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Written Answers

Volume 491: debated on Thursday 30 April 2009

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 30 April 2009

Communities and Local Government

Aetherius Society

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to Lord Lester of Herne Hill of 30 March 2009, Official Report, House of Lords, column 203WA, on places of religious worship, whether funding has been allocated to the Aetherius Society (a) from her Department and (b) under any programmes that her Department funds. (272241)

The Aetherius Society has not applied for or received funding from any programme supported by the Department.

Common Purpose: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding her Department has given to Common Purpose since the Department's establishment. (272481)

Communities and Local Government has not provided any funding to Common Purpose. It has however spent £20,950 on six Common Purpose training programmes since the year 2000.

Council Housing: Tamworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many council dwellings have been (a) sold and (b) built in Tamworth constituency since 1997. (272069)

The Communities and Local Government (CLG) data related to the sale and new build council homes is based on local authority boundaries rather than constituency boundaries.

The following table shows the number of “Right to Buy” sales only from 1998-99, as there is no disaggregated data prior to this date. Similarly the data for new build council housing is only available from the year 1999-2000.

Tamworth borough council council house right to buy sales

Tamworth borough council—new build council housing

1996-97

1

1

1997-98

1

1

1998-99

98

1

1999-2000

147

0

2000-01

116

0

2001-02

164

0

2002-03

226

0

2003-04

240

0

2004-05

139

0

2005-06

85

0

2006-07

28

0

2007-08

24

0

Total

1,267

0

1 No data.

Source:

Communities and Local Government

Departmental Billing

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of its suppliers her Department has paid within 10 days of receipt of invoice in each of the last five months. (272251)

The percentage of CLG suppliers paid within 10 days of receipt of invoice in each of the last five months is as follows:

Percentage paid within 10 days

2008

November

77.89

December

85.23

2009

January

86.22

February

88.11

March

88.33

Departmental Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which organisation was the successful bidder for the contract for departmental travel with OGCbuying.solutions project code project_17667; and what the total value of the contract is. (272441)

The tenders for this contract are still being evaluated and no award has been made. The Department anticipates an award notice being made by the end of May. No fixed value was quoted in the award but approximate figures on the Department's current annual travel expenditure were quoted as follows:

£

Rail

800,000

Air

200,000

Hotel

400,000

Car

20,000

When the contract is awarded it will be open to the Department's executive agencies and non-departmental bodies.

Empty Property

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homes had been empty for more than six months in (a) England, (b) the North East, (c) Tees Valley and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency on the latest date for which figures are available. (271348)

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for North West Cambridgeshire (Mr. Vara) on 16 December 2008, Official Report, column 586W. Data are not available at a constituency level.

Housing Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of tenants of (a) registered social landlords and (b) local authorities were in receipt of housing benefit in each of the last three years. (272110)

Estimates of the percentages of registered social landlord tenants and local authority tenants in receipt of housing benefit in 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 are provided in the following table. These estimates are based on data from the Survey of English Housing.

Social sector households in receipt of housing benefit, England, 2004-05 to 2006-07

Percentage

Tenure

Local authority

Registered social landlord1

All social renters

2004-05

62

61

61

2005-06

62

60

61

2006-07

63

63

63

1 Sometimes referred to as housing associations.

Source:

Communities and Local Government, Survey of English Housing

Housing Market

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate has been made of the net cost to the public purse of the changes to the measures to support the housing market announced in the Budget 2009 in each of the next three years. (271372)

The measures to support the housing market include a £605 million funding package for house building (including a housing environmental package), £90 million to extend the stamp duty land tax holiday, £235 million to help those facing difficulties with their mortgage payments, and £120 million extra support for the devolved administrations. The costs and receipts (where applicable), over each of the next three years, are reported in tables 1 and 2. The differences between Table 1 and Table 2 represent the net cost to the public purse.

Table 1: Budget 2009 housing market measure, costs (£ million)1

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

Total

Stalled sites

320

80

0

400

LA house building

30

70

0

100

Housing environmental package

75

30

0

105

Stamp duty land Tax Holiday

90

0

0

90

Additional resources for preventing repossessions and evictions2

50

50

0

100

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)

135

0

0

135

Extra devolved administration funding (Barnett formula)

85

35

0

120

Total

785

265

0

1,050

1 Figures are rounded to the nearest £5 million

2 Includes MRS

Receipts back to the Government will accrue from elements of the stalled sites package, specifically from the Equity, Gap and Infrastructure and Homebuy Direct measures:

Table 2: Budget 2009 housing market measure receipts (£ million)

Stalled sites

2009-10

0

2010-11

110

2011-12

10

Total

120

Housing: Low Incomes

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many affordable homes have been built in (a) Hemel Hempstead and (b) Hertfordshire in each year since 1997. (271258)

Information on affordable housing completions is collected by the East of England Regional Assembly using returns from local authorities. It is available by borough/district council for the years since 2001 only.

The following table sets out the numbers of affordable housing completions and this amount as a percentage of total housing completions.

Hemel Hempstead (Dacorum Borough)

Affordable housing completions (net)

Total housing completions (net)

Affordable housing as a percentage of total completions

2001-02

44

318

14

2002-03

101

642

16

2003-04

28

430

7

2004-05

55

301

18

2005-06

-29

167

0

2006-07

137

413

33

2007-08

118

391

30

Total

454

2,662

17

Note:

The figure for affordable housing completions in 2005/06 (-29) includes demolition of council affordable housing stock.

Hertfordshire

Affordable housing completions (net)

Total housing completions (net)

Affordable housing as a percentage of total completions

2001-02

489

3,151

16

2002-03

577

3,214

18

2003-04

589

3,085

19

2004-05

862

4,043

21

2005-06

842

4,054

21

2006-07

1,222

4,343

28

2007-08

1,168

4,277

27

Total

5,749

26,167

22

Note:

Figures are provided by the East of England Regional Assembly and may show minor differences to local authority’s own annual monitoring data.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what additional funding will be provided to the Homebuy Direct scheme as a result of the Budget 2009; and how many additional homes it is expected to purchase; (271379)

(2) how many homes she expects to be purchased under the Homebuy Direct scheme in each of the next three years.

I announced in December 2008 that sufficient funding had been made available to help up to 18,000 first-time buyers enter affordable home ownership through the HomeBuy Direct scheme by the end of 2009-10. The actual number of transactions will depend on take-up.

£400 million of additional funding will be made available as a result of the Budget to unlock currently stalled housing developments, leveraging in private development finance through a combination of reducing up-front costs with equity, gap and infrastructure funding, and additional funding for social and affordable housing. We estimate that this will provide up to 5,000 properties over the next two years to help first-time buyers, including through our HomeBuy Direct and Rent to HomeBuy schemes. The precise amount of additional funding provided to the HomeBuy Direct scheme will depend on the sites that come forward from developers, and ultimately on take-up by buyers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 23 April 2009, Official Report, columns 886-87W, on housing: low incomes, how much of the funding originally intended for allocation to local authorities in 2010-11 has been brought forward for use in (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2009-10. (272109)

Communities and Local Government brought forward £1,475 million from 2010-11 as a result of initiatives announced in the September Housing Package and pre-Budget report. £250 million of this had been allocated for the Decent Homes programme. £130 has been brought forward to 2008-09 and £120 million to 2009-10.

In addition, the Department has already allocated £162 million to local authorities from a total pot of up to £175 million brought forward from 2010-11 to 2009-10 to accelerate major repairs to council housing stock.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many new build social homes were built in each (a) region and (b) local authority area in each year since 1997. (272208)

A table showing the number of new homes built for social rent by region and local authority for each year from 1997-98 has been deposited in the Library.

The social rent new build figures are from the Homes and Communities Agency Investment Management System (IMS), and Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA) returns and P2 house building returns submitted to CLG by local authorities.

Not all social rented housing is provided by new build completions, as some supply can come from acquisitions. For example, an additional 3,980 social rented homes were acquired in England in 2007-08; these are not included in the table.

Housing: Planning Permission

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many applications for planning permission to build new dwellings were (a) made and (b) granted in the last 20 quarters for which figures are available. (272100)

Information on the number of applications for planning permission to build new dwellings in the last 20 quarters is not held centrally.

The number of planning permissions granted to build new dwellings for the last 20 quarters in England is shown in the following table:

Period

Number granted (thousand)

2004

January to March

12.4

April to June

13.0

July to September

13.7

October to December

13.3

2005

January to March

12.6

April to June

13.3

July to September

13.2

October to December

12.7

2006

January to March

12.1

April to June

12.7

July to September

12.9

October to December

11.8

2007

January to March

12.1

April to June

12.5

July to September

12.7

October to December

13.0

2008

January to March

12.1

April to June

12.1

July to September

11.2

October to December

10.1

Source:

Communities and Local Government General Development Control Returns PS2/PSF

Housing: Prices

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average house price in 2008-09 prices was in each region in each of the last 10 years. (270683)

Communities and Local Government currently have house price data up to February 2009. The following table shows regional mix-adjusted house prices at 2008 prices calculated using regional mix-adjusted average purchase prices of domestic dwellings based on data from the Regulated Mortgage Survey and the ONS Retail Prices Index.

Mix-adjusted house prices by region at 2008 prices

North East

North West

Yorkshire and the Humber

East Midlands

West Midlands

East

London

South East

South West

England

1999

82,941

93,709

87,847

92,897

105,601

133,147

195,981

161,671

119,700

129,882

2000

84,002

98,285

90,077

101,231

116,109

149,740

220,384

185,690

133,954

144,212

2001

86,336

105,428

96,471

110,593

122,955

160,718

233,444

199,615

147,375

152,639

2002

100,440

120,837

114,733

135,939

147,042

192,915

252,299

228,651

178,940

175,645

2003

112,068

129,089

127,156

157,830

157,454

215,030

280,171

252,494

202,075

196,476

2004

139,511

153,762

151,038

174,117

178,050

226,865

295,987

262,001

220,237

212,829

2005

147,467

163,462

160,296

178,210

183,413

228,466

297,954

260,746

222,889

216,027

2006

151,239

165,471

165,459

176,246

184,173

229,153

305,163

260,942

224,470

217,616

2007

153,986

168,452

170,076

179,332

185,493

240,261

342,257

277,564

233,413

230,029

2008

144,528

157,685

159,253

166,079

172,059

228,737

331,454

265,829

218,281

218,327

In January of each year the mix adjustment weights are revised to reflect the pattern of property transactions during the previous three years. The mix-adjusted average prices for the rest of the year are then determined using the new weights. Consequently house prices between years cannot be compared because the years’ weights are different.

Housing: Sales

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homes have been purchased through the First Time Buyers Initiative in each month since the scheme’s inception. (271466)

The number of homes that have been purchased to date through the First Time Buyers Initiative in each month since the scheme's inception is as follows:

FTBI exchanges and completions

Exchanges by month

Exchanges cumulative

Completions by month

Completions cumulative

November 2006

0

0

0

0

December 2006

1

1

1

1

January 2007

5

6

4

5

February 2007

6

12

2

7

March 2007

32

44

16

23

April 2007

63

107

32

55

May 2007

101

208

47

102

June 2007

137

345

108

210

July 2007

85

430

33

243

August 2007

84

514

49

292

September 2007

108

622

109

401

October 2007

87

709

80

481

November 2007

67

776

72

553

December 2007

78

854

92

645

January 2008

46

900

73

718

February 2008

64

964

54

772

March 2008

83

1,047

71

843

April 2008

95

1,142

88

931

May 2008

89

1,231

79

1,010

June 2008

126

1,357

172

1,182

July 2008

71

1,428

56

1,238

August 2008

62

1,490

52

1,290

September 2008

76

1,566

131

1,421

October 2008

73

1,639

74

1,495

November 2008

65

1,704

61

1,556

December 2008

91

1,795

161

1,717

January 2009

36

1,831

27

1,744

February 2009

47

1,878

51

1,795

March 2009

77

1,955

72

1,867

Housing: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent progress her Department has made towards its aspiration to build all housing to Lifetime Homes Standards. (271637)

It remains our aspiration, as stated in “Lifetime Homes, Lifetime Neighbourhoods: A National Strategy for Housing in an Ageing Society”, published by my Department in February 2008, that by 2013 all new homes will be being built to Lifetime Homes Standards. We are committed to a review of the take-up of the standards in 2010, with a view to bringing forward regulation in 2013 should take-up not match expectations.

Local Government Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the operation of the comprehensive area assessments. (271575)

It is too early to have made any assessment of the effectiveness of the operation of the new Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA), since it was only introduced from 1 April 2009.

The first CAA reports are expected to be published in late November 2009.

Local Government: Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made in implementing reform of the Local Government Pension Scheme; and if she will make a statement. (271238)

The statutory consultation regulations to begin the reform of the Local Government Pension Scheme was launched in a ministerial written statement to the House on 23 November 2006, Official Report, column 69WS. Subsequently, new arrangements came into operation on 1 April 2008.

Local Government: Publicity

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable is for changes to the Guidance on Local Authority Publicity; and whether an impact assessment has been produced in relation to its potential effect on local newspapers. (272153)

The recent consultation on proposed changes to the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity closed on 12 March and the Department is currently considering the responses. The outcome of the consultation will help us decide what if any changes are to be made to the publicity code, and it will be at this point that we will undertake any impact or regulatory assessment before finalising the decision.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has issued to local authorities on publishing their own newspapers. (272360)

The Code of Recommended Practice on local authority publicity, which all local authorities must have regard to, applies to all publicity issued by a local authority, whatever the form of the publication.

Mortgages: Government Assistance

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what expenditure her Department has incurred on establishing the (a) Mortgage Rescue Scheme and (b) Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme. (266407)

The Mortgage Rescue Scheme was established as part of ongoing work on the Department’s homelessness prevention programme. The impact assessment for the homeowners mortgage support scheme will be published shortly, alongside the scheme launch.

Planning Permission

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many planning permissions were (a) applied for and (b) granted in the last quarter for which figures are available. (272228)

The number of planning permissions applied for and granted in England, in the last quarter for which figures are available is shown in the following table:

Period

Number received

Number granted

October to December 2008

111,000

91,000

Source:

Communities and Local Government General Development Control Returns PSF

Planning Permission: Aviation

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what changes to planning guidance there have been relating to the development of airfields since 2005. (272425)

There have been no changes to planning guidance relating to the development of airfields since 2005.

Planning Permission: Sustainable Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent steps she has taken to increase efficiency, effectiveness and transparency in the planning system; and what recent steps she has taken to ensure that the planning system facilitates sustainable development. (271573)

Since 1997 we have made significant progress in improving the planning system.

Through the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and Planning Policy Statement 1 (PPS1) we have put the delivery of sustainable development at heart of the planning system. Alongside PPS1 we have introduced clear national policy on the role of planning in addressing climate change: tackling climate change is now firmly at the centre of what is expected from good planning.

More recently, the Planning Act 2008 provides for the creation of a more efficient, effective and transparent development consent regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects. It provides for ministers to set out the national need for infrastructure in National Policy Statements, a new single consent regime to replace the eight existing development consent regimes for nationally significant infrastructure projects, and the establishment of an independent Infrastructure Planning Commission to examine and (where a relevant National Policy Statement is in force) determine applications made under this new regime, at the same time locking more meaningful public involvement into each stage of the process. The aim is to reduce the time taken from application to decision to under a year in the majority of cases, saving up to an estimated £300 million a year. Under the Act, Ministers must, when preparing National Policy Statements, do so with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development, and all NPSs will be subject to an appraisal of sustainability, ensuring that sustainable development is at the heart of the new regime.

In late 2008, we introduced changes to permitted development for certain householder extensions and loft conversions, which is expected to remove about 80,000 applications a year from the system.

The process of planning reform is continuing. In March this year, the Government set out their response to the Killian Pretty review, which sets out an ambitious programme of further improvements to the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning application process.

In addition, the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill introduces a clear duty for responsible regional authorities, when preparing their new integrated regional strategies, to exercise their functions with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development. There is also a requirement for regional strategies to include policies designed to contribute to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change.

Regeneration: Preston

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations she has received from hon. Members on the redevelopment of Preston city centre. (271307)

While other objectors have raised issues on the redevelopment of Preston city centre Tithebarn scheme, no representations have been received from hon. Members on this scheme.

Regional Planning and Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding for infrastructure was allocated by her Department to the Milton Keynes/South Midlands Growth Area in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08 and (c) 2008-09. (271630)

The Department for Communities and Local Government provides funding to support local infrastructure in growth areas and growth points through the Growth Fund and the Community Infrastructure Fund, which is a joint fund with the Department for Transport. The Growth Fund and Community Infrastructure Fund are additional to mainstream departmental funding in areas such as health, education and national transport networks.

Funding is allocated to local authorities, and to transport authorities for the Community Infrastructure Fund, rather than on a growth area-wide basis. The funding allocated to growth locations through the Growth Fund and Community Infrastructure Fund in 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2008-09 is shown in table 1. The total funding allocated to locations across the Milton Keynes South Midlands (MKSM) growth area over this period was £298.2 million.

In addition, funding allocations for 2009-10 and 2010-11, and the second round of the Community Infrastructure Fund, have now been announced, and are shown in table 2. A further £128.08 million funding has been allocated to growth locations across the Milton Keynes South Midlands growth area over this period.

Table 1: funding across the MKSM growth area 2006-09

£ million

Growth funds

Community Infrastructure Fund, round 1

Places

2006-07

2007-08

2008-091

Total

2006-07 to 2007-08

Aylesbury Vale

5.28

7.45

4.78

17.51

22.63

Milton Keynes

11.04

10.15

10.2

31.39

33.42

West Northants

22.34

17.71

13.38

53.43

19.92

North Northants

5.4

15.77

11.98

33.15

7.4

Luton/South Beds

6.69

9.59

10.69

26.97

14.5

Bedford/Marston Vale

5.62

14.5

5.8

25.92

0

Northamptonshire County2

5.49

6.5

0

11.99

0

Sub total

61.86

81.67

56.83

200.36

97.87

Total growth funds and CIF funds

298.23

Note:

£17.7 million from the CIF1 allocation was carried forward into 2008-09 to support seven projects whose timetable had slipped.

1 2008-09—figures show the first of three year unringfenced block funding allocations covering the period 2008-09 to 2010-11.

2 Northamptonshire County—figures include strategic projects to support the county as a whole.

Table 2: funding across the MKSM growth area 2009-11

£ million

Growth funds

Community Infrastructure Fund, round 2

Places

2009-10

2010-11

Total

2009-10 to 2010-11

Aylesbury Vale

4.7

4.74

9.44

4.55

Milton Keynes

9.1

9.13

18.23

5.6

West Northants

12.74

12.48

25.22

6.87

North Northants

11.55

11.59

23.14

6.6

Luton/South Beds

5.82

5.33

11.15

l

Bedford /Marston Vale

8.12

8.16

16.28

0

Sub total

52.03

51.43

103.46

24.62

Total growth funds and CIF

128.08

Rented Housing: Public Consultation

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 23 March 2009, Official Report, column 79W, on tenant services authority, how many people attended each National Conversation event for (a) landlords and (b) tenants. (272202)

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Planning to my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, South (Margaret Moran) on 26 March 2009, Official Report, column 732W.

Temporary Accommodation

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people were in temporary accommodation in England in (a) 2004, (b) 2005, (c) 2006, (d) 2007 and (e) 2008. (271577)

Information about English local housing authorities’ actions under the homelessness legislation (part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected quarterly at local authority level, about households rather than individuals.

Data collected include the number of households accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to secure that suitable accommodation is available). If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority must secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes so.

Information on the numbers of households housed in temporary accommodation is reported quarterly by local authorities as at the last day of each quarter. The figure includes: those households which have been accepted as owed the main homelessness duty; those for which enquiries are pending; those being accommodated for a limited period because they have been found intentionally homeless and in priority need; those being accommodated pending possible referral to another authority, and those being accommodated pending the outcome of a local authority review or county court appeal.

The number of households in temporary accommodation at the end of each quarter is published in table 7 of the Statistical Release on Statutory Homelessness. Quarter four within this table is based on 31 December, which represents the end of calendar year figure. This is available on the web and in the Library:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/xls/1173159.xls

Please see the following table:

Households in temporary accommodation on 31st December each year from 2004 to 2008

Households in temporary accommodation

2004

101,030

2005

98,730

2006

89,510

2007

79,500

2008

67,480

Zero Carbon Hub

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) of 23 April 2009, Official Report, column 892W, on the zero carbon hub, if she will place in the Library a copy of each regular report made to date. (272243)

The reports referred to are being made available on the Zero Carbon Hub’s website:

www.zerocarbonhub.org

Defence

Armed Forces: Rescue Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many military helicopters have been available to provide search and rescue cover in each of the last 12 months; (271461)

(2) how many search and rescue helicopters were available on average to provide cover for such activities in each year since 2003.

The average number of UK based Search and Rescue Royal Navy and RAF helicopters available for tasking in each year since 2003 is shown in the following table:

Average number of helicopters

2003

24

2004

24

2005

25

2006

26

2007

26

2008

26

Helicopter availability in each of the last 12 months is shown in the following table:

Average number of helicopters

2008

April

26

May

26

June

25

July

25

August

25

September

26

October

26

November

26

December

25

2009

January

25

February

25

March

26

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many search and rescue training exercises have taken place (a) in each year since 2003 and (b) in each of the last 12 months. (271463)

The training undertaken by UK based military search and rescue (SAR) helicopter crews can range from daily training flights devised by the crews in order to refresh particular skills and maintain operational effectiveness, to pre-planned exercises involving the emergency services.

Data on daily training flights, which represent the majority of the training undertaken by RAF SAR crews, are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, data are available on the number of pre-planned training exercises the RAF has undertaken with the emergency services. This information is provided in the following table for the period 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2008 and the 12 months from April 2008.

Number of exercises

2003

29

2004

15

2005

23

2006

20

2007

19

2008

18

Month

Number of exercises

2008

April

1

May

1

June

0

July

2

August

3

September

2

October

0

November

5

December

1

2009

January

0

February

1

March

4

The available information on the number of Royal Navy SAR training flights is compiled on a different basis and does not differentiate between daily training flights and multi-agency training exercises. The following table shows the training flights undertaken by Royal Navy SAR crews in each of the last 12 months. Data for the period 1 January 2003 to 31 March 2008 are only held in archives and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Number of rescue training exercises flown

771 NAS, RNAS Culdrose

Gannett SAR Fit, Prestwick

April 2008

38

49

May 2008

43

42

June 2008

43

55

July 2008

44

38

August 2008

34

34

September 2008

44

44

October 2008

44

39

November 2008

42

46

December 2008

43

44

January 2009

41

37

February 2009

40

38

March 2009

45

28

RAF Welford: Security

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Lewes of 17 November 2008, Official Report, column 153W, on RAF Welford, whether the security enhancements at RAF Welford have been completed; and whether a complement of Ministry of Defence police remains stationed at the base. (271264)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 17 November 2008, Official Report, column 153W, to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker). Although significant progress has been made, the security enhancements at RAF Welford are not yet complete. The Ministry of Defence police will not be withdrawn from RAF Welford until the necessary security enhancements at the base have been completed.

Electoral Commission Committee

Liberal Democrats: Donations

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what progress the Electoral Commission has made in its investigation into the permissibility of donations by 5th Avenue Partners and Mr. Michael Brown to the Liberal Democrat Party. (271948)

The Electoral Commission informs me that the investigation into the permissibility of donations made to the Liberal Democrat party by 5th Avenue Partners is continuing. The Commission further informs me that its aim remains to conclude the investigation as quickly as possible, but that its priority must be to ensure that the process is fair and thorough.

Political Parties: Accountancy

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what revised timetable the Electoral Commission has established to take forward its Standardisation of Statement of Accounts initiative. (271947)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it intends to announce details of the revised timetable before the summer recess.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Cayman Islands: Financial Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consideration he has given to directing the Governor of the Cayman Islands to comply with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s requirements on tax disclosure, financial regulation and oversight; and if he will make a statement. (271787)

[holding answer 28 April 2009]: In the Cayman Islands, finance is a constitutionally devolved competence, which gives primary responsibility for legislation and regulation to the Government of the Cayman Islands.

The Government continually underline to all territories the importance of meeting international standards on information exchange, in the context of both taxation and regulatory matters. At the overseas territories consultative council meeting in November last year territories were encouraged to make progress towards the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) standards on tax transparency. The Governor repeated this message prior to the G20 Summit.

The Cayman Islands was one of the first jurisdictions to commit to the OECD international standard on exchange of information in 2000. The Leader of Government Business in the Cayman Islands re-committed to this standard in March 2009 and Cayman has signed eight tax information exchange agreements to date. Last year it introduced a unilateral legal mechanism for the provision of tax information assistance pursuant to which they have extended assistance to a further 12 other jurisdictions. This approach is currently being considered by the OECD with a view to confirming whether it meets their standard. The Cayman Islands, along with other relevant overseas territories, is also compliant with the requirements of the EU savings tax directive.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in his letter to the Government of the Cayman Islands following the summit stressed the need for them to at least match the global pace on the exchange of tax information and urged them to meet the OECD standard in time for the UN General Assembly meetings in September. He has also encouraged them to meet any new international standards which may emerge. The Government will continue to work with all the overseas territories to support them in reaching these targets.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reason responsibility for (a) financial regulation and oversight and (b) compliance with (i) obligations imposed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and (ii) other treaty obligations relating to financial regulation and oversight and disclosure are matters reserved to the Governor of the Cayman Islands. (271788)

[holding answer 28 April 2009]: Financial regulation and oversight are not matters reserved to the Governor of the Cayman Islands. Responsibility has been devolved to the Cayman Islands Government.

Compliance with treaty obligations extending to the Cayman Islands, including those relating to financial matters, is primarily the responsibility of the territory Government, and we expect them to comply fully with those obligations. However, the UK is ultimately responsible for the territories’ compliance with treaty obligations under international law.

Under the 1972 (current) Cayman Islands Constitution the Governor is the Queen’s representative in the territory and has responsibility for external relations and, therefore, the territory Ministers have no power or authority to enter into a binding international commitment unless authorised by entrustment from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Community Relations: Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 March 2009, Official Report, column 226W, on terrorism: finance, whether any of the projects to tackle radicalisation and promote understanding overseas are being delivered by subcontractors. (270675)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides funding to a range of organisations to deliver projects which tackle radicalisation and promote tolerance. These organisations are primarily responsible for delivery of projects but are able, under the grant agreement, to sub-contract parts of the project to other organisations or individuals, for example where specialist skills or knowledge are required.

Implementers are chosen according to a rigorous selection board, and their own implementation of the project held to account on a regular basis by review, monitoring and evaluation. This includes the implementer's financial management and choice of subcontractors. Choice of subcontractors must be undertaken in accordance with proper procurement principles. The FCO, as the contracting authority, retains the right to dismiss any subcontractor whose performance is demonstrated to be unsatisfactory through the regular monitoring and evaluation processes.

Council of Europe

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the UK Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe on the choice of the next Secretary General of the Council of Europe. (272059)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London and the UK Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe and her team have remained in close touch on this issue since the process for selection of the next Secretary General was launched in July last year. Good leadership is key to delivery of our strategic objective of international institutional reform. We have been in the forefront in working for a fair, open, competence-based selection process.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Human Rights

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the safety and whereabouts of Dolly Inefo Mbunga, Floribert Chebeya Bahizire and Donat Tshikaya following their arrests in Kinshasa; and what recent representations he has made to the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the disappearance of human rights workers. (271596)

Dolly Inefo Mbunga, Floribert Chibeya Bahizire and Donat Tshikaya were released on 17 March 2009, and are now at liberty.

The EU presidency, the European Commission and the EU’s Special Representative to the Great Lakes region raised the issue in meetings with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Ministers shortly after the men’s arrest. UN officials also made representations to the DRC authorities about this incident.

Officials from EU member states, who co-operate closely on human rights questions in DRC, have discussed the arrest with Mr. Chibeya and agreed to follow this issue.

The UK, through its aid programme, is also funding projects to help civil society organisations play an effective role and to encourage accountability in the security services.

Iran: Nuclear Weapons

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 15 September 2008, Official Report, column 2185W, on Iran: nuclear weapons, if his Department will assess the effect of (a) EU and (b) UN sanctions on the Iranian (i) economy and (ii) nuclear and ballistic weapons programmes. (271014)

There are no plans at present to issue a formal study on the effect of EU and UN sanctions on the Iranian economy and nuclear and ballistic weapons programmes. However, we regularly monitor the impact of sanctions on Iran.

Our assessment is that UN sanctions have made it more difficult for Iran to procure items for its nuclear and ballistic weapons programmes. Sanctions continue to affect parts of the Iranian economy, particularly through the disruption of the international operations of a number of Iranian companies and those Iranian banks listed in the sanctions. Anecdotal evidence from sources inside Iran indicates that sanctions have increased the inconvenience and general cost of doing business.

EU sanctions, which implement and go beyond UN measures, have had a similar effect on a larger number of individuals and entities.

Israel: EU External Trade

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has obtained a legal opinion on the duty of recognition in international law to assist in formulation of policy on the labelling of goods from Israeli settlements. (271617)

The Government are currently considering the issue of the labelling of products imported from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including relevant domestic and international law issues.

Middle East: Armed Conflict

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking to investigate and report on the use of UK-supplied weapons during Israel's military operation in Gaza; and if he will make a statement. (250363)

I refer the right hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on 21 April 2009, Official Report, column 8WS.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers and (c) officials in his Department plan to have with governments of Arab states in respect of the alleged murder of persons in the Gaza Strip by Hamas members since December 2008; and if he will make a statement. (272168)

We condemn all attacks targeting innocent civilians. The UK is clear in its calls for Hamas to renounce all violence, and to adhere to international law. Ministers remain in close touch with their counterparts in Israel and around the Arab world.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take at the United Nations in respect of the alleged murder of persons in the Gaza Strip by Hamas members since December 2008; and if he will make a statement. (272178)

The Government condemn all attacks targeting innocent civilians. The UK led the way at the UN to achieve Security Council Resolution 1860 which clearly condemns all violence directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism. It also spelt out that a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means.

Pakistan

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Pakistani Government on (a) power-sharing arrangements between the provincial and federal governments in and (b) the distribution of funding to different parts of that country; and if he will make a statement. (270100)

These issues are raised as part of our ongoing co-operation with the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to establish strong democratic frameworks at federal and provincial levels.

During a visit to Pakistan in July 2008, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) offered to share UK experience of public administration of central and local government. This was reiterated when the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State visited Pakistan in April 2009.

During discussions involving officials from our High Commission in Islamabad, in preparation for the 17 April 2009 Tokyo Donors' Conference, Pakistan's Secretary for Finance recognised that the Government of Pakistan's budgetary allocation gives insufficient weight to the North West Frontier Province, Baluchistan and the Federally administered tribal areas. Pakistan wants assistance from the World Bank to establish a Trust Fund for the border areas which will also provide for governance reform there. The UK supports this initiative.

The UK also supports the Government of Pakistan in distributing funding throughout Pakistan through the Department for International Development's (DSD) Development Partnership Arrangement. DFTD gives budget support to the Government of Pakistan to help it increase spending on sectors such as health and education, and to reduce poverty. DFTD works to improve the capacity of provincial governments to manage their human and financial resources. DFTD is also planning substantial support for the education sector in the provinces of Punjab, Balochistan and North West Frontier province.

Pakistan: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Pakistan on the implications of the recent agreement between the Government of Pakistan and militants in the Malakand region of the Swat Valley for (a) the security situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan and (b) human rights in the Malakand region; and if he will make a statement. (271011)

I last discussed the broader political and security situation in North West Frontier Province with Prime Minister Zardari on Friday 24 April 2009, and with Foreign Minister Qureshi on Saturday 25 April. My officials have repeatedly raised the situation in Malakand with the Government of Pakistan, and have expressed our concerns about the recent agreement with militants, which has not led to lasting security in Pakistan, and also has implications for regional security. We are also concerned about reports of human rights abuses by militants in Swat. We welcome the Government of Pakistan's commitment to fight back against violent extremism. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has presented to Parliament the UK policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan (29 April 2009, Official Report, column 869) and made clear that we will intensify our support to Pakistan's efforts to take stronger ownership of the problems of terrorism and violent extremism.

Russia: BBC External Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions he has met experts on Russia, international affairs and broadcasting to discuss the BBC Russia Service since 2008; and what the outcome of such discussions has been. (271192)

Since 2008, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not met with any experts to discuss the BBC World Service Russian Language Service. He has met with experts on Russia to discuss and inform the development of overall policy to Russia, most recently in June 2008.

Sudan: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect on the political situation in the Chad-Sudan border area of the recent activities of Chadian armed opposition groups in Western Darfur; and what recent discussions the UK Special Representative for Sudan has had with the governments of Chad and Sudan on security in that area. (271728)

There are frequent reports of large groups from both the Justice and Equality Movement—a Darfuri rebel group—and the Chadian armed opposition on both sides of the Chad-Sudan border. There have, however, been no recent reports of movement. The UN-African Union hybrid mission in Darfur (UNAMID) continues to monitor the situation. The UK Special Representative for Sudan has had no recent discussions with the governments of Sudan or Chad on this issue.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of the recent conflict between the Lou Nuer and Murle tribes on the security situation in Southern Sudan; and whether there are plans to increase the number of UN peacekeepers in that area. (271730)

The UK is very concerned by insecurity in Southern Sudan and most recently by the fighting between Lou Nuer and Murle tribes in Jonglei state. This fighting has had a negative effect on the security situation in the South and increases concern of such incidents sparking more widespread conflict.

The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) are monitoring the situation in Jonglei and have dispatched a team to assess security and humanitarian needs. UNMIS have not yet increased the number of peacekeepers in the affected areas but we understand that plans to do so are currently being discussed.

Yemen: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions his Department has had with the Yemeni government on the security situation in Yemen. (271387)

Our ambassador maintains a regular dialogue with the Government of Yemen about the security situation there. He discussed this issue most recently with the Minister of Interior on 19 April 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the UK contribution towards tackling terrorist activity in Yemen. (271388)

We maintain a wide-ranging dialogue with the Government of Yemen including on issues relating to counter terrorism (CT). We have a programme of CT capacity-building with the Yemeni authorities which aims to develop a self-sustaining Yemeni capability to tackle the terrorist threat. This includes working with the Yemeni Government to develop an inclusive and effective approach to counter extremism.

Prime Minister

Departmental Internet

To ask the Prime Minister whether the recording of his statement on hon. Members' allowances uploaded to his YouTube channel on 21 April required more than one take. (272003)

Honours

To ask the Prime Minister (1) what the names are of those whose honours have been cancelled by the Forfeiture Committee since 1997; and for what reasons each honour was cancelled; (271526)

(2) how many inquiries the Forfeiture Committee has undertaken following a complaint from (a) a member of the public, (b) a professional body or organisation and (c) an hon. Member since 1990; and how many of these inquiries were instigated at the Committee's own volition.

Notice of forfeiture is published in the London Gazette, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House. The details of why an individual forfeits an honour are confidential.

Treasury

Adjudicator's Office

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many complaints have been made by members of the public about the work of the Adjudicator in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (271784)

Complaints about the work of the Adjudicator are made to the parliamentary ombudsman. Information available on complaints made to the ombudsman are available in the ombudsman’s annual report, available at:

http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/improving services/ annual_reports/index.html

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people were employed (a) full- time and (b) part-time at the Adjudicator's Office on the latest date for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. (271785)

Information about the number of people who work in the Adjudicator's Office is provided in the annual reports, available at:

http://www.adjudicatorsoffice.gov.uk/publications.htm

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what funding his Department has allocated to the Adjudicator’s Office in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (271786)

The information about funding of the Adjudicator’s Office is provided in the annual report, available at:

http://www.adjudicatorsoffice.gov.uk/publications.htm

Banks: Iran

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions since November 2008 his Department has exercised its powers under Schedule 7 of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 in respect of Iran; and if he will make a statement. (270652)

In its advisory notice of 11 March 2009 HM Treasury made clear that in the light of the call by the Financial Action Task Force for countermeasures against Iran, the UK is considering what further action is required.

No directions with respect to Iran have been issued under Schedule 7 of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008.

Departmental Correspondence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many letters from hon. Members his Department received in (a) January and (b) February 2009; and how many letters received from hon. Members in 2008 were responded to (i) in less than two weeks, (ii) in between two weeks and one month, (iii) in between one and two months and (iv) in over two months. (265940)

The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members and Peers correspondence. The report for 2008 will be published shortly.

Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) by what date he expects the Reclaim Fund established under the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 will have transferred funds to the Big Lottery Fund; (272052)

(2) when the Reclaim Fund will be established under the provisions of the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008.

The Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 received Royal Assent on 26 November 2008. HM Treasury is consulting on secondary legislation to enable the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to regulate a reclaim fund. The consultation will close on 4 May 2009:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/consult_dormant_accounts_scheme.htm

The FSA is separately consulting on a proportionate regulatory regime for a reclaim fund. The consultation will close on 30 April 2009:

http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Library/Policy/CP/2009/09_08.shtml

The Government intend the scheme to be operational as soon as possible, subject to parliamentary approval.

Excise Duties: Alcoholic Drinks

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many representations his Department has received from (a) hon. Members and (b) members of the public on charges: the rate of duty on beer in the last 12 months; and how many were (i) in favour and (ii) against increases in duty. (271600)

Treasury Ministers and officials receive representations from a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such representations.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will assess the effect of the increase in beer duty announced in the 2009 Budget on (a) trends in the rate of public house closures and (b) local economies. (271606)

As with all tax policy decisions, we will be monitoring the impact of alcohol duty increases on a range of factors.

I regularly meet representatives from the trade, including the British Beer and Pub Association, to listen to their views on the impact of alcohol duty policy on the pub industry.

Government Departments: Location

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what provision he has made in his Department's expenditure estimates for the relocation of government services out of London in each of the next six financial years. (271775)

The Treasury is a small central Department, working directly to Ministers and Parliament. There are no plans to relocate any Treasury functions out of London in either 2009-10 or 2010-11. Spending plans for the following three years will be settled in the next spending review.

Non-Domestic Rates

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what provisions he plans to bring forward to introduce automatic rate relief for small businesses in England; and if he will make a statement. (271531)

The Government are keen to continue to improve the administration of small business rate relief to make it easy to claim and increase its take up. The Chancellor has therefore asked his Department’s officials to work with CLG officials to see what can be done to improve the take up of the scheme.

Tax Collection: Languages

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to make tax forms in (a) Polish, (b) Romanian, (c) Moldovan and (d) other European languages available for people whose first language is not English. (271524)

Forms from HM Revenue and Customs, including tax returns, are not generally made available in languages other than English.

HMRC offers targeted support in languages other than English for customers:

Who are new to the UK, and new to the language, to enable them to meet their obligations and get access to services while they are settling in. Examples include a link on the ‘Coming to work in the UK’ HMRC website page, helpsheets on ‘Working in the Construction Industry: new Construction Industry Scheme guidance’ and on the Child Trust Fund, and miscellaneous airport and port notices.

From more established communities, where there is evidence to suggest that they need special help.

From within the travelling public who are entering or passing through the UK.

The help HMRC provides takes the form of:

simple information products, in plain English and key languages (including Polish), with key introductory information and signposting to further information and support; and

support and tools to better equip staff and intermediaries to help customers complete forms in English and to understand their rights and responsibilities.

HM Revenue and Customs also provide telephone interpretation services to help customers whose first language is not English when they visit a face to face inquiry centre or speak to staff in contact centres.

Tax Havens: British Overseas Territories

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he plans to take to implement the commitments of the G20 Summit in respect of tax jurisdictions in overseas territories and Crown dependencies; what timetable has been set; and if he will make a statement. (271645)

The G20 called on all jurisdictions to apply the international standard of exchange of information in tax matters and resolved to take action against jurisdictions that failed to do so. All the UK's overseas territories and Crown dependencies have committed to meeting the standard. A report on progress is included in the interim report of the Foot review, published at the Budget:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/indreview_foot_review_progess_apr09__pu772.pdf

Where territories have been assessed by the OECD as not yet having substantially met the international standard, the Government will be working with those territories to help them achieve the standard as swiftly as possible.

Welfare Tax Credits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost to the Exchequer of increasing the first income threshold for tax credits to £10,000, removing the second income threshold and applying a constant taper rate of 44 per cent. (270853)

[holding answer 24 April 2009]: The estimated cost of increasing the first income threshold for tax credits to £10,000, of removing the second income threshold and applying a constant taper rate of 44 per cent. would be £1.4 billion in 2010-11. No account has been taken of possible behavioural effects.

These changes would not affect the number of claimants eligible for tax credits but would increase the number of claimants with awards reduced to zero.

Welfare Tax Credits: Maladministration

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what date HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) wrongly entered the date of birth of the constituent of the hon. Member for Bassetlaw, reference 02005341/ND on its database for tax credit purposes; on what date the tax credit award was terminated in consequence; on what date HMRC plans to reinstate the terminated award; and what compensatory payment HMRC proposes to make. (271676)

It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the specifics of individuals' tax affairs. HM Revenue and Customs have advised me that they contacted my hon. Friend's constituent on 28 April 2009 about their case.

International Development

Departmental Conferences

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the Answer of 16 March 2009, Official Report, column 840W, on the economic situation, what the cost of his Department’s Annual Conference on 9 and 10 March 2009 was, broken down by category of expenditure. (267997)

I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given today UIN 268013 to the hon. Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Mr. Moore).

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 2 April 2009, Official Report, column 1464W on Departmental Training, how much was spent by his Department on ministerial training on handling the media as part of their continuing development. (272185)

Israel: Borders

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the implications of the Israeli wall for the well-being of Palestinian people in the West Bank, with particular reference to their access to water; and if he will make a statement. (271114)

The Department for International Development (DFID) has made no recent assessment of the implications of the Israeli wall for Palestinian wellbeing in the West Bank. However, a UN report released in November 2007 found that some Palestinian communities located close to the Barrier or in the closed area between the Barrier and the Green Line had limited or no access to primary health care, that farmers had difficulties in gaining sufficient access to their land with a negative impact on their livelihoods, and that social relations were affected as relatives could not obtain ‘visitor’ permits to attend family occasions.

DFID also broadly agrees with a finding from the recent World Bank report, “Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector Development”, which states that physical access restrictions and closures, including the Separation Barrier, limit effective water sector management and development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The report is available on the World Bank website:

http://www.worldbank.org/

Non-Governmental Organisations

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which non-governmental organisations have received funds from the public purse to conduct aid work in Pakistan in the last five years; and how much each received. (270473)

The following table shows which non-governmental organisations have received funds, and the amounts received, from DFID in Pakistan during the last five financial years (including ICRC and IFRC):

£ millions

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2005 Earthquake Relief and Reconstruction, of which:

0

13.4

0.19

0.27

0.6

Oxfam

0

1.56

0

0

0

Islamic Relief

0

0.26

0

0

0

Christian Aid

0

0.66

0

0

0

Save the Children UK

0

1.8

0

0

0

Action Aid

0

0.3

0

0

0

Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN)

0

0.72

0

0

0

Mercy Corps

0

0.21

0

0

0

International Health Partners

0

0.05

0

0

0

Norwegian Refugee Council

0

1.85

0

0

0

CAFOD

0

0.31

0

0

0

International Medical Corps

0

0.29

0

0

0

GOAL

0

0.01

0

0

0

ACTED

0

0.94

0

0

0

Action Against Hunger

0

0.59

0

0

0

Internews

0

0.3

0

0

0

Tearfund

0

0.5

0

0

0

Merlin

0

0.8

0.19

0.27

0.6

Australian Aid International

0

0.2

0

0

0

Handicap International

0

0.3

0

0

0

HAPI

0

0.04

0

0

0

International Rescue Committee

0

0.3

0

0

0

Solidarity

0

0.31

0

0

0

World Vision

0

0.5

0

0

0

Birdlife International

0

0.02

0

0

0

Sarhad Rural Support Programme

0

0.61

0

0

0

2007 Floods—Humanitarian support, of which:

0

0

0

1.55

0

RSPN

0

0

0

0.25

0

IFRC

0

0

0

0.5

0

Oxfam

0

0

0

0.2

0

Islamic Relief

0

0

0

0.2

0

Mercy Corps

0

0

0

0.4

0

2008 Floods/Internally Displaced People—ICRC

0

0

0

0

1.0

Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN)

0.4

0.1

1.5

2.3

1.75

Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP)

0.56

0

0

0

0

Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP)—rural development

0.93

0.01

0

0

0

Kashf

0

0.99

0.63

1

1.75

Pakistan Microfinance Network

0.1

0.06

0.01

0.12

0.12

PAVHNA

0.6

0.05

0

0

0

Marie Stopes Society

0.3

0.22

0

0

0

The Network

0.18

0.26

0.42

0.13

0

Aga Khan Health Services

0.32

0

0

0.01

0

Islamic Relief

0.25

0.42

0.15

0.06

0.02

Futures Group

0.3

0.28

0

0

0

Greenstar

1.3

1.43

2.93

0

0

Heartfile

0

0

0

0.02

0

National Rural Support Programme

0

0

0.01

0.07

0.45

SRSP—rural drinking water

0.33

0.33

0.35

0.41

0.34

The Asia Foundation

0

0

0

0.44

0.44

PILDAT

0.18

0.12

0.08

0

0

Devolution Trust for Community Empowerment

2.75

0

0

4

0

National Democratic Institute

0

0.1

0.2

0

0

Pattan

0

0.13

0.09

0

0

Gender Equality Project

0.65

0.65

0.4

0

0

Gender Justice and Protection Fund

0

0

0

0.38

0.83

Strategic Opportunities Fund, of which:

0

0

0.03

0.1

0.04

The Asia Foundation

0

0

0

0.04

0.01

IUCN

0

0

0

0.05

0

Sustainable Development Policy Institute

0

0

0

0.01

0

Concern Worldwide

0

0.09

0.09

0.1

0.12

Sight Savers

0

0

0

0

0.06

Marie Stopes International

0.03

0.12

0.12

0.12

0.01

Birdlife International

0

0.03

0.08

0.1

0.16

Interact Worldwide

0.04

0.14

0.12

0.06

0.02

Total

9.22

18.93

7.4

11.2

7.71

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which non-governmental organisations have received funds from the public purse to conduct aid work in Iraq in the last five years; and how much each received. (270474)

The Department for International Development (DFID) provided funding directly to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Iraq over the last five years through two principal mechanisms: the Political Participation Fund and the Civil Society Fund.

The £5 million Iraq Civil Society Fund (CSF) supported projects that strengthened the capacity of Iraqi civil society organisations through partnerships with international NGOs. Funding was given to Christian Aid, Save the Children (UK), Mines Advisory Group (MAG), Help Age International, Women for Women International, Salvation Army, International Centre for Trade Union Rights, UNISON and the Women's National Commission. These NGOs, in turn, partnered a range of Iraqi organisations.

The £7.5 million Political Participation Fund (PPF) provided grants to grass-roots Iraqi civil society organisations to enable potentially marginalised groups to participate in the political process. Under the PPF, the international NGOs we supported were AMAR, Arab Gulf Studies Centre, Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), and the Irish Human Rights Network.

We have also contributed £55 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross for their humanitarian appeals during 2003-2009. We also provided recent funding directly to the BBC World Service Trust, to strengthen independent television and radio broadcasting in southern Iraq; and to the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC), to support development of the Iraqi justice sector.

Since 2003 DFID has also provided approximately £130 million of funding to UN agencies to support the most vulnerable people displaced inside Iraq and in the region. The UN agencies themselves pass the majority of these funds onto the international NGOs who act as the UN's implementing partners.

Finally, DFID has agreed Partnership Programme Arrangements to provide core funding to a number of major international NGOs. Of those, Oxfam, Islamic Relief and CAFOD all have programmes in Iraq.

The following table shows our direct disbursements to NGOs in Iraq during the last five financial years:

£ million

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Civil Society Fund (CSF)

2.2

1.7

1.05

0.02

0

Political Participation Fund (PPF)

1.7

2.3

0.06

1.5

0

BBC-WST

0.1

0.02

0

0

0

BBC Al Mirbad

1.6

2.5

2.6

0.9

1.2

Media IWPR

0.9

0.01

0

0

0

War Child

0.1

0

0

0

0

MAG

0.01

0

0

0

0

MAG North

0.2

0

0

0

0

ILAC

1.4

0.7

0.1

0

0

ACTED

0.2

0

0

0

0

AMAR

0.3

0.2

0

0

0

Solidarities Programme

0

0.07

0.08

0

0

International Committee of the Red Cross Appeals

16

10

4

7

6

SCF Security Enhancement

0.02

0.09

0.04

0.04

0

CARE

0.4

0.01

0

0

0

Total

25.1

17.6

7.9

9.4

7.2

Overseas Aid: Family Planning

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to ensure his Department's policies meet internationally agreed development goals in relation to provision of services relating to family planning, reproductive health and meeting the needs of young people; and if he will allocate 10 per cent. of overseas development assistance to population assistance. (270272)

The Department for International Development (DFID) accepts that there is a large, well documented, unmet need for family planning and is working to address this. We provide significant resources to improve access to sexual and reproductive health information, services and supplies (e.g. contraceptives). DFID supports the core work of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) with £8.5 million per annum and is providing £100 million to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) over the five-year period to 2013 to increase access to reproductive health commodities. Our bilateral programme supports contraceptive supply directly in several developing countries.

The UK Government are also committed to spending £6 billion on strengthening health systems and services over the seven years to 2015. Strong health education programmes, including targeted youth services, sexual and reproductive health and maternal health programmes are key elements of a well functioning health system.

DFID does not plan to adopt the target of allocating 10 per cent. of overseas development assistance to population assistance. DFID's country-led development approach is to support recipient governments to spend development assistance on the priorities they set themselves for helping their people out of poverty. DFID is committed to working to the Paris Principles concerning donor harmonisation and as part of this strongly supported the outcome of the recent the Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to drive partner country ownership and leadership and for donors to support this.

Poverty: Conferences

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what expenditure his Department incurred on (a) catering, (b) speaker’s fees, (c) venue fees, (d) staffing and (e) in total in relation to his Department’s Conference on Eliminating World Poverty held in London; and if he will make a statement. (268013)

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given on 18 March 2009, Official Report; column 1253W to the hon. Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Scott).

Yemen: Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department has spent on development projects in Yemen in each of the last five years. (271382)

Details of the Department for International Development’s (DFID) bilateral aid to Yemen over the last five financial years is outlined in the following table:

DFID bilateral expenditure in Yemen, 2003-04 to 2007-08

DFID bilateral expenditure (£000)

2004-05

5,549

2005-06

11,616

2006-07

8,310

2007-08

12,069

2008-09

119,228

1 Awaiting final reconciliation of year end accounts

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which organisations are involved in the delivery of his Department’s project in Yemen. (271383)

The following organisations are involved in the implementation of the Department for International Development’s programme in Yemen for 2008-09:

Social Fund for Development (SFD)

SFD is a Yemeni organisation which provides support directly to communities to improve education, health, roads, and water supplies. This includes micro-finance services and training for local development partners (government, NGOs, communities, and contractors).

World Bank

DFID is working with the World Bank to increase access to quality basic education, particularly for girls.

KFW Development Bank

KFW Development Bank acts on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). DFID is working with KFW through the girls access project (SEDGAP) to improve gender equity, quality and efficiency of general secondary education.

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

IFC are carrying out a range of activities to improve the enabling environment for businesses and investment.

World Food Programme(United Nations)

DFID is supporting the Emergency Food Aid relief programme in the Sa’ada Governorate.

Islamic Development Bank (IDB)

IDB aim to improve water and sanitation in Al-Howta City, Lahej Governorate.

GRM Consulting

GRM Consulting are improving the provision of justice systems and policing services.

Government of the Netherlands

The Dutch and DFID are working through a Delegated Cooperation Arrangement (DCA) on Maternal and Neonatal Health. The programme will reduce maternal and child mortality.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions his Department has had with the Islamic Development Bank on reducing levels of poverty in Yemen. (271384)

In late 2007 the Department for International Development (DFID) began discussions with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) about opportunities for joint collaboration to reduce poverty in Yemen. This resulted in DFID signing an agreement with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in November 2008 to co-fund the Urban Water and Sanitation Project in Al Howta City, Lahej Governorate in Yemen. The Project will bring clean water and improved sanitation to 36,000 people in Al Howta City by 2011. Funding is being provided through an IDB Loan of $10 million and a DFID Grant of £1.2million (2008-09).

DFID signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the IDB in January 2009 to develop further partnerships the first of which is the recently agreed Statistical Capacity Building programme (STATCAP) which will also include Yemen as a focus country.

I have regular meetings with the President of the IDB, Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al Madani.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what criteria his Department uses to assess the effectiveness of UK assistance to Yemen. (271385)

The Department for International Development (DFID) uses a range of different criteria to assess the effectiveness of UK assistance to Yemen.

All projects, whether implemented directly by DFID or through a partner organisation such as the World Bank or UN, have a monitoring and evaluation framework in place with an agreed set of indicators that are specifically designed for each project. Annual reviews are undertaken for each project. Where projects are jointly funded with other donors joint evaluations are undertaken.

DFID’s evaluation department is also currently undertaking an evaluation of DFID’s development assistance to Yemen. The evaluation will follow the OECD-DAC evaluation criteria and assess the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability of the DFID programme in Yemen. The 2008 OECD-DAC baseline survey shows that DFID has either met or is on track to meet all the 2010 targets contained in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.

The effectiveness of UK assistance to Yemen is also assessed against the three shared commitments (poverty reduction, human rights and public finance management) between the UK and the Government of Yemen and set out in the 10 year Development Partnership Arrangement (DPA). In March 2009 there was an annual review of both GoY commitments and DFID commitments.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Yemen. (271386)

Progress in Yemen against selected indicators for each of the Millennium Development Goals was published in the Department for International Development’s (DFID) 2008 Autumn Performance Report in December. This is available in the Library of the House or on-line at

www.dfid.gov.uk.

A more detailed assessment will be published in DFID's 2009 Annual Report in July.

Culture, Media and Sport

Arts: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding (a) his Department, (b) Sport England, (c) the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and (d) the Arts Councils is providing to each of the regional cultural observatories in 2009-10. (271228)

Prior to April 2009, collaborative research activity across culture and sport was centred on Regional Cultural Observatories (RCOs) and research capacities led by the Regional Cultural Consortiums (RCCs). As a result of the recent DCMS Review of Regional Working, the RCCs closed on 31 March 2009. The Arts Council, in partnership with English Heritage, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and Sport England has commissioned BMG Research to conduct an options appraisal to consider how regional culture and sport research needs can best be met now that the RCO hosts have ceased to operate. This project is expected to report in June 2009. DCMS funding of RCOs ended with the closing of the RCCs on 31 March 2009. In the meantime, some of the functions and services that were previously provided by RCOs are continuing in some regions. In particular, in the North West a consortium of higher education institutions, led by the University of Liverpool, has become the new host for the North West Cultural Observatory and the Arts Council is contributing £10,000 to support the transition to the new arrangements in 2009-10.

Commonwealth Games 2014: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether (a) he and (b) officials in his Department have had any recent discussions with (i) the Secretary of State for Scotland and (ii) Scottish Executive Ministers on National Lottery funding for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. (271826)

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has had regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Scotland on matters relating to the Commonwealth Games, sport and the National Lottery. He also discussed the legacy for the Commonwealth Games with the Scottish Minister for Public Health and Sport (Shona Robison MSP) on 31 March 2009.

Departmental Assets

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when his Department last reviewed its assets and land and property holdings with a view to identifying and disposing of surpluses. (269858)

Departmental Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether the changes recommended by the producers of the display energy certificate for 2-4 Cockspur Street regarding (a) run around coils for the air handling units and (b) a heat recovery heat pump for the comms room have been implemented. (270851)

The Department is currently carrying out a feasibility study to determine whether it is cost effective to install run around coils for the air handling units and heat recovery heat pump for the comms room.

Departmental Public Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for what reason there was an underspend against his Department’s estimated Capital Departmental Expenditure Limit in 2008-09 as referred to in the Budget 2009 Red Book, Table C11. (271820)

For 2008-09, the capital expenditure limit of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport includes both voted estimate provision and a departmental unallocated provision.

The main elements of the underspend are: (i) an unspent departmental unallocated provision of £168 million, which was provided for the Olympics in the Spending Review 2007, and (ii) an estimated underspend by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) in the financial year 2008-09, compared to their estimate provision.

The ODA’s funding is ring-fenced and the intention is that funds unspent in 2008-09 will be made available to meet the spending pressures primarily in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what contribution he expects each of his Department's (a) agencies and (b) business areas to make towards value for money savings in 2010-11 as referred to in paragraph C71 of the Budget 2009 Red Book. (271821)

The current detail as to how these savings will be delivered is set out in table 6.1 of the Budget 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport under which budgetary headings reductions to his Department's Resource Departmental Expenditure Limit for 2010-11, as referred to in Table C11 of the Budget 2009 Red Book, have been made. (271824)

The budgetary headings that have been reduced, and are reflected in Table C11 and Chapter 6 table 6.1 of Budget 2009 are Arts, Heritage, Museums, Galleries and Libraries, Sport, Broadcasting and Film.

Gambling Commission: Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was spent on staffing costs at the Gambling Commission in 2008-09. (271609)

[holding answer 28 April 2009]: The Gambling Commission have advised that £9,265,710 was spent on staffing costs in 2008-09. This figure includes all pension and national insurance costs.

Legacy Trust UK: Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much the Legacy Trust UK has spent since its inception. (272055)

The Legacy Trust UK (LTUK) was established with a £40 million endowment from the Big Lottery Fund, the Arts Council England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to support a wide range of innovative cultural and sporting activities for all, which celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and leave a lasting legacy in communities throughout the United Kingdom.

Since its inception LTUK has awarded a total of £30 million in grants. This is split between the 12 Nations and Regions projects (£24 million) and the funding ringfenced for the UK School Games (£6 million).

Licensed Premises

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in what languages examinations for a personal licence to operate a pub, club or off licence can be taken. (270705)

[holding answer 23 April 2009]: The Department's criteria for accredited personal licence course providers do not stipulate that examinations must be taken in languages other than English. Course providers are free to make a commercial decision to allow the examination to be taken in other languages if there is a demand for such a service.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what requirements there are on designated premises supervisors to be present at the licensed establishment for which they are responsible; who takes responsibility when the supervisor is absent; and if he will make a statement. (270706)

[holding answer 23 April 2009]: Under the Licensing Act 2003 ("the Act"), a premises licence must require that every supply of alcohol must be made or authorised by a person who holds a personal licence. Each premises licence authorising the supply of alcohol must specify one individual holding a personal licence as the designated premises supervisor ("DPS"). A DPS has no other unique statutory responsibilities other than those which apply to personal licence holders or more generally, to all persons retailing alcohol, such as the prohibitions on sales to people under 18 years or to people who are drunk. Any number of personal licence holders may be employed at the premises and the purpose of specifying one personal licence holder as the DPS is so that the police and other authorised persons under the Act have a single point of contact should some action need to be taken at the premises.

The Act itself does not require that the designated premises supervisor (DPS) should be present on licensed premises at all times when alcohol is sold. Indeed, given that the premises could be authorised to retail alcohol for up to 24 hours a day for 365 days each year, it would be unreasonable and probably unlawful to expect a single employee to be present at all times. Compliance with licensing law remains the responsibility of the premises licence holder (which may be a business, an organisation or an individual) at all times and cannot be delegated. Where necessary for the promotion of one or more of the four licensing objectives, a condition can be attached to a premises licence requiring the presence at all times of a personal licence holder.

Sports

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what baseline has been adopted against which to measure Sport England's progress towards the target of two million people regularly participating in sport by 2012; (269418)

(2) what baseline has been adopted against which to measure the Department's progress towards the target of two million people regularly participating in sport by 2012.

The Government's 2012 Legacy Action Plan (LAP), published in June 2008, sets a cross-Government target to get two million more adults active through sport and physical activity by 2012. DCMS and Sport England lead on getting one million more people doing more sport. A range of Government Departments will deliver programmes that will increase wider physical activity. Many of these programmes are outlined in the Department of Health's new Physical Activity Plan ‘Be Active, Be Healthy’ published on 11 February 2009.

Baselines for the two million and sports targets will be established using the 2007-08 Active People Survey. The baseline for Sport England's one million sports target is 6.8 million, whereas the baseline for the wider two million target will be calculated to take account of the additional data collected on dance and gardening from January 2009 onwards.

A newly established Physical Activity Programme Board, chaired jointly by the Department of Health and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, will oversee the delivery of the programmes against the LAP target.

Sports: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many voluntary community sports coaches have been appointed since the scheme’s inception. (272081)

Sport England has advised that there are no volunteer community sports coaches in the Community Sports Coach (CSC) Scheme. The CSC sports coaches were paid employees, therefore any volunteer coaches would not have been part of the Scheme.

Energy and Climate Change

Coal Fired Power Stations

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Wealdon of 11 March 2009, Official Report, column 525W, on Kingsnorth power station, when he plans to issue his consultation on a new framework for coal-fired power stations. (269203)

The timetable for publication of a planned new consultation on a new framework for coal fired power stations is currently under consideration.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the oral answer of 23 April 2009, Official Report, column 357, what percentage of GDP the Government are allocating to measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 2009 and 2020. (271857)

The recently published impact assessment used the HMRC's macroeconomic model to estimate that the cost of meeting our EU and UK greenhouse gas (GHG) targets would be 0.35 per cent. of GDP in 2020, in the absence of an international deal on climate change. This is in line with the Committee on Climate Change's estimate that the cost of meeting our carbon budgets is less than 1 per cent. of GDP in 2020.

However the cost will come from a combination of private and Government expenditure, depending on the specific policies put in place to deliver the greenhouse gas reductions in each sector of the economy.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when a reply will be sent to the hon. Member for West Chelmsford's letters of 18 and 22 September 2008 transferred from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR Reference: 96790/96957) concerning Mr A Hall and Mrs Patricia Yelf Gustar, both of Chelmsford; and what the reasons are for the time taken to reply. (248582)

Parliamentary Questions: Government Responses

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he plans to reply to Question 248582, on replying to letters, tabled on 13 January 2009; and what the reasons are for the time taken to reply. (272000)

I apologise that the hon. Member did not receive an answer to his question tabled on 13 January 2009 concerning replies to letters of 18 and 22 September 2008 on behalf of Mrs. P Y Gulstar and Mr. A Hall. I replied to these letters on 13 November and 31 October 2008 respectively and officials have resent copies of my replies.

Warm Front Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps were taken in response to the recommendations of the White Young Green Report of July 2007 on the Warm Front Scheme; and if he will make a statement. (263604)

The report made six main recommendations which are listed in the following table, along with the section of the report in which they appear and action taken.

Recommendation

Action

3.2 - Technical Survey 'eaga required to initiate technical verification checks on installer's quotations for boiler replacement and repairs...'

5% of all boiler replacement quotes are now independently assessed to ensure no over specification occurs.

3.3 - Balanced Scorecard 'Some of the data used to compile the balanced scorecard is incoming information from other eaga departments and is taken at face value and is not always subject to validation prior to inputting on to the scorecard. It is recommended that this process is reviewed...'

DECC has asked White Young Green to further review the current balance scorecard reporting and to suggest any improvements that could add value.

3.4-Inspections 'eaga to provide data to inspectors on materials supplied and work on the Scheme undertaken at properties to be inspected'

Material checks are now carried out on all gas central heating jobs.

3.5 - Customer response team 'The escalation procedure requires further review to ensure all complaints are captured... a review of complaints closure is required'

Eaga's Customer Management Department log all complaints in line with set procedures and an agreed standard definition of complaint. Eaga's escalation process has been streamlined to ensure the highest standards of service recovery are extended to all customers. Stronger relationships with key stakeholders have been developed and continue to be promoted.

3.5 - Customer Response Team (a) 'The issue of third party complaints requires review'

From January 1 2009, eaga's Customer Management Department has captured management information on the number of complaints raised directly with their subcontractors each month. This allows eaga and the Department to have full visibility of the overall levels of satisfaction.

3.5 - Customer Response Team (b) 'a review of closure of complaints is required'

Eaga's Head of Customer Management reviews each closed case on a monthly basis to ensure consistency in closure and drive best practice across the department.

Warm Front Scheme: Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the monetary value has been of Warm Front contracts with HES Ltd of Scunthorpe in the last eight years; and how many boilers have been installed under those contracts in each region of the UK. (266003)

[holding answer 24 March 2009]: Heating Efficiency Systems Ltd. started work under Warm Front in 2002 and therefore these data are for the years 2002 to 2009. The number of boilers installed by Heating Efficiency Systems Ltd. has been broken down regionally. The differentiation in volume of work by region is based on the fact that contractors bid to carry out work on a regional basis.

Number of boilers installed

East

7,537

North

564

South

10,163

West

1,837

Total

20,101

The monetary value of the Warm Front contract with Heating Efficiency Systems was £34,406,395.88 for August 2002 to March 2009.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Dogs: Hire Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward legislative proposals to restrict the operation of dog rental companies in England; and if he will make a statement. (272372)

The Government have no plans to bring forward legislative proposals to restrict the operation of dog rental companies.

Farms

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) starter, (b) progression and (c) large farms there are on each county council farm estate in England; and which farms are held as retirement or lifetime tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986. (271748)

The Annual Report to Parliament on Smallholdings in England provides an analysis of each local authority's smallholdings by size and the details of this are set out in the following table. DEFRA does not hold information on whether farms are held as retirement or lifetime tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986.

The latest published Annual Report is the 57th Report for the period 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007 and is available in the Library of the House and can also be seen on DEFRA's website.

Analysis of smallholdings by size at 31 March 2007

Number of holdings

County/Unitary Authority

0—20 ha

20—40 ha

Over 40 ha

Total

Bedfordshire

83

30

25

138

Berkshire West

2

1

3

Bournemouth

5

1

1

7

Brighton and Hove

24

4

23

51

Buckinghamshire

35

17

14

66

Cambridgeshire

137

67

140

344

Cheshire

58

51

28

137

City of York

2

2

4

Cornwall

10

51

51

112

Cumbria

6

8

14

Devon

6

32

53

91

Dorset

6

28

32

66

Durham

1

2

12

15

East Riding of Yorkshire

65

54

17

136

East Sussex

1

1

2

Essex

8

3

11

Gloucestershire

56

49

31

136

Hampshire

40

8

18

66

Hartlepool

1

1

2

Herefordshire

4

48

9

61

Hertfordshire

23

18

21

62

Lancashire

2

2

Leicestershire

10

52

20

82

Lincolnshire

120

84

76

280

Medway

2

1

3

Milton Keynes

5

2

5

12

Norfolk

116

54

70

240

Northamptonshire

8

5

2

15

North Lincolnshire

17

1

18

North Somerset

5

1

5

11

Northumberland

1

6

7

North Yorkshire

16

44

18

78

Nottinghamshire

12

6

1

19

Oxfordshire

34

5

2

41

Peterborough

12

1

15

28

Shropshire

25

17

1

43

Slough

1

1

Somerset

17

41

31

89

South Gloucestershire

8

6

4

18

Staffordshire

48

68

19

135

Suffolk

15

20

67

102

Surrey

41

13

6

60

Swindon

4

9

6

19

Thurrock

6

3

2

11

Torbay

2

2

Warrington

3

2

5

Warwickshire

36

19

20

75

West Sussex

14

2

5

21

Wiltshire

22

27

22

71

Worcestershire

96

20

10

126

Total

1,267

977

894

3,138

Natural Gas: Canvey Island

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Environment Agency is taking to investigate the circumstances of the spillage at Calor Gas’s Canvey Island site on 25 October 2008. (266774)

The Environment Agency is not aware of a separate incident that occurred at the Calor Gas site at Canvey Island on 25 October.

However, an incident on 27 October 2008 involved the spillage of liquid petroleum gas following the failure of pipework. The Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are the joint competent authorities for the site. The Environment Agency and the HSE agreed that the HSE would lead the investigation with assistance from the Environment Agency if required.

As a result of the HSE led investigation, the Environment Agency has not entered into discussions with the company concerning the specific circumstances surrounding the spillage. However, the Environment Agency continues to undertake its normal regulatory activities at the site.

Recycling: Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what financial support his Department offers (a) local authorities and (b) schools to assist in the setting up of recycling schemes on school sites; (271657)

(2) what financial support his Department provides to schools to enable them to set up recycling facilities.

There is no direct funding from DEFRA to local authorities to set up recycling schemes or facilities in schools, as these would be funded from the local authorities’ overall waste budget.

Water: Meters

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many domestic properties in England with a water supply (a) have and (b) do not have individual water meters. (271744)

Ofwat is the economic regulator of the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales.

The latest metered and unmetered figures (2007-08) for domestic properties are:

Metered—approx 6,779,369;

Unmetered—approx 13,764,754.

These figures are for meters that are billed and do not include figures for Welsh Water or Dee Valley Water as the majority of their customers are based in Wales. However, because there is some overlap of water companies’ supply areas between England and Wales it has not been possible to separate out all the meters that may be fitted in Wales.

Home Department

Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer of 4 March 2008, Official Report, column 2479W, on the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre: Government Departments, how much it cost her Department to hire the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre for its leadership away day; and for what reasons the event was not held in departmental buildings. (249149)

The Government's London estate has limited conference facilities and so from time to time the Home Office and other Departments are required to hire external venues for events.

We are not able to reveal the cost of the booking as this is a commercially sensitive issue between the Home Office and the QEII Centre.

The QEII Centre is owned by the Crown (Department for Communities and Local Government).

House of Commons Commission

14 Tothill Street

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to the answer of 9 March 2009, Official Report, column 26W, on 14 Tothill Street, what the length of the lease on 14 Tothill Street is; and what the annual rent will be when it is fully operational. (271163)

The lease is for 16 years from October 2007 with a break after eight years. The House of Commons share of the annual rent is £2.1 million plus VAT.

Justice

Court Funds Office

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much is held in cash deposits on behalf of Court of Protection clients by the Court Funds Office. (271507)

The Court Funds Office holds approximately £3 billion of funds on behalf of clients of the Court of Protection (correct as of 1 April 2009).

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much interest the Court Funds Office paid at the (a) standard and (b) special interest rate in the last year for which information is available. (271508)

The Court Funds Office (CFO) holds approximately £4.6 billion of funds on the basic and special accounts. Interest is paid to CFO accounts bi-annually to accounts earning the special rate of interest in May and November and to accounts earning the basic rate of interest in March and September.

Until 1 February 2009, interest was paid at a rate of