridgeshire

49

49

Cheshire

21

21

Cleveland

49

49

Cumbria

9

9

Derbyshire

40

40

Devon and Cornwall

97

97

Dorset

53

53

Durham

91

91

Essex

56

56

Gloucestershire

33

33

Greater Manchester

295

295

Hampshire

56

56

Hertfordshire

56

56

Humberside

134

134

Kent

134

134

Lancashire

177

177

Leicestershire

63

63

Lincolnshire

20

20

Merseyside

106

106

Metropolitan Police

316

1

317

Norfolk

72

72

North Yorkshire

50

50

Northamptonshire

56

56

Northumbria

491

491

Nottinghamshire

157

157

South Yorkshire

147

147

Staffordshire

88

88

Suffolk

80

80

Surrey

66

66

Sussex

183

183

Thames Valley

81

1

82

Warwickshire

82

82

West Mercia

50

50

West Midlands

85

85

West Yorkshire

197

197

Wiltshire

17

17

Dyfed-Powys

5

5

Gwent

44

44

North Wales

66

66

South Wales

71

1

72

Total

4,052

3

4,055

1 Reparation orders are only given to young offenders aged under 18

Notes:

1. The statistics given are on a principal offence and primary disposal basis. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences the offences selected are the offences for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe A defendant could be issued with more than one disposal for a committed offence. The statistics do not include number of reparation orders given as secondary disposal.

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

Source:

Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Evidence and Analysis Unit

[Ref IOS 86-09]

Repossession Orders: Mortgages

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many suspended possession orders granted by county courts to mortgage lenders were re-activated and enforced during 2008 in cases where lenders obtained warrants for eviction after (a) three, (b) six and (c) 10 years or more had elapsed since the original possession order was made in a suspended form; (254071)

(2) for what reasons HM Courts Service automatically disposes of all court records of suspended possession orders after six years of inactivity.

There were 866 cases which involved a warrant of possession being issued in 2008 and which followed the original suspended mortgage possession order being made three to five years previously. There were also 103 cases which involved a warrant of possession being issued in 2008 and which followed the original suspended mortgage possession order being made 6-10 years previously.

The Ministry of Justice does not currently hold statistical information relating to lags between suspended mortgage possession orders made and warrants of possession issues of more than 10 years.

These figures do not indicate the number of homes actually being repossessed. Issuing a warrant of possession does not necessarily result in repossession.

HM Courts Service automatically disposes of all possession action files including those involving suspended possession orders after three years’ inactivity. Electronic records specifying the incidence and associated dates of suspended possession orders are still available for orders made within the last 10 years. However, record retention and disposition policies do not affect the enforcement of suspended possession orders. It is the duty of claimants to supply the order documents when applying for a warrant of possession to be issued.

Record retention and disposition policies fall within the remit of the Departmental Records Officer and Head of Record Information and Management Services for the Ministry of Justice. Retention periods are determined by (a) any legislative requirement and (b) the business need of the area to which the schedule relates. No special provisions are made for the retention and disposal of records involving suspended possession orders.

Repossession Orders: Yorkshire and the Humber

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many court orders have been issued for the repossession of homes in each parliamentary constituency in Yorkshire and the Humber in each of the last 20 years; and if he will make a statement. (252569)

Figures for each parliamentary constituency in Yorkshire and Humberside region are not available. However, the following tables show the number of mortgage and landlord possession orders made in each county court within Yorkshire and Humberside Government office region.

The civil procedure rules state that all claims for the repossession of land must be commenced in the district in which the land is situated. However, county courts in the Yorkshire and Humberside Government office region may cover areas other than the parliamentary constituencies of this region. Therefore not all possession actions at these courts necessarily relate to Yorkshire and Humber constituencies.

Court level statistics on mortgage and landlord repossession actions from 1987 to 2007 are available on the Ministry of Justice website at:

http://www.iustice.gov.uk/publications/mortgatelandlord possession.htm

These figures do not indicate how many homes have actually been repossessed. Repossessions can occur without a court order being made, while not all court orders result in repossession.

Table 1: Mortgage1 possession claims issued in the county courts of Yorkshire and Humberside Government office region, 1988 onwards

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

Barnsley

319

375

417

500

392

331

274

248

315

230

342

Bradford

761

942

1,171

1,665

1,182

996

864

870

967

782

987

Bridlington*

32

27

114

120

110

106

91

103

107

79

Dewsbury

418

339

471

767

526

402

361

423

371

347

426

Doncaster

564

478

594

826

571

445

482

471

560

541

652

Goole*

66

50

91

135

96

82

97

122

76

Grimsby

562

447

954

1,028

649

505

436

486

477

470

512

Halifax

468

290

394

649

551

390

425

370

372

338

368

Harrogate

0

113

244

407

338

249

184

200

184

157

163

Huddersfield

223

198

382

442

457

341

331

370

334

307

414

Keighley

173

174

296

372

268

206

210

169

168

154

223

Kingston-upon-Hull

596

750

904

1,268

822

721

720

640

685

589

743

Leeds

807

903

1,068

1,463

1,146

937

831

761

896

816

903

Otley*

77

62

119

188

129

124

101

83

Pontefract

287

241

311

423

286

276

276

242

250

247

264

Rotherham

448

346

523

675

483

413

325

289

345

231

337

Scarborough

128

101

177

271

198

137

129

149

117

140

359

Scunthorpe

159

171

359

455

285

231

239

215

243

364

224

Sheffield

492

664

889

1,211

847

810

632

543

562

533

600

Skipton

72

79

104

175

127

113

93

125

119

92

107

Thorne*

72

68

90

163

102

63

Wakefield

253

194

257

366

259

223

160

191

171

173

217

York

327

368

505

577

456

346

358

332

330

291

368

Yorkshire and Humber GOR

7,304

7,380

10,434

14,146

10,280

8,447

7,619

7,402

7,649

6,881

8,209

Other HMCS North East region

4283

3,894

4,243

5,952

5,192

3,969

3,236

3,264

3,493

3,015

4,298

HMCS North East region total

11,587

11,274

14,677

20,098

15,472

12,416

10,855

10,666

11,142

9,896

12,507

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008 (Jan-Sep)2

Barnsley

348

314

247

263

220

255

407

521

615

570

Bradford

1,105

1,000

927

802

770

763

1,099

1,235

1,437

1,342

Bridlington*

Dewsbury

481

391

370

300

293

363

552

671

735

698

Doncaster

702

652

616

514

458

550

847

1,195

1,389

1,087

Goole*

Grimsby

555

495

429

399

333

405

630

670

749

599

Halifax

466

351

340

280

252

304

419

510

585

529

Harrogate

187

164

155

118

133

156

233

232

205

160

Huddersfield

424

363

319

272

240

289

446

533

545

543

Keighley

227

187

153

142

145

155

213

241

308

264

Kingston-upon-Hull

800

704

632

534

529

579

833

1,011

1,181

956

Leeds

843

773

743

678

661

708

1,078

1,258

1,520

1,328

Otley*

Pontefract

298

266

230

206

197

255

475

534

617

572

Rotherham

436

381

302

277

258

284

484

615

704

672

Scarborough

255

225

244

151

156

195

292

350

441

359

Scunthorpe

284

219

246

217

212

240

380

448

484

450

Sheffield

632

625

536

481

478

509

863

997

1,181

972

Skipton

99

76

95

67

63

51

85

105

133

105

Thorne*

Wakefield

266

232

189

149

166

204

342

373

418

364

York

388

341

300

240

303

291

405

463

510

440

Yorkshire and Humber GOR

8,796

7,759

7,073

6,090

5,867

6,556

10,083

11,962

13,757

12,010

Other HMCS North East region

3,964

3,958

3,463

3,245

3,055

3,441

5,540

7,079

8,061

7,028

HMCS North East region total

12,760

11,717

10,536

9,335

8,922

9,997

15,623

19,041

21,818

19,038

1 Mortgage data include all types of lender.

2 Figures for the latest year are provisional.

* County court closed or merged with other county courts.

Source:

Ministry of Justice

Table 2: Mortgage1 possession orders made3,4 in the county courts of Yorkshire and Humberside Government office region, 1988 onwards

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

Barnsley

218

199

242

407

337

292

285

240

249

166

182

Bradford

241

313

716

1048

970

1141

561

639

821

771

967

Bridlington*

37

32

93

111

77

111

82

99

98

53

Dewsbury5

287

179

378

521

588

516

261

344

276

307

448

Doncaster

313

335

415

589

548

343

328

362

428

476

507

Goole*

52

21

69

118

101

78

86

114

73

Grimsby

391

379

546

824

579

522

457

362

516

319

582

Halifax5

249

225

442

565

469

294

279

389

384

282

341

Harrogate5

26

87

112

254

330

213

142

195

148

123

144

Huddersfield

109

100

362

451

548

296

321

277

338

277

343

Keighley5

134

102

208

283

247

181

148

149

164

115

166

Kingston-upon-Hull

430

421

547

1,400

556

538

476

390

531

378

779

Leeds

726

350

531

1,101

854

759

463

497

684

752

707

Otley*

47

42

66

142

94

95

66

71

Pontefract5

211

137

221

311

264

189

192

168

138

216

295

Rotherham5

314

236

336

503

426

333

236

304

299

306

392

Scarborough

75

68

125

173

170

128

92

132

85

127

185

Scunthorpe5

114

110

241

277

272

196

237

155

263

158

194

Sheffield

497

324

545

797

649

517

285

497

389

398

516

Skipton

54

53

71

123

127

107

56

73

75

84

88

Thorne*

36

33

52

132

91

81

Wakefield5

247

114

162

259

232

186

147

132

190

221

177

York

238

193

314

455

405

316

274

237

253

258

355

Yorkshire and Humber GOR

5,046

4,053

6,794

10,844

8,934

7,432

5,474

5,826

6,402

5,787

7,368

Other HMCS North East region

3,112

2,521

3,011

4,815

5,309

4,361

3,553

3,129

3,202

2,551

3,469

HMCS North East region total

8,158

6,574

9,805

15,659

14,243

11,793

9,027

8,955

9,604

8,338

10,837

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008 (Jan-Sep)2

Barnsley

278

251

198

188

148

160

268

351

435

423

Bradford

814

769

732

590

543

500

679

825

935

987

Bridlington*

Dewsbury5

426

323

325

230

197

256

336

497

Doncaster

380

523

465

376

324

331

540

819

982

882

Goole*

Grimsby

281

385

390

271

223

236

431

515

524

498

Halifax5

380

270

297

198

193

161

274

362

Harrogate5

127

128

115

77

63

90

157

169

Huddersfield

322

278

274

178

163

174

317

385

370

376

Keighley5

172

164

101

115

83

91

127

169

Kingston-upon-Hull

703

553

508

414

353

390

559

705

835

688

Leeds

684

611

600

437

448

410

682

876

1,049

997

Otley*

Pontefract5

260

197

190

137

156

159

276

375

Rotherham5

347

297

262

189

185

191

304

431

Scarborough

219

152

187

106

88

119

184

227

309

289

Scunthorpe5

218

152

233

158

145

150

250

335

Sheffield

496

451

359

299

295

303

446

738

803

734

Skipton

72

64

66

46

42

41

52

73

95

92

Thorne*

Wakefield5

172

167

157

119

97

157

199

297

York

299

267

221

139

172

172

268

333

338

298

Yorkshire and Humber GOR

6,650

6,002

5,680

4,267

3,918

4,091

6,349

8,482

Other HMCS North East region

3,305

3,216

2,935

2,249

2,088

2,145

3,290

5,128

HMCS North East region total

9,955

9,218

8,615

6,516

6,006

6,236

9,639

13,610

15,087

13,178

Notes:

1 Mortgage data include all types of lender.

2 Figures for the latest year are provisional.

3 The court, following a judicial hearing, may grant an order for possession immediately. This entitles the claimant to apply for a warrant to have the defendant evicted. However, even where a warrant for possession is issued, the parties can still negotiate a compromise to prevent eviction.

4 Includes outright and suspended orders, the latter being where the court grants the claimant possession but suspends the operation of the order. Provided the defendant complies with the terms of suspension, which usually require the defendant to pay the current mortgage or rent instalments plus some of the accrued arrears, the possession order cannot be enforced.

5 The rollout of the Possession Claim On-Line (PCOL) system in late 2006 has affected the availability of court-level data. Only those county courts who do not have direct on site access to PCOL were affected. Consequently, upward adjustment has been made to estimate the effects of missing data. The figures for these courts are adjusted at HMCS regional level.

* County court closed or merged with other county courts.

Source:

Ministry of Justice

Table 3: Landlord1, 3 possession claims issued and orders made4, 6 in the county courts of Yorkshire and Humberside region, 19997 onwards

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

Claims issued

Orders made

Claims issued

Orders made

Claims issued

Orders made

Claims issued

Orders made

Claims issued

Orders made

Barnsley

472

368

498

378

420

379

577

427

595

448

Bradford

1,085

731

1,166

940

1,251

944

1,202

872

949

761

Dewsbury5

658

538

691

610

710

637

672

523

819

654

Doncaster

904

752

759

707

817

699

1,085

889

1,077

917

Grimsby

304

171

312

167

263

218

384

277

427

312

Halifax5

395

310

463

325

452

308

569

386

626

442

Harrogate5

215

185

210

178

215

164

179

145

181

119

Huddersfield

557

492

551

484

648

532

683

543

687

550

Keighley5

169

122

152

128

155

138

153

121

131

100

Kingston-upon-Hull

1,691

944

1,699

862

1,544

938

2,534

1,654

2,025

1,208

Leeds

1,306

1,110

2,078

1,508

2,862

2,587

2,056

1,831

1,155

767

Pontefract5

288

258

354

317

306

274

287

246

247

219

Rotherham5

394

325

529

348

757

606

774

658

795

614

Scarborough

442

300

402

289

443

339

371

300

357

286

Scunthorpe5

574

276

622

374

533

511

532

422

492

429

Sheffield

2,664

1,704

2,271

1,601

2,321

1,553

2,808

2,245

2,334

1,592

Skipton

47

32

62

53

70

66

78

57

95

69

Wakefield5

268

216

256

266

279

258

267

180

286

245

York

758

605

739

558

689

554

838

632

711

521

Yorkshire and Humber GOR

13,191

9,439

13,814

10,093

14,735

11,705

16,049

12,408

13,989

10,253

Other HMCS North East region

9,042

6,674

8,387

6,705

7,915

6,182

8,959

6,733

8,819

6,521

HMCS North East region total

22,233

16,113

22,201

16,798

22,650

17,887

25,008

19,141

22,808

16,774

20042005200620072008 (Jan-Sep)2

Claims issued

Orders made

Claims issued

Orders made

Claims issued

Orders made

Claims issued

Orders made

Claims issued

Orders made

Barnsley

585

454

688

498

744

536

600

509

423

382

Bradford

1,039

920

1,020

843

934

791

790

595

401

355

Dewsbury5

789

596

720

605

461

378

552

394

Doncaster

1,034

903

814

764

876

719

809

769

592

580

Grimsby

469

364

361

309

424

322

483

536

310

264

Halifax5

495

414

494

377

485

333

449

274

Harrogate5

172

125

174

141

184

148

143

150

Huddersfield

655

533

725

530

603

478

612

489

393

414

Keighley5

148

108

172

153

166

139

169

56

Kingston-upon-Hull

1,520

948

1,448

1,066

1,700

1,122

1,359

1,036

914

714

Leeds

1,496

1,060

1,583

1,181

1,215

1,134

1,163

1,002

872

941

Pontefract5

399

312

321

281

310

261

277

205

Rotherham5

819

659

614

456

795

594

556

321

Scarborough

327

229

330

293

360

281

309

285

227

200

Scunthorpe5

418

364

389

337

384

309

357

294

Sheffield

2,486

1,823

2,294

1,724

2,048

1,368

2,012

1,779

1,451

1,671

Skipton

73

62

95

74

59

58

71

55

39

34

Wakefield5

358

347

218

175

282

239

279

190

York

872

588

754

525

677

571

642

513

404

292

Yorkshire and Humber GOR

14,154

10,809

13,214

10,332

12,707

9,781

11,632

7,910

Other HMCS North East region

9,512

6,495

8,244

6,070

8,855

6,120

8,022

5,393

HMCS North East region total

23,666

17,304

21,458

16,402

21,562

15,901

19,654

15,756

13,303

10,981

1 Landlord possession data include all types of landlord whether social or private.

2 Figures for the latest year are provisional.

3 Landlord actions include those made under both standard and accelerated procedures. Landlord actions via the accelerated procedure enable the orders to be made solely on the basis of written evidence and shorthold tenancies, when the fixed period of tenancy has come to an end.

4 Includes outright and suspended orders, the latter being where the court grants the claimant possession but suspends the operation of the order. Provided the defendant complies with the terms of suspension, which usually require the defendant to pay the current mortgage or rent instalments plus some of the accrued arrears, the possession order cannot be enforced.

5 The rollout of the Possession Claim On-Line (PCOL) system in late 2006 has affected the availability of court-level data. Only those county courts who do not have direct on site access to PCOL were affected. Consequently, upward adjustment has been made to estimate the effects of missing data. The figures for these courts are adjusted at HMCS regional level.

Notes:

The court, following a judicial hearing, may grant an order for possession immediately. This entitles the claimant to apply for a warrant to have the defendant evicted. However, even where a warrant for possession is issued, the parties can still negotiate a compromise to prevent eviction.

Court level data are not available for all landlord possession actions prior to 1999.

Source:

Ministry of Justice

Road Traffic Offences

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many vehicles have been seized from (a) disqualified and (b) uninsured drivers in each of the last two years. (254265)

I have been asked to reply.

This information is not collected centrally. Available information is held on the Motor Insurance Database maintained by the Motor Insurers' Information Centre and relates to vehicles seized from those reasonably believed to be driving without appropriate insurance. In 2007 there were approximately 150,000 vehicles seized and in 2008 approximately 185,000.

Shoplifting: Fixed Penalties

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will take steps to limit shoplifting offences in relation to which a penalty notice for disorder can be issued to first time offences. (253684)

There are already limits on the issue of penalty notices for disorder for shoplifting offences. Operational guidance makes it clear among other things that the disposal will be appropriate for first-time offences and not those who repeatedly offend. However the length of time since a previous shoplifting offence has been committed should be taken in account in considering whether a second penalty notice may be appropriate.

Following representations form the hon. Lady and from retail organisations, operational guidance covering shoplifting is being reviewed; a revised version will be issued shortly.

Television: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people in (a) the ceremonial county of Hampshire, (b) Test Valley borough and (c) the City of Southampton were prosecuted for not having a television licence in each of the last five years. (254017)

Information on the number of persons proceeded against for television licence evasion in the Hampshire police force area from 2003 to 2007 (latest available), is in the following table.

From information held centrally, it is not possible to provide borough or city level data.

These data are on the principal offence basis. The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offence for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the offence selected is the one for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

Court proceedings data for 2008 will be available in the autumn of 2009.

Number of persons proceeded against for television licence evasion in Hampshire police force area, 2003-071, 2, 3

Number

2003

1,891

2004

1,889

2005

2,520

2006

2,269

2007

2,269

1 The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

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

3 The TV licensing provisions of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 were replaced by new provisions in section 363 of the Communications Act 2003 which came into effect 1 April 2004.

Source:

Evidence and Analysis Unit, Office for Criminal Justice Reform.

Culture, Media and Sport

Creativity and Business International Network

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what level of financial support he expects the private sector to provide to the Creativity and Business International Network in each of the next three years; (254380)

(2) how many organisations have agreed to become a strategic partner of the Creativity and Business International Network to date; and when he expects to announce these partnerships.

Discussions about financial support from the private sector, including strategic partnerships, are ongoing, and details will be announced in due course.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what offers of support his Department's Creativity and Business International Network has received; and how many organisations have pledged to support the initiative with (a) technology and equipment and (b) travel. (254438)

The Creativity and Business International Network has been offered support from a large number of creative and business organisations, including the commitment of 24 international ‘ambassadors’. A range of public sector bodies, trade organisations, businesses and individuals have also offered help and advice.

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which organisations have provided his Department with media training services in each of the last five years. (254607)

In each of the last five financial years the following organisations have provided media training services for DCMS.

2008-current

Angela Coles

2007-08

Angela Coles

2006-07

No media training services provided.

2005-06

No media training services provided.

2004-05

No media training services provided.

Heathrow Airport: Listed Buildings

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the number of listed buildings which will be lost as a result of the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport. (253693)

Based upon the information provided by the Department for Transport from its consultation document “Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport” (2007), English Heritage estimates that six listed buildings will be lost as a result of the construction of a third runway at Heathrow airport. The consultation document is available at

http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/closed/heathrow consultation/consultationdocument.

Malvern St. James School

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he plans to make a decision on the listing of the Edinburgh Sports Dome at Malvern St. James School. (254708)

Additional advice had to be sought from English Heritage before the assessment process on the Edinburgh Sports Dome could be completed. Consequently, it did not prove possible to reach a decision by the end of November 2008. The case is given high priority, and the Secretary of State will reach a decision as soon as possible. I will notify the hon. Member as soon as a decision has been made.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Northavon of 28 January 2008 on behalf of Mr. Richard Cleaver in respect of Pandora Radio, a second copy of which was faxed to his office on 18 June 2008. (254292)

[holding answer 4 February 2009]: I offer the hon. Member an apology for the administrative error in dealing with this correspondence. The issues raised in the letter are the policy responsibility of the Intellectual Property Office, and I understand that a reply will be sent soon from the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Memorials: World War II

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many Second World War pillboxes have been given statutory designation; and if he will make a statement. (254923)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he has taken to (a) record and (b) preserve defence structures from the Second World War; and if he will make a statement. (254924)

The Defence of Britain Project (1995-02) has recorded nearly 20,000 20th century military sites in the United Kingdom, including pillboxes. As well as recording the 20th century militarised landscape of the United Kingdom, the project also informs heritage agencies at local and national level with a view to the future preservation of surviving structures. Full details of the project are at:

http://www.britarch.ac.uk/cba/projects/dob

English Heritage has undertaken a series of research projects to improve our understanding of second world war defences in the context of the many other sites that represent our defence heritage. Options for preservation include statutory designation, although it would not be appropriate to designate all of the many thousands of surviving pillboxes—careful selection is necessary. Alternatively, many of these structures have local significance and their recording on local authority Historic Environment Records is another way of improving understanding and protection.

Music: Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many mentors have taken part in the music mentoring programme in each of the last three years. (254434)

The pilot music mentoring programme began in 2006-07 and is led by Youth Music. Youth Music advises that the number of mentors that have taken part in the programme is as set out in the following table.

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Adult mentors

70

70

40

Peer mentors

170

170

50

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people took part in the music mentoring programme in each year since 2006. (254437)

The pilot music mentoring programme began in 2006-07. This is led by Youth Music and has engaged over 1,000 young people in one to one, small group and large-scale mentoring activity in 14 areas in England. More than 700 positive outcomes have been recorded from the pilot phase, with around 180 of those linked to further education, training or employment or other transferable skills.

Music: North East

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent steps the Government have taken to promote access to music for young people in the north-east. (249576)

In November 2007, the Department for Children, Schools and Families announced a £332 million investment in music education. A share of that is automatically allocated to local authorities in the north-east. Since September 2005, the Government have also provided time-limited funding of £1.26 million to the Sage Gateshead to work in partnership with local authorities and other music education providers to enhance opportunities for children and young people across the north-east through its ‘Access to Excellence’ work. A significant proportion of the ‘Access to Excellence’ programme has been delivered through Redcar Community College.

Since September 2006, the Department for Children, Schools and Families' Music and Dance Scheme (which provides means-tested support for children with exceptional potential in music and dance) has invested £638, 000 to enable children to access specialist provision via the Sage Gateshead.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport provides financial support for the arts through Arts Council England which has supported a number of projects that have helped promote music to young people in the north-east. This includes Youth Choir at Brinkburn Music Festival 2008 (Grants for the Arts Award of £22,000); Monumental Music CIC, Sunderland Music Club (Grants for the Arts Award of £13,420); and Interopera (Grants for the Arts Award of £13,420).

Since 1999, Youth Music, a regularly funded organisation of Arts Council England, has invested £4,583, 071 in the north-east, through open programmes, the Youth Music Action Zone (CoMusica) and the MusicLeader network for the region. Youth Music has provided a further £40,000 of direct investment in the north-east through Sing Up, the Music Manifesto National Singing Programme, of which Youth Music and the Sage Gateshead are partners.

Support has also been provided via other Arts Council England regularly funded organisations. This includes Jazz Action, which has set up the Milestones Project providing talented young musicians from the north-east with the opportunity to showcase their music in front of a live audience, and Monster Productions, based in the north-east, which run early year musicals throughout the country, including the north-east area.

Newspapers: North East

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether his Department plans to provide financial support to local newspapers in the north-east. (254896)

My Department has no plans at present to provide financial support to local newspapers in the north-east. The Digital Britain Interim Report, published on 29 January 2009, recognised that at a local level, the challenges for news organisations are intense. One of the actions recommended in the report is for Government to invite the Office of Fair Trading, together with Ofcom and other interested parties, to undertake an exploratory review across the local and regional media sector and make appropriate recommendations. I will consider any findings or further recommendations arising from this action.

Religious Buildings

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent assessment he has made of English Heritage's performance in facilitating the conservation of churches and places of worship. (253910)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport provides financial support for the historic environment through English Heritage, which makes funding decisions independently of Government. It is for English Heritage to determine where money is spent depending on its assessment of relative need across the wider historic environment. The Department is satisfied with English Heritage's performance on facilitating the conservation of churches and places of worship.

Sports: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the value of (a) awards and (b) payments made from the New Opportunities Fund for physical education and sport initiatives was in each year since the fund was established. (250695)

The Big Lottery Fund has indicated that the value of awards and payments made by BIG and its predecessor body, the New Opportunities Fund, for physical education and sport initiatives are shown in the following tables. The figures are UK wide.

Awards Made:

PE and sport in schools (NOPES)

Spaces for sports and arts

School sports coordinators

Community sports programmes

Football foundation

Total value of awards (£ million)

2001-02

0.0

10.6

0.0

0.0

0.0

10.6

2002-03

36.5

11.8

10.3

0.0

30.0

88.6

2003-04

193.3

0.2

8.9

0.0

0.0

202.4

2004-05

330.6

0.0

7.5

57.1

0.0

395.2

2005-06

66.3

1.6

15.8

23.8

0.0

107.5

2006-07

19.2

0.2

12.0

9.3

0.0

40.7

2007-08

4.9

-0.2

13.1

-0.1

0.0

17.7

Payments made

PE and sport in schools (NOPES)

Spaces for sports and arts

School sports co-ordinators

Community sports programmes

Football foundation

Total value of payments (£ million)

2001-02

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

2002-03

1.3

1.8

1.7

0.0

0.0

4.8

2003-04

16.3

8.1

4.9

0.0

3.1

32.4

2004-05

67.2

-0.8

7.1

5.8

5.7

85.0

2005-06

198.1

3.4

13.2

27.2

8.4

250.2

2006-07

172.8

11.6

10.4

24.2

6.7

225.8

2007-08

88.5

0.0

16.3

15.0

6.1

125.9

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) how much his Department has paid to Fast Track to date for its work on the Medal Hopes scheme; and how much he expects to pay in each of the next three years; (254397)

(2) how much his Department has paid to Fast Track for its work on the Medal Hopes scheme to date; and how much he expects to pay to Fast Track for such work in each of the next three years.

[holding answer 5 February 2009]: To date, the Department has made no payment to Fast Track, who are contracted on a commission-only basis.

Teachers: Music

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department has spent on the scheme to fund professional development of music teachers in each of the last three years. (254394)

I have been asked to reply.

Since September 2006, when the contract was let, £3.3 million has been spent to develop and deliver a programme of professional development for those working with children at Key Stage 2 in music. This breaks down as follows: £1.1 million in 2006-07, £1.3 million in 2007-08 and £0.9 million to date in 2008-09.

Television: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will provide free television licences for poor families. (254898)

The Government looked at television licence fee concessions for a wide range of groups during the BBC Charter review process. There was little consensus as to who should receive concessions, the criteria on which they should be allocated, or how they should be funded. As a result there were no changes to the existing range of concessions.

Tourism

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what subjects were discussed at his Department's most recent tourism summit; and if he will place a copy in the Library of the minutes of the meeting. (250242)

There are no official minutes from the Department's most recent tourism summit. However, the transcripts of the Prime Minister's and the Secretary of State's speeches are on Visit Britain's website including a transcript of the question and answer session. Details can be viewed at the following web link:

http://www.tourismtrade.org.uk/aboutvisitbritain/corporate events/tourismsummit.asp

Additionally, a number of outcomes stemmed from the summit including:

VisitBritain to compile a list of the industry's ‘top five asks’ of Government.

To explore ideas on a graduate job scheme for tourism and a development bank focused on supporting investment in the tourism industry.

The establishment of a cross-Whitehall ministerial group on tourism and high-level tourism advisory group, to be chaired by the Minister for Tourism.

To explore the feasibility of a British City of Culture, potentially every four years.

To maximise the tourism potential of forthcoming sporting events under the banner of a Decade of Sport.

Meet with all regional development agencies to discuss the support given to tourism in each region.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when (a) he and (b) the Minister for Tourism last met the head of tourism in each of the nine regions of England. (254453)

[holding answer 5 February 2009]: The Secretary of State and I have met a number of representatives and received various representations from the regional development agencies and from the wider tourism sectors in the regions. Last summer the Secretary of State, Minister for Tourism and Minister for Sport met all the chairs of the regional development agencies and I plan to meet each of the regions in the spring to follow up on the fruitful discussions held at the tourism summit in Liverpool last month.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was spent by (a) UK tourists visiting overseas destinations and (b) overseas tourists visiting UK destinations in each of the last 10 financial years. (254557)

The amounts spent by UK tourists visiting overseas and overseas tourists visiting the UK in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available are as follows1:

£ million

UK visits overseas

Overseas visits to UK

1998

19,489

12,671

1999

20,020

12,498

2000

24,251

12,805

2001

25,332

11,306

2002

26,962

11,737

2003

28,550

11,855

2004

30,285

13,047

2005

32,154

14,248

2006

34,411

16,002

2007

35,013

15,960

Source:

1 This information was taken from the International Passenger Survey and relates to calendar years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what percentage of global tourism the UK has received in each of the last 10 years. (254558)

VisitBritain have advised that the percentage of global tourism the UK has received, in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available, is as follows;

UK share of global tourist arrivals (percentage)

1997

3.92

1998

3.88

1999

3.68

2000

3.41

2001

3.08

2002

3.18

2003

3.30

2004

3.37

2005

3.49

2006

3.62

2007

3.40

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on the wish list his Department has requested from VisitBritain in relation to helping tourism to Britain during the economic downturn. (254560)

[holding answer 5 February 2009]: VisitBritain has provided some initial thoughts on the industry’s main needs, pending its final submission. When it is received, Ministers will give it full consideration with a view to how best to achieve the full potential of tourism to the British economy during the period of the global economic downturn.

Tourism: Greater London

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans his Department has to promote London as a tourist destination over the next 18 months; and if he will make a statement. (247214)

Visit London has advised that it undertakes a range of tourism marketing campaigns to promote the capital internationally, nationally and to Londoners themselves.

In December last year, Visit London, in partnership with the London Development Agency and the Mayor of London, launched a four-month marketing campaign to stimulate visits to the capital in the build-up to Christmas 2008 and the new year. This will run across the capital's key visitor markets including Britain, Europe and North America and will last until the end of March 2009.

Including match funding from the private sector, Visit London will in total spend £3.25 million in the four months to March on promotional campaigns, which it believes should deliver £70 million in economic benefit to the city. Further marketing activity to promote the capital beyond the end of March 2009 is due to be launched in February.

In addition, promotion of London will be included in the £6.5 million ‘Value for Money Campaign’ launched by VisitBritain and VisitEngland at the tourism summit held in Liverpool on 8 January. This will build on the current domestic and international Enjoy England campaign, which positions England and Britain as good value destinations.

Tourism: Olympic Games 2012

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on additional funding for tourism to harness the marketing opportunities of the Olympics. (254559)

There have been no direct discussions between DCMS Ministers and HMT on additional funding for tourism to harness marketing opportunities of the Olympics. However HMT has been invited to attend a cross-Whitehall Ministerial Group on Tourism to discuss priorities within the tourism industry.

World Creative Business Conference

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport with reference to the answer of 14 October 2008, Official Report, column 1210W, on the World Creative Business Conference, how much his Department has paid to (a) Edelman and (b) Acclaim to date; and how much he expects to pay each company in each of the next three years. (250317)

The cost of Edelman and Acclaim 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.

World Heritage Sites

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in respect of which World Heritage Sites he has submitted a progress report to the World Heritage Committee for examination at its 2009 session; and on what dates such reports were submitted. (255601)

My Department has submitted State of Conservation reports to UNESCO's World Heritage Centre for the City of Bath World Heritage Site on 30 January 2009; Edinburgh Old and New Towns World Heritage Site on 30 January 2009; Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites World Heritage Site on 30 January 2009; and the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site on 2 February 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which World Heritage Sites he expects to be considered by the World Heritage Committee for inclusion on its list of world heritage in danger in 2009. (255602)

My Department has no plans to put forward any UK World Heritage Sites for consideration by the World Heritage Committee for inclusion on the World Heritage in Danger List in 2009.

Olympics

CompeteFor

To ask the Minister for the Olympics whether there was an open tender process for the CompeteFor website contract. (251304)

The London Development Agency used an existing list of approved companies who had successfully tendered for selection on the Office of Government Commerce's Catalist Framework for CompeteFor. The OGC framework is itself developed through an open competitive process. Its framework agreements are let using an Official Journal of the European Union procurement process that shortlists suppliers by category, which any business can tender for, and which helps to speed up the procurement process.

Departmental Lobbying

To ask the Minister for the Olympics whether she received representations from (a) Lord Moonie, (b) Lord Taylor of Blackburn, (c) Lord Snape and (d) Lord Truscott in the last seven months. (255243)

Departmental Manpower

[holding answer 3 February 2009]: In my Private Office I have five officials and a special adviser.

In addition, the Government Olympic Executive which reports to me through the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, comprises 87.3 full-time equivalent staff, a total which includes both established civil servants and agency and interim staff.

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what the job description is of each official who works for her in her capacity as Minister for the Olympics. (254454)

[holding answer 5 February 2009]: My Private Office comprises five officials and a special adviser. In addition, the Government Olympic Executive (GOE) which reports to me through the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, comprises 87.3 full-time equivalent staff, a total which includes both established civil servants and agency and interim staff.

The GOE is responsible for ensuring the Games are delivered on time, on budget and to the benefit of the whole of the UK. It works extensively with other organisations, such as the London Organising Committee (LOCOG) and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), providing important oversight, management and accountability for the games as a whole. GOE is the only body overseeing the entire Olympic project.

There are five teams within GOE:

Build and finance—responsible for ensuring the delivery of the Games infrastructure and venues remains on time, and that the whole programme remains on budget and provides value for money;

Staging—responsible for the myriad Government commitments and legislative changes necessary to host the world’s largest sporting event and assurance of LOCOG’s plans and finances in Government’s role as funder of last resort;

Legacy—responsible for ensuring that the Government’s ambitious legacy commitments are delivered, including getting 2 million people more active, transforming the heart of east London and inspiring a generation of young people;

Operations—responsible for overseeing the entire Olympic Project, identifying risks and issues across organisations, managing the Olympic Board and ensuring we are accountable to Parliament and the public; and

Communications—a small team responsible for working across Government to ensure events and activities are co-ordinated to avoid duplication and wasted resource.

Job descriptions for each official in my Private Office and in the GOE could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Olympic Games 2012: Facilities

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what the average cost is of the units being built in the Olympic Village. (254843)

Confidential commercial negotiations are continuing about the costs of the various elements of the Olympic Village. Therefore it is not possible to provide build cost information until those negotiations have concluded.

To ask the Minister for the Olympics how much private sector funding for construction of the Olympic Village she expects. (254844)

Confidential commercial negotiations are ongoing between the Olympic Delivery Authority, the preferred developer, Lend Lease, banks and Registered Social Landlords regarding investment for the Olympic Village. Therefore it is not possible to provide detail of the investment arrangements until those negotiations have concluded.

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what discussions she has had with (a) the Mayor of London and (b) universities over proposals for the legacy use of the Olympics media centre as a university. (254847)

My Department is working closely with the Mayor, the London Development Agency, London borough of Hackney and other partners to explore proposals for the legacy use of the International Broadcast Centre/Main Press Centre (IBC/MPC) to ensure that we are able to leave a positive sustainable legacy for the site and for local communities. As part of this work programme, we are working with the Greater London Authority, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the Higher Education Funding Council for England to undertake a feasibility study on the need, size, scope and specialisms for a potential new university on the IBC/MPC site, or elsewhere on the Park, as part of the legacy planning for the Park site.

Olympic Games 2012: Waste Disposal

To ask the Minister for the Olympics which sites have been used for disposal of materials and soil from the new Olympic stadium site in London; and if she will make a statement. (253644)

[holding answer 4 February 2009]: In the construction of the Olympic Park, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) will transform a previously contaminated site into an integral part of the long-term regeneration of east London and the wider Thames Gateway. Across the whole site the ODA continues to exceed its 90 per cent. target of reclaiming demolition material for reuse or recycling.

Where possible, all excavation and demolition waste from the Olympic stadium site is treated at source and the cleansed material, where appropriate, reused or recycled in the landscaping and foundations work of the Olympic Park.

Where this has not been possible, waste material has been transported off-site for landfill disposal at Environment Agency approved sites across the UK. The locations of those sites are:

Kings Cliff, Cambridgeshire (Augean Kings Cliff)

Dudley, West Midlands (Himley Quarry)

Teesside, North Yorkshire (Impetus Waste Management ICI 3)

Barling Magna, Essex (Barling Landfill)

Purton, North Wiltshire (Parkgate Farm Landfill)

Middlesbrough, Cleveland (Augean Middlesbrough)

In addition, a small amount of arisings from the stadium site were identified in summer 2008 as containing—or potentially containing—asbestos above the agreed levels. This waste was taken off-site for safe disposal to Powerday landfill facilities at Old Oak Sidings in London.

Northern Ireland

Assets Recovery Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions he has had with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) on the continuation of work undertaken by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) in Northern Ireland; and what steps he is taking to ensure that casework initiated by the ARA in Northern Ireland is taken up by SOCA. (255271)

As chair of the Organised Crime Task Force I receive regular updates on the assets recovery work of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in Northern Ireland. Since the merger in April 2008 SOCA has adopted, and will continue to adopt, new civil recovery cases in Northern Ireland. Civil recovery is one of a number of tools at SOCA's disposal to tackle criminal finances and profits and it will ensure that the most effective and appropriate asset recovery powers (criminal, civil or tax) are used in each case.

Civil Proceedings: Legal Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions wasted costs have been ordered against the defence in (a) Crown courts and (b) magistrates courts in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years; and what the total sum awarded was in each case. (254257)

I have been asked to reply.

Information on how many occasions wasted costs have been ordered against the defence in Crown court in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years was not centrally recorded prior to the introduction of a new IT system in October 2006. Consequently, it is not possible to provide the requested information prior to this date.

There were no orders for wasted costs made against the defence between October 2006 and 31 January 2009 in Crown court in Northern Ireland.

The magistrates court in Northern Ireland has no power to make a wasted costs order.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions wasted costs have been ordered against the Public Prosecution Service in (a) Crown courts and (b) magistrates courts in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years; and what the total sum awarded was in each case. (254262)

I have been asked to reply.

There were no orders for wasted costs made against the Public Prosecution Service in a Crown court in Northern Ireland over the last five years.

The magistrates court in Northern Ireland has no power to make a wasted costs order.

Crime

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were convicted for (a) sexual crimes involving minors, (b) rape, (c) arson, (d) fuel smuggling, (e) cigarette smuggling, (f) credit card fraud, (g) bank fraud, (h) burglary, (i) driving under the influence of alcohol and (j) vehicle theft in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. (254939)

In 2006 (the latest year for which figures are available) there were:

(a) 36 convictions for sexual crimes involving minors. Court datasets do not include victim information in relation to an offence and it is therefore possible only to give the number of convictions for those offences which, by their definition, identify a child as the victim.

(b) 11 convictions for rape; and

(c) 66 convictions for arson offences.

(d) and (e) Data relating to prosecutions for fuel and cigarette smuggling are the responsibility of HM Revenue and Customs from whom this information should be sought.

(f) and (g) The Northern Ireland court datasets do not contain background information in relation to an offence and it is not possible therefore to separate those convictions for fraud which related to credit card or bank fraud. It is, however, possible to determine the total number of convictions for fraud and forgery and in 2006 there were 333 such convictions.

(h) 532 convictions for burglary;

(i) 2,809 convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and

(j) 350 convictions for vehicle theft.

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

Departmental Buildings

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 881W, on departmental buildings, what the cost of the works was before occupation. (250554)

The total cost of the works is shown in the following table.

Office name

Size (sq m)

Total cost of works, excluding VAT (£)

Lisburn Chambers, Linenhall Street, Lisburn, County Antrim

2493

1,159,580

Linum Chambers, Bedford Square, Bedford Street, Belfast

2802

998,753

Ballymena Chambers, Parkway, Ballymena, County Antrim

2494

1,055,500

Omagh Chambers, 2 Townhall Square, Omagh, County Tyrone

2265

1,070,633

Foyle Chambers, 35 Limavady Road, Londonderry, County Londonderry

2364

1945,000

1 Anticipated total cost.

Departmental Disciplinary Proceedings

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff in his Department were disciplined for (a) bullying and (b) harassment of colleagues in each of the last three years. (254078)

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) and its agencies have policies and procedures in place to deal with harassment and bullying. Staff in the NIO undergo mandatory training in equality and diversity, which includes guidance on appropriate behaviour in the workplace. The number of staff disciplined for bullying and/or harassment of work colleagues in each of the years requested is as follows:

Bullying

Harassment

Bullying and harassment

2006

0

0

0

2007

0

1

1

2008

1

1

0

Departmental ICT

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the (a) original expected cost, (b) original expected delivery date, (c) actual cost incurred and (d) actual delivery date was of each ICT project undertaken and completed by his Department in each year since 1997; who the contractors for each project were; what the (i) initial estimated and (ii) outturn payment to each contractor was; and if he will make a statement. (251143)

The majority of ICT projects are relatively small and are developed in-house with minimum cost. To compile information to support all projects would be at disproportionate cost. Therefore the information contained in the following table relates only to projects costing in excess of £1 million.

1998

1999

1999

2001

2002

2003

2003

2008

Project

Bloody Sunday Inquiry, Londonderry

OASIS Y2K Refresh

COMPASS

PRISM

CAUSEWAY

DPP Infrastructure

FLAX

PRISM, Technical Refresh

Purpose

Implementation of IT systems to support the work of the inquiry

To upgrade NIO departmental infrastructure and make it Y2K compliant

To provide an e-human resources system for the Northern Ireland Prison Service

To provide a prisoner record system for the Northern Ireland Prison Service

A joint enterprise by criminal justice organisations in Northern Ireland to share information electronically

To implement a modern ICT infrastructure for the DPP NI

Replace NIO IT infrastructure, provide internet and intranet and meet electronic document and records management targets

Refresh of the software and architecture

Original expected cost (£ million excluding VAT)

n/k

2.1

4.6

13.61

42.7

1.2

8.5

1.3

Original expected delivery date

n/k

December 1999

April 2002

December 2005

December 2006

October 2003

December 2004

March 2010

Actual cost incurred (£ million excluding VAT)

33

2.2

5

4.66

33 to date

1.2

8.5

Actual delivery date

1998 to date

December 1999

September 2003

September 2005 to March 2008

Ongoing

October 2003

December 2004

2008-ongoing

Contractors

Bull Information Systems, International Computers Capital Computers, Diagonal Solutions, Deloittes, Fujitsu

HP

Pecaso Accenture

Sopra

Fujitsu

BT

BT

Sopra and further contracts to be awarded

Initial estimated payment to contractors (£ million)

n/k

2.1

3

3.61

42.7

8.5

1.3

Outturn payment to contractors (£ million)

33

2.2

3.4

4.66

22 to date

n/k

8.5

1 The PRISM costs include the capital and recurring costs of the project and cover the period up to the completion of implementation in March 2008. The costs also include the provision of a range of additional functionality including biometric access controls.

Departmental Official Residences

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend East of 6 October 2008, Official Report, columns 86-87W, on departmental official residences, who pays the council tax bills for the mainland Britain residential accommodation. (253641)

My Department pays the council tax bills for residential accommodation used by staff based in London who are required to work away from their appointed office in Belfast.

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which external organisations his Department has engaged to provide training for fast stream civil service staff in the last three years; and how many civil servants in his Department have participated in the provision of training for external organisations in that period. (252218)

The following list gives the external organisations engaged by the Northern Ireland Office to provide training for fast stream staff in the past three years.

External provider

National School of Government

Eglinton

During the past three years, 29 staff from Northern Ireland Office have participated in the provision of training to external organisations.

Drugs: Smuggling

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Irish nationals were convicted of drug trafficking offences in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. (255015)

In 2006 (the latest year for which data are available), 14 persons with Irish nationality were convicted of drug trafficking offences.

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

Mass Media

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost of his Department’s contracts with press monitoring services was in each of the last five years. (251197)

The following table details the Northern Ireland Office’s expenditure, excluding agencies and Executive NDPBs, on contracts with press monitoring services in the last five years.

Financial year

Expenditure (£)

2007-08

0

2006-07

2,600

2005-06

23,663

2004-05

0

2003-04

0

Offensive Weapons

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were convicted of knife crimes in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. (254938)

The information is not available in the format requested as it is not possible to separately identify the number of convictions for certain offences, for example murder, in which a knife was involved. It is only possible to provide conviction statistics for those offences which, in their definition, refer to an ‘offensive weapon’ (of which knives will be one sub-category) or ‘article with blade or point’. These are:

Armed with offensive weapon with intent to commit offence;

Possessing offensive weapon in public place;

Possessing article with blade or point in public place;

Possessing instrument with intent to commit an offence;

Possessing article with blade or point on school premises;

Possessing offensive weapon on school premises.

In 2006 (the latest year for which data are available), there were 242 such convictions.

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

Prison Sentences

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the likely effects of sentences of imprisonment for public protection on levels of discipline among the prison population in Northern Ireland. (255446)

Our assessment, based on analysis of experience in other jurisdictions, would indicate that in many cases prisoners subject to public protection sentences are more likely to co-operate with the sentencing planning process in order to demonstrate risk reduction. NIPS do not anticipate that the new sentencing arrangements will have any impact on levels of discipline among the prison population in Northern Ireland.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Arms Trade

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to his US counterpart on the US Administration’s support for the Arms Trade treaty process; and if he will make a statement. (254030)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 25 November 2008, Official Report, column 1194W.

Although the US voted against the resolution at the UN General Assembly vote in December 2008, the US delegation took part in the UN meeting in New York on 23 January 2009 preparing for the Opening Ended Working Group, which starts in March 2009. This is an encouraging sign, and shows that the US remains engaged in discussions on this issue.

We will be raising the Arms Trade treaty, alongside a wide range of other subjects with the new US Administration over the next few weeks, as both senior appointees and officials take up their new positions.

Bangladesh: Elections

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance his Department is providing to Bangladesh to ensure that the elections scheduled for 29 December 2008 are free and fair. (243879)

The Department for International Development contributed £10 million to compile the new voters register, £1.1 million through the Asia Foundation to promote accountability and issue-based non-violent campaigning. We funded a country-wide scheme to motivate vulnerable groups to register to vote. The UK also made financial or human resources available to the EU and ANFREL (Asian Network for Free Elections) election observation missions.

In his statement of the 31 December 2008, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary commented on the successful elections. This is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/newsroom/latest-news/?view= News&id=l1710213.

Community Relations: Islam

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much funding the Government have provided for research on the ways in which Muslims are perceived in the UK; which Departments have allocated funds for this purpose; and which of the Government’s international counterparts have co-operated with the UK in funding the research. (253702)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government have not commissioned any research solely for the purpose of investigating perceptions of Muslims within the UK. A number of pieces of Government research do provide evidence from which it would be possible to infer how Muslims ‘may’ be perceived. Examples of these include:

The Communities and Local Government Citizenship Survey; a large scale nationally representative survey intended to understand people’s views on issues such as race equality, faith, feelings about community, volunteering and participation. It is possible to analyse responses by the faith of respondents. In addition, questions on perceptions of the subjects of discrimination include an option to select ‘Muslim’ as one of a number of responses.

The University of Kent ‘Equality, Diversity and Prejudice in Britain’ (commissioned by the Government Equalities Office, previously part of CLG); includes research on positive/negative perceptions of 11 social groups, one of which was Muslims.

The Department for Work and Pensions ‘Barriers to employment for Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in Britain and Constraints’; looks at a number of issues, including perceptions towards two minority groups that are predominantly Muslim.

All of the above research projects were funded solely by the UK Government. It is not possible to attribute costs to the specific elements or questions which relate to perceptions of Muslims in the UK, as one question or interview can be analysed from a number of standpoints.

Cyprus: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which officer is in command of the Turkish army in northern Cyprus; what assessment he has made of that officer’s (a) peacekeeping in that role and (b) peacekeeping record; and if he will make a statement. (251616)

The commander of the Turkish army in north Cyprus is Lieutenant-General Hilmi Akin Zorlu. He has served in a wide variety of assignments during his career, including as commander of the international security assistance force in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2003. In the UN Secretary-General’s latest report on Cyprus, he reported that the situation in the buffer zone remained calm and stable and that the opposing forces extended in general good co-operation to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). He also commended the cancellation by both sides of their annual military exercises. The UK welcomes such steps and would encourage further such confidence building measures.

Cyprus: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to Turkey to reduce its troop numbers in northern Cyprus; and if he will make a statement. (251414)

The Government have not recently raised the issue of the number of Turkish troops in northern Cyprus with Turkey. This is a central issue that will need to be addressed in the course of negotiations to achieve a comprehensive settlement. We would look to support any measure that helps build trust on the island. In this context, we welcomed both sides’ recent cancellation of military exercises as an important confidence building measure.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Armed Conflict

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the report by the UN panel of experts (S/2008/773), with particular reference to its allegation that the Rwandan Government have provided support to the rebel group the National Congress for the Defence of the People in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (246297)