Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 495: debated on Tuesday 7 July 2009

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Human Rights

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2009, Official Report, column 1496W, on Afghanistan: females, what reports he has received on the (a) composition, (b) mandate and (c) method of operation of the drafting committee established by the Afghan Ministry of Justice to re-examine certain provisions of the Shi'a Family Law; and if he will make a statement. (282132)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on progress in the review of Shi'a Family Law in Afghanistan ordered by President Karzai; what discussions he has had with the government of Afghanistan on that matter; and if he will make a statement. (282820)

We, along with other international partners, made our concerns about the Shi’a Personal Status Law clear to the Afghan Government at a senior level. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised the issue with President Karzai. We welcomed President Karzai’s announcement on 27 April 2009 that the law would be changed to bring it in line with the Afghan Constitution, which guarantees equal rights for women, and the international treaties to which Afghanistan is a party.

On 20 June 2009, the Minister of Justice met with female representatives of the Afghan Parliament and civil society and told them that his Ministry has now amended the Law. The amendments were made following written recommendations by Afghan civil society (the Afghan Women’s Network), Katib university and moderate Ulema (religious scholars).

We understand the amendments made by the Afghan Ministry of Justice have added around 60 articles and removed around 10 from the Law. Language was also added to clarify the meaning of certain articles. The amended draft was viewed by the above female representatives as broadly ‘pro women’, and contentious articles, including the provision appearing to legalise rape, had been removed. The Law is also being reviewed by the Supreme Court.

President Karzai has indicated that the Law will next be sent back to the Afghan Parliament for approval (in time for the new session of Parliament, beginning 20 July 2009).

The Law continues to cause controversy on both sides—some religiously conservative Ulema are still lobbying the President to pass the original draft, parts of which the international community and many Afghans deemed unacceptable. The outcome is still uncertain, therefore we, along with our international partners and Afghan civil society, will continue to follow the passage of the Law closely. We will lobby the Afghan Government whenever appropriate, to help ensure the final Law respects women’s rights and does not undo progress made since 2001.

Africa: Piracy

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on piracy in the waters around the Horn of Africa. (283315)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary attended the meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Councils in Brussels on 15 June 2009 where he and his EU counterparts discussed Operation Atalanta and piracy off the coast of Somalia as part of the agenda.

The Foreign Secretary also attended a meeting of the G8 Foreign Ministers in Trieste on 26 June 2009. They discussed piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the eastern coast of Somalia along with other pressing issues.

The UK continues to take a leading role in activities to counter piracy. As part of the international contact group on piracy off the coast of Somalia we chair a working group on regional capability and international co-ordination. This will next meet in London at the International Maritime Organisation Headquarters on 10 July 2009.

British Council: Meetings

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times he has met representatives of the British Council in an official capacity in the last 12 months. (283939)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary regularly meets British Council representatives in the UK and when travelling overseas. In the last 12 months, he has met British Council representatives on 10 occasions in the UK and on 11 occasions when travelling overseas, which included meetings in Kosovo, India, Iraq, Greece, Turkey and Pakistan.

Burma: Ethnic Groups

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations his Department has made to the Thai Government on the repatriation of Karen civilians to Burma; and if he will make a statement. (283947)

Our ambassador in Bangkok most recently raised the issue of refugees on the Thailand-Burma border with the Permanent Secretary of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 1 July 2009. Our embassy staff have also been in contact with the Thai Ministry of the Interior, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working on the border, about the welfare and living conditions of those recently arrived from eastern Burma, and the humanitarian assistance they are receiving. This assistance, provided by the Royal Thai Government, UNHCR and NGOs, includes food, plastic sheeting for shelter, blankets, bed-nets and medical care.

Burma: International Assistance

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions his Department has had with aid agencies on securing Burmese visas for their workers; and if he will make a statement. (283949)

Department for International Development and Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are in regular contact with aid agencies working in Burma, during which issues relating to Burmese visas are discussed. We will continue to monitor the situation. The Burmese regime are aware of our concerns that unfettered access should be allowed to continue for humanitarian agencies operating in Burma.

Colombia: Foreign Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2009, Official Report, column 70W, on Colombia: foreign relations, if he will have discussions with his Colombian counterpart on bilateral relations and broader global issues. (284460)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no such meetings scheduled. However, as stated in the previous answer referred to, our ambassador in Bogota maintains regular contact with senior Colombian Government officials, including the Foreign Minister, to discuss bilateral relations and broader global issues.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2009, Official Report, column 70W, on Colombia: foreign relations, whether the British Ambassador in Bogota has met senior Colombian Government officials to discuss the matter of political prisoners being held in Colombia; and if he will make a statement. (284750)

As stated in the previous answer referred to, our ambassador in Bogota maintains regular contact with senior Colombian Government officials, including the Foreign Minister, to discuss bilateral relations and broader global issues. In such meetings, the ambassador regularly raises human rights issues, most recently with the Vice President on 5 July 2009, where he discussed, among other issues, allegations that judicial proceedings are used against individuals for political purposes.

Departmental Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which databases managed by his Department and its agencies hold personal information on members of the public; on what date each such database become operational; and if he will make a statement. (284906)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), together with its agencies and posts overseas, manages a large number of databases of varying size and complexity. Some hold information on members of the public gathered in support of a wide range of activities including consular services. To collect and collate information on when each of these databases became operational could be done only at disproportionate cost.

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 Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the budget for his Department's (a) policy planning staff and (b) research analysts was in the most recent year for which figures are available. (282660)

In financial year 2008-09, the budgets were as follows:

Budget (£000)

Policy Planning staff

1,903

Research Analysts

4,086

Departmental Responsibilities

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the roles and responsibilities are of each Minister in his Department. (284600)

The roles and responsibilities of each Minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are as follows:

Right hon. David Miliband MP: Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Overall responsibility for the work of the Office

Strategy and Policy Planning

Communications

Honours

Whitehall Liaison Department

Right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown: Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, attending Cabinet

Afghanistan and South Asia

Africa

United Nations

Human Rights

Global Issues

Commonwealth

Ministerial Oversight for FCO Services

Ivan Lewis’ business, plus Public Diplomacy (including British Council and BBC World Service) in the Lords

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: Minister of State (Europe)

European Union

Europe, including Balkans, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova

Russia, South Caucasus, Central Asia

Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Council of Europe

FCO finance

Chris Bryant’s business in the Lords (except Public Diplomacy)

Ivan Lewis MP: Minister of State

Middle East

Counter Terrorism

Counter Proliferation

South East Asia and Far East

North America

Middle East and North Africa

Drugs and International Crime

Migration

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Leads on Lord Malloch-Brown’s business in the Commons

Chris Bryant MP: Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State

Overseas Territories

South America

Caribbean and Central America

Australasia and Pacific

Consular policy

Olympics

Shanghai Expo 2010

Protocol

HR and Diversity

Public Diplomacy, including British Council and BBC World Service

Leads on Baroness Kinnock’s business in the Commons, including Europe

Lord Mervyn Davies of Abersoch CBE: Minister for Trade and Investment

UK Trade and Investment (joint Minister with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

Baroness Taylor of Bolton: Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State

Liaison with MOD on security and defence policy issues (joint with Ministry of Defence)

This information is publicly available on the FCO website:

ixhttp://www.fco.gov.uk/en/about-the-fco/how-we-are-organised/ministers/

Departmental Secondment

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many employees of his Department have been posted to work in offices of hon. Members of each political party in each of the last five years. (284971)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not seconded any members of staff to offices of Members of any political party. We have no record of staff who have taken a career break or unpaid leave to work in such offices.

East Timor: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to assist restorative justice and truth and reconciliation initiatives in East Timor; and if he will make a statement. (283950)

Since 1999, we have actively supported the development of East Timor and played a part in ensuring that appropriate assistance was provided by the UN. The UN Mission in East Timor continues to provide peacekeeping support and capacity building to the East Timorese Government and Administration. The UK helps to fund this through our assessed contributions to the UN, and we will continue to offer strong support for multilateral efforts in East Timor. Additionally, the EU is assisting East Timor in promoting its justice sector and reinforcing the rule of law. The UK contributes both technical and financial assistance to the EU programmes in East Timor, currently worth around 18 million euros.

We believe it is for the Governments of Indonesia and East Timor to consider how best to deal with their past history, reflecting the concerns of their citizens. We have raised the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) and the Commission on Truth and Friendship (CTF) with East Timor and expressed the UK's view that it was important for the East Timorese parliament to debate the reports of the CTF and the CAVR as part of the process of establishing accountability. We hope that the adoption of the CTF report by President Yudhoyono of Indonesia and President Ramos Horta of East Timor will be a step forward in cementing the relationship between the two Governments and enabling them to move forward in peaceful co-operation.

Egypt: British Nationality

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British (a) nationals and (b) residents have been detained by the Egyptian authorities on suspicion or charge of terrorist activities since 2000. (283865)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: From consular records we are aware of one case since 2000 of a British national who has been detained by the Egyptian authorities in which suspicion of terrorist activities has been given as the reason. We are aware of no cases in this period of British nationals having been charged in Egypt with terrorist activities.

We are also aware of a case of a British national who was detained on suspicion of involvement in extremist-related activity. There were three cases of British nationals who were detained and found guilty of their involvement with an organisation which is illegal in Egypt. A fourth British national was briefly held and released on the same grounds. Additionally, there were a small number of British nationals during this period who were detained on arrival at Cairo airport and returned to the UK, with no formal reason given.

Consular officials find out about the detention of British nationals overseas in various ways. The local authorities should inform us when they detain a British national. However, this does not always happen, particularly in the case of dual nationals in their country of other nationality. In many cases, consular officials will find out about a detention from the family, friends or the media. For these reasons, our records of detentions may not be definitive.

We do not provide consular assistance to non-national UK residents, and would not expect to be notified by the Egyptian authorities of their arrest. We cannot therefore give a figure for the number of British residents arrested on suspicion or charge of terrorist activities during this period.

Gilad Shalit

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the International Red Cross on (a) the imprisonment of Gilad Shalit by Hamas and (b) the refusal of Hamas to allow Gilad Shalit Red Cross (ICRC) visits; and if he will make a statement. (283704)

Both British Ministers and our ambassador in Israel have been in contact with Gilad Shalit's family throughout his captivity and emphasized our support for Gilad's immediate release.

On 25 June 2009, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary repeated the UK's call to Hamas for Gilad Shalit's immediate, unconditional, and safe release.

Last September, our ambassador helped to deliver over 2,000 Jewish new year cards for Gilad to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as part of a campaign organised by the UK Jewish community. We share the Shalit family's dismay at Hamas's refusal to allow the ICRC access to Gilad. We will continue to pursue this issue both privately and publicly.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with Arab governments on (a) the imprisonment of Gilad Shalit by Hamas and (b) the refusal of Hamas to allow him Red Cross visits; and if he will make a statement. (283705)

The UK will continue to call for the immediate release of Gilad Shalit by Hamas. The Arab League has mandated Egypt to communicate with Hamas. We are in regular contact with both the Arab League and Egypt.

Both Ministers and our ambassador in Tel Aviv have had contact with Gilad Shalit's family throughout his captivity and emphasized our support. On 25 June 2009, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary repeated the UK's call for Gilad Shalit's immediate, unconditional, and safe release. We share the Shalit family's dismay at Hamas's refusal to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross access to Gilad.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take at the United Nations in relation to the imprisonment of Gilad Shalit by Hamas; and if he will make a statement. (283710)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised his concerns at the UN Security Council meeting on 11 May 2009.

Both Ministers and our ambassador in Israel have had contact with Gilad's family throughout his captivity and emphasized our support. On 25 June, the Foreign Secretary repeated the UK's call for Gilad Shalit's immediate, unconditional, and safe release. We share the Shalit family's dismay at Hamas's refusal to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross access to Gilad.

Hamas

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to ensure that aid provided by his Department is not misappropriated by Hamas; and if he will make a statement. (283711)

We are monitoring the situation closely. It is imperative that aid reach the people in Gaza who need it. We are in contact with all our partners, including the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), to make sure that Government funding is being used appropriately and that the relief items are getting to those who need them.

There are well developed international mechanisms for the delivery of aid in Gaza, principally UNRWA and the World Food Programme. We urge aid agencies to ensure that they maintain the greatest possible distance from Hamas.

India: Ethnic Groups

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with the Indian Government on the rights and interests of the Dongria Kondh tribe of Orissa; and if he will make a statement. (283951)

We have not discussed the rights and interests of the Dongria Kondh tribe with the Indian Government. We have discussed the general rights and entitlements of tribal groups with Government of Orissa officials, under the Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme funded by the Department for International Development.

Iran: Foreign Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent assessment of the state of UK relations with Iran is; and if he will make a statement. (284946)

We have made clear that the UK is committed to a positive and constructive bilateral relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and one that is based on mutual respect. But for that relationship to work, Iran’s leaders must take seriously the international community’s concerns about recent events, and about Iran’s nuclear programme.

We have made very clear our concern at the Iranian authorities’ response to post-election demonstrations, and at the expulsion of international journalists from Iran. The arrest of several locally-employed Iranian members of our embassy staff was extremely concerning. Our efforts are fully focused on securing the release of the one still-detained staff member.

Kenya: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to support the Kenyan Government’s political reform programme; and if he will make a statement. (283855)

The UK has provided support to the Kenyan Government’s political reform programme through its contribution to the Annan process and the National Accord. We have provided £1.4 million (£200,000 in 2007-08 and £1.2 million in 2008-09). Additional support has been provided to civil society organisations to assist communities to reconcile and engage in the peace process. In the past two financial years, civil society support amounted to £1.2 million.

All support has jointly been managed by the Department for International Development (DfID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, through the Africa Conflict Prevention Programme (ACPP).

We continue to urge Kenya’s leaders to work together to ensure that the key reforms needed in Kenya are made. We will continue to offer our full support to Kofi Annan and his leadership role in the reform process.

North Korea

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken in relation to the human rights situation in North Korea in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. (283948)

The Government take the human rights situation in North Korea extremely seriously. We are deeply concerned by continuing reports of serious, widespread and systematic human rights abuses there. We raise this issue with the North Korean Government at every appropriate opportunity. Our ambassador in Pyongyang raised our concerns most recently in February 2009 during the visit to North Korea by Lord Alton and Baroness Cox with the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and Speaker of the North Korean Parliament. He emphasised the importance of dialogue on human rights and urged North Korea to accept a visit by the UN Special Rapporteur. However the North Korean Government refuse to engage.

With EU Partners we sponsored annual resolutions on North Korea human rights at the UN General Assembly (in December 2008), and at the UN Human Rights Council (in March 2009). The latter includes the mandate for the UN Special Rapporteur on North Korea Human Rights, whose work in evidence gathering we strongly support.

We have worked closely with a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) over the past year. We sponsored an NGO report on children's rights in North Korea ahead of the February 2009 periodic report by the UN Committee on the Rights of Child on North Korea. We also supported the participation of a leading UK NGO at an international conference on North Korean Human Rights in Canberra in March. We are now working with NGOs and international partners to prepare for the Universal Periodic Review of North Korea's human rights record which is scheduled to take place at the UN Human Rights Council session in December 2009. Locally, our embassy in Pyongyang has given support to the project work of Handicap International in the DPRK which is designed to help improve the rights of the disabled there, and is looking at ways to increase that activity.

Palestinians

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the number of Palestinian citizens previously living in Gaza who have taken refuge inside Israel; and if he will make a statement. (283653)

We have not received reports on the number of Palestinian citizens previously living in Gaza who have taken refuge inside Israel.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem; and if he will make a statement. (283727)

The demolition of houses in East Jerusalem is, with very few exceptions, illegal under international law. It also threatens the viability of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement in the Middle East.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made clear the UK’s concerns about the demolition of Palestinian buildings in East Jerusalem during his statement to the UN Security Council on 11 May 2009 and it was also raised during the EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting on 15 June 2009.

The Foreign Secretary also continues to call on Israel to freeze settlement construction, including in East Jerusalem. We will continue to raise these issues as a high priority with Israel both privately and publicly; the Foreign Secretary last did so in his conversation with the Israeli Foreign Minister on 1 July 2009.

Palestinians: Borders

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the number of tunnels between Egypt and Gaza; what steps he is taking to assist the Government of Egypt to prevent the flow of weapons through the Rafah border crossing into Gaza; and if he will make a statement. (283715)

With the number of tunnels discovered changing on a regular basis we are unable to provide a definitive figure.

The UK continues to work closely with the EU, US and regional partners to establish how best our expertise can be used to help to prevent the flow of weapons into Gaza, including through tunnels. We have attended meetings in Copenhagen and Ottawa and hosted one in London.

Palestinians: Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the establishment of clinics by the Government of Israel at the Erez crossing on the Gaza border; and if he will make a statement. (283713)

We are aware of the Erez clinic which opened on 18 January 2009 and closed on 28 January 2009. We understand that it treated five Palestinians injured in the conflict.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of the alleged refusal of Hamas to allow Palestinian citizens in Gaza to use clinics set up by Israel; and if he will make a statement. (283714)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the number of Gaza residents who have entered Israel for medical and humanitarian reasons via the Erez crossing; what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Israel on this issue; and if he will make a statement. (283716)

We have not received reports on the number of people entering Israel for medical and humanitarian reasons via the Erez crossing. However, Israel needs to reduce restrictions on the movement of people in and out of Gaza.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary expressed his concerns regarding the restrictions at the Gaza crossings to the Israeli Foreign Minister on 1 July 2009. He pressed Israel to allow in humanitarian aid, reconstruction materials, and trade goods, as well as the legitimate flow of people.

Spirit of Humanity

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Israel on the interception of the vessel Spirit of Humanity and the detention of the UK citizens on board. (284786)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken in response to the Israeli navy boarding the Gaza ship Spirit of Humanity; and if he will make a statement. (284784)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the interception by the Israeli navy of the ship Spirit of Humanity; and if he will make a statement. (284654)

I can confirm the Israeli navy boarded the vessel “Spirit of Humanity” on 30 June 2009. The Israeli navy took control of the vessel and diverted it to Ashdod port in Israel, where all those on board, including six British nationals, were handed over to Israeli immigration officials. British consular officials have had good access to the British detainees and confirm that they are in good health and being treated well.

When my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman on 1 July 2009, he raised the issue with him and asked for clarification of whether the “Spirit of Humanity” was intercepted in international waters. We will continue to press the Israeli Government for clarification.

Trident

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his Department’s evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee’s inquiry into Global Security: Non-Proliferation, HC 222, Ev 118, what assessment he has made of the merits of suspending the Trident replacement programme in the context of negotiations to reduce warhead numbers; and if he will make a statement. (284969)

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister stated on 17 March 2009, as soon as it becomes useful for our nuclear arsenal to be included in broader multilateral negotiations, Britain stands ready to participate and to act. A decision now not to renew our Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear (SSBN) submarine fleet would pre-empt any such negotiation, by committing a future Government to unilateral disarmament at the end of the current fleet’s lifespan, regardless of the strategic circumstances at that time.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to ensure the accuracy of mapping of land for the purposes of 2010 single farm payments. (284787)

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is in the process of updating land information used to support the single payment scheme (SPS) and other direct support schemes. A programme of work is under way to deliver a more effective and up-to-date geographic information system, as required under EU Regulation.

The programme of work includes a mapping update project which will gain agreement from farmers to updated maps of their land parcels and ensure the mapping information held by RPA to support the SPS and direct support schemes reflects the most up to date actual land and features on the ground. For the first time permanent features ineligible for support under the SPS are included. There are more than 2 million land parcels in England.

Completion of the work this year will enable the updated maps to be used for next year. The programme will also provide the potential for future new services, such as the ability to view maps online.

Animal Welfare

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received in respect of his Department’s consultation on proposals to remove strict liability from animal owners under the Animals Act 1971; and if he will make a statement. (284683)

DEFRA has received 33 responses from a wide range of respondents, including private individuals, large national organisations, small local or regional groups, independent equine businesses, insurance companies and legal firms. We are now considering these detailed responses and will publish a summary of responses shortly.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what new slaughter welfare rules he proposes to introduce; and what estimate he has made of the cost of administering such rules in (a) Lancashire, (b) the North West and (c) England. (284783)

On 22 June the EU Council of Ministers reached political agreement on the final text of a Council regulation on the protection of animals at the time of slaughter. The regulation is expected to apply from 1 January 2013. It will replace the current directive 93/119 which the European Commission considers out of date. The regulation updates the existing regulatory framework to take account of technological improvements and opinions by the European Food Safety Authority and the World Health Organisation.

The regulation permits the use of national rules to maintain existing levels of welfare protection where these exceed those in the regulation. We would wish to maintain existing welfare standards and will be considering how national rules can be used to achieve this objective. Any changes to domestic legislation will be subject to a formal public consultation.

An initial estimate of the costs associated with the initial Commission proposal was published on the DEFRA website on 27 January 2009. Revised estimates are currently being prepared to reflect the changes made in the final text. These will be made available later in the year when the final text of the regulation is published. However, we have no plans to publish local or regional cost estimates.

Animals: Quarantine

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many animals of each species were kept in quarantine facilities operated by his Department in 2008. (284098)

The following species arrived in the UK in 2008 and went into quarantine. This does not include animals which entered into quarantine at the end of 2007 and were released in 2008.

Species

Number in quarantine

Armadillos

2

Baboons

2

Bats

12

Beavers

38

Binturongs

1

Cats

1,169

Cheetahs

14

Chinchillas

2

Dogs

2,110

Foxes

4

Ferrets

2

Fossas

2

Fruit bats

10

Guinea pigs

5

Lemurs

4

Leopards

5

Lions

3

Lynxes

1

Mice

6

Ocelots

1

Otters

4

Primates

2,209

Pumas

4

Rabbits

16

Red pandas

1

Sea lions

3

Tenrecs

15

Tigers

5

Wallabies

2

Weasels

8

Wolves

1

Total

5,661

Note:

The figures in the table are taken from Animal Health’s bespoke quarantine system.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many animals in quarantine were vaccinated against rabies while in quarantine in each of the last five years. (284108)

The number of animals which went into quarantine in the following years (from 1 January until 31 December for each year) and were vaccinated against rabies are as follows:

Number of animals in quarantine and vaccinated against rabies

2005

1,836

2006

1,938

2007

1,642

2008

1,929

2009

1623

1 Figures from 1 January 2009 until 1 June 2009.

Note:

The figures in the table are taken from Animal Health’s bespoke quarantine system.

Only domestic (i.e. pet) cats and dogs are required to be vaccinated against rabies in quarantine unless they have been prepared for the Pet Travel Scheme for early release, in which case they can waive the requirement for rabies vaccination. Other mammals, zoo or research animals do not have to be vaccinated against rabies in quarantine.

These figures do not include animals which, for example, entered the UK (and entered quarantine) at the end of 2004 and were vaccinated, but released from quarantine in 2005.

Bovine Tuberculosis

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cattle aged (a) over 15 months, (b) 12 to 15 months, (c) nine to 12 months, (d) six to nine months and (e) 42 days to six months have tested (i) positive and (ii) inconclusive for bovine tuberculosis under pre-movement testing regulations in each year since its introduction. (283009)

DEFRA does not compile statistics for pre-movement testing in the format which the hon. Member for South-East Cambridgeshire requests. However, we can provide the number of bovine tuberculosis (TB) positive and inconclusive reactor (IR) cattle identified in England each year since TB pre-movement testing became mandatory in 2006 (table 1); and a breakdown of the reactor and IR animals over 15 months and under 15 months (table 2).

Reactors

IRs

2009 (1 January to 31 March)

67

92

2008 (1 January to 31 December)

391

645

2007 (1 January to 31 December)

373

486

2006 (27 March to 31 December)

278

451

Source:

Animal Health database (30 April 2009)

1 March 2007 to 29 February 2008

1 March 2008 to 28 February 2009

Reactors over 15 months

247

298

Reactors under 15 months (455 days)

125

89

IRs over 15 months

441

576

IRs under 15 months (455 days)

51

61

Source:

Animal Health database (30 April 2008 and 30 April 2009)

The published figures are an underestimate of the impact of the policy and show the minimum benefits. The number of reactors identified does not take into account the benefits of herd owners utilising Government paid surveillance tests as pre-movement tests or the number of IRs identified by pre-movement testing which have ended up as reactors when retested.

Veterinary Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons on its review of the training and employment of veterinary nurses. (283641)

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is the awarding body for veterinary nurse qualifications. Students achieve NVQ levels 2 and 3 before being awarded their RCVS certificate. The RCVS is currently conducting a survey of veterinary nurses, training practices, training course providers and other interested parties as part of a forthcoming review of its awards.

DEFRA has held no discussions with the RCVS on this issue.

Wildlife: Disease Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial support is available for his Department’s surveillance strategy to guard against the spread of wildlife diseases in 2009-10. (283639)

A total of £1.5 million is allocated to financing activities to guard against the spread of wildlife diseases in 2009-10. This figure includes funding to support a range of activities including surveillance for diseases in wildlife, for example avian influenza in wild birds, contingency planning and disease control for rabies and collection of wild bird population data.

Transport

A1

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the merits of introducing (a) separated junctions at Sandy, Beeston and Biggleswade and (b) new bypasses for Sandy and Biggleswade on the A1 between the Black Cat roundabout and the A1(M) at Radwell north of Baldock. (284486)

The A1 trunk road through Bedfordshire is identified as a road of regional importance. As such the priority to be given for separated junctions at Sandy, Beeston and Biggleswade and new bypasses for Sandy and Biggleswade is initially for the East of England to consider.

In March 2009 the region submitted advice to Government on public spending priorities for transport, housing and regeneration, economic development and skills as part of the refresh of the Regional Funding Advice (known as RFA2). This includes transport priorities in the region through to 2018-19. The Government expect to respond to the region’s advice later this year. However, the region did not include these junctions and bypasses in its submitted priorities.

Airports: Regulation

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what representations he has received on his proposal to introduce a special administration regime for regulated airports. (283959)

The Department for Transport has received 34 representations in response to its proposal to introduce a special administration regime for regulated airports.

Aviation

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the merits of retaining policy-making in respect of non-commercial flight crew licensing in the UK; and if he will make a statement. (283509)

The Department for Transport consulted on the proposal to extend the European Aviation Safety Agency’s remit to air operations and flight crew licensing, including for non-commercial aviation, in 2006.

The subsequent EC Regulation 216/2008, which came into effect in April 2008, established Community competence for policy-making with regards to flight crew licences. However, in common with all EU member states, the UK has retained competence for policy-making with respect to licences for pilots of aircraft not covered by Regulation 216/2008. These are known as “Annex 2” aircraft and include: microlights, ex-military aircraft and home-built aircraft.

Bus Services: Concessions

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many pensioners in Hemel Hempstead received concessionary bus passes in the latest period for which figures are available. (284424)

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

Hemel Hempstead is part of the Hertfordshire County concessionary travel scheme. The last information held by the Department was that as of 17 April 2009, the Hertfordshire County scheme had issued 141,099 of the new smartcard concessionary passes. This includes passes issued to disabled people as well as those aged 60 and over.

Campaign for Better Transport: Government Assistance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much funding his Department and its agencies have provided to the Campaign for Better Transport in the last five years; and for what projects such funding was allocated. (284151)

The Department for Transport has provided the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) with the following funding in the last five years:

£000

2004-05

126

2005-06

71

2006-07

193

2007-08

246

2008-09

250

None of the Department's agencies have funded CBT. The funding was provided for the following projects:

National Business Travel Network, (2007-09)

Ground Floor Partners (2004-08)

Car Free Leisure Network (2004-06)

Life Transitions, (2004-05)

Residential Travel Plans Project, (2004-05)

Making School Travel Plans Work, (2004-05)

Cycling: Finance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much funding his Department has allocated to encourage bicycle usage in (a) Cambridgeshire, (b) Peterborough, (c) Huntingdonshire and (d) the East of England in each of the last five years. (283411)

The Department for Transport has awarded cycle training grants as set out in table 1 to the following local authorities in the East of England since we first started awarding grants for National Standard Cycle Training, promoted as Bikeability training in 2006-07. Table 2 provides details of grants made direct to School Sports Partnerships in the East of England.

The Department has made £4 million available to the School Sports Partnerships in 2009-10 in addition to the £5.4 million awarded to over 90 local authorities. School Sports Partnerships will not bid for grant until later in the year but we expect to meet all claims for cycle training grant in full in 2009-10.

Table 1: Local authority

Grant (£)

East of England

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

Bedfordshire County Council

6,720.00

32,000.00

Bedford Borough Council

28,000.00

Central Bedfordshire Borough Council

35,240.00

Cambridge

22,480.00

Colchester

27,360.00

Essex County Council

10,000.00

26,000.00

Hertfordshire County Council

28,000.00

59,500.00

65,000.00

70,000.00

Leighton Linslade

63,000.00

Luton Borough Council

6,400.00

1,200.00

10,000.00

20,000.00

Southend on Sea Council

20,160.00

31,104.00

Suffolk County Council

12,000.00

Thurrock Council

24,000.00

32,000.00

Table 2: School Sports Partnerships

Grant (£)

East of England

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Colne (Essex)

8,000.00

12,800.00

Bury St. Edmunds (Suffolk)

9,600.00

Sudbury (Suffolk)

4,000.00

4,000.00

Biddenham (Bedford)

12,000.00

Sharnbrook Upper (Bedford)

12,080.00

Redbourne (Bedford)

40,000.00

Castlepoint and Rochford (Essex)

3,000.00

Davenant (Essex)

25,000.00

Chelmsford (Essex)

25,000.00

Thurstable (Essex)

36,000.00

North Norfolk (Norfolk)

13,800.00

Cliff Park (Norfolk)

24,000.00

In addition, Cambridge was included in the new Cycling Cities and Towns programme by Cycling England and was awarded £500,000 in 2008-09. Three other towns in the Eastern region also received funding last year from this programme: Colchester £400,000, Leighton-Linslade £567,138 and Southend-on-Sea £399,760.

Departmental Marketing

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Cheadle of 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 399W, on railways: marketing, for what reason his Department has incurred no advertising expenditure, other than for statutory advertising, since the amalgamation into his Department of the Strategic Rail Authority; and if he will make a statement. (284225)

The Department for Transport uses a wide range of media and events to inform the public about rail policies and programmes. Advertising travel by rail is a matter for the rail industry, which spends substantial sums on advertising.

Disability Discrimination Act 1995

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what guidance his Department has issued to travel companies on their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. (284371)

The Department for Transport commissioned the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) (before it was absorbed into the Equality and Human Rights Commission) to produce a series of good practice guides for transport providers. The guides were published in 2007; each guide deals with a different transport sector and offers practical advice on good practice in serving disabled customers.

They can now be found on the DRC website archive at:

A Practical Guide for Rail services:

http://83.137.212.42/sitearchive/DRC/library/publications/services_and_transport/rail_services.html

A Practical Guide for Taxi and Private Hire Services:

http://83.137.212.42/sitearchive/DRC/library/publications/services_and_transport/taxis_and_private_hire.html

A Practical Guide for Breakdown Recovery Operators:

http://83.137.212.42/sitearchive/DRC/library/publications/services_and_transport/breakdown_recovery_operators.html

A Practical Guide for Buses and Scheduled Coaches:

http://83.137.212.42/sitearchive/DRC/library/publications/services_and_transport/buses_and_scheduled_coaches.html

A Practical Guide for Tour Coach Operators:

http://83.137.212.42/sitearchive/DRC/library/publications/services_and_ransport/tour_coach_operators.html

A Practical Guide for Vehicle Rental Firms:

http://83.137.212.42/sitearchive/DRC/library/publications/services_and_transport/vehicle_rental_firms.html

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport which Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) offices, excluding DVLA Swansea, are owned by the Crown. (283689)

All of the 38 Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) local offices outside Swansea are occupied on a leasehold arrangement. While 27 are held under a commercial lease with private landlords, 11 are held with other Government Departments where the ownership of the premises is unknown by DVLA.

Driving: Licensing

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what the pass rate for passenger carrying vehicle licences was for (a) delegated examiners and (b) Driving Standards Agency driving examiners in each financial year since 2000-01. (283685)

The pass rate for candidates taking practical driving tests for passenger carrying vehicles candidates tested by:

(a) driving examiners working for organisations other than the Driving Standards Agency in each financial year since 2000-01 was:

Percentage

Bus company

Fire brigade

Police force

Total PCV tests

2000-01

61.3

92.6

81.4

61.5

2001-02

61.3

100.0

81.0

61.4

2002-03

60.8

96.0

78.7

60.9

2003-04

60.0

84.1

84.4

60.2

2004-05

59.8

85.2

79.5

60.1

2005-06

58.6

88.2

85.3

59.2

2006-07

58.6

83.3

84.3

59.6

2007-08

58.8

83.7

88.9

60.3

2008-09

62.8

90.1

88.9

64.4

(b) examiners working for the Driving Standards Agency in each financial year since 2000-01 was:

Pass rate (percentage)

2000-01

48

2001-02

45

2002-03

44

2003-04

46

2004-05

44

2005-06

45

2006-07

46

2007-08

50

2008-09

52

Driving: Working Hours

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to the answer of 17 June 2009, Official Report, column 290W, on driving: working hours, which categories of privately-owned horsebox are exempt from EU regulations on drivers’ hours; and whether drivers of horseboxes are considered commercial or non-commercial drivers. (284948)

Privately owned horseboxes are exempt from the directly applicable EU drivers’ hours rules if they do not exceed 7.5 tonnes and are being used for the non-commercial carriage of goods.

Generally speaking, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) would normally consider that a vehicle not exceeding 7.5 tonnes is being used on a non-commercial basis where it is clear that the carriage of goods (in this case horses) is not with a view to making a profit. But ultimately, of course, it remains for the courts to interpret the law.

Heathrow Airport

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) what estimate he has made of the (a) surface area of and (b) number of people resident within the boundaries of the (i) 43-decibel and (ii) 57-decibel contour at Heathrow in each year since 1997; (283957)

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of people resident within the boundary of the 43 decibel contour around Heathrow airport following the entry into operation of the third runway.

As explained in the written answer on 25 February 2009, Official Report, columns 856-7W, daytime noise from aircraft is not normally assessed below 57 dBA or, for sensitivity analysis, below 54 dBA. Figures for 43 dBA are not therefore available.

Noise contour reports covering Heathrow from 1997 onwards are available on the Department for Transport’s website:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/aviation/environmentalissues/nec/

High Speed One

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport when he expects the sale of High Speed One to be completed. (284254)

The Government expect to substantially complete the financial and operational restructuring of High Speed 1 this summer. Thereafter, the Government’s intention is to secure best value in High Speed 1 through a public auction of a long-term concession.

The precise timing of this sale has not yet been decided and will depend on an assessment of market conditions.

London and Continental Railways

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport when he expects the sale of property associated with London & Continental Rail Ltd to be completed. (284255)

London and Continental Railways Ltd. hold a wide range of property interests, both those associated with the operation of the High Speed One railway, and associated developments.

Of these, by far the most significant in terms of independent commercial value are the development interests at Stratford and Kings Cross. In each case, London and Continental Railways has entered into separate development arrangements which will provide a long-term interest in the commercial potential of the sites.

No decision has yet been made as to when London and Continental Railways should seek to sell these interests. In part, this will depend on an assessment as to which point in the development project a sale would deliver best return to the taxpayer, versus future risk of continued participation.

Motorways: Speed Limits

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what steps he takes to ensure consistency across all regions of the Highways Agency when imposing speed limits on motorways when roadworks are taking place; and if he will make a statement. (284871)

The Highways Agency achieves consistency in setting speed limits at road works on the strategic road network by adhering to the guidance detailed in Chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual. Using site specific risk assessment the Traffic Signs Manual addresses the majority of variables to be considered in light of the individual locations and makes clear recommendations for each variable.

National Express East Coast

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what his estimate is of the capital value of National Express East Coast Ltd. (284708)

The Department for Transport has full visibility of the National Express East Coast management accounts. However, franchise capital values are commercially confidential.

Parking: Fines

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the level of use of automated number plate recognition systems in the levying of parking fines; and what guidance his Department has issued on the proportionate use of traffic-based surveillance cameras. (284152)

Camera equipment used by traffic authorities for civil parking enforcement has to be certified by the Secretary of State for Transport. The Department for Transport (DFT) is aware of one authority whose certified system uses Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to assist the visual identification of vehicles when the evidence is reviewed. Any system that relied solely on ANPR evidence would not comply with the certification criteria.

Guidance for traffic authorities in England on the use of camera technology for civil parking enforcement is set out on pages 55 to 58 of DFT's “Operational Guidance to Local Authorities on Parking Policy and Enforcement”, issued in March 2008.

Railway Track

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will make an assessment of the feasibility of restoring disused railway lines in England and Wales for use by cyclists and pedestrians. (283864)

Many disused railway lines have already been transferred to Railway Paths Ltd, which is the commercial arm of the cycling charity SUSTRANS. The charity is developing these routes as cycle paths which are also suitable for pedestrian use.

Railways

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what (a) operational and (b) infrastructure barriers have been identified to linkages between High Speed One and any proposed high speed lines. (284256)

High Speed Two will report to the Government by the end of the year with a proposed route from London to the West Midlands, setting out any necessary options. As part of this work, High Speed Two has been asked to provide advice on the costs and benefits of options for linking with High Speed One.

Railways: Franchises

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether funding allocated by his Department is able to be used to settle franchise disputes in the High Court during Control Period Four. (284488)

Funding allocated by the Department for Transport is able to be used to settle franchise disputes in the High Court during Control Period 4.

Road Traffic Offences

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if the Secretary of State will make it his policy to monitor the incidence of publication on the internet of video recordings of traffic violations. (281782)

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Campbell) on 30 June 2009, Official Report, column 168W.

Roads

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport in which local authority areas road pricing technology trials are taking place. (284150)

The trial is based around existing driving patterns of volunteers recruited by our contractors. Their driving is not restricted to specific local authority boundaries.

Safety Belts

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the rates of wearing (a) front and (b) rear seat belts among (i) males and (ii) females of each age group in each of the last two years; and if he will make a statement. (283721)

Annual seat belt wearing surveys undertaken for the Department for Transport include information on seat belt usage rates by seating position, age and gender. The most recent publication, LF2106 (with results at October 2008) reported the relevant wearing rates in table 3. That publication is available free of charge at:

http://www.trl.co.uk/online_store/reports_publications/free_reports/

Speed Limits: Cameras

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether his Department has issued guidance to local authorities on the allocation of revenue from local safety camera partnerships. (283881)

From April 2007, penalties paid as a result of offences detected by safety enforcement cameras have not been retained by local safety camera partnerships; therefore no currently relevant guidance is issued by the Department.

Transport: Government Assistance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much his Department has spent on assistance for major public transport schemes in the East of England in each of the last 10 years. (283413)

The Department for Transport has provided the following support for public transport major schemes in the East of England in the last 10 years:

Major public transport schemes: East of England

Funding (£ million)

1999-2004

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Cambridgeshire Guided Busway

15.9

38.0

38.6

Norwich Public Transport Interchange

9.8

A13 Passenger Transport Corridor (A127-A1159)

14.5

Wales

Building Britain’s Future

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which of the Bills referred to in Annex A of the Building Britain's Future document (a) will include Framework Powers for Welsh Assembly Government Ministers and (b) will not include Wales in their territorial extent. (283863)

The policy content of Bills referred to in the Draft Legislative Programme is in the process of being developed. Discussions will continue between Ministers and officials, including the Welsh Assembly Government.

We will consider requests made by the Welsh Assembly Government for the need for framework powers which must be within the scope of the proposed Bill.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions officials of his Department have had with officials of other Government departments on the contents of Bills referred to in Annex A of the Building Britain’s Future document. (283977)

Wales Office officials have held, and continue to hold discussions with colleagues from other Government Departments on the implications for Wales of Bills in the Draft Legislative Programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the content of Bills referred to in Annex A of the Building Britain’s Future document. (283978)

My predecessor and I have held, and will continue to hold discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the content of Bills in the Draft Legislative Programme, as was published on 29 June 2009.

Departmental Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what information databases his Department (a) maintains and (b) uses which do not contain personal information. (284384)

The Wales Office maintains its own databases to support the administration of correspondence, and of parliamentary questions. These do not contain personal data.

My Department also makes use of two database systems provided and maintained by the Ministry of Justice. One is a document storage system, which contains some personal data and this complies with Government rules on the storage of personal information. The other is a financial system to support our payments, financial management and accounting.

Leader of the House

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

To ask the Leader of the House what her estimate is of the annual cost of running the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. (284616)

The budget for the Authority has not been finalised but will be made public as soon as possible.

Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy

To ask the Leader of the House what discussions she has had with Ministerial colleagues on the schedule for the establishment of a Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy; and if she will make a statement. (284652)

Having consulted on this matter, the Government intend to bring forward proposals for the establishment of a Committee soon. We intend that the Committee should have time to consider the 2009 update to the National Security Strategy and to make recommendations for subsequent updates.

Regional Select Committees

To ask the Leader of the House with reference to paragraph 20, Chapter 1, of Building Britain's Future, Cm 7654, what proposals she has for building upon the accountability of the system of regional government to regional Select Committees in the House. (283954)

Regional Select Committees began work in March and April this year. Three of the eight Committees are conducting inquiries that focus primarily on the work of regional development agencies; the others are conducting wider-ranging inquiries into the economic conditions in the region, which will touch on the work of regional development agencies.

The Government will continue to observe developments in the regional Select Committees as their inquiries progress.

International Development

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many members of his Department's staff deployed in each region of Iraq (a) have been trained in each year since 2001 and (b) are being trained in each local Iraqi language. (283521)

Records of language training carried out since 2001 have not been retained. Currently two Department for International Development (DFID) officials in Baghdad are taking part-time Arabic language classes.

There are also three Arabic-speaking Iraqi nationals working for DFID in Baghdad. In Basra, DFID employs two Arabic-speaking Iraqi nationals, and one further is being recruited.

DFID has employed over 40 Arabic-speaking Iraqi nationals in Iraq since 2001.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many members of his Department's staff deployed in each region of Afghanistan (a) have been trained in each year since 2001 and (b) are being trained in each local Afghan language. (283520)

The Department for International Development (DFID) does not keep records of how many people have been trained in Afghan languages since 2001. Such training is frequently informal or organised privately by the individuals concerned.

DFID currently has seven UK-based staff members working in Kabul currently learning Dari, the official language of Afghanistan alongside Pashtu. In addition, we employ 16 locally engaged staff who are native Dari/Pashtu speakers in Kabul and one in Lashkar Gah. We also have access to Afghan translators for both languages in both Kabul and Lashkar Gah.

DFID provides over 95 per cent. of the funding for the cross-departmental Stabilisation Unit. It has 18 Pashtu and 21 Dari speakers on its database of deployable civilian experts. Two Pashtu speakers are currently deployed in Helmand.

Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of his Department's bilateral aid to each recipient country is (a) budgetary and (b) project support in 2008-09. (283964)

A detailed breakdown of the Department for International Development’s (DFID) bilateral aid to each recipient country by aid-type is published in “Statistics on International Development”, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House or via DFID’s website:

www.dfid.gov.uk

Culture, Media and Sport

Arts

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what role he expects (a) the Youth Culture Trust and (b) Creativity Culture and Education to have in the (i) Find your Talent and (ii) Creative Partnerships scheme. (284660)

As Creativity Culture and Education are still in the process of delivering the “Find Your Talent” pathfinders and Creative Partnerships scheme, the Youth Culture Trust has not yet been established.

This is because the purpose of the Youth Culture Trust is to deliver on the vision of “Find Your Talent” and the precise administrative arrangements for this will not be finalised until the scale and purpose of the programme beyond the pathfinders has been finalised.

Children

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding has been allocated to encourage children to adopt more active lifestyles in (a) Test Valley Borough and (b) Southampton in the last 12 months. (283320)

Sport England have advised that the following initiatives have received funding to encourage children to adopt more active lifestyles in (a) Test Valley and (b) Southampton in the last 12 months.

(i) Sport Unlimited

Sport Unlimited is an integral part of the Government’s PE and Sport Strategy for Young People. The overall aim of Sport Unlimited is to increase opportunities for children and young people aged five to 19 to participate regularly in sport.

It will do this by providing a range of attractive and sustainable opportunities in sporting activities for young people to take part in out of school hours during term time and will focus on out of school hours and club activities both within school and community settings.

In Southampton, approximately £36,428 is allocated this financial year to deliver projects across the city. In addition, approximately £12,400 has been allocated to the Test Valley. Both areas will also benefit from the Leadership and Volunteering award. Sport England allocated £22,000 to the County Sports Partnership.

(ii) Awards for All

Awards for All allocated £9,300 to set up a rugby club for young people and adults with learning difficulties. Funding was for kit and equipment with the aim of providing opportunities for members to participate in training and competitive tag rugby matches in a safe and fun environment.

(iii) Other Sport England funding

Southampton Amateur Gym Club was awarded £8,414 from the Community Club Development Programme and Eastleigh Football in the Community was awarded £10,500 Sportsmatch funding.

(iv) Free Swimming

Southampton unitary authority has opted in to the under 16 and over 60 Free Swimming Programme and has received £173,211. The local authorities that have opted to offer the scheme to both age groups have also received a share of a £10 million capital fund to spend on modernising or improving pool provision. Southampton has received £69,290 in this regard.

Cricket: Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate (a) Chance to Shine and (b) his Department has made of the percentage of schools which are playing competitive inter-school fixtures with hard cricket balls. (284233)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: My Department has made no estimate of the percentage of schools which are playing competitive inter-school fixtures with hard cricket balls. Sport England have advised that they do not collect data on the percentage of schools which play competitive inter-school fixtures with hard cricket balls.

Culture: Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what expenditure his Department has incurred on the Find Your Talent scheme in (a) total and (b) each of the 10 pathfinder regions to date. (284661)

The total expenditure on Find Your Talent to date is approximately £6,833,601, of which approximately £6,389,301 has been spent on the 10 pathfinders. The breakdown is set out in the following table.

Pathfinder

Total to date (£)

Bolton

650,000

Shepway

498,000

Customs House

665,000

Leeds

740,000

Leicestershire

740,000

Liverpool

783,885

North Somerset

521,000

PUSH

611,416

Telford and Wrekin

560,000

Tower Hamlets

620,000

Total

6,389,301

Demos

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what (a) private meetings and (b) public engagements Ministers in his Department have attended at which representatives from the think-tank Demos were present in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. (279512)

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

Departmental Older Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many staff in his Department will reach the age of 65 years in the year 2011. (283363)

[holding answer 1 July 2009]: No employees at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will reach the age of 65 by the year 2011.

Digital Switchover Help Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what his Department's estimate is of the level of under-spend over the whole period of the Digital Switchover Help Scheme, as referred to in the Digital Britain report; and how this estimate has been arrived at. (283164)

The National Audit Office estimated an underspend of around £250 million in 2008 based on the take-up rate of the Help Scheme during the switchover at Whitehaven and Copeland. We have since had continuing discussions with the BBC Help Scheme about take up rates in subsequent switchovers and other cost drivers, and these confirm that this is a robust estimate of the eventual underspend. After switchover in the Granada TV region is completed at the end of 2009, when a significant proportion and representative sample of households will have switched over, we will conduct a further stock-take of the position.

Football Foundation

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much Sport England has paid to the Football Foundation in each of the last three years; and what payments he expects to be made in each of the next three years. (284234)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: Sport England advise that in the last three years it has funded the Football Foundation for capital and revenue projects as follows:

2006-07: £20,675,000 (Exchequer) + £2,500,000 (Lottery)

2007-08: £16,000,000 (Exchequer) + £2,500,000 (Lottery)

2008-09: £17,500,000 (Exchequer)

In addition the Football Foundation received the following Exchequer payments on behalf of the Football Association under the Community Club Development Programme, a programme administered by Sport England:

2006-07: £1,388,784

2007-08: £2,307,495

2008-09: £4,047,670

Sport England is currently in negotiation with the Football Foundation over its funding agreement for 2009-13.

Hotels

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make an assessment of trends in demand for hotels in the UK with (a) up to 20 bedspaces, (b) 21 to 100 bedspaces and (c) 101 or more bedspaces over the last 10 years. (283822)

DCMS has not undertaken an assessment of this kind in respect of hotels in the UK, and has no plans to do so.

Licensed Premises

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will take steps to reduce the time required for applicants to complete a premises licence application. (283340)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has no plans to reduce the time period during which a premises licence application under the Licensing Act 2003 can be considered by interested parties and responsible authorities. Those with a legitimate interest, such as local residents and the police, need sufficient time to consider applications and make representations.

However, the Department is currently developing proposals to enable fully electronic applications which will have the potential to significantly reduce the cost and time associated with completing and submitting an application form. In the longer term, we are also committed to reviewing the forms themselves to see whether they can be simplified and shortened.

Local Press: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what timetable has been set for the Audit Commission's review of council funding for local newspapers. (284005)

Councils are not responsible for the funding of local newspapers. Councils may however take paid advertising to support local authority information sheets. As the Office of Fair Trading noted in its review, this practice may have an adverse impact on local newspapers.

In line with the recommendation in Chapter 5 of the Digital Britain Report, the Government have invited the Audit Commission to undertake a review of the impact of loss of advertising revenue on local newspapers. Their response is expected shortly.

Public Libraries

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he expects to make a final ruling in the Wirral Library Review; when he plans to publish the new National Strategy for Libraries; and if he will make a statement. (284736)

The Secretary of State expects to announce his decision on the library service provided by Wirral metropolitan borough council as soon as possible after he has considered the conclusions of the independent inquiry. This is expected to report in the summer.

In respect of the Library Service Modernisation Review, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 19 June 2009, Official Report, column 510W.

Sport England

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he expects to receive the report of the inquiry into the World Class Payments Bureau at Sport England; and whether the full report will be published. (284235)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: I expect to receive the report of the inquiry into the World Class Payments Bureau this autumn and the full report to be published.

Sports Coach: Executives

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the employment status is of the Chief Executive of Sports Coach UK; and if he will make a statement. (284236)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: Sports Coach UK is an independent organization which is not one of my Department's non-departmental public bodies. Therefore I am not in a position to comment on the employment status of its Chief Executive.

Tourism: Entry Clearances

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many tourist visitors there were to each region in the first quarter of (a) 2008 and (b) 2009. (284241)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: The numbers of visits to the English regions in the first quarter of 2008 and 2009 are contained in the following table:

Table 1: First quarter 2008

Region

Million1

West Midlands

1.932

East of England

2.006

East Midlands

1.389

London

2.955

North West

2.408

North East

0.760

South East

3.282

South West

3.519

Yorkshire

2.034

Table 2: First quarter, 3 July 2009

Region

Million1

West Midlands

1.793

East of England

1.982

East Midlands

1.374

London

2.252

North West

2.202

North East

0.698

South East

2.889

South West

2.752

Yorkshire

1.965

1 UK-resident domestic overnight trips in English regions, all purposes.

Tourism: Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the amount spent on tourism by local authorities in the latest period for which figures are available. (284307)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: Figures for local authority tourism spending in England are drawn from returns made by individual authorities to the Department for Communities and Local Government. The most recent data available are for 2007-08, in which net current expenditure on tourism amounted to £123.3 million.

Tourism: Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make it his policy to produce with the Secretary of State for Transport a draft strategy to develop transport networks in order to encourage growth in the tourism industry. (280995)

We currently have no plans to produce such a strategy, but my Department is already working with the Department for Transport on a number of tourism transport issues. For example, ministerial colleagues from the Department for Transport are members of the recently established Cross-Government Ministerial Group on Tourism, which was set up to promote and support the industry in Westminster and Whitehall.

In addition, our recently published sustainable tourism framework takes account of the Department for Transport's “Delivering a Sustainable Transport System” which sets out the Government's aim of building up a transport system which supports quality of life and a healthy natural environment. This is one of the Department for Transport's five strategic goals and is underpinned by a number of challenges which will be used to inform future transport spending priorities and could be used by transport planners for transport schemes that would support tourism.

UK School Games: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much each funding stream contributed to the UK School Games in (a) 2006, (b) 2007 and (c) 2008; and how much each stream is contributing to the 2009 UK School Games. (284788)

A breakdown of the funding streams from the Exchequer, the National Lottery, private sponsorship and the host city for the UK School Games between 2006 and 2009 is displayed as follows:

2006 (£2.036 million)

Exchequer—£0

Lottery—£1,484,000 (Millennium Commission)

Private sector—£343,000

Host city—£209,000

2007 (£2.89 million)

Exchequer—£0

Lottery—£2.3 million (BIG Lottery)

Private sector—£540,000

Host city—£50,000

2008 (£3.260 million)

Exchequer—£2.7 million

Lottery—£0

Private sector—£160,000

Host city—£400,000

2009 (£3.4 million estimated)

Exchequer—£2.7 million

Lottery—£0

Private sector—£200,000 (estimated)

Host city—£500,000

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 22 June 2009, Official Report, column 615W, on the UK School Games: finance, how much funding the UK School Games received from (a) the Exchequer, (b) the National Lottery, (c) private sponsorship and (d) the host city money between 2006 and 2009; and how much funding from each source he expects to be provided in (i) 2010 and (ii) 2011. (284239)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: A breakdown of funding from the Exchequer, the National Lottery, private sponsorship and the host city for the UK School Games between 2006 and 2009 is displayed in the following list:

2006 (£2.036 million)

Exchequer—£0

Lottery—£1,484,000 (Millennium Commission)

Private sector—£343,000

Host city—£209,000

2007 (£2.89 million)

Exchequer—£0

Lottery—£2.3 million (BIG Lottery)

Private sector—£540,000

Host city—£50,000

2008 (£3.260 million)

Exchequer—£2.7 million

Lottery—£0

Private sector—£160,000

Host city—£400,000

2009 (£3.4 million estimated)

Exchequer—£2.7 million

Lottery—£0

Private sector—£200,000 (estimated)

Host city—£500,000

The exact nature of distribution of funding for the games in 2010 and 2011 is currently under discussion.

Northern Ireland

Translation Services: Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the National Framework Agreement on arrangements for the use of interpreters, translators and language service professionals within the criminal justice system applies to Northern Ireland. (283694)

The “National Agreement on Arrangements for the Use of Interpreters and Translators in the Criminal Justice System” only applies to provision within England and Wales. In Northern Ireland, a joint contract has been established between relevant criminal justice organisations and the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (for face-to-face interpretation) and the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (for sign language). This aims to enhance consistency in how interpretation is used across the criminal justice system by setting out the specific requirements of each partner organisation which is underpinned by individual organisational guidance. The contract provides flexibility for the use of interpreters registered with the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (England and Wales), where particular requirements cannot be met locally.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces deployed in each region of Afghanistan (a) have been trained in each year since 2001 and (b) are being trained in each local Afghan language. (283554)

Records for Farsi are available from 2001. Very little training in Pashto and Dari was conducted before 2005. This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Farsi and Dari are very similar languages and many personnel trained in Farsi have also received some training in Dari.

The following tables provide the available figures for each of the three relevant languages.

Pashto

SLP1

SLP2

SLP3

SLP4

Total

2009

18

2

2

0

22

2008

11

33

18

2

64

2007

65

34

6

0

105

2006

30

17

1

0

48

2005

7

0

0

0

7

Total

131

86

27

2

246

Dari

SLP1

SLP2

SLP3

SLP4

Total

2009

8

4

0

0

12

2008

6

2

1

0

9

2007

0

0

0

0

0

2006

6

6

0

0

12

2005

0

0

0

0

0

Total

20

12

1

0

33

Farsi

SLP1

SLP2

SLP3

SLP4

Total

2009

0

0

0

0

0

2008

5

15

3

1

24

2007

18

20

7

1

46

2006

3

19

12

3

37

2005

1

8

1

2

12

2004

0

1

4

3

8

2003

0

2

2

3

7

2002

0

0

2

2

4

2001

0

1

0

2

3

Total

27

66

31

17

141

The figures in the table do not include figures for the Special Forces and do not include personnel who have left the services since their language training and whose details are no longer available. The figures for 2009 are to date and do not include expected outputs for the remainder of the year.

Entries are made against the year when qualifications were achieved. SLP levels can be defined as follows: SLP1—Survival, SLP2—Functional, SLP3—Professional and SLP4—Expert. Qualifications in speaking and listening skills have been used to determine the SLP level against which personnel are listed.

The figures for Pashto do not include personnel who received SLP1 level training but were not examined, or did not pass the exam, at this level. It is estimated that up to 200 personnel fall into this category.

In addition to this, all military personnel deploying to Afghanistan receive a little training from native speakers in very basic phrases, words and responses, and are issued with an aide-mémoire. Approximately 14,000 personnel have received this very basic training in the last year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to his speech given at Wilton Park on 15 January 2009, NATO at 60: towards a new strategic concept, how many additional helicopters have been delivered to forces in Afghanistan as a result of the UK-French Helicopter Fund established in the March 2008 Franco-British Summit Communiqué. (284554)

A number of nations have benefited from the UK-FR helicopter initiative to make their helicopters more deployable. The first three helicopters will deploy to Afghanistan as a direct result of the initiative from December this year. We expect a further five to deploy in 2010 and up to three more by end 2011. Additional contributions to the fund would further increase these numbers.

Armed Forces: Families

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the (a) travel and (b) accommodation costs of families visiting service personnel in hospital have been met by his Department in the last two years. (283202)

Travel and accommodation at public expense for families visiting service personnel in hospital is covered by the Dangerously Ill Forwarding of Relatives (DILFOR) scheme. This scheme provides for two people to receive the full cost of accommodation and travel, including overseas travel, at public expense. This is usually provided to the individual's emergency contact or next of kin plus one other.

Armed Forces: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many army recruits passed through phase (a) 1 and (b) 2 training without achieving entry level 3 in (i) literacy and (ii) numeracy in the most recent period for which figures are available. (284521)

The following table provides training phase 1 and 2 information for the period 31 October 2008 and 30 June 2009.

Not recorded as achieving entry level 3

Literacy

Numeracy

Training phase

Total cohort

Number

Percentage

Number

percentage

Phase 1

4,842

258

5.3

178

3.7

Phase 2

5,088

236

4.6

153

3.0

However, some phase 2 trainees conduct apprenticeships, remedial training at Army education centres, or utilise external training providers, and their achievement of entry level 3 standard may not yet be on their personnel file. The figures provided above may therefore be higher than the true position.

Additional measures to support the delivery of basic skills were introduced in 2008, the benefits of which we expect to see in 2009 and beyond.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armoured vehicles of each type are (a) in service with the UK Land Command, (b) fit for purpose, (c) undergoing repair and (d) unavailable for operations for other reasons. (284531)

Headquarters Land Command became Headquarters Land Forces on 1 April 2008. The vehicle holdings, as at 3 July 2009, are provided in the following table.

Vehicle type

In service

Fit for purpose

Undergoing repair

Unavailable

Warrior all variants

793

619

158

16

CVR(T) all variants

1,196

908

280

8

Saxon Patrol

147

140

5

2

AFV 430 all variants

1,487

1,360

107

20

Challenger 2

345

334

5

6

Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle

81

75

4

2

Titan

27

27

0

0

Trojan

28

28

0

0

Viking all variants

184

180

2

2

Stormer HVM

115

109

6

0

Shielder

30

25

1

4

AS 90

146

140

3

3

Panther

401

396

3

2

Jackal

202

160

41

1

Snatch

568

544

24

0

Mastiff

182

170

12

0

Ridgback

30

29

1

0

Vector

178

143

35

0

Some vehicle platforms have been undergoing radio conversion work, repairs and overhauls and have therefore been taken temporarily out of service on a rolling basis. This has affected the number of fit for purpose vehicles, which can change on a daily basis.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Government plans to purchase the Avaris 4x4 protected vehicle. (284598)

The Government have no current plans to purchase the Aravis vehicle.

Elizabeth Cross

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 1 July 2009, Official Report, columns 18-21WS, on armed forces recognition, for what reason a distinction is drawn between retrospective recognition for the families of those who served and died in (a) Palestine since 27 September 1945 and otherwise since 1 January 1948 and (b) the Second World War. (284659)

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission attributed deaths up to 1 January 1948 to world war two service and recorded them on their Rolls of Honour and Memorials. The only exception to this is deaths in Palestine from 27 September 1945 to 30 June 1948, which will also be eligible for the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll. This is consistent with the dates used for recognition on the Armed Forces Memorial, although the criteria for inclusion on that memorial are different.

Gurkhas: Ex-servicemen

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate how many Gurkhas who retired from the armed forces before 1997 have since died; and if he will make a statement. (284164)

Insufficient information is held to enable a reliable estimate to be made of the number of Gurkhas who retired from the armed forces before 1997 and who have now passed away. Many generations of Gurkhas have served with great distinction in the UK armed forces, since they were first permitted to volunteer for British military service in the 1815 peace treaty that ended the Anglo-Nepalese war of 1814-15. Between 1948, when the Brigade of Gurkhas was formed as part of the British Army and 1 July 1997, when the Brigade became UK based, it is estimated that some 37,100 Gurkhas served in and were discharged from the Brigade. We also estimate that from those years there remain 34,700 Gurkhas and Gurkha widows, who are in receipt of a Gurkha pension.

Gurkhas: Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will assess the merits of increasing the future pension for Gurkhas who served prior to 1997 to a level equivalent to that of British Army soldiers with the same service with effect from 1 April 2010; and if he will make a statement. (284166)

It has been the policy of successive Governments not to implement changes to pensions and similar benefits retrospectively. This policy has been applied across the public sector in the United Kingdom, not just to Gurkha veterans. To do so now would not only be counter to this policy but would also lead to potential claims from other groups in public sector schemes.

The Gurkha pension scheme pays pensions earlier than the armed forces pension scheme. This is because Gurkhas are unlikely to work again in Nepal unlike their British counterparts, in the UK. For example, a Gurkha Rifleman or Corporal with 15 years service (approximately 85 per cent. of those receiving GPS payments) can claim an immediate pension (from age 33) whereas equivalent service under the AFPS would not attract pension payments until age 60. Like any pension scheme, the earlier the benefits are paid the lower the annual payment.

It has been estimated that the cost of increasing the annual pension payments for Gurkhas who served prior to 1 July 1997 to the amount received by their UK equivalents would be £1.5 billion over 20 years.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces deployed in each region of Iraq (a) have been trained in each year since 2003 and (b) are being trained in each local Iraqi language. (283555)

Arabic is the most widely spoken language in Iraq. Apart from Arabic, a number of minority languages are spoken in Iraq. The only language group with a population over 1 million is Kurdish, in its various forms, and the only other language groups with a population over 100,000 are Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, Azeri and Farsi.

The following table reflects the numbers of personnel trained in Arabic since 2003. Defence has not trained personnel in Kurdish. While Defence has a Farsi capability, no personnel have been trained in Farsi specifically for operations in Iraq, and neither Chaldean Neo-Aramic nor Azeri has ever been required in an Operation Telic context.

The following table provides the available figures for training in Arabic.

Arabic

SLP1

SLP2

SLP3

SLP4

Total

2009

1

3

0

0

4

2008

16

37

13

4

70

2007

67

88

26

5

186

2006

38

38

20

4

100

2005

40

16

19

3

78

2004

10

10

19

1

40

2003

1

3

16

0

20

Total

173

195

113

17

498

The above figures do not include figures for the special forces, and do not include personnel who have left the services since their language training and whose details are no longer available. The figures for 2009 are to date and do not include expected outputs for the remainder of the year.

Entries are made against the year when qualifications were achieved. SLP levels can be defined as follows: SLP 1—Survival, SLP 2—Functional, SLP 3—Professional and SLP 4—Expert. Qualifications in speaking and listening skills have been used to determine the SLP level against which personnel are listed.

The figures do not include personnel who received SLP 1 level training but were either not examined or did not pass the exam at this level. It is estimated that up to 200 personnel fall into this category.

The figures do not reflect the very basic Arabic language training provided to all deploying personnel. During pre-deployment training, they have received some instruction in greetings and responses, words and phrases, and have been issued with a language aide-mémoire to enable basic communication.

Military Aircraft: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average number of training hours spent by fast jet pilots in each aircraft type in the Royal Air Force was in each (a) year since 2003 and (b) month of 2008. (255629)

Officials are collating the information requested. I will write to the hon. Member when this work is complete and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many training hours flying time RAF fast jet pilots were able to undertake on average in each year since 2004. (258877)

I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Substantive answer from Bill Rammell to Liam Fox:

My predecessor undertook to write to you in response to your Parliamentary Questions on 23 February 2009 (Official Report, column 37W) and 2 March 2009 (Official Report, column 1364W) about the average training hours spent by fast jet pilots in each aircraft type in each year since 2003 and in each month of 2008 and the training hours flying time RAF fast jet pilots were able to undertake on average in each year since 2004, respectively. I undertook to write once officials had completed collating the data and as the two questions are very similar in nature I am providing a combined answer.

Aircrew are monitored for competency levels throughout their flying career and training continues for Front Line aircrew after the initial award of Combat Ready Status. This answer gives the number of average actual Front Line pilot training flying hours for 2005 onwards. Information prior to 2005 could only be provided at disproportionate cost. Additionally, subsequent changes to the flying hours reporting system have resulted in data not being held centrally for 2007/08; figures for that year could only be retrieved at disproportionate cost. Therefore, figures for the financial year 2007-08 have not been provided.

The available annual data is provided below and has been rounded to the nearest whole number.

Average actual front line pilot training flying hours

Fast jet aircraft type

FY 2005/06

FY 2006/07

Jaguar

225

197

Tornado F3

204

220

Tornado GR4

194

195

Harrier

165

148

Typhoon

264

250

Total hours

1,052

1,010

From the information provided above the average of actual fast jet pilot training flying hours is 210 for FY 2005-06 and 202 for FY 2006-07.

Changes to the flying hours reporting system mentioned above, also means that monthly data for the period January to March 2008 could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The available monthly data for 2008 is provided below and has been rounded to the nearest whole number.

Average actual monthly front line pilot training flying hours

Month of 2008

Tornado F3

Tornado GR4

Harrier

Typhoon

April

12

11

12

17

May

10

11

9

15

June

13

10

9

15

July

11

9

10

15

August

11

9

9

11

September

10

11

14

15

October

10

10

12

14

November

9

8

7

14

December

5

6

5

7

We expect to fly less over the winter months as a result of stations standing down over the festive season and adverse weather conditions affecting planned flights.

The hours for Hawk training aircraft have not been included as these aircraft are not used on Operations.

I apologise for the delay in replying and any inconvenience caused.

Radioactive Waste: Waste Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 12 May 2009, Official Report, column 753W, on radioactive waste: waste management, which of the recommendations of the report have been implemented; and what the outstanding issues are which he expects to be addressed by the end of September 2009. (284615)

Of the 27 recommendations in the report, 23 have been implemented. It is anticipated that, of the four remaining recommendations, two covering design drawings and maintenance of underground pipe work will be completed by the end of September 2009.

It has been decided that the final two recommendations, which cover the requirement for safety justification and for new equipment, can best be addressed as part of a future options study to determine Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde’s long-term plans for radioactive waste management arrangements. This is due to report in the first quarter of 2010.

In the meantime, all radioactive waste handling is carried out in accordance with procedures that have been agreed with the appropriate regulatory bodies, including the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Territorial Army

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the location is of each Territorial Army centre in the United Kingdom; (280199)

(2) what the (a) establishment figure, (b) current manning figure and (c) location is of each unit of company equivalent level or higher of the Territorial Army in the United Kingdom.

There are more than 2,600 sites accommodating the reserve forces and Cadets, ranging from Cadet huts to training areas. The Territorial Army (TA) shares many of these sites with other reserve force and Cadet units, and some TA units are based at regular Army sites. Following the recommendations of the Strategic Review of Reserves to improve the Volunteer Estate, we are currently capturing detailed information about reserve force locations. Once this information is available, I will place a copy in the Library of the House.

A copy of TA sub-unit establishment liability figures will also be placed in the Library of the House.

As at 1 April 2009, total manning for the TA was 35,350. Manning information is held in the Joint Personnel Administration system but not in the format requested. This information could be provided at disproportionate cost in the requested format only.

Trident

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy not to take any decision on the initial gate stage of Trident until proposals for such a decision have been debated on the floor of the House; and if he will make a statement. (284968)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 22 June 2009, Official Report, column 628W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn).