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Written Answers

Volume 494: debated on Thursday 18 June 2009

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 18 June 2009

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Demos

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) private meetings and (b) public engagements Ministers in his Department have attended at which representatives from the think-tank Demos were present in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. (279506)

No DEFRA Ministers have had private meetings with representatives of Demos in the past 12 months. The Department does not keep a central record of everyone who may attend a public engagement attended by DEFRA Ministers.

Departmental Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much expenditure his Department incurred in respect of (a) Creative Cooking (London) Ltd., (b) Leith’s, (c) Alliance Française de Londres Ltd, (d) Tinklertastic and (e) Canine Behaviour Centre in 2007-08; and for what purpose in each case. (278991)

The core-Department’s financial system records the following expenditure in 2009-08 for the organisations listed:

Organisation

Purpose

Value (£)

Alliance Française de Londres Ltd.

Language Tuition

882

Canine Behaviour Centre

Skills Training

217.50

Creative Cooking (London) Ltd.

Catering Services

1535.73

Leith’s

Conference and Events Services

9913.33

Tinklertastic

Communications and Marketing Services

10,490.00

Fisheries

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will meet a delegation of inshore fishermen and fish merchants to discuss ways to enable fishing to continue when fish merchants are unable to report landing details within the required time. (280656)

The provisions to which the hon. Member refers form part of a proposal from the European Commission for a new control regulation which was published last November. The original proposal was for sales notes to be submitted electronically by all buyers within two hours of sale. We have sought stakeholders’ views on this and all other aspects of the proposal. In a revised proposal, recently published by the Commission after discussions with member states, the time limit for the submission of sales notes has been increased to six hours and an exemption has been provided from the need to submit sales notes electronically for businesses with an annual financial turnover in fisheries products of less than 200,000 euros. This revised proposal will be subject to further negotiation with member states and will not be adopted before October at the earliest. I would point out that failure by a buyer to comply with requirements relating to the submission of sales notes would not result in vessels being required to stop fishing.

Flood Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of people who have made up a flood kit; and what steps he is taking to encourage people to make up kits. (280481)

The Environment Agency has made no estimate of the number of people who have made up flood kits; however, their ‘Preparing for a flood’ guide encourages people to produce flood kits. This is available on the Environment Agency’s website or from its Floodline call centre. Since March 2008, a copy has been sent to everyone who registers for the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service.

Since December 2007, the Environment Agency has distributed over 260,000 ‘Preparing for a flood’ guides.

Olympic Games 2012

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many full-time equivalent members of staff in (a) his Department and (b) its associated public bodies are working on projects relating to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; how many of them are working on (i) project management, (ii) legacy planning, (iii) project oversight and (iv) financial oversight; and what plans he has for future staffing levels in each case. (279821)

The Department is currently applying 1.5 full-time equivalent members of staff to work on project management and on legacy planning for London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This input is expected to rise over the coming years. Staff at the Environment Agency and Natural England are also involved in work related to the Games.

Tigers

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department has taken to seek to ensure compliance with the decision taken at the last Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species conference in respect of the closing down of tiger farms. (280155)

At the 14th Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Decision 14.69 was adopted calling on CITES Parties with intensive, commercial-scale tiger breeding operations (i) to implement measures to restrict their captive populations to a level supportive only to conserving wild tigers, and (ii) not to breed tigers for trade in their parts and derivatives.

While Decision 14.69 does not set any deadlines, the 57th CITES Standing Committee meeting in July 2008 called for relevant Parties to submit progress reports for review by the Committee at its 58th meeting in July 2009. My Department subsequently participated in a working group established to provide guidance on Decision 14.69. CITES Notification 2008/059, issued in October 2008, clarified aspects of the Decision and requested that relevant Parties submit reports on progress by 28 February 2009. The subject will next be discussed at the 58th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee, of which the UK is a member, representing the European region.

Water Charges

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will publish a summary of representations he has received from members of the public on water rates in the last five years. (281239)

My Department has received a range of representations on water charges in the last five years. However, a substantive summary of these representations could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Water Companies: Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment Ofwat has made of the performance of water companies in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. (280792)

Ofwat published details of the water companies’ greenhouse gas emissions in its report ‘Service and delivery—performance of water companies in England and Wales 2007-08’.

A copy of the report has been placed in the House of Commons Library.

Electoral Commission Committee

Electoral Registration

8. To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what steps the Electoral Commission is taking to increase levels of electoral registration in constituencies in which such levels are disproportionately low. (280578)

The Electoral Commission informs me that, following its first annual assessment of electoral registration officers’ performance, the Commission will meet with the EROs from the 56 local authorities who did not meet one or more of the standards relating to the accuracy and completeness of electoral registers, to agree plans for improvement.

The Commission further informs me that these plans will set out specific actions to be taken to improve performance at the 2009 annual canvass, covering such areas as house-to-house inquiries, ensuring appropriate project management, and staff training.

Leader of the House

Members: Pensions

To ask the Leader of the House if she will estimate the effect on future expenditure from the public purse of amending the parliamentary contributory pensions scheme to (a) cap the Exchequer contribution at (i) 20 per cent. and (ii) 15 per cent. of payroll, (b) move to a career average salary scheme, (c) raise the pension age and time in line with the increase in the age of entitlement to the basic state pension, (d) change accrual rate from 1/40th to 1/50th and (e) raise the employee contribution by 1 per cent.; and if she will make a statement. (280167)

When the Prime Minister asked the Review Body on Senior Salaries (SSRB) to conduct a review of the parliamentary pension arrangements, he asked it to consider the full range of options for reducing the Exchequer contribution. The SSRB launched its consultation on 8 June, inviting evidence from interested parties by 31 July. The Government are considering its evidence and will make an announcement in due course.

Transport

Biofuels

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Lewes of 22 May 2008, Official Report, column 426W, on biofuels, whether he has had discussions with (a) the European Commission and (b) his counterparts in other EU member states on (i) the sustainability criteria for biofuels in (A) the renewable energy directive and (B) the fuel quality directive and (ii) the volume of biofuels required to meet (1) the renewable energy directive target and (2) the greenhouse gas savings of the fuel quality directive. (280072)

The Department for Transport is exploring, in conjunction with UK stakeholders, a range of options for the treatment of biofuels with differing carbon savings, under both directives. We will also be setting out the projected volume of biofuel required to meet these directives, following consultation, in a National Action Plan by June 2010. As part of these processes my officials are in regular dialogue with the European Commission and other member states.

Bus Services: Concessions

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what estimate he has made of changes in levels of usage of bus services since the introduction of concessionary fares schemes in (a) 2002 and (b) 2008. (279707)

[holding answer 16 June 2009]: Table A is based on figures published today by the Department for Transport in Bus and Light Rail Statistics: Q1 2009, and shows the current estimates for bus journeys in England for each financial year since 2000-01.

Over the period covered by the table there were three major changes in the concessionary fares scheme:

June 2001: Statutory minimum bus concessionary fares were introduced in England. Local authorities had to offer a concession of at least half the single fare to women aged 60 and over, and men aged 65 and over.

April 2006: Free concessionary bus travel within the local authority was introduced in England for disabled passengers and those aged 60 or over. Some authorities continued to fund travel into other areas or on other modes of transport in their area at their discretion.

April 2008: Free off-peak local bus travel for older and eligible disabled people was extended nationally in England.

Table A: Bus journeys—England, 2000-01 to 2008-09

Local bus journeys (million)

Year-on-year percentage change

2000-01

3,842

2001-02

3,881

1.0

2002-03

3,964

2.1

2003-04

4,087

3.1

2004-05

4,140

1.3

2005-06

4,196

1.3

2006-07

4,470

6.5

2007-08

4,530

1.3

2008-091

4,674

3.2

1 Provisional.

Source:

Bus and Light Rail Statistics: Q1 2009

Carbon Sequestration: Finance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport from which of his Department's budgets the £60 million reallocated to carbon capture and storage in the Budget 2009 Red Book will be drawn. (278932)

The Department for Transport's contribution to the cost of carbon capture and storage will be funded from accumulated underspends, across our programmes as a whole, from prior years.

Channel Tunnel Railway Line

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the effect of track access charges applicable to the track through the Channel Tunnel on the potential for growth in international rail freight; and if he will make a statement. (279347)

[holding answer 12 June 2009]: No recent assessment of the impact of track access charges on the potential growth of international freight through the Channel Tunnel has been made.

Diesel Fuel: EU Action

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether a mechanism exists for EU member states to seek a temporary derogation from the EU sulphur specification for diesel fuel; and if he will make a statement. (280156)

EU requirements on the quality of petrol and diesel are defined in the Fuel Quality Directive 98/70/EC as amended. Article 7 of this directive permits member states to apply for a derogation from these requirements for up to 6 months in the event that a sudden change to the supply of crude oil or petroleum products makes it difficult for refineries to comply.

We understand this derogation to be intended to accommodate major, unexpected disruptions to oil supplies only. The directive does not contain any other derogations which could be applied in respect of the supply of sulphur-free diesel in the UK.

Integrated Transport

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what plans he has for the development of an integrated transport system. (281129)

The Government are committed to promoting an integrated transport system through measures such as improved interchange, better passenger information and smarter ticketing.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport when he plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 30 April 2009, transferred from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, reference: 134438/SW on ecodiesel. (281101)

Olympic Games 2012

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many full-time equivalent members of staff in (a) his Department and (b) its associated public bodies are working on projects relating to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; how many of them are working on (i) project management, (ii) legacy planning, (iii) project oversight and (iv) financial oversight; and what plans he has for future staffing levels in each case. (279818)

The Department for Transport has 9.25 full-time equivalent members of staff whose work relates wholly to the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Many other members of staff in the Department and its agencies are also contributing to delivery of the Government's objectives for the 2012 Games.

Roads: East of England

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) how much funding his Department allocated for the construction of highways in (a) Mid-Bedfordshire constituency and (b) the East of England in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement; (280097)

(2) how much funding his Department allocated for the creation of additional lanes on highways in (a) Mid-Bedfordshire constituency and (b) the East of England region in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement.

The following tables highlight how much funding the Department for Transport has allocated for the construction of highways and the creation of additional lanes on highways in (a) Mid-Bedfordshire constituency and (b) the East of England Region in each year since 1997:

Table 1: Mid-Bedfordshire

£ million

Highways agency schemes

Local major road schemes (including maintenance)

1997-2001

0.0

0.255

2001-02

0.0

1.400

2002-03

0.0

3.930

2003-04

1.0

1.665

2004-05

5.1

0.175

2005-06

12.2

0.0

2006-07

25.3

8.825

2007-08

21.5

7.505

2008-09

41.2

2.547

Table 2: East of England (including Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Thurrock)

£ million

Highways agency schemes

Local major road schemes (including maintenance)

1997-2001

40.7

2.602

2001-02

47.63

13.930

2002-03

153.3

13.267

2003-04

72.5

13.953

2004-05

48.5

35.908

2005-06

122.6

31.026

2006-07

180.8

32.170

2007-08

161.7

9.655

2008-09

166.5

9.376

Transport: East of England

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) how much funding his Department has allocated for the construction of bus lanes in (a) Mid-Bedfordshire constituency and (b) the East of England in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement; (280095)

(2) how much funding his Department has allocated for the construction of bicycle paths in (a) Mid- Bedfordshire constituency and (b) the East of England in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement;

(3) how much funding his Department has allocated for the construction of footpaths in (a) Mid-Bedfordshire constituency and (b) the East of England in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement.

The Department for Transport allocates integrated transport block and highways maintenance funding to local transport authorities for capital investment in transport. Funding provided by the Department to local authorities is not generally ring-fenced and local authorities have discretion to spend their allocations in line with their priorities, which may include bicycle paths, bus lanes and footpaths. Allocations provided to Bedfordshire and the Eastern Region since 1997 are shown in the table.

£ million

Bedfordshire

Eastern region

2008-09

9.286

157.771

2007-08

7.751

159.476

2006-07

9.573

157.826

2005-06

9.351

156.899

2004-05

8.001

156.586

2003-04

7.364

141.735

2002-03

6.591

140.193

2001-02

7.147

137.774

2000-01

4.017

56.608

1999-2000

4.602

52.125

1998-99

3.070

32.150

1997-98

3.692

41.203

Note:

Since 2000 the allocations comprise integrated transport block grant and highways maintenance. Prior to 2000 the allocations are in the form of gross approved spending.

Revenue expenditure on transport is generally supported through the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Formula Grant.

The Department also provided specific funding for:

1. In 2008-09, the Department made available £117,000 to Bedfordshire and Luton borough for their Cycling Demonstration Town. In the same year, the East of England region was also allocated £548,000. This was made up of capital and revenue funding.

2. The cycling programme—‘Links to Schools’—set up in the East of England received capital funding from the Department. The amounts are stated in the table:

£

2008-09

195,000

For Bedfordshire, Luton borough

(120,000)

2007-08

76,136

For Bedfordshire

(0)

2006-07

276,531

For Bedfordshire

(0)

2005-06

235,000

For Bedfordshire

(0)

Transport: Finance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) how much his Department has spent on transport in (a) South Tyneside, (b) Tyne and Wear, (c) the North East and (d) England in each year since 1997; (279275)

(2) how much capital expenditure on roads there was in (a) the North East and (b) England in each year since 1997.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 28 January 2009, Official Report, columns 535-6W.

In addition, I also refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Beverley and Holderness (Mr. Stuart) on 28 January 2009, Official Report, columns 534-536W. This provided tables showing the available data on regional expenditure on new construction/improvement and structural maintenance on motorways and trunk roads, as well as regional expenditure on new improvement for highways, lighting, road safety and structural maintenance on local roads for 1999-2000 to 2006-07. The data do not enable new road construction to be identified as a separate category.

The Department has provided the following support for public transport major schemes in the north-east.

Tyne and Wear

Stephenson Link (£6.444 million)

Four Lane Ends Interchange (£7.625 million)

Centrelink and Gateshead Interchange (£17.442 million)

NewcastleGateshead Quaylink (£4.74 million)

Eldon Square Bus Station (£10.970 million)

Rest of north-east

Durham Park and Ride (£9.163 million)

Tyne and Wear Metro

The Department has provided the following sums to support the operation of the Tyne and Wear Metro. It is not possible to split this expenditure between South Tyneside and the other Tyne and Wear local authority areas.

£ million

Revenue support

Capital support

Total subsidy

1996-97

8.795

8.795

1997-98

8.619

8.619

1998-99

8.630

8.630

1999-2000

9.428

9.428

2000-01

9.787

9.787

2001-02

9.884

9.884

2002-03

11.831

11.831

2003-04

13.407

13.407

2004-05

15.952

15.952

2005-06

13.713

4.180

17.893

2006-07

18.057

4.305

22.362

2007-08

20.779

4.391

25.170

2008-09

19.943

7.131

27.074

Up to and including 2004-05, grant was provided solely as revenue support although Nexus were able to use this for capital spending on the Metro. Since then the annual subsidy has included a separately identifiable amount for capital spend.

Additionally the Department has provided the following specific funding for the Tyne and Wear Metro:

Purpose

Year

Amount (£ million)

Extension of the Metro to Sunderland

1999-2000 to 2003-04

37.465

Metrocar refurbishment

2000-01

0.46

Four Lane Ends Bus/Metro Interchange

2002-03 to 2004-05

7.625

CCTV provision

2000-01

7.2

Development costs for Metro Reinvigoration

2008-09

3.155

For total transport expenditure in England, table 1.15 of Transport Statistics Great Britain 2008 provides central and local Government expenditure:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/tsgb/2008edition/sectiononemodalcomparisons.pdf

The Treasury provides a breakdown of regional spend by service in Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses. The latest figures for public expenditure on transport are given in table 9.9 and 9.10:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/10(1).pdf

Before 1 April 2008, funding for the statutory minimum bus concession was provided exclusively through the Formula Grant system, which is administered by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG). The Department for Transport therefore provided no separate funding for concessionary bus travel from 2001, when the statutory minimum was first introduced, until 2008.

The Department provided funding in 2007-08 for the cost of producing and issuing the new England-wide bus passes to all those eligible.

In 2008-09 and 2009-10 special grant funding is being provided by DFT to meet the additional cost of the new, England-wide concession.

Concessionary fares funding:

£ million

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

South Tyneside

0

0

0

Tyne and Wear

0.94

5.38

5.50

North East

2.14

10.31

10.56

England

30.48

212

217

International Development

International Assistance

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's latest assessment is of progress in relation to the achievement of the millennium development goals. (280602)

The UN conducts the official assessment of progress towards the millennium development goals (MDGs). Its latest report relating to 2008 found that the global collective effort is yielding results and that progress is being made globally towards achieving many of the MDGs even in some of the more challenging regions. A number of targets are expected to be reached by their target dates in 2015. The report is available at:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Documents/publications/mdg-factsheets/mdg-report-2008.pdf

The Department for International Development (DFID) also conducts an annual assessment of progress towards key MDG targets at a country level based on international data. The latest assessment was published in its 2008 autumn performance report (copies of which are also in the parliamentary Library):

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Documents/publications/aut-perf-report-08.pdf

Sri Lanka: Internally Displaced Persons

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the humanitarian needs of people in Tamil areas and camps for internally displaced persons in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. (280303)

Since October 2008, more than 284,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) have been registered in Government-controlled IDP camps. Freedom of movement is denied in the camps except for some vulnerable groups and the elderly. The remaining IDPs are under military guard. Protection in the camps is a matter of concern. The Department for International Development (DFID) is particularly concerned for the war wounded, malnourished and those separated from their families—including unaccompanied children. The camps are overcrowded and have poor water and sanitation facilitates. Hospitals, such as those in Vavuniya and Mannar, are also overcrowded, having more patients than they can effectively treat.

Access for humanitarian agencies has improved this week, but it remains inconsistent. Continued poor access has impeded agencies’ ability to improve the conditions in the camps which remain of concern.

The UK Government continue to press the Government of Sri Lanka to allow full and unrestricted humanitarian access to all IDPs, to treat IDPs in accordance with accepted international standards and guidelines; and to allow for their rapid and safe return from the camps to their homes.

Sri Lanka: Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the proportion of humanitarian aid to the Tamil people in Sri Lanka from (a) his Department, (b) the EU and (c) the UN which was delivered (i) via Sri Lankan Government agencies, (ii) via non-governmental organisations and (iii) directly in the latest period for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. (280306)

The information is as follows:

(a) Since September 2008, the Department for International Development (DFID) has allocated £12.5 million of humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka. Of this, £2.8 million has been provided to UN agencies, £1.5 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), £1.235 million to the International Organisation for Migration and £1.050 million to NGOs for a wide range of life-saving humanitarian activities. Approximately £6.0 million remains to respond rapidly to further needs on the ground and for early recovery when the displaced population are able to return home. No funding has been provided to Sri Lankan Government agencies.

(b) The European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) has pledged US$3,952 million for UN organisations, the ICRC and NGOs for 2009.

(c) The UN Consolidated Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) 2009 for Sri Lanka includes both UN and non-governmental organisations. As of 5 June the CHAP was funded to 40 per cent. at US$61,594,766. An additional $28,143,620 has been pledged to UN and NGO activities outside the CHAP.

DFID funding through the EU mechanism or to the UN should be allocated directly to implementing partners (UN agencies, NGOs and the ICRC).

Zimbabwe: Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the merits of renewing direct aid provision to Zimbabwe. (280078)

The UK Government are committed to supporting the people of Zimbabwe in the transition to stabilisation and recovery and have been at the forefront of efforts by the international community to support the needs of the Inclusive Government.

Our assistance is aligned to Government priorities but is not currently channelled through their financial systems. We have made it clear, in all our discussions with Ministers and officials from the Inclusive Government, that credible progress and demonstration of a commitment to reform will attract increasing support from donors and other international partners, potentially including direct aid provision. We look forward to working together towards establishing a longer-term development partnership which will address the deeper roots of Zimbabwe's problems.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Business: Ethics

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has for further development of his Department’s toolkit for business and human rights for use by UK missions overseas. (279654)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has developed a series of toolkits to guide our posts in their human rights work overseas. The toolkit on business and human rights is the latest in this series and aims to provide guidance for UK diplomatic missions on how to promote good conduct by British companies operating overseas and to provide specific guidance on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development National Contact Point procedure. The toolkit is still being developed with the help of other Government Departments and external stakeholders. When finalised, it will be disseminated to posts and made available as a resource on the FCO’s internal web pages.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department’s latest assessment is of whether the full military and police components mandated for MONUC will be put in place. (279375)

The additional infantry, engineers, special forces and police mandated for the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) by the UN Security Council in Resolution 1843 have been identified. The UN Secretariat and troop contributing countries are making advanced preparations for their deployment, which they hope will take place in the next few months. Several member states have expressed interest in providing the 200 military trainers mandated, but at present the concept for their use is still being developed by the UN Secretariat. However, the UN Secretariat has had few offers so far for additional aircraft and intelligence equipment.

Departmental Opinion Polls

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on which subjects his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) conducted opinion polling in each of the last two years; which such polls canvassed opinion from Departmental employees; and what estimate he has made of his Department’s expenditure on such polling. (280717)

The following central departmental surveys have been commissioned and conducted since June 2007:

Survey of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) stakeholders (2008)

Staff engagement survey (2007 and 2008)

Survey measuring awareness of FCO among the public (2008)

Survey of partners across Government (2009)

All these surveys have been commissioned by FCO and conducted by external, independent research organisations.

The staff engagement surveys in 2007 and 2008 canvassed opinion from departmental employees.

The total cost of the five surveys listed above is £198,000.

The FCO is a global organisation consisting of a number of directorates in the UK and over 200 overseas posts. Some directorates and overseas posts conduct independent surveys on specific issues. Information about such surveys is not held centrally. To collate information on surveys conducted across the whole of the FCO would involve collecting information from all directorates and all overseas posts, which would incur disproportionate costs.

Eritrea: Christianity

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Eritrean government on the imprisonment of Christians in that country. (279604)

Our embassy in Asmara is aware of reports of the detention without charge by the Eritrean Government of members of minority religious groups along with journalists, leading political figures and members of civil society and returned asylum seekers. This contravenes international human rights agreements to which Eritrea is a party and is unacceptable. Eritrea should allow all its citizens to worship as they wish, as set out in Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The UK raises human rights issues including religious freedom with the Eritrean Government both in Asmara and with the Eritrean ambassador to London on a regular basis. My noble Friend, the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, raised human rights with the Eritrean ambassador at the end of last year.

A huge obstacle to achieving any progress on human rights in Eritrea is that the Eritrean police and security services are not willing to engage with our embassy on human rights abuses. This makes following up reports of any abuses, including imprisonments, very difficult.

The EU has also tried to discuss human rights as part of the Article 8 Political Dialogue with Eritrea. Unfortunately, since initial discussions earlier this year the Government of Eritrea have twice refused to have human rights included on the Article 8 Dialogue agenda for discussion.

We will continue to raise human rights, including the detention without charge of minority religious groups, with the Eritrean authorities.

Eritrea: Human Rights

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Eritrean Government on allegations of human rights abuses in that country. (279603)

The UK raises human rights issues with the Eritrean Government both in Asmara and with the Eritrean ambassador to London on a regular basis, highlighting the amount of public and parliamentary interest we receive. My noble Friend, the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, raised human rights with the Eritrean ambassador at the end of last year.

We also discuss human rights as part of the EU via the Article 8 Political Dialogue, with EU Heads of Mission producing a human rights report at the end of January to discuss with the Government of Eritrea. Unfortunately, since initial discussions earlier this year the Government of Eritrea have twice refused to have human rights included on the Article 8 Dialogue agenda for discussion.

We will continue to press to get human rights discussions back on the Article 8 Dialogue agenda.

EU Institutions: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 2 April 2009, Official Report, column 1312W, on EC institutions: manpower, what steps he has taken to increase the number of civil service fast streamers working in European Union institutions. (280326)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government are continuing to engage with the EU institutions as they introduce reforms to recruitment competitions, seek to increase their outreach activities, and develop their staffing policy. Government Departments are currently discussing whether a revised version of the European Fast Stream should be reintroduced for 2010 and what form it would take. DEFRA is leading on an initiative to increase EU professionalism across the civil service, including increasing the number of UK nationals applying for and passing the EU’s recruitment competitions.

Gabon: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the political situation in Gabon following the death of Omar Bongo. (279374)

Following the death of President Bongo, the Gabonese constitutional court has appointed the leader of the senate, Rose Francine Rogombé, as the acting head of state. This is in accordance with the constitution of Gabon. In line with the constitution, she will now have 45 days to organise elections in which she is ineligible to stand. The situation in Gabon is currently calm.

Hezbollah

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria will be used in deciding which members of Hezbollah’s political wing officials should meet. (277218)

Our objective with Hezbollah is to urge it to reject violence and play a constructive, democratic and peaceful role in Lebanese politics, in line with UN Security Council resolutions. We believe that occasional and carefully considered contacts with Hezbollah’s politicians, including its MPs, will best advance this objective. The distinction is between those members of Hezbollah who are legitimately involved in Lebanese politics and those who are involved in violence and support terrorism.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contacts the Government have had with Hezbollah’s political wing since their recent change of policy on contacts with that organisation. (277374)

On 9 January 2009 our ambassador in Beirut attended a meeting of British parliamentarians with the Lebanese Foreign Affairs Committee. Representatives of all members of the National Unity Government were present, including one MP from Hezbollah’s political wing, Ali Amar. During this meeting the ambassador urged all sides to show restraint during the crisis in Gaza, and spoke of the importance of all sides respecting the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. In the course of normal diplomatic business, staff at our embassy in Beirut have also met Hezbollah politicians on a number of occasions.

We continue to believe that occasional and carefully considered contacts with Hezbollah’s politicians, including its MPs, will best advance our objective of urging Hezbollah to reject violence and play a constructive, democratic and peaceful role in Lebanese politics, in line with UN Security Council resolutions.

Iraq: Reconstruction

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 3 June 2009, Official Report, column 512W, on departmental public expenditure, for what reasons his Department has determined that it is more cost effective to manage major contracts in Iraq in London. (279808)

It is more cost effective to manage the major contracts from London as support costs for the responsible officers are significantly lower than for officers based in Iraq.

Nepal: Diplomatic Service

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what channels of communication his Department has with British nationals in Nepal. (280278)

Our embassies and high commissions use a number of channels to communicate with British nationals. These include travel advice, wardens networks, LOCATE—an on-line registering facility—the internet and local media.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans are in place for the safety of British nationals in Nepal in the case of an emergency. (280345)

All our embassies and high commissions are required to hold a Post Emergency Plan and, where deemed necessary, a Civil Contingency Plan. Our embassy in Kathmandu holds both. These plans are designed to help our Diplomatic Missions respond to any crisis they may face, including dealing with consular emergencies, civil unrest or in some cases evacuating British nationals. All plans are reviewed regularly and tested at least annually. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Consular Crisis Group oversees the review process of these plans, and will assist our embassy in Kathmandu to test its emergency response plans by running a semi-live exercise later this year.

North Korea: Nuclear Weapons

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings he has had with his (a) Chinese and (b) Russian counterparts to discuss the nuclear threat from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the last two years. (279103)

China and Russia have both been key players in the Six Party Talks on Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) denuclearisation, and the UK has maintained close dialogue with both Governments at ministerial, ambassadorial and working levels. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed DPRK with Russian colleagues at the last meeting of G8 Foreign Ministers, and with Chinese colleagues at the UK-China Summit in February 2009.

Royal Visits: Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department has paid towards the cost of visits abroad by members of the Royal Family in each of the last 10 years. (279856)

The information to provide a comprehensive answer is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Figures held by Protocol Directorate with estimates from overseas posts since 2005 show that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has spent in the region of:

£

2005-06

424,056

2006-07

351,389

2007-08

602,248

2008-09

358,178

The costs include accommodation, staffing, communications, office costs, interpreting, press and public affairs and official hospitality. Travel costs to the countries of destination are funded by the grant in aid held by the Department for Transport.

Saed Jamal Abu-Hijleh

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received on the death of the mother of Saed Jamal Abu-Hijleh in Nablus in 2002. (278879)

We have not received any recent representation on the death of the mother of Saed Jamal Abu-Hijleh. However, the UK has long condemned all attacks on innocent civilians and will continue to do so.

Sri Lanka: Armed Conflict

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Sri Lanka on the treatment of those who provided medical and financial assistance to the Tamil people during the recent conflict in that country. (280204)

We are aware of reports of the ongoing detention of individuals who provided medical assistance during the recent conflict in Sri Lanka. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made representations on their behalf to Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Bogollagama, most recently when they met in London on 5 June 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of civilians killed (a) by the Sri Lankan army and (b) by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the recent conflict in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. (280289)

During the recent conflict in Sri Lanka there have been many conflicting reports of the number of civilians killed by both sides, particularly in the final weeks of the fighting. As the conflict took place without independent monitoring and with severe restrictions on the media, it is very difficult to estimate the number of casualties or who was responsible. As such, we fully endorse the EU's call for an independent inquiry into the recent conflict in Sri Lanka. This would play an important part in the post-conflict reconciliation process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of alleged war crimes during the recent conflict in Sri Lanka; what steps he is taking in collaboration with his international counterparts to establish the veracity of such reports; and if he will make a statement. (280392)

As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made clear, we fully endorse the EU's calls for an independent inquiry into allegations of violations of international law in the recent conflict in Sri Lanka. It could play an important role in the post-conflict reconciliation process. As such, we welcome the joint statement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and President Rajapakse of Sri Lanka underlining the importance of an accountability process for addressing possible violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. We will continue to press for progress on this with international partners, above all the EU and UN.

Sri Lanka: Internally Displaced Persons

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Sri Lanka on the registration of those held in internally displaced persons camps in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. (280203)

I have been asked to reply.

The Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, the High Commissioner in Colombo and I have all urged the Government of Sri Lanka, at the highest levels, to ensure that internally displaced persons (IDPs) be treated in accordance with accepted international standards and guidelines.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of Tamil civilians in internally displaced persons camps in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. (280290)

I have been asked to reply.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), around 284,000 civilians fled the fighting in the Vanni, between September 2008 and May 2009. Roughly 263,000 are being accommodated in 22 emergency shelter sites in Vavuniya. A further 11,000 people are being accommodated in 11 emergency shelter sites in Jaffna, 6,700 people in two sites in Trincomalee and some 400 people in two sites in Mannar.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Sri Lanka on the freedom of the press (a) in Sri Lanka and (b) to visit and report on (i) Tamil areas and (ii) camps for internally displaced persons; and if he will make a statement. (280307)

We have regularly called on the Sri Lankan Government to take decisive action to guarantee press freedom in Sri Lanka, following a number of attacks and intimidation of the media. We have also called on them to allow access to the camps set up for internally displaced people.

The UK raised our concerns about media freedom in Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council Session in March 2009. My right hon. friend the Foreign Secretary's most recent statement on Sri Lanka was on 19 May 2009, Official Report, column 73WS.

Sri Lanka: International Assistance

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Sri Lankan Government on their recent decision to turn away the Vanni Mercy Mission ship MV Captain Ali; and if he will make a statement. (280598)

We have had no discussions with the Government of Sri Lanka about the ship, MV Captain Ali, since it left Sri Lankan waters. Our clear position throughout has been that assistance should be delivered through the correct humanitarian channels and with the necessary clearances.

We remain greatly concerned at the humanitarian situation facing the 280,000 civilians displaced by the recent fighting in Sri Lanka and have committed a total of £12.5 million of humanitarian assistance since September 2008, channelled through UN and independent humanitarian agencies.

We continue to press for full and unhindered access to the UN and other humanitarian organisations on the ground.

West Bank

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support his Department is providing to Lieutenant General Keith Dayton in training Palestinian security forces in the West Bank. (278640)

The Government provide, at a cost of £2.3 million a year from the Conflict Prevention Pool, a civil-military team to assist the work of General Dayton, the US Security Co-ordinator (USSC). The British Support Team (BST) to the USSC is based in Ramallah, led by a serving British Army Brigadier with a staff of 11 personnel. The BST acts as the USSC's direct link with the Palestinian Authority in supporting the development of the Palestinian National Security Force. In addition, the UK provides direct personnel support to General Dayton's headquarters in Jerusalem in the form of two serving military staff officers and a retired police officer.

Zimbabwe: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness and stability of the power-sharing Government in Zimbabwe. (279786)

[holding answer 15 June 2009]: Through their Global Political Agreement (GPA), the Inclusive Government (IG) have committed themselves to a package of reforms that will restore security and welfare to Zimbabwe’s people, and promote respect for human rights and the rule of law. They have made an effective start to this work: a credible short-term economic recovery plan (STERP) has been published and is beginning to be acted upon, and the payment of public workers has seen some civic organs functioning again. However, several vital aspects of the GPA remain to be implemented; the continued harassment of human rights defenders, arbitrary arrests and intimidation, increased farm invasions and lack of press freedom all remain a concern. Without major progress in these areas the IG will not have kept their promises to the Zimbabwean people, and the international community will be unable fully to re-engage with Zimbabwe.

Tensions and differences of attitude to reform and its pace remain; not surprising when the IG bring together erstwhile political foes. We will continue to look actively for ways of supporting the IG in their efforts to achieve reforms, offering assistance which promotes and strengthens positive change. We are in regular contact with the Government to discuss how this can best be achieved and we maintain close dialogue on this with our EU and international partners.

Treasury

Banks: Finance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a summary of representations received by his Department on the management of UK Financial Investments' controlling interest in banks in the last two years. (280279)

Treasury Ministers receive advice and input on a wide range of issues, from a variety of individuals and organisations in the public and private sectors, as part of the process of policy development and analysis. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of advice given to the Treasury.

Banks: Tax Avoidance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2009, Official Report, column 637W, on banks: tax avoidance, to which sentences of the statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of 16 March 2009, Official Report, column 654, on G20 Finance Ministers' meeting, the answer refers. (280693)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has stated on 16 March that he had

“asked Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to publish shortly a draft code of practice on taxation for the banking sector, so that banks comply with not just the letter but the spirit of the law”.

The code will be issued shortly.

Business: Government Assistance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any consortiums have requested loans from his Department's Infrastructure Finance Unit. (280094)

The Manchester Waste Authority, through DEFRA, requested a loan for their project. The Treasury's Infrastructure Finance Unit (TIFU) provided £120 million, which contributed to the project reaching financial close on 8 April.

Financial Ombudsman Service

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on the time taken by the Financial Ombudsman Service to deal with complaints; what monitoring takes place of the time taken by the Financial Ombudsman Service to respond to complaints; and if he will make a statement. (280917)

The Government have received representations regarding the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) following a sudden and unprecedented influx of cases about payment protection insurance and credit card charges, which has meant that waiting times at the FOS are currently longer than the FOS and its users would like.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) approves the budget of the FOS and has a duty to ensure that the FOS is at all times capable of exercising its functions. The FSA has approved an increase in the FOS' budget enabling it to implement a range of initiatives to deal with this influx and the FOS is confident that the FOS will be able to work through these challenges effectively in the months ahead.

Financial Services: Carbon Emissions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to ensure that the UK's international financial services sector is globally competitive in carbon trading. (280331)

The Government are committed to ensuring that the UK’s international financial services industry remains an essential and important part of the global economy. The UK is globally competitive in carbon trading, hosting over 50 per cent. of volume of the global carbon market. In line with broader commitments to fair, stable and efficient financial markets, the Government have recently introduced legislation to improve the efficiency and accessibility of UK carbon auctions, as set out in Budget 2009. The Government also have a business advice office to support and promote UK private sector involvement in the international carbon market.

Financial Services: EU Action

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer where the headquarters of the (a) European Systemic Risk Board and (b) European System of Financial Supervisors will be. (280234)

The Chancellor will be discussing strengthening EU regulatory and supervisory arrangements with European colleagues over the coming months.

Landfill Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 10 June 2009, Official Report, column 910W, on taxation: construction, if he will take into account the environmental impact of sourcing of the construction materials that become landfill waste in determining levels of landfill tax; and if he will make a statement. (280201)

In addition to the lower rate of landfill tax for inert waste, the Government introduced the aggregates levy in 2002 with the primary objective of internalising the environmental costs of quarrying on commercially exploited rock, sand and gravel. The levy encourages the use of recycled aggregates and alternative materials. The levy has been a significant factor in reducing sales of virgin aggregates in England by around 18 million tonnes between 2001 and 2005, with an estimated increase in the use of recycled aggregate of nearly 6 million tonnes.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Chief Secretary to the Treasury plans to reply to the email from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 15 April 2009, on funding for services for people with learning disabilities. (281133)

Receipt of the correspondence could not be traced. The hon. Member's office has been asked for a copy which will be responded to as soon as possible after receipt.

Public Expenditure

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when allocations of capital spending for Government departments from 2011 onwards will be made; and if he will make a statement. (280334)

Allocations of capital spending for Government Departments from 2011 onwards will be made in the normal way at the next spending review.

Revenue and Customs: Closures

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the likely effect of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) planned office closures on average times taken by HMRC to reply to correspondence from members of the public. (280672)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is consolidating staff and work in fewer locations in the interests of greater efficiency. The offices to be closed are those that are surplus to business requirements, and their closure should therefore have no adverse effect on the times taken to deal with correspondence. The streamlining of processes and introduction of new working methods, including improvements to IT systems, should lead to longer-term improvements in HMRC's service to customers.

Revenue and Customs: Manpower

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) directors, (b) senior managers, (c) specialist and delivery managers and (d) executive support and administration staff there were in each HM Revenue and Customs office in each of the last five years. (280313)

The information requested is not available, as HM Revenue and Customs hold information on the grade of officer and not their role.

Taxation: Alcoholic Drinks

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make an estimate of the amount of advertising expenditure deducted from profits before tax by businesses producing alcoholic drinks in 2008-09. (280655)

No estimates are available, as tax returns do not separately identify the amount of expenditure deducted from profits by businesses.

Olympics

Olympic Games 2012: Finance

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what her most recent estimate is of the cost of hosting the London 2012 Olympics archery event at Lord's Cricket Ground. (278867)

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has responsibility for staging the Olympic and Paralympic Games at existing venues. The direct costs associated with staging the events at existing venues come from LOCOG's revenues which are primarily derived from commercial sponsorship, broadcast rights, ticket sales and merchandising/licensing—not from the public purse.

There will be attributable costs to the public purse, for example in respect of the security and transport functions associated with the venue. These costs have not yet been identified separately for individual venues, but they will form part of the overall security and transport budgets.

Olympic Games 2012: Haringey

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what discussions her Office has had with Haringey borough to enable it to (a) participate fully in and (b) receive a legacy from the London 2012 Olympic Games; and if she will make a statement. (257280)

I met with the Leader of Haringey council and other council officials on 6 February 2008 to discuss Haringey's plans to engage with and benefit from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) met local councillors and business representatives on 8 January 2009 in Haringey to talk about the employment and training opportunities across the park, and to plan events to support businesses in Haringey. Haringey is a member of the north London sub-regional partnership and the ODA hope to hold an event with this partnership before the end of 2009.

Culture, Media and Sport

Departmental Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what percentage of letters to his Department from hon. Members’ parliamentary offices were answered within 30 days of the date of receipt in each quarter from January 2008 to March 2009. (280469)

The Department aims to respond to queries from Members of Parliament and Peers within 20 working days. Performance is detailed in the Department’s annual reports and is also reported to Parliament each year by written statement.

Information relating to performance within 30 days could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Electricity

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the percentage of electricity used by his Department which was derived from renewable sources in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08. (280953)

The percentage of electricity derived from renewable sources is as follows:

2006-07—100 per cent.

2007-08—100 per cent.

Departmental Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much (a) electricity and (b) gas was used (i) on his Department’s estate and (ii) by his Department’s agency in each year from 2004-05 to 2008-09. (280519)

The electricity and gas used by the Department and the Royal Parks on its office estate is detailed in the following table.

Electricity Kwh

Gas Kwh

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

1999-2000

n/a

n/a

2000-01

n/a

n/a

2001-02

n/a

n/a

2002-03

n/a

n/a

2003-04

4,368,192

3,275,860

2004-05

4,186,267

2,643,861

2005-06

4,438,625

2,488,443

2006-07

4,320,106

2,631,318

2007-08

3,647,784

2,135,379

2008-09

3,091,873

1,344,409

The Royal Parks

1999-2000

n/a

n/a

2000-01

n/a

n/a

2001-02

n/a

n/a

2002-03

n/a

n/a

2003-04

n/a

n/a

2004-05

4,141,338

1,275,682

2005-06

3,346,056

1,402,580

2006-07

3,220,032

1,505,334

2007-08

2,995,048

1,490,492

2008-09

n/a

n/a

n/a = Not available.

Data are not available prior to April 2004 and since April 2008 the Royal Parks have not recorded data on kwh consumed.

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what training courses have been attended by special advisers in his Department in the last 12 months; and at what cost. (279403)

Special advisers receive training as appropriate to enable them to fulfil their duties and responsibilities as set out in the “Model Contract for Special Advisers”.

In the past 12 months one special adviser attended a Health and Safety course held within the Department at a cost of £60.80 plus VAT per person.

Hillsborough Disaster

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress his Department has made in identifying files and documents it holds relating to the Hillsborough disaster that can be released. (279539)

My Department, in partnership with other Departments, is currently developing a Government- wide approach in close liaison with local agencies in South Yorkshire and beyond.

Sports: Greater Manchester

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much Lottery funding was awarded to sport-related groups in (a) Tameside and (b) Stockport in each of the last five years. (279766)

The tables show the value of lottery awards made in each of the last five years to organisations that are providing community sport opportunities in the Tameside and Stockport metropolitan boroughs.

Tameside

Financial year

Total value of awards (£)

2004-05

2,956,226

2005-06

1,417,902

2006-07

700,351

2007-08

894,669

2008-09

798,137

Stockport

Financial year

Total value of awards (£)

2004-05

2,333,633

2005-06

368,986

2006-07

168,884

2007-08

708,891

2008-09

245,173

Work and Pensions

Christmas Bonus

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons Mr. John Coombe of Brixham did not receive a £10 Christmas bonus payment and subsequent additional £60 bonus payment under the Real Help for Pensioners Christmas bonus payment scheme; and if she will make a statement. (278463)

[holding answer 8 June 2009]: The acting chief executive of the Pensions, Disability and Carers Service has responded to the hon. Member separately on 3 June 2009 with the information requested relating to his constituent Mr. John Coombe of Brixham.

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) directors, (b) senior managers, (c) specialist and delivery managers and (d) executive support and administration staff there were in each Pension Service office in each of the last five years. (279288)

The information available detailing the numbers of staff deployed overall in the former Pension Service at the end of each of the last five financial years is in the table.

As at March each year

20051

20061

2007

2008

2009

Band A/AA

1,577

1,169

1,014

830

791

Band B/AO

8,816

7,425

6,765

5,790

5,557

Band C/EO

4,650

4,070

3,750

3,090

2,776

Band D/HEO

923

780

683

568

425

Band E/SEO

271

237

309

288

245

Band F/UG7

108

97

106

98

88

Band G/UG6

52

46

53

73

49

SCS

23

21

22

24

18

Total

216,419

213,846

212,701

210,762

9,949

1 March 2005 and 2006 inc. Pensions Client Group.

2 Difference of one due to roundings.

Notes:

1. Bands A/AA through to Band B/AO—administration staff of which 6,268 (99 per cent.) are deployed on benefit delivery with just 80 (1 per cent.) deployed in Central Services (Administration).

2. Band C/EO through to Band D/HEO—junior management of which 2,639 (82 per cent.) are deployed on benefit delivery and 562 (18 per cent.) deployed in Central Services (Executive Support).

3. Band E/SEO through to Band G/G6—middle management of which 171 (45 per cent.) are deployed on benefit deliver and 211 (55 per cent.) deployed in Central Services (Specialist and Delivery Managers).

4. SCS—all Directors and senior management of which four (22 per cent.) are deployed on benefit delivery and 14 (78 per cent.) in Central Services (Directors).

Source:

DWP Corporate Workforce Planning and DWP Data view as at 31 March 2009

Background information

Grading and staffing numbers in Pension Service offices over the last five years have fluctuated according to business needs. Historic data are not available to the level of detail asked for, but the summary table shows the numbers employed in each grade at the end of the last five financial years. Additionally, the number of, and location of, Pension Service offices has also changed.

In April 2008 the merger of the Pension Service and Disability and Carer Service took place and Pension, Disability and Carers Service was formed. There are currently 9,949 staff exclusively deployed on former Pension Service business.

Fuel Poverty

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people receiving fuel assistance as a result of being disabled or long-term ill-health are also eligible for fuel assistance due to their age. (279105)

Pension Credit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what her policy is on issuing reminders to people who are due to become eligible for pension credit; and if she will make a statement. (278011)

[holding answer 12 June 2009]: The Government are committed to ensuring pensioners receive the support they are entitled to. The Pension, Disability and Carers Service (PDCS) contacts all pensioner households to tell them about pension credit, to ensure everyone who is likely to be entitled to pension credit knows what they need to do to take up their entitlement.

A person approaching state pension age will receive a booklet (BR33) telling them how to claim state pension and other benefits and services they are entitled to, including pension credit.

In addition to this, PDCS undertakes regular pension credit campaign activity through multiple channels in order to ensure additional focus on those pensioners who may be eligible.

It is not policy to issue reminders to people about possible entitlement except as part of the targeted campaigns described above.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of those eligible for pension credit have not claimed pension credit in each of the last five years. (278137)

The latest estimates of the take-up rates, value of unclaimed benefit and the number of those entitled to but not receiving means-tested benefits in Great Britain, covering income support, pension credit, housing benefit, council tax benefit and jobseeker’s allowance (income based) are published in the report “Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up in 2006-07”.

Pension Credit: Greater Manchester

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in (a) Tameside and (b) Stockport received pension credit in each year since its inception. (279761)

The information requested is in the following table.

Households in receipt and individual beneficiaries of pension credit in Tameside and Stockport November 2003 to November 2008

TamesideStockport

As at November each year

Household recipients

Individual beneficiaries

Household recipients

Individual beneficiaries

2003

9,860

11,740

9,390

11,040

2004

11,740

14,130

11,790

14,050

2005

11,900

14,340

12,060

14,360

2006

11,930

14,390

12,040

14,380

2007

11,870

14,380

12,100

14,480

2008

11,890

14,460

12,030

14,420

Notes:

1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

2. Household recipients are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves only or on behalf of a household.

3. The number of individual beneficiaries includes both claimants and their partners, some of whom may be under 60 years of age.

Source:

DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data

Pension Protection Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the Government plan to stand behind the Pension Protection Fund in circumstances in which its assets and contributions are not sufficient to meet claims made on it. (278389)

There is no need for the Government to guarantee the Pension Protection Fund. The PPF is designed to work over the long term. With around £3 billion in assets, and a monthly compensation bill of around £4 million, the PPF is able to fund compensation for a long time to come.

Winter Fuel Payments: Overseas Residence

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will estimate the number of British pensioners living abroad who are in receipt of the basic state pension but do not qualify for the winter fuel payment; and if she will make a statement. (279734)

Prime Minister

BBC External Services

To ask the Prime Minister whether he plans to reply to the e-petition which closed on 9 April 2009, relating to the BBC World Service, on the Downing Street website. (278153)

I refer the hon. Member to the reply issued on the No. 10 website:

http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page19451

A copy of this webpage has been placed in the Library of the House.

British Constitution

To ask the Prime Minister whom he consulted on his proposals for constitutional reform announced on 10 June 2009; what public consultation he plans to hold on the proposals; and if he will make a statement. (280178)

To ask the Prime Minister what steps the National Council for Democratic Renewal plans to take to consult (a) organisations and (b) individuals in the course of its work. (280210)

Public consultation will be a key part of the proposals for constitutional reform, and the Government will set out their plans for taking this forward shortly.

Cabinet: Southampton

To ask the Prime Minister what the cost was of holding the meeting of the Cabinet in Southampton on 23 February 2009. (274176)

The visit of the Cabinet to Southampton on 23 February 2009 was one of several ministerial visits across the region; there was a public engagement event with around 140 local people and a formal Cabinet meeting. The cost of the public engagement event and the Cabinet meeting was approximately £103,802, excluding VAT. This figure includes the cost of hiring the venue, catering, associated security and delegate management. There are no separate figures for the Cabinet meeting. In addition, Departments and agencies will have incurred costs in terms of travel, staff time and other support. The cost of any security provided by the police is a matter for the relevant police force.

Council for Constitutional Renewal

To ask the Prime Minister when he expects the Council for Constitutional Renewal to be established; how many members of the Council there will be; by what criteria its membership will be decided; what payment will be provided to Council members for their participation in the Council; what secretariat will be provided for the Council, and with what budget; whether all its deliberations will be held in public; and whether the Council will be a public authority for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. (278370)

I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made to the House on 10 June 2009, Official Report, column 795-99. As with all Cabinet Committees, the Democratic Renewal Council will be supported by the Cabinet Office, and individual Departments where relevant.

Democratic Renewal Council and Domestic Policy Council

To ask the Prime Minister by what means the proceedings of the (a) Democratic Renewal Council and (b) Domestic Policy Council will be reported to the House; and what estimate has been made of the administrative cost of each body in the next 12 months. (279467)

To ask the Prime Minister whether he has requested the National Council for Democratic Renewal to report recommendations to him within a specified period. (280212)

I refer the hon. Members to the statement I made to the House on 10 June 2009, Official Report, column 795-799.

Departmental Responsibilities

To ask the Prime Minister what the official duties and responsibilities are of the First Secretary of State; what change there has been in those duties from those formerly accorded to the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform; and what arrangements he has made for a Minister to answer questions in the House on the discharge of any new duties. (280189)

I refer the hon. Member to the Machinery of Government and Ministerial Appointments press notices issued by my Office. Copies are available in the Library of the House and are also available on the No. 10 website at:

http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page19525

and

http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page19564.

Departmental Training

To ask the Prime Minister what training courses have been attended by special advisers in his Office in the last 12 months; and at what cost. (279393)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Amess) on 6 May 2009, Official Report, column 182W.

Enterprise Champion

To ask the Prime Minister what the official duties and responsibilities of the Enterprise Champion are; and which Minister will answer questions in the House on their discharge. (280190)

I refer the hon. Member to the press notice issued by my Office on Friday 5 June 2009. A copy is available on the No. 10 website:

http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page19515.

Iraq Conflict

To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to consult (a) the leaders of Opposition parties represented in the House and (b) the Chair of the Public Administration Select Committee before announcing (i) the terms of reference and (ii) the composition of an inquiry into the Iraq war; and if he will make a statement. (280091)

To ask the Prime Minister what the terms of reference of the planned inquiry into the Iraq war will be; and if he will make a statement. (280142)

To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he plans to have with members of other political parties represented in the House on the terms of reference of the forthcoming inquiry into the war in Iraq. (280248)

I refer the hon. Members to the statement I made to the House on 15 June 2009, Official Report, columns 21-24.

Israel: EC External Relations

To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on the agenda for the EU-Israel Association Council meeting on 15 June 2009; and if he will make a statement. (279752)

I have regular meetings and discussions with ministerial colleagues and others on a wide range of subjects.

To ask the Prime Minister (1) what recent discussions he has had with the President of the European Commission on upgrading EU-Israel relations; (279753)

(2) what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on upgrading EU-Israel relations.

I have regular discussions with the president of the European Commission and others on the issue of the middle east and related issues.

National Council for Democratic Renewal

To ask the Prime Minister whether the recommendations of the National Council for Democratic Renewal will be published. (280208)

The Democratic Renewal Council will operate in accordance with normal procedures for Cabinet Committees. Proposals from the Committee will be subject to public engagement and consultation where relevant.

To ask the Prime Minister what the budget is of the National Council for Democratic Renewal for 2009-10. (280211)

As with all Cabinet Committees, the Democratic Renewal Council will be supported by the Cabinet Office, and individual Departments where relevant.

To ask the Prime Minister who the members of the National Council for Democratic Renewal are. (280236)

To ask the Prime Minister who the members are of the National Council for Democratic Renewal. (280209)

Parliamentary Private Secretaries

To ask the Prime Minister which hon. Members act as Parliamentary Private Secretaries to Ministers in each Department. (272010)

Following the recent reshuffle a list of Parliamentary Private Secretaries will be published in the usual manner.

Senior Salaries Review Body

To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to extend the remit of the Review Body on Senior Salaries to enable it to advise public bodies other than those specified in its existing terms of reference. (277531)

The Review Body on Senior Salaries (SSRB) provides independent advice on the remuneration of holders of judicial office; senior civil servants; senior officers of the armed forces, very senior NHS managers and other such public appointments as may from time to time be specified by the Prime Minister. Full details of the Review Body’s remit can be found on the SSRB website:

http://www.ome.uk.com/review.cfm?body=4.

Appropriate pay setting mechanisms are already in place to cover public bodies other than those specified in this remit. In general, approval for the pay of chief executives of non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) is the responsibility of the parent Department, in consultation with HM Treasury. In making their decision, Departments take account of appropriate market comparators and public sector pay policy. The pay of other executives is normally included in an NDPB’s pay remit, which is normally approved by the parent Department.

Home Department

Antisocial Behaviour Orders: Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders given to children aged 10 to 17 years old have had reporting restrictions imposed through the discretion of the court under section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 in each of the last 10 years. (280633)

The information requested is not available centrally.

Antisocial behaviour orders are civil orders and therefore not automatically subject to reporting restrictions. ASBOs are designed to protect local communities and their effectiveness will depend on local people knowing about them. However, courts retain the power to impose reporting restrictions if they believe it appropriate to do so.

DNA: Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what applications to use data from the national DNA database for research purposes have been submitted to his Department since 15 January 2008; and if he will make a statement; (271101)

(2) what applications to his Department to use data from the national DNA database for research purposes have been refused since 13 June 2008; and if he will make a statement.

Two research applications have been submitted to the National DNA Database (NDNAD) Strategy Board since 15 January 2008. One application was from the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI). The ENFSI group has been awarded EC funding to improve the efficiency of DNA data exchange throughout Europe. In order to do this, it is necessary to build a computer simulation model to determine the current efficiency of DNA databases and to carry out a predictive analysis of the effect of not increasing the number of European core loci (i.e. the number of elements of DNA which are common to different countries’ profiling systems). This application is still being considered.

The second research application was from a specialist working group set up by the Forensic Science Regulator to verify the outputs of familial search algorithms. “Familial searching” is the term used to describe the process of searching the NDNAD for profiles which are similar but not identical to a DNA profile left at a crime scene. Such searches are approved only in serious cases and can provide police with a lead on the identity of an offender by providing matches with possible family members. This application has been approved.

No research applications have been refused since 13 June 2008.

Entry Clearances

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the target time is for the processing of an application to the UK Border Agency for a sponsor licence; and what the (a) average and (b) maximum time taken to process an application for such a licence was in the latest period for which figures are available. (278275)

The target time for processing a sponsor licence application from 1 April 2009 is 20 working days. The average time taken to process an application is currently 34 days for applications received on or after 1 April 2009. This is due primarily to high volumes of applications in particular areas, each of which must be subject to a rigorous set of checks.

The maximum time taken to process an application was 274 days which was due to delays in receiving information from the sponsor organisation and difficulties trying to arrange and conduct a pre-licensing visit.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 1 June 2009, Official Report, columns 168-69W, on immigration: EU nationals, what steps he is taking to ensure that EEA residence cards are issued no later than six months after the date on which the application and documents are received. (280432)

The Secretary of State has increased the resources committed to European casework. Improvements have also been made to the training and mentoring packages for caseworkers completing European applications, all of which has led to improved results.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has established a timetable for the processing of applications for residence permits for (a) EEA nationals and (b) family members of EEA nationals. (280470)

The agency is committed to completing all EEA applications types within six months of date of receipt by the end of November 2009.

Immigration Controls

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications under the highly-skilled migrants programme have been refused because applicants' savings fell below the required level in each year that the scheme has operated. (272236)

The information is not available in the format requested because it is not centrally recorded.

Immigration Controls: Overseas Students

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many academic institutions have successfully registered as sponsors with the UK Border Agency under tier 4 of the points-based immigration system; and how many such institutions made applications to register which were rejected. (271294)

[holding answer 27 April 2009]: There are at present just less than 1,600 educational establishments on the register of sponsors under tier 4 of the points-based system.

Over 500 applications for sponsorship have been unsuccessful, including those applications rejected, refused and withdrawn, of which around 30 were from organisations identifying themselves as universities or educational establishments.

Figures provided have been rounded to the nearest five.

The figures quoted are not provided under National Statistics protocols and have been derived from local management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change.

Immigration: Gurkhas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the progress of reviewing the right to live in the UK of Gurkhas who retired before 1997. (243126)

[holding answer 15 December 2008]: I refer the hon. Member to the announcement made by my right hon. Friend the former Home Secretary (Jacqui Smith) on 21 May 2009. Former members of the Brigade of Gurkhas discharged before 1 July 1997 and who have served a minimum of four years are now eligible to apply for settlement in the UK.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when he plans to reply to the letter to his predecessor of 29 April 2009 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Cindy Douglas. (280434)

(2) when he plans to reply to the letter to his predecessor of 27 April 2009 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. M Ghosi;

(3) when he plans to reply to the letter to his predecessor of 23 April 2009 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mrs. Fazeelat Akhtar.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 28 April 2009, reference: M10251/9, on asylum and immigration policy. (281132)

Personal Records: Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Epping Forest of 1 June 2009, Official Report, column 174W, on personal records: data protection, for how long automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) data are retained; and under what circumstances ANPR data are deleted from the National ANPR Data Centre. (279619)

ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) guidance states that ANPR data may be retained for an initial 90 days after collection for viewing by authorised persons for post-crime interrogation and investigation. Data more than 90 days old may then be retained for up to two years if the operational need remains. However these data are partitioned from general viewing. Access is only permitted for major and serious investigations and requires authorisation in each case by a senior officer. This is in line with responsibilities under the Data Protection Act (1984 and 1998).

The National ANPR Data Centre is currently under development and test. Once in live operational use, ANPR data will be deleted as required by police forces in discharging their responsibilities under the Act. Data not required to be retained for operational purposes will be deleted automatically after a prescribed period, and this period will be determined through agreement between the Association of Chief Police Officers, the National Policing Improvement Agency and the Information Commissioner's Office.

Police: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much gross revenue council tax police precepts raised in each year, after capping, in each police authority in England and Wales in each year since 1997-98. (279852)

The information requested is set out in the following table.

The figures for 2009-10 for Surrey Police Authority are before capping. Any capping action is subject to approval of a draft order currently before the House.

Gross revenue council tax police precepts

£ million

Force

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

Avon and Somerset

25.6

27.2

30.6

34.4

37.4

43.4

58.6

66.3

70.3

74.4

80.4

85.3

89.7

Bedfordshire

9.5

10.2

11.3

12.5

13.3

15.0

18.0

20.9

22.1

23.4

24.7

27.5

28.7

Cambridgeshire

11.7

11.2

12.3

14.9

16.5

23.1

28.0

32.6

34.6

36.7

39.4

42.0

44.5

Cheshire

17.1

18.3

19.4

21.2

22.6

25.9

31.3

35.0

37.0

39.4

42.6

50.3

52.5

Cleveland

8.6

7.6

9.9

10.4

11.2

15.5

19.5

22.4

23.8

25.1

26.5

29.3

30.8

Cumbria

9.2

11.6

12.6

13.7

14.9

16.6

21.8

25.7

26.8

28.3

29.9

31.7

33.2

Derbyshire

15.1

17.0

19.8

21.6

23.2

28.5

34.9

38.7

40.9

43.1

45.6

48.0

52.5

Devon and Cornwall

26.3

25.8

28.9

32.2

34.2

41.2

58.2

65.8

70.1

74.2

78.6

85.7

90.4

Dorset

16.6

18.6

20.7

22.7

24.9

28.1

33.8

37.9

40.5

42.8

45.4

47.9

50.5

Durham

8.9

8.3

8.7

9.1

9.9

11.4

14.1

16.4

17.4

18.4

25.1

26.7

27.8

Dyfed-Powys

8.2

10.2

12.6

14.9

16.1

17.5

22.4

26.1

28.0

29.9

31.8

33.9

35.7

Essex

29.3

34.1

36.1

40.2

42.5

46.8

56.5

60.8

64.8

69.1

73.2

77.6

81.9

Gloucestershire

10.0

11.4

13.8

15.8

16.8

19.4

29.6

33.0

34.6

36.7

38.9

41.1

42.7

Greater Manchester

40.2

42.0

45.0

47.1

48.9

52.2

69.8

75.5

81.1

85.8

90.8

98.8

106.8

Gwent

8.7

9.7

10.7

13.7

15.4

17.7

22.4

26.4

28.5

30.1

32.0

33.7

35.2

Hampshire

31.8

31.1

33.6

34.7

37.5

48.2

62.8

70.9

75.0

79.3

84.0

91.6

96.7

Hertfordshire

17.6

20.2

22.0

28.1

30.2

33.9

41.4

47.7

50.3

53.4

56.6

60.2

63.4

Humberside

13.4

13.6

14.3

15.9

22.7

25.5

30.7

35.9

37.8

39.9

42.2

44.3

46.2

Kent

28.7

27.2

29.8

31.9

34.8

42.8

55.9

63.0

67.0

70.9

75.2

79.7

84.3

Lancashire

22.9

23.1

25 2

27.6

30.2

33.1

39.6

45.9

49.4

52.3

58.6

63.4

66.3

Leicestershire

14.5

17.1

18.1

19.4

21.8

27.9

31.0

35.9

38.2

40.5

42.9

49.9

51.8

Lincolnshire

13.4

15.5

16.3

17.5

18.7

19.9

22.3

24.3

26.2

28.0

29.7

38.1

40.3

Merseyside

27.0

29.1

31.4

33.2

35.3

39.3

42.3

46.2

48.9

51.5

54.1

56.7

59.3

Metropolitan

181.8

222.3

241.3

248.2

324.6

361.4

443.7

521.3

560.5

607.42

649.0

665.0

662.0

Norfolk

13.0

14.0

17.0

19.3

22.6

27.4

33.7

39.0

41.3

44.0

47.4

52.0

54.5

North Wales

11.2

13.6

15.7

18.8

20.0

23.6

31.3

38.0

42.4

45.0

48.5

51.2

54.0

North Yorkshire

13.0

12.8

14.0

15.4

17.2

24.6

43.6

49.0

50.6

522

54.2

57.1

59.0

Northamptonshire

13.4

13.4

15.1

16.0

17.0

22.0

27.7

32.2

33.7

36.0

38.2

40.9

43.1

Northumbria

21.3

19.4

20.3

21.2

22.9

24.1

26.6

28.1

29.6

30.5

31.9

33.8

35.1

Nottinghamshire

14.9

16.4

18.7

20.0

21.7

26.5

34.4

38.1

40.4

42.6

45.0

47.6

50.3

South Wares

19.5

22.4

26.2

32.5

34.8

36.7

42.7

48.4

52.9

56.5

59.9

63.6

67.0

South Yorkshire

18.9

19.3

20.2

21.2

22.6

26.9

34.4

38.0

40.0

42.3

44.7

47.0

48.8

Staffordshire

17.7

23.6

25.8

27.5

31.5

34.0

43.1

47.5

50.3

53.4

56.4

58.8

61.4

Suffolk

11.3

11.7

12.6

13.9

15.5

19.1

25.7

28.7

30.2

32.0

34.1

37.5

39.4

Surrey

15.0

22.5

25.7

36.9

38.9

45.4

63.8

69.8

73.8

78.7

83.2

92.0

96.8

Sussex

29.1

29.0

30.6

32.2

34.6

41.1

57.9

63.4

67.1

71.0

75.6

79.9

83.7

Thames Valley

40.0

39.5

44.5

47.9

51.7

59.2

86.1

98.6

104.2

110.8

117.82

123.9

130.0

Warwickshire

9.2

11.0

12.8

14.0

15.7

19.0

22.1

24.1

25.5

27.0

28.6

32.6

34.0

West Mercia

19.7

21.1

23.4

29.8

32.0

43.0

49.7

57.9

60.7

64.3

68.0

71.7

75.5

West Midlands

39.6

36.6

38.4

41.3

43.3

47.2

54.5

61.3

64.6

68.0

71.6

74.9

77.9

West Yorkshire

31.8

31.8

33.5

36.2

37.9

47.8

56.1

64.7

69.0

73.2

77.8

82.3

85.5

Wiltshire

11.8

13.6

15.1

16.8

18.7

20.7

25.2

27.9

29.6

31.6

33.6

35.6

37.7

Sources:

English Police Authorises - Communities and Local Government

Welsh Police Authorises - Welsh Assembly Government

Reparation by Offenders

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the use of mechanisms for restorative justice. (280265)

I have been asked to reply.

Following the final report of the evaluation of the crime reduction programme restorative justice pilots, our assessment of the effectiveness of restorative justice for adults is that it can deliver high levels of victim satisfaction and can be a positive service for victims if delivered appropriately and sensitively. It may also help to reduce reoffending.

Security Guards: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will bring forward proposals to require directly-employed security guards to be licensed. (280164)

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) recently conducted a review of whether in-house security guards should be licensed.

The SIA concluded that there was no clearly defined or substantiated risk to public protection that would justify extending the licensing requirement to include in-house security guards. Ministers agreed with this conclusion and asked the SIA to review the matter again in the future. The SIA intend to conduct the review in 2012-13, but will do so earlier if evidence of criminality is identified.

The review was published on the SIA website in May 2009 at:

http://www.the-sia.org.uk/home/licensing/in-house.htm

UK Border Agency: Public Consultation