Written Answers to Questions
Friday 29 January 2010
Leader of the House
Departmental Written Questions
The average time taken by the Office of the Leader of the House to answer ordinary written parliamentary questions between January 2009 and December 2009 was 3.2 days. 100 per cent. of the ordinary written questions during this period were answered within the working week target. All named day questions were answered on time.
With effect from the current Session of Parliament, each Department will provide the Procedure Committee with sessional statistics on the time taken to answer written questions. This implements recommendation 24 of the 3rd report from the Procedure Committee, Session 2008-09.
Roads: Snow and Ice
The Department for Transport, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government have been regularly monitoring salt supplies and stock levels across Great Britain with the help of their agencies, local authorities and the companies which supply salt. The Government and the devolved Administrations decided that due to the exceptional weather they should work in partnership to advise salt suppliers on priorities for deliveries across Great Britain.
Children, Schools and Families
Estimates of poverty for children are published in the households below average income (HBAI) series. These figures only allow a breakdown of the overall numbers in poverty at Government office region level. Therefore, information is not available for Salford.
The number of children living in poverty (in households with less than 60 per cent. of contemporary household income, before housing costs) in the north-west Government office region can be found in the following table. These data are based on three-year averages and changes are rounded to the nearest 100,000.
Please note that because regional figures are presented as three-year averages, a percentage change between each year is not available. Data are not available prior to 1994.
Number of children in poverty (million) 1993/94 to 1995/96 n/a 1994/95 to 1996/97 0.5 1995/96 to 1997/98 0.5 1996/97 to 1998/99 0.5 1997/98 to 1999/2000 0.5 1998/99 to 2000/01 0.5 1999/2000 to 2001/02 0.4 2000/01 to 2002/03 0.4 2001/02 to 2003/04 0.4 2002/03 to 2004/05 0.4 2003/04 to 2005/06 0.4 2004/05 to 2006/07 0.4 2005/06 to 2007/08 0.4 n/a = Not available
Number of children in poverty (million)
1993/94 to 1995/96
1994/95 to 1996/97
1995/96 to 1997/98
1996/97 to 1998/99
1997/98 to 1999/2000
1998/99 to 2000/01
1999/2000 to 2001/02
2000/01 to 2002/03
2001/02 to 2003/04
2002/03 to 2004/05
2003/04 to 2005/06
2004/05 to 2006/07
2005/06 to 2007/08
n/a = Not available
A local child poverty indicator has been developed to try and replicate this national measure as closely as possible. It captures the number and proportion of children in families in receipt of out-of-work benefits, or in receipt of tax credits where their reported income is less than 60 per cent. of median income. Details can be found at:
The Government’s statutory guidance “Working Together to Safeguard Children” (2006) sets out the processes to be followed when undertaking an assessment of a child who is suspected to be suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm. That assessment will include consideration of the capacity of the parents or caregivers to respond appropriately to the identified needs of the child. This may involve interviews with the child’s parents or caregivers and with those known to the child, for example members of the wider family. It may also include interviews with professionals or other people who know the child’s parents or caregivers.
Children's Centres: Eltham
Greenwich local authority is responsible for Sure Start Children’s Centres across its area and will decide how much funding to allocate to centres in Eltham constituency.
The first Sure Start Local Programmes (SSLPs) were set up in 1999-2000. The SSLPs received a single capital allocation for the period 1999-2000 to 2005-06. Greenwich local authority was allocated £3,913,042.
Data on the SSLP revenue allocations prior to the introduction of the Sure Start IT system in 2003-04 are not readily available at a local authority level. Greenwich’s SSLP revenue allocations from 2003-04 are shown in table 1.
£ SSLP revenue allocation 2003-04 3,029,775 2004-05 3,550,810 2005-06 3,738,775 2006-07 3,541,783 2007-08 3,008,185 2008-09 3,034,536 2009-10 2,680,923
SSLP revenue allocation
Funding for Sure Start Children’s Centres was made available from 2003-04. The Children’s Centres allocations for Greenwich are shown in table 2.
£ Capital Revenue Total 2003-04 0 52,500 52,500 2004-061 3,496,687 1,318,028 4,814,715 2006-07 21,431,584 2,797,260 4,228,844 2007-08 22,889,676 2,876,399 5,766,075 2008-09 378,553 4,898,580 5,277,133 2009-10 781,204 6,175,905 6,957,109 1 Local authorities received a two year allocation for 2004-06. 2 The 2006-07 and 2007-08 allocations are for the wider Sure Start Early Years and Childcare Main Capital Block.
1 Local authorities received a two year allocation for 2004-06.
2 The 2006-07 and 2007-08 allocations are for the wider Sure Start Early Years and Childcare Main Capital Block.
From 2006-07 Children’s Centres Capital formed part of the wider Main Capital Funding Block. Funding in this block is not ring fenced and the authority has the freedom to decide how much of their total capital allocation to spend on children’s centres, in line with local priorities. This allocation was not broken down further in 2006-07 and 2007-08. The Main Capital allocation has been quoted for 2006-07 and 2007-08 in table 1.
The Main Capital Block included funding for child care sustainability and extended schools as well as for Children’s Centres in 2006-07 and 2007-08. From 2008-09 the block comprised funding for Children’s Centres, early years provision, child care and integrated projects (those which support more than one policy objective). Funding in the Main Capital Block is not ring fenced and local authorities have the freedom to decide how much to spend on children’s centres in line with local priorities.
Education Maintenance Allowance: Cornwall
This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) who operate the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). Geoff Russell, the LSC's Acting Chief Executive, will write to the hon. Member for North Cornwall with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House Libraries. Since 2008, the conditions for all EMA payments have included behaviour and effort as well as attendance. We have never stipulated that bonuses are only payable where a student has submitted all coursework on time. The decision to award a bonus payment is made by the learning provider and the reasons behind individual decisions are not held centrally.
Extra-curricular Activities: South West
The Government are committed to every school providing access to a core offer of extended services, including a varied menu of extra-curricular activities from 8 am to 6 pm, by 2010. My Department has provided significant funding to support the delivery of extended services, including over £1 billion in the period 2008-09 to 2010-11. The table sets out the extended services funding allocated from 2003-04, the start of the Full Service Extended School pilot, to 2010-11 for local authorities in the Government Office South West region, and Torbay.
This funding is passed to local authorities to support the development of the core extended services offer in every school. The exact amount of funding spent on extra-curricular activities, as part of supporting delivery of the broader extended services core offer, is a matter for local decision making by local authorities and schools.
Extended schools revenue South West Torbay 2002-03 200,000 0 2003-04 155,000 0 2004-05 1,334,972 168,480 2005-06 9,212,998 331,276 2006-07 10,456,178 432,034 2007-08 10,947,207 334,364 2008-09 23,525,667 739,491 2009-10 33,991,312 998,051 2010-11 40,620,347 1,213,385 Note: Funding in 2003-04 to 2005-06 was for the Full Service Extended Schools Pilot.
Extended schools revenue
Funding in 2003-04 to 2005-06 was for the Full Service Extended Schools Pilot.
The funding for the new support activities for families as outlined in Chapter 6 in Support for All: the Families and Relationships Green Paper has been allocated from current budgets. These include:
£122 million on Family Intervention Projects between 2006-07 – 2010-11;
£60 million on the Family Information Direct (formerly ParentKnowHow) programme which provides information and advice for families (including grandparents and family and friends carers) between 2008-09 – 2010-11; and
£1.135 billion in revenue funding and £101 million in capital funding for Sure Start Children's Centres and Local Programmes in 2010-11.
The Family Fund Trust (FFT) (England) provides grants to families with severely disabled children or young people under 18. Families are eligible to apply for grants if they have an annual income of less than £23,000 before tax. Over the last five years the FFT has received the following in grant funding from the Department:
£ million 2005/06 22.8 2006/07 22.8 2007/08 22.8 2008/09 24.4 2009/10 25.0
As a result of commitments in The Children's Plan, the FFT was allocated an additional £8.4 million, payable over the current CSR period; with this additional funding the FFT changed the eligibility criteria for receipt of grants to include families with disabled children/young people under 18. Prior to that grants were made to families with disabled children under 16. The additional funding has been reflected in the table above.
Since extending eligibility criteria, the FFT have awarded grants to an additional 2,586 16-year-olds in 2008-09. Their target for 2009-10 is to issue between 4,750 and 5,000 grants to 16 and 17-year-olds.
The total numbers of families helped by FFT over the last five years are as follows:
Number of families helped 2005/06 35,740 2006/07 38,857 2007/08 37,007 2008/09 38,889 2009/10 Not available
Number of families helped
The FFT is required to provide the Department with annual accounts and details of its activities during the year, which is reviewed by officials. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families last meet with the chief executive of the Family Fund Trust on 16 April 2008.
National Safeguarding Delivery Unit: Public Appointments
Jacky Tiotto, the Head of the National Safeguarding Delivery Unit is a qualified social worker by profession. She has held a number of senior positions in London local authorities, and as a practitioner specialised in work with vulnerable children and those in need of protection, working in residential, field and hospital services. Most recently she was the Director for Children and Learners at the Government Office for London, having previously worked for the Department for Children, Schools and Families where she had been seconded as a deputy director leading on performance and improvement and then as a professional adviser to Lord Laming on his progress report on safeguarding children in England. Earlier posts include senior national adviser for children and adult services at the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), and performance specialist at the Audit Commission. Her CV contains personal information and its disclosure would be likely to contravene the Data Protection Act.
(2) whether he plans to establish a system of formal accreditation for the non-formal learning undertaken by children outside school.
The Department believes that every young person should experience non-formal learning as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstances. In 2008, through the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) manifesto, the Department funded ‘Every Experience Matters’—an evidence-based review on the role of learning outside the classroom for children's whole development from birth to 18 years.
The report demonstrates the important role that LOtC could have in raising young people's engagement by drawing on research from around the globe and providing evidence that children achieve higher academically, have greater levels of physical fitness, increased confidence and self-esteem, show leadership qualities, and have greater engagement and motivation in learning. The report is available at
Where a child is educated at home on a full time basis the level of formality will vary according to the wishes of the parent and the needs of the child. Some parents will adopt a more child led approach to learning while others will prefer a more formal approach or something that takes in elements of a range of different approaches. In each case the education provided must be suitable to the age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs that the child may have. It will not always be possible to distinguish between formal learning and non-formal learning in this context.
There are no plans to establish a formal system to accredit non-formal learning undertaken by children outside of school.
Social Services: Haringey
Ofsted published the report of a joint area review of services for children and young people in Haringey, undertaken with the Healthcare Commission and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, on 1 December 2008. The Department received a final draft of the report for information on 30 November 2008. Ofsted published a letter, informing Haringey local authority of its annual performance assessment of services for children and young people, on 17 December 2008. The Department saw no draft of the letter.
Culture, Media and Sport
Olympic Games 2012: ICT
I refer the hon. Member to the answer the Home Secretary gave on 21 October 2009, Official Report, column 1550W.
The implementation of the Olympic enhancements for the UK-wide Airwave radio system continues to progress according to schedule and will be ready for the 2012 Games.
Work and Pensions
The Department for Work and Pensions does not set targets on housing benefit administration and collection. The Department encourages and supports local authorities to set their own targets to achieve and maintain an effective housing benefit service for customers and taxpayers.
[holding answer 28 January 2010]: The total number of mesothelioma deaths where the last residence of the deceased was recorded as being within the Government Office for London region1 between 1998 and 2007 (the latest year for which data are available) was 1761 (source: HSE, British Mesothelioma Register). The great majority of these will be due to asbestos exposure but there is evidence to suggest a small number of cases have some other unidentified cause.
1 The Government Office for London region includes both inner and outer London boroughs.
Mesothelioma: Death Certificates
[holding answer 28 January 2010]: The number of mesothelioma deaths each year from 2001 to 2007 (the latest year for which data are available) where mesothelioma was recorded as (a) the underlying cause of death and (b) an associated cause of death, are shown in Table 1.
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 20061 20071 Underlying cause 1,758 1,763 1,801 1,866 1,919 1,942 2,035 Associated cause 99 96 66 94 120 102 107 1 Provisional Source: Health and Safety Executive British Mesothelioma Register
Health and Safety Executive British Mesothelioma Register
It is not possible to separately identify from readily available data the number of mesothelioma deaths before 2001 in each category since mesothelioma was not included within the framework used for classifying causes of death before then. A small number of deaths occur each year where mesothelioma is mentioned on the death certificate but not recorded as either the underlying or associated cause of death.
(2) what guided busways have been approved for construction; when each is projected to open; and what the projected length of each is;
(3) what assessments his Department has made of the safety of operation of guided busways; and who has carried out the assessments undertaken for his Department.
There are currently five guided bus systems in operation in England. Details on when these started operations and the length are in the following table:
Name of scheme Local authority Date scheme opened Length of guided bus section Leeds “Superbus” Leeds city council 1995 1.5 km of segregated bus guideway Ipswich Suffolk county council 1995 200 metre section Leeds “Elite” Leeds city council 2001 2 km of segregated bus guideway Bradford “A641 Manchester Road Quality Bus Initiative” Bradford metropolitan district council 2002 2.3 km of guided busway. Crawley “Fastway” West Sussex county council 2003 2.2 km of guided busway
Name of scheme
Date scheme opened
Length of guided bus section
Leeds city council
1.5 km of segregated bus guideway
Suffolk county council
200 metre section
Leeds city council
2 km of segregated bus guideway
Bradford “A641 Manchester Road Quality Bus Initiative”
Bradford metropolitan district council
2.3 km of guided busway.
West Sussex county council
2.2 km of guided busway
The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, which includes 25 kilometres of guided busway, was given funding approval by the Department in 2006 and construction is now under way with the scheme expected to be completed and open for operation in 2010.
No assessments to date have been undertaken by the Department with regards to the safety of operation of guided busways. Guided busways are exempt from the requirements of the Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety Regulations) 2006 and it is, therefore, the responsibility of the promoter of the scheme to satisfy itself that safety systems are appropriate both prior to the system commencing and once in operation.
The Department commissioned a research project on cyclists' road safety, which included a new review of cycle helmet effectiveness.
The review concludes that, assuming cycle helmets are a good fit and worn correctly they should be effective at reducing the risk of head injury, in particular cranium fracture, scalp injury and intracranial (brain) injury for users of all ages but would be expected to be particularly effective for children.
The full review of the evidence was published on 15 December 2009 and can be found online at:
The Department for Transport has nine layers of management reporting from Permanent Secretary down to Executive Officer. The table below shows how many officials are employed in each such layer and how much was spent on salaries and associated employment costs of staff at each such layer in the latest year.
Management layer/grade Staff numbers Staff costs (£) EO 2,863 96,038,345 HEO 1,502 58,733,248 SEO 896 41,798,306 Grade 7 705 47,115,864 Grade 6 221 18,845,216 Deputy Director 156 15,872,659 Director 34 4,900,166 Director General1 7 1,374,696 1 Permanent Secretary also included in this figure
Staff costs (£)
1 Permanent Secretary also included in this figure
Motorways: Road Traffic
The Department for Transport has modelled the use of hard shoulder running in its National Transport Model (NTM). The outcomes of this analysis were presented in “The Advanced Motorway Signalling and Traffic Management Feasibility Study” which, together with its technical annex, were published in March 2008.
These two documents are available on the Department’s website at:
The key modelling impacts presented in this analysis were also published as part of “Road Transport Forecasts 2008: Results from the Department for Transport’s National Transport Model”, which is available at:
The Department announced the inclusion of a number of new hard shoulder running schemes in its major schemes programme on 15 January 2009 in “Britain’s Transport Infrastructure Motorways and Major Trunk Roads”.
This report, which also contains details of the modelling outcomes, is available on the Department’s website at:
Copies of these reports have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Official Cars: Diesel Vehicles
The Government Car and Despatch Agency operates 107 diesel powered vehicles of which 62 are cars and 45 are commercial vans. Of these, 25 cars and two vans are fitted with diesel particulate filters, representing 25.23 per cent. of the combined diesel fleets.
Commercial negotiations are taking place with individual train operators to agree the level of compensation, if any, due as a result of this change to their franchise agreements. Any release of information concerning the assessment of the financial impact would be prejudicial to these negotiations.
Financial penalties are not applied on a per-train basis under the franchise agreement with Southeastern which operates passenger rail services in Kent.
However, penalties can be applied under the franchise agreement if Southeastern exceeds a threshold for overall delay or cancellations. These penalties are outlined in the Department's enforcement policy which provides for a range of actions that may be applied in the event of a contravention of a franchise agreement. These can include requiring an operator to put in place remedial plans, making performance-based payments, and ultimately an operator's franchise can be terminated.
The enforcement policy can be found on the Department's website at:
Rapid Transit Systems: Accidents
It is the responsibility of the operator of a guided busway to satisfy itself that safety systems are appropriate.
The police would take the lead in any investigation of an accident involving guided buses in the same way as any other road traffic incident.
The police may refer cases or liaise with the Vehicle Operator Services Agency and the Health and Safety Executive where evidence indicates that serious health and safety management failures have significantly contributed to an incident and these cannot be addressed by road traffic legislation.
The Department for Transport provides capital funding to local authorities for maintenance of their highways, which they can use for the renewal of their street lighting assets. The level of local transport plan funding to local authorities in England (excluding London) for highway maintenance for each year since its introduction since 2001, and its predecessor the Transport Supplementary Grant, is given as follows.
In addition this Department has provided PFI credits for local authority street lighting projects. 24 projects are operational with a further five in procurement. The table below lists the awards to local authorities in the year they reached financial close, including awards to London authorities.
PFI allocation TSG/LTP capital 1997-98 0 79,237 1998-99 7.5 69,447 1999-2000 0 211,864 2000-01 0 264,396 2001-02 18.6 528,004 2002-03 0 544,999 2003-04 166.747 545,640 2004-05 121 633,778 2005-06 96.765 634,409 2006-07 149.9 674,164 2007-08 94.911 677,035 2008-09 0 701,061 2009-10 332.8 735,097
Roads: Snow and Ice
Recommendations to salt producers by the Salt Cell on prioritisation of deliveries take into account highways authorities' existing stocks; recommended reductions in gritting rates; planned deliveries from suppliers and mutual aid between authorities; and forecast weather, three to four days ahead.
The Highways Agency had four salt spreading vehicles equipped with plough-blades that were in operation through Milton Keynes in December 2009 and January 2010. Two of these vehicles operated on the A5 and the other two vehicles on the M1.
Winter service provision on local authority roads is a matter for Milton Keynes Council. The Department for Transport does not provide snow ploughs or other equipment.
The Department for Transport, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government have been regularly monitoring salt supplies and stock levels across Great Britain with the help of their agencies, local authorities and the companies which supply salt. The monitoring involved the Department and Government regional offices having regular discussions with local authorities.
The Government and the devolved Administrations with the support of the Local Government Associations for England, Wales, Transport Scotland and Transport for London decided that due to the exceptional weather they should work in partnership to advise salt suppliers on priorities for deliveries across Great Britain.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The EU peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina was discussed at the EU Foreign Affairs Councils in November and December 2009, and in January 2010. In January, the Council agreed conclusions deciding to start providing non-executive capacity-building and training support within the framework of the operation, noting that the executive mandate will continue in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1895 (2009), and expressing the EU’s readiness to maintain an executive military role beyond 2010, should the situation require it, under a UN mandate. The Government welcome these conclusions.
Responsibility for procuring external consultants within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is devolved to individual FCO directorates, departments and overseas posts.
Annual expenditure on consultants is published each year in our annual departmental report, copies of which are available in the Library of the House and on our website. Actual consultancy expenditure in 2008-09 was £29.9 million rather then the estimated figure of £63.6 million noted in the 2008-09 departmental report. This included estimated costs of managed service delivery and other professional services, which are not classed as ‘Consultancy’ spend by the Office of Government Commerce.
These published figures include the costs of reimbursable expenses. To separate these out retrospectively would incur disproportionate cost.
According to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), average crude oil export figures for Iraq from 1999 to 2008 are as follows:
Average rate of export (millions of barrels per day) 1999 2.13 2000 2.04 2001 1.71 2002 1.49 2003 0.39 2004 1.45 2005 1.47 2006 1.47 2007 1.64 2008 1.86
Average rate of export (millions of barrels per day)
Figures for 2009 are not currently available from the OPEC website. However, data available from the Government of Iraq’s Ministry of Oil website indicate that average oil export rates in 2009 were 1.9 million barrels of oil per day, available at
Overseas Residence: Crime
Armed Forces: Bomb Disposal
(2) whether the ADE-651 bomb detector has been used to screen vehicles at any of his Department's establishments (a) in the UK and (b) overseas.
No ADE-651 bomb detectors have been purchased by the Ministry of Defence, and as such the ADE-651 has not been used where UK personnel control access to establishments either in the UK or overseas.
Armed Forces: Housing
Service Family Accommodation (SFA) is provided to accommodate entitled Service personnel and their families. When occupants cease to be entitled to SFA and do not vacate, the Department is required to take steps to recover possession of the property. In the first instance Defence Estates (DE) will write to the occupant advising that they are required to vacate the property within 93 days. DE will be as flexible as possible and will extend this so as to accommodate children's schooling and holidays or to allow occupants the maximum possible time to secure alternative accommodation arrangements.
The number of eviction orders applied for against occupants of SFA in 2009 is shown in the following table:
Month Number of eviction orders January 5 February 16 March 6 April 1 May 4 June 8 July 2 August 6 September 14 October 4 November 3 December 19
Number of eviction orders
The majority of the 70,000 Service Family Accommodation (SFA) properties worldwide are leased rather than owned by the Department. SFA is graded for charge and by Standard for Condition (SfC), a detailed measure of the physical condition of a property.
For the latest number of UK properties at each SfC (as at December 2009) I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 26 January 2010, Official Report, column 794W to the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr Fox).
The following number of UK SFA properties were at each SfC in each of the last five years:
S1fC S2fC S3fC S4fC 2004 25,276 22,215 3,083 146 2005 26,426 20,774 2,792 195 2006 28,796 18,950 2,309 159 2007 29,691 17,910 2,165 145 2008 28,354 17,414 2,098 109
Like for like figures are not available for overseas SFA. However, as at October 2009 overseas properties were at the following SfC:
SfC Number of SFA Properties S1fC 4,390 S2fC 3,930 S3fC 4,152 S4fC 2,848 Not yet assessed 99
Number of SFA Properties
Not yet assessed
The Secretary of State for Defence visited the Atomic Weapons Establishment on 23 September 2009. I visited on 27 February and 9 November 2009. As part of these visits briefing was provided on a range of subjects, including developments on the ongoing capital facilities programme. Ministry of Defence officials maintain a constant dialogue with AWE plc and other stakeholders on these matters, providing advice to Ministers as appropriate.
The capital facilities expenditure figures for the two Atomic Weapons Establishment sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield are shown in the following table:
Capital costs at outturn prices (£ million) 2005-06 172 2006-07 312 2007-08 409 2008-09 395 2009-101 420 1 Provisional.
Capital costs at outturn prices (£ million)
Departmental Disclosure of Information
The Ministry of Defence and its agencies make suitable information available for free re-use under the Public Sector Information Click-Use Licence. The Department’s Trading Funds are able, under their trading fund status, to charge for the services they provide in order to cover their costs, with both the Meteorological Office and UK Hydrographic Office licensing information for commercial re-use. Also, the museums for the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force are registered charities classified as executive non-departmental public bodies and levy a charge for requests of photographic images, video material and copies of historical documents to commercial companies and individuals at commercial rates. Charitable or other not-for-profit organisations are either not charged or charged at cost.
Available resources for Defence expenditure are set during spending rounds. The most recent comprehensive spending review set the Department's budget for the financial years 2008-11.
Departmental expenditure plans for 2010-11 and beyond have not yet been agreed.
The Department spent the following on information technology and telecommunications in the last three financial years:
£ million 2006-07 1,350 2007-08 1,509 2008-09 1,727 Notes: 1. The MOD's Resource Account Codes do not split the costs between information technology and telecommunications. 2. These costs include telecommunication costs, for example line rental. 3. These figures relate to capital addition and operating cost charges.
Notes: 1. The MOD's Resource Account Codes do not split the costs between information technology and telecommunications. 2. These costs include telecommunication costs, for example line rental. 3. These figures relate to capital addition and operating cost charges.
The detailed breakdown requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
Further information can be found in the Department's Annual Report at the following link:
Departmental Public Expenditure
Research and development spending in the MOD is spread across a number of key areas within the department. As such, no centralised R and D budget exists. In financial year 2007-08, the total MOD R and D spend, excluding science innovation technology, was some £1.6 billion. We anticipate that this will remain at a comparable level over the next few years, although departmental expenditure limits have not yet been set for the years beyond 2010-11.
R and D figures for 2008-09 are part of a National Statistic and the release of these figures is embargoed until their publication in late March. The most recent figures that are available 2007-08, indicate some £1.6 billion was spent by MOD on R and D, excluding the science innovation technology spend.
Figures for 2007-08 and earlier are available in the annual MOD Defence Statistics publication, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.
Spending by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in support of Operation Panlake, the assistance provided by MOD to Haiti on behalf of the Department for International Development (DFID), will be recovered from DFID. At present, it is not possible to say how much MOD has/will spend in support of Operation Panlake. The work is still being scoped and costings are incomplete.
Military Aircraft: Procurement
A decision is expected shortly regarding the replacement of the Nimrod R1.
I met with local MPs, BAE Systems Union representatives and BAE System officials on 15 December 2009 to discuss the replacement of the Nimrod R1 and to listen to their concerns regarding the closure of BAE Systems Woodford.
As at 28 January 2010 the following Royal Navy ships are deployed on operations:
RFA Cardigan Bay
RFA Lyme Bay
Horn of Africa
RFA Gold Rover
Royal Navy ships deployed on Exercises:
RFA Mounts Bay
In addition two Frigates, two Mine Counter Measures Vessels and one RFA ship are at notice for contingent operations in home waters and RFA Largs Bay is preparing to sail on Op Panlake off Haiti.
Radioactive Materials: Imports
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) materials accountancy regime reflects requirements in the Ionising Radiation Regulations 1999, including its associated Code of Practice, and International Atomic Energy Agency standards. These require the maintenance of accounts for radioactive material holdings and for annual inventory verification.
Within the MOD, the application of the materials accountancy regime is the responsibility of the Strategic Weapons Project Team (SWPT), part of the Defence Equipment and Support area. Individual site operators are responsible for accurate accountancy and reporting of accountable material by quantity and location; their arrangements are required to include a robust internal audit process and physical checks of holdings.
The responsibility for ensuring the conduct of audits of site operator arrangements, in respect of MOD-owned accountable material, lies with the head of SWPT, who is accountable to me in this capacity. Such an audit would include further physical inventory checking to verify the operator’s on-site inventory.
Written Questions: Government Responses
Information showing the number of persons found guilty at all courts in the north-east Government office region (GOR) and England and Wales for domestic burglary and drugs offences in 2006 and 2007 (latest available) can be found in the following table.
Court proceedings data are not available at parliamentary constituency level. Data are given in the table for the north-east GOR in which the Jarrow constituency and South Tyneside are located.
Data for 2008 were published on 28 January 2010 but were not available at time of preparing the response. The hon. Member may wish to request 2008 data in a further question.
North East GOR England and Wales 2006 2007 2006 2007 Burglary in a dwelling 767 827 12,442 13,138 Misuse of drugs 2,734 2,667 39,580 44,564 1 Includes: Cleveland police force area; Durham police force area; Northumbria police force area. 2 The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. Note: Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice
North East GOR
England and Wales
Burglary in a dwelling
Misuse of drugs
1 Includes: Cleveland police force area; Durham police force area; Northumbria police force area.
2 The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.
Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice
Departmental Written Questions
The Ministry of Justice answered 2,923 ordinary written questions and 790 named day questions from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2009. On average it has taken 6.14 sitting days to answer ordinary written questions and 2.22 sitting days to answer named day questions in Parliament.
The victims surcharge is a £15 charge imposed on fines given in the magistrates and Crown courts in England and Wales on all offences committed on or after 1 April 2007.
As receipts are dependent on the number of fines imposed and the enforcement rates achieved it is difficult to forecast future revenue from the surcharge with exactness. It is estimated that, as currently implemented, around £8 million will be raised from the surcharge, on fines, in 2009-10 and each year thereafter.
During the period April to December 2009 prisoners in England and Wales spent on average 11.82 hours a week in employment activities. Figures for the average remuneration received by prisoners over the same period are not available. However, a snapshot survey carried out in April/May 2007 showed an average rate of £9.60 a week.
Prosecutions: Council Tax
Snow and Ice
No overall assessment has been made of the financial impact of the severe weather conditions in the period 4 January to 18 January 2010 on the Ministry of Justice and its executive agencies (the National Offender Management Service, Her Majesty's Courts Service, the Tribunals Service and the Office of the Public Guardian).
Regular communications were issued to staff across the organisation via intranet and email ahead of, and during, the period of severe weather advising on the actions to be taken. Advice was as follows:
Managers were instructed to have their business continuity plans and key contacts readily available for activation.
Staff were advised not to take undue risks to travel to work if it was not safe.
Staff who were unable to attend their normal place of work must inform their manager that they are delayed or will not attend for duty. Where possible in these circumstances, staff were expected to work from home or, subject to management authorisation and organisation, attend another Ministry of Justice office or location.
Following the adoption of these principles, the impact on departmental business is considered to be relatively low. There were a number of closures of courts and tribunals at various stages and some courts, offices and prisons had to cope with fewer staff for short periods. In general, business continuity plans were activated without incurring additional expenditure, with work being prioritised and postponed. It would incur disproportionate cost to contact every local office, prison, court, probation board or trust and tribunal to obtain a financial impact assessment and to analyse and collate this information.
The Ministry of Justice's work spans criminal, civil and family justice, democracy, rights and the constitution. Every year around nine million people use our services in 900 locations across the United Kingdom, including 650 courts and tribunals and 139 prisons in England and Wales.
The range of the Department's policies and actions is wide and the statistical information relating to it is not normally collected on a constituency basis. Consequently, some of the information requested in the question cannot be provided in the form requested except at a disproportionate cost.
Although data on sentencing for the period are not available for the constituency of Streatham, it is available for London. These shows an increase in the total number of offenders sentenced annually from 202,478 in 1997 to 226,891 in 2007, the latest period for which such information is available.
Likewise, the number of offences brought to justice for the London area increased from 122,500 in 2001-02 (the earliest period since which such data have has been compiled) to 230,000 in 2007-08.
With regard to prosecutions, data are not available for the constituency of Streatham. However, the total number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts by the Metropolitan police increased from 260,328 in 1997 to 265,709 in 2007.
Although data on reoffending are not available for the constituency of Streatham, it is available for the borough of Lambeth The latest data, which cover reoffending in the period 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009, showed that the three month reoffending rate for offenders on the probation caseload in Lambeth was 8.05 per cent. After controlling for changes in the characteristics of offenders on the probation caseload, there was a reduction in reoffending of 6.88 per cent compared to the 2007-08 baseline. Data are not available prior to 2007 on this basis.
The number of persons commencing supervision by the Probation Service in London was 16,019 in 1997 and 22,233 in 2008.
158,440 civil non-family proceedings were started in the county courts of London Civil and Family HM Courts Service (HMCS) area in 2008, compared to 263,305 in 1998, the first year for which these figures are available. In respect of family law, there were also 15,512 private law applications and 870 public law applications made in the county or High Courts of this HMCS area in 2008-09, compared to 11,684 and 1,095 respectively in 2003-04, the first annual period for which these figures are available.
In addition, at a national level:
local communities are being better engaged in criminal justice by giving them a say in the types of Community Payback projects offenders carry out and allowing them to see justice being done, for example through the use of high visibility jackets. Offenders have now worked more than 14 million hours, with an estimated value to the taxpayer of over £80 million.
Major constitutional reforms have been delivered, including devolution, the Human Rights Act, Freedom of Information, Lords Reform, and a new Supreme Court for the UK.
Written Questions: Government Responses
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Horses: Animal Welfare
(2) if he will seek to secure agreement at EU level on a journey limit of between nine and 12 hours for the long distance transportation of horses to slaughter.
The review of Council Regulation 1/2005 on the welfare of animals during transport, which was brought forward from the deadline of 2011, was postponed by the European Commission in October last year because of a lack of internal agreement on the draft proposals. We expect to see fresh proposals within the next year. The Secretary of State's call for improved enforcement and finite times for journeys to slaughter made at Agriculture Council in September last year still stands.
Photography: Environment Agency
The Environment Agency has not issued any non-remunerated photography contracts and currently has four contracts in place with professional photographers. Each of these suppliers has gone through the tender process which is evaluated on both cost and quality.
Any photographer employed by the Environment Agency will be paid in full for their work. The Environment Agency has strict criteria on working with suppliers and takes its responsibilities seriously when it comes to paying people the right rate, on time, and getting good value for the taxpayer.
Sewers: Private Sector
On 15 December 2008, the Government announced that the transfer of all private sewers and lateral drains linked to the public sewerage system to water company ownership would take place from 2011. Transfer is the only comprehensive solution to the range of problems presented by private sewers.
I anticipate consulting early this year on the content of regulations to effect transfer, prior to them being presented to Parliament for approval.
Departmental Written Questions
President of the European Council
I refer the hon. Member to the press notice issued by my office on 19 January 2010. A copy is available on the Number 10 website:
Tuesday 19 January 2010
President of the European Council and PM discuss strategy for growth
The Prime Minister has said that members of the EU must raise the level of ambition for Europe’s future growth and employment.
The UK Government has published a compact designed to “reinvigorate” EU economies and build “strong, sustainable and balanced” growth.
Gordon Brown welcomed the new President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, to Downing Street this morning to discuss the priorities for Europe including action on the economy, climate change and security.
They also discussed the situation in Haiti following last week’s devastating earthquake. Mr van Rompuy said the EU has responded swiftly to the situation, with EU members already pledging €400 million, including €30 million from the UK. The EU is committed to helping Haiti with longer term reconstruction, Mr van Rompuy said.
On the economy, Mr Brown said EU countries must agree co-ordinated measures that will build a strong recovery.
President van Rompuy and I are agreed that at this critical point in Europe’s history, we must now more than ever, raise our level of ambition for Europe’s future growth and employment.
The European Union, despite the challenge of Asia and the rest of the world, remains the world’s largest trading block.
We are the biggest export market in the world, we are the largest internal market in the world and we have to forge a new economic strategy for our future following the economic crisis.
Gordon Brown said measures to improve growth and job prospects include investment in the low-carbon economy, open markets, the completion of the single market, and more flexible labour markets.
Mr van Rompuy said he has called an informal meeting of the European Council in February to look at formulating a new economic strategy for the region.
WMD Intelligence Review Committee
Assaults on Police
Data for the numbers of assaults on police officers in 2004-05 and years previous to this can be found in the HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Annual Reports, available in the Library of the House. A weblink to the 2004-05 report is provided for the member's convenience:
Data for the numbers of assaults on police officers for 2005-06 onwards can be found in the supplementary tables of the Home Office Statistical Bulletin “Police Service Strength, England and Wales”, available in the Library of the House. A weblink for the 2008-09 data is again provided for the member's convenience:
Earlier data from HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary reports and later data from Home Office supplementary tables are not comparable with each other as HMIC data were taken from Crime Recording Systems and Home Office data were taken from self-reported HR systems.
In the 10-year period, the number of police officers has increased by 14 per cent. (from 123,841 in 1998-99 to 141,647 in 2008-09). The number of assaults relates to only a very small proportion of these police officers—in 2008-09 there were an average of 0.07 assaults per officer.
[holding answer 10 December 2009]: It is not possible to provide an accurate estimate of the full costs of the specific breakdown of costs for each of the years requested except at disproportionate cost as the information was not recorded in the required format.
Borders: Personal Records
[holding answer 14 December 2009]: The original planned expenditure for e-Borders from award of the contract to Trusted Borders in November 2007 through to November 2017 was £1.2 billion.
The current forecast of expenditure for this period, including contingency, is £1.2 billion.
Any individual who believes that they have been the subject of such attacks or interference on their computer should report the matter to the police, who can then investigate the complaint.
The offences mentioned would in most cases appear to be covered by the Computer Misuse Act 1990. However, the Home Office does not collect statistics centrally on reports of these offences, and therefore I am unable to provide the hon. Member with the figures requested.
Departmental Carbon Emissions
[holding answer 25 January 2010]: The Secretary of State welcomes the 10:10 campaign and has signed up in a personal capacity. Staff have also been encouraged to take part. The Department and its agencies plan to sign up to the 10:10 campaign to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in 2010-11 against a 2009-10 baseline.
The Department and its agencies have had targets to reduce emissions since 1999 stretching to 2020 and carbon budgets which set out the Department's carbon emission reduction requirements to 2050. Performance against carbon emissions is published annually, the most recent data for the Home Office showed a 23.8 per cent. reduction against baseline.
Driving Offences: Fines
The information requested is not collected centrally.
Information reported to the Home Office on fixed penalty notices for motoring offences as well as data on court fines held by the Ministry of Justice does not include information on revenues as not all fines imposed will have been paid.
[holding answer 14 December 2009]: We have published provisional management information which shows that we deported or removed a total of 3,890 foreign national prisoners between 1 January and 30 September 2009. This figure is taken from the “Control of Immigration: Quarterly statistical Summary for Q3 2009”, which can be accessed at:
The Identity and Passport Service does not accept postal applications made from overseas, including those made from other European Union countries and Switzerland, and no consideration has been given to accepting applications by post from overseas.
If British citizens resident in any of these countries want to renew their passport, they would need to contact their local British embassy or consulate. Alternatively, they could return to the United Kingdom and apply in person to the Identity and Passport Service.
The Home Office does not hold statistics on the number of individuals questioned in relation to terrorism offences. In the last five years the police have issued the following number of cautions for terrorism offences:
Number of cautions issued 2004-05 4 2005-06 1 2006-07 0 2007-08 2 2008-09 4
Number of cautions issued
The Home Office collates statistics on the number of terrorism arrests, charges and convictions and these are included in a Bulletin which was published for the first time on 13 May 2009 (Statistics on Terrorism Arrests and Outcomes Great Britain 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008). The data contained in the Bulletin relates to Great Britain and not specific areas. The first edition of the Bulletin is available at:
The number of cautions as detailed above are contained in the second issue of the Bulletin which was published on 26 November 2009 and is available via the following link:
The Home Office does not hold statistics which are recorded in this way. However, the Home Office does collate statistics on the number of terrorism arrests and convictions and these are included in a Bulletin published for the first time on 13 May 2009 (Statistics on Terrorism Arrests and Outcomes Great Britain 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008). The first edition of the Bulletin is available at:
The second issue of the Bulletin was published on 26 November 2009 and is available via the link below:
For prisoners to be released unconditionally, they must have served a sentence of less than 12 months. For prisoners to be automatically released with conditions, they must have served a sentence of 12 months or more.
To be released on a discretionary conditional basis, prisoners will have served a sentence of four years or more for offences committed prior to 4 April 2005 or be subject to an extended sentence under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 imposed prior to 14 July 2008. Discretionary release is on the recommendation of the Parole Board.
Data on releases of prisoners having served sentences under anti-terrorism legislation or terrorism related offences for 2007-08 and 2008-09 were published in the Home Office statistical bulletins on terrorism arrests and outcomes. This data, however, do not show a monthly figure for releases. Both bulletins may be found at the following address:
At 31 March 2009, there were 143 terrorist/extremist prisoners in Great Britain. The Home Office collates statistics on the number of terrorism arrests and convictions and these are included in a Bulletin which was published for the first time on 13 May 2009 (Statistics on Terrorism Arrests and Outcomes Great Britain 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008). The first edition of the Bulletin is available at:
The figure quoted above is contained in the second issue of the Bulletin which was published on 26 November 2009 and is available via the link below:
Visas and Exclusion Orders: Ireland
[holding answer 11 January 2010]: The UK Border Agency holds a watchlist of adverse information drawn from a variety of sources, including the police, SOCA and other Government Departments. The system is used by UK Border Agency staff for the purposes of national security and the detection and prevention of crime. Refusal of entry may be based on information from any of these sources.
The UK and Ireland undertake a range of data sharing activity to underpin the security of the Common Travel Area, backed up by extensive operational co-operation. This includes sharing data from the UK immigration watchlist. We have a longstanding policy not to disclose exactly what information is shared.
Data sharing with the Irish Government remains a key area for increased co-operation, as recognised in the “Strengthening The Common Travel Area” public consultation and subsequent response.
Business, Innovation and Skills
I have been asked to reply.
The relevant data are not available at the level of individual counties. However, consistent with the latest HMRC National Statistics published for investment raised through the Enterprise Investment Scheme in the Government office regions, the total amount raised and invested in small businesses in the West Midlands through the Enterprise Investment Scheme since it was introduced in 1994 is around £300 million.
[holding answer 25 January 2010]: I refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statement to the House on 8 December 2009, Official Report, column 12WS. The report and statement can be found at the following URL:
I am advised that the Student Loans Company holds data only on average processing times for applications where the applicant has supplied all supporting information and evidence. For the application cycle academic year 2009/10 to date, average processing times for fully documented means-tested applications have been within SLC's published service standards of 30 days for paper applications and 20 days for online applications.
Data on numbers of applications processed, paid and still to be paid are available on the SLC website at:
The Department has not made an estimate of numbers of students who have withdrawn from a course in 2009/10 academic year due to delays in receiving student finance.
Many students whose means tested applications could not be processed before the start of term, for example because of incomplete evidence, were given provisional non means-tested maintenance awards and confirmation that their tuition fees would be paid.
Students whose application for student support was not approved by the start of term would have been able to apply for help through the Access to Learning Fund, which is provided by the Government and administered by higher education institutions, and can provide assistance to students in financial hardship.
The 1,000-strong UK Civilian Stabilisation Group includes a number of different skills and experience to help rebuild countries. The specific experts and civil servants in the Group are deployed in accordance with the particular requirements of a country’s need.
There are currently 23 Deployable Civilian Experts in Afghanistan, two in the Democratic Republic of Congo and one in Kenya. There are two members of the Civil Service Stabilisation Cadre currently deployed in Afghanistan. At least two more members will be deployed to Afghanistan in the coming weeks, while others have recently returned.
In accordance with the Data Protection Act, it would not be appropriate to publish a list of individuals’ names.
The Department for International Development (DFID) is providing the following support to overseas projects and non-governmental organisations tackling human trafficking, forced labour and child labour:
$5.8 million to the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO’s) project on Building a Global Alliance against Forced Labour and Human Trafficking. DFID support has enabled ILO to produce authoritative data on forced and migrant labour, provide training and guidance to labour administration officials and other law enforcement officers, and run projects tackling forced labour and trafficking in many of countries.
£1.4 million to Anti-Slavery International’s Slavery and Child Labour: Governance and Social Responsibility project, which seeks to combat the worst forms of child labour in six countries.
£388,000 to the Salvation Army’s Malawi Anti-Child Trafficking Project which aims to improve knowledge of and access to rights for children in Malawi who have been trafficked or are vulnerable to being trafficked.
£1.6 million to the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) to improve the incomes, working conditions and respect for the rights of millions of poor workers who are employed by suppliers of ETI member companies. All member companies agree to adopt the ‘Base Code of Labour Practice’ which prohibits forced labour and child labour.
In Bangladesh DFID has also supported the establishment of a specialised police unit for combating human trafficking.
Three Stabilisation Unit staff are currently employed to manage the Civilian Stabilisation Group, which consists of over 800 Deployable Civilian Experts and over 200 members of the Civil Service Stabilisation Cadre. A small number of additional staff are responsible for administrative tasks associated with the recruitment, training and deployment of members of the Group.
Communities and Local Government
Audit Commission: Internet
This is an operational matter for the Audit Commission, and I will ask the chief executive of the Audit Commission to write to the hon. Member direct.
Letter from Steve Bundred:
Your Parliamentary Question outlined above has been passed to me to reply.
The Oneplace website currently includes performance indicators on the amount of waste collected, recycled and landfilled as well as a range of measures of residents' satisfaction with these services.
The Audit Commission is discussing with DEFRA the availability of reliable data on the frequency of household waste and recycling collection with a view to including this data on the website as soon as possible.
A copy of this letter will be placed in Hansard.
The information requested is not available. The Department evaluates the impact of major programmes and policies. We do not assess the specific impacts on individual areas.
Details of research projects commissioned by Communities and Local Government and its predecessors are available from our Research Database (RD) at
The database provides information on projects commissioned by Communities and Local Government and predecessor departments going back to 30 November 2001. This includes details of evaluations.
Departmental Disclosure of Information
Government Departments and agencies make most of their information available for free re-use under the Public Sector Information (PSI) Click-Use Licence. CLG's executive NDPBs make relevant information freely available by publishing it on their websites. CLG's trading funds; the Ordnance Survey, the Fire Service College and the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre can charge for the services they provide in order to cover their costs. This includes information supplied to other public bodies, commercial organisations and individuals. In common with other Government policy, some information is sold as priced publications.
In the Department for Communities and Local Government uniform layers of management do not exist across the organisation. Instead, different arrangements are made by each area to meet its business needs. At present employees in pay range 3 and above can be responsible for line management.
The following table shows total employment costs for pay ranges 3 and above for 2008-09 although it should be noted that not all these employees will have line management responsibilities. Total employment costs include salaries, non-consolidated performance awards, employer's national insurance payments, overtime and employer's pension costs. The provision of total pay costs excluding non-line managers could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Pay range Number of staff (headcount) Total annual employment costs 2008-09 (£) 3 (EO) 333 10,596,359 4 (HEO) 533 19,559,166 5 (SEO) 326 12,010,745 6 (Grade 7) 497 24,829,182 7 (Grade 6) 127 7,709,854 Deputy Director 84 8,355,458 Director 22 3,173,623 Director General 6 1,383,829 Permanent Secretary 1 266,471
Number of staff (headcount)
Total annual employment costs 2008-09 (£)
6 (Grade 7)
7 (Grade 6)
22 in total as at January 2010. The Department sponsors 12 executive NDPBs, five advisory NDPBs and two tribunal NDPBs, as well as two other public bodies classified as Public Corporations and a public body which does not have a formal classification. The bodies are listed as follows.
Community Development Foundation
Homes and Communities Agency
Independent Housing Ombudsman Limited
Infrastructure Planning Commission
Leasehold Advisory Service
London Thames Gateway Development Corporation
Standards for England
Tenant Services Authority
Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation
Valuation Tribunal Service
West Northants Development Corporation
Advisory Panel for the Local Innovation Awards
Advisory Panel on Standards for the Planning Inspectorate
Building Regulations Advisory Committee
National Community Forum
National Housing and Planning Advice Unit
Rent Assessment Panels under the Residential Property Tribunal Service
Valuation Tribunal for England
Architects Registration Board
Local Government Ombudsman/Commission for Local Administration
Departmental Written Questions
The Department's performance in answering parliamentary questions is monitored by its Management Board.
In CLG, Ministers endeavour to provide hon. Members with a substantive response to their named day question on the date specified, and to answer ordinary written questions within a working week of being tabled. In 2009, CLG Ministers received:
862 questions for answer on a named day of which 708 (82 per cent.) received a substantive answer on the due date; and
4,853 ordinary written questions of which 4,112 (85 per cent.) were answered within a working week.
This is an operational matter for the Audit Commission, and I will ask the chief executive of the Audit Commission to write to the hon. Member direct. As the Audit Commission has already made clear, the inspection will take place as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made and we are keen to see the findings as soon as possible. However, it is important that the inspection is robust as the findings will inform any further package of support offered to the council. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has confirmed that we are prepared to use the powers he has to tackle any issues identified by the Audit Commission which require government action.
Letter from Steve Bundred, dated 29 January 2010:
Your Parliamentary Question outlined above has been passed to me to reply.
The planning for the inspection of Doncaster Council is well advanced and the necessary fieldwork will be completed as soon as possible. The inspection report (including recommendations) will be published as soon as it is complete but at this stage it is not possible to give a firm date.
A copy of this letter will be placed in Hansard.
Mortgages: Repossession Orders
CLG's consultation on “Lender repossession of residential property: protection of tenants”, which considered options for closing a gap in legal protection for tenants who suffer short notice eviction as a result of landlord eviction, closed on 14 October 2009. The consultation document stated that the Government's preferred approach was to ensure tenants received adequate notice if they needed to move by giving courts the power to delay possession and introducing a new notice of intention to enforce possession. These measures are now being taken forward by Dr. Brian Iddon in a private Members Bill, The Mortgage Repossessions (Protection of Tenants etc) Bill, which is to receive its second reading on 29 January.
Non-domestic Rates: Fines
Non-domestic Rates: Garages and Petrol Stations
All supermarkets have been sent summary valuation calculations notifying the occupiers of their new rateable value (RV), and have been invited to contact their local valuation officer if they think the change in their RV may be incorrect.
The RV for a supermarket petrol retail outlet forms part of the overall rateable value of the supermarket. The SCAT codes do not allow us to separately identify supermarkets with petrol retails outlets from supermarkets without petrol retail outlets. Therefore, information on the distribution of supermarket petrol retail outlets by change in RV is not held centrally.
The five-yearly business rates revaluations make sure each business pays its fair contribution and no more. The 2010 revaluation will not raise a single extra penny for Government and over a million properties will see their business rate liabilities come down as a result of revaluation.
As a result of the £2 billion transitional relief scheme we have put in place, no property (including petrol retail outlets) will see its rates rise by more than 11 per cent. in 2010-11 as a result of revaluation, with increases capped at just 3.5 per cent. for small properties.
Shops: Empty Property
The Department for Communities and Local Government is providing £5.6 million to 107 local authorities to support approaches for making use of vacant shops and other ideas for boosting high streets and town centres affected by the recession. We have targeted this funding at councils showing relatively high levels of deprivation as these areas have been hit hardest by the recession.
The local authorities receiving funding are in the top half of the index of multiple deprivation (IMD) and show relatively high shop vacancy rates based on data provided by the market analysts Experian.
Travelling People: Caravan Sites
On 31 December 2009, Cabinet Office had 17 staff without permanent roles who were being supported to find new permanent roles. The Department introduced a brokerage service in July 2007 to provide tailored support to redeploy staff without permanent roles. Figures on staff without permanent roles are only available since that date.
Since July 2007, 115 staff without permanent roles have been redeployed. The average time between staff being declared surplus and redeployment to a new permanent role is set out in the following table. The table also gives details of the proportion of employees without a permanent role for longer than six months.
Average time from declared surplus to redeployment (Months) Proportion of CO employees without a permanent role for six months or more (Percentage) 20071 9 0.65 20081 4 1.38 20091 2 1.21 1Information on salary costs of staff without permanent roles is not held. However, there are no additional staff costs to the Department arising from staff without permanent roles, since they are deployed in interim or temporary roles while they are looking for permanent employment, saving the Department the cost of fees on agency and interim staff.
Average time from declared surplus to redeployment (Months)
Proportion of CO employees without a permanent role for six months or more (Percentage)
1Information on salary costs of staff without permanent roles is not held. However, there are no additional staff costs to the Department arising from staff without permanent roles, since they are deployed in interim or temporary roles while they are looking for permanent employment, saving the Department the cost of fees on agency and interim staff.