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Written Answers

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 3 March 2009

Wales

Departmental Art Works

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which works of art from the Government Art Collection each Minister in his Department has selected for display in a private office. (259433)

Departmental Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether his Department uses WPA2 encryption protocol on all its wireless networks. (259808)

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what auditing his Department undertakes to ensure that IT security policies are being followed; and on how many occasions (a) IT security policies have been breached by employees and (b) a member of staff has been sanctioned for a breach of such policies in the last 12 months. (259809)

The Wales Office's IT services are provided by the Ministry of Justice, which has in place safeguards and auditing capabilities to ensure that IT policies are being followed by staff. No members of Wales Office staff have broken IT security rules in the last 12 months.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's IT security hierarchy; (259810)

(2) what scanning for vulnerabilities his Department conducts of each of its IT devices; what method is used for IT device scans; and how many vulnerabilities have been detected as a result of such scans in the last 12 months;

(3) what IT security policy his Department has; what procedures are in place to ensure the policy is being followed; what his Department's policy is on encryption of data when they leave departmental premises; and what sanctions are in place for failure to comply with this policy.

The Wales Office is provided with its IT services by the Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for IT security. Safeguards and audit capabilities are in place to ensure their policies are followed.

When leaving departmental premises, all data are required to be encrypted, and the capability to copy data onto removable media such as CDs or memory sticks is significantly limited. Staff found not to be complying with this policy risk disciplinary action.

Departmental Postal Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many and what percentage of letters sent by his Department were given to (a) the Royal Mail and (b) another postal services provider for delivery in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. (259978)

All the Wales Office's external mail is handled by the Royal Mail. All mail addressed to other Government Departments is handled by the Government Car and Despatch Agency.

Transport

Departmental Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy for his Department to sign the Information Commissioner’s Personal Information Promise. (258947)

The Government welcomed the promise as a commendable initiative to raise awareness of the importance of effective data protection safeguards, particularly for those organisations with no similar commitments already in place.

The Government take data protection very seriously. Following the Cabinet Office Review of Data Handling Procedures in Government, Departments have implemented a raft of measures to improve data security.

The Ministry of Justice is considering actively with the Information Commissioner’s Office how the promise might add additional value to those measures we have already signed up to. These include the Information Charters, the recommendations of the Data Handling Review and the Thomas/Walport Review and, of course, our legal obligations under the Data Protection Act and other legislation and regulations.

Departmental Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for which bargaining units in his Department (a) public and privilege days and (b) annual leave entitlements accrue during (i) ordinary and (ii) additional maternity leave. (258629)

All bargaining units within the Department for Transport except the Vehicle Certification Agency, allow accrual of public and privilege days and annual leave during both ordinary and additional maternity leave. Vehicle Certification Agency allows accrual of annual leave only during both ordinary and additional maternity leave.

Departmental NDPBs: Empty Property

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the estimated cost in empty property business rates for the vacant properties recorded on the e-PIMS database owned by (a) his Department, (b) the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, (c) the Driving Standards Agency, (d) the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, (e) the Government Car and Despatch Agency and (f) the Highways Agency is in 2008-09. (258522)

The requested information is as follows:

£

(a) Central Department

7,970

(b) Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

5,405

(c) Driving Standards Agency

24,000

(d) Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

0

(e) Government Car and Despatch Agency

0

(f) Highways Agency

64,087

Departmental Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the terms of reference of his Department’s staff handbook streamlining project are. (258619)

To review the staff handbook and people management policies to ensure they are up to date, comply with any changes in employment law and support the Department in achieving its objectives.

DVLA: Personal Records

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) customer case and (b) other files containing personal information have been lost by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (259391)

Individual cases are managed via an electronic casework system. This has been accredited to Government security standards and there has been no data loss from this system.

There are paper-based casework files that are held both at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency HQ and its local offices. These files are managed locally and the cost of collecting information for lost or misplaced files would be prohibitive.

Park and Ride Schemes: Coastal Areas

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many park and ride schemes operate in English seaside towns; where such schemes are located; what recent assessment he has made of the viability of such schemes; what the average public subsidy provided for such schemes in 2008 was; and if he will make a statement. (260005)

The Department for Transport does not hold central data on park and ride sites located in seaside towns. Local authorities are responsible for funding most park and ride schemes, mainly through the integrated transport block, which the Department allocates to support local transport plans (LTPs). The funding is for local authorities to invest in transport capital works, including park and ride, according to their local plans and priorities. It totals £576 million for the 2008-09 period.

Local authorities also make appropriate assessment of the on-going viability of park and ride schemes. It would not be appropriate to initiate a specific nationwide audit of park and ride schemes on top of the other audit and reporting processes Government require from local authorities.

The Department does provide funding for major transport projects of over £5 million. In 2008, one major scheme in a coastal town for which there was a park and ride element received £16.2 million of Government funding. However only a small proportion of that amount would have been dedicated to the park and ride element.

Park and ride schemes play an important part in helping to tackle congestion in many localities. They are one of a range of policy tools suggested by the full guidance on the second local transport plans (2006 to 2011), published in December 2004 and shortly due to be revised for the next planning round.

Railways: Sussex

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will direct a redrafting of the timetable for rail services in Sussex to take account of the needs of rail passengers as part of the Sussex Route Utilisation Strategy. (259781)

[holding answer 27 February 2009]: Route Utilisation Strategies seek to balance capacity, demand (passenger and freight), operational performance and cost, to address the requirements of funders and all stakeholders. Network Rail is in the course of developing a Route Utilisation Strategy for Sussex, in conjunction with, and on behalf of, rail industry partners and wider stakeholders. It would be inappropriate for Government to issue directions.

Rolling Stock

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason he has required Southern to transfer rolling stock to First Capital Connect from April 2009; and what assessment he has made of the consequences of this requirement for passengers on Southern’s services. (259405)

[holding answer 27 February 2009]: The Thameslink programme requires the introduction of a new timetable on the 22 March. This timetable is necessary to enable major works to start at London Blackfriars.

The timetable requires additional dual voltage rolling stock, which are currently being delivered from Bombardier.

Bombardier are late in the delivery of these new trains, and as a short-term measure, Southern are supplying up to eight dual voltage trains to First Capital Connect.

Southern will operate additional single voltage trains that can be provided from other operators maintaining the levels of service provided.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to reallocate coaches from the Gatwick Express service to other services operated by Southern; and if he will take account of current passenger loading in the reallocation. (259406)

[holding answer 27 February 2009]: There are currently no plans to reduce the number of coaches forming each Gatwick Express train. The class 460 trains will remain eight-car stock and it is envisaged that the refurbished class 442 trains will remain in 10-car formation.

Until the December 2008 timetable change, the Gatwick Express fleet was formed of 64 class 460 vehicles dedicated to use on Gatwick Express services.

Since December 2008, in addition to the class 460 services, six peak Gatwick Express services have been extended to and from Brighton. These services have been enabled through the leasing and refurbishment of 85 class 442 vehicles. Due to delays in the refurbishment programme, some of the extended Gatwick Express services have been formed of Southern class 377 trains. However, from 16 March it is envisaged that class 377 stock will no longer be used on the extended Gatwick Express service.

It is planned that, if sufficient class 442 vehicles are delivered from the refurbishment programme, they will also be deployed on the Eastbourne to London Bridge route from the end of March.

Bids for the replacement South Central franchise have now been received and are in the process of being evaluated. Contained within the bid submissions are the bidders’ plans to accommodate existing passenger loads and to provide for future demand, including details of the rolling stock that they propose to lease. The award of the franchise, and the commitments made by the incoming franchisee, are scheduled for announcement in early June.

Safer Roads Humber

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much public money has been paid to Safer Roads Humber to support the discharge of its objectives; from what sources such funding has been drawn; what rules are in place to ensure value for money from such funding; and if he will make a statement. (260007)

The Government have provided financial support for road safety activities to the four local highway authorities in the area covered by the Safer Roads Humber partnership. The local authorities are responsible for final decisions about how much funding to allocate to the Safer Roads Humber partnership. The funding the local authorities put into the partnership is subject to the relevant audit requirements placed on the local authorities.

The funding support provided to the local authorities in the Humber area relating specifically to road safety in 2008-09 is shown in the following table.

£

Local authority

Contribution to area based grant

Specific capital grant

East Riding of Yorkshire

613,041

136,398

Kingston upon Hull

511,892

113,893

North East Lincolnshire

297,395

66,169

North Lincolnshire

341,202

75,916

Wheel Clamping: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made for the purposes of policy formulation of the efficacy of the prohibition of wheel clamping on private land in Scotland. (259756)

Wheel clamping on private land in Scotland is a devolved matter for the Scottish Executive. Wheel clamping on private land in England is a matter for the Home Secretary.

Northern Ireland

Cars: Theft

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many car-jackings have taken place in each district command unit in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years. (260142)

That is an operational matter for the Chief Constable. I have asked him to reply directly to the hon. Member, and a copy of his letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Departmental Redundancy

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 25 November 2008, Official Report, column 1163W, on redundancy, what estimate has he made of the annual payroll savings resulting from staff exit schemes in (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-07, (c) 2007-08 and (d) 2008-09 excluding the cost of severance packages; and what estimate he has made of the equivalent figures for 2009-10. (254469)

Further to the answer given on 25 November 2008, as corrected on 24 February 2009, Official Report, column 1MC, all staff referred to left the Northern Ireland Office on early retirement terms and not on staff exit schemes.

Local Government: Elections

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the reasons are for the postponement of the 2010 local council elections in Northern Ireland until 2011; and if he will make a statement. (260028)

The Northern Ireland Assembly recently passed legislation to reduce the number of councils in Northern Ireland from 26 to 11. This reduction is being implemented and it is planned that it will be in place by 2011. For this reason Parliament recently approved legislation to postpone the local elections previously scheduled for 2009 in Northern Ireland until 2011, so that the next local elections can be held under the new 11 council model.

Home Department

Anti-Semitism: West Midlands

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will request the Chief Constable of the West Midlands to compile a report on the (a) number and (b) location of reported anti-Semitic incidents in the West Midlands since December 2008; and if she will make a statement. (256535)

The Government abhor all forms of hate crime including that of anti-Semitism. From April 2008 police forces have been collecting hate crime statistics, using the race, faith, disability or homophobic flag to indicate whether an offence is considered to be aggravated by these factors. These data are for intelligence purposes, to better understand any trends in hate crime and to target resources. These will include anti-Semitic hate crime.

Appropriate Adults

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times an appropriate adult has been called to a police station because of concerns that a suspect is mentally disordered or mentally vulnerable in each police force area in each year since 2000; and if she will make a statement. (251162)

Asylum

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her Department’s policy is on granting asylum to applicants who claim to have been persecuted by members of (a) another ethnic group and (b) armed groups operating unlawfully in their country of origin. (259321)

Our policy in deciding whether to grant asylum is set out in the immigration rules.

In accordance with this policy, UK Border Agency case owners carefully consider asylum claims to determine whether the person has a well-founded fear of persecution on grounds of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group. This will include persecution by members of another ethnic group or armed groups operating unlawfully in the country of origin where the state authorities, or the organisation (including international organisations) controlling the state territory, are unable or unwilling to provide protection against persecution or serious harm and where the individual cannot reasonably be expected to avoid the persecution by relocating within the country concerned.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what documentation her Department provides to asylum seekers when they claim asylum after arrival in the UK; and what services such people are entitled to receive on arriving in the country. (259655)

Asylum applicants and their dependants are issued with an Application Registration Card (ARC) on or after arrival in the United Kingdom, as an acknowledgement of an asylum claim made to the UK Border Agency. The card contains information about the identity and immigration status of the holder.

Asylum applicants are also issued with information sheets which set out the services they are entitled to receive for the duration of their claim. This includes health care, schooling for children and, subject to their financial circumstances, access to legal representation and benefits.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to expand the Gateway refugee programme; and if she will make a statement. (260094)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer of 9 December 2004, Official Report, columns 733-7W, to the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on asylum and immigration, how many asylum seekers have been dispersed to each parliamentary constituency in the latest two-year period for which figures are available. (260455)

Information on the number of asylum seekers that have been dispersed to each parliamentary constituency over a two-year period is not collated centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Statistics on the location of asylum seekers in the UK are published in tables 5 and 6 of the quarterly bulletin Control of Immigration on the number of asylum seekers in receipt of support at the end of the quarter, broken down by Government office, region and local authority.

Copies of these publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.

Further break downs by parliamentary constituency are available from the Library of the House.

Asylum: Children

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to bring forward proposals to amend the Leaving Care Act 2000 to allow unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to return to their country of origin. (257209)

None; the Children Act 1989 as amended by the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 has no effect on the return of unaccompanied asylum seeking children to their countries of origin.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress her Department is making in relation to special authority status for local authorities who are dealing with unaccompanied asylum seeking children. (257215)

The UK Border Agency will shortly be seeking proposals from local authorities, or groups of local authorities, setting out the numbers of unaccompanied asylum seeking children they could accommodate, and at what cost.

Bail

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many persons arrested were later released on police bail of (a) less than three months, (b) three to six months, (c) six to nine months, (d) nine to 12 months and (e) more than 12 months in (i) 2005-06 and (ii) 2006-07; (259470)

(2) how many persons were (a) arrested, (b) arrested and later released on police bail and (c) arrested but not charged in (i) 2005-06 and (ii) 2006-07;

(3) how many persons arrested and later released on police bail sought a court review of their bail conditions in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07; and how many such bail conditions were subsequently (i) varied and (ii) rescinded in each of those years.

There were 1,429,800 persons arrested in England and Wales in 2005-06 and 1,482,200 persons arrested in 2006-07.

There is no link between the arrests data reported to the Home Office and any subsequent outcome, therefore data on those arrested and then released on police bail are not available.

Crime: Economic Situation

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the likely effect of the recession on levels of (a) acquisitive crime, (b) violent crime, (c) fraudulent crime and (d) social disorder in (i) 2008-09 and (ii) 2009-10. (258570)

The Home Office monitors crime levels quarterly through published statistics, and more often through management data to inform performance discussions. However, crime levels fluctuate in the short term, and it is too early to draw firm conclusions about longer term trends and the influence of individual factors on crime in 2008-09.

Academic research, including a study by the Home Office, has demonstrated an association between changes in the economy and some crime. However, in looking at future crime, these studies cannot fully allow for the impact of policy or other interventions and hence do not predict actual levels of crime.

Since March 2003, overall property crime has fallen by 18 per cent., exceeding the 15 per cent. target set out in the Home Office’s public service agreement. That reduction is greater than would have been forecast based on economic factors alone.

The Government have long-standing, sound systems and flexible policies in place to deal with crime. These have led to significant reductions: overall crime, as measured by the British Crime Survey, has fallen by 39 per cent. since 1997. They also mean that we are well placed to prevent future rises in crime. As the Association of Chief Police Officers pointed out in January, the Police Service has never been in a better and stronger position to meet challenges caused by the economic downturn. The Department is confident that these policies and systems provide the flexibility needed to respond to future economic challenges.

Detainees: Prostitution

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms are in place to monitor the number of individuals who have worked as prostitutes and have subsequently been detained in (a) prisons and (b) immigration removal centres; and what schemes are available to offer support to such individuals. (258271)

Firearms

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to prevent the (a) conversion to live fire of and (b) distribution of blank-firing firearms. (258492)

We are working with the police to tackle the supply of all firearms. An action day in November 2007 resulted in 124 arrests and the seizure of 10 real and over a thousand imitation firearms. We are also working with both the Serious Organised Crime Agency and HM Revenue and Customs, who have increased the priority and resources they focus on this issue, to prevent and detect illegal firearms entering the UK, including readily-convertible blank firers which are prohibited under the provisions of the Firearms Acts. Regulations are being prepared under section 39 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 setting out the specifications to which blank firing imitation firearms must conform.

Genetics: Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer of 25 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1249-51W, on genetics: databases, how many and what proportion of recorded crimes have been detected using DNA from the national DNA database in each month since April 2008; and if she will make a statement. (251166)

The number and proportion of recorded crimes detected in which a DNA match was available for 2008-09 to date is shown in table 1. Data on the number of crimes detected with a DNA match are collected on a quarterly, rather than a monthly, basis. The figures provided are for quarters 1 and 2 of 2008-09; the quarter 3 figures are not yet available. Table 1 also includes projected figures for the full year 2008-09 which are based on the figures for quarters 1 and 2.

The figures for the number of crimes detected in which a DNA match was available only include crimes detected in which a DNA match was reported by the National DNA Database (NDNAD). They do not include DNA matches which arise through case work in serious crime, which usually involve comparing DNA profiles in a forensic laboratory; these data are not collected centrally. It is also important to note that the detections are achieved through integrated criminal investigation, not through DNA alone.

The presentation of crimes detected with DNA as a proportion of total recorded crime undervalues the relative contribution of DNA to the crime detection rate.

It should be noted that the majority of recorded crimes do not have a crime scene (for example, minor assault, drugs offences, theft, fraud etc.) and do not have a crime scene examination. In 2007-08, just over 854,000 crimes had a crime scene examination (17 per cent. of recorded crimes). In those crimes which have a crime scene examination, some do not yield any forensic material (DNA or fingerprints). In 2007-08, potential DNA material was collected at 102,400 crimes; and of these, 41,800 crimes yielded DNA crime scene samples of sufficient quantity and quality for profiling and loading to the NDNAD. Of the 41,800 crimes in which a crime scene sample profile was loaded, a match was generated in 37,375 crimes (this represents 89 per cent. of crimes where DNA material was loaded to the NDNAD).

The proportion of ‘crimes detected in which a DNA match was available’, of those, ‘crimes where potential DNA material was collected’ is shown in table 2.

Table 1

Detected crimes in which a DNA match was available (‘DNA detections’)

Additional detections arising from the DNA match1

Total detected crimes in which a DNA match was available or played a part

Total recorded crime

Proportion of ‘total crimes detected in which a DNA match was available or played a part’ of total recorded crime (percentage)

Q1 2008-09

4,557

4,369

8,926

1215,600

0.73

Q2 2008-09

4,418

3,799

8,217

1,208,800

0.68

Year to date (first two quarters)

8,975

8,168

17,143

2,424,400

0.71

Projected figure for 2008-092

17,950

16,336

34,286

4,848,800

0.71

1 Additional detections may result from the original crime with the DNA match due to the identification of further offences through forensic linkage or through admission by the offender.

2 The projected figures for 2008-09 are based on the actual figures for quarters 1 and 2 of 2008-09 multiplied by two.

Table 2

Detected crimes in which a DNA match was available (‘DNA detections’)

Additional detections arising from the DNA match1

Total detected crimes in which a DNA match was available or played a part

Crimes where potential DNA material collected

Proportion of ‘crimes detected in which a DNA match was available’ of ‘crimes where potential DNA material collected’ (percentage)

Q1 2008-09

4,557

4,369

8,926

24,103

37.03

Q2 2008-09

4,418

3,799

8,217

25,076

32.77

Year to date (first two quarters)

8,975

8,168

17,143

49,179

34.86

Projected figure for 2008-09

17,950

16,336

34,286

98,358

34.86

1 Additional detections may result from the original crime with the DNA match due to the identification of further offences through forensic linkage or through admission by the offender.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer of 23 January 2008, Official Report, column 2062W, on genetics: database, what research projects utilising data from the national DNA database have been approved since 15 January 2008; and if she will make a statement. (251244)

No research projects using data from the national DNA database have been approved since the previous answer of 23 January 2008, Official Report, column 2062W.

Human Trafficking

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many trafficked persons identified as such by (a) police forces and (b) other authorities in each of the last three years are subsequently known to have been trafficked further. (256250)

Figures on re-trafficking of victims are not held centrally. Analysis of the outcomes of Pentameter 2 is currently being undertaken by the UK Human Trafficking Centre and will provide a more up to date picture of the extent of trafficking into the UK and the threat of re-trafficking of victims.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many trafficked (a) women and (b) children discovered through police operations against human trafficking in each of the last three years have subsequently been registered missing and are thought still to be in the UK. (256251)

Figures on the number of those identified as trafficked women who have absconded are not held centrally.

Under Operation Pentameter 2, police recovered 16 children, 13 of whom had been identified as potentially trafficked for sexual exploitation, none of whom have been reported as having absconded and three for forced labour, of which, one absconded with the other two remaining in local authority care.

Human Trafficking: Essex

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officers in Essex Police Force have received training on the Council of Europe Convention Against Trafficking of Human Beings in the last three years. (254784)

The UK signed the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings in 2007 and ratified it in December 2008. The UKHTC are currently developing a short DVD to be distributed to police officers in all forces on the National Referral Mechanism which is a core element of the requirements of the Convention.

All police forces in England and Wales have sent officers to the training courses devised and delivered by the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) and this work has been reinforced by the distribution of awareness raising material sent electronically to all police officers. The UKHTC in conjunction with the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) are also in the process of rolling out training modules on human trafficking to be included in mainstream police courses. All of this work involves an element of training specifically on the Convention.

Forces were additionally made aware of the requirements of the convention as part of Operation Pentameter 2 which included a trial of the national referral mechanism to be introduced from 1 April 2009.

Personation

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to prevent fraud against private enterprises by persons impersonating individuals known to be dead. (258288)

Under the Police and Justice Act 2006 and the Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Act 2006, the Registrars General for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can disclose death registration information to assist in the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of offences.

Under the Disclosure of Death Registration Information (DDRI) scheme, the supply of death registration records to vetted organisations commenced on 6 October 2008. The scheme is administered by the General Register Office for England and Wales on behalf of the three Registrars General. Six organisations are currently in receipt of a weekly supply of death registration records, and further applications to receive the data are being processed. The information is being used to prevent and detect fraudulent applications for financial gain. Early results show that pension funds, banks and mortgage companies have been using these data to check against loan and credit card applications, insurance payouts and pensions.

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has for some years matched death data against passport records and identified a number of fraudulently issued passports, as well as stopping fraudulent applications made using such identities. Close liaison with law enforcement agencies in taking action against those responsible would include consideration of wider criminality, including the impact on private enterprise, particularly the financial sector.

Police Community Support Officers: Chorley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police community support officers operating in Chorley borough are (a) funded wholly by Lancashire Police, (b) funded in part by Chorley Borough Council and (c) funded wholly by Chorley Borough Council. (259671)

Information on contributions from local authorities to fund or part-fund PCSO posts is not collected centrally.

Police: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police vehicles were involved in road accidents which resulted in (a) slight injuries, (b) serious injuries and (c) fatalities in 2007-08. (256742)

Figures available centrally show the numbers of casualties and degree of injury in road traffic collisions involving police vehicles in emergency/pursuit. Figures for 2007-08 have been provided for 38 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales. They show that there were (a) 617 slight injuries, (b) 20 serious injuries and (c) one fatality.

The data provided here are a supplementary series collected on behalf and released with the approval of Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary (HMIC). These data are normally used for inspection purposes only.

Police: Conferences

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the cost of policing the G20 summit to be held in London in April 2009. (258886)

Police: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 23 February 2009, Official Report, columns 165-66W, on police: finance, how much funding was allocated to each police force in each year from 2004-05 to 2009-10; and if she will make a statement. (260143)

The information requested is set out in the following table.

£ million

Allocation after floors and scaling

Police authority

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

Avon and Somerset

162.2

170.0

161.8

167.9

173.7

179.7

Bedfordshire

62.1

65.1

64.0

66.4

68.5

70.8

Cambridgeshire

73.4

77.9

73.8

76.5

78.7

81.0

Cheshire

107.2

111.3

110.8

114.8

117.6

120.5

Cleveland

86.8

90.9

89.8

93.0

95.3

97.7

Cumbria

59.6

62.1

61.8

64.0

65.6

67.2

Derbyshire

101.2

105.0

102.0

105.8

109.2

112.6

Devon and Cornwall

166.7

173.0

171.4

177.5

181.9

186.4

Dorset

63.6

66.0

60.0

62.2

63.7

65.3

Durham

84.2

87.8

84.0

87.0

89.2

91.4

Essex

160.9

167.0

162.6

168.5

173.0

177.9

GLA—Police

1,822.0

1,927.8

1,818.3

1,883.7

1,930.0

1,978.3

Gloucestershire

58.9

61.1

54.5

56.5

57.8

59.3

Greater Manchester

393.2

412.5

417.4

432.7

445.6

458.9

Hampshire

190.5

197.7

190.4

197.3

202.2

207.5

Hertfordshire

104.8

108.8

110.4

114.4

117.7

121.1

Humberside

114.6

118.9

117.8

122.0

125.1

128.4

Kent

182.6

189.5

176.2

182.6

187.2

192.1

Lancashire

182.9

190.8

187.0

193.7

198.8

204.1

Leicestershire

102.0

107.7

107.5

111.5

114.7

118.0

Lincolnshire

60.6

63.4

58.3

60.5

62.3

64.3

Merseyside

248.4

257.7

245.0

253.8

260.6

267.4

Norfolk

82.2

85.9

80.5

83.4

85.4

87.6

North Yorkshire

72.7

75.4

70.5

73.0

74.8

76.7

Northamptonshire

64.3

67.8

69.2

71.7

73.5

75.5

Northumbria

221.4

232.2

229.7

238.0

243.8

249.9

Nottinghamshire

127.6

133.3

127.8

132.5

136.9

141.4

South Yorkshire

178.0

185.7

187.5

194.3

199.1

204.1

Staffordshire

109.2

113.3

110.3

114.3

117.4

120.6

Suffolk

66.0

68.5

65.2

67.6

69.2

71.0

Surrey

88.2

91.5

93.6

97.0

99.3

101.8

Sussex

158.1

164.0

156.1

161.7

165.7

169.8

Thames Valley

212.6

220.6

217.9

225.9

231.9

238.2

Warwickshire

49.8

51.8

49.7

51.5

52.8

54.1

West Mercia

107.7

111.8

112.0

116.0

118.9

121.8

West Midlands

399.3

426.5

433.6

450.2

468.0

486.1

West Yorkshire

298.9

313.6

306.2

317.6

328.2

339.2

Wiltshire

60.6

62.9

59.9

62.0

63.6

65.2

Notes:

1. All figures are rounded to the nearest £100,000. Grant as calculated under the Local Government Finance Report (England). This includes the Metropolitan Special Payment, and the effect of floors and scaling.

2. From 2006-07 funding for pensions and security funding became specific grants, and no longer part of general grant.

3. Figures for the City of London are excluded because these are allocated to the Common Council of the City of London as a whole in respect of all its functions. The city is grouped with education authorities for floors and scaling purposes.

Police: Firearms

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many claims have been made against her Department for being dilatory in paying compensation under the compensation schemes under the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 to a person who has surrendered firearms and ammunition to police following the introduction of the prohibition on the possession, manufacture and sale of weapons under the Act. (258937)

One ex gratia payment was made in respect of a particularly complex claim where certain payments could have been made earlier.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) weapons and (b) items of ancillary equipment handed into police forces following the entering into force of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 remain in the possession of police forces. (258938)

The Home Office has issued disposal notices in respect of all but 92 of the 72,000 claims received. It is for individual chief officers to keep records of such items still in their possession.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many owners of weapons and items of ancillary equipment handed into police forces following the entering into force of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 have not received payment under the compensation schemes introduced under the Act. (258939)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many requests to police forces have been (a) made and (b) granted for the return of items deemed to be ineligible for compensation under the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 compensation schemes. (258940)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her most recent estimate is of the residual liability to the public purse for payments under the compensation schemes introduced under the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997. (258941)

It is not possible to estimate any residual liability since some claimants may wish to resurrect issues of concern. However, we believe that claimants have all been paid in accordance with the schemes.

Prosecutions: Greater London

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of serious crimes reported to the police led to prosecutions in each London borough in the last 12 months. (258493)

Information is not available in the form requested. The Home Office collects statistics on the number of offences recorded by the police and the method of detection where appropriate. One of the methods of detection is ‘charge/summons’ but there is no way of establishing how many recorded offences actually led to a prosecution. Data specifically on defendants proceeded against are collected by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform in the Ministry of Justice.

Prostitution

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will commission research on the primary reasons for an individual to start working as a prostitute. (259204)

The Home Office consultation, Paying the Price, which was published in 2004 and informed the Co-ordinated Prostitution Strategy considered the issue of routes into prostitution. It drew on an extensive range of existing research which considered the reasons for persons’ involvement in prostitution.

Prostitution: Local Government

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms are in place to monitor local authority provision of services to individuals who work as prostitutes. (258310)

Sex Establishments: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to ensure that the frequency exemption contained in lap dancing licensing reforms is removed. (258987)

Clause 25 of the Policing and Crime Bill will require all venues that wish to offer lap dancing on a monthly basis or more frequently to hold a sex encounter venue licence. The Government believe that this would capture venues offering lap dancing events on a regular basis and therefore as part of their core business. However, in response to concerns raised during the committee stage in the House of Commons, the Government have agreed to look into these issues further and are currently considering whether any amendments are required.

Speed Limits: Fines

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many drivers were fined for speeding in each police force area in 2008; and how much was paid in fines for such offences. (256741)

The number of magistrates courts imposed fines for speed limit offences by police force area in England and Wales for 2007 are given in the following table. Court proceedings data for 2008 are scheduled to be published in the autumn of 2009.

It is not possible to identify separately the payment rate of fines arising from speeding offences. The latest enforcement rate for all financial penalties imposed by the courts is 85 per cent for the period April-December 2008.

In addition to court fines, police officers have the power to issue fixed penalty notices under section 54 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 for speeding offences. The decision as to whether to issue a fixed penalty notice is a matter for the police. Currently the amount payable for a fixed penalty notice for speeding is £60.

Information on the number of fixed penalty notices issued in 2006 (latest available) broken down by police force area is provided in table 2. Data for 2007 are scheduled to be published in April 2009 with 2008 data to be announced.

Table 1: Number of magistrates courts imposed fines1 for speed limit offences2 by police force area, England and Wales, 20073, 4

Police force area

Number of fines1

Avon and Somerset

5,761

Bedfordshire

4,238

Cambridgeshire

4,181

Cheshire

3,136

Cleveland

1,194

Cumbria

2,470

Derbyshire

2,846

Devon and Cornwall

3,940

Dorset

2,340

Durham

650

Essex

7,247

Gloucestershire

1,111

Greater Manchester

4,521

Hampshire

4,789

Hertfordshire

2,525

Humberside

2,182

Kent

3,181

Lancashire

7,463

Leicestershire

1,802

Lincolnshire

3,800

London, City of

460

Merseyside

3,010

Metropolitan police

5,882

Norfolk

2,669

Northamptonshire

2,919

Northumbria

3,570

North Yorkshire

2,004

Nottinghamshire

3,387

South Yorkshire

4,167

Staffordshire

4,540

Suffolk

3,401

Surrey

3,514

Sussex

3,965

Thames Valley

5,883

Warwickshire

1,340

West Mercia

2,651

West Midlands

4,652

West Yorkshire

5,638

Wiltshire

5,005

Dyfed Powys

945

Gwent

1,125

North Wales

4,345

South Wales

2,394

Total England and Wales

146,843

1 Magistrates courts data only. Fines given at the Crown court total nationally (England and Wales) less than 10 each year.

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

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

4 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete.

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

Source:

Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Evidence and Analysis unit. [Ref; IOS 98-09]

Table 2: Fixed penalty notices issued1 for speed limit offences2 by police force area, England and Wales 2006

Police force area

Number

Avon and Somerset

52,606

Bedfordshire

48,407

Cambridgeshire

20,502

Cheshire

28,570

Cleveland

19,044

Cumbria

32,023

Derbyshire

31,484

Devon and Cornwall

42,467

Dorset

51,599

Durham

2,817

Essex

60,705

Gloucestershire

13,406

Greater Manchester

60,282

Hampshire

49,404

Hertfordshire

81,805

Humberside

36,718

Kent

47,179

Lancashire

57,658

Leicestershire

24,605

Lincolnshire

25,750

London, City of

5,089

Merseyside

33,049

Metropolitan

102,482

Norfolk

24,985

North Yorkshire

42,242

Northamptonshire

51,880

Northumbria

5,256

Nottinghamshire

42,916

South Yorkshire

51,462

Staffordshire

50,823

Suffolk

34,442

Surrey

39,520

Sussex

48,627

Thames Valley

137,312

Warwickshire

30,316

West Mercia

46,213

West Midlands

44,497

West Yorkshire

49,528

Wiltshire

51,458

Dyfed Powys

1,054

Gwent

531

North Wales

59,491

South Wales

33,208

England and Wales

1,773,412

1 Only covers notices paid where there is no further action.

2 Offences under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Motor Vehicles (Speed Limits on Motorways) Regulations 1973.

3 Revised since original publication.

Note:

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

Treaty of Lisbon

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Metropolitan Police have informed her of accusations of malfeasance they have received about the Lisbon Treaty ratification against (a) the Prime Minister and (b) other members of the Cabinet; and if she will make a statement. (251061)

The Secretary of State for the Home Department has not been informed by the Metropolitan Police Service of any such accusations of malfeasance in relation to the ratification of the Lisbon treaty.

The UK ratified the Lisbon treaty on 16 July 2008, following Royal Assent to the EU (Amendment) Act, which was received on 19 June 2008. The Act was passed after 25 days of detailed consideration in both Houses.

War Crimes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance she has issued to police forces on steps to be taken following an arrest of a person suspected to be guilty of an offence related to the violation of the laws or customs of war; and if she will make a statement. (257443)

Guidance on this issue is a matter for the Metropolitan Police Service and the Counter Terrorism Division of the Crown Prosecution Service. They have an agreed national protocol in place for the handling of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what additional funding will be made available through the EU’s economic recovery plan to rural development, with particular reference to training in environmental improvement. (258816)

As part of the proposed European Economic Recovery Plan, the Commission is proposing a €1.25 billion package of measures to be delivered through Member States’ Rural Development Programmes, of which €1 billion will be dedicated to rural broadband infrastructure projects and €250 million to projects in support of the ‘new challenges’ agreed as part of the recent CAP Health Check (climate change, renewable energy, water management, biodiversity and dairy sector restructuring). No agreement has yet been reached in the Council of Ministers on this package. The Commission is proposing that this funding should be allocated in proportion to existing shares of rural development funding. The United Kingdom would therefore receive around €15 million in total. No decisions have yet been made on how this funding might be used, if the package is agreed.

Bovine Tuberculosis

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) cattle infected by bovine tuberculosis and (b) calves born to cows infected by bovine tuberculosis have been slaughtered in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; and how much was paid in compensation to their owners. (251282)

The following table shows the number of cattle slaughtered under bovine tuberculosis (TB) control measures either as test reactors or direct contacts, and the amount of compensation paid, in England, in the last 10 years.

Data on the number of calves slaughtered because they were born to cows affected by TB is not centrally collated in electronic format and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Number of cattle slaughtered1

Compensation paid2 (£ million)

2007

19,794

15.2

2006

16,007

18.1

2005

23,135

32.1

2004

17,306

23.1

2003

17,551

25.2

2002

18,443

20.8

2001

4,438

4.6

2000

7,190

5.7

1999

5,580

3.2

1998

5,027

3.6

1 Data regarding the number of cattle slaughtered as test reactors or direct contacts are taken from the Animal Health Database (Vetnet). Data for 2006-07 are provisional and subject to change as more data become available and as a result of data validation and cleansing.

2 Compensation includes payments to farmers for ‘reactors’ and ‘direct contact’ animals which are compulsorily slaughtered. For 1999 onwards these data have been taken from the DEFRA Oracle Financial System. 1998 data are drawn from the 1998 report of the Chief Veterinary Officer and are not directly comparable to later years.

Departmental Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make it his policy for his Department to sign the Information Commissioner's Personal Information Promise. (258952)

The Government welcome the promise as a commendable initiative to raise awareness of the importance of effective data protection safeguards, particularly for those organisations with no similar commitments already in place.

The Government take data protection very seriously. Following the Cabinet Office review of data handling procedures in Government, departments have implemented a raft of measures to improve data security.

The Ministry of Justice is considering actively with the ICO how the promise might add additional value to those measures we have already signed up to. These include the information charters, the recommendations of the data handling review and the Thomas/Walport review and, of course, our legal obligations under the Data Protection Act and other legislation and regulations.

Departmental Sick Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff in his Department or its predecessors were on sick leave for (a) over 30 days, (b) over 50 days and (c) over 100 days in each of the last five years. (256324)

The information requested for the core Department is shown in the following table.

Number of staff

Total working days absent in year

2006

2007

2008

30-49

80

81

50

50-99

72

66

41

100 plus

48

25

29

Information for the Executive agencies and for earlier years could be provided only by incurring disproportionate cost.

DEFRA has a policy to promote health and wellbeing and reduce sickness absence for its employees. It manages long term sickness absences by facilitating timely employee access to occupational health advice, medical or wellbeing interventions. Individuals are also encouraged to return to work through the use of occupational health expertise that enables them to undertake a structured programme of recuperative duties. This helps employees return to full working hours and duties as quickly as possible.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff in his Department were recorded as having been on sick leave for over 12 months on 31 December in each of the last five years. (256631)

The information requested for the core Department is as follows:

Number

2006

1

2007

4

2008

2

Information for the Executive agencies and for earlier years could be provided only by incurring disproportionate cost.

DEFRA’s strategy for managing employee sickness absence over 12 months is to ensure that individuals receive necessary occupational health interventions. Their managers also receive timely medical and human resources advice and information. Employees are further supported in returning to work by undertaking a structured programme of recuperative duties, agreed with their manager and the occupational health service. This helps them return to full working hours and duties as quickly as possible.

Drinking Water

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of litres of bottled (a) sparkling and (b) still water consumed in England in each year since 2000; and what percentage was supplied in bottles made of (i) plastic, (ii) glass and (iii) other materials. (259495)

The following table shows the estimated number of litres of mineral water purchased in the UK in each year since 2001.

Total UK purchases of mineral water (Million litres)

April to March each year

2001-02

747

2002-03

794

2003-04

876

2004-05

950

2005-06

964

Calendar year

2006

1,103

2007

995

Source:

Expenditure and Food Survey.

From 2006, the Expenditure and Food Survey switched to a calendar year basis. It is not possible to resample earlier data on the same basis. It is also not possible to account accurately for wastage during consumption. DEFRA has no compatible population figures on which to calculate purchases on a national basis, therefore it is not possible to provide similar estimates for purchases in England. However, the following table shows the estimated average number of litres of mineral water purchased per person in England in each year since 2001.

Purchases of mineral water per person/year in litres in England

April to March each year

2001-02

13

2002-03

13

2003-04

15

2004-05

16

2005-06

16

Calendar year

2006

19

2007

17

Source:

Expenditure and Food Survey.

DEFRA does not collect statistics which distinguish between sparkling and still water or the way water is packaged.

Entry Level Stewardship Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to introduce new cross-compliance measures into the entry level stewardship agreement. (258820)

Compliance with single payment scheme cross compliance requirements has been a requirement for environmental stewardship agreements entered into from January 2007. Cross compliance changes, to be introduced in January 2010 as a result of the recent CAP health check agreement, will apply to these environmental stewardship agreements. A public consultation on the health check changes will be launched later this year.

Environment Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received on the cost of implementation of those provisions of the Stockholm Convention relating to environmental protection. (258833)

We have received no recent representations on the cost of implementation of those provisions of the Stockholm Convention relating to environmental protection.

Farmers’ Markets: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding is available under the England Rural Development Programme to support the establishment of farmers' markets in 2008-09. (260183)

Under axis 1 of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) funding is available for opening new marketing opportunities for agricultural and forestry products, putting the emphasis on quality. Under axis 3 of the RDPE, funding is available for the promotion of tourism activities linked to quality regional and local food culture. It is for each region to determine whether the establishment of farmers’ markets is a priority for them.

Fisheries

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will meet representatives of the small and under-10 metre fishing fleet from the Thames Estuary and East Anglia Coast to discuss his Department’s policy on inshore fishing. (259609)

Following the December announcement on a package of measures designed to bring short-term stability to the English inshore fleet, a project—Sustainable Access to Inshore Fisheries (SAIF)—is now under way in DEFRA to develop a strategy for the fleet’s long-term sustainability. Through the SAIF project, DEFRA officials and I will engage with a wide range of industry and community representatives over the next few months. We intend to arrange a series of meetings around the coast, and I would be pleased to include the Thames estuary and East Anglian coast as areas for inclusion in the meeting schedule.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew: Fees and Charges

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the retail prices for (a) entry and (b) guided tours have been reduced at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew as a result of the December 2008 reduction in value added tax. (258387)

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew reviews its prices regularly, using other, similar visitor attractions as a benchmark. Initial plans to raise entry prices by 50 pence for this year have now been deferred, with prices held instead at 2008 levels. This is to reflect the recent reduction in value added tax.

Guided tours at the Royal Botanic Gardens are either free of charge or specifically priced to meet individual customer requirements.

Sewers: Fats

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if his Department will introduce measures to require commercial hot food premises to have a grease control system to prevent the entry of fats, oils and greases into the sewerage system; (259319)

(2) what steps his Department and its associated public bodies are taking to prevent the discharge of fats, oils and greases into the sewerage system from commercial hot food premises; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of local voluntary schemes for installing control measures in commercial hot food premises as a means of preventing the discharge of fats, oils and greases into the sewerage system.

I have been asked to reply.

There is a general requirement in building regulations, and more generally other public health legislation, that drains should be constructed in such a way as to minimise the risk of blockage. Grease from hot food premises is acknowledged as a significant cause of drain blockages. Drainage is dealt with in part H of the Building Regulations and when the guidance was comprehensively revised in 2002 additional guidance was added about the provision of grease control measures to hot food premises. Where drains malfunction, building legislation provides local authorise with enforcement powers to ensure that the problem is remedied.

In order to test the effectiveness of the above measure my department was party to a joint research project with the water industry. The outcome of this research has enabled water companies and local authorities to be more confident in their enforcement measures and has enabled some pilot projects to deal with some particularly troublesome cases and bring them to a satisfactory conclusion.

Welsh Language

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many members of staff at each grade in his Department identify themselves as Welsh speakers. (257792)

[holding answer 23 February 2009]: DEFRA does not monitor the number of staff at each grade in the Department who identify themselves as Welsh speakers. DEFRA does however provide a Welsh language service for our customers through our customer call centres and through our telephone helplines.

Culture, Media and Sport

Departmental Art Works

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 26 January 2009, Official Report, column 54W, on departmental art works, what the (a) title, (b) artist and (c) Government Art Collection reference number is of each Government Art Collection item reported as stolen in each year since 1997-98. (258586)

The following Government art collection works have been stolen since 1997-98:

Title

Artist

Last known location

Government art collection reference number

Lake Landscape

George Arnald

Ambassador’s temporary Residence, Buenos Aires, between 23 and 30 August 2001, presumed stolen.

GAC7462

St. James’s Park and Banqueting House

Anthony Highmore

Ambassador’s temporary Residence, Buenos Aires, between 23 and 30 August 2001, presumed stolen

GAC7963

Sir Woodbine Parish (1796-1882)

after Thomas Phillips

Ambassador’s temporary Residence, Buenos Aires, between 23 and 30 August 2001, presumed stolen.

GAC1328

Offering to Jupiter

Michele Rocca

Ambassador’s temporary Residence, Buenos Aires, between 23 and 30 August 2001, presumed stolen.

GAC2298

Landscape

Edward Williams

Ambassador’s temporary Residence, Buenos Aires, between 23 and 30 August 2001, presumed stolen.

GAC2703

Sir William Chambers

Francis Cotes

Stolen from the Somerset House Trust, Somerset House, London, in February 2008 and recovered by the police in September 2008.

GAC0/252

Shipping 1821

J.T. Serres

Stolen from the Somerset House Trust, Somerset House, London, in February 2008 and recovered by the police in September 2008.

GAC3158

Departmental Public Bodies

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 1 July 2008, Official Report, column 880W, on Departmental non-departmental public bodies, how many times bodies for which his Department is responsible asked (a) his Department and (b) the Treasury to approve (i) capital projects of £6 million and above, (ii) gifts and non-statutory contingent liabilities of £100,000 and above, (iii) spending which exceeded limits set out in the relevant financial memoranda and (iv) spending which could have potentially set an expensive precedent, caused repercussions for others or which was novel or contentious in each of the last three years. (248884)

A survey of the last three financial years to date has indicated that my Department’s non-departmental public bodies made the following requests, which are set out in the following tables. This may not be a complete list, however further information can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

(a) Requests for which DCMS approval is required

Spending which exceeded limits set out in the relevant financial memoranda

2006-07

3

2007-08

2

2008-09 (to date)

5

(b) Requests for which HM Treasury approval is required

2006-07

2007-08

2008-091

Capital projects of £6 million and above

5

5

4

Spending which exceeded limits set out in the relevant financial memoranda

0

0

1

Gifts and non-statutory contingent liabilities of £100,000 and above

0

0

0

Spending which could have potentially set an expensive precedent, caused repercussions for others or which was novel and contentious

21

12

24

1 To date.

Economic Situation

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what (a) summits, (b) conferences and (c) seminars his Department has hosted since January 2008 at which a primary subject of discussion was the effect of the economic situation on matters within his Department’s responsibility. (259751)

The Department has held regular internal discussions on responding to the economic situation, including discussions with its Advisory Board. The Department is also working closely with its sponsored bodies to help our sectors continue to function effectively and manage the risks which the present economic situation presents.

Recent external meetings on this issue included a tourism summit in Liverpool on 9 January 2009 convened by VisitBritain, which considered ways to help support the tourism industry through the downturn and beyond. The Creative Economy Programme Ministerial Steering Board received a presentation by Will Hutton in December on the impact of the economic downturn on the Creative Economy.

Olympics

Departmental Correspondence

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what her Office’s average response time to a letter received from (a) an hon. Member and (b) a member of the public was in each year since its establishment. (251450)

The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members correspondence. The report for 2007 was published on 20 March 2008, Official Report, columns 71-74WS. Information for 2008 is currently being collated and will be published as soon as it is ready. Reports for earlier years are available in the Library of the House. General correspondence to the Minister for the Olympics on Olympic issues is responded to by officials at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport aims to respond to letters from the public within 20 working days of receipt. Statistics on the percentage responded to within this target are available in the Department’s annual reports. I am informed that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport could provide information on average response times to letters from the public only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Minister for the Olympics how much has been spent by her Office on staff reward and recognition schemes in each year since its inception. (248721)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Watson) to him on 24 February 2009, Official Report, column 578W.

Departmental Recruitment

To ask the Minister for the Olympics how much (a) her Office and (b) the Olympic Delivery Authority has spent on recruitment agencies in each of the last three years. (250268)

In each of the last three financial years, Government Olympic Executive (GOE) has spent the following on recruitment agencies. This has supported the recruitment of six senior managers, including the director general and the director of build and finance:

£

April 2008-20 January 2009

55,787.83

April 2007-March 2008

63,728.67

April 2006-March 2007

119,618.64

Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA)

The ODA’s spend on recruitment reflects the requirement to recruit quickly at all levels to a newly established organisation while maintaining the delivery programme for the venues and infrastructure for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics Games. In each of the last three financial years, the ODA has spent the following on recruitment agencies, for the recruitment of 220 personnel at all levels of the organisation:

£

April 2008-December 2008

194,366.22

April 2007-March 2008

825,714.62

April 2006-March 2007

892,447.98

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Abortion

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department holds on estimates by the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities on the number of people who died as a result of illegal abortions in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. (259039)

I have been asked to reply.

In 2007 the World Health Organisation (WHO) published estimates, on behalf of all UN agencies, of the incidence of unsafe abortion and associated deaths for the year 2003. This report which includes detailed information on the methodology used in calculating estimates can be found on the WHO website:

http://www.who.int/reproductive-health/unsafe abortion/

Given the clandestine nature of abortion in many settings and the difficulties in collecting data, it is likely that the true levels of unsafe abortion and related mortality are higher than estimated.

Worldwide an estimated 19-20 million unsafe abortions are estimated to occur each year. Millions of women and girls suffer complications following unsafe abortion and around 67,000 die as a result of these complications. Most of these abortions, complications and deaths could be prevented if people who wished to had access to family planning and if abortion services had been legally available and affordable everywhere. Progress to achieve Millennium Development Goal number five, Improve Maternal Health, cannot be made unless we are prepared to do something to reduce the death and disability caused by unsafe abortion.

Afghanistan: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress has been made towards the eradication of poppy growing in Afghanistan. (259396)

The Afghan Government’s poppy eradication campaign was launched on 5 February 2008 in Helmand province through the deployment of the poppy eradication force, followed by Governor-led eradication, which started on 15 February 2008.

So far 2,000 hectares of poppy has been destroyed, which represents good progress.

Eradication forms a key pillar of the Helmand food zone programme, led by Governor Mangal, whereby farmers have been informed that poppy grown within this area should be eradicated. Governor-led eradication efforts have commenced elsewhere and will continue until July 2009. However it is too early to predict what the final national eradication figure will be.

Armed Forces: Deployment

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what UK armed forces are currently based in (a) Belize, (b) the British Indian Ocean Territory and (c) Ascension Island. (259328)

I have been asked to reply.

The number of armed forces personnel in each location, rounded to the nearest five, is as follows:

Location

Number

Belize

60

British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)

40

Ascension Island

15

Binyam Mohamed

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has had discussions with the government of Ethiopia on the return of Mr Binyam Mohamed to that country. (259027)

We have kept the Government of Ethiopia informed of the progress of Mr. Binyam Mohamed’s release and return to the UK but we have not made representations on his transfer to Ethiopia. Our goal has been to contribute to US Government efforts to close Guantanamo Bay by securing the release and return to the UK of those who were legal residents in the UK prior to their detention. Mr. Binyam Mohamed’s return does not constitute a commitment by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary that he may remain permanently in the UK.

Birtukan Mideksa

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has made representations to the government of Ethiopia on the detention of Birtukan Mideksa; and if he will make a statement. (258690)

We have raised the detention of Birtukan Midekssa with the Ethiopian authorities on a number of occasions since her arrest on 29 December 2008. On 2 February 2009 my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. the Lord Malloch-Brown did so with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, pointing out the potential damage to Ethiopia’s image of imprisoning an opposition leader politician.

We will continue to urge the Ethiopian government to resolve this issue quickly.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Diplomatic Service

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications of the decision by Miroslav Lajcak, High Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina, to step down from that post; and if he will make a statement. (253958)

The international community will need now to find a credible successor to Miroslav Lajcak who can continue to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in moving away from ethnic divisions towards a better future for all its citizens.

A decision on this appointment is expected later this month.

Eventual closure of the Office of the High Representative will remain dependent on the fulfilment of the conditions set by the Peace Implementation Council, namely the so-called five objectives and two conditions. The Peace Implementation Council will meet again on 25-26 March 2009 to consider progress against those conditions.

Brussels: Visits Abroad

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times he has visited Brussels on official business in the last 12 months. (259537)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has visited Brussels 17 times on official business in the last 12 months.

Colombia: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of allegations of links between Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and drug traffickers. (260003)

[holding answer of 2 March 2009]: No reports have been received to support any such allegations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what mechanisms are in place to ensure that counter-narcotics assistance provided by the Government to the Colombian security forces is not used for counter-insurgency purposes. (260004)

[holding answer of 2 March 2009]: We scrupulously monitor all UK engagement with the government of Colombia on counter-narcotics. Our work continues to meet the highest standards of probity and effectiveness. We do not provide any counter-insurgency assistance.

We fully endorse the efforts of the Government of Colombia to legitimately tackle the influence of illegal, criminal and terrorist groups in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law.

Departmental Foreign Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) EU foreign nationals and (b) non-EU foreign nationals are employed by his Department. (256209)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and FCO Services employ only UK nationals in permanent civil service positions (of which there are currently 5,935) in the UK or overseas.

Our missions overseas employ a total of approximately 10,000 locally-recruited staff of various nationalities, both EU and non-EU. We do not hold records centrally of the nationalities of these staff.

Departmental Plants

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department has spent on (a) pot plants and (b) flowers in each of the last three years. (254877)

Spending on plants and flowers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) UK estate in the last three years is as follows:

Plants

£

February 2008 to January 2009 — (includes replacement of large external plants in the Old Admiralty Building, London)

5,343.13

February 2007 to January 2008 — (includes replacement of deteriorated wooden plant boxes in Carlton Gardens)

4,114.00

February 2006 to January 2007

1,599.00

Flowers1

£

February 2008 to January 2009

27,750.15

February 2007 to January 2008

34,285.00

February 2006 to January 2007

32,962.63

1 Spending on flowers includes that incurred by Government Hospitality, part of the Protocol Directorate in the FCO. Government Hospitality have responsibility for the organisation of official ministerial hospitality for all Government Departments.

Information on how much is spent on plants and flowers at the FCO’s overseas posts is not held centrally and would incur a disproportionate cost to collate.

Departmental Work Experience

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what opportunities for work experience directorates of his Department offer to university students who are not (a) entitled to a full maintenance grant and (b) eligible for work experience schemes offered to those from a minority ethnic background. (258627)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offers an Undergraduate Placement Scheme to all UK university undergraduate students who are not in their final year at university and who fulfil the minimum nationality and residency eligibility criteria.

The FCO also participates in the Cabinet Office run Summer Placement Scheme. This is a work placement scheme for undergraduates/graduates who have a registered disability in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

More information on the Undergraduate Placement Scheme can be found at:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/about-the-fco/working-for-us/work-experience/undergraduate

More information on the Summer Placement Scheme can be found at:

http://diversity.faststream.gov.uk/index.asp?txtNavID=133

Family Planning

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports his Department has received on coercive family planning policies in other countries; and if he will make a statement. (259056)

I have been asked to reply.

The Department for International Development (DFID) does not hold records on reports of coercive family planning overseas.

The UK government's policy on population and sexual and reproductive health in the developing world is about providing choice, not coercion. Couples and individuals should be able to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children, and have access to the information and services to be able to do so. DFID actively works to promote and uphold the principles of free and informed choice as set out in at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994.

Foreign Students

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what research his Department conducted on likely levels of demand for its Partner University Placement Scheme among eligible groups prior to the scheme’s inception. (258547)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office used a Higher Education Standards Agency report to identify 10 universities that performed highest across three key standards: academic performance, social inclusion and ethnic diversity. We did not conduct specific research among the eligible groups into the likely levels of demand for the scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when his Department’s Partner University Placement Scheme was established; and how many students have taken part in the scheme. (258548)

The Partner University Placement Scheme was established in 2007. 21 students have taken part in the scheme to date.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the eligibility criteria for students wishing to take part in his Department’s Partner University Placement Scheme are. (258549)

The eligibility criteria for the Partner University Placement Scheme are that students must be:

either

from a minority ethnic background

or

in receipt of a full university maintenance grant (or Scottish equivalent).

and

from Bath, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Oxford, King’s College London, University College London or Manchester Universities,

in their penultimate or final year of university,

be 16 years or over at the time of applying,

be a British citizen,

have been resident in the UK for two out of the last 10 years immediately prior to their application, at least one year of which must have been a consecutive 12-month period, unless they have served overseas with HM Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of our Government, or have lived overseas a result of their parents’ or partner’s Government employment.

Group of Twenty: London Summit

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate has been made of the cost of accommodation for (a) foreign heads of state and government and (b) foreign delegations attending the G20 summit to be held in London in April 2009. (259365)

Participating countries are responsible for their own accommodation costs. There will be no cost to the Government.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library copies of proposed menus for meals to be provided to participants in the G20 summit in London in April 2009. (259366)

The planning for the London summit in April 2009 is still being formulated. Any hospitality offered by the Government during the summit will be commensurate with the nature of the occasion. As such menus for the hospitality around the London summit will be published, in accordance with normal practice, after the event.

Iran: Christianity

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of (a) closures of churches in Iran and (b) the treatment of Christians in that country; what recent representations he has made to the Government of Iran on the matter; and if he will make a statement. (259541)

We have not received recent reports regarding the closure of churches in Iran, but we do have serious concerns about the treatment of Christians, in particular those who have converted from Islam to Christianity. We regularly raise these concerns with the Iranian authorities, both bilaterally and through the EU. We made over 40 representations in 2008, expressing our firm opposition to all forms of discrimination and oppression. We continue to urge Iran to respect and protect its religious minorities and free all prisoners held due to their faith or religious practice.

Middle East: Armed Conflict

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had discussions with his Turkish counterpart on Gaza since the last meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. (260000)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not discussed Gaza with his Turkish counterpart since the World Economic Forum in Davos. However, this remains an issue of ongoing concern and we would expect to engage with Turkey when the opportunity arises.

I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on 11 February 2009, Official Report, column 2008W.

Pakistan: Christianity

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of (a) closures of churches in Pakistan and (b) the treatment of Christians in that country; what recent representations he has made to the government of Pakistan on the matter; and if he will make a statement. (259539)

We have not received reports of closures of churches in Pakistan. Our officials in London and in Islamabad regularly meet with representatives of civil society and human rights organisations to monitor the treatment of minorities and inform our policy more widely. During these discussions, the closure of churches in Pakistan has not been raised as a concern.

With our EU partners, we regularly raise our concerns over the situation of christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan. We have called for the government of Pakistan to promote tolerance, take measures to protect freedom of religion or belief and repeal or reform discriminatory blasphemy legislation.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers have also met with organisations representing minority groups in Pakistan and have raised human rights concerns with the Government of Pakistan.

Roy Bennett

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to seek the release of Roy Bennett, designated Deputy Minister of Agriculture on the National Unity Government of Zimbabwe to (a) the government of Zimbabwe, (b) other states in the region and (c) international organisations; and if he will make a statement. (258839)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary in his statement of 11 February 2009 called for the immediate release of all political detainees. Our officials made clear to the Zimbabwean embassy in London our concerns about detainees on 16 February 2009 including Roy Bennett.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) brokered the power-sharing agreement, and has responsibility for supporting its implementation. We will continue to work closely with SADC, EU partners and the international community to capitalise on this opportunity to promote reform and human rights in Zimbabwe.

The statement made by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on 11 February 2009 is available for viewing at the following internet address:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/newsroom/latest-news/?view= PressS&id=13462857

Sri Lanka: Armed Conflict

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had recent discussions with representatives of the Sri Lankan government on (a) the prevention of civilian casualties and (b) protection for displaced people in Sri Lanka. (258466)

When my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary telephoned President Rajapakse on 30 January 2009, they discussed the humanitarian situation. He made clear our concerns over the civilians caught up in the fighting in northern Sri Lanka.

In a statement on 2 February 2009, which is available for viewing on the internet at:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/newsroom/latest-news/?view= PressS&id=13166258,

he urged both the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers Tamil of Eelam to respond appropriately to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, in particular by allowing the wounded to receive medical treatment; civilians to leave the conflict area; and unrestricted access for humanitarian agencies.

We continue to raise these issues with the Sri Lankan Government at the highest level.

Sri Lanka: Religious Freedom

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Sri Lankan government on the provisions of the Prohibition of Forcible Conversions Bill restricting religious conversions. (254830)

[holding answer 9 February 2009]: We have expressed our concern over religious freedoms to the Sri Lankan Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management through our high commission in Colombo.

We will continue to raise our concerns over the Prohibition of Forcible Conversions Bill and any other legislation that reduces freedoms protected by international human rights law with the Sri Lankan Government.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had recent discussions with representatives of the Sri Lankan government on freedom of religious expression in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. (258467)

Our high commission in Colombo recently expressed our concerns over religious freedoms to the Sri Lankan Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management.

In addition, in a statement on 23 February 2009, the EU expressed its concern about a draft Bill relating to religious freedoms, which is currently awaiting further discussion in the Sri Lankan Parliament. We will continue to raise our concerns with the Sri Lankan Government about any legislation that reduces freedoms protected by international human rights law.

Terrorism: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the Prime Minister’s Statement of 14 November 2007, Official Report, columns 667-72, on national security, what the breakdown is of the £400 million to be spent to tackle radicalisation and promote understanding overseas in each of the next three years by each Government department involved; and if he will make a statement. (258918)

The actual figure invested through Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), British Council and the Department for International Development (DFID) to tackle radicalisation and promote understanding overseas during the period 2008-11 is approximately £386 million.

Working with partner Departments, the FCO leads on co-ordinating HMG PREVENT activity overseas, including prioritisation of funding against agreed objectives. The individual Departments’ contributions over the three year period are approximately:

FCO—£80 million

DFID—£300 million (exact sum will be determined by assessment of the underlying drivers of poverty, exclusion and radicalisation in relevant countries)

British Council—£6 million

Tibet: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has held with his Chinese counterpart on the status of Tibet in the last 12 months. (259926)

Over the last 12 months, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has discussed the status of Tibet with Foreign Minister Yang on a number of occasions. The issue was discussed during the Foreign Secretary’s visit to Beijing in February 2008 and again while they were in New York for the UN General Assembly in September 2008.

The status of Tibet was also discussed when the Foreign Secretary was in China for the Asia-Europe meeting in October 2008, and most recently when the Foreign Secretary met Foreign Minister Yang in London on 1 February 2009 at the UK-China summit. During these meetings, the Foreign Secretary emphasised that the current political difficulties in Tibet can best be resolved through dialogue between the Chinese Government and the representatives of the Dalai Lama.

Turkey: Kurds

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his (a) Turkish and (b) Iraqi counterpart on the situation of Kurdish people in (i) Turkey and (ii) Iraq in the last 12 months. (259997)

Iraq’s and in particular the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) relationship with Turkey has greatly improved over recent months and continues to progress positively. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has raised with Turkish Foreign Minister Mr. Babacan the issues faced by the Kurdish population in Turkey’s south-east in the context of its fight against terrorism. We have strongly encouraged an improvement in dialogue between Turkey and the KRG authorities to reach a co-ordinated approach to address the complex socio-economic issues of Turkey’s south-east region. The Turkish Government has announced a comprehensive package to address these.

During his recent visit to Iraq and on previous meetings with the Iraqi leadership, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary also discussed the continuing efforts of reconciliation among the various communities within Iraq, including the Kurdish population. We continue to encourage both Arab and Kurdish leadership in Iraq to overcome their differences and compromise on issues of national importance.

United States: Visits Abroad

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times he has visited (a) the United States, (b) Paris and (c) India on official business in the last 12 months. (259536)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has visited the US five times, Paris four times and India once on official business in the last 12 months.

Written Questions: Government Responses

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to respond to Question 253469, tabled by the hon. Member for Hendon on 27 January 2009 for named day answer on 2 February 2009, on casualties from fighting in Sri Lanka. (258909)

Zimbabwe: Asylum

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken to ensure the payment of pensions to former Zimbabwean public servants now residing in the UK; and if he will make a statement. (258266)

We are concerned about the non-payment of pensions by the Zimbabwean authorities, who have long been failing on their legal commitment to pay the pensions of former employees of the Southern Rhodesian Government and other Zimbabwean pensioners.

We are aware of the severe difficulties this causes to former Zimbabwean public servants now residing in the UK and will continue to remind the Zimbabwean authorities of their legal commitment.

Treasury

Banks

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) subsidiaries and (b) branches each bank regulated by the Financial Services Authority has in (i) Jersey, (ii) Isle of Man, (iii) Guernsey, (iv) the Cayman Islands, (v) the Bahamas and (vi) Bermuda. (259375)

Banks: Finance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the Dutch government on a contribution from them towards the financial assistance provided by the UK Government to (a) ABN Amro and (b) other Dutch banks via their parent companies in the UK. (259131)

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations and international partners. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he plans to have with his counterparts in other governments on contributions from them towards the financial assistance provided to banks from their countries by the UK Government. (259132)

The current financial crises are global problems and require international, as well as domestic, solutions. The UK Authorities have been heavily involved in work at both EU and international level to enhance the stability and resilience of the global financial system.

The Government will continue to work in close co-operation with international partners.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what proportion of the capital provided from UK Government funds via UK Financial Investments Ltd to Royal Bank of Scotland has been used to provide additional capital to ABN Amro; (259133)

(2) what proportion of the capital provided from UK Government funds via UK Financial Investments Ltd to Lloyds HBOS has been used to provide capital to its overseas subsidiaries;

(3) what proportion of the capital provided from UK Government funds via UK Financial Investments Ltd to Royal Bank of Scotland has been used to provide capital to its overseas subsidiaries.

Under the recapitalisation scheme announced on 8 October 2008, the Government have invested £19.97 billion in Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (RBS) and £16.96 billion in Lloyds TSB Group plc (Lloyds) and Halifax Bank of Scotland plc (HBOS). The recapitalisation agreements are between the Treasury and RBS, Lloyds and HBOS respectively.

It is a matter for each group to deploy capital where needed to support their businesses.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much public money is invested in fossil fuel exploration, transportation and generation through UK Financial Investments’ shareholdings in (a) Royal Bank of Scotland, (b) Lloyds TSB/Halifax Bank of Scotland, (c) Northern Rock and (d) Bradford and Bingley. (260453)

It is a matter for each of these companies’ management to release specific business updates or provide any required disclosures in their audited annual report and accounts.

The Government’s investments are managed on a commercial basis by UK Financial Investments Ltd. (UKFI), a company which is wholly owned by the Government. Its overarching objectives are to protect and create value for the taxpayer as a shareholder, with due regard to financial stability and acting in a way that promotes competition.

Child Care Vouchers: Self-employed

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department is taking to encourage the use of child care vouchers by people who are self-employed. (260055)

Child care vouchers are not available to self-employed persons. Employer supported child care is reliant upon arrangements made between an employer and employee. Self employed persons can receive assistance with child care costs via the child care element of working tax credits, subject to the level of household income.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much his Department has spent on (a) creating and (b) managing its YouTube channel since June 2007; (260443)

(2) how many civil servants in his Department at each pay band (a) were employed in establishing its YouTube channel and (b) are employed on managing the channel.