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Written Answers

Volume 495: debated on Monday 6 July 2009

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 6 July 2009

Prime Minister

Hutton Inquiry

To ask the Prime Minister if he will publish, redacted as necessary for reasons of national security, witness statements submitted to the Hutton Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly. (283371)

Iraq Committee of Inquiry

To ask the Prime Minister (1) by what method and in what form witnesses giving evidence to the Committee of Inquiry on Iraq will do so when giving evidence on a basis equivalent to evidence given under oath; and if he will make a statement; (283368)

(2) what provision is being made to meet the (a) per diem and (b) other expenses incurred by (i) right hon. Sir John Chilcot and (ii) other members of the Committee of Inquiry on Iraq in relation to their work on the inquiry;

(3) if he will direct the Committee of Inquiry on Iraq to publish a list of those Privy Council members serving on the Committee who attend each closed session of the inquiry;

(4) if he will make it his policy that a verbatim record of public sessions of the Chilcot Inquiry is published daily;

(5) what plans there are to appoint legal counsel to support the Chilcot Inquiry into Iraq;

(6) whether those invited to serve on the Committee of Inquiry into Iraq were given guidance prior to accepting on the (a) likely time commitment involved and (b) duration of the inquiry; and if he will make a statement;

(7) whether witnesses to the Chilcot Inquiry into Iraq will be permitted legal representation; and if he will make a statement;

(8) who the secretary to the Chilcot Committee of Inquiry into Iraq will be.

I refer my hon. Friend to my letter of 17 June 2009 to the right hon. Sir John Chilcot GCB and to his reply of 21 June 2009. Copies of both have been placed in the Libraries of the House. As Chairman, Sir John, in consultation with the Inquiry Committee members, will take decisions on how the inquiry conducts its work. The costs of the inquiry will be met by the Government. The secretary to the inquiry will be Ms Margaret Aldred CB CBE, who is a senior Cabinet Office official.

Lord Paul of Marylebone

To ask the Prime Minister on how many occasions Lord Paul of Marylebone has visited 10 Downing Street on official business in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (281910)

My officials and I have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals on a range of subjects.

Cabinet Office

Aviation

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate she has made of the number of jobs in the UK dependent on the aviation industry. (282417)

I have been asked to reply.

This Department does not produce estimates of the number of jobs in the UK dependent on the aerospace or aviation industries.

The Society of British Aerospace Companies—the national trade association for the aerospace sector—estimates that 100,740 people were directly employed in the aerospace sector in 2008. This includes those employed in manufacturing of aircraft, systems, engines and equipment.

Figures for the air transport industry are included in the Office of National Statistics employment figures in their Annual Business Enquiry. Their latest figures for total employment averaged over the year of 2007 indicate that 93,000 people were employed directly in the air transport industry and a further 48,000 people were employed in other activities supporting air transport. These figures relate primarily to those involved in transport of passengers or freight by air but do not cover all those employed at airports for retail, catering, baggage handling etc.

Charities: West Midlands

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent steps have been taken to promote the Capacitybuilders and Futurebuilders schemes to charitable organisations in the West Midlands. (283850)

All Capacitybuilders programmes are promoted in the West Midlands through a mixture of regional events, e-bulletins and through local ChangeUp consortia. Capacitybuilders is based in the West Midlands and they have a regional manager for the West Midlands.

Futurebuilders England has taken steps to promote the fund in the West Midlands. There have been a number of events to specifically promote the Futurebuilders Fund in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Staffordshire.

Both Capacitybuilders and Futurebuilders are working together to deliver the new £16.5 million modernisation fund. Both organisations promoted the fund at the Office of the Third Sector’s road show in Birmingham on 27 April, where over 60 delegates representing third sector organisations in the West Midlands attended.

Departmental Information Officers

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what the cost of (a) press officers and (b) other press office staff in No. 10 Downing Street has been in each year since 1997; (283061)

(2) what the cost to her Department of employing press office staff other than press officers has been in each year since 1997.

The Prime Minister’s Office forms part of the Cabinet Office.

For the cost of Press Officers I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. Browne) and the hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mr. Hunt) on 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1733W.

Information dating back to 1997 on the cost of press officer staff other than press officers is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Responsibilities

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much time was spent on Ministerial duties between 4 May 2009 and 5 June 2009 by each Minister in her Department who is also a Member of the House of Commons. (282819)

During this period, Cabinet Office Ministers continued to spend as much time on their ministerial duties as necessary for them to be fulfilled.

Futurebuilders Fund: Essex

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many loans of each type have been provided from the Futurebuilders programme to organisations in each constituency in Essex since the inception of that scheme. (283894)

To date, Futurebuilders England has invested over £3 million to five organisations in Essex. By constituency, Futurebuilders England has invested in one organisation in Brentwood and Ongar; one in Rochford and Southend, East; and three in West Chelmsford.

Pensioners: Low Incomes

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate she has made of the number of pensioners in households with a net income of less than £130 a week in (a) North West Cambridgeshire constituency, (b) Cambridgeshire, (c) the East of England and (d) the UK in each of the last five years. (275242)

I have been asked to reply.

The information that is available is shown in the following table.

The data source does not allow us to provide robust numbers for estimates below the level of Government Office Region. The latest available information on pensioner incomes is for 2007-08 and figures have been rounded to the nearest 100,000.

Therefore information is provided for years up to and including 2007-08 based on an income of £130 per week, deflated to the price levels of the years in question.

Pensioner units with a net income after housing costs of less than £130 per week (deflated to prices of years measured)

million

2001-02 to 2003-04

2002-03 to 2004-05

2003-04 to 2005-06

2004-05 to 2006-07

2005-06 to 2007-08

East of England

Couples

Singles

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

UK

Couples

n/a

0.2

0.1

0.2

0.2

Singles

n/a

1.7

1.5

1.4

1.4

Notes:

1. Net income after housing costs is income from all sources received by the pensioner unit including income from social security benefits, earnings from employment, any private pension, and tax credits less direct taxes and housing costs which include rent, water rates and mortgage interest payments.

2. Figures are based on the average of three years' data as single year estimates do not provide a robust guide to year-on-year changes.

3. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 100,000.

4. “—” indicates a value less than 50,000

5. Based on survey data and as such subject to a degree of sampling and non

sampling error.

6. Pensioner units are either a single pensioner over State Pension age (65 and over for men or 60 and over for women) or pensioner couples. Pensioner couples are couples where at least one member is over State Pension age.

7. Prior to 2002-03 the FRS survey only covered households in Great Britain. Therefore it is not possible to provide estimates for the UK for years before 2002-03.

8. The deflated values of £130 were £124.18 in 2007-08, £120.35 in 2006-07, £116.39 in 2005-06, £113.81 in 2004-05, £111.47 in 2003-04, £108.87 in 2002-03 and £106.32 in 2001-02.

Source:

Pensioners' Incomes Series (derived from the FRS survey)

Private Members’ Bills

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many Private Members’ Bills commenced in the House have required Queen's Consent in (a) the last three Sessions and (b) in the current Session to date; what the (i) average and (ii) longest time between an hon. Member asking her Department to apply for consent and that consent actually being applied for was in (A) each of the last three Sessions and (B) in the current Session to date; what the (1) average and (2) longest time between her Department's applying for and receiving Queen's Consent was in each such period; on how many occasions Queen's Consent has arrived in a period of 72 hours preceding a Bill's scheduled second reading in each such period; and if she will make a statement. (274629)

Information about the number of private Members' Bills requiring Queen's Consent is set out in the following table. The rest of the information requested is not collated centrally and to do so would incur disproportionate cost.

Private Members' Bills requiring Queen's Consent

Session

On second reading

On third reading

2005-06

5

1

2006-07

3

1

2007-08

3

0

2008-09 (to date)

2

1

Third Sector

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate she has made of the Government funding allocated to third sector organisations in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09. (284212)

The latest information held by the Office of the Third Sector relates to estimates of central Government spending on the third sector in 2005-06 and estimates of local government spending on the third sector in 2003-04.

These figures show that central Government spending on the third sector in 2005-06 is estimated at £5.4 billion. Local government spending on the third sector in 2003-04 is estimated at £4.2 billion.

Both reports are published at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector/Research_and_statistics/third_sector_research/expenditure.aspx

For auditing reasons, there is a time lag for officially published data but the NCVO Civil Society Almanac provides an estimate of the total amount of public funding received by general charities and for 2006-07 they put this figure at £12 billion.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what information is held by (a) the Office for the Third Sector and (b) her Department on the level of Government funding for (i) charities, (ii) voluntary organisations and (iii) social enterprises. (284213)

The Office of the Third Sector publishes information on central and local government spending on the third sector. Latest figures relate to central Government spending on the third sector in 2005-06, and local government spending on the third sector in 2003-04. However it is not possible to show funding for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises separately.

Both reports are published and available at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector/Research_ and_statistics/third_sector_research/expenditure.aspx

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which of her Department’s programmes allocate funding to charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations. (284278)

The Office of the Third Sector, in Cabinet Office runs a variety of programmes allocating funding to charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations. Expenditure on these programmes and programme descriptions are reported annually in the Cabinet Office Annual Report and Accounts.

Olympics

Mass Media: Olympic Games 2012

To ask the Minister for the Olympics how much the Olympic Delivery Authority spent on media monitoring services in each of the last three years; and which organisations provided such services. (280014)

Over the past three years, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has spent the following on media monitoring services:

Supplier

Cost (£)

2006-07

Lexis Nexis (online newspaper and magazine archive)

2,264.45

2007-08

Factiva (online newspaper and magazine archive)

11,600.92

TNS Media (broadcast monitoring)

2008-09

Digital Media Services

32,422.50

Hawk (broadcast media)

Factiva

TNS Media

This increase is due to the fact that, in the earlier stages of the project, more of the monitoring costs were borne by the privately funded London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and also a reflection of the increasing national and international coverage of the games in both print and broadcast media.

Costs for electronic monitoring of newspapers and magazines are covered by LOCOG.

Olympic Games 2012: East of England

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what discussions her Office has had with the Local Government Association on the East of England’s (a) participation in and (b) legacy from the London 2012 Olympics. (277778)

There has been regular discussion with the East of England at a local level, with local authorities and through public consultation events since 2007 by my officials, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

I also visited Norwich in November 2008 and spent some time meeting and discussing with councillors and members of the local authority about the plans for 2012 and how they can ensure that they maximise the opportunities they present.

The East of England will be hosting the mountain biking competition at Hadleigh Farm in Essex and the white-water canoe slalom will be staged in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire. The region will also benefit from the legacy of the games in the form of a world-class community and elite use white-water canoe centre at Broxbourne.

I was delighted to award Essex county council a Beacon Award in March this year recognising the effectiveness of the council for its work on Olympic and Paralympic legacy. The Beacon scheme is a prestigious award scheme that recognises excellence in local government.

In 2007, the Nations and Regions Group (NRG) was set up by LOCOG and the Government Olympic Executive to build on the excitement and interest the games has inspired across the UK. The Local Government Association (LGA) has been present on the group since its inception and is represented by Councillor Chris White, who is also Chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board. At the LGA conference in December 2008, I set out progress so far and the Government’s plans for the future alongside Charles Allen, the Chair of the NRG.

Local government was instrumental in the success of the 2008 Open Weekend when some 655 events across the country engaged some 700,000 people in London 2012 community, sporting and cultural events. The LGA and local authorities throughout the UK again have the opportunity to use the London 2012 Open Weekend held from the 24 to the 26 July to inspire people to get involved with a range of culture, sport, sustainability and learning activities to celebrate the UK hosting the games in 2012.

Scotland

Departmental Cleaning Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which organisations provided cleaning services to his Department in each of the last three years; and what the cost of each such contract was in each such year. (280758)

Cleaning services for the Scotland Office is undertaken by various companies. The following table details the various companies and expenditure. Waste collection is also included in the information as some contracts cover both cleaning services and waste collection.

£

Company

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

OCS Group UK Ltd. T/a Cannon

890.01

819.88

748.76

Hannay

2,021.40

Palmer & Co.

1,080.00

Lancaster Office Cleaning Company

25,314.80

26,065.82

25,592.97

Serco Integrated Services

21,495.92

20,257.50

23,351.81

Shanks Waste Management Ltd.

1,435.25

3,120.95

1,428.10

MacDET Hygiene Services Ltd.

460.00

Total expenditure by year

51,157.38

50,724.15

52,201.64

Departmental Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much (a) electricity and (b) gas was used on his Department's estate in each year from 2004-05 to 2008-09. (280526)

The Scotland Office did not centrally record its electricity and gas usage for the years 2004 to 2009. Information about utility usage has however been recorded since the beginning of this financial year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was spent on energy efficiency measures for his Department's estate in each year from 2004 to 2009; what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of that expenditure; and what plans he has for future energy efficiency measures. (280537)

Exact figures for energy efficiency measures are not available in the requested format. All works carried out where possible include measures designed to improve energy efficiency but those measures are not costed separately.

Energy efficiency in the Scotland Office's London branch is measured by the Display Energy Certificate that the building is required to have under the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007. A copy of the certificate and the associated advisory report have been placed in the Library of the House.

Plans for future energy efficiency measures across the Government estate are described in the Sustainable Procurement and Operations on the Government Estate Delivery Plan Update (December 2008).

Departmental Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the cost to his Department of (a) press officers and (b) other press office staff has been in each year since 1997. (283067)

The Scotland Office was established on 1 July 1999. The cost to the Department of press office staff is as follows:

£

1999-20001

44,078

2000-01

139,705

2001-02

134,702

2002-03

135,919

2203-04

114,643

2004-05

105,266

2005-06

93,114

2006-07

270,283

2007-08

113,236

2008-09

124,373

1 Part year.

2 Running under complement.

The press office provides support to Scotland Office Ministers and officials, as well as the Office of the Advocate General. It has also been involved in providing logistical support to the Commission on Scottish Devolution and the Boundary Commission for Scotland. It operates a 24-hour on-call service for Ministers and has the responsibility for maintaining the Scotland Office website and media planning across the office.

Public Consultation

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what mechanism his Department has in place to monitor the content of comments submitted by members of the public to his ministerial blog. (284201)

The blogging software integrated into the Scotland Office website automatically stores comments for moderation before they are published live, in line with good web practice.

Northern Ireland

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many senior civil servants in his Department are paid an annual salary of more than £64,766. (284329)

28 members of the senior civil service working within the Northern Ireland Office received a salary in excess of £64,766 in the financial year 2008-09.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many senior civil servants in his Department who received an annual salary of more than £63,291 in financial year 2008-09 were paid a bonus; and how much bonus was paid in each case. (284330)

26 members of the senior civil service working in the Northern Ireland Office and receiving a salary in excess of £63,291 in the financial year 2008-09 were awarded non-consolidated performance payments in line with the Government's response to the independent Senior Salaries Review Body. These payments ranged between £4,000 and £18,000.

Police: Museum

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in the establishment of a police museum in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. (284331)

An outline business case for a new police museum was submitted to the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) in April 2009, following work done by the RUC George Cross Foundation with support and advice from the NIO. Before any decision can be taken, consideration needs to be given to the case in the context of the current financial environment, the project's relationship with other work on the past, and the range of funding options.

Culture, Media and Sport

EU Laws

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of the statutory obligations upon it provided for in legislation introduced as a consequence of obligations arising from EU legislation in the most recent 12 months for which figures are available. (283481)

No estimate has been made of the cost to the Department of the statutory obligations upon it provided for in legislation on matters for which it is responsible which were introduced as a consequence of obligations arising from EU legislation in the most recent 12 months.

World Heritage Sites

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make it his policy to continue to accept applications from additional cultural sites for inclusion in the UK's tentative list of future nominations for World Heritage status. (283419)

My Department is currently reviewing its World Heritage Policy. As part of this we have held a public consultation and are analysing the results. A decision on whether to revise the current UK tentative list of possible nominations for World Heritage inscription will be made in the autumn based upon this analysis.

If we do decide to prepare a new tentative list then all interested sites will be considered for inclusion on it and appropriate guidelines on the process will be made available.

Work and Pensions

Access to Work Initiative

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much on average the Access to Work initiative has paid to employers per registered person to date. (280630)

Access to Work is a specialist disability programme delivered by Jobcentre Plus, which provides practical advice and support to disabled individuals either in paid employment or with a job or work trial to start. It helps to overcome work related obstacles resulting from their disability through a system of grants towards the cost of providing support. The programme reimburses costs incurred either by the individual or by any third party on their behalf. The programme does not therefore directly fund employers. In 2008-09 the Access to Work programme spent £81,223,3321.

1 This figure is an indicative one for the 2008-09 operating year and is subject to sign off of the DWP Resource Accounts by the National Audit Office.

Asbestos

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance her Department issues to (a) employers and (b) employees on risks arising from the presence of asbestos in commercial properties. (283456)

[holding answer 2 July 2009]: The Health and Safety Executive has produced a number of pieces of guidance for employers and employees on asbestos in commercial properties:

Two Approved Codes of Practice; “Work with Materials Containing Asbestos” and “The Management of Asbestos in Non-domestic Premises”.

Two guidance documents for those who manage buildings: “A Comprehensive Guide to Managing Asbestos in Premises'” and “A Short Guide to Managing Asbestos in Premises”. An online guidance tool to help those responsible for managing asbestos in buildings is about to be launched.

Two further documents for employers and employees who work with asbestos such as building maintenance trades in commercial properties: “Introduction to Asbestos Essentials”, and “Asbestos Essentials”.

In addition, a number of free leaflets are available in hard copy and on the HSE website; “Manage Buildings? You Must Manage Asbestos”, the “Duty to Manage Checklist” and 'Guidance for Safety Representatives”. HSE and partner organisations have been campaigning to raise awareness among tradesmen most recently through the Hidden Killer campaign which included radio and press advertising and a campaign leaflet and flyer.

Carer’s Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether her Department has made an estimate of the effect on the number of carers eligible for carer’s allowance of raising the current earnings threshold for eligibility to (a) £150, (b) £200 and (c) £250 per week. (283191)

Data limitations and lack of information regarding carers’ eligibility for carer’s allowance mean that we are unable to estimate accurately the effect on the number of eligible carers of extending the earnings limit.

We recognise the importance of supporting carers who want to combine work with caring. However, we also need to maintain a balance between the income of carers on benefits who can combine paid work with caring, and those who cannot.

Departmental Official Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) Ministers, (b) consultants for and (c) employees of her Department travelled to Alicante for the launch of the We’re closing in campaign; how many nights of accommodation were paid for from the public purse; and how much this exercise cost. (277053)

The launch of the benefit fraud hotline took place on Thursday 25 September 2008. One Minister and two DWP officials travelled to Alicante the previous evening and stayed one night. No consultants were involved in the event. The cost of this exercise was approximately £4,200.00.

Departmental Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will assess the merits of providing the face-to-face services administered by her Department's agencies in partnership with the post office network. (282583)

The Government have now agreed a new contract for the Post office card account with Post Office Ltd. The contract will run through to March 2015, with the option of a two-year extension beyond that. The Government are looking to see whether more of their services can be delivered through post offices and my Department is taking an active part in those discussions. We want to deliver services in the most efficient way, which deliver both value for money and provide the best customer service. And we are always open to ideas about the role that the post office can play in that.

Departmental Telephone Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent representations her Department has made to the Telephone Helplines Association on the inclusion of her Department’s benefit helplines on their industry list; and what estimate she has made of the savings which would result to (a) her Department and (b) service users. (278376)

My Department believes strongly that calls to its 0800 numbers should be free to mobile phone users as they already are for callers from landlines. Officials from the Department have accordingly approached the Telephone Helplines Association and are now in discussion with mobile telephone operators seeking to secure the Department’s customers a free service when contacting the Department’s 0800 numbers via a mobile phone.

The respective costs and savings will depend on the arrangements entered into by operators and the Department.

Disability Living Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many recipients of disability living allowance have had the mobility component of their allowance amended from the higher rate to the lower rate in the last 12 months. (274378)

In the year to November 2008, 4,470 disability living allowance recipients were recorded as having higher mobility award in payment which was subsequently reduced to a lower rate mobility award.

Notes:

1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

2. The figure quoted shows the number of people in receipt of an allowance, and excludes people with entitlement where the payment has been suspended, for example if they are in hospital.

3. The number of recipients to have moved from a higher to a lower rate mobility award over the 12 month period was derived by identifying those people on consecutive scans whose mobility rate had changed from higher to lower in each available quarter i.e. November 2007 to February 2008, February 2008 to May 2008, May 2008 to August 2008 and August 2008 to November 2008. This is an approximation and will include, for example, some who leave disability living allowance and make a second successful claim within the quarter at the lower rate, and those on the higher rate whose level of award is reviewed and revised to the lower rate from the start of the claim.

Source:

DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.

Disability Living Allowance: Tamworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people claiming the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance in Tamworth constituency gave a severe visual impairment as a reason for claiming. (282430)

The available information is in the following table:

Disability living allowance cases in payment where blindness/visual disorder is recorded as the main disabling condition, November 2008

Number

Tamworth parliamentary constituency

10

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. From October 2008 the way in which the disabling condition is recorded on the live system changed. Disabling conditions are now recorded as primary and secondary, (previously recorded as disability care and mobility codes). For existing cases a mapping exercise was carried out which assigned disability care code to primary disabling condition and disability mobility code to secondary condition. Information Directorate has updated the methodology used to derive main disabling condition to reflect this change in the live system. The old category D08 (blindness) is now subdivided into a range of more specific condition codes. These are referred to by the over-arching title “Visual Disorder”. 3. The preferred data source for benefit statistics is 100% Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study. However, the 5 per cent. sample data are generally the preferred source for analysis on disabling condition as information is more complete for disabling condition on the 5 per cent. sample (some recipients of disability living allowance who transferred from the attendance allowance system may not have been allocated a specific disabling condition code. This problem can be corrected on the sample data but not on the WPLS data. The number of cases affected is decreasing over time). In this case the WPLS data have been used as some of the caseload figures produced are very small and so would have a high level of statistical variation should the sample data have been used. Source: DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.

Disabled: Discrimination

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 24 June 2009, Official Report, columns 1027-28W, on the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, if she will publish reviews of contractors' compliance with disability discrimination legislation. (283356)

The Department has no plans to publish reviews of contractors' compliance with disability discrimination legislation.

All DWP welfare to work contracts include detailed terms and conditions relevant to the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. DWP contract management processes are designed to ensure that contractors comply with all statutory and legislative requirements. In addition, external inspection and validation will ensure the quality and accuracy of their activities.

Employment and Support Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assistance for returning to work will be given to existing incapacity benefit claimants who are not in the invest to save pathfinder areas once they have transferred on to the employment and support allowance; (255116)

(2) whether the back-to-work regime for existing incapacity benefit claimants who have transferred on to the employment and support allowance (ESA) will be the same as for new ESA claimants.

The Pathways to Work programme was first introduced in pilot areas in October 2003. It has always been available to existing incapacity benefits claimants on a voluntary basis, as has our suite of specialist disability employment provision. In April 2008 Pathways to Work completed its national roll-out and is now accessible by everybody receiving incapacity benefits and Employment and Support Allowance in Great Britain.

Conditionality regimes for existing incapacity benefits and Employment and Support Allowance claimants are set out in the White Paper 'Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the future' (Cm 7506).

Upon transfer to Employment and Support Allowance, existing incapacity benefits claimants not in the "invest to save" pathfinder areas will receive:

(i) three mandatory Work Focused Interviews and access to other elements of the Pathways to Work programme, for claimants aged under 50;

(ii) one mandatory Work Focused Interview and access to other elements of Pathways to Work for claimants aged 50 and above; and

(iii) pilots trialing new forms of support for claimants aged 50 and above.

In addition to the above, claimants will continue to have access to the Jobcentre Plus Disability Employment Adviser who can offer advice on the range of specialist disability provision for those with complex disability related barriers to work. A new specialist disability programme will be introduced in October 2010 to replace some of the existing provision.

Nationally, new Employment and Support Allowance claimants will continue to have access to back to work support through Pathways to Work. From late 2010 we will extend to two years the period during which new claimants are required to engage with us through work-focused interviews. In addition Employment and Support Allowance claimants in progression to work pathfinder areas, or personalised employment programme pilots, will be required to undertake work related activity in certain circumstances from 2010.

Claimants placed in the Support Group will not be required to undertake any mandatory activities, although they will be able to volunteer for back-to-work support.

Once disabled people have secured a job or have a firm job offer they may also be eligible for the Access to Work programme which can assist with the costs of support to help them overcome work related obstacles resulting from disability.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if her Department will add those in receipt of high care component of Disability Living Allowance to the list of those considered as having limited capability for work for employment and support allowance. (282897)

Receipt of Disability Living Allowance at any level does not automatically mean that a person will be considered as having limited capability for work for the purposes of Employment and Support Allowance. Entitlement criteria for Employment and Support Allowance are based on functional ability, not on the benefits an individual receives or their diagnosis. Entitlement to Disability Living Allowance depends on a person's care and mobility needs, not their capability for work. Each person is assessed on an individual basis to determine whether their level of functional ability is such that it is unreasonable to require them to work.

Energy Supply: Disclosure of Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when her Department expects to begin data-sharing with energy suppliers. (283248)

DWP and DECC are working with energy suppliers on the precise details of this project, we are hoping to start operating the scheme by the end of the financial year 2009-10.

Housing Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when she expects to bring forward proposals to reform the housing benefit regime, as referred to on page 43 of the Building Britain's Future document. (283668)

As was set out in the Building Britain’s Future document, we intend to consult on the reform of housing benefit later on this year.

Housing Benefit: Local Housing Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of the number of housing benefit claimants who have cancelled their benefit immediately prior to making a claim for local housing allowance in the latest period for which figures are available. (281661)

Jobcentre Plus: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent guidance her Department has issued to Jobcentre Plus offices on waiting times in jobcentres; and if she will place in the Library a copy of such guidance. (271620)

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the acting chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Mel Groves. I have asked him to provide the right hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Mel Groves:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what recent guidance his Department has issued to Jobcentre Plus offices on waiting times in jobcentres; and if he will place in the Library a copy of such guidance. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Whilst we have not issued any specific guidance on waiting times, as part of our commitment to service standards, we always try to see customers on time if they have an appointment. To help manage rising business volumes we have implemented a number of related measures. These include speeding-up the recruitment, training and deployment of additional staff; and adopting a first-available personal adviser approach to make more effective use of resources and to minimise waiting times.

Pathways to Work

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what disability impact assessments there have been under provider-led Pathways to Work arrangements in respect of persons with a mental health condition in the last 12 months. (277736)

A Disability Equality Impact Assessment on Pathways to Work rollout and incapacity benefits reform was published on 9 May 2007.

It can be accessed at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/welfarereform/docs/DEIA.pdf

An externally commissioned impact study into provider-led pathways, reporting in June 2010 will include impact assessments for those with mental health conditions.

Pension Credit: East of England

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people resident in (a) North West Cambridgeshire constituency, (b) Cambridgeshire, (c) Peterborough, (d) Huntingdonshire and (e) the East of England region received pension credit in each year since the inception of the scheme. (283417)

The information requested is in the following table:

Households in receipt of pension credit November 2003 to November 2008

November each year

North West Cambridgeshire parliamentary constituency

Peterborough local authority

Huntingdonshire local authority

Cambridgeshire county

East of England

2003

2,430

5,340

3,100

13,280

159,940

2004

3,360

6,950

4,420

18,580

215,210

2005

3,550

7,140

4,710

19,440

223,030

2006

3,590

7,240

4,480

19,760

226,900

2007

3,630

7,420

4,800

19,620

227,040

2008

3,610

7,380

4,750

19,530

226,880

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.

Source:

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

Pension Credit: Essex

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in (a) Essex and (b) Castle Point have received pension credit in each year since its inception. (282061)

Households in receipt of pension credit in Essex and Castle PointNovember each yearEssexCastle Point200338,3902,680200452,3703,740200554,1903,910200655,3804,030200755,5004,130200855,8704,200Notes: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. Source: DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data.

Pension Credit: Hertfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many pensioners in (a) Hemel Hempstead, (b) Dacorum, (c) Hertfordshire and (d) the South East received pension credit in each year since its introduction; (284426)

(2) how many pension credit recipients live in Hemel Hempstead.

The information requested is in the following table:

Households in receipt of pension credit November 2003 to November 2008

November each year

Hemel Hempstead parliamentary constituency

Dacorum local authority

Hertfordshire county

South East

2003

2,570

3,280

25,130

205,480

2004

3,450

4,390

33,010

271,000

2005

3,520

4,480

34,050

280,270

2006

3,500

4,470

34,410

284,930

2007

3,490

4,460

34,290

285,940

2008

3,430

4,380

34,080

286,680

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

Pensioners: Income

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of the average (a) cash and (b) percentage change in household income for (i) a single pensioner and (ii) a pensioner couple in receipt of (A) basic state pension and (B) income support under the minimum income guarantee since 1997. (276267)

The information that is available is shown in the following table. Figures are presented in 2007-08 prices in order to allow real terms comparisons.

Average weekly net income after housing costs of pensioner units by receipt of income support for pensioners/pension credit and state pension, 2007-08 prices

1996-97 (£)

2007-08 (£)

Percentage change in real terms

Income support for pensioners/pension credit

Couples

279

395

42

Singles

124

187

51

State pension recipients

Couples

295

415

41

Singles

129

193

50

Notes:

1. Figures are expressed in 2007-08 prices.

2. Net income after housing costs is income from all sources received by the pensioner unit including income from social security benefits, earnings from employment, any private pension, and tax credits, less direct taxes including council tax and housing costs which include rent, water rates and mortgage interest payments.

3. Based on the Family Resources Survey and as such subject to a degree of sampling and non sampling error.

Source:

Pensioners’ Incomes Series

Remploy: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what grant funding her Department provided for Remploy in 2008-09; and how much it has allocated to Remploy for 2009-10. (283348)

The Remploy modernisation plan agreed core grant funding for Remploy of £121.5 million in 2008-09 and £118.5 million in 2009-10.

The Minister for Disabled People will submit a statement to the House about Remploy's performance and expenditure in 2008-09 and targets for 2009-10 in the autumn.

Welfare Reform Bill

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what safeguards she plans to put in place to ensure that those who are paid benefits in error under the provisions of the Welfare Reform Bill will not be subject to the sanctions proposed by that Bill if enacted; and if she will make a statement. (274347)

In cases where benefit has been paid in error then, under the provisions of the Welfare Reform Bill, sanctions would not apply.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Climate Change

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of intensive livestock farming on climate change; and if he will make a statement. (283741)

DEFRA has commissioned a number of studies, some of which are ongoing, to assess the environmental impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from several agricultural commodities throughout their lifecycle. This includes assessment of livestock production under intensive livestock systems. The most relevant studies are listed:

Project AC0204—A study of the scope for the application of research in animal genomics and breeding to reduce nitrogen and methane emissions from livestock based food chains - published in April 2008.

Project IS0222—Developing and delivering environmental Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) of agricultural systems - due to be completed in September 2009.

Project AC0210—Economic and environmental impacts of livestock production in the UK- due to be completed in July 2010.

Animal Feed

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made on the effect on the environment of the livestock industry’s use of soy-based animal feed; and if he will make a statement. (283742)

While no formal assessment has been made, we are currently considering the impact of the use of soya-based animal feed on the environment. In view of soya-based meal being a by-product of oil production, and there currently being no other mainstream uses for this by-product, reduction in its use for animal feed may not therefore lead to a reduction in soya bean production itself. Whatever feed source was to replace soya based feed would also have its own environmental impact.

DEFRA is funding ongoing research in conjunction with industry to look at alternative home grown protein rich animal feed crops, such as lupin, and assess the impact of such alternatives for both the environment and the livestock industry.

Animal Health: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) directors, (b) senior managers, (c) specialist and delivery managers and (d) executive support and administration staff there were in each office of Animal Health and its predecessors in each of the last five years. (282140)

Animal Health: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was paid in bonuses to (a) directors, (b) senior managers, (c) specialist and delivery managers and (d) executive support and administration staff in the Animal Health Agency in each of the last five years. (280608)

The following table details how much was paid in bonuses to (a) directors, (b) senior managers, (c) specialist and delivery managers and (d) executive support and administration staff in the Animal Health Agency.

Data are for the last three years only, reflecting whole financial years that Animal Health has been a separate financial entity from DEFRA.

£

Group1

Bonus type

Type total2

Group total3

Annual total

Grand total

2008

Directors

Special

3,704.00

Annual

53,500.00

57,204.00

Senior managers

Special

62,929.00

Annual

2,850.48

65,779.48

Specialist and delivery managers

Special

94,279.00

Annual

2,341.51

96,620.51

Executive support and admin staff

Special

124,144.00

Annual

7,149.08

131,293.08

350,897.07

2007

Directors

Special

44,000.00

Annual

44,000.00

Senior managers

Special

50,148.00

Annual

1,971.42

52,119.42

Specialist and delivery managers

Special

98,445.00

Annual

2,200.02

100,645.02

Executive support and admin staff

Special

135,841.00

Annual

9,528.57

145,369.57

342,134.01

2006

Directors

Special

33,000.00

Annual

33,000.00

Senior managers

Special

51,738.00

Annual

2,900.00

54,638.00

Specialist and delivery managers

Special

79,511.00

Annual

24,625.00

104,136.00

Executive support and admin staff

Special

114,235.00

Annual

26,995.00

141,230.00

333,004.00

1,026,035.08

1 The standard grades have been categorised into these groups as follows: Directors: Senior civil service. Senior managers: Grade 6, Grade 7, senior executive officer, regional operations director. Specialist and delivery managers: Veterinary officer, senior animal health officer, animal health officer, regional field manager, technical team leader, regional veterinary leader, veterinary team leader, egg marketing inspector, regional egg marketing inspector. Executive support and admin staff: Regional resilience manager, regional administration manager, higher executive officer, executive officer, administrative officer, administrative assistant, personal secretary, Pay band 2.0 Department of Environment and Transport (DETR), Pay band 5.3 DETR, Support Grade Band 1 2 Data are based on the current staff listings. The figures do not include any staff paid bonuses in the last three years who are no longer with the agency. 3 Data are based on the individual's current grade. Anyone who has been promoted in the last three years will be shown at their current grade, not at the grade they were when the bonus was received.

Dairy Farmers of Britain

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make (a) an estimate of the cost and (b) an assessment of compatibility with EU state-aid rules of provision of compensation to members of the Dairy Farmers of Britain co-operative for the loss of payments for milk supplied to the co-operative in May 2009. (283216)

In response:

(a) The Receivers (PwC) have estimated that the total financial costs to farmers who were members and former members of Dairy Farmers of Britain on 3 June are around £83 million.

(b) The proportion of this figure which arises from the failure to pay the May milk cheques is a matter for the Receiver.

Government have considered whether we can compensate farmers, but do not plan to do so.

Dairy Farming: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many dairy farmers there were in each of the last three years; and how many (a) entered and (b) left the sector in each year. (283642)

DEFRA does not collect figures on the number of farmers who enter and leave the dairy sector in each year. Figures from the June Survey of Agriculture only indicate activity on registered holdings in England at June each year and therefore show net change only.

The number of farmers on holdings where dairy is the predominant activity are shown in the following table. Prior to 2007 the method of categorising holdings into predominant farming activity was calculated using responses from the June Survey. From 2007 onwards data from the Cattle Tracing System has been used. Numbers of dairy holdings for 2006 are shown using both data sources for comparison. To show the overall trend across the change in data source a longer time series has also been included.

Number of dairy holdings1

Number of farmers

Survey data

CTS data

2000

31,481

15,219

2001

30,178

14,293

2002

30,425

14,537

2003

28,918

13,770

2004

28,057

13,264

2005

26,168

12,918

2006

25,706

12,628

11,079

2007

21,082

10,649

2008

20,122

10,112

1 Based on predominant farming activity.

Notes:

1. Farmers includes full and part time farmers, partners, directors and spouses if working on the holding.

Source:

June Survey of Agriculture

Departmental Forensic Science

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department operates an in-house forensic science laboratory. (283572)

The Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), an executive agency of DEFRA, currently undertakes a wide range of forensic-style analyses to detect, identify and measure DNA, veterinary drugs and pesticide residues in samples from plants and animals. Most of this work is done as part of national surveillance programmes or scientific research.

FERA is exploring new ways of exploiting its extensive testing facilities and capability in a wider range of applications, including forensics, but at present it is not providing a commercial service in this field.

Departmental Information and Communications Technology

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 23 April 2009, Official Report, column 816W, on departmental ICT, what the (a) expected completion date and (b) estimated cost is of each current major information technology project in his Department. (280756)

I refer the hon. Member to the earlier reply given to Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 22 June 2009, Official Report, House of Lords, columns WA257-58.

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many qualified (a) lepidopterists, (b) botanists, (c) lichenologists, (d) bryologists and (e) mycologists are employed by his Department and its agencies; and if he will make an assessment of levels of recruitment and retention of personnel with qualifications in these disciplines. (284019)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: The main focus of expertise in DEFRA for the fields listed is at the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera).

Fera employs the following numbers of specialists in the fields covered by the question:

Specialism

Fera employees

Lepidoptery

3

Botany

3

Lichenology

0

Bryology

0

Mycology

6

Fera has high levels of staff retention in the three specialisms in which staff are employed and, as a consequence, has no plans to recruit to these areas in the foreseeable future.

Dogs: Tagging

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many local authorities have established dog microchipping schemes; and when each such scheme commenced. (284099)

Fisheries

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect on the level of income of fishing fleets of the operation of (a) the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance and (b) the European Fisheries Fund; and if he will make a statement. (283487)

The European Fisheries Fund (EFF), and Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) before it, aim to help the fishing industry adapt and restructure to changing circumstances. The range of grant aided measures is very broad and includes investment in harbour facilities which can have a direct impact on incomes, as well as indirect benefit through investment in fish processing and marketing to sustain and develop markets.

Mid-term evaluation of FIFG shows that 40 harbour projects and 154 processing and marketing companies were assisted between 2001 and June 2005.1 In addition, £5.2 million was spent on launching 71 projects led by industry members, including 15 promotional and 11 market research schemes. As a direct measure to assist fishermen, £900,000 was spent financing gear selectivity trials and vessel operational efficiencies.2

The European Commission has appointed a consortium led by Ernst and Young to undertake the ex-post evaluation for FIFG which is to be completed by the end of 2009.

EFF is a new scheme which has operated in the UK since September 2008, and as such, it is too early to assess its impact. EFF has an indicator of gross value added for the UK specifically to measure profitability; from a baseline of £988 million in 2006, moving to £1,030 million in 2010 and £1,070 million in 2015. Full details can be found in the UK Operational Programme which is available on the Marine and Fisheries Agency website at:

www.mfa.gov.uk3

1 Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) Programme in Non-Objective 1 Areas of the United Kingdom (2000-06), Update of the mid-term evaluation, Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd., 2005.

2 Ibid.

3 UK Operational Programme, European Fisheries Fund, September 2008.

Floods

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effects on levels of flood risk of the scenarios shown in the most recent UK climate projections. (283231)

The UK Climate Projections 2009 (UKCP09) show that the climate in the UK is likely to change, and present probabilities for different potential climate outcomes. This information will help flood and coastal erosion risk management operating authorities, such as the Environment Agency, improve their risk-based decision making.

The parameters that are available from UKCP09 do not allow direct estimation of flood risk. Further synthesis and modelling will be necessary to assess the likely effects on levels of flood risk under the different UKCP09 projections.

However, DEFRA and the Environment Agency are currently managing two linked research projects, which aim to provide a better understanding of what the projections will mean for future river flows and how the information can be best used in decision making.

The Environment Agency recently published its Long Term Investment Strategy. This suggested flood and coastal risk management expenditure needs to increase to £1,040 million a year by 2035, plus inflation, in order to counter expected climate change and avoid more properties being placed at significant risk. This is compared to the £570 million to be spent on asset management and improvement in 2010-11. The climate scenarios used in the investment strategy are consistent with the latest climate projections data.

We expect the UKCP09 projections to be used in future assessments of flood and coastal risks, and in risk management plans, strategies and projects, such as the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment.

Fluoride: Drinking Water

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 17 June 2009, Official Report, column 380W, on fluoride: drinking water, what assessment the Drinking Water Inspectorate made of the adequacy of the remedial action taken by Three Valleys Water following the addition of excessive levels of fluoride to the water supply in 2000. (282193)

The Drinking Water Inspectorate has provided the following information about the assessment of the single sample result on 6 July 2000.

The natural level of fluoride in the source water is between 0.07 and 0.25 mg/l (the European maximum level permitted is 1.5 mg/l). There is no additional fluoride put into the water at the treatment works. The single adverse result recorded on 6 July probably arose as a consequence of an error in the sampling/analytical process. However this could not be proven conclusively. All samples in the nine years since 6 July 2000 have given satisfactory results.

Pesticides

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effects on agricultural production of the use of (a) Aminopyralid and (b) manure containing Aminopyralid; what recent representations he has received on such use; whether he plans to relicense Aminopyralid; and if he will make a statement. (283464)

Aminopyralid is known to be a useful herbicide for control of broadleaved weeds in high production grassland.

The Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) considered applications for approval of two aminopyralid products for use on grassland at their 337th and 338th meetings on 12 May and 30 June 2009.

The minutes of the 337th meeting can be found on the ACP website and the minutes of the 338th meeting will be posted there in due course:

http://www.pesticides.gov.uk/acp_home.asp

DEFRA has received a number of representations from individuals and allotment organisations concerned about the possibility of manure containing aminopyralid becoming available to gardeners. The applications for approval of these new products include tighter restrictions than previous approvals and the company concerned has plans for a stewardship programme to ensure that the risk of aminopyralid containing manure entering the supply chain is minimised.

Ministers will consider whether the issues raised have been adequately addressed and approvals can be granted when advice is received from the ACP.

Pesticides: Public Footpaths

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance (a) his Department and (b) the Environment Agency has issued to local authorities on the spraying of pesticides on public footways and pathways. (284138)

“Blanket spraying” is a colloquial term commonly used to describe the spraying of pesticides over large areas, usually in amenity situations such as on pavements or kerbsides and on parkland. The code of practice for using plant protection products provides guidance on the use of pesticides in all situations, including how to comply with the law and protect people and the environment when using pesticides. This code was sent to all local authorities when it was issued in 2006, and has been drawn to the attention of attendees at a variety of meetings including weed control conference at which local authorities have been present.

In line with the UK Strategy on the sustainable use of pesticides, the Government are seeking to minimise the amount of “blanket spraying” (and any other unnecessary application of pesticides). This will be done as part of a proportionate and integrated package of measures to reduce further the risks arising from amenity use of pesticides, particularly in implementing the forthcoming EU directive on the sustainable use of pesticides.

The Environment Agency has worked with Government and others on the development of the UK Strategy and supports the measures within it for reducing the impact of amenity pesticides on the environment.

Pets: EU Law

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to request an extension of the UK derogation from EU legislation for pet travel. (283640)

The European Commission recently announced a proposal to extend the UK derogation on pet travel rules until 31 December 2011. This means that, subject to the agreement of the Council and European Parliament, the UK’s current pet travel rules will remain in place until then.

In the meantime, DEFRA will continue to have discussions with the Commission and others on the movement of pets into the UK and around the wider European Community to ensure that we have the right long-term disease controls.

Recycling: Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of waste has been recycled by each local authority area in the Ceremonial County of Hampshire in each of the last five years. (283297)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 24 June 2009, Official Report, column 943W.

Sheep: Tagging

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department plans to take at EU level following the rejection of the Government’s proposed amendment to Regulation 21/2004 on electronic identification of sheep at the EU Agriculture Council meeting of 22 June 2009; and if he will make a statement. (283149)

We are continuing to work closely with the Commission and have received positive feedback from them on a further proposal to reduce the EID implementation burden on industry, which would provide for individual recording to be carried out at critical control points i.e. markets and abattoirs on behalf of the keeper. If secured, this could reduce industry implementation costs by a further 35 to 40 per cent.

Water Supply

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the volume of water lost through leaks from water pipes managed by (a) Severn Trent Water and (b) South Staffordshire Water in each of the last five years; what steps he is taking to reduce the volume of water lost through leaks from water pipes; and if he will make a statement. (283944)

Water companies report annual leakage figures to Ofwat as part of their annual regulatory returns. Ofwat publishes leakage performance annually in its Service and Delivery report. Ofwat sets the water companies targets to reduce their leakage to the economic level, the level of leakage at which it would cost more to make further reductions than to produce water from another source. Since 1997, total leakage has been reduced by 27 per cent. in England and Wales. All water companies met their leakage targets during 2007-08.

Leakage performance for Severn Trent Water and South Staffordshire Water for the years 2003-04 to 2007-08 was as follows:

Performance (Megalitres/day)

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Severn Trent

512

502

540

525

490

South Staffordshire

71

74

73

73

72

Water: Meters

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many water meters were installed by water supply companies in homes in West Bromwich East constituency in each of the last three years. (283946)

Ofwat, the economic regulator of the water and sewerage industry, does not hold data on how many meters are installed in individual constituencies.

The following table are the figures for how many water meters Severn Trent Water and South Staffordshire Water installed, in each of the last three years. Severn Trent and South Staffordshire Water supply the West Bromwich East constituency.

Number of meters installed—households

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Severn Trent

38,594

33,215

44,331

South Staffordshire

6,176

4,344

7,568

Transport

A1: A421

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much the improvements to the Black Cat roundabout at the A1/A421 junction at Eaton Socon cost; and for how long the improvement works affected traffic on the A1. (284220)

Improvements to the Black Cat Roundabout at the A1/A421 Junction at Eaton Socon were carried out as part of the A421 Great Barford Bypass project and as such were not costed separately.

Traffic management and speed restrictions were instigated at the Black Cat Roundabout in June 2005 while work took place to enlarge the roundabout. The work took approximately 14 months to complete.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the costs arising from delays to traffic on the northbound carriageway of the A1 south of the Black Cat roundabout in each month in the five years before the roundabout was enlarged; and what estimate he has made of such costs in each month since completion of the improvements. (284221)

Improvements to the Blackcat Roundabout were made as part of the A421 Great Barford Bypass scheme. The work to enlarge the roundabout started in June 2005 and lasted approximately 14 months.

The traffic information requested is not available for the full five years prior to June 2005. However, information is available from September 2002 onwards. The following table provides the information from that date to the present:

Black Cat northbound approach vehicle hours delay (VHD)

Road Link = A1 between A603 and A421

Month

Total vehicle hour delay (VHD)

Cost (£)

2002

September

11,412

128,727.36

October

8,426

95,045.28

November

7,730

87,194.40

December

6,200

69,936.00

2003

January

6,623

74,707.44

February

6,334

71,447.52

March

7,278

82,095.84

April

8,244

92,992.32

May

7,498

84,577.44

June

7,563

85,310.64

July

8,505

95,936.40

August

6,106

68,875.68

September

8,381

94,537.68

October

8,774

98,970.72

November

7,423

83,731.44

December

7,271

82,016.88

2004

January

6,852

77,290.56

February

6,170

69,597.60

March

7,158

80,742.24

April

6,027

67,984.56

May

8,311

93,748.08

June

7,450

84,036.00

July

8,147

91,898.16

August

6,969

78,610.32

September

6,760

76,252.80

October

9,355

105,524.40

November

10,541

118,902.48

December

8,011

90,364.08

2005

January

5,666

63,912.48

February

5,457

61,554.96

March

8,369

94,402.32

April

6,942

78,305.76

May

8,248

93,037.44

June

9,200

103,776.00

July

11,354

128,073.12

August

10,738

121,124.64

September

19,135

215,842.80

October

22,301

251,555.28

November

16,394

184,924.32

December

16,474

185,826.72

2006

January

13,220

149,121.60

February

30,306

341,851.68

March

22,441

253,134.48

April

16,168

182,375.04

May

20,120

226,953.60

June

23,080

260,342.40

July

16,189

182,611.92

August

7,058

79,614.24

September

9,283

104,712.24

October

7,503

84,633.84

November

9,781

110,329.68

December

7,763

87,566.64

2007

January

6,396

72,146.88

February

7,490

84,487.20

March

8,493

95,801.04

April

9,233

104,148.24

May

9,841

111,006.48

June

9,452

106,618.56

July

11,768

132,743.04

August

11,302

127,486.56

September

11,312

127,599.36

October

12,969

146,290.32

November

10,815

121,993.20

December

7,788

87,848.64

2008

January

5,067

57,155.76

February

8,541

96,342.48

March

7,554

85,209.12

April

8,941

100,854.48

May

11,058

124,734.24

June

7,628

86,043.84

July

9,412

106,167.36

August

10,789

121,699.92

September

7,351

82,919.28

October

9,243

104,261.04

November

8,193

92,417.04

December

6,972

78,644.16

2009

January

5,800

65,424.00

February

7,116

80,268.48

March

7,226

81,509.28

April

7,724

87,126.72

May

7,111

80,212.08

Bus Services: Concessions

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many pensioners resident in Milton Keynes received concessionary bus passes in the latest period for which figures are available. (283684)

The Department for Transport is not responsible for issuing passes and so does not maintain records of how many passes individual authorities have issued.

The last information held by the Department was that as of 17 April 2009, Milton Keynes local authority had issued approximately 25,000 of the new smartcard concessionary passes. This includes applications from disabled people as well as those aged 60 and over.

Departmental Carbon Emissions

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what estimate he has made of the volume of carbon dioxide emissions arising from road-based transport of administrative operations by his Department in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08 (i) in total and (ii) per full-time equivalent member of staff. (281011)

The Department for Transport's estimates for carbon emissions arising from road transport amount to 11,116.5 tonnes of CO2 in 2006-07, and to 9,784.4 tonnes in 2007-08. This equates to 0.604 tonnes per full-time equivalent member of staff in 2006-07, and 0.514 tonnes in 2007-08.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many full-time equivalent civil servants working in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies outside London earn a consolidated salary of less than (i) £15,000, (ii) £16,000, (iii) £18,000, (iv) £20,000 and (v) £25,000, excluding bonuses. (283687)

The number of full-time equivalent civil servants working in the Department for Transport earning less than £25,000 excluding bonuses is shown in the following table:

Number

£15,000

490

£16,000

1,697

£18,000

4,210

£20,000

2,027

£25,000

3,586

The number of full-time equivalent civil servants working in the Department for Transport agencies earning less than £25,000 excluding bonuses is shown in the following table:

Number

£15,000

490

£16,000

1,697

£18,000

4,205

£20,000

2,010

£25,000

3,522

These salaries are based on 1 June 2009.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what percentage of (a) white and (b) non-white staff of his Department of each (i) grade and (ii) pay band have received the highest performance marking in each reporting year since the inception of Department for Transport (central). (283688)

The Department for Transport (central Department) recorded the following proportion of staff who received the highest marking in their annual appraisal in each year since formation:

percentage

Ethnic minority

White

2007-08

20.2

30.0

2006-07

19.9

30.0

2005-06

10.0

27.0

2004-05

20.0

27.0

2003-04

14.4

29.6

2002-03

14.3

26.6

Pay band breakdown for 2006-07 and 2007-08 is available via our external website. Previous years pay band breakdown is available only at disproportionate cost.

DVLA: Buildings

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport which Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) offices excluding DVLA Swansea have lease agreements with a break clause that will allow the property to be vacated in (a) 2009, (b) 2010 and (c) 2011. (284057)

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency Local Offices with a break clause, allowing the property to be vacated in the time requested each year are, 2009 none; 2010 Lincoln and Sheffield local offices and 2011 Chelmsford local office.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport which Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) offices excluding DVLA Swansea have a lease which will expire in (a) 2009, (b) 2010 and (c) 2011. (284058)

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency local offices where the lease will expire in the relevant years are listed as follows:

2009

Bangor

Chester

Inverness

Leeds

Stockton

Truro

Wimbledon

2010

Norwich

Portsmouth

2011

Aberdeen

Peterborough

Sidcup

DVLA: Manpower

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many staff are employed at each Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) office, excluding DVLA Swansea. (284059)

The number of staff employed at each Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency Local Office (LO) and Continuous Registration Enforcement Centre (CREC) excluding Swansea are as follows:

Number

Aberdeen LO

11

Bangor LO

16

Beverley LO

16

Birmingham LO

64

Boreham Wood LO

44

Bournemouth LO and CREC

69

Brighton LO

25

Bristol LO

31

Cardiff LO

41

Carlisle LO

12

Chelmsford LO

60

Chester LO

25

Dundee LO

12

Edinburgh LO

26

Exeter LO

48

Glasgow LO and CREC

78

Inverness LO

7

Ipswich LO

22

Leeds LO

61

Lincoln LO

19

Maidstone LO

38

Manchester LO

56

Newcastle LO

52

Northampton LO and CREC

63

Norwich LO

15

Nottingham LO

54

Oxford LO

14

Peterborough LO

26

Portsmouth LO

26

Preston LO

68

Reading LO

26

Sheffield LO

29

Shrewsbury LO

21

Sidcup LO

93

Stockton LO

23

Truro LO

15

Wimbledon LO

46

Worcester LO

32

Total

1,384

First Group: National Express

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what meetings he has held with First Group regarding its proposed takeover of National Express; and if he will make a statement. (283702)

[holding answer 2 June 2009]: There have been no meetings between Department for Transport Ministers and First Group regarding a proposed takeover of National Express, however, First Group indicated to the Secretary of State that they had made preliminary approach to National Express with a view to entering into discussion about a possible merger.

M18

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what plans the Highways Agency has to resurface the M18 south of junction 6. (284021)

There are currently no plans to resurface the M18 south of junction 6. The road surface of the M18 at the specified location is in good condition.

Motorways: Subsidence

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport when the slow lanes of the M1 and the M18 were last inspected for subsidence in the road surface caused by heavy goods vehicles; and if he will make a statement. (284020)

Lane 1 of the M1 northbound and southbound carriageways in South Yorkshire and the Humber region were surveyed on the following dates:

M1 between junction 30-35a northbound on 18 November 2008;

M1 between junction 35a-42 northbound on 19 November 2008;

M1 between junctions 30-42 southbound on 20 November 2008.

Lane 1 of the whole length of the M18 northbound and southbound carriageways were last surveyed on 25 November 2008.

Railways: Electrification

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what funding his Department is providing to enable the completion of Guide to Rail Investment Projects 3 work in respect of the proposals to electrify the Gospel Oak to Barking line; and when he expects this stage of the process to be completed. (284159)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: No funding is being provided by the Department for Transport towards the development of any Guide to Railway Investment Projects Stage 3 work for the Gospel Oak to Barking line electrification. The funding of the development work and the date for its completion are both matters for Transport for London.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what agreement has been reached between his Department and Transport for London in respect of the allocation of costs for the electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking line. (284160)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 23 June 2009, Official Report, column 769W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn).

Railways: Franchises

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what maximum temperature in train carriages his Department specified in franchise agreements. (283043)

Road Traffic Offences: Electric Vehicles

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) whether his Department intends to prosecute users of personal transporters on public highways; and if he will make a statement; [R] (283507)

(2) whether he has made a recent estimate of the number of personal transporters which are in use on public highways at least once a week; and if he will make a statement.

Prosecution is a matter for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Department for Transport has made no estimate of the number of personal transporters which are in use on public highways.

Road Traffic: Census

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what information his Department holds on (a) the cost of the recent Milton Keynes council traffic census and (b) the number of motorists questioned over the period of the census. (283683)

The road traffic counts carried out by the Department for Transport for the National Road Traffic Estimates simply count the number of vehicles passing a defined point. They do not involve questioning motorists or interfering with the traffic flow.

The cost of the individual surveys cannot be provided as the information is commercially confidential.

Roads: Accidents

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the West Midlands Casualty Reduction Scheme in reducing numbers of road traffic accidents in that region. (283847)

The Department for Transport has not made a specific, recent assessment of the effectiveness of the West Midlands safety enforcement camera partnership (also known as the West Midlands Casualty Reduction Scheme), which covers the West Midlands metropolitan area.

In 2008 the West Midlands metropolitan area authorities reviewed their overall progress delivering their second local transport plan, including in respect of road safety. The Government office for the West Midlands region, in conjunction with the Department for Transport, commented on this review in a letter dated 9 January 2009. This can be viewed at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/regional/ltp/ltp2/westmidlands/westmidlandsjoint.pdf

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many road fatalities there have been in each parliamentary constituency in Greater London in each of the last five years for which figures are available. (284490)

The numbers of fatalities in each parliamentary constituency in Greater London for each year from 2004 to 2008 are shown in the following table:

Number of fatalities

Parliamentary constituency1

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Barking

4

5

4

3

4

Battersea

3

4

3

0

4

Beckenham

3

2

3

2

6

Bethnal Green and Bow

3

5

1

1

5

Bexleyheath and Crayford

2

2

1

4

0

Brent East

1

0

4

3

3

Brent North

3

1

3

1

0

Brent South

2

5

4

7

4

Brentford and Isleworth

9

10

8

5

3

Bromley and Chislehurst

3

4

6

3

5

Camberwell and Peckham

2

1

3

3

1

Carshalton and Wallington

3

2

2

1

2

Chingford and Woodford Green

2

3

1

2

4

Chipping Barnet

4

3

1

5

3

Cities of London and Westminster

10

9

10

7

18

Croydon Central

6

5

2

4

2

Croydon North

5

1

1

4

0

Croydon South

1

1

4

1

2

Dagenham

3

1

1

4

4

Dulwich and West Norwood

2

4

5

2

2

Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush

4

5

7

6

6

Ealing North

2

5

2

2

8

Ealing, Southall

2

2

4

7

2

East Ham

2

0

1

4

0

Edmonton

2

4

7

5

1

Eltham

4

3

7

4

4

Enfield North

3

3

10

2

4

Enfield, Southgate

3

6

4

5

1

Erith and Thamesmead

1

1

2

1

2

Feltham and Heston

5

4

5

4

0

Finchley and Golders Green

4

4

5

6

3

Greenwich and Woolwich

4

4

4

3

6

Hackney North and Stoke Newington

6

3

5

0

2

Hackney South and Shoreditch

2

1

2

2

4

Hammersmith and Fulham

5

6

3

4

1

Hampstead and Highgate

2

1

3

2

0

Harrow East

2

3

1

1

1

Harrow West

2

1

2

1

0

Hayes and Harlington

3

2

4

0

5

Hendon

4

4

10

3

11

Hoi born and St. Pancras

2

2

5

5

4

Hornchurch

7

3

1

5

0

Hornsey and Wood Green

1

3

2

2

1

Ilford North

6

4

2

4

2

Ilford South

4

2

3

4

1

Islington North

1

3

1

5

1

Islington South and Finsbury

1

1

1

1

3

Kensington and Chelsea

4

9

3

8

4

Kingston and Surbiton

4

3

3

5

2

Lewisham, Deptford

4

1

0

1

1

Lewisham East

3

3

1

3

0

Lewisham West

0

2

1

2

2

Leyton and Wanstead

0

0

0

1

1

Mitcham and Morden

1

0

0

3

1

North Southwark and Bermondsey

5

3

2

0

7

Old Bexley and Sidcup

0

4

3

2

0

Orpington

4

3

5

2

3

Poplar and Canning Town

3

4

5

5

3

Putney

3

1

2

0

0

Regent's Park and North Kensington

3

6

4

0

4

Richmond Park

2

0

4

1

0

Romford

1

4

0

3

1

Ruislip-Northwood

5

3

0

5

5

Streatham

1

4

1

5

7

Sutton and Cheam

0

0

0

0

0

Tooting

3

0

2

2

2

Tottenham

2

4

6

2

2

Twickenham

3

2

2

1

1

Upminster

2

0

0

4

3

Uxbridge

4

3

2

4

4

Vauxhall

1

2

5

5

3

Walthamstow

0

3

0

2

1

West Ham

2

1

2

4

0

Wimbledon

1

1

5

2

3

All constituencies in Greater London

216

214

228

222

205

1 Based on 2004 parliamentary boundaries

Speed Limits

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether an impact assessment has been prepared in relation to his Department’s plans to encourage local authorities to set lower speed limits. (284172)

The Department for Transport’s consultation on a new road safety strategy, “A Safer Way”, was published on 21 April 2009. This included proposals to reduce road casualties on residential streets and on the riskiest rural roads, by encouraging highway authorities to reduce speed limits on such roads. An impact assessment was included in the consultation document, which can be found at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/roadsafetyconsultation/

Speed Limits: Cameras

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what guidance notes have been issued to local highways authorities on safety camera partnerships since May 1997; and which of those notes remain in effect. (284130)

The Department for Transport (DfT) issued the Handbook of Rules and Guidance for the National Safety Camera Programme for England and Wales in 2001 which was revised regularly until the final version was published in January 2006. This was superseded by DfT Circular 01/2007, “Guidance on the Deployment of Speed and Red-Light Cameras” issued on 31 January 2007. The guidance was placed in the Library of the House and is also available on the Department’s website.

Transport: Finance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much integrated transport block and highways maintenance funding has been allocated to each local transport authority in the East of England for capital investment in each of the last 10 years. (283414)

Allocations provided to the East of England in each of the last 10 years are shown in the tables:

Integrated transport

£ million

East region

2008-09

2007-08

2006-07

2005-06

2004-05

2003-04

2002-03

2001-02

2000-01

1999-20001

Bedfordshire

3.784

3.160

3.572

3.350

3.200

3.000

3.100

3.900

2.400

Cambridgeshire

8.474

8.560

8.662

8.200

11.814

9.300

8.050

8.100

4.500

Essex

12.932

12.518

13.327

13.800

14.250

13.966

13.000

13.000

5.000

Hertfordshire

11.512

11.626

11.422

12.600

12.350

14.170

12.950

12.500

5.000

Luton

2.408

3.158

2.516

3.100

3.300

4.310

4.000

4.100

1.800

Norfolk

11.040

11.209

11.073

9.700

13.213

11.119

10.5 50

10.000

4.000

Peterborough

2.154

2.049

1.867

1.900

2.187

2.196

2.000

2.000

0.900

Southend-on-Sea

2.428

2.550

2.562

2.800

2.520

3.373

3.000

3.000

1.650

Suffolk

6.838

6.816

7.578

7.350

7.745

8.250

8.150

7.500

4.000

Thurrock

2.492

2.345

2.391

2.150

2.060

2.450

2.100

1.400

0.650

1 The Integrated Transport figure is included in the table below for this year.

Highways maintenance

£ million

East region

2008-09

2007-08

2006-07

2005-06

2004-05

2003-04

2002-03

2001-02

2000-01

1999-20001

Bedfordshire

5.496

4.591

6.001

6.001

4.801

4.364

3.491

3.247

1.617

4.602

Cambridgeshire

11.654

11.752

12.782

12.782

10.226

8.791

7.437

6.967

2.817

7.806

Essex

18.006

22.428

16.682

18.088

12.626

12.620

15.001

13.925

5.170

8.942

Hertfordshire

11.151

11.263

9.175

8.596

9.262

7.939

10.586

10.083

4.467

6.858

Luton

1.012

0.891

0.948

0.889

1.185

1.020

0.862

0.819

0.587

4.344

Norfolk

19.130

21.273

19.401

19.635

19.836

18.262

18.973

19.247

5.203

7.752

Peterborough

2.361

5.625

2.209

4.579

4.227

1.834

1.843

1.765

1.082

2.562

Southend-on-Sea

1.720

1.915

1.707

1.622

3.444

1.307

1.742

1.608

0.696

1.945

Suffolk

14.707

14.929

16.032

15.274

14.485

12.316

11.808

13.467

4.472

5.554

Thurrock

1.038

0.818

2.919

4.483

3.855

1.148

1.550

1.146

0.597

1.760

1 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.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Detainees

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 22 June 2009, Official Report, column 630W, on Afghanistan: detainees, when the Governor of Bermuda was first informed that the four Muslim Uighur refugees had been detainees in Guantánamo Bay (283328)

The Governor was first informed by the Government of Bermuda that the four Muslim Uighurs transferred to Bermuda were former detainees in Guantanamo Bay at 0820 (local time) 11 June 2009, following their arrival in Bermuda two hours earlier.

Aung San Suu Kyi

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the government of Burma on the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi. (284305)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has expressed UK's deep concern over the arrest and trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, commenting that it shows the Burmese regime is intent on finding any pretext to extend her unlawful detention. He released a statement on the morning of her arrest on 14 May 2009 condemning the actions of the regime. On receiving news of her arrest, our embassy in Rangoon also immediately registered its concern with the Burmese authorities. Our ambassador contacted them again on 18 May 2009 and the following days to seek access to her trial.

Former Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Bill Rammell raised the arrest and trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, the detention of over 2,100 political prisoners and the implications for a genuine transition to democracy in Burma with EU and Asian partners at the EU-Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Asia-Europe Meeting in the region at the end of May. He spoke directly to Burmese Ministers to express the UK's outrage at their actions.

Most recently, the Prime Minister issued a statement on Aung San Suu Kyi's birthday, 19 June 2009, reiterating his call for her release. Our embassy in Rangoon transmitted a message from the Government to the Burmese Ministry of Foreign Affairs early on 1 July 2009 expressing our continued concern about Aung San Suu Kyi's trial and urging the regime to co-operate with the UN General Secretary upon his visit.

Bermuda: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 22 June 2009, Official Report, columns 629-30W, on Afghanistan: detainees, what the role of the (a) government and (b) Governor of Bermuda is in respect of Bermudese foreign affairs; and if he will make a statement. (283326)

The Governor has responsibility for the conduct of any business of the Bermuda Government with respect to the external affairs of Bermuda in accordance with section 62 of the Bermuda Constitution. The Government of Bermuda have been delegated, subject to certain conditions, authority under a 1968 General Entrustment to negotiate and conclude agreements in certain specified areas with other countries. Other entrustments have also been issued at various times authorising specific negotiations.

Chernobyl: Children

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what progress has been made in discussions with his Belarusian counterpart on arrangements for visits to the UK by children who grew up near Chernobyl; (278169)

(2) for what reasons the Government has not concluded a bilateral agreement with Belarus on safeguarding the status of children connected with Chernobyl.

[holding answer 4 June 2009]: I have been asked to reply.

On 22 May, the United Kingdom entered into a bilateral agreement with the Belarusian Government to secure the resumption of organised visits by Chernobyl-affected Belarusian children to the United Kingdom. Parliament was notified of this agreement by written ministerial statement, laid on 11 June 2009, Official Report, columns 48-49WS, available at:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm090611/wmstext/90611m0001.htm #09061143000079

Departmental Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information databases his Department (a) maintains and (b) uses which do not contain personal information. (284399)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and its network of diplomatic posts overseas use a large number of databases, of varying size and complexity. The most significant of these are managed centrally.

These databases support a wide range of activities across the organisation, from the processing of passport applications and recording consular assistance to British citizens overseas, to managing the FCO's financial and personnel administration across the whole network of FCO departments and posts overseas. Each post normally also holds local business and official contacts databases.

Many of the FCO databases may contain personal information about our staff and members of the public who have sought our assistance, but all personal information held on FCO databases is strictly protected in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which (a) sections of his Department and (b) non-departmental public bodies for which he is responsible have requested money saved from efficiency savings to be used for increased pay in their 2009 pay offers to staff. (282892)

Efficiency savings are not used for increased pay in the 2009 pay offer to staff. Efficiency savings are either redirected back into frontline services or to enable the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to live within its comprehensive spending review settlement.

Diplomatic Missions

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 18 June 2009, Official Report, column 25WS, on diplomatic missions, what discretion local authorities have to withdraw public services from diplomatic missions which do not pay the national non-domestic rates billed to them. (283916)

National non diplomatic rates (NNDR) for diplomatic premises is paid in full to local authorities by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The VOA then bills individual missions for the portion which covers services from which missions directly benefit. This is currently calculated as 6 per cent. of the total bill.

As diplomatic missions do not pay NNDR direct to local authorities, it would not be appropriate for local authorities to withdraw services from those diplomatic missions which have NNDR debts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 18 June 2009, Official Report, column 25WS, on diplomatic missions, on what date the Zimbabwe mission last paid a bill for national non-domestic rates; and how many months of non-domestic rates arrears the sum given in the statement represents. (283917)

The Valuation Office Agency's records indicate that the Zimbabwean mission's debt has been accumulating since 2000-01. Since that time they have only paid one year's beneficial portion of national non-domestic rates, for the year 2006-07. The sum given in the written ministerial statement represents eight years' accumulated debt.

Interpal

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has had discussions with the Quartet representative on the designation by the US administration of the charity Interpal as a terrorist organisation. (284463)

We have not discussed Interpal with the quartet representative.

Our officials are in discussion with their US counterparts about how to facilitate legitimate charitable work while protecting against any risk of funds being misused by terrorists. These discussions have included reference to the Interpal's status in the US as a designated organisation.

Israel: Internally Displaced Persons

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the eviction of families from the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem; what representations he has made to the Israeli Government on the matter; and if he will make a statement. (284949)

We are extremely concerned by the continued eviction notices served on Palestinian families in East Jerusalem and have pressed the Israeli Government to suspend these eviction notices immediately. We have supported an EU presidency statement expressing the EU's deep concern about the issue of eviction notices to the al-Rawi and Hanoun families in East Jerusalem and calling for the al-Kurd family to be allowed to return to their home.

Additionally, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made the UK's concerns clear in his statement to the UN Security Council on 11 May 2009 and it was also discussed during the EU Foreign Ministers' meeting on 15 June 2009. The UK will continue to raise this with Israeli officials both in public and in private.

Ministerial Policy Advisers

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many members of his Department are based in 10 Downing Street as foreign policy advisers to the Prime Minister. (284026)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: There are currently three members of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office based in 10 Downing street working as foreign policy advisers to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.

Peru: Rain Forests

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions his Department has had with the government of Peru on the protection of rainforest in that country. (284214)

We have frequent discussions with the Peruvian Government as part of our close and friendly bilateral relationship. This includes with Peru’s Environment Minister on his commitment made at Poznan in December 2008 to reduce Peru’s deforestation to zero by 2019. We have offered our support to the Peruvian Government as they seek to strengthen Peru’s legal framework for protecting the Amazon.

Terrorism: Compensation

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government plans to introduce a compensation scheme for British victims of terrorism overseas; and if he will make a statement. (282500)

I have been asked to reply as Minister for Humanitarian Assistance.

An inter-departmental working group is putting together detailed proposals on financial support for victims of terrorist attacks overseas. The group will report to Ministers shortly.

Defence

Afghanistan: Detainees

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement of 26 February 2009, Official Report, columns 394-97W, on Records of detention (review conclusions), what the names of each of the two individuals transferred from Iraq to Afghanistan in 2004 are; at what US detention facilities they (a) have been and (b) are being held; what steps the Government has taken to verify US assurances on the treatment of the two individuals; whether the UK has the power to demand (i) access to and (ii) the return of the two individuals; on what date officials were first made aware of (A) the intention to transfer the two individuals and (B) the transfer itself; what international law applies to people held on behalf of other coalition forces; and if he will make a statement. (283335)

[holding answer 30 June 2009]: It is not the practice of this Department to release personal information, such as the names of these two individuals. The individuals were initially held at a US detention facility in Baghdad before they were transferred to US detention facilities at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. As my predecessor made clear in his statement, when this information came to light officials immediately engaged with their US counterparts and were assured that the individuals are held in a humane, safe and secure environment that meets international standards that are consistent with applicable cultural and religious norms. I am satisfied that these assurances are reliable; although there is no formal legal power for the UK to demand access to the individuals, close relationships with the US satisfy me that this is not required. After 31 December 2008 the UK has no power of detention in Iraq so demanding the return of these two individuals would not be practical nor possible.

The review examined the available historical records, which suggest that British officials became aware of an intention to transfer in March 2004, although this was some days after the initial capture had occurred. British officials had learned by mid-June 2004 that the individuals had been transferred to Afghanistan.

What particular international law provisions apply will depend on the operational theatre and the circumstances; I am not in a position to make general statements on what legal provisions may apply as each operational theatre is different.

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the proportion of improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan triggered by (a) weight, (b) command wire and (c) remote detonation by electronic signal in (i) 2007 and (ii) 2008. (283548)

I am withholding the information as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many locally employed translators are working for the armed forces in each region of Afghanistan. (283553)

The armed forces employ nine locally employed translators in Afghanistan. Of these six are in Kabul and three in Helmand Province.

The armed forces also employ 397 locally employed interpreters. Of these six are based in Kandahar, 32 in Kabul and 359 in Helmand Province.

Air Force: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many training flights in each type of aircraft have been undertaken by RAF pilots in each training area in each of the last 10 years. (283661)

The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Available information related to low flying training is published annually in the report, "The Pattern of Military Low Flying across the United Kingdom". The report relating to the training year 2008-09 will be published, and placed in the Library of the House, before the summer recess.

Armed Forces: Afghanistan

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the maximum number is of members of the armed forces who may be deployed to serve in Afghanistan. (284242)