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Written Answers

Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 3 February 2010

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Solicitor-General

Crown Prosecution Service: Victims

To ask the Solicitor-General by what methods the Crown Prosecution Service has kept victims of crime informed of the progress of prosecutions since 2002. (315349)

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) introduced the initiative known as Direct Communications with Victims in 2001. Under this initiative, victims are written to when key prosecution decisions are taken. Senior CPS prosecutors also meet victims or their families in very serious cases to explain decisions. Additionally the phased introduction of witness care units (WCU) across England and Wales during 2004-05 has meant that CPS and police staff are able to provide information and support to victims and other witnesses based on the individuals preferred means of contact.

Dorneywood

To ask the Solicitor-General with reference to the answer to the right hon. Member for Horsham of 19 June 2008, Official Report, column 1187W, on Dorneywood: official hospitality, what use the Attorney-General's Office has made of Dorneywood for official engagements in the last 12 months. (315465)

The Attorney-General's Office has not used Dorneywood for any official engagements during the last year.

Victims: Prosecutions

To ask the Solicitor-General with reference to the answer of 27 March 2009, Official Report, column 729W, on prosecutions, when she expects the comprehensive review of resources available to victim and witness care to report. (315348)

The review referred to was intended to assess and inform the staffing of the joint police/CPS witness care units (WCU), and thereafter the effective deployment of victim and witness care resources.

The first strand of the review, in relation to the staffing of the WCU, has been completed, and CPS resources dedicated to these units have been maintained for the financial year 2010-11. A further strand of the review will take place during 2010, to ensure full consideration is given to the impact of the launch of the National Victims Service.

Scotland

Departmental Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many staff in his Department have the status of (a) embedded communicators and (b) are members of the Government Communications Network and are not listed in the Central Office of Information White Book. (315541)

No staff at the Scotland Office have the status of embedded communicators. No staff are members of the Government Communications Network and not listed in the COI White Book.

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many layers of management reporting from the most senior to the most junior there are in his Department; 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 for which information is available. (312831)

The Scotland Office does not employ any staff directly. All staff in the Office are seconded from other Government Departments, mainly the Scottish Executive and Ministry of Justice. Staffing information containing the grade and gender breakdown of all staff using the Scottish Executive's grading structure, for illustrative purposes, is published in the Office's annual report. Under this grading structure, there are currently nine grades between the most senior and the most junior posts in the Scotland Office. The Office does not keep information on salary and associated employment costs in the form requested.

Departmental Public Consultation

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many citizens’ juries or summits have been hosted by his Department since October 2008; on what date each event took place; and which Ministers were present at each event. (314529)

The Scotland Office has not arranged any citizens' juries or summits since October 2008. On 31 October 2009 I attended a public consultative event on the Bill of Rights and Responsibilities in Edinburgh arranged by the Ministry of Justice.

Hotels

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many separate bookings for hotels graded at five star or above were made through the Expotel booking service by his Department in the latest year for which figures are available; and at what cost such bookings were made. (315544)

The Scotland Office does not separately record information on the grade of hotel booked by officials.

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

Wales

Children: Poverty

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with Welsh Assembly Government Ministers and ministerial colleagues on steps to be taken to reduce levels of child poverty in Wales. (314567)

During recent bi-lateral meetings with Ministers at the Welsh Assembly Government I have discussed the Child Poverty Bill. This Bill commits the Government to eradicating child poverty by 2020 and will enshrine in law an ambitious set of targets to achieve this goal.

The Government are also taking action to assist children from low income families across the UK through the introduction of Child Trust Funds enabling families to save for their children's future with additional funding for low income households. 64,000 children in Wales will benefit from an additional Welsh premium. The Government have also ensured an increase in the child element of child tax credit benefiting an estimated 380,000 children and in child benefit, benefiting an estimated 640,000 children in Wales.

The Welsh Assembly Government are further complementing these efforts through the introduction of legislation such as the proposed Children and Families (Wales) Measure underpinning their commitment to the target set for 2020. This recognises families in poverty often face multiple disadvantages requiring specialist and intensive support. The Welsh Assembly Government also has in place a range of policies aimed at tackling child poverty including employment support programmes, childcare initiatives, education and health programmes and Communities First interventions.

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many performance reviews were undertaken in respect of staff of (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in each of the last five years; in how many cases performance was rated as unsatisfactory or below; how many staff left as a direct result of such a rating; and what percentage of full-time equivalent staff this represented. (313822)

Performance Management in the Wales Office is an ongoing process, with all staff undergoing annual and mid-year formal performance reviews. The total numbers of annual performance reviews carried out in each of the last five years are set out in the following table.

Total annual performance reviews undertaken

Number

2004-05

52

2005-06

57

2006-07

57

2007-08

56

2008-09

59

Only a very small number of staff received 'unsatisfactory' markings during each of those five years. Therefore actual numbers cannot be provided without compromising staff confidentiality.

The award of an unsatisfactory performance marking invokes poor performance procedures, but would not directly result in dismissal. Support is provided to employees to reach and maintain the required standards of performance.

Departmental Public Consultation

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many citizens' juries or summits have been hosted by his Department since October 2008; on what date each event took place; and which Ministers were present at each event. (314531)

Electoral Commission Committee

Electoral Register: Expenditure

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission how much was spent on electoral registration initiatives in each of the last 10 years. (315043)

The Electoral Commission informs me that total expenditure on electoral registration initiatives in each of the last two years was as follows:

2007-08: £6,461,000

2008-09: £6,683,000

Initiatives included in these costs include guidance for electoral administrators, activity relating to the performance standards framework for electoral registration officers, research, the Commission’s partnership grants programme and public awareness campaigns to promote voter registration.

Equivalent information for earlier years could be provided only at disproportionate cost as expenditure was accounted for under more than one corporate objective.

Local Government Finance

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 22 October 2009, Official Report, column 1645W, on local government finance, what data sets not contained in the national indicator set local authorities are required to submit to the Electoral Commission. (314955)

The Electoral Commission informs me that local authorities are not required to submit any data sets to the Commission.

However the Commission further informs me that Electoral Registration Officers and Returning Officers employed by the local authority are each asked to complete a self assessment return against a performance standards framework and also complete a financial information survey at the end of the financial year. Both the standards and the financial survey are available on the Commission’s website:

www.electoralcommission.org.uk

Local Government: Suffolk

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission how much had been spent on the Boundary Committee’s review of the reorganisation of local government in Suffolk on the latest date for which figures are available. (314864)

The Electoral Commission informs me that the amount spent on the structural review of Suffolk to date is £463,950.

Northern Ireland

Criminal Justice and Policing: Devolution

10. To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment he has made of progress in the devolution of criminal justice and policing to Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. (314146)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave earlier to the hon. Members for South Down (Mr. McGrady) and Forest of Dean (Mr. Harper) and my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, East and Mexborough (Jeff Ennis).

Prison Estate

11. To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his most recent assessment is of the adequacy of the prison estate in Northern Ireland. (314147)

I announced in December 2007 that 400 additional adult male places would be made available by the end of 2010. 230 of these are now operational and 140 under tender for construction. In addition further accommodation is being refurbished and brought back into use at Maghaberry. A detailed business case and design for the replacement prison at Magilligan is under way. An options appraisal for a discrete women’s facility has been prepared. Final decisions must take account of funding availability.

Organised Crime

12. To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he plans to take to reduce the financial assets of organised criminal gangs in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. (314148)

The Organised Crime Task Force is committed to maximising the value of assets recovered from criminals. Last year £7.3 million of criminal assets were recovered in Northern Ireland against a minimum target of £6.2 million.

Power Sharing

13. To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment he has made of prospects for further power sharing in Northern Ireland. (314150)

I refer the hon. Lady to the answer I gave earlier to the hon. Members for South Down (Mr. McGrady) and Forest of Dean (Mr. Harper) and my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley East, and Mexborough (Jeff Ennis).

Departmental Billing

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the average length of time taken by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies to pay invoices from (i) small and medium-sized enterprises and (ii) all creditors in the last 12 months. (315136)

The following table shows the percentage of invoices that have been paid by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) within 10 working days during the nine month period to 31 December 2009.

Percentage paid within 10 working days

Core Department1

92

Executive agencies:

Northern Ireland Prison Service

92

Compensation Agency

98

Forensic Science Northern Ireland

83

Youth Justice Agency

81

1 Including arm’s length bodies and the Public Prosecution Service Northern Ireland but excluding Executive agencies and NDPBs

In line with guidance issued by Cabinet Office on 17 November 2008, the Department and agencies revised internal timescales for the processing and payment of invoices with effect from 1 December 2008. Since then, there has been a steady improvement in the NIO’s statistics.

The Government policy of paying within 10 working days applies to invoices from all suppliers irrespective of size—no distinction is made for small or medium-sized enterprises and separate statistics relating to these groups are not recorded.

Departmental Mobile Phones

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) mobile telephones and (b) BlackBerrys have been provided to (i) Ministers and (ii) special advisers in his Department in (A) 2008-09 and (B) 2009-10 to date; and at what cost to the public purse. (313172)

A BlackBerry was provided for the Secretary of State in February 2009 at a cost of £212 plus 15 per cent. VAT.

No other mobiles or BlackBerries were purchased for Ministers or special advisers in 2008-09 or 2009-10.

Departmental Public Consultation

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many citizens’ juries or summits have been hosted by his Department since October 2008; on what date each event took place; and which Ministers were present at each event. (314530)

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has not hosted any citizens’ juries or summits since October 2008.

State Visits: Republic of Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for what reasons the President of the Irish Republic was invited to the Police Training College on 28 January 2010; and who invited her. (315358)

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

House of Commons Commission

14 Tothill Street

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what expenditure the House of Commons Commission has incurred on (a) rent, (b) refurbishment, (c) business rates and (d) utility provision in respect of 14 Tothill Street in the last 12 months. (315095)

The Commons share of expenditure for 14 Tothill Street for the 12 months to 31 December 2009 was:

£

(a) Rent

2,400,000

(b) Refurbishment

1,300,000

(c) Business rates

175,000

(d) Utilities

28,000

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what contribution the House of Lords has made to the Commission towards the cost of (a) rent, (b) refurbishment, (c) business rates and (d) utilities in respect of 14 Tothill Street in the last 12 months. (315248)

The House of Lords made the following contributions for the year ended 31 December 2009:

£

(a) Rent

1,610,000

(b) Refurbishment

3,239,000

(c) Business rates

117,000

(d) Utilities

29,000

Leader of the House

Topical Debates

To ask the Leader of the House how many applications have been received each week asking for subjects to be debated in topical debates since their inception; and what the 10 most popular subjects proposed for debate have been since procedures for such debates were instituted. (314676)

I have today issued a written ministerial statement outlining proposed subjects for topical debate between 18 November 2009 and 31 January 2010.

Following a review of topical debate procedure in October 2007, the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons has issued regular written ministerial statements setting out this information. These can be found in the Official Report:

7 February 2008, Official Report, column 83WS

24 April 2008, Official Report, column 110WS

14 July 2008, Official Report, column 7WS

25 November 2008, Official Report, column 79WS

12 February 2009 Official Report, column 108WS

3 June 2009, Official Report, column 14WS

3 December 2009, Official Report, column 135WS.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Salmon: Merseyside

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the size of the salmon population in (a) the River Mersey and (b) all rivers in the Merseyside region, (i) on the latest date for which information is available and (ii) (A) two, (B) five, (C) 10 and (D) 15 years ago. (314466)

The current assessment of the salmon population size in the Mersey catchment covers two elements of the fish's life cycle:

1. Numbers of adult fish entering the Mersey Catchment.

2. Numbers of juvenile salmon in the Rivers Goyt and Bollin.

No distinction is made between (a) River Mersey and (b) All Rivers in the Merseyside region when assessing adult salmon. All monitoring of adult numbers is carried out at the Woolston Weir Fish Pass and Trap in Warrington.

The Woolston fish pass was adapted to trap fish in 2001, shortly after evidence was collated to confirm the arrival of adult salmon in the river. It has since been run in the autumn of each year.

Number of adult salmon

Number of days fish trap is operated

2001

3

18

2002

26

48

2003

1

6

2004

1

1

2005

42

10

2006

8

21

2007

35

41

2008

45

20

2009

3

4

1 Shut for health and safety modification

The number of days spent trapping varies from year to year and is dependent upon the amount of resource available.

Video technology is currently being developed for the trap to enable the remote counting of adult salmon all year round.

Juvenile salmon distribution is currently monitored on the River Goyt by electric fishing for young fish and the counting of adult redds (nests). Since young salmon were discovered on the River Goyt in 2001, they have been counted in small numbers every year on the river.

Number of juvenile salmon

Number of surveys in the lower Goyt

2005

4

4

2006

6

8

2007

4

5

2008

0

1

2009

1

6

Juvenile salmon surveys will start on the River Bollin in 2010. This river has now been opened up to adults by the building of two new fish passes, developed as part of the Environment Agency Mersey Life project.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Broadband

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many UK households do not have access to broadband internet services. (315026)

Ofcom’s Communications Market Report: English Regions (Published August 2009) reported that about 4,200 UK households were not connected to a broadband enabled exchange at the end of 2008. The report can be found at:

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/cm/cmrnr09/england/nrcmreng.pdf

For some 11 per cent. of households connected to a broadband enabled exchange, line lengths or other technical issue mean that the speed delivered to the customer is less than 2 Mbits.

Business

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what information his Department collates on the (a) number of businesses in and (b) annual revenue of the independent hand car wash sector. (312694)

I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated 29 January 2010:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning what information the department collates on the (a) number of businesses in and (b) annual revenue of the independent hand car wash sector (312694).

The ONS does not collect information specifically relating to the independent car wash sector. This industry is subsumed within a larger industrial classification, which is 'Maintenance and repair of motor vehicles' and estimates of the number of businesses and their revenue can only be produced for the aggregate.

Copyright: Recordings

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he plans to bring forward legislation to clarify the lawfulness of copying for personal use a recording the copier purchased; and if he will make a statement. (314151)

The law in this area is clear: it does not permit the copying for personal use of a recording the copier has purchased, without permission of the copyright holder. For example, tracks purchased online are often accompanied by licences permitting consumers to make a limited number of copies for their own use, but many CDs have “all rights reserved”.

The Government carefully considered this issue in their Copyright Strategy, “© the way ahead”, and the second stage consultation on copyright exceptions arising from the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property. We concluded that a UK-only approach will be unable to deliver the correct balance between the access that consumers desire and the appropriate remuneration that rights holders need. EU-wide consideration is required, which we would support.

Departmental Visits Abroad

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what expenditure his Department incurred on representation at official level at overseas events in each of the last five years. (314273)

The Department does not centrally record details of representation at official level at overseas events. The Department holds information on overseas travel at the aggregate level but does not specifically relate these costs to events abroad, to obtain this information would entail disproportionate cost.

The Department publishes details of senior staff on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills website at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/about/board/expenses

Overseas conferences attended are included.

Employment: Females

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the proportion of women who work (a) between one and five, (b) between six and 10, (c) between 11 and 15, (d) between 16 and 20, (e) between 21 and 25, (f) between 25 and 30, (g) between 31 and 35 and (h) over 35 hours a week in each year since 1997. (313558)

I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated 28 January 2010:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what estimate has been made of the proportion of women who work (a) between one and five, (b) between six and 10, (c) between 11 and 15, (d) between 16 and 20, (e) between 21 and 25, (f) between 25 and 30, (g) between 31 and 35 and (h) over 35 hours a week in each year since 1997. (313558)

The table provided shows the usual weekly hours worked by women as published in the monthly Labour Market Statistical Bulletin, accessible via the link below. Estimates for the more detailed categories requested are not available on a basis consistent with those published.

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/Product.asp?vlnk=1944

As with any sample survey, estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) are subject to a margin of uncertainty. Indications of the sampling variability of LFS aggregate estimates are provided in the Statistical Bulletin.

Usual weekly hours of work1 for women in employment: Three month periods ending November, 1997 to2009—United Kingdom, seasonally adjusted

Percentage

Less than 6 hours

6 up to 15 hours

16 up to 30 hours

31 up to 45 hours

Over 45 hours

1997

3.1

13.9

27.3

45.3

10.4

1998

3.0

14.1

27.2

45.6

10.1

1999

3.0

13.2

27.7

45.8

10.2

2000

2.7

13.1

28.7

45.4

10.1

2001

2.5

12.4

28.9

46.3

9.9

2002

2.5

12.0

29.1

46.1

10.2

2003

2.5

12.2

29.6

46.0

9.7

2004

2.3

11.9

29.6

46.7

9.6

2005

2.2

11.2

29.6

47.6

9.5

2006

2.5

11.4

29.6

46.8

9.7

2007

2.2

11.4

29.3

47.5

9.7

2008

2.3

10.7

30.1

47.3

9.7

2009

2.3

11.0

30.8

46.3

9.6

1 Main job only including paid and unpaid overtime.

Note:

It should be noted that the above estimates exclude people in most types of communal establishment (e.g. hotels, boarding houses, hostels, mobile home sites etc.)

Source:

Labour Force Survey

Higher Education: Chelmsford

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 26 January 2010, Official Report, 848-9W, on higher education: Chelmsford, how many applicants from (a) West Chelmsford constituency and (b) Chelmsford local authority area did not get a place at university in (i) 2005-06, (ii) 2006-07 and (iii) 2007-08. [Official Report, 8 April 2010, Vol. 508, c. 15MC.] (314497)

[holding answer 1 February 2010]: The information is in the following table.

Applicants to full-time undergraduate courses via UCAS from West Chelmsford constituency and Chelmsford local authority area 2005-06 to 2007-08

Year of entry

2005

2006

2007

West Chelmsford constituency

Applicants

874

915

984

Of which:

Obtained a place

753

786

834

Unplaced

121

129

150

Chelmsford local authority

Applicants

1,372

1,402

1,517

Of which:

Obtained a place

1,190

1,195

1,287

Unplaced

182

207

230

Insolvency

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of creditors' committees in scrutinising insolvency practitioners. (315192)

Creditors have a financial interest in the outcome of insolvency proceedings and are therefore well placed to monitor the actions of insolvency practitioners. Ultimately insolvency practitioners are subject to the control of the court.

The OFT is currently undertaking a study into various aspects of the corporate insolvency market.

Manufacturing Industries: Government Assistance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to provide financial support for manufacturing industry. (315436)

The manufacturing strategy launched in September 2008 brings together over £150 million support for a range of policy measures that address key issues impacting on competitiveness such as skills, design, technology, global value chains and the move to a low carbon economy.

The advanced manufacturing package of measures announced in July 2009 provides more than £150 million from the strategic investment fund to support the development of high tech manufacturing that will enable UK manufacturers to take advantage of new market opportunities.

In addition, manufacturing benefits from:

The Real Help for Business package—support for manufacturers is described in the leaflet which is available at:

http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file53764.pdf

The Vehicle Scrappage Scheme where more than 330,000 orders for new vehicles have been placed.

The Manufacturing Advisory Service which has been expanded and has conducted over 32,000 manufacturing reviews and supported more than 11,800 implementation projects worth nearly £700 million value added.

Museums and Galleries: Finance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what recent representations he has received on the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s review of funding for its Museums, Galleries and Collections Fund; and when he expects the review to be published; (308095)

(2) how much funding the Higher Education Funding Council for England has allocated to museums and galleries in each of the last five years, expressed in 2009-10 prices.

[holding answer 6 January 2010]: The Higher Education Museum, Galleries and Collections Fund recognises the importance of these nationally valued institutions. I am pleased that the resources we have allocated to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) mean that they are planning not only to continue this funding stream, but also to increase it to £10.6 million in 2010/11.

However, it is important that all special funding streams are reviewed periodically. This ensures that public funds continue to be spent wisely. The Museums Fund is currently under review by a panel appointed by the Funding Council. The review will make broad recommendations about the fund’s future. The HEFCE Board will make detailed funding decisions for individual institutions based on these recommendations. I understand that those decisions are expected to be made before the summer, after which the review report will be published.

The Department has received correspondence from Oxford university and the university of Central Lancashire on this subject.

The total allocation in each year is as follows:

University Museums and Galleries Funding

£ million

2005/06

10.8

2006/07

9.9

2007/08

0.2

2008/09

10.2

2009/10

10.1

2010/11

10.6

Note:

The figures show levels of the Higher Education Museum, Galleries and Collections Fund over the past five years in cash terms. In 2005/06 the fund was administered by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The figure for 2005/06 shows both core and project funding from the AHRC and is not comparable to that for subsequent years.

Royal Mail: Snow and Ice

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions he has had with Royal Mail on its service to customers in areas which did not receive mail deliveries during the recent adverse weather conditions; what (a) information and (b) consultation Royal Mail held with such customers; and what assessment has been made of whether the universal service obligation was complied with during the period of adverse weather conditions. (314467)

Department officials were in contact with Royal Mail during the severe weather.

Decisions relating to operational matters are the direct responsibility of the company and local assessments were made on whether services could operate safely under local conditions. Royal Mail kept customers informed of disrupted services via its website:

www.royalmail.com

but due to the nature of the changing conditions, assessments had to be regularly made and it was not always possible to give customers advanced notice of whether local services will be operating as normal.

Postcomm, the independent postal regulator, is responsible for monitoring Royal Mail's performance in relation to the universal service obligation. The regulator receives regular compliance reports from Royal Mail regarding its quality of service and will where appropriate raise any reasonable concerns with the company over any significant interruption to local services due to the severe weather conditions.

The Government would like to thank postmen and women up and down the country for their efforts to deliver the mail in the face of the extreme weather conditions recently experienced in the UK.

Train to Gain Programme

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how much his Department has spent on skills brokers under the Train to Gain programme in each of the last three years. (314781)

The expenditure for each of the three years is set out in the following table.

£ million

2006-07

28

2007-08

39

2008-09

45

Video Games: Finance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how much financial assistance was given by regional development agencies to the video games industry in 2008-09. (312993)

The following table shows how much has been invested by each RDA in projects specifically aimed at the video game industry.

RDA

RDA financial assistance to the video games industry in 2008-09 (£000)1

AWM

729

EEDA

288

EMDA

0

LDA

250

NWDA

135

ONE

931

SEEDA

58

SWERDA

0

YF

195

1 To identify the financial assistance that has been provided from broader programmes (e.g. business support) would incur disproportionate cost.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the monetary value of cash allowances awarded to military staff in Afghanistan was in 2008-09. (314182)

The monetary value of cash allowances awarded to military staff in Afghanistan in 2008-09 was £30.6 million on local overseas allowance and longer separation allowance. These allowances contribute towards the necessary additional local cost of day-to-day living of those serving overseas and compensate personnel who are experiencing longer than usual separation from their families.

A further £66.5 million was awarded for the operational allowance in Iraq and Afghanistan, of which approximately £40 million was in Afghanistan. This allowance recognises the increased danger involved in serving in specified operational locations, over and above that which is taken into account in basic pay.

The allowances were funded from the reserve as a net additional cost of military operations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 25 January 2010, Official Report, column 516W, on Afghanistan, to how many of his Department's civilian staff based in Afghanistan in 2008-09 the total was paid. (314375)

In financial year 2008-09, operational allowances were paid to 104 MOD civilian personnel based in Afghanistan.

Armed Forces: Absence without Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel were absent without leave in each month in 2009. (314478)

The information is not held centrally in the format requested. Centrally held information relates to the number of absent without leave incidents and not to the number of personnel. Additionally, data are only available by month in respect of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. In respect of the Army, only the year to date total is held centrally and to obtain this information by month will require a manual search of records which could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The available figures are provided in the following table.

AWOL statistics are recorded by the number of incidences reported, because the figures may include service personnel who have been AWOL on more than one occasion. Furthermore, following the reporting of an incidence of AWOL, information may later come to light of extenuating circumstances for that unauthorised absence, such as compassionate, hospitalisation or travel delays beyond the individual's control. In such cases a service person may not be formally charged but the incidence is still recorded.

Incidents of reported AWOL for each month of 2009

Royal Navy

Army

Royal Air Force

January

5

1

February

10

0

March

10

0

April

5

0

May

10

0

June

10

0

July

10

0

August

5

1

September

10

0

October

10

1

November

5

3

December

0

0

Total

85

12,110

6

1 This is the number of recorded incidences, not the number of people AWOL or the number of charges brought.

Note:

Figures for the Royal Navy and Army are rounded to the nearest five.

Departmental Billing

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the average length of time taken by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies to pay invoices from (i) small and medium-sized enterprises and (ii) all creditors in the last 12 months. (315130)

The Ministry of Defence, its agencies and trading funds are fully committed to achieving the Government target of paying 90 per cent. of invoices within 10 days, and is a signatory to the Prompt Payment Code.

Since March 2009, we have consistently exceeded the target, and the latest figures show that 98.74 per cent. of invoices submitted by all suppliers were paid within 10 days of receipt. But we are not complacent and continue to seek improvements in our bill-paying performance to ensure that all our suppliers are paid promptly.

We have made no separate assessment of the time taken to pay small and medium-sized enterprises.

Departmental Public Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department (a) allocated for and (b) spent on public relations activities in each year since 2001; how much was spent on external consultants in each such year; what companies were contracted to provide such services in each such year; and how much he plans to spend on such activities in 2010. (315032)

The setting of detailed budgetary allocations is delegated to local budget holders. These allocations are revised constantly throughout the financial year to reflect changes in the Department's priorities. They are not therefore held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, information on the final budget where this is available is set out in the following table.

Expenditure on public relations activities (mainly recruitment for the armed forces) has been as follows:

£ million

2001-02

35.1

2002-03

52.5

2003-04

61.7

2004-05

79.3

2005-06

76.2

2006-07

43.0

2007-08

46.3

2008-09

155.2

1 Of an allocated budget of £56.7 million

A summary of the MOD's expenditure on external assistance has been placed annually in the Library of the House since 1995-96. The summary includes expenditure information provided by our trading funds that lie outside the MOD's accounting boundary. Budgetary information is not held. External assistance includes management consultancy, specialist lawyers, commercial bankers and IT expertise. Consultants help us to increase our efficiency and effectiveness but we employ them only when we cannot do the work ourselves and can demonstrate value for money.

A list of companies providing public relations services or external assistance is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, we do publish an annual list of those organisations the MOD pays £5 million or more to during the financial year. This information is in Chapter 1 (most recently in Table 1.17) of UK Defence Statistics, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. The current and historical editions are also available on the MOD's website at the following link:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/applications/newWeb/www/index.php?page=66&pubType=1

This list includes those major contractors providing external assistance. Where public relations services are required, the MOD may also contract with companies included in the Public Relations Framework, a centralised procurement service run by the Central Office of Information.

We are reviewing the detail of final budgets for 2009-10 pending the presentation of the Spring Supplementary Estimates to Parliament later this month.

Detailed budgetary information for 2010-11 is not yet available as we are reviewing our detailed resource allocations for that year to take account of current priorities, commitments and budgetary pressures.

Snow and Ice

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the costs to his Department arising from the severe weather conditions in the period 4 January to 18 January 2010; and if he will make a statement. (313585)

It is not possible to assess the costs to the Department of the disruption to transport arrangements and the consequent impact on the ability of staff to attend for work during the period of the recent bad weather. Costs such as the costs of structural damage to Defence facilities and infrastructure could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Costs were incurred by the Department in providing military assistance to the civil community where there was an immediate threat to human life or to alleviate suffering. It is standard practice not to charge for such assistance and consequently information on the costs of these operations is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The Department provided assistance to several external organisations where lives were not in imminent danger. The cost of such assistance will be reimbursed by the external organisations involved and there will be no net cost to the Department.

Culture, Media and Sport

Departmental Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will publish the travel guidelines issued to staff of each of his Department’s agency and non-departmental public bodies. (315144)

The Department does not hold any travel guidelines issued by its agency or non-departmental public bodies. Any payment in relation to travel should be made in accordance with Managing Public Money.

Digital Broadcasting: Radio

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with local radio stations on the (a) financial and (b) other effects on them of the digital switchover. (314764)

My Department has held two local radio summits with the commercial radio representative body RadioCentre, to discuss the effects of the Digital Radio Switchover with small station owners.

Digital Broadcasting: Religious Buildings

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with representatives of places of worship on the effects on them of the digital switchover. (314763)

Football: World Cup

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department has spent on support for the Football Association's FIFA 2018 World cup bid. (315011)

In addition to staff costs, the Department is making a loan of £2.5 million to the Football Association in support of England's bid to host the 2018 World cup. This money will be used for developing the technical bid and not on entertaining or salaries. It will also be repaid into grass roots football if the bid is unsuccessful, with the loan and a share of the profits from the tournament going into the grass roots if successful. As a result, this represents good value for money for sport.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many officials of his Department are working on the bid for the UK to host the 2018 World cup. (315012)

Four of my officials are currently working on the bid for England to host the 2018 World cup as part of their wider remit that involves all major sporting events.

Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department and its agencies spent on font licensing in the last three years. (315218)

My Department and its Agency have not spent anything on font licensing in the last three years.

Local Government Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 22 October 2009, Official Report, column 1645W, on local government finance, what data sets not contained in the national indicator set (a) municipal libraries and (b) local authorities are required to submit to his Department and its agencies. (314956)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has no statutory requirements for submission of datasets from local authorities.

Local authorities that have signed up to the free swimming initiative are responsible for submitting quarterly data on the number of free swims that have taken place in their area each month as part of the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the Free Swimming Programme. The Department also collects details of alcohol, entertainment and late night refreshment licensing from licensing authorities on an annual basis.

The Department does not receive any datasets from municipal libraries.

Museums and Galleries

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the number of visitors to museums in (a) Lancashire, (b) the North West and (c) England in 2009. (315028)

[holding answer February 2010]: My Department collects figures for visitor numbers for museums we fund either through our grant in aid programme or through our Renaissance in the Regions programme. We have no figures for museums in Lancashire.

Visits to museums in the North West and England in receipt of grant in aid or Renaissance funding are detailed in the table:

Areas that are funded by DCMS

Museums in receipt of funding through Renaissance in the regions January to September 2009

Sponsored museums 2009

North West total visits

11,465,046

23,300,000

England total visits

13,833,359

41,100,000

1 The museums included in the North West are: Manchester Art Gallery, Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Manchester Museum, and Whitworth Art Gallery.

2 Imperial War Musem North, Museum Of Science and Industry, National Museums Liverpoool, Tate Liverpool

Validated data for museums funded by Renaissance is only available up to September 2009. Data for the year will be available in March 2010.

Public Holidays

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has of the cost to his Department of the introduction of an additional public holiday; and if he will make a statement. (315122)

Sports: Torbay

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether his Department has taken steps to encourage participation in sport in Torbay constituency in order to reduce levels of obesity; and whether it has made funding available for this purpose in 2009-10. (315149)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is primarily focused on increasing sports participation, with Sport England as our key delivery partner. However, this is part of a joint target with the Department of Health to get two million more people more physically active, including one million more people playing more sport. DCMS and Sport England work very closely with the Department for Health across this target and sport will, of course, have a great positive effect on people's health.

As the non-departmental public body with responsibility for community sport, Sport England's aim is to increase and sustain levels of participation in sport and develop talent to drive standards of elite performance throughout the country. Their funding is distributed as part of the commitment to get one million more people playing more sport by 2012.

National governing bodies of sport (NGBs) are at the heart of the strategy as it is their networks of community clubs, coaches and volunteers that make sport happen. Sport England is investing £480 million through 46 governing bodies over the next four years and have agreed grow, sustain and excel targets with each one. Each sport has developed a whole sport plan to achieve these targets.

In addition to the current funding being invested through NGBs, Sport England has invested a total of £776,115 Exchequer funding into Torbay since 2002. This includes a recent investment of £634,615 into the Brixham Amateur Swimming and Life Saving Society in order to modernise the pool. Swim Torquay Limited also received funding of £136,500 in 2008-09 to extend their facilities. Sport England has further invested £317,771 of Lottery funding to various projects throughout Torbay since 2002-03.

Swimming: Concessions

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many free swims (a) pensioners and (b) those under the age of 16 years resident in (i) North East Lincolnshire and (ii) North Lincolnshire local authority area have received in each year since his Department's free swimming programmes were introduced. (315235)

The number of unique participants in the Free Swimming programme is not collected centrally. Local authorities are responsible for collecting data on the number of free swims that have taken place in their area each month.

The table shows the total number of free swims that have taken place under the free swimming scheme by people aged 16 years and under and people aged 60 and over in North East Lincolnshire local authority and North Lincolnshire local authority between April 2009, when the scheme began, and September 2009.

This is not a measure of the total number of individual participants taking part in free swimming, as the Department does not hold these figures.

Local authority

Under 16 swims

Over 60s swims

Total

North East Lincolnshire1

0

20,938

20,938

North Lincolnshire

74,961

15,305

90,266

1 NE Lincolnshire did not offer free swimming to under 16s.

Television: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent representations he has received on the television licence fee. (314755)

I regularly receive representations on the level of the licence fee. Multi-annual funding settlements for the BBC help to guarantee the independence of the BBC and Government will continue to respect that principle.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether TV Licensing is authorised to undertake surveillance under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; and what powers of entry it has. (314962)

The interpretation of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 is a matter for TV Licensing.

TV Licensing officers may enter a person’s home or business premises only with his or her consent or if authorised to do so by a warrant issued by a justice of the peace, a sheriff in Scotland, or a lay magistrate in Northern Ireland.

Under section 366 of the Communications Act 2003, in order to issue such a warrant the presiding judge must be satisfied by information provided on oath, that there are reasonable grounds for believing that an offence of not holding a licence while having installed or using a TV receiver has been or is being committed, that evidence of the commission of the offence is likely to be on the premises, and there is no other practicable way to lawfully gain entry to the premises.

Home Department

Crime: Halton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the percentage change in (a) overall recorded crime, (b) recorded violent crime, (c) burglary and (d) vehicle thefts in Halton has been between 2000 and the most recent date for which figures are available. (313425)

The available information relates to the Halton Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership area. Because of the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002, data for 2000-01 and 2008-09 are not directly comparable. Percentage changes between 2002-03 and 2008-09 for the requested offences have been given in the table.

Percentage change in selected offences recorded by the police in Halton—2002-03 to 2008-09

Percentage change between 2002-03 and 2008-09

Total recorded crime

-7

Violence against the person

39

Burglary

-14

Vehicle thefts1

-37

1 Includes theft or from a vehicle.

Crimes of Violence: Convictions

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many people were convicted of serious violent crime offences in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) England in (i) 2007, (ii) 2008 and (iii) 2009; (313598)

(2) how many people were convicted of overall violent crime offences in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) England in (i) 2007, (ii) 2008 and (iii) 2009.

I have been asked to reply.

Information showing the number of persons found guilty at all courts in the North East Government Office Region (GOR) and England for offences of violence against the person, by offence, in 2007 and 2008 (latest available) is shown in the 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 2009 are expected to be published in the autumn 2010.

Number of persons found guilty at all courts in the North East Government Office Region1 and England for offences of violence against the person, by offence, 2007 and 20082,320072008Violent offencesNorth East RegionEnglandNorth East RegionEnglandMore serious offences—indictable2253,2362023,217Less serious offences—indictable2,70735,8732,57835,842Summary offences2,88549,9312,67649,620Total indictable and summary offences of violence against the person5,81789,0405,45688,679 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.3 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

DNA: Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his contribution on Second Reading of the Crime and Security Bill, 18 January 2010, Official Report, column 35, from which document the facts were drawn on matches drawn from the national DNA database in 2008-09 for cases of rape and manslaughter from people who had been arrested but not convicted of a serious crime. (313693)

[holding answer 27 January 2010]: These statistics were provided by the National Policing Improvement Agency based on their analysis of data drawn from the Police National Computer by the ACPO Criminal Records Office.

Firearms

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many handguns were held in England and Wales by virtue of firearm certificates in each year since 2004-05. (313779)

Available data relate to handguns and muzzle-loading handguns possessed on certificate for 2004-05 and 2005-06, and are given in the table. Data on certification are now drawn from the National Firearms Licensing Management System (NFLMS) and information in this degree of detail is not at present available.

Handguns and muzzle-loading handguns possessed on certificate: England and Wales, 2004-05 to 2007-08

Handguns

Muzzle-loading handguns

2004-051

16,016

7,911

2005-062

16,399

8,728

2006-073

n/a

n/a

2007-084

n/a

n/a

n/a denotes figures not available.

1 Information on the firearms breakdown was provided by 37 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales. The missing six forces are: Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Staffordshire, Sussex and South Wales.

2 Information on the firearms breakdown was provided by 38 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales. The missing five forces are: Bedfordshire, Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire and Sussex.

3 Figures for 2006-07 are not available, due to the transition from in-force data collection systems to the National Firearms Licensing Management System (NFLMS) in 2006.

4 Figures for 2007/08 are not available, due to the transition from in-force data collection systems to the National Firearms Licensing Management System (NFLMS) in 2006.

Human Trafficking

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 13 January 2010, Official Report, columns 986-7W, on human trafficking, what estimate he has had made of the number of victims of trafficking for forced labour who have not received accommodation and support since 1 April 2009. (313657)

All victims of trafficking for forced labour that have been identified since 1 April 2009 have been provided with accommodation or support.

Remand in Custody: Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many hours young offenders on remand aged under 18 years spent on education, training and personal development in each young offenders institution serving as a remand centre in the latest period for which figures are available. (314582)

I have been asked to reply.

The Youth Justice Board reports the number of hours per week that young people spend undertaking education, training and personal development activities across the secure estate. This is a broad category that includes education provision delivered by learning providers commissioned by the Learning and Skills Council, as well as interventions, group work sessions, vocational training, and physical education classes delivered directly by the Prison Service or institution.

The YJB have introduced a new set of data items to allow them to monitor the secure estate. Data based on a new and more robust set of indicators are presented here for STCs and SCHs for September 2009. Data using the previous indicator are presented for YOIs. This information is presented in the following tables.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) reports that the average number of hours of OLASS funded learning and skills provision (not including personal development activity) delivered per learner per week in the public sector YOIs in the academic year 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2009 was 15.89 hours.

Data are not broken down to show the number of hours spent on education, training and personal development by young people held on remand but the information from the YJB and the LSC includes young people held on remand.

The data supplied by the Youth Justice Board are drawn from administrative computer systems. As with any large scale recording system, the data are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing and may be subject to change over time.

September 2009

Average number of hours

Average hours of education, training and personal development activity per week for young people at Public youth offenders institutes (YOIs)

25.6

Average hours of education, training and personal development activity per week for young people at Private youth offenders institutes (YOIs)

21.8

Average hours of education received per young person per week at SCHs

23.5

Average hours of education received per young person per week at STCs

25.8

Slough

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, with statistical information related as directly as possible to the Slough constituency, the effects on Slough of his Department's policies and actions since 2000. (311983)

The Home Office has introduced a range of policies and initiatives since 2000. The available statistical information relates to the Slough borough.

In terms of police recorded crime, data prior to 2002-03 is not directly comparable because of the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002. Between 2002-03 and 2008-09, total recorded crime in Slough fell by 7 per cent. More specifically:

Violence against the person—up 47 per cent.

Sexual offences—up 23 per cent.

Robbery—up 12 per cent.

Burglary—down 41 per cent.

Offences against vehicles—down 16 per cent.

Other theft offences—no change.

Criminal damage—up 10 per cent.

Drug offences—up 45 per cent.

Slough local police area together with the Royal borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and Bracknell Forest form Berkshire East Basic Command Unit (BCU). As at 31 March 2009 the BCU had 633 police officers.

Comparisons with 2000 for Slough or Berkshire East are not available. There were 90 police community support officers as at 31 March 2009 in the Berkshire East BCU while there were none in existence in 2000.

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 saw positive effects with the statutory duty to create a Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP). The CDRP has brought new ways of working in a cross cutting way with the police, Council and other key stakeholders and genuine partnership working to help tackle complex issues.

Since 2003 Slough has been funded by the Home Office as an 'intensive' Drug Intervention Programme (DIP) area enabling Slough to tackle drug-related offending through a range of' intensive' DIP applications including drug-testing on arrest and Restriction on Bail provisions allowing more offenders to be targeted, steered into treatment and out of a life of crime.

Slough's DIP budget for 2009-10 is £866,958. The operation of DIP in Slough in 2008-09 saw over 1,500 arrestees being drug-tested and 274 people referred into drug treatment.

Slough, as part of Thames Valley police force has been involved in the Tackling Knives Action Programme for the previous two years. This has provided additional funding and focus to work with young people and the community to prevent and educate about knife crime and serious youth violence as well as undertake enforcement operations to tackle this type of crime. Slough, as part of Berkshire East, has also received funding and support from the Home Office to tackle domestic and sexual violence. The BCU has received £95,000 to support Independent Domestic Violence Advisors and Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences that support the highest risk victims of domestic violence since 2007-8.

Before 1997 there were no bespoke powers to tackle antisocial behaviour but there are now a range of powers to deal with this issue. These include antisocial behaviour orders and designated public places orders (DPPO) from the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001. Since 2005-06 at least 155 antisocial behaviour contracts have been issued. Numbers of antisocial behaviour orders have not been published since 2006 and were previously published only at force level.

Slough has benefited from additional funding to tackle antisocial behaviour and improve confidence in its community. In 2009 Slough began operating as a Neighbourhood Crime and Justice pilot area. Key actions have included:

Producing a new set of ASB Service Standards.

Overseeing 2226 hours of Community Payback in Slough during October 2009.

Implementing Community Cashback (assets recovered from criminals). On November 25 a £36,000 cheque from the LCJB (Local Criminal Justice Board) was presented to the Britwell Youth Centre.

Raising awareness of the policing pledge and the rights the public can expect from police when dealing with crime and ASB.

Setting up support for ASB victims and witnesses, ensuring they are supported appropriately.

Publishing all Slough borough council court successes in The Citizen every two months.

Distributing newsletters for North, South and East Slough.

There are 80 CCTV cameras installed in the Town Hall, the Town Centre, Farnham Road and other smaller shopping parades, together with some housing estates and leisure sites and are linked to the council's CCTV monitoring centre. CCTV also operate three mobile CCTV cameras, one of which has a built in digital recorder which can be installed across the borough when required.

Neighbourhood policing has been implemented in Slough since April 2008. Slough borough council has allocated Community Safety Project Officers, Environmental Enforcement Officers and Community Wardens to each of the three police neighbourhood sectors (North, South and East Slough). This means both council and police are properly represented at resident meetings, including Neighbourhood Policing Neighbourhood Action Groups (there is one for each ward).

Slough has received £250,000 funding and support as part of the Youth Crime Action Plan since 2008. This has focused on the following activities:

Using child protection legislation to remove young people from the streets at night and take them to a safe place, building on lessons from initiatives such as Operation Staysafe;

Using street-based teams of workers to tackle groups of young people involved in crime and disorder

Tackling antisocial behaviour and disorder at school closing time by increasing after-school police patrols where needed.

Placing youth offending team workers in police custody suites so that young offenders can be assessed and directed to appropriate services at the earliest opportunity;

Making young offenders feel the consequences of their actions by expanding YOT reparation schemes during their leisure time, including on Friday and Saturday nights;

Developing Family Intervention Projects to work with the most vulnerable and problematic families with children at risk of offending, with non-negotiable elements and sanctions for a failure to engage;

Implementation of the 'think family' reforms to provide an integrated and appropriate service response to all families at risk by the end of the funding period.

Slough has received additional funding through the Migration Impact Fund to support delivery of council services being impacted by increased migration. They have received £490,000 in 2009-10 to deliver three projects:

Supporting migrant children through dedicated programmes to assess newly-arrived families and supporting hard to reach groups. This also includes rationalising translation and interpreter services and tailored ESOL provision.

Migrant's Resource Centre focusing on health, education and environmental health, by raising awareness of appropriate access and recruiting community advocates to work with services. Tailored ESOL provision in neighbourhoods on life skills, laws and customs.

Improving housing conditions in the privately rented sector housing a multi-agency programme to improve standards of houses in multiple occupation.

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was collected in fines for benefit fraud (a) in each region in England and (b) in Wales in each of the last two years. (314574)

I have been asked to reply.

HMCS systems do not identify the value of fines collected for specific offences and this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The total value of all financial penalties collected in each of the HMCS regions and Wales for the last two years is as follows:

£

2007-08

2008-09

London

38,252,467

35,497,811

Midlands

49,334,655

47,945,264

North East

35,700,661

33,397,953

North West

35,906,704

34,972,432

South East

52,314,591

52,209,726

South West

28,259,819

27,053,693

Wales

16,348,762

15,442,822

Stop and Search

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 26 January 2010, Official Report, column 822W, on stop and search: Greater London, how many (a) searches and (b) subsequent actions taken in each year, were carried out on people aged (i) under 10, (ii) under 16 and (iii) between 17 and 25 years. (315003)

The information requested is not collected centrally.

Information on stops and searches reported to the Home Office does not include the ages of persons searched.

Telecommunications: Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his most recent estimate is of the cost of the Interception Modernisation Programme. (314772)

The Government’s consultation paper “Protecting the Public in a Changing Communications Environment”, published in April 2009, outlined high-level initial estimates of the cost of the options considered as part of the Interception Modernisation Programme. These were in the range of up to £2 billion over a 10-year period.

Work and Pensions

Action for Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of people who have attended A4e meetings as part of programmes delivered under contract to her Department have found work within six months since the inception of those contracts in (a) England and (b) Milton Keynes. (310775)

Action for Employment: Milton Keynes

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people who have attended A4e meetings in Milton Keynes as part of programmes delivered under contract to her Department have found work within six months since the inception of those contracts. (310776)

Departmental Aviation

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many domestic flights within Great Britain officials of her Department took in an official capacity in 2008-09; and at what cost to the public purse. (300972)

25,860 domestic flights were taken by Department for Work and Pensions staff, of whom there are some 111,000 throughout Great Britain, during 2008-09 at a total cost of £2.97 million. This has fallen from £4 million in 2004-05.

All official travel within the Department is carried out in accordance with the requirements of both the Civil Service Management Code

http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/documents/doc/CSMC_April08.doc

and departmental business travel policy.

The Department's business travel policy promotes sustainable travel and air travel is the least preferred method of travel. Departmental policy is that staff should always consider travelling by rail rather than air and must take into account the full trip time (including travelling to and from the airport, checking time etc.), sustainability impact, business needs, convenience and cost when making this decision.

Departmental Cost Effectiveness

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what efficiency savings projects (a) her Department and (b) its agencies put in place under the Operational Efficiency programme; on what date each such project was initiated; how much each such project was expected to contribute to departmental savings; how much had been saved through each such project on the latest date for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. (300944)

The Department has been making substantial efficiencies in its back-office operations throughout the last two Spending Review periods, and was used as an exemplar in the Budget 2009 Operational Efficiency programme (OEP) report. Hence, many of the recommendations of the report were already underway in DWP prior to the report's publication.

Within the Department's “business as usual” operating model are the following activities, all sanctioned by OEP:

All new procurement is conducted collaboratively;

Driving value for money in all new IT contracts, under our future contracting strategy;

Proactively managing internal demand for IT resources;

Benchmarking of property and IT resources; and

Centralisation of back-office functions—with major savings through our shared services organisation, but smaller achievements also demonstrated in other corporate functions.

The Department will continue to report on its efficiency and value for money achievements in its departmental report and other publications. For example, we reported in our 2009 autumn performance report that we had delivered £581 million of efficiency savings during 2008-09 alone.

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many layers of management reporting from the most senior to the most junior there are in her Department and each of its agencies; 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 for which information is available. (312829)

There are nine layers of management in the Department for Work and Pensions. The following table gives a headcount breakdown of the number of people in each management grade at 31 March 2009.

Grade

Jobcentre Plus

Pensions and Disability Centre

Corporate and Shared Services

Total

Permanent Secretary

0

0

1

1

Director General

0

1

7

8

Director

11

6

40

57

Deputy Director

34

18

156

208

Grade 6

135

60

378

573

Grade 7

341

113

1,006

1,460

Senior Executive Officer

1,092

326

1,199

2,617

Higher Executive Officer

4,083

691

2,275

7,049

Executive Officer

29,580

5,106

3,340

38,026

Total

35,276

6,321

8,402

49,999

It is not possible to split staff and associated costs down further by grade as information is not readily available at the level of detail requested, neither is this possible for associated costs of employment. The costs of providing such information would be disproportionate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employees in (a) her Department and (b) each of its agencies are in transition prior to being managed out; how long on average the transition window between notification and exit has been in (i) her Department and (ii) each of its agencies in each of the last five years; what estimate she has made of the salary costs of staff in transition in each such year; and what proportion of employees in transition were classed as being so for more than six months in each year. (313232)

Departmental Publicity

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much her Department has spent on (a) ministerial photoshoots and (b) production of videos in which Ministers appear in the last three years for which figures are available. (305527)

Information on the use of external resources to conduct (a) ministerial photoshoots and (b) production of videos in which Ministers appear is detailed in the following tables and is set out as total costs by financial year and is exclusive of VAT.

(a) Ministerial photoshoots

£

2007

Nil

2008

906.82

2009

1,000.00

(b) Production of videos in which Ministers appear1

£

2007

97,977.96

2008

16,100.00

2009

2,621.50

1 This also includes some reproduction and distribution costs where it has not been possible to separate them out.

These photos and videos were used to promote pension credit, local employment partnerships and integrated employment and skills.

The higher cost of video production in 2007 can mainly be attributed to the making of a film to promote the benefits of local employment partnerships to employers. Filming was extensive and included interviews with a wide range of employers from across the country.

Departmental Telephone Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average cost was of calls made to her Department’s 0845 telephone number from (a) land lines and (b) mobile telephone networks in the latest period for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. (312889)

It is not possible to give an average cost of a call to the Department’s 0845 numbers.

The cost of calls to the Departments 0845 numbers will vary according to each service provider, who will determine their own costs. BT landlines charge the lowest tariff and 70 per cent. of DWP callers do so from a BT landline. BT provide free 0845 calls if the call is made within the individual caller’s call plan.

Cost of calls to 0845 numbers from mobile phones will vary according to which mobile operator a customer uses. Although we can identify if a caller is using a mobile phone, the Department is unable to identify which mobile operator a caller is using.

Disability Living Allowance: Appeals

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average length of time was between the submission of an appeal against the refusal of an application for disability living allowance and the subsequent hearing in the latest period for which figures are available. (314408)

Employment Schemes

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps she has taken to ensure that claimants of (a) unemployment benefit and (b) jobseeker’s allowance are able to take up employment opportunities for (i) full-time work and (ii) work for under 30 hours per week. (313388)

Jobseeker’s allowance was introduced in October 1996 and replaced unemployment benefit as the benefit for unemployed people.

Jobseeker’s allowance claimants must be available for and actively seeking work as a condition of their benefit, and Jobcentre Plus provides a wealth of support to help people back into work, including help with jobsearch techniques, basic skills and work-focussed training.

There are also a series of measures in place to help jobseekers in the transition from benefits into work, whether that work is full or part time.

For example, jobseekers can also claim working tax credits, which provide financial support to people who are working and on a low income. This support aims to boost work incentives by topping up the wages of people on lower pay, according to their family circumstances. This includes providing direct help with the cost of child care for working families.

Jobseekers may also qualify for a Job Grant, a non-taxable, discretionary, work related payment which aims to bridge the gap between a customer’s final payment of benefit and first receipt of wages. To qualify for this, a customer must have been in receipt of a qualifying benefit for 26 weeks immediately prior to starting work of at least 16 hours per week. Awards are £100 for single customers or couples without children and £250 for lone parents or couples with children.

In addition, jobseekers can have their housing benefit extended to cover the first four weeks they are in work, providing they have previously been in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance or other income related benefits for at least 26 weeks immediately before entering work. A similar scheme, with similar rules, exists to support homeowners back into employment. The Mortgage Interest Run-On provides an additional four weeks’ payment of mortgage interest costs after a customer enters work.

We know that the vast majority of people are better off in work. However, we understand that some jobseekers still find the transition into work difficult, and in the December White Paper “Building Britain’s Recovery: Achieving Full Employment”, the Government further announced that we will introduce an enhanced Better off in Work Credit that will ensure that everyone who has been unemployed for 26 weeks or more will receive at least £40 a week more income on moving into work. The new credit will be introduced in one region from October 2010 and we expect the credit will be available nationally from January 2011.

In addition, lone parents in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance may be eligible for the In Work Credit which is paid at £60 a week in London and £40 a week in other parts of the country. Customers who return to work from incapacity benefits may be eligible for the Return to Work Credit which is paid at £40 a week. Both credits are available to these customers when they start work for 16 hours a week, with payments lasting for 52 weeks.

Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the budget of the Ethnic Minority Task Force was in each of the last five years. (313680)

This question falls under my responsibility, as Chair of the Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force. This Task Force does not have a specific budget and while Secretariat support is provided by the Department for Work and Pensions, this is delivered by the Ethnic Minority Employment policy team.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people the Ethnic Minority Task Force has helped into work in each sector of employment since its formation. (313681)

This question falls under my responsibility, as Chair of the Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force. The Task Force’s aim is to close the ethnic minority employment gap, and in pursuing this aim the Task Force seeks to influence cross Government policies, so that issues and barriers which lead to the gap are identified and tackled. It does not deliver employment programmes directly. As such it is not possible to say how many people the Task Force itself has helped into work.

Incapacity Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many incapacity benefit claimants there are in each (a) county, (b) metropolitan authority, (c) London borough and (d) unitary authority in England. (314005)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people claimed incapacity benefit in each year since 1997; and how many such claimants (a) reached retirement age and (b) died in each such year. (315052)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) on 5 January 2010, Official Report, column 166W.

Jobseeker's Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the entitlement to employment rights will be of jobseeker’s allowance claimants participating in the work for your benefit pilots; and if she will make a statement. (313061)

[holding answer 25 January 2010]: Work for Your Benefit is a pilot programme primarily for customers who have been unemployed for more than two years. The programme consists of a work experience placement and other training and support which will be tailored to the individual. The programme is designed to help participants gain skills and experience which will be of value to them as they move towards work.

The programme does not provide jobs. It provides unpaid work experience placements and participants will continue to receive jobseeker’s allowance. Participants are not employed, and there will be no contract of employment between host organisations and participants.

Safeguards will however, be in place to ensure that Work for Your Benefit participants are properly treated. Participants will have the right to work in a healthy and safe working environment, and of course host organisations and providers will have to comply with all relevant legislation under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Work for Your Benefit participants will not be required to participate for more than 40 hours per week, and some for less than this, if for example they have caring responsibilities or have a health condition. Participants will be able to take time off during the placement, and will be given all appropriate training to allow them to make the most of their placement.

In addition, all suppliers will have in place a complaints mechanism through which customers will be able to raise concerns about their work experience placement, and ultimately can contact Jobcentre Plus if they have concerns over the support they are receiving.

Pension Credit: Overpayments

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reason her Department's estimate of the proportion of pension credit benefit expenditure overpayments rose in each year since 2007; and what steps she plans to take to (a) improve levels of accuracy in forecasting such over expenditure and (b) reduce the number of overpayments of pension credit. (311022)

The proportion of Pension Credit benefit expenditure overpayments has fallen since 2006-07 from 5.3 per cent to 5.1 per cent. The available information is provided in the following table.

Estimated Pension Credit overpayments since 2006-07

Fraud and Error (%)

2006-07

5.3

2007-08

5.1

2008-09

5.1

Note:

Percentage figures refer to an estimate of the percentage of benefit overpaid during the time period.

The Department does not produce projections for the amount it expects to lose as a result of fraud and error. However, the Department does have a departmental strategic objective to reduce overpayments as a result of fraud, official error and customer error to 1.8 per cent. of total benefit expenditure by March 2011.

We have a comprehensive strategy to reduce fraud and error across the benefits system, including initiatives for pension credit. These include addressing the most common errors through staff training, strengthening the checks that are undertaken before claims are put into payment, and matching our pension credit data against data from other Government and external sources to identify potential overpayments.

Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will estimate the cost to the Exchequer in (a) public sector pensions, (b) uprating the guaranteed minimum pension of private sector pensions and (c) other occupational pension costs of a 2.5 per cent. increase in 2010-11 in (i) additional pension, (ii) increments to basic pension, (iii) increments to additional pension, (iv) increments to graduated retirement benefit, (v) increments to the inheritable lump sum, (vi) contracted-out deduction from additional pension in respect of pre-April 1988 contracted-out earnings, (vii) contracted-out deduction from additional pension in respect of contracted-out earnings from April 1988 to 1997, (viii) graduated retirement benefit, (ix) increase of long term incapacity for age, (x) basic pension addition at age of 80 years, (xi) increase of long-term incapacity for age and (xii) invalidity allowance (transitional) for state pension recipients. (308334)

The total cost to the Exchequer in (a) public sector pensions, of uprating Additional Pension components by 2.5 per cent. is approximately £0.7 billion in 2010-11. More detailed information is not available.

Parts (b) and (c) of this question do not result in any costs to the Exchequer.

Social Security Benefits: Payments

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many benefit payments were delayed in each month of 2009; what the monetary value of such payments was in each such month; and for what reasons a benefit payment may be delayed. (313095)

Information on the number and value of delayed benefit payments is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Delay in making a payment of benefit may be the result of any number of factors including, but not limited to, customers not providing necessary evidence, volumes of work, delays in the banking or postal system, and simple error or oversight. The Department and its Executive agencies, Jobcentre Plus and the Pension, Disability and Carers Service, are committed to providing the best possible customer service and do their utmost to ensure that any delays caused by factors within their control are kept to a minimum.

Unemployment: Leeds

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what steps she has taken to reduce unemployment in Leeds West constituency amongst young people since 2001; and if she will make a statement; (306947)

(2) what steps she has taken to reduce levels of long-term unemployment in Leeds West constituency since 2001; and if she will make a statement.

As part of the Government's commitment to support people into work, £5 billion has been made available across the UK since November 2008 to offer extra support to jobseekers to help them find work at all stages of their claim.

The Department has quadrupled the available funding for the rapid response service, which provides advice and support to customers facing redundancy. Also, we launched an enhanced offer to all jobseekers at day one of their claim which includes targeted group sessions in jobsearch techniques, access to local employment partnership vacancies and access to help with the costs of getting back to work through the adviser discretionary fund.

At the six-month point in a claim, all jobseekers now have access to a substantial package of extra support including recruitment subsidies, work-focused training places, volunteering opportunities and support to become self-employed.

In addition, 18-24 year olds in Leeds West who have been claiming jobseeker's allowance for six months or more have access to the new deal for young people, and customers aged 25 and over who have been unemployed for 18 months continuously or for 18 out of the last 21 months or more have access to the New Deal 25 Plus programme.

The new flexible new deal and supporting interventions, which build on the success of the New Deal programmes, will be introduced in Leeds West from April 2010.

The Government have also targeted significant new resource on young people in recognition of the particular challenges young people face during a recession. These measures are designed to prevent, wherever possible, young people experiencing prolonged spells of unemployment early in their working lives.

On 29 July 2009, the Government launched a campaign called “Backing Young Britain”, calling on businesses, charities and government bodies to create more opportunities for young people, such as internships, work experience placements, links to mentors and apprenticeships. Almost 18,000 graduate internships have already become available across the UK and thousands more opportunities will follow early in 2010. Over 470 organisations are supporting the campaign, with numbers growing all the time.

Furthermore, on 25 January 2010, the Government launched the “Young Person's Guarantee”, meaning all 18-24 year olds who have been claiming jobseeker's allowance for six months are now guaranteed a job, work placement or work-related skills training.

Leeds is already benefiting from successful future jobs fund bids from Leeds City council and Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Forum Ltd, which will create up to 734 jobs in the Leeds area.

In addition, we are introducing access to a named personal adviser to all young people from day one of their claim. This will be available to all from April.

Unemployment: North Tyneside

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in North Tyneside whose occupation is registered as electrician or electrical fitter are receiving jobseeker's allowance. (314501)

[holding answer 1 February 2010]: As at December 2009, there were 40 people claiming jobseeker's allowance in the North Tyneside parliamentary constituency whose sought occupation was recorded as electrician or electrical fitter.

Source:

100 per cent. count of claimants of unemployment-related benefits, Jobcentre Plus computer systems.

Unemployment: Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what expenditure her Department has incurred on advertising the Backing Young Britain campaign in the last 12 months. (314275)

Backing Young Britain is a cross-Government campaign targeted at business, public sector organisations and the voluntary sector. It aims to encourage organisations of all sizes to provide more opportunities for young people aged 16-24.

The advertising costs incurred to date in the last 12 months on Backing Young Britain are £98,000.

Work Capability Assessment: Complaints

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints have been made to her Department on a work capability assessment since the introduction of the employment and support allowance. (313320)

Information on the number of complaints received by the Department specifically about the Work Capability Assessment element of Employment and Support Allowance is not available.

In the Quarter September 2009 to November 2009 Atos Healthcare received a total of 702 complaints from Employment Support Allowance claimants who were referred for a medical assessment.

Written Questions: Government Responses

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when she plans to answer question 300567, on departmental pay, tabled on 18 November 2009. (313140)

I replied to the hon. Member’s question on 20 January 2010, Official Report, column 353-54W.

Communities and Local Government

Energy Performance Certificates

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of commercial buildings (a) built, (b) rented and (c) sold without the required energy performance certificate in each local authority area since 1 October 2008; and how many penalties have been issued in respect of each such area in that period. (314783)

No information is collected centrally about the number of commercial buildings that are sold, rented out or constructed or the number of fixed penalty notices that are issued for failure to provide an energy performance certificate (EPC) in such cases. It is not therefore possible to say how many such buildings were sold, rented out or constructed without an EPC during that period.

Home Information Packs

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will list the members of his Department's working group on condition information in the home buying and selling process; how many times the working group has met to date; and what the timetable is for it to report. (314982)

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) on 6 May 2009, Official Report, columns 240-41W, which dealt with the membership of the Working Group on Condition Information in the Home Buying and Selling Process. The Working Group met six times between March and October 2009. The group has now submitted its final report to the Department and we are looking carefully at the recommendations.

Homelessness

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his Department's most recent estimate is of the number of people in each region who are homeless but who are not included in local authority homelessness statistics; and if he will make a statement. (313859)

Beyond the information that CLG collects and publishes on local housing authorities' activities under homelessness legislation, the Department has figures on counts of people found sleeping rough. Rough sleeping street count figures, collected from local authorities, are published at a local, regional and national level. In 1998 there were estimated to be 1,850 rough sleepers in England. Since then good progress has been made in reducing the total number of rough sleepers to 464 in street counts in 2009. The 2009 total street count figures are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Total street counts, by region, 2009

Number

North East

5

Yorkshire and the Humber

34

East Midlands

29

East of England

6

London

15

South East

31

South West

265

West Midlands

34

North West

45

England

464

The Department also has data on Supporting People (SP) clients whose predominant need for housing related support was associated with homelessness when they first accessed a SP service. There are three primary client group categories whose predominant need is associated with homelessness: 'Single homeless', 'Rough sleeper' and 'Homeless families with support needs'.

Data are collected on primary 'client group' categories every time a client accesses housing related support services funded by the Supporting People programme. Figures for the number of clients accessing a SP service at any point in time are not available, but information by region on the number of clients in these client groups who accessed housing related support services during the period 1st April 2008 to 31 March 2009 are available from the Centre for Housing Research at University of St Andrew's Supporting People client record website:

http://www.spclientrecord.org.uk/

Data are collected on a client group every time they enter a housing related support service, so it could be that clients access different services over the course of a year and appear more than once in the Supporting People data. We are unable to say how many of these clients may potentially be included in the information on local housing authorities' activities under homelessness legislation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many complaints have been received by the local government ombudsman on the administration of services for those who are (a) intentionally homeless and (b) sleeping rough in each of the last three years. (314662)

The number of complaints involving aspects of intentional homelessness received by the local government ombudsman for the last three years is as follows:

Complaints

2006-07

9

2007-08

12

2008-09

7

Data on the number of complaints received by the local government ombudsman on rough sleeping is not available.

Homes and Communities Agency and Tenant Services Authority: Loans

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much (a) the Homes and Communities Agency and (b) the Tenant Services Authority paid in loans to employees in each of the last three years; and how many such loans were made. (315195)

From 1 December 2008, the Homes and Communities Agency paid out 93 loans totalling £180,429.03. The TSA paid out 68 loans the total of which was £160,927.

As neither agency existed prior to 1 December 2008 no figures are available for the period before that time.

Housing Corporation and English Partnerships: Redundancy Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which (a) board members and (b) directors employed by (i) the Housing Corporation and (ii) English Partnerships received payments due to the closure of the organisations following the coming into effect of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008; how much was paid; and how much each board member received. (315196)

In respect of the Housing Corporation, no termination payments were made to any of the chief executive, senior managements or board members. Neither were termination payments made to the board members of English Partnerships.

Termination payments were made to the chief executive and two directors of English Partnerships. These were set out in its Financial Statements 2008-09.

Housing: Construction

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will place in the Library a copy of each substantive response to his Department's review into the development on garden land. (314970)

127 responses were received from local authorities to the review of evidence into development on garden land. A copy of each response was placed in the Library of the House on 19 January 2010.

Housing: Parking

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will commission research into the proportion of domestic garages used for (a) parking cars and (b) storage. (312883)

Local authorities are encouraged by PPS 3 to consider their local circumstances when setting levels of parking for residential development, but it is not a matter for the Government what people choose to keep in their garages.

Housing: Sales

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of first-time buyers purchased a home at a price of under £250,000 in 2009. (314978)

Data are only available for January to November 2009. In this period, the Council of Mortgage Lenders estimates that there were 171,300 loans to first time buyers in the UK. Of these, CLG estimate that 90 per cent. (154,000) were for properties purchased for £250,000 or less.

Local Government Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much non-Housing Revenue Account (a) debt and (b) interest was paid by local authorities in each year since 2000; and how much outstanding debt there was in each local authority on 31 December in each such year. (315352)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much (a) revenue from business rates was redistributed to each local authority and (b) each local authority received in revenue support grant through the formula grant in (i) 2007-08 and (ii) 2008-09; and what estimate he has made of such receipts by each local authority in (A) 2009-10 and (B) 2010-11. (315353)

The amount of (a) redistributed business rates and (b) revenue support grant allocated to each authority for each of the years 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 is available from the departmental website.

The allocations for 2007-08 can be found at:

http://www.local.communities.gov.uk/finance/0708/grants.xls

The allocations for 2008-09 can be found at:

http://www.local.communities.gov.uk/finance/0809/head0809s.xls

The allocations for 2009-10 can be found at:

http://www.local.communities.gov.uk/finance/0910/head0910.xls

The allocations for 2010-11 can be found at:

http://www.local.communities.gov.uk/finance/1011/head1011.xls

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding has been granted under the (a) Working Neighbourhoods Fund, (b) Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, (c) Deprived Area Fund, (d) Local Enterprise Growth Initiative, (e) New Deal for Communities, (f) Neighbourhood Management Pathfinders, (g) New Communities Fund, (h) European Regional Development Fund, (i) Inspiring Communities Grant, (j) Connecting Communities Programme, (k) Single Regeneration Budget and (l) Land and Property Programme to each local authority in each year since 2000. (315354)

Planning Permission

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reasons his Department decided not to accept the recommendation of respondees to the consultation on the Draft Regulations on Infrastructure Planning (Decisions) 2010 that decision-makers should have regard to the pre-application consultation and the consultation report. (315091)

The pre-application consultation report must be submitted to the IPC as part of the application for an order granting development consent. Section 37(3)(c) of the Planning Act 2008 refers. Therefore, the IPC will have the report before them when considering an application.

Recreation Spaces

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his Department's report of 18 February 2008, on Trees in Towns II, what assessment he has made of the average cost to his Department of planting a tree as part of a municipal tree planting programme; and whether his Department plans to commission follow-up research. (314976)

“Trees in Towns II” did not assess the cost of planting trees. The planting of trees is a matter for each local and highway authority. There are no plans to commission follow-up research.

Regional Planning and Development: South East

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 16 October 2009, Official Report, column 1139W, on regional planning and development: South East, what the status of the South East Regional Spatial Strategy is; and whether there are plans to (a) revise the Strategy and (b) undertake further environmental assessments. (315042)

The South East Regional Spatial Strategy, published in May 2009, is part of the development plan under section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 with the exception of Policy H2(i) which was quashed by the High Court.

There are a number of outstanding legal challenges to the specific elements of the South East Regional Spatial Strategy which relate to the adequacy of the strategic environmental assessment that was undertaken and we are currently in legal negotiations with those who have challenged it. Pending the conclusion of these negotiations, we will consider the way forward including the strategic environmental assessment.

Sleeping Rough: Ex-servicemen

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his most recent estimate is of the proportion of ex-service personnel in the number of street homeless people in England. (314024)

The annual headline figure for rough sleeping, based on local authority street counts, does not include information such as whether a rough sleeper is a former member of the armed forces. However, there is specific data for London provided under the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) recording system.

Rough sleeping among ex-armed forces personnel has dropped and earlier surveys found that around a quarter had been in the armed services at some stage and in 2002 this figure was 14 per cent. Better accommodation advice for those leaving the armed forces and closer working between Government and the charitable sector, including provision of supported housing ventures, has helped reduce the numbers. As a result, in 2008-09, for those rough sleepers in London contacted by services 5 per cent. of rough sleepers were ex-service personnel.

Urban Development Corporations

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his Department's press release of 14 January 2010 on urban development corporations, whether any changes are to be made to levels of regeneration funding as a consequence of the merger or closure of the Development Corporations; whether he expects any staff to be made redundant; and what estimate he has made of the gross monetary value of the savings from such changes. (314993)

In consequence of the outcome of the Quinquennial Review no changes to funding in the current or next financial year are being made, while funding for subsequent years will be decided in the next spending review. We do not expect the urban development corporations to make any redundancies as a result of the review.

All three development corporations are already participating in the Government's operational efficiency programme, which could yield cumulative savings across their operating costs of £8 million in the period to 2013-14. Increased joint working, delivery and shared services with partners in west Northamptonshire should achieve additional cumulative savings of at least £1 million by 2013-14. Further savings will arise in due course from the transfer of Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation to the HCA but it is too early to estimate what these will be as it will depend upon when, for example, operating systems can be harmonised.

Waste Management: Planning Permission

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many planning applications for waste treatment plants have been granted in each of the last three months. (314368)

The most recent statistics available are for the period July—September 2009. During this time, waste planning authorities granted permission for 89 major and 128 minor waste applications. We do not hold information on the number of permissions granted on a month-by-month basis.

Treasury

Debts: Developing Countries

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with his G8 counterparts to discuss progress towards reducing the debts of developing countries; and if he will make a statement. (315200)