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Written Answers

Volume 503: debated on Monday 11 January 2010

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 11 January 2010

Scotland

Departmental Billing

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many and what proportion of invoices submitted to his Department have been paid within 10 days in each month since October 2008; and if he will make a statement. (307967)

The following table shows the volume of invoices received by the Scotland Office and the percentage of invoices paid within 10 days. Figures prior to November 2008 are not available.

Month

Volume

Percentage paid within 10 days

2008

November

218

89.4

December

220

96.8

2009

January

190

100

February

211

99.5

March

306

99.7

April

211

99.1

May

220

98.6

June

289

97.9

July

255

100

August

164

98.8

September

229

98.7

October

252

100

November

253

100

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many staff in his Department received bonus payments in each of the last five years for which information is available; what proportion of his Department's workforce they represented in each year; what the total amount of bonuses paid was in each year; what the largest single payment was; and if he will make a statement. (300378)

All staff in the Scotland Office are on secondment from the Scottish Executive or the Ministry of Justice. Staff may be eligible for non-consolidated performance payments in different ways. Firstly, through end of year performance payments under their parent bodies' performance management arrangements. The Scotland Office does not itself make the end of year awards and does not hold information centrally on end of year non-consolidated performance payments made to its secondees.

Secondly under the Special Bonus Scheme of the Scottish Executive and the Reward and Recognition Scheme of the MoJ, the Office may directly authorise non-consolidated performance payments (or in the case of the MoJ scheme, small and instantaneous awards, e.g. vouchers) in recognition of special effort, achievement and commitment. The following table shows the number and cost of non-pensionable payments made under these schemes:

Financial year

Total number of payments

Total cost of payments (£)

Percentage work force

Percentage pay bill

2004-05

3

1,400

5

0.06

2005-06

8

3,750

17

0.19

2006-07

17

4,750

32

0.25

2007-08

6

2,150

11

0.09

2008-09

8

2,900

14

0.12

The largest single payment under these schemes was £750.

Members of the senior civil service in the Scotland Office are seconded from the Scottish Executive and the Ministry of Justice, their non-consolidated performance payments are assessed under a framework set by the Cabinet Office. The Office does not hold central information on such payments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much funding his Department has allocated for (a) year-end and (b) in-year bonuses for its staff in 2009-10. (307025)

The salary budget of the Scotland Office for 2009-10 is £2,847,000, of which non-consolidated performance payments represent an estimated 0.01 per cent.

The non-consolidated performance payments are an integral element of the reward package for staff, have to be re-earned each year and do not add to future pay bill costs (e.g. pensions). The Scotland Office believe that performance payments help drive high performance in the office.

Hotels

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many hotel room nights were booked by officials in his Department in each year since 2007; and how much his Department spent on the fees of third party agents in booking hotel accommodation in each of those years. (309060)

The Scotland Office does not separately record the number of hotel rooms booked by officials and does not directly pay any fees to third party agents in booking such hotel accommodation.

All travel and subsistence is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code, Travel by Ministers and the Civil Service Management Code. All expenditure has be incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.

Northern Ireland

Clergy: Misconduct

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what response he has made to the submission by Joe Rice, a solicitor acting on behalf of persons who when children were victims of abuse in Church and state institutions in Northern Ireland requesting that an inquiry be held on the same lines as that recently conducted in the Irish Republic; and if he will make a statement. (308062)

Officials replied to Mr. Rice explaining that the Northern Ireland Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety had written to me about the implications for Northern Ireland of the Ryan Commission report and that I was currently considering the letter and would reply to the Minister in due course.

I have now done so.

Departmental Fines

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what powers (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) have to impose administrative penalties; what the statutory basis is for each such power; and how much (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies and NDPBs have recovered in administrative penalties in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. (309259)

The Northern Ireland Office, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies do not have the power to impose administrative penalties.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much has been spent on (a) strategy and planning, (b) design and build, (c) hosting and infrastructure, (d) content provision and (e) testing and evaluation for his Department’s website in each of the last three years; and what budget has been allocated for each such activity in 2009-10. (310214)

A review of my Department’s website was conducted during the 2006-07 financial year to optimise the site and improve performance and download speeds. This review cost £15,677. In the next two financial years, the Department spent £4,308 and £4,227 respectively on hosting and infrastructure. No other costs were incurred. The total budget allocated for the next financial year is £5,000.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which websites his Department’s staff are blocked from accessing from departmental networked computers. (310245)

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) runs software to block all categories of websites which do not conform with the NIO Internet Acceptable Usage Policy or would be considered a network security risk. It is not possible to produce a list of the websites as they run into millions globally and come and go every day.

Departmental Official Hospitality

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department spent on (a) alcohol and (b) entertainment in the last 12 months. (305533)

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) records expenditure for alcohol and entertainment under the description of either hospitality or catering.

The NIO, including its arm’s length bodies but excluding its agencies and executive NDPBs, spent £189,855 on official hospitality and catering in 2008-09.

This includes receptions and events held at Hillsborough Castle. These events were attended by 15,287 cross-community representatives from the police and their families, armed forces, business, charity, voluntary and criminal justice sectors across Northern Ireland.

All expenditure has to be incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what remuneration, including all categories of pay and allowances, has been paid to (a) the Chairman and (b) members of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in each year since its inception. (308991)

The Chief Commissioner and Commissioners of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission have been paid as follows:

1999-2000

£

Professor Brice Dickson (Chief Commissioner)

55,000

Professor Christine Bell

8,000

Mrs. Margaret Ann Dinsmore

8,000

Mr. Tom Donnelly

8,000

Reverend Harold Good

8,000

Professor Tom Hadden

8,000

Ms Angela Hegarty

8,000

Ms Patricia Kelly

8,000

Dr. Inez McCormack

8,000

Mr. Frank McGuinness

8,000

2000-01

£

Professor Brice Dickson (Chief Commissioner)

57,475

Professor Christine Bell

8,000

Mrs. Margaret Ann Dinsmore

8,000

Mr. Tom Donnelly

8,000

Reverend Harold Good

8,000

Professor Tom Hadden

8,000

Ms Angela Hegarty

6,000

Ms Patricia Kelly

8,000

Dr. Inez McCormack

8,000

Mr. Frank McGuinness

8,000

2001-02

£

Professor Brice Dickson (Chief Commissioner)

60,128

Professor Christine Bell

8,000

Mrs. Margaret Ann Dinsmore

8,000

Mr. Tom Donnelly

8,000

Reverend Harold Good

8,000

Professor Tom Hadden

8,000

Ms Patricia Kelly

8,000

Dr. Inez McCormack

8,000

Mr. Frank McGuinness

8,000

Lady Christine Eames

2,667

Dr. Christopher McGimpsey

2,667

Mr. Kevin McLaughlin

2,667

Mr. Patrick Yu

2,667

2002-03

£

Professor Brice Dickson (Chief Commissioner)

60,000

Professor Christine Bell

4,397

Mrs. Margaret Ann Dinsmore

10,000

Mr. Tom Donnelly

10,000

Lady Christine Eames

10,000

Reverend Harold Good

10,000

Professor Tom Hadden

10,000

Ms Patricia Kelly

10,000

Dr. Inez McCormack

4,397

Dr. Christopher McGimpsey

10,000

Mr. Frank McGuinness

10,000

Mr. Kevin McLaughlin

10,000

Mr. Patrick Yu

10,000

2003-04

£

Professor Brice Dickson (Chief Commissioner)

70,454

Margaret Ann Dinsmore

10,000

Mr. Tom Donnelly

10,000

Lady Christine Eames

10,000

Reverend Harold Good

9,167

Professor Tom Hadden

10,000

Ms Patricia Kelly

10,000

Dr. Christopher McGimpsey

5,872

Mr. Frank McGuinness

9,167

Mr. Kevin McLaughlin

10,000

Mr. Patrick Yu

2,654

2004-05

£

Professor Brice Dickson (Chief Commissioner)

63,426

Margaret Ann Dinsmore

9,167

Mr. Tom Donnelly

9,167

Lady Christine Eames

10,000

Professor Tom Hadden

9,167

Ms Patricia Kelly

2,500

Mr. Kevin McLaughlin

10,000

2005-06

£

Professor Monica McWilliams (Chief Commissioner)

36,154

Mr. Jonathan Bell

5,833

Mr. Thomas Duncan

5,833

Lady Christine Eames

10,000

Professor Colin Harvey

6,039

Mr. Alan Henry

5,833

Ms Ann Hope

5,833

Mr Eamonn O'Neill

5,833

Ms Geraldine Rice

5,833

Mr. Kevin McLaughlin

10,000

2006-07

£

Professor Monica McWilliams (Chief Commissioner)

61,461

Mr. Jonathan Bell

10,000

Mr. Thomas Duncan

10,000

Lady Christine Eames OBE

10,000

Professor Colin Harvey

10,350

Mr. Alan Henry

10,000

Ms Ann Hope

10,000

Mr. Eamonn O'Neill

10,000

Ms Geraldine Rice MBE

10,000

Mr. Kevin McLaughlin

10,000

2007-08

£

Professor Monica McWilliams (Chief Commissioner)

66,894

Mr. Jonathan Bell

10,000

Mr. Thomas Duncan

10,000

Lady Christine Eames OBE

6,667

Professor Colin Harvey

9,333

Mr. Alan Henry OBE

10,000

Ms Ann Hope

10,000

Mr. Colm Larkin

3,333

Mr. Kevin McLaughlin

6,667

Mr. Eamonn O'Neill

10,000

Ms Geraldine Rice MBE

10,000

Lady Daphne Trimble

3,333

2008-00

£

Professor Monica McWilliams (Chief Commissioner)

72,021

Mr. Jonathan Bell

10,000

Mr. Thomas Duncan

10,000

Professor Colin Harvey

10,000

Mr. Alan Henry OBE

10,000

Ms Ann Hope

10,000

Mr. Colm Larkin

10,000

Mr. Eamonn O'Neill

10,000

Ms Geraldine Rice MBE

10,000

Lady Daphne Trimble

10,000

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many days the Chairman of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) worked for the NIHRC in 2009. (308992)

The position of Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is a full-time post.

Prime Minister

Domestic Visits: Wales

To ask the Prime Minister what the (a) date, (b) destination and (c) purpose was of each visit to Wales made by the Prime Minister in each year since May 2005. (310275)

For my predecessor, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 2 May 2006, Official Report, column 1385W and the answer of 25 July 2007, Official Report, columns 1112-14W.

For my visits as Prime Minister I refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statements of 22 July 2008, Official Report, columns 134-04WS and 16 July 2009, Official Report, column 76WS. A list of my UK visits for 2009-10 will be published in the usual way.

London Summit on Yemen

To ask the Prime Minister whether he has had discussions with President Obama on organisation of the London summit on Yemen. (309636)

I refer the hon. Member to the press notice issued by my Office on 3 January 2010. A copy is available on the No. 10 website:

http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page21956

Political Broadcasting

To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to hold a televised debate with the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition in his official capacity as Prime Minister. (308785)

Public Consultation

To ask the Prime Minister what citizens' juries or summits he has attended since June 2007; and what the (a) date and (b) subject was of each such event. (309923)

I regularly attend meetings with members of the public to hear their views on a wide variety of subjects.

Olympics

Electric Vehicles

To ask the Minister for the Olympics whether she plans to allocate funds for the installation of electric car charging points in the construction site of the Olympic village. (308481)

The Athletes’ Village plans and budget include electric car charging points which will remain after the games as part of London 2012’s sustainable legacy.

Olympic Games 2012

To ask the Minister for the Olympics whether there are plans to mark the previous Olympic Games held in London during the London 2012 Olympics. (308475)

The Cultural Olympiad is recognising the legacy of previous Olympics held in the UK through the annual Open Weekend celebrations which mark the countdown to London 2012, and the Inspire programme which recognises non-commercial projects genuinely inspired by 2012.

For example, the venues of the 1908 and 1948 London Olympic games have been celebrated through various Open Weekend projects including walking tours of the sites of the three London Olympic stadia. In the West Midlands, the ‘Museums Keep Moving’ Cultural Olympiad Inspire Mark exhibition explores the history and philosophy of the Much Wenlock Olympic games and its role in inspiring Baron Pierre de Coubertin in founding the modern Olympics.

A number of sporting events were hosted at Stoke Mandeville Stadium as part of the Open Weekend celebrations, recognising Stoke Mandeville’s status as the birthplace of the Paralympic games.

London 2012 and The Royal Mint produced a limited edition IVth Olympiad London Anniversary commemorative £2 coin in 2008 to mark the centenary of the 1908 London Olympic games.

Olympic Games 2012: Finance

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what her most recent estimate is of the cost to the public purse of hosting the London 2012 (a) Olympic and (b) Paralympic Games. (308479)

The public sector funding provision of £9.325 billion for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games that I announced in March 2007 remains unchanged and includes a £66 million contribution towards hosting the Paralympic games. The Olympic and Paralympic games are being hosted by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

Detailed financial information is given in the Government Olympic Executive’s regular quarterly economic reports, including the anticipated final cost of the Olympic Delivery Authority’s programme, the most recent of which was published in November 2009.

The next financial update will be included in the London 2012 annual report which will be published in February 2010. These reports do not include LOCOG’s anticipated final costs as LOGOG is a private company funded almost entirely by private sources.

Olympic Games 2012: Hotels

To ask the Minister for the Olympics whether she plans to seek to increase the availability of hotel accommodation in London for the duration of the London 2012 Olympics. (308482)

“Winning: a tourism strategy for 2012 and beyond”, published in September 2007 by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in conjunction with VisitBritain and VisitLondon, identified the challenges to be met in order to maximise the economic benefits for the tourism industry from the London 2012 games. Key strategic aims are to increase the number of UK hotels accredited for quality; and to improve industry awareness of the needs of travellers with disabilities.

Currently, London has around 100,000 serviced accommodation rooms and recent research by VisitLondon estimates some 12,400 new rooms will open in London by 2012, with another potential 9,500 to be confirmed. VisitLondon will work with London’s hotel operators to ensure new developments and upgraded hotels provide accessible accommodation.

Olympic Games 2012: Job Creation

To ask the Minister for the Olympics how many new jobs had been created as a consequence of the hosting of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many such new jobs she expects to be created in each of the next three years. (308477)

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) publishes data on the construction contractor workforce each quarter on the London 2012 website. The latest figures as at the end of September 2009, showed that 7,270 people were working on the Olympic Site, of which 2,428 were working on the Village. Of those working on the Park, 21 per cent. were people from the five Olympic host boroughs. The ODA expects construction on the Park and Village to have created work for 30,000 people by 2012, with the number of workers on site is expected to peak at 11,000 during 2010.

The employment legacy is not limited to those working on the Olympic site. Companies across the UK are winning Games related work, creating employment. The investment in major public projects, like the London 2012 Games, is also supporting the construction industry.

The ODA currently employs 222 people. This figure is forecasted to reduce as projects are completed.

LOCOG estimates that a contracted workforce of 100,000 people will be needed to stage the Games. It is also expected that new opportunities will be created in sectors such as tourism, leisure, hospitality—6,700 new opportunities are expected to be created in retail, hotels and restaurants—and in sport and media because of our hosting of the Games.

LOCOG currently employs approximately 500 people. This number is forecasted to rise to 1,000 people by December 2010, and to 1,700 by December 2011. The number of people employed by LOCOG during Games time is expected to reach 6,000 including temporary Games-time roles.

After the Games, up to 10,000 new permanent jobs are expected to be created on the Park, and more created in the wider Lower Lea valley as a result of the regeneration in the area.

Further to the creation of new employment opportunities, the London Development Agency and its partners, including Jobcentre Plus, aim to use the Games to reduce unemployment across the capital by 70,000 by 2012 through programmes such as Personal Best and the Employer Accord. By September 2009 it had achieved 14,000 against this target.

Olympic Games 2012: North West

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what steps she is taking to ensure the North West region obtains a legacy from the London 2012 Olympics. (309388)

The Government and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games established the Nations and Regions Group to ensure UK-wide engagement and to maximise the legacy for London 2012. This group works directly with representatives from each of the Nations and English regions to maximise the sporting, commercial, cultural and other benefits of the 2012 Games.

Business in Leeds has already benefited from the contract opportunities linked to the London 2012 Games. Yorkshire and Humber region has won more than 119 London 2012 business contracts, 21 companies are based in Leeds.

As part of the programme to maximise the sporting opportunities for the regions Yorkshire has a total of 49 Pre Games Training Camps including John Charles Centre for Sport. The Dutch swimming team have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to use Leeds for their training for London 2012.

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad project, which includes The Artists Taking the Lead, announced ‘Leeds Canvas’ as a winner. This is a ‘first time ever’ citywide collaboration between artists and arts organisations and will continue beyond 2012 leaving a cultural legacy for Leeds.

Also many schools in Leeds are participating in Get Set, the official London 2012 education programme for schools across the UK. To date, Leeds has 88 schools registered.

Olympic Games 2012: Transport

To ask the Minister for the Olympics whether she has plans to increase the frequency of (a) rail and (b) bus services between London and the other Olympic sites in 2012. (308473)

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is working in partnership with TfL, rail operators, London buses and other bus operating companies serving venues outside of the Olympic Park to provide an enhanced level of service during the games.

This work is being informed by ODA’s ongoing demand forecasting into rail and bus requirements and feedback from stakeholders on the second edition of ODA’s Olympic Transport Plan which was issued for consultation in December 2009. The consultation closes on 19 March and is on ODA’s website at:

http://www.london2012.com/making-it-happen/transport/transport-plan.php

Olympic Games in 2012: Northern Ireland

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what recent discussions she has had with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of the Northern Ireland Executive on the contribution of Northern Ireland to the hosting of the London 2012 Olympics. (308470)

UK nations and regions are realising the opportunities and benefits from the sporting, commercial, and cultural programmes offered by the 2012 games. Government officials, and the Nations and Regions Group (NRG), which includes representation from each of the nations and English regions, are in regular contact with officials in Northern Ireland.

In addition, the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Northern Ireland Assembly, who has the responsibility for sport, is a member of the Sporting Legacy Board which is chaired by the Minister for Sport in DCMS, and brings together sports leaders from across the UK.

Olympic Games in 2012: Scotland

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what recent discussions she has had with the First Minister of the Scottish Executive on the contribution of Scotland to the hosting of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (308471)

I met with Shona Robinson, Minister for Public Health in Scotland to discuss London 2012 and the legacy opportunities for Scotland.

UK nations and regions are realising the opportunities and benefits from the sporting, commercial, and cultural programmes offered by the 2012 Games. Government officials, and the Nations and Regions Group (NRG), which includes representation from each of the nations and English regions, are in regular contact with officials in Scotland.

In addition, the Minister for Health and Sport, Scottish Executive, is a member of the Sporting Legacy Board which is chaired by the Minister for Sport in DCMS, and brings together sports leaders from across the UK.

Olympic Games in 2012: Wales

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what recent discussions she has had with the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Government on the contribution of Wales to the hosting of the Olympic Games in 2012. (308469)

UK nations and regions are realising the opportunities and benefits from the sporting, commercial, and cultural programmes offered by the 2012 games. Government officials, and the Nations and Regions Group (NRG), which includes representation from each of the nations and English regions, are in regular contact with officials in Wales.

The Minister for Heritage in the Welsh Assembly, who has the responsibility for sport, is a member of the Sporting Legacy Board which is chaired by the Minister for Sport in DCMS, and brings together sports leaders from across the UK.

Olympic Games: Canada

To ask the Minister for the Olympics for how many days (a) she and (b) officials of her Office expect to attend the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver in February in the course of their official duties; and what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse in each such case. (308979)

Details of ministerial travel costing over £500 are published annually and include the cost, destination and purpose of the trip. It also provides information on the number of officials who accompany Ministers. The most recent list was published in July 2009 and the details of attendance at the Vancouver 2010 winter Olympic games will be included in the 2010 return.

Culture, Media and Sport

Departmental Advertising

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much he expects his Department to spend on (a) television, (b) radio, (c) print and (d) online advertising in (i) 2009-10 and (ii) 2010-11. (310216)

For 2009-10 the overall budget allocated for advertising spend which can be identified from the Department's accounting system is £180,000. Individual allocations for television, radio, print and online advertising are not held on the Department's accounting system.

The business planning process is ongoing and the advertising allocations for 2010-11 have not been agreed yet.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department has spent on (a) print, (b) online, (c) television and (d) radio advertising in each of the last five years; how much has been spent on advertising in 2009-10 to date; and what percentage of advertising expenditure in each year was managed by the Central Office of Information. (309902)

The expenditure on advertising recorded on the Department's accounting system is not analysed by the categories requested. The table sets out identifiable costs of recruitment advertising, which are predominantly print advertising.

Financial year

Amount (£)

2009-10

5,380

2008-09

17,940

2007-08

36,150

2006-07

38,390

2005-06

105,450

2004-05

34,930

Expenditure incurred through the Central Office of Information (COI) relates to a range of activities, including advertising. To identify the advertising expense element would require an analysis of all COI invoices. This would incur disproportionate cost.

Departmental Allowances

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was claimed in (a) travel and (b) other expenses by (i) Ministers and (ii) officials in his Department in each of the last five years. (309741)

All travel by ministers and civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the ‘Ministerial Code’ and the ‘Civil Service Management Code’ respectively, and other expenses are claimed in accordance with the principles set out in ‘Managing Public Money’.

For the financial years 2006-07 to 2008-09 the table sets out the travel and associated expenses claimed through travel and subsistence expense forms. The use of taxis is not analysed by Ministers and officials. Information relating to prior years can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. In addition to these costs, other travel and expense costs will have been incurred through centrally managed contracts, rather than individual expense claims.

£

Financial year

2008-09

2007-08

2006-07

Ministers' travel claims

0

570

950

Officials' travel claims

72,670

73,210

103,740

Taxi

3,590

4,360

5,290

Information relating to other expenses are allocated to individual policy areas and not centrally recorded against Ministers or officials. It is therefore not readily available and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Domestic Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many planned visits by Ministers in his Department within the UK were cancelled within 72 hours of the visit taking place in the last 12 months; and what the planned venue or venues were for each such visit. (309881)

This information is not readily available and could be gathered only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many staff of each grade work for his Department at each location on services which it has contracted out; who the contractors and services are provided in each case; what the length of each contract is; and which union recognition agreements are in place with each contractor. (301599)

[holding answer 24 November 2009]: The information requested is provided in the table.

Service/contract

Service received at

DCMS staff

Contractor name

Contract length

Union recognition agreement

Facilities management

Cockspur Street (CS) and Tottenham Court Road (TCR)

1 grade 7and 1 grade HEO/SEO (staff based at CS)

MITIE

Contract expires 31 January 2010

No union agreement in place

Catering—staff restaurant

Cockspur Street (CS)

1 grade HEO/SEO (staff based at CS)

Baxter Storey

Contract expired 23 December 2009

No union agreement in place

Mailroom

Cockspur Street and TCR

1 grade HEO/SEO (staff based at CS)

Pitney Bowes

Contract expires 31 January 2010

No union agreement in place

Payroll

Cockspur Street and TCR

1 grade HEO/SEO and 1 grade EO (staff based at CS)

LogicaCMG

Contract expires 31/03/2013

No union agreement in place

Ruth Mackenzie

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the job specification is of his Department's expert adviser Ruth Mackenzie; what the difference is between a special adviser and an expert adviser in his Department; and on what contractual terms Ruth Mackenzie is employed. (308798)

Ruth Mackenzie's role is to provide expert advice on cultural and broadcasting issues. She is on secondment from the Manchester International Festival. She was appointed by the Department, with the agreement of the Civil Service Commissioners. She is subject to the full requirements of the Civil Service Code—unlike special advisers who, as set out in the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers, are exempt from some of its requirements and are directly appointed by Ministers.

Visits Abroad: Olympic Games

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department are planning to attend the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in February 2010 in an official capacity; and at what cost. (310257)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Kate Hoey) on 5 January 2010, Official Report, column 44W.

Work and Pensions

Attendance Allowance: Leeds

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people in the Leeds city area claimed attendance allowance in each of the last five years; (306575)

(2) how many people in Leeds West constituency claimed attendance allowance in each of the last five years.

The available information is in the table.

Attendance allowance—cases in payment in Leeds local authority area and Leeds West parliamentary constituency

As at May each year

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Leeds local authority area

14,090

14,360

14,510

14,740

15,130

Leeds West parliamentary constituency

1,550

1,590

1,630

1,640

1,690

Notes:

1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest ten.

2. Totals show the number of people in receipt of an allowance, and exclude people with entitlement where the payment has been suspended, for example if they are in hospital.

Source:

DWP Information Directorate; Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study

Cold Weather Payments

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many times cold weather payments have been triggered in post code (a) FK10 and (b) PH1 since October 2009. (309655)

The cold weather payment scheme runs from 1 November to 31 March each year. Between 1 November 2009 and 6 January 2010 cold weather payments were triggered three times each in post code areas FK10 and PH1.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how long on average elapsed between the occurrence of weather conditions triggering cold weather payments and such payments being made in 2008-09. (309743)

The payment of cold weather payments is a fully automated process. Once a cold weather payment is triggered, it takes three working days to make a payment into a customer’s account. For the very small number of claims that are maintained clerically, it takes slightly longer to make a payment, but average times are not recorded.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what account is taken of wind chill factors in the triggering of cold weather payments. (309744)

Cold Weather Payments: Milton Keynes

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on how many occasions cold weather payments have been triggered in MK post codes since October 2009. (310220)

The cold weather payment scheme runs from 1 November to 31 March each year. Up until 7 January 2010 post code MK has triggered twice.

Council Tax Benefits

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what discussions her Department has had with local authorities on proposals to rename council tax benefit as council tax rebate; (308712)

(2) what work her Department has undertaken to assess the merits of renaming council tax benefit as council tax rebate; and if she will make a statement;

(3) when she expects the renaming of council tax benefit as council tax rebate to take place; and if she will make a statement.

We are committed to making this change at the earliest opportunity. This change does have significant operational and delivery implications for local authorities. There will need to be numerous changes to their computer systems and to those used by Jobcentre Plus and Pension, Disability and Carers Service. Before we can be clear about the timetable for introducing the change we need to do further work to assess the full costs and the practical implications, including the impact it will have on take-up by conducting further research.

We have been and will continue to work closely with local authorities and their IT suppliers to assess the impact and costs of these changes and the fit with other initiatives the Department and local authorities have to deliver, so that renaming can be introduced at the earliest opportunity.

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many overseas training courses were attended by her Department’s civil servants in the latest period for which figures are available; how many civil servants attended each course; and what the total cost to the public purse was of each course. (305891)

The Department does not hold records on the information requested centrally; individual business units retain records locally and as such this information could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

Employment and Support Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of individuals undergoing a work capability assessment following an application for employment and support allowance (ESA) have been found to be (a) ineligible for ESA, (b) eligible for work-related ESA and (c) eligible for support group ESA in each quarter since the inception of that allowance; and how many and what proportion of applicants for incapacity benefit were found to be ineligible as a result of undergoing the personal capability assessment in the latest year for which figures are available. (300388)

Such information as is available is published in ‘Employment Support Allowance: Work Capability Assessment statistical release (October 2009)’, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

The publication is also available online at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/esa_wca.asp

The published data summarise work capability assessment results for employment support allowance claims in Great Britain up to the end of February 2009.

Information on the results of the personal capability assessment is not available.

The available data, however, are based on recorded advice from Atos, rather than the Decision Maker's final determination. The final outcomes of cases may change. This will be further compounded by reconsiderations following additional medical evidence and the outcomes of appeals.

The available information is in the tables.

Monthly employment and support allowance on-flows by claim start and result of medical assessment

2008

2009

October

November

December

January

February

Total

Support Group

600

2,400

2,200

2,600

2,200

10,000

Work related activity group

1,000

4,800

4,500

6,000

5,300

21,600

Fit for work

3,300

16,000

13,800

18,600

17,100

68,800

Claim closed before assessment complete

3,500

17,700

15,900

19,800

17,600

74,500

Assessment still in progress

600

3,000

3,300

5,500

6,500

19,000

Total

9,100

43,900

39,600

52,500

48,700

193,800

1. Figures are round to the nearest 100.

2. Around 3 per cent. of assessments are made clerically. These figures are not included in this table.

Source:

Department for Work and Pensions benefits data and Atos Healthcare medical assessment data

Monthly employment and support allowance on-flows by claim start and result of medical assessment expressed as percentages

2008

2009

October

November

December

January

February

Overall

Support group

7

6

6

5

4

5

Work related activity group

11

11

11

11

11

11

Fit for work

37

37

35

36

35

36

Claim closed before assessment complete

39

40

40

38

36

38

Assessment still in progress

6

7

8

11

13

10

The data presented combine three main data sources:

benefit claims data held by the Department for Work and Pensions covering new employment and support allowance claims between October 2008 to February 2009;

medical assessment data sourced from Atos Healthcare covering assessments completed between October 2008 and August 2009; and

appeals data sourced from Tribunals Service covering appeals heard up to July 2009.

The tables present assessment results by breaking down cohorts of employment and support allowance benefit claims. This is presented for claim starts to February 2009. Beyond this date the results are not reliable as many claims are still within the process.

National Statistics on employment and support allowance on-flows and caseload are published on the Department for Work and Pensions Tabulation Tool. Latest data available show there were 195,500 new employment and support allowance claims between 27 October 2008 and 28 February 2009.

Note that rounding and exclusion of clerical claims means the figures in the first table won't match the Tabulation Tool figures exactly.

52 per cent. of these employment and support allowance claims were assessed resulting in the following outcomes:

5 per cent. were assessed as suitable for the support group;

11 per cent. were assessed as suitable for the work related activity group; and

36 per cent. were assessed as being fit for work.

The remaining 48 per cent. either left employment and support allowance before completing assessment or assessment is still in progress.

Housing Benefit: East of England

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many rapid reclaims of housing benefit took more than 10 days to process (a) nationally and (b) in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Jobcentre Plus district in the most recent 12 month period for which figures are available; what the target time is for processing such reclaims; and if she will make a statement. (308322)

Incapacity Benefit: Bedfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) incapacity benefit and (b) employment and support allowance claimants there were in South West Bedfordshire constituency on the latest date for which figures are available. (310107)

The available information is in the table.

Number of incapacity benefit and employment and support allowance claimants in South West Bedfordshire—May 2009

Incapacity benefit

Employment and support allowance

South West Bedfordshire

2,530

410

Notes:

1. Caseload has been rounded to the nearest 10.

2. Data published at:

www.nomisweb.co.uk

(incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance) and

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/tabtool.asp

(employment and support allowance).

3. Employment and support allowance replaced incapacity benefit and income support paid on the grounds of incapacity for new claims from 27 October 2008.

Source:

Department for Work and Pensions Information Directorate 100 per cent. Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.

Industrial Diseases: Compensation

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many former miners have submitted claims for industrial injuries benefit for osteoarthritis of the knee to date; how many such claims have been (a) accepted and (b) rejected; and how many appeals against the rejection of a claim have been made. (307553)

Since the addition of osteoarthritis of the knee to the list of prescribed industrial diseases on 13 July 2009, 30,262 claims have been received.

10,396 have been processed, of which, 3,837 have received an award of, or an increase of, industrial injuries disablement benefit.

The total number of all appeals received is 1,330.

This information is based on an informal count by the Jobcentre Plus offices dealing with industrial injuries disablement benefit. We are looking into arrangements to publish this information as official statistics.

Local Housing Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 15 June 2009, Official Report, column 48W, on local housing allowance, if she will undertake research into whether landlords discriminate against potential tenants who are on local housing allowance on the grounds that the benefit is not paid directly to the landlord. (309380)

The Department has committed to completing a review of the LHA scheme over a two-year period from the commencement of its roll-out in April 2008. The aim of the review is to monitor the impact of the LHA at a national level, against the original LHA policy objectives.

The review will include an in-depth focus group study of landlords, concerning their attitudes and experiences of the LHA, including direct payments.

Personal Accounts

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what research her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) undertaken on the economies of scale which will be generated by funds under management in personal accounts; (305964)

(2) what estimate she has made of the monetary value of the funds likely to be managed through the proposed personal accounts scheme.

The Department has not commissioned or undertaken such research.

However, the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority's engagement with stakeholders during their consultation (‘Building Personal Accounts: Designing an Investment Approach’, published on 7 May 2009), confirmed the scheme will benefit from economies of scale when investing future members' contributions. Responses to the consultation are summarised in, ‘Building Personal Accounts: Designing an Investment Approach’. Key findings of the public consultation published November 2009.

The ‘Impact Assessment for the Pensions Bill’ (2007), published on the 24 April 2008 estimated there might be funds around £100 to 300 billion under management in the scheme by 2050, in 2007-08 earnings terms.

State Retirement Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will estimate the effect on the level of poverty among pensioners of paying all people reaching the state pension age in 2012-13 the full basic state pension in each of the subsequent three years. (308530)

[holding answer 6 January 2010]: The Department does not publish projections of pensioner poverty levels and therefore we are unable to answer the question.

Pensioner poverty is complex and dependent on a number of factors. Therefore projections would need to rely on many assumptions and as such would be subject to a significant degree of uncertainty.

Any current projection of the number of pensioners in poverty would be subject to uncertainties around future income growth, changes in the income distribution and individual changes in behaviour in response to policy changes. The Government therefore do not publish forward projections.

The proportion of pensioners in low income in the UK has fallen substantially over the last 10 years. There are 900,000 fewer pensioners in relative poverty in 2007-08 than in 1998-99 (measured as below 60 per cent. of contemporary median income after housing costs are taken into account). A complete set of statistics can be found in the ‘Households Below Average Income 2007-08’ publication, found at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/hbai.asp

Unemployment: Leeds

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps she has taken to reduce levels of unemployment in Leeds West constituency amongst disabled people since 2001; and if she will make a statement. (306952)

A number of steps have been taken to reduce levels of unemployment among disabled people since 2001.

In July 2001 the new deal for disabled people was launched. This is a programme of advice and practical support, which helps people move from disability and health-related benefits into paid employment. The programme is delivered through a network of 'job brokers' offering different services, which can be tailored to a customer's individual needs.

December 2007 saw the introduction of Pathways to Work in the West Yorkshire district, which includes the Leeds, West constituency. This programme helps claimants of incapacity benefits or employment and support allowance get work by offering individual support and access to a wide range of help, including work-focused interviews.

The public consultation “Helping People Achieve their Full Potential: Improving Specialist Disability Employment Services” was launched on 3 December 2007 to help shape the future of specialist disability employment provision. The new programme, Work Choice, which replaces existing specialist disability employment programmes, will be introduced in October 2010.

Employment and support allowance replaced incapacity benefits for new customers nationally on 27 October 2008. Employment and support allowance has a greater work-focus than its predecessors. It also has a more modern and robust medical assessment, which helps to identify the help that people need to ensure they can fulfil their potential.

Access to Work is a specialist disability programme that helps disabled people overcome work-related obstacles. It is flexible, easy to access and shows high levels of satisfaction from disabled people and their employers. The Access to Work base budget has been increased from £15 million in 1994-95 to £81 million in 2009-10 and will continue to grow to £138 million by 2013-14. We are also working to improve the programme to ensure it helps people with mental health conditions more effectively.

The refreshed jobseeker's allowance regime and flexible new deal will go live in Leeds in April 2010. This is designed to offer personalised and more intensive support to customers, including those with disabilities, to help overcome barriers to work.

More generally, all jobseekers have full access to Jobcentre Plus vacancy services to enhance their employment opportunities. We recognise that some disabled customers may have a more limited availability and scope to find and carry out certain types of work. Therefore, at the start of their claim customers are asked to tell their adviser about any disabilities that might have such an impact, and can restrict their work search activity and availability for work if those restrictions are reasonable, given their condition.

Customers with a disability can volunteer to be fast-tracked to the six month stage of jobseeker's allowance, subject to the Jobcentre Plus personal advisers agreement. This allows disabled people to access additional intensive support earlier in their claim.

Disability employment advisers are available to provide specialist support to people facing employment barriers because of a disability. They can advise customers about a range of specialised support available, and provide advice on job retention if a person is concerned about losing their job because of their disability. They are supported by work psychologists and various external disability specialists.

Waste Disposal: Safety

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 21 July 2009, Official Report, column 1337W, on waste disposal: safety, if she will request the Health and Safety Executive to undertake research on the safety of household refuse containers in relation to deliberate fires. (308547)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has no plans to assess the safety of household refuse containers (including “wheelie bins”) in relation to deliberate fires. I do not intend to request them to do so as such incidents arise from criminal acts of arson, which is a matter for the police, and not HSE, whose remit is restricted to the health, safety and welfare of persons at work and others who may be affected by work activities. HSE is therefore involved in issues such as the safe lifting of wheelie bins on to refuse lorries, to which European standards apply, but the deliberate setting of fires in household refuse containers is outside any intended normal use and design criteria. Such arson attacks are tackled by the fire and rescue services and are investigated by the police under the Criminal Damage Act 1971.

Winter Fuel Payments: Tamworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in Tamworth constituency are in receipt of winter fuel allowance; and how much her Department paid to such pensioners in winter fuel allowance in 2009. (309675)

For winter 2008-09, 18,590 older people received a winter fuel payment in Tamworth constituency at a cost of around £3.9 million.

Notes:

1. Payment figures rounded to the nearest 10.

2. Parliamentary constituencies and local authorities are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory.

3. Expenditure rounded to the nearest £0.1 million.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of the number of households in Tamworth constituency who will receive the (a) £250 and (b) £400 winter fuel payment in 2009-10. (309676)

For winter 2008-09, 10,920 households received a £250 winter fuel payment and 2,530 households received a £400 payment in Tamworth constituency.

Notes:

1. Figures rounded to the nearest 10.

2. Parliamentary constituencies and local authorities are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory.

Work Capability Assessment

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what average time is taken for Atos Healthcare to deliver to the business user of the medical services contract a report following a work capability assessment; and if she will make a statement. (307181)

Atos Healthcare Medical Services are contracted to deliver new claims for employment support allowance requiring a work capability assessments to the business user in an actual average clearance time (AACT) of 35.0 working days. In November 2009, Atos Healthcare achieved an AACT of 33.5 working days.

Transport

Aviation: Security

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether all border guards who will operate the new full-body scanners at Heathrow airport have been subject to a Criminal Records Bureau check. (309605)

All airport security staff who will operate the new full-body scanners have been subject to a Criminal Records Bureau check.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport when he expects the review of aviation security announced in December 2009 to report. (309429)

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary made a statement to the House announcing the initial outcome of the review of aviation security on Tuesday 5 January 2010, Official Report, columns 28-41.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether he has made an assessment of the implications of the provisions of child protection legislation for the use of full-body scanners at Heathrow Airport. (309634)

The introduction of the scanners is a necessary additional measure in response to the heightened threat to the travelling public. Their application to passengers including children, with the proposed safeguards as to their use, is a proportionate response to the heightened threat. The use of body scanners is compatible with the Protection of Children Act 1978. The use of scanners will be subject to a code of practice which is being developed by the Department for Transport and airport operators.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what date he has set for equipping of all UK international airports with full body scanners. (309950)

We have not set such a date. However, we are discussing urgently with the airport industry the widespread roll-out of scanners at UK airports as soon as practicable.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport when the first full body scanner in a UK airport is scheduled to start operation. (309951)

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will assess the compatibility with child protection legislation of the operation of full body scanners in UK airports; and if he will make a statement. (309952)

The introduction of the scanners is a necessary additional measure in response to the heightened threat to the travelling public. Their application to passengers including children, with the proposed safeguards as to their use, is a proportionate response to the heightened threat. The use of body scanners is compatible with the Protection of Children Act 1978. The use of scanners will be subject to a code of practice which is being developed by the Department for Transport and airport operators.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what funding his Department plans to make available to UK airports for the installation of full body scanners. (309953)

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport when he plans to issue guidance on operating the full body scanners proposed to be installed at UK airports. (309954)

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether the body scanners to be deployed at airports will use passive millimetre wave technology. (310145)

No. The body scanners to be deployed at UK airports will use either active millimetre wave or backscatter technology.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether individuals who wish not to use body scanners at airports will be able to opt for a manual pat down search. (310146)

No. Individuals who are asked to use the body scanner but decline to do so will not be permitted to fly.

Aviation: Snow and Ice

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) what steps he has taken to ensure an adequate supply of airport and aircraft de-icing fluid during the current cold weather; (309730)

(2) what monitoring his Department undertakes of the availability of aircraft and airport de-icing fluid;

(3) what recent assessment he has made of the level of risk to transport (a) within and (b) departing from the UK of shortages in the availability of airport and aircraft de-icing fluid.

Sourcing of sufficient quantities of airport surface and airframe de-icer compounds are commercial matters for privately-owned airport operators and airlines, with the relevant suppliers. The Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority have, however, been in contact with airport operators and airlines throughout the period of severe weather to monitor the operation of the supply chain. The Department has also agreed to a temporary and limited relaxation of the enforcement of EU drivers' hours and working-time rules, up to the end of Monday 11 January, for those hauliers involved in the distribution of de-icer products direct to airports.

Buses: Concessions

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many (a) over-60 year olds and (b) disabled people resident in Tamworth constituency made use of free off-peak bus travel in the latest period for which figures are available. (309656)

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

Tamworth is part of the Staffordshire county concessionary travel scheme. The last information held by the Department was that as of 17 April 2009, the Staffordshire county scheme had issued 125,787 of the new smartcard concessionary passes. This includes passes issued to disabled people as well as those aged 60 and over as the Department does not have a breakdown of figures.

Corby Station

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many passengers (a) boarded and (b) alighted from trains at Corby railway station on each day since 8 September 2009. (309632)

The Department for Transport does not hold the requested information on passengers using Corby railway station.

This is a matter for the train operator, East Midlands Trains, which provides services to and from Corby. East Midlands Trains can be contacted at the following address:

Mr. Tim Shoveller

Managing Director

East Midlands Trains

1 Prospect Place

Millennium Way

Pride Park

Derby

DE24 8HG

Departmental Legislation

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what criminal offences have been (a) created and (b) abolished by secondary legislation sponsored by his Department since 1 May 2008. (307794)

A table setting out the title of each piece of secondary legislation creating an offence within the scope of the question, the number of offences created by that piece of legislation and a general description of the offences is listed as follows.

More detail about the offences created and information about offences that have been abolished (other than in respect of the revocation of the Air Navigation Order 2005 (see as follows)) could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Offences contained in the Air Navigation Order 2005 were abolished when that Order was replaced by the Air Navigation Order 2009 (see the entry for the Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2009 in the table).

While all reasonable efforts have been made by the Department to ascertain what offences have been created by secondary legislation since 1 May 2008, it is impossible to guarantee that every new offence has been noted in the enclosed table without incurring disproportionate cost in terms of officials’ time. For example: where an instrument extends an existing provision to cover a new situation it might not be apparent that an offence was involved without further research and this would require a significant amount of time.

Title of the secondary legislation

Number of offences created

General description of offences

The London Gateway Port Harbour Empowerment Order 2008

6

Obstructing works/officers

The Cross-border Railway Services (Working Time) Regulations 2008

7

Failing to comply with various provisions of the Regulations

The Felixstowe Branch Line and Ipswich Yard Improvement Order 2008

3

Obstructing works/disclosing confidential information

The Air Navigation (Environmental Standards For Non-EASA Aircraft) Order 2008

2

Contravening any provision of the Order (in two groups, divided according to penalty)

The Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships) Regulations 2008

47

Contravention of various provisions of the Regulations by various people

The Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Pollution by Sewage and Garbage from Ships) Regulations 2008

49

Contravention of various provisions of the Regulations by various people

The Operation of Air Services in the Community Regulations 2009

9

Failing to comply with various provisions of the Regulations

The Street Works (Charges for Unreasonably Prolonged Occupation of the Highway) (England) Regulations 2009

1

Failing to give any notice required by the Regulations.

The Road Safety (Immobilisation, Removal and Disposal of Vehicles) Regulations 2009

5

Failing to comply with various provisions of the Regulations

The Road Vehicles (Approval) Regulations 2009

9

Failing to comply with various provisions of the Regulations

The Nottingham Express Transit System Order 2009

9

Failing to comply with various provisions of the Order

The Air Navigation (Single European Sky) (Penalties) Order 2009

25

Failing to comply with various provisions of the Order

The Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2009

10

Failing to comply with various provisions of the Air Navigation Order 2005 (The 2005 Order and the 2009 Amendment Order were revoked by the Air Navigation Order 2009)

The Motor Cycles Etc. (Replacement of Catalytic Converters) Regulations 2009

4

Failing to comply with various provisions of the Regulations

The Motor Vehicles (Replacement of Catalytic Converters and Pollution Control Devices) Regulations 2009

7

Failing to comply with various provisions of the Regulations

The Port Security Regulations 2009

14

Failing to comply with various provisions of the Regulations

The Channel Tunnel (International Arrangements) (Amendment) Order 2009

1

Making of false statements etc under or for the purposes of the Channel Tunnel (International Arrangements) Order 2005

The Penzance Harbour Revision Order 2009

4

Failing to comply with various provisions of the Order

The London Underground (Victoria Station Upgrade) Order 2009

3

Obstructing works/disclosing confidential information

The Merchant Shipping (Anti-Fouling Systems) Regulations 2009

15

Contravention of various provisions of the Regulations by various people

The Air Navigation Order 2009

9

Failing to comply with various provisions of the Order

The Merchant Shipping (Implementation of Ship-Source Pollution Directive) Regulations 2009

4

Contravention of various provisions of other Regulations

Departmental Training

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies spent on away days in the last 12 months; and what the (i) subject and (ii) location of each away day was. (308674)

The Department for Transport can only provide the cost, subject and location of away days for the last 12 months by incurring disproportionate costs.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency: Databases

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport on how many occasions the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency database was accessed by (a) police forces, (b) other public agencies and (c) private companies in each of the last five financial years; and what estimate he has made of the number of such requests which will be made in (i) 2009-10 and (ii) 2010-11. (309720)

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what his policy is on allowing private companies access to information on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency database for commercial purposes. (309722)

Information held on the ‘driver’ record may only be disclosed to private companies for commercial purposes with the explicit consent of the individual and when there is a demonstrable need to confirm an entitlement to drive. For example, when hiring a vehicle or driving as a condition of employment.

Information held on the ‘vehicle’ record may be disclosed under provisions of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002. This provides for the release of information to those who can demonstrate “reasonable cause” to require it, such as an issue around the vehicle and its use. Disclosure generally results from incidents where the motorist has incurred some form of liability. It is recognised that motorists have an obligation to comply with road traffic and other regulations when using a vehicle and to act responsibly and with consideration for other road users, pedestrians and landowners in doing so.

Any private car parking company seeking information about the keeper of a specific vehicle must be a member of a DVLA Accredited Trade Association and conform to its code of practice. DVLA provides vehicle data, containing no personal details, to commercial customers for statistical use and to provide vehicle check services to consumers when purchasing a second-hand vehicle or parts for their current vehicle.

Information is also supplied to assist in safety recalls from time to time.

All disclosures of information are made in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection and Human Rights Acts. Requests for information are subject to audit to ensure they respect agreements and legislation.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport which (a) police forces, (b) other public agencies and (c) private companies are permitted access to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency database to obtain (i) details of vehicle registration numbers, (ii) names of licence holders and (iii) private addresses of licence holders. (309723)

No organisation has direct access into the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) records.

Information from both the driver and vehicle record is provided daily to the National Police Improvement Agency for inclusion on the Police National Computer system for use by all police forces. All other requests for information are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Private addresses of driving licence holders may be provided to public agencies with the consent of the individual or if they have a statutory right to it e.g. HM Revenue and Customs, the Child Support Agency and the Department for Work and Pensions. These requests generally relate to law enforcement activities.

DVLA does not provide the name or address details of licence holders to any private companies, only details relating to their driving entitlement and endorsements. Employers, recruitment agencies and private companies, such as car hire companies, may make a request for details of a driver record if they have the consent of the individual and provide their name, address and date of birth.

Vehicle registration numbers need to be provided to the DVLA in order for a search of the vehicle record to be made. Therefore, DVLA does not disclose details of vehicle registration numbers from the vehicle record.

Eurostar

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what proposals are under consideration for the provision of alternative services to Eurostar using the Channel Tunnel rail link; when such services could be operational; and if he will make a statement. (310108)

As of January this year, new European regulations allow train companies to operate international services across Europe on an open access basis.

The Government welcome this. We want to see new services and competition on Highspeed1.

It is for individual companies to come forward to introduce services.

Hotels

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many hotel room nights were booked by officials in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in each year since 2007; and how much (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies spent on the fees of third party agents in booking hotel accommodation in each of those years. (309055)

The Department for Transport does not record numbers of hotel room nights centrally, and the information can be provided only at disproportionate cost. No fees have been paid to third party booking agents in the period since 2007.

All expenditure is incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.

Kettering Station

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many passengers travelling (a) north and (b) south on the Midland mainline (i) boarded and (ii) alighted from trains at Kettering station on each day since 8 September 2009. (309633)

The Department for Transport does not hold the requested information on passengers using Kettering railway station.

This is matter for the train operator, East Midlands Trains, which provides services to and from Kettering. East Midlands Trains can be contacted at the following address:

Mr Tim Shoveller

Managing Director

East Midlands Trains

1 Prospect Place

Millennium Way

Pride Park

Derby

DE24 8HG

M6

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) if he will require the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency to meet residents in Walsall North constituency who are adversely affected by the M6 motorway work on the site of the work, as requested by the hon. Member for Walsall North; (309731)

(2) for what reasons the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency did not agree to meet residents on the site within the Walsall North constituency who are adversely affected by the M6 motorway work; and if he will make a statement;

(3) if he will ensure that the Chief Executive or Deputy Chief Executive of the Highways Agency meets residents on sites where work authorised by the agency is taking place when requested to do so by hon. Members.

The Chief Executive of the Highways Agency has offered to meet the hon. Member and representatives of local residents at the Agency's offices, or at the construction site offices, where he believes a constructive discussion can be held to agree what, if any, further action by the Highways Agency's contractor is needed to mitigate the disturbance to residents.

The Chief Executive has personally investigated complaints by the hon. Member's constituents and ensured that any shortcomings were rectified. This includes asking the contractor's main board director to ensure that he delivers a plan for improving neighbour relations.

The Chief Executive has assured me on several occasions that he is willing to meet with any Member of this House to discuss particular matters affecting constituents, and has done this with several hon. Members in the past.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what discussions (a) Ministers in his Department and (b) officials in the Secretary of State's private office have had with the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency on the adverse effects on residents of work carried out on the M6 motorway in Walsall North constituency; and if he will make a statement. (310071)

The Secretary of State for Transport and I have regular meetings with the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency to discuss all aspects of the Agency's business, including the concerns of residents affected by the scheme being carried out on the M6 motorway in the Walsall, North constituency.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) for what reasons residents in Walsall North constituency likely to be adversely affected by current work authorised by the Highways Agency on the M6 motorway were not directly informed of the work planned by the Agency; and if he will instruct the Highways Agency directly to notify those likely to be adversely affected by its planned work in all areas in addition to its practice of placing advertisements in the press; (310072)

(2) if he will ensure that when work is authorised by the Highways Agency that is likely to adversely affect residents hon. Members representing the constituency or constituencies concerned are notified.

The Highways Agency has established procedures in place for notifying any local residents or businesses likely to be affected by planned works, as well as placing advertisements in the local press. These can include letter drops, locally held exhibitions and press-releases prior to the commencement of works. In addition, hon. Members, within whose constituencies work is due to take place are given advance warning of the start of works. Local councillors are also routinely advised.

In schemes where work takes place entirely within the existing highway boundary, as is the case with the current M6 motorway works in the Walsall, North constituency, there is no obligation upon the Highways Agency to give such additional publicity. However, in view of the close proximity of residents in this case, arrangements were made within the contract for a site-liaison officer to be appointed to regularly communicate with local residents about the progress of the scheme.

In addition, following representations made by residents' groups, regarding works on the M6 in the Walsall, North constituency further measures have been put in place to keep residents informed. These include regular newsletters and visits by the site-liaison officer to affected residents.

With regard to the notification of Members whose constituency is adversely affected by major work, it is the Highways Agency's standing practice to give such notification. In the case of this project, my hon. Friend was included in the original notification to MPs and MEPs, sent on 10 September 2008, prior to the commencement of the works.

Motor Vehicles: Safety

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what regulations govern requirements about the location of lights on vehicles to demonstrate the dimensions of the vehicle. (310124)

The location of lights, including those to indicate the dimensions of vehicles, is set out in the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989.

In general vehicles must have front and rear position lights fitted within 400 mm of the edge of the vehicle. (For trailers, however, only those above a certain width are required to have front position lamps.) Larger vehicles must also be fitted with end outline marker lamps, and side marker lamps to indicate their width, length and height.

Motorways

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many motorway inter-junction links there are on (a) motorways and (b) dual carriageways in England. (308458)

The Strategic Road Network in England is made up of the national motorway and All Purpose Trunk Road (APTR) network. It has (a) 1,056 junction to junction motorway links; and (b) 939 major dual carriageway junction to junction links on APTR. There are also 464 major single carriageway junction to junction APTR links.

Each link is for a single direction only, and for APTRs there may be additional minor junctions within links.

Public and Commercial Services Union

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what the staff-in-post figure is for those grades of staff in relation to which the Public and Commercial Services Union is recognised in (a) the Highways Agency, (b) the Maritime and Coastguards Agency and (c) the Vehicle Certification Agency. (306511)

[holding answer 14 December 2009]: The following tables provide the staff in post figures for those grades of staff for which the Highways Agency, the Maritime and Coastguards Agency and the Vehicle Certification Agency recognises the Public and Commercial Services Union:

Highways Agency

Grade

Staff in post

AA

1

AO

243

EO

403

HEO

586

SEO

460

Grade 7

251

Grade 6

77

1 Departmental policy is to suppress figures where there are fewer than five individuals on grounds of confidentiality.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Grade

Staff in post

AA

148

AO

410

EO

253

HEO

137

SEO

171

Grade 7

95

Grade 6

18

Vehicle Certification Agency

Grade

Staff in post

AA

6

AO

34

EO

29

HEO

1

SEO

9

Grade 7

1

Grade 6

1

1 Departmental policy is to suppress figures where there are fewer than five individuals on grounds of confidentiality.

Railways

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport for what reasons rail franchises specify required revenue protection systems. (310057)

Some franchise specifications have included requirements to install ticket gates at specific stations. These requirements are based upon detailed business case analysis and expected revenue increases. In some cases these are specified within the contract because they have a pay-back period longer than the franchise term. Such schemes increase the value of the franchise in future years, reducing the long term cost of the railway to the taxpayer.

Bidders are also required to detail their wider revenue protection strategies as part of their bids.

Bidders have proposed gating schemes as part of their own revenue protection strategies and where these are offered the Department for Transport seeks to contractualise this commitment.

Railways: Concessions

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what mechanisms are in place to prevent the loss of concessionary travel facilities for former employees of a rail business which becomes insolvent; and who the guarantor of last resort is in such cases. (309447)

The Association of Train Operating Companies ('ATOC') Rail Staff Travel Scheme includes provisions which enable employees who have been made redundant as the result of an insolvent event to continue to receive leisure travel services.

While the Secretary of State approves any proposed changes to the rail staff travel scheme, it is ATOC that operates the Scheme. ATOC may be contacted at:

3rd Floor

40 Bernard Street

London WC1N 1BY

Telephone: 020 7841 8000

Railways: Exhaust Emissions

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what meetings his Department has had with the Department of Energy and Climate Change on policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the rail network. (309762)

The Department for Transport works closely with the Department of Energy and Climate Change on a wide range of issues relating to carbon emissions from transport modes, including rail. Consequently, officials from the two Departments are in regular contact and meet on a frequent basis to discuss these and other issues.

Railways: West Yorkshire

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much his Department has spent on rail transport in West Yorkshire since 2005; and if he will make a statement. (306997)

The Department for Transport does not hold data on public spending in this level of detail. However, table A9 of the Department's Annual Report and Accounts sets out details of expenditure on the railways by region. Copies of the report are available in the Library of the House and on the Department's website at:

www.dft.gov.uk

Road Salting and Gritting

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to the answer of 10 December 2009, Official Report, column 544W, on road salting and gritting, when he plans to publish his Department's response to the report of the UK Roads Liaison Group on the preparedness of highway authorities for extreme weather events. (309450)

A written statement was made to Parliament on 15 December 2009, Official Report, columns 122-24WS outlining the Department for Transport's response to the report of the UK Road Liaison Group on highway authorities' preparedness for extreme weather events. This was also published on the Department for Transport's website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/press/speechesstatements/statements/uk-roads

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what discussions he has had with the (a) Highways Agency and (b) Salt Union on the distribution of salt to the Highways Agency and local authorities since 9 February 2009. (309539)

[holding answer 7 January 2010]: The information requested is as follows:

(a) Both during February 2009 and immediately following the winter season, a number of discussions were held between the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency to discuss issues arising from the winter and to contribute to the related Transport Select Committee (TSC) hearing and other related events requiring briefing information. Following the TSC hearing, the UK Roads Liaison Group led a review into the severe weather of February 2009, comprising input from the Highways Agency, salt suppliers and the Department for Transport, as well as local authority representation. Discussions between the Department for Transport and Highways Agency were held in both carrying out the review and compiling the subsequent report. Department for Transport Ministers have also had a number of discussions with the Highways Agency to discuss winter resilience, including the distribution of salt.

(b) Department for Transport officials have also had a number of discussions with Salt Union and others on similar issues.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what agreements are in place between the Highways Agency and local authorities for the provision of assistance to authorities which require additional salt stocks during extreme weather conditions. (309540)

[holding answer 7 January 2010]: During periods of severe weather, requests for additional salt stocks from another highway authority (commonly known as mutual aid) are considered on an individual basis. Consideration is given to the criticality of salt stock levels of both the requesting and potential providing authority together with the current weather being experienced. Where possible the Highways Agency will provide mutual aid assistance to other authorities, where this will not impact on the agency's treatment of its network.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport with reference to the answer of 23 February 2009, Official Report, column 859W, on roads: snow and ice, how many snow ploughs the Highways Agency has bought since February 2009; and how many it intends to buy in the next 12 months. (309541)

[holding answer 7 January 2010]: Since February 2009, the Highways Agency has purchased a total of 188 salt spreaders, all with snow plough attachments, with a further 90 due to be purchased in the next 12 months. This will complete the winter fleet replacement.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what progress has been made in implementing the proposals of the UK Roads Liaison Group in relation to severe winter weather; and if he will make a statement. (309800)

Local roads are the responsibility of local highway authorities. Strategic roads are managed by the Highways Agency.

The UK Road Liaison Group (UKRLG) report contains 19 recommendations. Most of the recommendations are addressed to local highway authorities and salt suppliers. It will be for these organisations to decide how best to adopt the recommendations.

Four recommendations were specifically addressed to this Department and the Highways Agency. My written statement of 15 December 2009, Official Report, columns 122-24WS advised what action had been taken by this Department and the Highways Agency consistent with those recommendations. These recommendations have been adopted.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will take steps to ensure that local highway authorities are fully compensated by utility companies for the additional maintenance costs incurred as a result of activities by those companies. (309724)

Companies carrying out works in the street have a legal duty to reinstate roads to the condition they were in before works began. Compliance with this duty will minimise any need for additional maintenance by the highway authority.

Highway authorities are responsible for enforcing this duty. They may inspect reinstatements, and if they find them to be inadequate, they have powers to require the undertaker to carry out the reinstatement again to the correct standard. If undertakers fail to comply, the authority may carry out the necessary works and recover the costs reasonably incurred by them doing so.

Standards for reinstatements are set out in the statutory Specification for Reinstatement of Openings in the Highway Code of Practice. The Department for Transport intends to publish revised and updated guidance in April this year.

Taxis: Licensing

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) what plans he has to reduce the number of unlicensed minicab drivers; (309439)

(2) what estimate has been made of the number of unlicensed minicab drivers operating in each of the last four years.

In order to offer a private hire vehicle (PHV) service lawfully in England (outside London), the operator, the driver and the vehicle must be licensed by the relevant local authority under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. It is a matter for local licensing authorities to ensure vehicles are licensed in the correct manner, to make assessments of the extent of illegal operation in their area and take appropriate enforcement action where necessary. We do not keep a central record of any such assessments. The Department for Transport issues guidance to local authorities in this respect.

Thameslink Railway Line: Rolling Stock

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport when his Department plans to announce the successful bidder for the Thameslink rolling stock contract. (310060)

The Department for Transport is currently planning to award the Thameslink order around autumn of this year.

Traffic Lights

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost of replacing all traffic lights with incandescent bulbs with light emitting diodes. (310143)

Procurement of traffic lights is a matter for individual highways authorities. The Department for Transport has made no estimate of the cost of replacing all tungsten halogen traffic lights with light emitting diodes.

Light emitting diode (LED) traffic lights can offer significant energy savings and we are keen for highway authorities to take advantage of their potential. The supply industry and UK highway authorities are working to address the remaining technical and economic issues, and so achieve greater adoption of such lights.

Transport

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what target he has set for the construction of miles of new (a) road and (b) rail by 2015. (305618)

[holding answer 10 December 2009]: The Department for Transport has neither targets for the construction of specific distances of road and rail.

Transport: EC Action

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what the outcome was of the December EU Transport Council, with particular reference to the discussions on intelligent transport systems; and if he will make a statement. (309627)

The December Transport Council took place during the recess. I therefore reported on the outcome of the Council, including the outcome of discussions on intelligent transport systems, in a letter to the Hon. Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee. The text of that letter is as follows:

“I attended the second Transport Council of the Swedish Presidency, in Brussels on 17 December.

The Council reached a Political Agreement on a Regulation on the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport. The Regulation aims to make bus and coach transport more attractive, particularly to disabled people and people with reduced mobility; and to create a level playing field across Europe, both between operators and different modes of transport. I was one of several Ministers to maintain reservations on the scope, asking for the Regulation to apply only to long-distance national and international services. Some other Member States argued strongly for widening the scope. The Presidency offered a compromise of removing the compensation and assistance provisions from the application to urban, suburban and regional services. This means that the only provisions from which Member States would not be able to exempt such services would be those requiring that ticket prices and conditions must be offered without any discrimination based on nationality or the place of establishment of the carrier, and that there must be no discrimination on grounds of disability or reduced mobility with regard to booking a journey or boarding a vehicle. This compromise was acceptable to all, and on this basis I accepted the text of the Political Agreement.

The Council agreed a General Approach on the proposal for an amending Regulation on the establishment of structures for the management of the European satellite radio-navigation programmes. The text of the General Approach was acceptable to the UK.

There was a Progress Report on a Directive on the deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). I joined some other Ministers in opposing mandatory deployment. We only support the further deployment of ITS where there is a sound business case for doing so in pursuit of our transport goals. I expressed the UK view that such decisions should be for Member States, and my understanding that nothing in this Directive prejudices that right. We will continue to regard this as critical in discussions on any future proposals. The Presidency hoped that the Directive could be adopted as soon as possible during the New Year and that agreement will be reached with the European Parliament.

There was also a Progress report on a proposed Directive on aviation security charges. The UK will continue to work towards achieving a fair and proportionate outcome that balances the interests of passengers and airports.

The Council reached a General Approach on a Directive on reporting formalities for ships arriving in and/or departing from EU ports. The Directive seeks to facilitate maritime transport by simplifying administrative procedures for ships travelling between EU ports by the introduction of streamlined electronic reporting. I stated that the UK still has some concerns relating to the consistency of the Directive with our e-Borders system. We will seek to see these resolved at a later stage of the negotiating process.

The Council was unable to agree to the draft Conclusions on the Commission's Communication “A sustainable future for transport: Towards an integrated, technology-led and user friendly system”. Following the debate therefore, the Presidency issued Conclusions to be used to provide a steer to the Commission on priorities for the next EU Transport White Paper, which is due in 2010.

The Council adopted a Decision authorising the Commission to negotiate an agreement with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), providing a general framework for enhanced cooperation, with priority given to aviation safety issues in the first instance. We welcome this development. The Presidency made clear that the Decision does not affect relations between individual Member States and ICAO, nor does it affect the arrangements for preparing Community positions for meetings of the ICAO Council.

There was a Progress Report from the Commission on the negotiation of a second stage air transport agreement with the US. I joined some others in suggesting that the next Transport Council should review progress and consider any new US proposals, particularly on the key issue of investment reform. The Council took note of the state of play, confirmed the importance of reaching a deal in 2010, and noted signs of progress in some areas, but stressed the need for significant progress in other areas (including investment reform and the environment).

Under AOB, the Commission informed the Council that the outcome of the Galileo procurement process would be announced in a few months time.”

West Coast Railway Line: Finance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) how much has been spent on West Coast Main Line stations in 2009-10 to date; (310056)

(2) what funds remain to be spent on West Coast Main Line stations in 2009-10.

This information is not collated at route level by the Department for Transport. Network Rail is the custodian of the railway infrastructure, including stations. The Department for Transport defined the strategy and outputs required from the upgrade of the West Coast Main Line, while funding for the works was provided by Network Rail. The hon. Member should, therefore, contact Network Rail’s Chief Executive at the following address for a response to his question:

Iain Coucher

Chief Executive

Network Rail

Kings Place

90 York Way

London, N1 9AG.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Animal Welfare

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the merits of implementing the European Commission's proposal for a voluntary community animal welfare label for the purposes of standardising labelling of food with animal welfare information. (308292)

The EC has outlined a number of options for animal welfare labelling in a recently published report ‘Options for animal welfare labelling and the establishment of a European network of Reference Centres for the protection and welfare of animals’. Our approach to welfare labelling will be guided by general principles which we are developing with the EC.

Animal Welfare: Circuses

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Hereford of 7 December 2009, Official Report, columns 6-7W, on animal welfare: circuses, what source was referred to in the Answer as the findings of the first element; when those findings were discussed with (a) animal welfare representatives and (b) industry organisations; and which organisations participated in those discussions. (309415)

The source referred to in the answer of 7 December, the first element of the Circus Feasibility Study, was the report and recommendations of the two zoo licensing inspectors who visited two circuses while travelling, and one at their winter quarters.

The wider findings of the circus feasibility study were discussed on 26 October with animal welfare organisations, including representatives from the RSPCA, Animal Defenders International, Captive Animals Protection Society and the Born Free Foundation. A similar meeting took place with representatives from the circus industry, including Performing Animal Welfare Standards International, Circus Mondao, Bobby Roberts Super Circus and the Great British Circus on 22 October.

Biodiversity

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of implementation in the UK of the Biodiversity Action Plan. (309700)

We measure the effectiveness of implementation of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan through the UK Biodiversity Indicators. This was reported in the National Statistics publication ‘Biodiversity Indicators in Your Pocket 2007’, which was updated most recently in April 2009.

Overall, 23 (72 per cent.) of the 32 measures that comprise the UK Biodiversity Indicators are ‘improving’ or show ‘little or no overall change’ since the year 2000. In particular, 89 per cent. of Sites of Special Scientific Interest are in favourable or recovering condition, agri-environment schemes are leading to significant improvements, and people are spending a lot more time volunteering on biodiversity conservation projects.

Christmas Trees

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department has budgeted for Christmas trees in 2009. (305718)

[holding answer 10 December 2009]: The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has no specific Christmas tree budget in 2009. Provision is included within the fixed cost of providing grounds maintenance services to the Department delivered by the workplace support contract.

Within this contract the total expenditure on (decorated) Christmas trees for 2009 is £1,129.00.

Departmental Art Works

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent on art works in the last 12 months. (306444)

From information held centrally, the core-Department had no expenditure on artworks in the last 12 months. As a general rule, all works of art displayed are from the Government Art Collection (GAC), which publishes an annual list of acquisitions. The most recent details of acquisition made by the GAC were published on 5 October 2009 and are available on the GAC website:

http://www.gac.culture.gov.uk/information/publications.asp

Departmental Assets

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assets of his Department are planned to be sold in each year from 2009-10 to 2013-14; what the (a) description and (b) book value of each such asset is; what the expected revenue from each such sale is; and if he will make a statement. (300200)

The Government have stated their intention to realise £16 billion in asset disposals over the period 2011-14 and they published further details of opportunities to commercialise business assets in the Operational Efficiency Programme: Asset Prospectus on 7 December 2009. This presented different options for ownership on a number of public sectors assets. British Waterways and the Public Forest Estate in England were the two DEFRA assets included in the prospectus—the Government do not currently have plans to sell either asset.

The Department has approximately £6.9 million (book value £10.2 million) of surplus properties for disposal this year arising from the sale of land, residential and office premises. Anticipated disposals from land and laboratory premises are expected to realise £9 million in 2010-11 (book value £8 million) and £2 million in 2011-12 (book value £10 million). There are currently no identified disposals for years beyond 2011-12.

Departmental Billing

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what proportion of invoices submitted to his Department have been paid within 10 days in each month since October 2008; and if he will make a statement. (307960)

The following table shows the percentage of invoices paid within 10 days by the core-Department and, the volume of invoices received where the data are available.

Month

Invoice volume

10 day performance (percentage)

November 2008

n/a

33.5

December 2008

n/a

77.1

January 2009

n/a

99.8

February 2009

n/a

99.8

March 2009

n/a

99.4

April 2009

n/a

99.7

May 2009

3,091

99.9

June 2009

2,799

99.8

July 2009

3,141

99.8

August 2009

2,439

100

September 2009

2,442

99.7

October 2009

2,956

100

November 2009

2,070

99.95

Departmental Buildings

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent on works and refurbishment to offices allocated to Ministers in his Department's buildings in the last 12 months. (305686)

The Department has spent nothing in the last 12 months on refurbishment works in respect of offices allocated to Ministers.

Departmental Conferences

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost to his Department was of holding the Waste and Resources Action Programme exhibition in the Palace of Westminster in November 2009. (308353)

The exhibition space in the Upper Waiting Hall in Parliament is provided free of charge for one week to not-for-profit organisations that wish to inform parliamentarians of their work. Such organisations must be supported by their local Member of Parliament, who applies for the space on their behalf. Government-funded organisations such as the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) must also gain the approval of their sponsoring Department.

The cost of designing and constructing the exhibition stand and display materials used by WRAP in Parliament was £8,200. These will be used at future exhibitions and events, with almost all elements of the stand and its display materials being reusable. In line with WRAP’s remit to promote resource efficiency, the stand is made from cardboard containing 75 per cent. recycled content, and is fully recyclable at the end of its life, unlike traditional exhibition stands.

The exhibition, designed to demonstrate how resource efficiency could benefit businesses across the UK, generated considerable interest among hon. Members and their staff.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent by his Department and its agencies on conferences they organised which were subsequently cancelled in each of the last three years; and what the title was of each such conference. (308826)

The Department and its agencies run conferences on specific issues where will feel benefit will be had. Where appropriate we send delegates to other organisations' conferences whose work is relevant to our own.

Statistics on conferences are not collated centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he will reply to the letter from Derf Paton of Ramley Road, Lymington on Wightlink and the Lymington River, dated 8 November 2009. (309956)

I have no record of a letter from Mr. Paton dated 8 November. I replied to Mr. Paton's latest letter dated 19 November on 14 December, however.

Departmental Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many full-time equivalent press officers (a) are employed by and (b) work for his Department. (303598)

In April 2009 the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs employed 16.5 full-time equivalent press officers, and two full-time equivalent press officers worked for the Department on temporary contracts.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what redesigns of websites operated by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have taken place since 27 June 2007; and what the (i) cost to the public purse and (ii) date of completion of each such redesign was. (306163)

The DEFRA website has undergone a single redesign since the creation of the Department in 2001. This went live on 17 September 2009 and external costs for this (for audience research, web structure analysis, design and accessibility auditing) totalled £181,378. It is not possible to separate out the internal staff costs for this work.

The Food and Environment Research Agency website design was completed in 31 March 2009. The cost of external website design company work was £11,643.75. Of this cost, approximately £2,250 would come under the heading of ‘Strategy and planning', the remainder would come under the heading ‘Design and build'. The website is hosted on FERA's own IT infrastructure and it is not possible to disaggregate the costs associated with hosting the website. ‘Content provision' and ‘Testing and evaluation' were all carried out in house. It is not possible to separate out the internal staff costs for this work.

The redesign of the CEFAS website has cost £25,500. This work is still ongoing with a planned launch date of the end of January 2010.

The Marine and Fisheries Agency website did have a redesign to apply the then-DEFRA design templates. This went live on 1 December 2007 and this design is still live today. There were no specific “redesign costs” for this.

The RPA Website has not been redesigned during this period. The Cattle Tracing System Online transactional website, which enables farmers to submit cattle birth and movement data directly to RPA's central tracing system was completely rebuilt during 2008 and 2009 on new hardware and software. This has provided enhanced functionality and improved security through the Government Gateway at a total project cost of £3,959,270. The vast majority of the cost was on developing and testing hardware and software to support the interactive transactional services to customers and the spend on web design, which cannot be separated from the total spend, was a small proportion of the overall cost.

The Veterinary Laboratories Agency website was redesigned during 2007-08 to improve its template design, navigation and accessibility. The new site went live on 29 April 2008 and external costs totalled £9,394.13.

Other DEFRA agencies have not carried out redesigns of their websites during this period.

Departmental Legislation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what criminal offences have been (a) created and (b) abolished by secondary legislation sponsored by his Department since 1 May 2008. (307800)