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Written Answers

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 2 November 2009

Culture, Media and Sport

Antiques

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the monetary value of antiques seized by his Department in the last 12 months. (297251)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has no power to seize antiques. Therefore no such seizure has taken place in the last 12 months.

Arts Council of England: West Midlands

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much Arts Council England spent per capita on (a) capital projects and (b) revenue funding in (i) Wolverhampton, (ii) Sandwell, (iii) Dudley, (iv) Walsall, (v) Birmingham, (vi) Solihull and (vii) Coventry in (A) 2001-02, (B) 2002-03, (C) 2003-04, (D) 2004-05, (E) 2005-06, (F) 2006-07, (G) 2007-08 and (H) 2008-09. (294701)

Arts Council England have supplied the figures in the following table. The figures represent their total funding, awarded in £000, either on a revenue or capital basis to organisations or individuals based (by postcode) in Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

£000

LA/capital/revenue

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Birmingham

Lottery Capital

2,115

9,920

Lottery Revenue

8,070

4,109

2,183

3,187

2,636

6,891

3,372

2,170

Grant in Aid Revenue

10,949

11,860

12,986

14,445

16,698

16,513

17,550

18,021

Birmingham total

21,134

15,969

25,089

17,632

19,334

23,404

20,922

20,191

Coventry

Lottery Capital

4,023

30

Lottery Revenue

455

1,088

190

466

770

952

320

500

Grant in Aid Revenue

923

990

1,415

1,500

1,632

1,696

1,723

1,823

Coventry total

5,401

2,078

1,635

1,966

2,402

2,649

2,043

2,323

Dudley

Lottery Revenue

213

101

62

88

571

106

139

Grant in Aid Revenue

10

20

20

25

25

26

26

50

Dudley total

223

20

121

87

113

597

132

189

Sandwell

Lottery Capital

28,804

Lottery Revenue

131

36

139

166

77

103

86

65

Grant in Aid Revenue

146

214

420

794

1,132

854

1,254

816

Sandwell total

29,081

250

560

960

1,209

957

1,340

882

Solihull

Lottery Revenue

180

61

114

85

92

11

155

22

Solihull total

180

61

114

85

92

11

155

22

Walsall

Lottery Revenue

235

106

179

147

192

172

168

123

Grant in Aid Revenue

517

535

551

862

804

826

849

897

Walsall total

752

641

730

1,010

996

998

1,016

1,020

Wolverhampton

Lottery Revenue

221

196

243

42

229

230

330

289

Grant in Aid Revenue

27

128

181

315

323

362

341

338

Wolverhampton total

248

324

424

357

552

592

671

627

Big Lottery Fund: Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much has been spent on the Big Lottery Fund website in each year since its establishment. (297114)

The running and maintenance of the Big Lottery Fund's website is the responsibility of the Big Lottery Fund, which operates independently of Government.

I have therefore asked the Big Lottery Fund's chief executive to consider the question raised by the hon. Member for South West Surrey and to write to him direct.

Copies of the reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was spent on his Department's website in each year since it was established. (296975)

We are unable to supply figures prior to 2005.

The departmental website is managed in house from existing resources. Following are additional costs of development, hosting, licences and editorial. These costs cover the main site and a number of in-house mini-sites.

£

2005-06

68,097.54

2006-07

59,147.16

2007-08

8,741

2008-09

1

1 Figures are not currently available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department spent on maintaining its Flickr channel in the last 12 months. (297243)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people his Department employs to maintain its Department's social media and social networking accounts; and at what cost in the latest year for which figures are available. (297245)

My Department does not employ any dedicated resources to maintain its social media and social networking sites.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department spent on maintaining its Twitter feed in the last 12 months for which figures are available. (297246)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department spent on maintaining its YouTube channel in the last 12 months for which figures are available. (297248)

Licensing Laws: Languages

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 26 October 2009, Official Report, column 19W, on licensing laws: language, in how many languages other than English and Welsh the accredited licence course is offered. (297288)

The accredited licence course providers are free to make a commercial decision to allow the examination to be taken in other languages if there is a demand for such a service. The Department does not record the number of languages other than English and Welsh that have been in demand.

Ofcom: Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much has been spent on the Ofcom website in each year since it was established. (297013)

The running and maintenance of Ofcom’s website is the responsibility of Ofcom, which operates independently of Government.

I have therefore asked Ofcom’s chief executive to consider the question raised by the hon. Member for South-West Surrey and to write to him direct.

Copies of the reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Swimming: Concessions

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many applications for funding from pot 4 of the Free Swimming Capital Modernisation Programme were received in the first funding round; and in respect of which swimming pools these applications were received. (297113)

Sport England advises that there were 133 applications for funding from pot 4 of the 2009-10 Free Swimming Capital Modernisation Programme in the first funding round. Of the 133 applications, 86 were for public swimming pools. These 86 applications correspond to the following projects:

Organisation

Project name

Babergh District Council

Improvements to Hadleigh Swimming Pool

Blaby District Council

Enderby Leisure Centre—Invest To Achieve

Bolton District Council

Swimming Pool Modernisation—Bolton Town Centre Pool

Bolton District Council

Swimming Pool Modernisation—Horwich Leisure Centre

Bolton District Council

Swimming Pool Modernisation—Farnworth Leisure Centre

Burnley Council

Padiham Leisure Centre

Bury Council

Modern pools for Modern People—Castle Leisure Centre

Bury Council

Modern pools for Modern People—Radcliffe Pool and Fitness Centre

Calderdale Borough Council

New build of Sowerby Bridge Pool

Calderdale Borough Council

New build of Brighouse pool

Cannock Chase

New Swimming Pool

Chesterfield Borough Council

Queens Park Sports Centre

Chichester DC

Westgate Leisure Centre Enhancement

Chiltern DC

Chiltern DC—Capital Swimming Project at 3 sites

Chorley Council

Swim Chorley Capital Improvements—All Seasons Leisure Centre

Chorley Council

Swim Chorley Capital Improvements—Brinscall Pool

City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

New Bradford City Centre Pool

City of London

Golden Lane Leisure Centre Refurbishment and Improvement

Colchester Borough Council

Fitness and Teaching Pool Refurbishment in Colchester

Arena Sports Centre

Arena Community Swimming Pool

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Hoyland Leisure Centre

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Dearnside Leisure Centre

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Royston Leisure Centre

Birmingham City Council

Modernising Swimming in Birmingham—3 parts (Wyndley Leisure Centre and 4 temp pools on school sites)

Bolton District Council

Swimming Pool Modernisation—Westhoughton Leisure Centre

Bolton District Council

Swimming Pool Modernisation—Sharpies Community Leisure Centre

Bolton District Council

Swimming Pool Modernisation —Turton Community Leisure Centre

Bolton District Council

Swimming Pool Modernisation—Ladybridge Community Leisure Centre

Bolton District Council

Swimming Pool Modernisation—Jubilee Pool

Castle Point Borough Council

Runnymede Swimming Pool

Cedar Park School

Cedar Park School Swimming Pool Enclosure

Charnwood Borough Council

South Charnwood Pool (Wreake Valley Community College)

Coventry City Council

President Kennedy School

Derbyshire County Council

Brookfield Specialist Sports College Swimming Pool Project

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council

A Mega Splash at Armthorpe Sports Centre

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council

A Mega Splash at Thorne Sports Centre

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Swimming Transformation

Flora McDonald Junior School

Enclosing outside swimming pool

Harrow Council

Splashing Out (3 sites)

Kennet District Council

Pewsey Changing refurbishment

Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Batley Swimming Initiative

Leicester City Council

Northfield House Primary School

Luton Borough Council

Modernising Swimming Facilities

Milton Keynes UA

Wroughton Leisure Centre Modernisation

Milton Keynes UA

Stantonbury Campus Pool Modernisation Project

New Scotland Hill Primary School

Refurbishment of swimming pool

North Dorset DC

Blanford LC—Free Swimming Capital Development

North Lincs Swimming Capital Modernisation Programme

Riddings Pool

Nottingham City Council

Replace Noel St pool with new pool adj to Djanogly Academy

NW Leicestershire District Council

Ibstock Community College

NW Leicestershire District Council

King Edward VII community College

Purbeck District Council

Purbeck Sports Centre—Pool Plant Renewal

Colchester Borough Council

Fitness Pool Changing Room Facility Upgrade

Colchester Borough Council

Fitness Pool Conversion

Colchester Borough Council

Fitness Pool General Swimming Facility Upgrade

Colchester Borough Council

Fitness Pool Training and Teaching Room Extension

Corby Borough Council

Corby East Midlands International Pool

Corby Borough Council

Corby East Midlands International Pool

Council of the Isles of Scilly

Normandy pool—All weather cover for outdoor swimming pool

Daventry District Council

Modernisation of Daventry Leisure Centre

Derbyshire Dales District Council

Ashbourne Swimming Pool

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council

A Mega Splash at Dearne Valley Leisure Centre

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council

A Mega Splash at the Dome

Erewash Borough Council

West Park Leisure Centre Changing Rooms

Fenland District Council

Fenland's Swimming Facility modernisation programme

Fenland District Council

Manor Leisure Centre Swimming Pool Improvements Project

Fenland District Council

Hudson Leisure Centre Wisbech Swimming Pool Improvements

Gateshead Council

Leisure Centre Blaydon

Halton Borough Council

Kingsway Village Change

Harborough District Council

Harborough Leisure Centre—changing room modernisation

Hartlepool Borough Council

Mill House Leisure Centre

High Peak Borough Council

Buxton Spa Pool, Glossop Pool (2 applications)

Leeds City Council

Water treatment

Leeds City Council

Pool Covers

Leeds City Council

Lighting

Leeds City Council

Access

Leeds City Council

Scott Hall Aquatics Modernisation

Leeds City Council

Kirkstall Aquatics Modernisation

Leicester City Council

Various City Leisure Centres—7 sites

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (Abbey, Goresbrook and Dagenham)

No Barriers—Inviting, Safe, Secure

London Borough of Brent

Changing Room Access Improvement—Willesden

London Borough of Brent

Refurbishment of wetside changing rooms—Vale Farm

London Borough of Enfield

Improvement to Southgate Leisure Centre

London Borough of Enfield

Improving Enfield's Swimming

London Borough of Lambeth

Brixton Recreation Centre Swimming Pool modernisation

London Borough of Redbridge

Ilford Pool Development

London Borough of Waltham Forest

Swim Safe for All

London Borough of Waltham Forest

Swimming Pool Improvements

Milton Keynes

Swimming pools modernisation programme

Milton Keynes UA

Middleton Pool modernisation

North East Derbyshire District Council

Refurbishment of Sharley Park Leisure Centre

North Lincs Swimming Capital Modernisation Programme

Ancholme Leisure Centre

North Tyneside Council

Tynemouth Pool Changing Village

Northampton Borough Council

Danes Camp Teaching Pool

NW Leicestershire District Council

Hermitage Leisure Centre

Redcar and Cleveland BC

4 sites—Saltburn LC, Loftus LC, Eston Sports Academy, Guisborough

Rugby Borough Council

Free Swimming Initiative—Ken Marriot Leisure Centre

Salford City Council

Broughton Pool—Modernisation

Sandwell MBC

Sandwell CMP—Haden Hill Leisure B64 7HA

Shropshire Council

The Quarry

Shropshire Council

Oswald Park

South Holland District Council

Castle Pool Modernisation Project

Southwark Council

Camberwell Baths (FSMCF)

St. Albans District Council

Redevelopment of Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre

St. Albans District Council

Cotlandswick Leisure Facility London Colney

St. Helens MBC (St. Helens CSN)

Modernisation of Swimming Pool Changing Rooms

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council

Brough Park Leisure Centre

Stevenage Borough Council

Swimming Centre Changing Village Improvement Works

Stockton on Tees BC (2 sites)

Increasing Participation in Swimming

Tendring District Council

Dovercourt Swimming Pool Changing Room

Tendring District Council

Frinton and Walton Swimming Pool Changing Room Refurbishment

Tendring District Council

Swimming Pool Changing Room Refurbishment

Thanet DC

Ramsgate Sports Centre—New Pool

Walsall Council—Bloxwich Leisure Centre

FSCMP—Walsall Council

Waverley Borough Council

Refurbishment of Farnham Sports Centre wet-side

Westminster City Council

Westminster Capital Modernisation Programme

Wigan Council

Modernisation of Tyldesley Pool

Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust

Modernisation of Hindley Pool

Calderdale Borough Council

New build of Sowerby Bridge / Brighouse Pools

There were also 47 education applications for funding from pot 4 of the 2009-10 Free Swimming Capital Modernisation Programme in the first funding round. These correspond to the following projects:

Organisation

Project name

Shropshire Council

Church Stretton

Shropshire Council

William Brookes School

South Staffordshire DC

Codsall Swimming Pool Refurbishment

South Tyneside MBC

Brinkburn Community School

Wakefield Metropolitan District Council

Hemsworth High School

Wandsworth Council

Southfields Sports College Swimming Pool Extension

Warriner School

Warriner Pool enclosure project

Warrington Borough Council

Orford Park

Waveney District Council

Waterlane Leisure Centre Redevelopment

West Dorset DC

New swimming facilities at Thomas Hardye Leisure Centre

West Wiltshire District Council

Warminster Changing refurbishment

Wigan Council

Modernisation of pool at Ashton Leisure Centre

Woking BC

Modernising outdoor swimming pools—St. Johns Primary Sch, Knapp Hill, Goldsworth

Oxford City Council

Inclusive pool development—City Academy

Swimming: West Yorkshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people resident in (a) Leeds and (b) West Yorkshire have participated in the scheme for free swimming for people over 60 years. (296483)

The table shows the total number of free swims that have taken place under the free swimming scheme by people aged 60 and over in Leeds and Yorkshire since the programme launched in April. This is not a measure of the total number of individual participants taking part in free swimming, as the Department does not hold these figures.

The Department holds figures by local authority; county and region. Accordingly, figures for West Yorkshire are included within those for Yorkshire as a whole.

Leeds

Yorkshire

April

9,219

43,149

May

9,593

47,854

June

11,291

54,132

July

12,277

64,759

August

11,133

59,589

September

10,965

58,317

Total (year to date)

64,478

327,800

Prime Minister

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Prime Minister if he will send a substantive response to the letter dated 24 August 2009 sent to him by Dr. Jim Swire requesting a full public inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing; and if he will make a statement. (296065)

Tony Blair

To ask the Prime Minister (1) what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on proposals to nominate Tony Blair to the position of President of the European Council; what the outcome of such discussions has been; and if he will make a statement; (296567)

(2) what recent discussions he has had with (a) hon. and right hon. Members and (b) members of the House of Lords of each party on proposals to nominate Tony Blair to the position of President of the European Council; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the press briefing given by my spokesman on 27 October. A transcript of this is available on the No. 10 website at:

http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page21103

A copy of the transcript has been placed in the Library of the House.

Solicitor-General

Criminal Proceedings

To ask the Solicitor-General what period of time on average elapsed between the passing of a case file on an arrested individual to the Crown Prosecution Service and the notification to a police force on whether charges would be brought in each category of crime in the latest period for which figures are available. (296336)

The Crown Prosecution service (CPS) case management system (CMS) reports the average number of calendar days that has elapsed since the first decision was sought from the police, to the date in which the last decision made was to charge. Data reported on CMS show that for the 12-month period from November 2008 to October 2009, the average number of calendar days taken to reach this decision was 8.6 days. This includes cases where a decision to charge was made: on the same day as the request from the police, either by CPS Direct, an out of hours telephone service; by way of face to face advice; or local telephone advice. It also includes those cases where the police were required to submit further evidence prior to a decision to charge being made; and those more complex cases where detailed written advice was provided to the police.

It is not possible to provide a breakdown of this information by category of offence.

Prosecutions: Shoplifting

To ask the Solicitor-General what recent representations she has received from small businesses on the rate of prosecutions brought by the Crown Prosecution Service for shoplifting offences. (276122)

As far as I know neither the Attorney-General’s Office nor the Crown Prosecution Service has received representations from small businesses. The Government take very seriously the need for the whole criminal justice system to be as effective as possible in tackling crime against shopkeepers and small businesses.

Written Questions: Government Responses

To ask the Solicitor-General when she plans to respond to Question (1) 276122, on Crown Prosecution Service rates of prosecution, tabled on 13 May 2009; (292029)

(2) 292029, on the response to a parliamentary question, tabled on 9 October 2009;

(3) 276122, on rates of prosecution in the Crown Prosecution Service, tabled on 13 May 2009.

Scotland

Departmental Visits Abroad

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department spent on overnight accommodation for (a) Ministers and (b) officials while overseas in each of the last three years. (294690)

The Scotland Office does not separately record expenditure on overnight accommodation. Lists of the overseas visits made by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500 in 2006-07 and of the overseas visits made by all Ministers costing in excess of £500 in 2007-08 and 2008-09 are published at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/ministers/travel_gifts.aspx

All travel is undertaken by the most efficient and costs effective way, in accordance with the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Management Code, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

Northern Ireland

Children: Prosecutions

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many children under the age of 17 were subject to legal proceedings following their role in criminal activity in Northern Ireland in (a) 2003 and (b) 2008. (297125)

The number of persons under the age of 17 prosecuted at court for an offence in 2003 was 1,068. In 2006 (the latest year for which figures are available), 923 persons were prosecuted.

Departmental Postal Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which companies are under contract to his Department to provide mail services; and when each such contract expires. (296083)

Royal Mail provides external mail services to my Department. This is not a tendered service and therefore there is no formal expiry date.

Departmental Telephone Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many helplines his Department operates; and how much his Department has received from the operation of such helplines in each of the last three years. (294984)

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) operates two helplines:

1. Mentally disordered offenders victim information scheme; and

2. AccessNI—a criminal records disclosure and vetting service for statutory, community and voluntary bodies.

The NIO does not receive any payment from the operation of these helplines.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will consider the merits of securing accreditation of his Department's helplines to the Helplines Association's quality standard; and if he will make a statement. (295720)

The Northern Ireland Office aims to provide a high-quality service, which reflects best practice, through the current operating procedures used for its two helplines (Access NI and the mentally disordered offenders victim information scheme). While there may be benefits to be gained from securing accreditation to The Helplines Association’s quality standard I do not consider that, at current user levels, the resource implications involved in seeking accreditation would be justified on value-for-money grounds.

Departmental Visits Abroad

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department spent on overnight accommodation for (a) Ministers and (b) officials while overseas in each of the last three years. (294698)

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO), including the Public Prosecution Service Northern Ireland but excluding its agencies and Executive NDPBs, spent £2,728.56 on overnight accommodation for Ministers and £11,145.37 for officials while overseas in 2008-09.

Due to the way this expenditure is recorded on the NIO financial system, figures for the years 2006-07 and 2007-08 would be available only at disproportionate cost.

The following link to the Cabinet Office website provides costs for Ministers’ travel overseas, but only provides a total cost of the visit and does not separate the various areas of expenditure;

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/ministers/travel_gifts.aspx

Devolution

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland by what date he expects devolution of powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly to have been completed. (296836)

The Government believe that the time is right for the Northern Ireland Assembly to complete the process of devolution by requesting the transfer of policing and justice powers. However, the actual timing of devolution remains for the Assembly itself to decide upon, as set out in section 4 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. Good progress continues to be made towards the completion of devolution and I believe that the financial package set out by the Prime Minister should enable the parties to move forward with the process.

Northern Ireland Policing Board: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what proportion of the administration budget of the Northern Ireland Policing Board was spent on the operation of district policing partnerships in the latest period for which figures are available; (297416)

(2) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of district policing partnerships in Northern Ireland;

(3) who the members of each district policing partnership in Northern Ireland are; and what the declared political affiliation of each is;

(4) how many meetings of each district policing partnership in Northern Ireland have taken place in each of the last two years.

These are operational matters for the Northern Ireland Policing Board, which is independent of Government. The hon. Gentleman may wish to write to the Chief Executive of the Policing Board.

Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff there are in the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland; and how much it spent on (a) administration and (b) public relations in the latest period for which figures are available. (297412)

These are operational matters relating to the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. I have asked the Chief Executive to reply to the hon. Member directly, and will arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.

Police Service of Northern Ireland: Helicopters

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many helicopters are available for use by the Police Service of Northern Ireland; (297163)

(2) what provision has been made for the Police Service of Northern Ireland to deploy airborne thermal imaging cameras to detect cannabis factories in Northern Ireland.

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

Police Service of Northern Ireland: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff of each rank work in the Police Service of Northern Ireland Historical Enquiries Team. (297161)

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

Special Purchase Evacuated Dwellings Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the performance of the Special Purchase of Evacuated Dwellings Scheme against its objectives; and if he will make a statement. (297188)

The Special Purchase of Evacuated Dwellings Scheme is a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive. The scheme is operated by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive which is funded by the Department for Social Development.

House of Commons Commission

Press Gallery

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how long each member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery has been a member of it. (296951)

The House authorities do not hold information on how long individuals have been a member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

Women and Equality

Females: Developing Countries

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how much her Department has spent on the promotion of women's rights in developing countries in each of the last 12 months. (290479)

No expenditure has been spent in each of the last 12 months by the Government Equalities Office in promoting the UK's policies for women's rights in developing countries. This area of responsibility lies with the Department for International Development—12 October 2009, Official Report, column 84W.

The UK Government are strongly committed to promoting and protecting women's rights, as evidenced by the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1986.

In addition, the UK actively participates in the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meetings in New York. At its 50th session in 2006, actions were agreed that member states and civil society actors should undertake in order to enhance the participation of women in development.

International Development

Departmental Postal Services

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which companies are under contract to his Department to provide mail services; and when each such contract expires. (296085)

There are no companies under contract to the Department for International Development to provide mail services.

Pakistan: Internally Displaced Persons

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 20 October 2009, Official Report, column 1379W, on Pakistan: internally displaced persons, to which humanitarian agencies and for which projects his Department has allocated funds. (296839)

The following table shows the Department for International Development's allocation of funding to humanitarian agencies and projects in support of internally displaced people in Pakistan.

Funded agency

Total funding (£)

UN/NGOs Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan (PHRP)

12,500,000

ICRC

9,000,000

Monitoring and ex-post evaluation

250,000

Sarhad Rural Support Programme (Local NGO)

250,000

Total

22,000,000

Breakdown of contribution to UN/NGOs for Pakistan humanitarian response

Plan

Total funding (£)

UN System

7,718,683

NGOs funded

Church World Services - for the supply of non food items

743,414

ACTED - for water and sanitation services and early recovery activities

733,085

Islamic Relief - for water and sanitation services

147,576

Muslim Aid - for water and sanitation services

113,870

Oxfam - for water and sanitation services

550,560

Mercy Corps - for water and sanitation services

305,867

Merlin - for emergency health services

373,157

International Medical Core - for healthcare services

495,504

Save the Children - for emergency healthcare services and livelihood support

538,325

Handicap International - for assistance to vulnerable persons

244,693

Relief International-for transitional sustainable solutions

305,867

Concern Worldwide - for skill development initiatives

229,400

NGO Sub-total

4,781,317

Total

12,500,000

The UK has committed an additional £10 million to help people displaced by the fighting in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. This commitment will be distributed through the UN to aid agencies working in NWFP. This assistance will support early recovery to provide food, water emergency shelter and other critical humanitarian help to those most in need.

Palestinians: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Gaza. (297322)

The conflict that ended in January made worse an already extremely serious humanitarian situation. Today, more than nine months on, 75 per cent. of Gazans still rely on some form of food aid and over 60 per cent. do not have daily access to water. The onset of winter will further affect those whose homes remain damaged or destroyed since the end of the conflict.

Since the start of the conflict in December 2008, the UK has pledged almost £47 million for immediate humanitarian assistance, early recovery and reconstruction. Whilst some basic humanitarian assistance has been entering Gaza, access constraints have severely hampered early recovery and reconstruction efforts. The UK will continue to press the Israeli Government for the provision of full, immediate and unhindered access for aid, aid workers and reconstruction materials, in line with fundamental humanitarian principles.

St. Helena: Airports

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 28 October 2009, Official Report, columns 16-17WS, on St. Helena, on what date he expects to respond to the consultation on options for access to the island; and if he will make a statement. (297241)

The public consultation document, available on the Department for International Development's website, lays out the timings of the consultation process.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he expects to publish the responses to the consultation on access to St. Helena. (296903)

The consultation report is available on the Department for International Development’s website:

www.dfid.gov.uk

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with commercial organisations on the provision of an airport on St. Helena. (296904)

The Secretary of State has not had recent discussions with commercial organisations on the provision of an airport for St. Helena.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent representations he has received on access to St. Helena. (296905)

The consultation report, available on the Department for International Development’s website, contains an annex listing all recent representations made to the Secretary of State regarding access to St. Helena.

Transport

Bus Services: Crimes of Violence

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many bus drivers have been assaulted by passengers in (a) England, (b) the North East, (c) the Tees Valley and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency in each of the last 10 years. (296346)

Crossrail Line

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much his Department has spent to date on the Crossrail project. (295160)

In the period prior to the granting of Royal Assent for the Crossrail Act in July 2008, Crossrail Ltd. (CRL), formerly Cross London Rail Links (CLRL), and the Department for Transport (DFT) spent £166 million in preparation for Crossrail. This figure includes the costs incurred by CRL and DFT in support of the Crossrail Act 2008 and related agreements and DFT’s financial, legal and technical consultancy fees in support of the parliamentary process and agreements.

From the establishment of CLRL in 2001 up to the granting of Royal Assent in July 2008, the combined expenditure by CLRL and CRL in relation to the costs of Crossrail works, including expenditure on design and land acquisition, was £227 million.

For the period after Royal Assent, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 15 October 2009, Official Report, columns 998-99W.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether there is a business plan for the flexible benefits project in his central Department. (297135)

The strategy for introducing the flexible benefits programme is based on existing HMRC approved schemes in support of government policy and outcomes on, for example, wellbeing and the environment. A project plan is in place governing the delivery of the programme.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport when the last equal pay review for each of his Department's bargaining units was conducted. (297136)

The last equal pay review conducted for each of the Department for Transport's bargaining units is shown in the following table.

Bargaining unit

Last equal pay review

Department for Transport (Centre)

September 2006

Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency

July 2006

Highways Agency

July 2005

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

July 2008

Government Car and Despatch Agency

April 2007

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

October 2009

Vehicle Certification Agency

July 2009

Driver Standards Agency

May 2009

Departmental Public Expenditure

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what steps his Department is taking to implement the efficiency recommendations of the Operational Efficiency Programme relating to his Department; and what training is available to (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department in respect of the delivery of value for money savings. (296052)

The Department for Transport is committed to participating fully in the work of the Government’s Operational Efficiency Programme and we have recently taken part in the government-wide benchmarking exercise of several corporate functions.

To complement this, we have set in hand further work to review our corporate functions and to lead our transformation programme. In line with the recommendations of the Operational Efficiency Programme, I have assumed responsibility as the Minister responsible for overseeing delivery of value for money in the Department.

The Department offers a wide range of learning and development opportunities to support the delivery of value for money savings, and this ensures that appropriate training is available to all who require it.

Departmental Telephone Services

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will consider the merits of securing accreditation of his Department’s helplines to the Helplines Association’s quality standard; and if he will make a statement. (295719)

Motorcycles: Accidents

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many road traffic accidents involving motorcycles resulted in (a) fatalities and (b) serious personal injuries in each local authority area in each year since 1979. (296853)

Two tables showing the number of road traffic accidents involving motorcycles that resulted in (a) fatalities and (b) serious personal injuries in each local authority area in each year since 1979 have been deposited in the Libraries of the House. To allow for boundary changes, table 1 shows accidents in district authorities from 1979 to 1995 and table 2 shows accidents in highway authorities from 1994 to 2008.

Motorcycles: Safety

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) what percentage of his Department’s road safety budget is allocated to motorcycle safety in 2009-10; (296777)

(2) what his Department’s budget is for (a) bicycle safety, (b) pedestrian safety and (c) motorcycle safety in 2009-10;

(3) with reference to page 5 of his Department’s publication, The Government’s Motorcycling Strategy, what percentage of his Department's budget is allocated to measures to mainstream motorcycling in 2009-10.

Most spending on road safety is undertaken by local authorities from their own resources, including general Government grant and locally raised revenues. The total amount spent on road safety, including cycle, pedestrian and motorcycle safety, is not recorded. In 2009-10 the Department for Transport’s spending on cycle, pedestrian and motorcycle safety is as follows:

Think campaign—£1,685,000 on all Child Safety, including the development of teaching materials for educational settings, £1,840,000 for teenage pedestrian road safety and £3,385,000 on motorcycle safety.

Road Safety Partnership Grant—£1,043,000 on motorcycle safety. Other programme budget for road safety projects that will impact on all road users, including pedestrians, cycles and motorcycles totals £6,775,000.

Research—£238,000 on our cycle safety project, £230,000 on motorcycle safety projects and £126,500 on motorcycle engineering projects. £149,985 on research into the feasibility of allowing motorcyclists to use Advanced Stop Lines at signal junctions, currently reserved for pedal cyclists.

Cycle Training—£9.5 million in direct grants to local authorities and schools to deliver over 200,000 additional National Standard cycle training places for children with a further £500,000 for extra trainers to deliver the increased training. The programme is primarily aimed at encouraging more children to cycle specifically on school journeys, but should help them to do so more safely.

The safety of all road users, including cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists, also benefits from our activities and spending on broader road safety measures, including changes to the road environment and to improve driver behaviour.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent discussions his Department has had with motor manufacturers on the requirement for daytime running lights. (296907)

Department for Transport officials have been involved in ongoing discussions with motor manufacturers relating to the development and implementation of European requirements on the fitment of daytime running lamps to new vehicles.

Motorways: Closures

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many times a motorway has been closed because of someone on or near it threatening to commit suicide in the last 12 months. (296908)

The Highways Agency has recorded 26 motorway closures owing to suicides or persons threatening to commit suicide in the year to September 2009.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport on how many occasions in the last 12 months the initial decision to fully close a motorway by a road policing officer has been reviewed by (a) a supervisor, (b) the Highways Agency and (c) the Highway Authority; and in how many such cases the decision has been overturned. (296909)

A decision to close a motorway is made by the police where the nature and/or severity of the incident demands it.

Highways Agency Traffic Officers and their supervisors do not have the authority to overturn an instruction given by a police constable.

Discussion may take place between the Traffic Officer Service and the police following an incident to identify the best way forward in those circumstances, but a police officer's decision is final.

Therefore the Highways Agency, as Highway Authority, has not reviewed any initial decisions by a roads policing officer to fully close a motorway.

Network Rail: Finance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what proportion of the proposed efficiencies agreed between Network Rail and the Office of Rail Regulation for the period 2009-14 are expected to arise from reductions in staffing. (296977)

It is for Network Rail to decide how it achieves the efficiency improvements which the Office of Rail Regulation factored into its determination of the company's access charges for the period 2009-14. The Office of Rail Regulation will provide assurance that Network Rail's approach to achieving these efficiencies will also enable the company to continue to improve safety and performance and to increase capacity.

Office of Rail Regulation: Energy

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the (a) display energy certificate and (b) advisory report for public buildings issued in respect of each property occupied by the Office of Rail Regulation. (289853)

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) leases a portion of the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) central London estate to house its headquarters functions. The CAA manages the accommodation and has stated its intent to adhere to the arrangements being made for the private sector under the Government’s carbon reduction commitment rather than the display energy certificate (DEC) requirement for public buildings.

The ORR rents desk space for 14 regional offices from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) under a memorandum of terms of occupation. DECs and advisory reports for those buildings which fall under the DEC requirement will be placed electronically in the Libraries of the House. A DEC is to be obtained in 2009 for two of the buildings and will be placed in the Libraries of the House when available. Three of the buildings are below 1,000 square metres so are outside the scope of the DEC requirement.

The ORR directly leases an office in Glasgow. However, due to its small size it is also outside the scope of the DEC requirement.

Parking Offences: Fees and Charges

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what guidance his Department has issued to local authorities on levying (a) credit card fees and (b) other surcharges on parking fines. (294155)

The Department for Transport’s operational guidance to local authorities in England on parking policy and enforcement was published in March 2008.

Railway Stations: Rolling Stock

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what assessment he has made of the capacity of the platforms at Euston station to receive the longer Pendolino trains planned for 2013; and if he will make a statement. (296744)

Network Rail as custodian of the railway infrastructure has confirmed that Euston station can accommodate the longer Pendolino trains currently under construction.

Railways: Finance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much has been (a) spent on and (b) not yet spent and contractually committed to the proposed Intercity Express Programme train. (296775)

With regards to the amounts spent on the proposed Intercity Express Programme train, known as the Super Express Train, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 18 March 2009, Official Report, columns 1150-1W, to the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs. Villiers).

To date, there are no contractual commitments. The Department for Transport is currently in confidential commercial negotiations with the Preferred Bidder, Agility Trains.

Railways: Greater London

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what assessment he has made of (a) economic and (b) environmental benefits to rail freight operators of electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking line; and if he will make a statement. (296772)

This scheme was one of a number assessed in Network Rail’s Network Route Utilisation Strategy concerning electrification which was published in October 2009. This can be found at:

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/rus%20 documents/route%20utilisation%20strategies/network/working%20group%204%20-%20electrification%20strategy/networkrus_electrification.pdf

Rolling Stock

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many railway passenger carriages have been (a) exported, (b) scrapped and (c) refurbished for future domestic use in each year since 1994. (296776)

The Department for Transport does not hold the information requested. It may be available from the relevant Rolling Stock Leasing Companies. For passenger rolling stock, these are Angel Trains, HSBC Rail and Porterbrook.

Transdev: Mergers

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what discussions he has had with (a) the French Government and (b) Transport for London on the proposed merger between RATP and the UK operations of the bus operator Transdev; and if he will make a statement. (297185)

I have had no discussions with either the French Government or Transport for London on this subject.

Transport: Planning

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport which draft national policy statements under the Planning Act 2008 for which his Department is responsible he expects to publish before March 2010. (296502)

I expect to have published draft national policy statements covering ports and national networks (covering strategic roads, railways and rail freight) by March 2010.

Transport: Working Hours

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect on road transport workers of the implementation of regulations on working time. (296208)

The European Working Time Directive (2002/15/EC) on the organisation of the working time of mobile workers in road transport specifies the provisions for working time, breaks and night work. It is implemented in Great Britain by the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005. A comprehensive review of these Regulations was completed in 2008.

Following the introduction of the Regulations, Labour Force Statistics showed that there had been a small drop in the average number of hours worked by HGV drivers. At this stage, it has not been possible to ascertain whether the Regulations have improved safety for road transport workers.

Defence

Reserve Forces

15. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future of the reserve forces. (296695)

I refer the hon. Member to the answers the Secretary of State for Defence gave earlier to the hon. Members for Ludlow (Mr. Dunne) and Norwich, North (Chloe Smith).

Territorial Army

16. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans his Department has to meet the training requirements of the Territorial Army and the cadet forces; and if he will make a statement. (296696)

As we announced on 28 October, £20 million of new money from the Treasury has been ring-fenced for Territorial Army training.

17. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate the Chief of the General Staff has made of the Territorial Army retention rate from 1 April 2010. (296697)

The Army were of course aware that the six-month reduction in training they proposed might impact on retention. They believed they could manage this risk. None the less having listened to the strength of feeling on this issue, I decided that training should recommence as soon as possible.

20. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future of the Territorial Army. (296701)

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave earlier today to the hon. Members for Ludlow (Mr. Dunne), Norwich, North (Chloe Smith) and Croydon, South (Richard Ottaway).

22. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect on operational manpower levels of proposed reductions to Territorial Army training. (296703)

As we announced on 28 October, £20 million of new money from the Treasury has been ring-fenced for Territorial Army training. We have consistently made clear that TA members deploying on operations will get all the training that the Army considers appropriate and necessary.

24. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future deployment of the Territorial Army. (296705)

Operational requirements and force levels, Regular and Reservist, are kept under constant review. All Territorial Army personnel who are mobilised for operations will be appropriately trained before they deploy.

Afghanistan

18. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the internal and external threats to the military security of Afghanistan. (296699)

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave earlier to the hon. Members for Hammersmith and Fulham (Mr. Hands) and Kettering (Mr. Hollobone).

19. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the internal and external threats to the military security of Afghanistan. (296700)

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave earlier to the hon. Members for Hammersmith and Fulham (Mr. Hands), Kettering (Mr. Hollobone) and Leominster (Bill Wiggin).

21. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the contribution of the Royal Air Force to UK military operations in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. (296702)

The RAF makes a vital contribution to operations in Afghanistan. Our aircraft perform a number of roles such as: close air support; reconnaissance and surveillance; providing support to land operations; and re-supplying front line troops. In particular, Chinook and Hercules aircraft provide an invaluable aeromedical service with rapid transfer to specialist care facilities in Afghanistan. As part of the airbridge, C17 and Tristar aircraft provide a consistent and reliable service moving large numbers of personnel into sometimes hostile environments under difficult conditions and medically evacuating injured service personnel back to the UK. Many RAF personnel also fulfil a range of roles on the ground, including force protection around Kandahar airfield and Camp Bastion.

Gray Report

23. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how he plans to implement the recommendations made in the Gray report on defence acquisition. (296704)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Members for Rochdale (Paul Rowen) and Dunfermline and Fife West (Willie Rennie).

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Navy personnel have been deployed in Afghanistan in each month since January 2006. (293791)

The percentage of Royal Navy personnel deployed in Afghanistan as a proportion of the endorsed troop level by Operation Herrick roulement is provided in the following table:

Herrick roulement

Date

Royal Navy personnel deployed as a percentage of the endorsed UK troop level for Operation Herrick at the time1

Herrick 10

April to October 2009

5

Herrick 9

October 2008 to April 2009

30

Herrick 8

April to October 2008

5

Herrick 7

October 2007 to April 2008

15

Herrick 6

April to October 2007

10

Herrick 5

November 2006 to April 2007

35

Herrick 4

May to November 2006

5

1 Rounded to the nearest 5 per cent. at the mid-point of each roulement to provide the most consistent representation of personnel in theatre.

The precise number of personnel in each theatre at any one time fluctuates very significantly and on a daily basis for a variety of reasons, including mid-tour rest and recuperation, temporary absence for training, evacuation for medical reasons, the roulement of forces and visits.

The higher percentage of Royal Navy personnel for Herrick roulements 9 and 5 are accounted for by the deployment of 3 Commando Brigade as Task Force Helmand which increased the proportion of Royal Navy personnel in Afghanistan.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many additional Chinook helicopters he expects to be deployed in Afghanistan in 2010. (296785)

We are converting eight Chinook Mk 3 helicopters to a support helicopter role. The first of these aircraft will be delivered for training purposes before the end of this year, with the remaining seven being delivered by the end of 2010. This will increase the size of the pool of Chinooks available for deployment but I will not comment on the specific number of helicopters to be deployed to Afghanistan as to do so would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Air Force: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Air Commodores and (b) Air Marshals were on the active list in the Royal Air Force in each year since 1997. (294010)

The number of Air Commodores and Air Marshals in the Royal Air Force at 1 April each year since 1997 is provided in the following table. The ranks of Air Vice Marshal and Air Chief Marshal have also been included in the table for clarity.

Paid rank

1 April

Air Chief Marshal

Air Marshal

Air Vice Marshal

Air Commodore

1997

5

8

34

95

1998

4

7

32

92

1999

4

7

31

92

2000

3

8

32

98

2001

2

8

31

96

2002

3

7

31

90

2003

4

7

29

88

2004

4

4

34

90

2005

4

8

27

92

2006

2

8

27

92

2007

4

6

30

95

2008

13

16

125

194

2009

13

19

124

190

1 Provisional.

Notes:

1. The figures are for trained Royal Air Force only and therefore exclude Full Time Reserve Service, Mobilised Reserves and all other Reserves.

2. Due to the implementation of the new Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) System all Royal Air Force data from 1 May 2007 are provisional and subject to review.

3. These figures are published regularly in TSP 9 which is available at:

www.dasa.mod.uk.

4. This information is held in the House of Commons Library.

Aircraft Carriers

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the fleet of aircraft carriers was last refurbished; and what the life expectancy of the fleet is. (296356)

The current fleet of three Invincible Class aircraft carriers all underwent a major refurbishment (refit) at Rosyth between 1999 and 2005. HMS Ark Royal completed in 2001, HMS Invincible completed in 2003 and HMS Illustrious completed in 2005.

On current plans, the Out of Service Dates (OSDs) are: HMS Invincible 2010, HMS Ark Royal in 2014 and HMS Illustrious 2016. Our ship programmes are kept under continuous review to ensure that the In-Service Dates for the Queen Elizabeth (QE) Class carriers remain coherent with the OSDs for the Invincible Class.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his most recent plans are for the procurement and future use of the new aircraft carrier; and if he will make a statement. (296698)

The Government remain fully committed to the manufacture of two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. The carriers are a core component of the overall Carrier Strike Programme and a cornerstone of future defence policy.

Armed Forces: Cadets

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect of changes to funding for the Army Cadet Force on his Department’s fulfilment of its commitments under the Government’s Youth agenda. (296294)

[holding answer 28 October 2009]: The Ministry of Defence’s main effort is Afghanistan and in the very difficult financial climate hard decisions have had to be taken. This has resulted in a reduction to the funds available for this year to our Cadet Forces, and specifically to the Army Cadets. This decision has not been taken lightly.

The Department’s commitment to the Youth agenda remains undiminished as evidenced by our recent response to the Milburn Report where, despite the challenging financial situation, we have accepted in principle the recommendation to ensure that those state school pupils who wish to get involved in Cadets may do so. We are investigating innovative methods of extending cadet provision to state school pupils which include working closely with the Department for Children Schools and Families.

Financial constraints prevent the Government from meeting this recommendation in full, immediately. However this year, for example, we have delivered an additional six London Challenge Partnerships (Independent School CCFs offering Cadet places to neighbouring state school pupils) and the Air Cadet Organisation plans an annual expansion, targeted at state school pupils, of 700 cadets per year until 2018.

Armed Forces: Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding his Department allocated to the provision of soldier accommodation in (a) total and (b) the West Midlands in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2008. (296840)

The information is not held centrally in the format requested and therefore could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to upgrade soldier accommodation. (296841)

The provision of good quality living accommodation for both married and single service personnel continues to be a top departmental priority. Decades of under funding means that the standard of service accommodation has lagged behind the expectations of our people. Some housing stock is old.

Investment over the last seven years has begun to correct this, but there is much more to be done. The Department plans to invest some £3 billion on accommodation improvement programmes over the next decade. Since 2001, over £200 million has been spent upgrading some 14,000 service family accommodation (SFA) properties to the top standard for condition.

More remains to be done, but progress is being made and over 90 per cent. of SFA is now at the two highest standards for condition. Our aim is to ensure that by March 2013 very little, if any, of the occupied SFA estate should be below standard 2 for condition.

In addition, since 2003, some 35,000 new or improved single living accommodation bed-spaces have been delivered as part of a £1.4 billion programme that will see a further 21,000 delivered by 2013.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what maintenance programmes are in place for soldier accommodation. (296842)

There are various prime contracts, private finance initiatives (PFI) and other arrangements in place across the Department for the maintenance of accommodation for service personnel. These include the Housing Prime Contract, the Regional Prime Contracts, Project Allenby Connaught and the Colchester Garrison PFI among others. Although these arrangements vary in size and scope, they include programmes of pre-planned maintenance and provision for reactive maintenance to be carried out within agreed response times.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans his Department has to build new soldier accommodation in the UK. (296843)

In addition to the 35,000 single living accommodation bed-spaces delivered in the UK since 2003, the majority of which are new builds, the Department plans to deliver an additional 20,000 bed-spaces by 2013.

Requirements for new service family accommodation (SFA) are usually satisfied through bulk hirings or purchases on the open market.

However, examples of sites where new SFA may be built or procured, include Salisbury Plain, Innsworth, St. Athan, Litchfield, Stafford and Catterick.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence through which commercial rental agencies his Department facilitates the substitute single living accommodation scheme. (297383)

All Substitute Service Single Living Accommodation is sourced via the Ministry of Defence contractor, HCR Ltd.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average occupancy rate of the Defence Estates' housing stock was in each year since the formation of Defence Estates; and if he will make a statement. (296984)

The following table, extracted from the United Kingdom Defence Statistics published on 30 September 2009, shows the requested information for Service Family Accommodation properties in the UK.

United Kingdom

1990

1997

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Total permanent holdings in the UK (Thousand)

75.0

68.6

53.8

52.8

51.9

51.8

51.1

51.2

49.9

Number of vacant accommodation (Thousand)

11.8

13.2

8.8

8.2

7.9

9.5

10.1

10.5

8.4

Vacant properties as a percentage of all dwellings

16

19

16

16

15

18

20

21

17

The complete table can be found at the following link:

www.dasa.mod.uk

The latest percentage of vacant properties for 2009 is 15.9 per cent.

Armed Forces: Injuries

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces personnel have sustained (a) damage to, (b) partial loss and (c) total loss of (i) upper and (ii) lower limbs in (A) Afghanistan and (B) Iraq in each of the last 36 months; what proportion of such injuries in each category became infected; and if he will make a statement. [Official Report, 11 November 2009, Vol. 499, c. 7MC.] (290859)

[holding answer 9 September 2009]: The following table gives the numbers of surviving UK Service personnel whose injuries included those coded as a traumatic or surgical amputation, partial or complete, for either upper or lower limbs between 1 April 2006 and 30 September 2009 as a result of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. This injury code covers injuries ranging from the loss of part of a finger or toe up to the loss of an entire limb or limbs. To indicate the number with severe multiple limb injuries, those classified as “significant multiple amputees” have suffered limb amputations above the wrist or ankle on more than one limb; in other words, they have lost at least two hands or feet. Note that there were no significant multiple amputees arising from operations in Iraq in this period.

Period

Afghanistan partial or complete limb amputees

of which significant multiple amputees

Iraq partial or complete limb amputees

April 6 - December 6

7

5

January 7 - December 7

14

10

January 8 - December 8

27

6

January 9 - September 9

32

13

0

Armed Forces: Recruitment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people who joined the armed forces since 1997 were from (a) England, (b) Teesside and (c) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency. (296392)

The following table shows the number of officers and other ranks who have joined the regular armed forces by applying through their local Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO). Information for Teesside is not available but data are provided for the AFCOs in Middlesbrough and Newcastle. However, these figures do not provide a comprehensive picture because it does not guarantee that all recruits were born or live in that particular area. For example, some recruits may have been at university and so used the most conveniently located AFCO.

England

Middlesbrough

Newcastle

Royal Navy

2003-04

3,139

87

148

2004-05

2,953

79

155

2005-06

3,227

90

162

2006-07

3,220

81

153

2007-08

3,314

68

143

2008-09

3,573

92

165

Army

1997-98

9,528

391

408

1998-99

10,804

396

430

1999-2000

10,424

344

323

2000-01

9,716

270

244

2001-02

10,013

211

211

2002-03

10,967

374

265

2003-04

9,989

295

237

2004-05

7,637

189

177

2005-06

8,621

212

136

2006-07

9,624

191

216

2007-08

9,584

159

152

2008-09

10,358

139

190

Royal Air Force (RAF)

2003-04

4,406

165

131

2004-05

2,459

71

65

2005-06

1,340

51

45

2006-07

1,611

52

42

2007-08

2,598

77

102

2008-09

3,687

154

167

As shown in the table, no information is available for earlier years for Royal Navy and RAF as these data are not held in the requested format.

Army: Cadets

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans his Department has made to mark the 150th anniversary of the Cadet Force in 2010. (296224)

MOD is overseeing and supporting a range of national and regional activities commemorating the 150th anniversary of the MOD Sponsored Cadet Forces. Led by the Head of Reserve Forces and Cadets, a project steering group is developing plans which aim to celebrate and promote the success and value of the Cadet movement in 2010 as well as, among other things, act as a catalyst for Adult Volunteer and Cadet recruiting, and obtain wider support for the movement.

Army: Marines

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many lieutenant colonels there are in the (a) Army and (b) Royal Marines. (296429)

The number of Lieutenant Colonels in (a) the British Army and (b) the Royal Marines is given in the following table:

Lieutenant Colonels in the Regular Army and Royal Marines as at 1 September 2009

Number

Army

11,790

Royal Marines

1120

1 Provisional.

Notes:

The figures are for trained Regular Army and Royal Marines only and therefore exclude Full-Time Reserve Service, Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment, Mobilised Reserves, TA, all other Reserves and Gurkhas, but include those individuals that have transferred from GURTAM to UKTAP.

Due to the implementation of the new Joint Personnel Administration System all Army strength statistics from 1 April 2007, and Naval Service strength statistics from 1 May 2007 are provisional and subject to review.

The numbers have been rounded to 10; numbers ending in “5” have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

British Forces Post Office

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has commissioned a review into the British Forces Post Office; and if he will make a statement. (296248)

The Secretary of State for Defence has not commissioned a review into the British Forces Post Office.

Defence: Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding his Department gave to each Defence Technology Centre in each of the last five years; and how much each centre spent in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland, (d) Scotland and (e) overseas in each such year. (295766)

The Ministry of Defence has placed contracts with the four Defence Technology Centres (DTC) each receiving the amounts set out in the following table in each of the last five years. Figures for the Electro Magnetic Remote Sensing (EMRS) DTC are based on actual outturn and those for the remaining DTCs are estimates. Information on location of spending is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

£ million1

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Electro Magnetic Remote Sensing (EMRS)

5.0

5.0

6.7

6.0

5.0

Human Factors Integration (HFI)

3.0

3.2

3.2

3.2

2.8

Data and Information Fusion

5.0

5.0

4.0

6.0

6.0

Systems Engineering and Autonomous Systems (SEAS)

0

5.0

5.7

6.2

5.2

1 Exclusive of VAT at current prices.

Departmental Air Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many flights within Great Britain officials of his Department took in 2008-09; and at what cost to the public purse. (296554)

In financial year 2008-09, 175,342 single domestic flights were booked centrally. The data include both military personnel and civil servants as this information cannot be separated. The total cost was £15.9 million. Records are not held centrally of any commercial flights booked through other means.

All civilian and military travel is conducted in accordance with the guidelines set out in the Civil Service Management Code and Joint Services Publication 800.

Departmental Public Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to implement the efficiency recommendations of the Operational Efficiency Programme relating to his Department; and what training is available to (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department in respect of the delivery of value for money savings. (296054)

The MOD is firmly committed to delivering the recommendations of the Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP). I have been appointed Value for Money (VFM) Minster and am supported in this role by a board composed of the Minister for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, the Second Permanent Under-Secretary and the Directors General Finance and Strategy, ensuring senior ownership for driving efficiency throughout the Department. A single programme has been established to deliver the VFM agenda, encompassing existing work and initiatives from the OEP and the Public Value Programme. This includes benchmarking of Defence back office costs and a review of MOD assets, where progress will be reported at Pre-Budget Report 2009. In addition, a “VFM Team” has been formed across MOD business areas which supports individuals at all levels in the delivery of VFM savings. Specifically on OEP, departmental leads have been appointed for each of the work strands to implement the recommendations. Ministers, senior officers and officials are fully aware of the guiding OEP principles established by HM Treasury. Value for money is integral to all the work of the Department and a wide range of learning and development opportunities are available to assist with driving the VFM programme.

Ex-servicemen: Radiation Exposure

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what timetable was set for the completion of the reports of the two studies announced by his Department in the last 12 months into the existence of a causal link between exposure to nuclear testing and veterans’ illnesses. (297014)

The studies which I announced on 21 April 2009, Official Report, column 6WS, were not designed to investigate the possible existence of a causal link between exposure to nuclear testing and veterans’ illnesses, but to investigate the health needs of nuclear veterans. My officials have been meeting with representatives from the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association to agree the principles of this project. Expressions of interest have been invited from the academic community.

Hebrides Range

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department will compensate Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Council of the Western Isles) for the money it spent supporting a taskforce to oppose the proposed plans to downgrade the Hebrides missile ranges. (295710)

No. Compensating Comhairle nan Eilean Siar does not constitute an appropriate use of Defence Funds.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the Government spent on its consultation over plans to downgrade the missile range and its associated sites on the Western Isles. (295712)

The consultation on the proposed changes at the Hebrides Range was conducted as part of normal departmental business and it is, therefore, not possible to provide a figure. The only discrete costs that can be identified relate to travel and subsistence expenses incurred by the MOD as a result of visits to the range in support of the consultation process. These costs amount to less than £2,000.

Helicopters: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Chinook heavy lift helicopters are retained in a training role by the Royal Air Force (a) in the UK and (b) overseas. (295210)

As at 29 October, the Ministry of Defence possesses 46 Chinook helicopters. Of these, 28 are in the Forward Fleet which is used for both operational purposes and for training. I cannot break this figure down as to do so would, or would be likely to, prejudice the operational security of our armed forces.

However, I can confirm that all Chinooks routinely used for training are based at RAF Odiham. There are no Chinooks retained overseas for training purposes, although they may from time to time take part in overseas training exercises. Of the remaining 18 Chinooks, 10 are currently undergoing Depth Maintenance and eight are being converted into a Support Helicopter role.

HMS Endurance

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the (a) repair or (b) replacement of HMS Endurance. (296736)

Options for restoring our Ice Patrol capability are presently being examined and no final decisions on whether to repair or replace HMS Endurance have yet been taken.

HMS Prince of Wales

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether HMS Prince of Wales will be classified as an aircraft carrier or a helicopter and commando carrier; and if he will make a statement. (296633)

The MOD placed a contract with the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA) for the manufacture of two Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, and we remain fully committed to the project. Both HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are classified as aircraft carriers.

In addition to their primary role as aircraft carriers, the QE Class will provide a legitimate secondary role as an LPH platform when HMS Ocean is in refit, making the QE Class a versatile defence asset. This secondary role has always been a planning assumption of the QE Class.

HMS Queen Elizabeth

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when (a) HMS Queen Elizabeth and (b) HMS Prince of Wales are expected to join the fleet; and what (i) types and (ii) quantities of each type of aircraft are to be carried on each. (296634)

The planned in-service dates for the HMS Queen Elizabeth and the HMS Prince of Wales are towards the end of 2015 and 2018 respectively.

The Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers will be capable of supporting a tailored Joint Force Air Group of up to 40 aircraft each. This will mainly comprise the Joint Strike Fighter, but will also include Merlin and Sea King Helicopters, depending on the nature of the tasks and the operating environment. Prior to the entry into service of the Joint Strike Fighter, it is intended that the primary fixed wing aircraft will be the Harrier GR9.

HMS Vanguard: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for how long HMS Vanguard was non-operational following her recent collision at sea; what the (a) cost of repair and (b) extent of the resultant damage was; and how long the repair work took. (296735)

Repairs to HMS Vanguard, following her collision with FS Le Triomphant earlier this year, were carried out at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde under existing support arrangements with Babcock costing approximately £1 million.

A seven week package of work was undertaken, which included both repairs and planned maintenance. While the work package was completed, HMS Vanguard remained available at the required notice to support the operational programme. I am withholding information about any damage sustained by HMS Vanguard on the grounds of national security.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel who have served in the Iraq war are from (a) England, (b) the North East and (c) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency. (296391)

This information is not held in the format requested. However, it is estimated that over 120,000 service personnel and civilians have served in Iraq over the last six years.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to reply to the correspondence of 7 July 2009 from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead sent on behalf of a constituent; and if he will make a statement. (296456)

I responded to the hon. Member's letter on 22 October. I apologise for the delay in responding.

Military Decorations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Queen's Golden Jubilee medals have been awarded; and at what cost to the public purse. (296800)

As at the 12 January 2009, 165,503 medals were awarded to serving members of the armed forces at a cost of £16.30 per medal, plus VAT but not including administrative costs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service veterans' medals for those who have served a minimum of (a) one, (b) four and (c) five years have been issued in each of the last 10 years; and at what cost. (296801)

We do not record the award, issue, and cost of medals in this format. Medals are only issued for campaigns and war. Any multiple tours to these theatres are recognised by the award of the Accumulated Campaign Service Medal.

Military Exercises: Safety

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 24 April 2008, Official Report, column 2178W, on military exercises: nuclear weapons, on what dates the next joint US-UK nuclear weapon accident exercise will be held; and where it will be held. (296488)

The next joint US-UK nuclear weapon accident exercise will be held on 12-13 May 2010. This will comprise of a Field Training exercise on 12 May 2009 at Sculthorpe Training Ground followed by a Table Top exercise on 13 May 2009 at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk.

Nuclear Submarines

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on a future fourth submarine for the next generation of the nuclear deterrent. (296631)

The 2006 White Paper (Cm 6994) said that if it is technically possible to deliver Continuous At Sea Deterrence, the policy of having one nuclear-armed submarine on patrol at all times, with three submarines then we would do so. The Prime Minister has asked for a report on this by the end of the year. The UK remains committed to Continuous At Sea Deterrence which is the backbone of our deterrence posture, ensuring a credible and capable deterrent against blackmail and acts of aggression against the UK's vital interests including her NATO allies by nuclear-armed opponents. Continuous At Sea Deterrence is the UK's most enduring current operation and has been successfully delivered for over 40 years by our dedicated service personnel.

Nuclear Weapons: Safety

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) names, (b) dates and (c) locations are of the nuclear weapons emergency exercises being organised by his Department in (i) 2009 and (ii) 2010. (296477)

The names, dates and locations of the nuclear weapon emergency exercises in 2009 and 2010 are:

Exercise

Date

Location

Sitex (B) 09

22 October 2009

AWE Burghfield.

Bowline 09

25 November 2009

Royal Naval Armament Depot Coulport.

Astral Bend 10

12 and 13 May 2010

Sculthorpe Training Ground, Norfolk and RAF Mildenhall.

Bronze Endeavour 10

9 to 11 March 2010

Buckley Barracks, Hullavington Airfield, Wiltshire.

RAF Welford

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to transfer activities from RAF Fairford to RAF Welford. (296487)

Somalia: Piracy

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Navy (a) vessels and (b) personnel are deployed around the coast of Somalia; and if he will make a statement. (296902)

The Royal Navy has two frigates and a Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker deployed to the region. As part of their deployment they spend time off the coast of Somalia contributing to international counter piracy operations. Some 580 Royal Naval Service personnel are currently aboard these vessels.

Spain: Warships

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Navy ships have docked at Spanish ports in each of the last three years. (296957)

The information requested is provided in the following table.

Royal Navy Ships

Number

2007

16

2008

24

2009

121

1 To date

These figures represent all dockings by Royal Navy ships and may therefore include multiple dockings by the same ship in the same year.

Territorial Army: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Territorial Army (TA) units there are in Scotland; how many members are in each such unit; how many members of TA units based in Scotland (a) have been deployed to (i) Afghanistan and (ii) Iraq in each of the last five years and (b) have received military medals. (296852)

There are 15 Territorial Army (TA) units in Scotland and the number of members in each of those units as at 29 October 2009 is shown in the following table:

TA Unit

Number of members

105 Regiment The Royal Artillery

285

71 Engineer Regiment

197

6 Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland

266

7 Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland

384

Scottish Transport Regiment

259

225 General Service Medical Regiment

365

Headquarters 51 Brigade

74

32 Signal Regiment

239

Regional Headquarters and 243 Provost Company (5 Royal Military Police)

49

2 (Independent) Signal Squadron

98

205 Field Hospital (Volunteers)

149

153 Workshop Company The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (102 Battalion The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers)

53

52 Military Intelligence Company (5 Military Intelligence Battalion)

50

15 Company (4 Battalion The Parachute Regiment)

79

Queens Own Yeomanry

137

The number of TA members from Scottish-based TA units deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in each of the last five years is shown in the following tables:

Deployed to Iraq

Number

TA Unit

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

105 Regiment The Royal Artillery

42

5

5

0

0

71 Engineer Regiment

0

1

0

1

1

6 Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland

13

4

0

0

0

7 Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland

25

104

4

4

32

Scottish Transport Regiment

0

2

4

0

1

225 General Service Medical Regiment

0

2

0

2

0

Headquarters 51 Brigade

0

0

0

0

0

32 Signal Regiment

5

5

5

5

5

Regional Headquarters and 243 Provost Company (5 Royal Military Police)

9

9

9

9

9

2 (Independent) Signal Squadron

2

2

2

2

2

205 Field Hospital (Volunteers)

75

0

0

0

0

153 Workshop Company The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (102 Battalion The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers)

1

1

1

1

1

52 Military Intelligence Company (5 Military Intelligence Battalion)

7

3

1

1

0

15 Company (4 Battalion The Parachute Regiment)

25

1

0

1

0

Queens Own Yeomanry

1

2

0

1

0

Deployed to Afghanistan

Number

TA Unit

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

105 Regiment Royal Artillery

0

0

11

12

0

71 Engineer Regiment

0

1

0

1

20

6 Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland

0

2

37

1

3

7 Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland

1

2

0

11

0

Scottish Transport Regiment

0

0

4

0

1

225 General Service Medical Regiment

0

0

1

1

20

Headquarters 51 Brigade

0

0

0

0

0

32 Signal Regiment

5

5

5

5

5

Regional Headquarters and 243 Provost Company (5 Royal Military Police)

9

9

9

9

9

2 (Independent) Signal Squadron

2

2

2

2

2

205 Field Hospital (Volunteers)

0

0

0

0

0

153 Workshop Company The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (102 Battalion The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers)

1

1

1

1

1

52 Military Intelligence Company (5 Military Intelligence Battalion)

0

1

2

3

5

15 Company (4 Battalion The Parachute Regiment)

0

6

4

16

0

Queens Own Yeomanry

0

0

1

12

7

The Medals Office does not record whether an individual comes from a regular or TA unit when issuing military campaign medals. There is a medal which is specifically issued to TA personnel, the ‘Volunteer Reserve Service Medal' which is the equivalent of the 'Long Service and Good Conduct Medal' issued to regular soldiers. However, the work required to cross-reference individual names against units would incur a disproportionate cost.

University Officer Training Corps

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect on officer recruitment of changes to funding for the Officer Training Corps. (296267)

It is too soon to assess what effect, if any, changes to funding for the University Officer Training Corps may have on Army officer recruitment.

We hope that cadets will continue to make use of the outstanding leadership development opportunities which are available.

Warships

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) destroyers and (b) frigates are available to the fleet at (i) short and (ii) medium notice. (296632)

I refer the hon. Member to the letter sent to him on 6 March 2007. Information on the readiness levels of Royal Navy ships is being withheld for the purpose of safeguarding national security.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Elections

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many polling stations there will be in Afghanistan in the presidential run-off election on 7 November 2009; how many there were in the first round elections; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure that voting is free and fair. (296787)

Around 6,300 polling centres opened on election day on 20 August 2009. Polling centres had on average four polling stations within them—for example a school used as a polling centre might have had four separate classrooms within it, with each classroom designated as a polling station.

The number of polling centres to be used in the second round is currently being reviewed by the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Afghan Ministries responsible for providing election security, taking into account the advice of the Election Complaints Commission (ECC). Any changes to the number of polling stations will take into account the need to provide suitable access to voters, ensure security and mitigate fraud, as well as IEC staffing levels.

We have given £16.5 million to the UN Development Programme, which is responsible for building the capacity of the IEC to enable it to conduct credible elections. We are continuing to work with the UN, the IEC and the Afghan National Security Forces to ensure the second round of the Afghan elections can take place in a credible and secure fashion where fraud is kept to a minimum. Throughout the election process, we have encouraged candidates to adhere to Afghanistan’s Electoral Law and follow the process through, respecting the decisions of the IEC and ECC.

Following the first round of voting, the IEC and ECC successfully investigated and excluded thousands of fraudulent ballots. The final round of voting will again be held in challenging circumstances and will be rough and ready in places. Should fraud reoccur, despite international and Afghan efforts to mitigate this, these independent bodies will again work to ensure the result is a true reflection of the will of the Afghan people.

Australia: Foreign Relations