Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 506: debated on Thursday 4 March 2010

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 4 March 2010

Wales

Departmental Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has made an estimate of the number of (a) emails and (b) letters from members of the public to which his Department has responded since May 2007. (318933)

Departmental Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps his Department plans to take to participate in the Earth Hour event on 27 March 2010. (319103)

The Wales Office obtains its corporate and estates services from the Ministry of Justice, and falls within its sustainability targets and strategic programmes.

However, the Wales Office is very much entering into the spirit of the Earth Hour event (and the other Government estate sustainability targets) and doing what we ourselves can to reduce our carbon emissions.

Departmental ICT

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what information technology projects initiated by his Department were cancelled prior to completion in the last 12 months; and what the cost of each such project was to the public purse. (320436)

The Wales Office is provided with its information technology services by the Ministry of Justice, and consequently does not initiate projects.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many designs for its website his Department has commissioned since 2005. (318640)

The Wales Office commissioned one redesign of its website as part of general improvements and modernisation of the website in 2007.

Departmental Paper

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what (a) suppliers and (b) brands of (i) paper and (ii) paper products his Department uses; and what his Department’s policy is on the procurement of those materials. (320024)

The Wales Office procures the majority of its paper from Banner, under a contract secured through the Ministry of Justice, and this paper is 80g/m2. The paper used in our publications has been at least 75 per cent. recycled.

The Ministry of Justice is working with Banner to procure a paper that is 100 per cent. recycled, which the Wales Office will use.

Media and Communications Team: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff are employed in his Department's media and communications team; and how many were employed in 2009. (319584)

Prime Minister

Building Resilience

To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of the paper prepared for the Government in 2001 by Dr. Jamie MacIntosh and Mike Granatt CB, entitled, Building Resilience. (319930)

The findings informed the Government's response to Sir Iain Anderson’s review into the lessons of the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak which was published and placed in the Libraries of the House.

Culture, Media and Sport

Departmental Languages

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many (a) Ministers and (b) civil servants in his Department received coaching in a foreign language in the last 12 months; what expenditure his Department incurred in providing such coaching; and in what languages such coaching was provided. (320414)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not provided coaching in foreign languages to Ministers or civil servants in the Department within the last 12 months.

Departmental Paper

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what (a) suppliers and (b) brands of (i) paper and (ii) paper products his Department uses; and what his Department’s policy is on the procurement of those materials. (320032)

The Department buys its paper through an outsourced stationery supplier, Office Depot, and its paper products through its Facilities Management provider Carillion. For paper the Department uses Evolve, which is 100 per cent. recycled; and for paper products it uses Kimberley-Clark and SCA Hygiene products.

The Department’s procurement policy requires it to use products that are sustainable and which meet current public sector requirements, as specified by the Office of Government Commerce.

Departmental Public Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which public relations companies have had contracts with (a) his Department and (b) each of its (i) non-departmental public bodies and (ii) executive agencies since 2004. (319809)

The Department for Culture Media and Sport has had contracts with Harrison Cowley and Edelman public relations companies since 2004. Our executive agency, The Royal Parks, has had contracts with six companies: Bellenden, Brunswick, Cavendish, Chelgate, Colman Getty and London Communities Agency (LCA).

The Department does not centrally maintain records on public relations companies in respect of its non-departmental bodies. It would incur disproportionate cost to obtain and collate this information.

Digital Broadcasting: Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether he has had discussions with the Government of the Republic of Ireland on plans for the digitisation of radio. (319475)

No discussions have taken place with the Government of the Republic of Ireland regarding switchover to digital radio.

National Lottery: Sports

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proportion of athletes supported through lottery funding distributed by UK Sport attended fee-paying schools. (320009)

UK Sport has advised that as part of their 2009 Athlete Insights survey, all athletes on their World Class Programme were asked for details of their school careers. Of the 75 per cent. that responded to the survey, 22 per cent. stated that they were either at, or had attended an independent school at some point during their education.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the extent of corruption in the Afghan Government; and what steps his Department is taking to seek to reduce levels of such corruption. (318929)

Corruption is endemic throughout society and state. Pervasive corruption within the Government and the security forces undermines the legitimacy of the Government and corrodes consent. Nearly one-fifth of the Afghan population believe corruption is the country's biggest problem and Afghanistan ranks second to last on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index. President Karzai made a commitment to tackling corruption in his inauguration speech and again at the London Conference. We expect him to demonstrate this commitment by creating independent institutions that can prevent, detect and take action against corrupt practices in government.

The UK is a key partner for the Government of Afghanistan on tackling corruption across a range of areas, including on accountability bodies, support to law enforcement and public financial management. We are one of the biggest donors to the Afghan Government's anti-corruption oversight body, High Office of Oversight. We will continue to offer experts from across the Government to support the Afghan Government to tackle corruption.

Broadcasting: Iran

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the extent to which the outputs of (a) BBC Persian TV and (b) other international broadcasters are jammed by the Iranian Government; what assessment he has made of the compatibility of such actions with international agreements; what steps he has taken to bring such jamming to an end; and if he will make a statement. (320170)

We are aware that BBC Persian TV and other international broadcasters have been severely disrupted by jamming signals originating from inside Iran. We support the European Parliament's resolution of 10 February which condemned the Iranian authorities' efforts to disrupt media services in breach of their International Telecommunications Union (ITU) obligations. We are continuing to liaise closely with international partners, the ITU and the BBC World Service to seek a resolution to the issue.

Cyprus

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the policy of the Turkish Government on the migration of Turkish nationals from Anatolia to Northern Cyprus; and if he will make a statement. (319947)

We are aware of reports of the migration of Turkish nationals from Anatolia to northern Cyprus. We have no information about a Turkish Government migration policy to Northern Cyprus.

Departmental Assets

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 10 February 2010, Official Report, column 53WS, on Foreign and Commonwealth Office finances, which assets he plans to sell in order to raise the £25 million. (318473)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) on 22 February 2010, Official Report, column 213W.

Departmental Lost Property

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what equipment owned by his Department has been (a) stolen and (b) otherwise unaccounted for in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan in each of the last three years; and what the cost of such equipment was. (317970)

The information is as follows:

Iraq

The following equipment owned by Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has been stolen, or is otherwise unaccounted for, during the last three years from our posts in Iraq:

Basra

No equipment has been stolen or is otherwise unaccounted for over the last three years.

Erbil

No equipment has been stolen or is otherwise unaccounted for over the last three years.

Baghdad

In 2007 a shipping container was stolen from a transport contractor while en route from Basra to Baghdad. It contained furnishings and vehicle spares. The cost of the furnishings was £20,000. The cost of the vehicle spares was £10,000. A pickup truck was stolen from the embassy compound by a former locally employed member of staff. The cost of the vehicle was $15,000.

In 2008 no equipment was reported missing or was otherwise unaccounted for.

In 2009 a pistol worth about £900 was removed from a security contractor's accommodation compound in the International Zone in Baghdad. The contractor's compound was not part of the embassy compound. Security in Baghdad is of paramount concern and we took this matter very seriously. A thorough investigation into the loss was carried out by a Board of Inquiry. As a result procedures were strengthened to ensure that such a loss could not occur again and two individuals faced disciplinary action.

Afghanistan

The following equipment owned by FCO has been stolen, or is otherwise unaccounted for, during the last three years from our posts in Afghanistan:

Lashkar Gah

No equipment has been recorded as stolen or was otherwise unaccounted for over the last three years.

Kabul

In 2007 and 2008, no equipment has been recorded as stolen or was otherwise unaccounted for. However, in 2009 eight sets of body armour totalling £7,600 loaned to visitors were not returned. Steps are being taken to recover them.

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of his Department's civil servants work in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland. (319582)

As at 1 February 2010, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office employed 3,588 civil servants based in UK locations. All of these officers are based in England.

Departmental Public Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 23 February 2010, Official Report, columns 34-5WS, on departmental expenditure limits, for what legal services resources were requested. (319676)

Government departments make a contribution to the costs of the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel (OPC) according to a formula which was introduced in 2004 following a Cabinet decision. Under the formula, departments contribute to the cost of the OPC in proportion to their share of the total volume of enacted legislation in the last five years. The £11,000 is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's share of £8.8 million held on the Cabinet Office's baseline for OPC. The Cabinet Office also invoices departments for their share of the OPC's costs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 23 February 2010, Official Report, columns 34-5WS, on departmental expenditure limits, to what activities the administration costs for modernisation of his Department relate; and under what budget headings those costs were incurred. (319677)

This year, Treasury has made available administration budget funds to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Corporate Services programme from the modernisation fund in order to make working practices more efficient in future. In particular, money has been invested in two restructuring initiatives: in the UK, an early retirement scheme was run for the delegated grades; and overseas, posts have bid for funds to make efficiency gains in their local workforce engaged in corporate services activity. Funds were also used for the FCO Comprehensive Spending Review Value for Money programme. £400,000 was also passed on to UKTI to be spent on their modernisation programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 23 February 2010, Official Report, columns 34-5WS, on departmental expenditure limits, to what programmes the restructuring costs referred to relate; and under what budget headings those costs were incurred. (319678)

This year, Treasury has made available administration budget funds to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in respect of our Comprehensive Spending Review Value for Money programme. Money has been invested in early departure schemes for both the Senior Civil Service and delegated grades.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 10 February 2010, Official Report, column 54WS, on Foreign and Commonwealth Office finances, what cost savings he plans to implement in relation to his Department's back-office operations; and whether he expects staff redundancies to form part of the cost savings process. (319679)

Details of the next stages of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office programme of streamlining referred to in the statement have yet to be finalised.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 10 February 2010, Official Report, column 54WS, on Foreign and Commonwealth Office finances, how much he plans to require the (a) British Council, (b) BBC World Service and (c) FCO Services Trading Fund to contribute to his Department's budget. (319680)

I refer the right hon. Member to my answer to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) of 22 February 2010, Official Report, column 214W, namely that the British Council will make available £5 million to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and that the BBC World Service will make £7.7 million available to the FCO, including an underspend of £4 million in 2009-10. These contributions will not result in permanent reductions in their baseline, but are for 2010-11 only. FCO Services Trading Fund will make a special dividend payment to the FCO of £3 million in financial year 2010-11.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 10 February 2010, Official Report, column 54WS, on Foreign and Commonwealth Office finances, what annual limit will apply to the funds available to his Department under the foreign exchange adjustment account; and if he will make a statement. (319681)

For the financial year 2010-11, £20 million will be available as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office foreign exchange adjustment account. No arrangements have been made for departmental budgets for financial years beyond this, as such arrangements will depend on the outcome of a future comprehensive spending review.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 10 February 2010, Official Report, column 54WS, on Foreign and Commonwealth Office finances, how the operation of the new foreign exchange adjustment account differs from previous arrangements to manage his Department's exposure to exchange rate movements; and if he will make a statement. (319682)

The foreign exchange adjustment account will be a departmental unallocated provision which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will draw on as necessary to manage the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations. It is not a return to the Overseas Price Movements Mechanism under which the FCO budget was adjusted from the Treasury Reserve to reflect foreign exchange rate movements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 10 February 2010, Official Report, column 54WS, on Foreign and Commonwealth Office finances, what assets will be sold to make funding available for his Department's budget. (319683)

I refer the right hon. Member to my answer to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) of 22 February 2010, Official Report, column 213W, namely that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office publishes details of disposals quarterly in a letter to the Foreign Affairs Committee. For commercial reasons and in order to realise maximum value from disposals, we do not publish details of planned disposals in advance.

Departmental Wines

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on its wine cellar in each of the last five years. (320344)

The Government Hospitality wine cellar provides for all Government Departments. For the period 2004-08, I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln (Gillian Merron) to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps) on 20 April 2009, Official Report, column 510W.

The figure for 2008-09 was £121,939.

Diplomatic Service: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consultation took place with each of the Civil Service unions on proposals to replace management officers in overseas missions with locally-engaged staff; on what dates such consultation took place; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the report on the outcome of such consultation. (318449)

The trade union side (TUS), including representatives from those trade unions officially recognised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), were consulted several times informally between 8 June 2009 and 29 January 2010. That informal consultation continues.

The TUS side were consulted formally at Whitley Council meetings on 17 July and 18 August. The TUS also put their views about the localisation programme to the FCO Whitley Council Joint General Purposes Committee on 24 September 2009.

Egypt: Christianity

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations his Department has made to the Government of Egypt on the treatment of Coptic Christians in that country. (319652)

The Government condemn all instances of discrimination and persecution of individuals and groups because of their religion or belief. At Egypt's Universal Periodic Review in February 2010 we encouraged further efforts by the Egyptian government and others in authority to reduce and prevent discrimination on the grounds of an individual's religion or belief. We have also raised the shooting dead of seven people outside a church in Naga Hammadi with the Egyptian Government at ministerial level and received assurances of Egypt's commitment to protecting its Christian population. We welcome the Egyptian Government's pursuit and arrest of the perpetrators of the crime.

The protection of human rights, including freedom of religion, is a central component of Egypt's ongoing dialogue with the EU.

G20: Public Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 16 September 2009, Official Report, column 2232W, on G20: public relations, what the cost to the public purse was of the external contracted staff; and from which companies they were contracted. (315498)

A temporary unit was created within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to support posts across the world in their engagement with stakeholders overseas, help organise local events during the run up to the summit, as well as providing information for the London G20 summit website.

The unit was staffed by FCO and temporary staff with specialist project co-ordination and website development skills. Temporary staff included a project co-ordinator and two events delivery co-ordinators hired from PA Consulting at a cost of £166,934. Two digital editors and a media co-ordinator were also hired through COI GovGap at a cost of £90,400. No external public relations or public affairs firms (consultancies) were contracted to provide support for the London G20 summit.

HIV Infection

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to fulfil its commitments under the Aids strategy, Achieving Universal Access, in (a) Cameroon, (b) Cote d'Ivoire, (c) Thailand and (d) Russia. (319169)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) role under the Government's Achieving Universal Access HIV strategy is primarily focused on advocacy and lobbying to support the strategy's aims. Our work is targeted towards those countries in which issues of gender inequality, stigma and discrimination are stopping people from taking up preventive services and testing, disclosing their status, and seeking treatment and care.

In Cameroon, we have been fighting institutionalised and societal stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS through a project called “Rights of AIDS Sufferers”, run in the North-West region. It has encouraged employers and socio-cultural groups to adopt specific policies that protect the rights of HIV-infected workers. The work of the project was reported nationally on TV and in the print media.

Our embassy in Moscow is supporting an Oxfam project aimed at improving access and quality of health care for poor and marginalized groups, including those suffering from HIV and AIDS. The project strengthens the role of a coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in holding the Government accountable for access to and quality of health care. The two-year project covers seven regions of Russia. Some of the interim outcomes include an increased awareness by citizens of their rights and the involvement of NGOs in helping to draft regional legislation on accessible health care, with the NGO focusing on the poor and vulnerable.

HIV is a global issue and the FCO also works multilaterally for global leadership and effective funding for HIV prevention, treatment and care, including in the countries listed. The UK works on the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board to push for improved human rights for at-risk communities and vulnerable people. For example, in November, the UK worked successfully with the Eastern Europe Constituency and others to protect financial resources for a HIV/AIDS prevention programme in Russia, targeted at high risk groups.

In addition to our multilateral work, our Posts have been active in Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia, although no specific activities have been undertaken under the Strategy in Cote d'Ivoire or Thailand.

Thailand has been recognised as a visionary leader in the AIDS response, and our embassy in Bangkok is currently reassessing what action it might take, under the strategy, to support the Thai Government's efforts.

India: Christianity

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of India on the treatment of Christians in Orissa State. (319662)

We maintain a dialogue with the Indian authorities on these issues. On 2-5 February a member of our High Commission in New Delhi participated in an EU delegation to Orissa. The EU delegation met Government and police officials, civil society and victims in Bhubaneswar and Kandhamal. They noted some progress on rehabilitation and resettlement. They also determined that the central government in New Delhi were providing basic financial compensation for some of the victims of the 2008 violence. The local authorities continue to work to address displacement and justice issues. The EU also identified cross-community peace-building initiatives and improving the capacity of victims’ lawyers as important areas to address.

Niger: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had discussions with representatives of the African Union and the Government of Niger on the safety of people travelling to and from Niger following the coup in that country. (319427)

The safety of UK nationals is of primary importance to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). We received information from a variety of sources including international partners at the time of the coup and adjusted our Niger travel advice accordingly, available on the FCO website. No harm came to any UK national in Niger during or after the time of the coup. The FCO will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met the (a) Parliamentary Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) Group and (b) Top Level Group of Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation to discuss nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. (319847)

My right. hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary last met and discussed nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament with the Top Level Group of Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation on 10 February 2010. He has not met recently with the Parliamentary Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Group.

Work and Pensions

Carer’s Allowance: Gwent

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Islwyn constituency who are ineligible for income support (a) are entitled to and (b) receive carer's allowance. (318144)

The information is not available in the format requested; it is not possible to say for what reason a claimant getting carers allowance might not be getting income support.

Departmental Cleaning Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether all contracted cleaners for her Department’s buildings in London are paid at the level of the London living wage or a higher level. (318516)

[holding answer 24 February 2010]: The Department encourages all of its suppliers to maintain good working conditions for their staff but their actual terms and conditions are a matter for them.

Departmental Consultants

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much her Department spent on external recruitment consultants in 2009; (317166)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much her Department and its agencies spent on external recruitment consultants in the last 12 months. [315697]

The Department and its agencies spent £10.4 million on external recruitment consultants in the last 12 months.

This exceptional figure reflects the need to recruit over 15,000 additional staff into Jobcentre Plus in a very short period of time to meet the extra demands created by the recession. I expect the figure for 2010-11 to be substantially lower.

Departmental Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions by what mechanisms she plans to ensure that prime contractors in respect of work choice programmes include third sector and small and medium-sized enterprises as sub-contractors in their bids for contracts. (320076)

[holding answer 2 March 2010]: Prime contractors will be expected to ensure that DWP provision is joined up with local partnership arrangements, working with smaller, specialist providers many of whom will be Third Sector or voluntary organisations dealing with disadvantaged groups in the local area.

Two networking events were held in September 2009 to facilitate bringing together smaller specialist organisations and potential Work Choice Prime providers. Nearly 600 people attended these events.

Departmental NDPBs

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for how many non-departmental public bodies her Department is responsible. (314257)

Information on the number of non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) sponsored by my Department is published in the annual Cabinet Office report, “Public Bodies” 2009 is available online at:

http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/resources/public-bodies.aspx

Copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Departmental Plants

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much her Department spent on pot plants in 2009; (317165)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much (a) her Department and (b) its agencies has spent on pot plants in (i) 2007-08, (ii) 2008-09 and (iii) 2009-10. (319202)

DWP occupies all of its properties under the terms of a facilities management contract under which it pays an overall charge in return for fully-serviced accommodation including, where appropriate, the provision of interior plants. It is not charged separately for any elements of this contract.

Departmental Public Consultation

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many citizens' juries or summits have been hosted by her Department since October 2008; on what date each event took place; and which Ministers were present at each event. (310751)

There is no central record of any citizen juries having been hosted by the Department for Work and Pensions since October 2008. However, a wide range of citizen engagement activities are regularly conducted across the Department. These are designed to ensure that citizens' needs are placed at the forefront of improving service delivery and in policy development.

The following large conferences, aimed at 100 or more delegates, have been organised by the Department for Work and Pensions and addressed by its Ministers since October 2008:

The Employment Summit took place on 12 January 2009, and was hosted by the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Department for Work and Pensions' Annual Forum, London, 16 July 2009, for organisations that work with its customers. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions attended.

Welfare Reform Green Paper Consultation events, in Edinburgh on 9 October 2008 and Newcastle on 24 October 2008. Both were attended by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Backing Young Britain: Young People's Summit on 2 September 2009. This was hosted by the Prime Minister, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Mr. Iain Wright, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Grandparents Summit, a cross-Government event held on 12 November 2009. In attendance were the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Parliamentary Secretary for Equality at the Government Equalities Office.

Disability Living Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many awards of disability living allowance were made to people whose main disabling condition was cancer in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the average waiting time was for such an award to be made in that period. (316776)

[holding answer 10 February 2010]: The following table provides information on cases in payment where the main disabling condition is recorded as malignant disease and which includes cancer, carcinoma and leukaemia.

We do not record the average waiting time for a disability living allowance award where the main disabling condition was cancer.

Disability cases in payment where the main disabling condition is recorded as malignant disease, May 2009

Number

Total

54,200

Notes

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 100 and have been uprated to be consistent with Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study data.

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

3. Where more than one disability is present only the main disabling condition is recorded.

4. A diagnosed medical condition does not mean that someone is automatically entitled to disability living allowance. Entitlement is dependent on an assessment of how much help someone needs with personal care and/or mobility because of their disability. These statistics are only collected for administrative purposes.

Source:

Department for Work and Pensions, Information Directorate, 5 per cent. sample.

Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what forecasts of employment levels have been (a) made and (b) used by her Department since 2007. (317633)

The Department for Work and Pensions does not produce a forecast of employment levels of its own.

The Department draws on a number of elements of the Budget and pre-Budget report economic forecasts for planning purposes. These forecasts are detailed, along with a discussion of the current state of the economy, in the Budget and pre-Budget report. The latest forecast was set out in Annex A of the 2009 pre-Budget report (Cm 7747), published on 9 December 2009.

A copy of the pre-Budget report (Cm 7747) is available in the Library.

Employment Schemes: Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what programmes her Department has to assist young people into employment in Rochdale and the North-West; and if she will make a statement. (320199)

The Government have implemented a substantial package of national measures to address youth unemployment, which are helping young people in the North-West region and Rochdale as well as elsewhere. Young people aged 16 to 24 can access apprenticeships, internships, mentoring and work experience through Backing Young Britain. Jobseekers aged 18 to 24 who have been unemployed for six months are guaranteed the offer of a job, training or work experience through the Young Person’s Guarantee via provision that includes the Future Jobs Fund, Routes into Work, Work Focused Training, and the Community Task Force, as well as internships and access to help with self employment. From April taking up one of these options will become mandatory.

We have so far agreed to fund 17,078 jobs under the Future Jobs Fund in the North-West.

Equality 2025

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 9 February 2010, Official Report, column 863W, on the Review of Equality 2025, on what date (a) the report was completed and (b) Ministers of her Department received the report; how many officials of her Department are responsible for considering and implementing the report's recommendations; and if she will make a statement. (318792)

[holding answer 25 February 2010]: The initial recommendations from the review were submitted to the Minister for Disabled People for approval in September 2009 and were accepted by him. Following the written ministerial statement to Parliament on 10 December 2009, Official Report, columns 40-42WS, the recommendations were published on the website of the Office for Disability Issues. The report was finalised on 23 February 2010, following detailed work to ensure compliance with data protection requirements, and sent to the Minister for Disabled People.

The Secretary to Equality 2025 has been involved in supporting Equality 2025 with implementing these recommendations, with input, as appropriate, from the Director and Deputy Director of the Office for Disability Issues. Work on implementing the recommendations is ongoing and will be completed by late June 2010.

Health Services: Isle of Man

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons her Department has not replied to the letter from the Government of the Isle of Man sent in 2009, requesting advice on the Isle of Man's desire to negotiate a bilateral health agreement with the Scottish Executive; and if she will make a statement. (320268)

My Department has no record of receiving any such letter from the Government of the Isle of Man in 2009 concerning its negotiation of a bilateral health agreement with the Scottish Executive. If my hon. Friend would care to supply further details of the letter, I will look into the matter urgently.

Incapacity Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of sanctions that have been imposed on existing claimants of incapacity benefit; and what the most common reasons are for the imposition of sanctions on claimants. (319021)

[holding answer 26 February 2010]: The purpose of sanctions is to encourage compliance with the requirement to take part in work-focused interviews. The only reason for imposing sanctions on claimants is if they fail to take part in a work-focused interview, without good cause.

From the assessments which the Department has made of the effectiveness of the sanctions regime, as part of the extension to existing customers in Jobcentre Plus-led Pathways districts over 2005-06, it is clear the use of sanctions had a positive impact on attendance at work-focused interviews. However, customer views on the appropriateness of the use of sanctions were mixed.

The Department has published two research reports on the experiences of existing customers and these include a discussion regarding sanctions:

Pathways to Work: Extension to some existing customers: Early findings from qualitative research, Policy Studies Institute, Department for Work and Pensions report no. 323, 2006,

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2005-2006/rrep323.pdf

Pathways to Work: Extension to existing customers (matched case study), National Centre for Social Research, Department for Work and Pensions report no. 418, 2007,

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2007-2008/rrep418.pdf

Copies of both reports have been placed in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claimants of incapacity benefit were sanctioned in each of the last 10 years; and what the monetary value was of sanctions imposed in each of those years. (319022)

[holding answer 26 February 2010]: The Department does not publish data on the number of people who have been sanctioned who claim incapacity benefit; such data could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The same is true for those customers in receipt of employment and support allowance and income support.

New Deal Schemes

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what forecast the Government made of the number of expected referrals to flexible new deal phase 1 providers in each region in each of the first six months of its operation; (317038)

(2) how many customers have been referred to flexible new deal phase 1 providers in each region in each month to the end of January 2010.

[holding answer 22 February 2010]: The information is not available in the format requested. Delivery of the flexible new deal (FND) started from 5 October 2009 in phase 1 areas.

The Department is working to guidelines set by the UK Statistics Authority to ensure that we are able to publish statistics that meet the high quality standards at the earliest opportunity. Further information on the timing and scope of the release of FND statistics will be made available through the Department’s website.

Pensioners: Poverty

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what additional assistance her Department provided to pensioners during the recent recession. (319026)

The Government provided a range of additional support to pensioners through the recent economic downturn and continues to provide support during the early stages of economic recovery.

In his pre-Budget report statement on 24 November 2008 the Chancellor announced the intention to give every pensioner a one-off payment of £60 on top of the regular £10 Christmas bonus received in December 2008. This was paid as a one-off increase to the Christmas bonus for 2008 only and was paid to all qualifying recipients of the Christmas bonus.

The payment provided additional direct financial support to help vulnerable groups through the economic downturn. In total the additional £60 payments cost around £900 million.

The Government made an additional payment alongside the winter fuel payment for winters 2008-09 and 2009-10 of £50 for households with someone aged 60-79 and £100 for those with someone aged 80 or over. This means the winter fuel payments have been £250 and £400 respectively which provides a significant contribution towards an older person’s winter fuel bill. Cold weather payments for the winter of 2008-09 and 2009-10 have also been increased from £8.50 to £25.00 providing additional support to the most vulnerable. With the exception of those living in certain accommodation such as care homes, all pensioners on pension credit will qualify for a cold weather payment when the average temperature has been recorded as, or is forecast to be 0° C or below over seven consecutive days at the weather station linked to the eligible customer’s postcode.

In April 2010, the Government have committed to increase the basic state pension by 2.5 per cent. This commitment, first given in 2001, was confirmed in the Chancellor’s 2009 pre-Budget report, despite the negative growth for the September 2009 retail prices index, providing a real-terms boost to basic state pension. This means that in 2010-11, pensioners will have seen a long-term real increase of 12 per cent. in their basic state pension, which is over £10 per week, since 1997.

The Chancellor has also confirmed that from April 2010 the poorest pensioners will also benefit from an above indexation increase in the standard minimum guarantee in pension credit, an increase of £2.60 a week for single people and £3.95 for couples. This means that, from April 2010, no single pensioner need live on less than £132.60 a week and no couple on less than £202.40. That is a real terms increase of more than a third for the poorest pensioners since 1997. The 2 per cent. increase ensures that the vast majority of the poorest pensioners will be able to see the full benefit of the 2.5 per cent. increase in the basic state pension.

In order to help those pensioners who receive income from savings and who may have been affected by lower interest rates, the Government have increased the threshold in pension credit (and housing and council tax benefit for those who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) from £6,000 to £10,000 from November 2009, so that pensioners can have up to £10,000 without it affecting their benefits.

This change will benefit around 500,000 pensioners and will mean around 88 per cent. of pension credit recipients will have all of their capital ignored in their pension credit assessment.

The Government also increased ISA limits up to £10,200 for people aged 50 and over from 6 October 2009.

Since November 2008, the Government have maintained the standard interest rate used to calculate support for mortgage interest at 6.08 per cent. to provide support for homeowners on pension credit who receive help with their mortgage. In his pre-Budget report on 9 December 2009, the Chancellor announced that the rate of 6.08 per cent. would be maintained for a further six months, to provide continued support to these customers.

The Government also launched a tax-back awareness campaign in autumn 2009 contacting all those in receipt of pension credit to encourage them to claim back tax they may have overpaid on their savings income and, where possible, register to receive interest on their savings tax-free in future.

Social Security Benefits

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of the monetary value of unclaimed benefits of each type in (a) the Highlands, (b) Scotland and (c) England and Wales in each of the last three years. (320124)

Estimates of unclaimed benefits are available for Great Britain only; they are not available for the geographical areas requested.

The latest estimates of unclaimed benefit amounts for Great Britain are published in the report “Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up in 2007-08” a copy of which is available in the Library.

Social Security Benefits: Fibromyalgia

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of applicants for disability living allowance diagnosed with fibromyalgia have had their application approved. (318395)

The information is not available, as data on diagnosis for disallowed claims are not collected. This means that it is not possible to determine what percentage of applicants who listed Fibromyalgia on their claim form were allowed or disallowed.

The amount of disability living allowance someone receives, depends on how much help they need with personal care and/or mobility. It is not dependent on whether they have a specific diagnosis or medical condition. For example, a customer would not be awarded disability living allowance on the basis of a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. The decision would be based upon their care/supervision needs and on the help they need to get around as a result of the any associated physical or psychological complications.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what information her Department has issued to staff of the Disability and Carers Service with regard to fibromyalgia. (318399)

There is no specific internal guidance for Decision Makers about fibromyalgia.

Staff use the Decision Makers’ Guide and the NHS Choices website, and specific advice is obtained on a case-by-case basis from health care professionals working under contract within the Department.

State Retirement Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) with reference to the answer of 23 June 2009, Official Report, column 817W, on state retirement pensions, how much her Department has paid out in such lump sums to date; how many people have received such payments; when she expects to complete the exercise; and if she will make a statement; (319818)

(2) what her most recent estimate is of the number of cases of pensioners potentially entitled to lump sum payments of backdated retirement pension through payment of Class 3 national insurance contributions to take account of pensioners.

[holding answers 1 and 3 March 2010]: The Department has contacted 23,884 women with potential to benefit from paying class 3 national insurance contributions. For the period up to 22 February 2010, 12,924 women have received lump sums of backdated pension, totalling £10,138,932.00. Of these, 871 also benefited from arrears of state pension after correction of their home responsibilities protection (HRP).

In addition, as part of this exercise, 2,360 customers were paid arrears of state pension resulting only from correction of their HRP. The total arrears paid resulting from correction of HRP is £1,488,244.

The exercise has officially ended but customers have, by law, until 5 April 2010 to contact the Department so this figure may increase.

Vauxhall

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will set out, with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to Vauxhall constituency, the effects on the constituency of changes to her Department's policies since 1997. (310327)

As the biggest delivery Department in the UK, DWP makes a difference to millions of people every day, helping them to lead safer, fairer and more rewarding lives that are free from poverty. The policies that we have introduced since 1997 have aimed to give people more choice and control over their lives. Through our welfare reform programme, we are committed to providing personalised support to everyone who needs it so they have the opportunity to get into and remain in work.

Support to find work

Through Jobcentre Plus, we are promoting work as the best form of welfare for people of working age. Since 1997, the number of people unemployed in Vauxhall has decreased by 27 per cent. to 5,067, and the number unemployed for more than one year has decreased by 71 per cent. to 810. Since 1997 to May 2009 the number of lone parents claiming income support in Vauxhall has decreased by 43 per cent. to 3,090.

Our New Deal programmes have helped lone parents, the young unemployed, the long-term unemployed, disabled people, the over 50s and partners of unemployed people to move from benefit into work. Since their inception over 2.2 million people in the UK have found work with the support of the New Deal, and 7,510 have been helped in Vauxhall.

Support for children

We introduced a target to halve child poverty by 2010-11 on the way to eradicating it by 2020. Poverty is measured using a headline indicator of the proportion of children in households with an income below 60 per cent. of contemporary household median income before housing costs. This is in line with international best practice.

Statistics on the numbers of children living in poverty are not available at the constituency level, but the latest information for the inner London area shows that the proportion of children in poverty fell from 39 per cent. to 27 per cent. since 1997.

Support for older people

Since 1997 our strategy has been to target extra help at the poorest pensioners while providing a solid foundation of support for all.

This year we will be spending over £13 billion more on pensioners than if we had continued with the policies that were in place in 1997. Around half of that money will go to the poorest third of pensioners.

In 1997 the poorest pensioners, who received income support, lived on £69 a week (£98 in today's prices). Today pension credit, which was introduced in 2003, means no pensioner needs to live on less than £130 a week, £198.45 for couples. As of May 2009, 5,260 pensioners in Vauxhall are receiving pension credit.

In 2007-08 there were 900,000 fewer pensioners living in relative poverty in the UK compared to 1998-99 (measured as below 60 per cent. of contemporary median household income after housing costs). Statistics on the numbers of pensioners living in relative poverty are not available at the constituency level, but the latest information for the inner London area shows that the proportion of pensioners in poverty has fallen from 42 per cent. to 29 per cent. since 1997.

Pensioners in the UK also benefit from a range of additional support such as the winter fuel payment which this winter is worth £250 for households aged between 60-79 and £400 for households aged 80 or over. These payments provide vital reassurance to older people that they can afford to turn up their heating during cold weather. Prior to winter 1997-98 less than £60 million was spent helping pensioners meet their fuel bills—this year we will be spending around £2.7 billion on winter fuel payments alone. In 2008-09, 11,950 people aged 60 and over benefited from winter fuel payments in Vauxhall.

We have also taken steps to strengthen and protect the private pensions system to ensure people can continue to have confidence to save for their future through the establishment of the Pensions Protection Fund, the Financial Assistance Scheme and a more powerful and proactive pensions regulator.

The protection system ensures that, unlike in 1997, people aren't left without a pension even in the event that their employer becomes insolvent.

In total 423 people in the London area are receiving compensation from the Pension Protection Fund (data not available at constituency level).

We have also taken forward a radical package of pension reforms in the Pensions Acts of 2007 and 2008 which will deliver a fairer and more generous state pension and extend the opportunity of workplace pension saving to millions, many for the first time.

The state pension reforms begin to come into effect from 2010 and will mean around three quarters of women reaching state pension age in 2010 are expected to qualify for a full basic state pension compared to half without reform.

Support for disabled people and carers

Since 2001, we have significantly extended and improved civil rights for disabled people in areas such as employment, education, access to goods and services and transport. Disabled people in Vauxhall will have benefited from these improvements. The Welfare Reform Act 2009 contains powers to increase choice and control for disabled adults, including disabled parents, enabling them to choose how certain state support is used to meet their individual needs. Older and less well-off carers are receiving extra help through the provisions within the National Carers Strategy.

Work Capability Assessment

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons all three point-scoring descriptors have been removed from the work capability assessment; and if she will make a statement. (318176)

In October 2008, with the introduction of employment and support allowance, the work capability assessment replaced the personal capability assessment for all new claims. The new assessment was developed in consultation with representative groups and medical experts, to provide a more accurate assessment of an individual’s functional capability in the context of a modern workplace, who concluded that the three point descriptors did not add up to an overall level of functional limitation at which it is unreasonable to expect a person to work. They reflect the sort of condition that any individual can expect to experience, without having any significant functional limitation.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the average number of flying hours for each (a) Apache and (b) Chinook machine in Afghanistan in each of the last three years. (320007)

I will not provide details of the number of flying hours that our deployed helicopters in Afghanistan have completed, either by specific airframes or by the fleet as a whole, for operational security reasons; the release of this information would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness, or security of our armed forces.

Since November 2006, there has been an increase of nearly 140 per cent. in all UK battlefield helicopter flying hours. We will enhance our helicopter capability further, and will ensure that it continues to meet operational requirements. For example, we are converting eight Chinook Mk 3 aircraft to a support helicopter role and this will allow us to deliver more Chinooks to Afghanistan.

Armed Forces: Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much his Department has paid for improvements and modernisation of residential dwellings in each year since Annington Homes acquired its former housing stock; (320261)

(2) how much his Department paid Annington Homes in (a) rent and (b) maintenance costs for residential dwellings in each year since the company acquired his Department's former properties.

While the Ministry of Defence (MOD) retains responsibility for the upgrade, improvement and maintenance of properties leased from Annington Homes Ltd. (AHL), the expenditure is not centrally recorded nor separately identifiable from that on other Service Family Accommodation (SFA) in England and Wales or Great Britain.

However, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 11 January 2010, Official Report, column 401W, which gave details of the total maintenance and upgrade expenditure on SFA in Great Britain. We have been able to break this down further as follows:

Upgrading SFA in England and Wales

Expenditure (£ million)

2001-02

n/a

2002-03

n/a

2003-04

8.3

2004-05

6.0

2005-06

4.4

2006-07

11.4

2007-08

13.9

2008-09

27.4

Most SFA properties in England and Wales were sold to AHL by the previous Conservative Government in 1996, the majority of which were immediately leased back by the MOD to house entitled service personnel and their families. The annual rent paid to AHL in each year was:

Year commencing

Rent (£ million)

November 1996

72.3

June 1997

110.6

June 1998

108.6

June 1999

109.7

June 2000

115.7

June 2001

119.2

June 2002

127.6

June 2003

129.8

June 2004

131.9

June 2005

138.1

June 2006

143.5

June 2007

148.6

June 2008

150.3

June 2009 to December 2009

113.0

The Department does not pay any maintenance costs to AHL.

Army: Lost Property

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many pieces of protective eye wear have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen from the armed forces in each of the last 12 months; (319709)

(2) how many army uniforms have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen in each of the last 12 months.;

(3) how many sets of army gloves have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen in each of the last 12 months.;

(4) how many army flares have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen in each of the last 12 months;

(5) how many army knives have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen in each of the last 12 months.;

(6) how many army ration packs have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen in each of the last 12 months;

(7) how many army medical kits have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen in each of the last 12 months;

(8) how many army radios have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen in each of the last 12 months;

(9) how many pieces of body armour have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen from the Army in each of the last 12 months;

(10) how many army helmets have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen in each of the last 12 months.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many army rocket launchers have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen in each of the last 12 months. (319714)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many grenades have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen from the Army in each of the last 12 months. (319715)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many army night vision goggles have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen in each of the last 12 months. (319717)

No night vision goggles have been centrally reported as stolen in the past 12 months but 21 have been reported lost. These include helmet mounted systems and those designed for use in military vehicles.

Army: National Bullying Helpline

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contacts the Army has had with the National Bullying Helpline since 2004; and whether the Army has made any payments to (a) the National Bullying Helpline and (b) HR and Diversity Management Limited in that period. (320160)

The Army has no relationship with either the National Bullying Helpline or HR and Diversity Management. The armed forces have a well-publicised Confidential Support Line which is run by the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association—Forces Help charity, which is independent of the Chain of Command.

Individuals within the Army are free to contact either the National Bullying Helpline or HR and Diversity Management should they wish to do so. While it is possible that either organisation may have made contact with Army units on individual cases, this information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Cadet Forces

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) school-aged children in maintained schools and (b) other school-aged children were enrolled in community cadet forces in the latest year for which figures are available; (316310)

The information required is not held in the format requested. The data provided reflect only the category of State schools (noting that for the purposes of Combined Cadet Force (CCF) data collated by MOD, all other schools are categorised as Independent).

As at 1 April 2009, and subject to the caveats mentioned above, there were 7,579 School pupils who were members of their State School's Combined Cadet Force. However, given that the majority of Cadets are members of a community-based Cadet unit, it is estimated that some 90,000 cadets are state school pupils. In the same timeframe there were some 130,000 cadets overall. It should also be noted that there are 25 known partnerships where Independent Schools with CCFs provide cadet places to neighbouring State schools; for these partnerships it is not possible to identify the numbers of State School cadets.

Full statistics on cadet forces can be found on the Defence Analytical Services and Advice organisation's website in their Tri-Service Publication (TSP) 7:

www.dasa.mod.uk

Defence Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) rifles, (b) mortars, (c) machine guns and (d) artillery weapons were (i) in service with the Army and (ii) available for use by the Army in operations on the latest date for which figures are available. (319491)

The in-service figures for rifles, mortars, machine guns and artillery weapons are provided in the following table. Availability data for rifles, mortars and machine guns are not held centrally. I am withholding information on the number of artillery weapons currently available on operations, as its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

In service (number)

SA80 A2

180,000

SSI/338

561

Carbine

1414

Machine Guns

HMG

1,100

GMG

350

GPMG

8450

LMG

4500

Mortars

81 MM Mortar

500

60MM B Mortar

115

60MM H Mortar

102

Artillery

AS90

116

105 mm Lt Gun

125

MLRS

36

Stormer SP HVM

60

Rapier FSV Launcher

32

Departmental Buildings

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) area and (b) estimated value is of (i) vacant and (ii) occupied office space (A) owned and (B) rented by his Department. (310532)

Within Defence, the civil office estate is defined as that which is capable of being shared with other Government Departments. Information in respect of these offices will take some time to collect and verify. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Other office space outside this definition includes facilities within armed forces establishments and buildings. This information is not recorded and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Substantive answer from Kevan Jones to Sarah Teather:

In my answer of 14 January (Official Report, column 1103W) I undertook to write to you with details of the area and estimated value of vacant and occupied office space owned and rented by this Department.

Within the defence estate, the civil office estate is broadly defined as that which is capable of being shared with other Government Departments. On this basis the details are as follows:

Owned

Square metre space

Equivalent rental value (£ million)

Occupied

345,000

21.4

Vacant

1,800

0.2

Rented

Square metre space

Total rental value (£ million)

Occupied

80,307

14.6

Vacant

2,294

0.89

Office space outside this definition includes facilities within Armed Forces establishments and space used as offices (perhaps temporarily) within buildings of a different type such as hangars on barracks.

Departmental Paper

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) suppliers and (b) brands of (i) paper and (ii) paper products his Department uses; and what his Department's policy is on the procurement of those materials. (320031)

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) procures the majority of its paper and some paper products from Office Depot UK Ltd. under an enabling contract that was awarded to the company in 2007. Paper products are also procured from Lyreco UK Ltd under a similar enabling contract for the supply of stationery items. Specialist photographic paper is supplied by Calumet.

The brands of paper available under the Office Depot contract are: Office Depot/Niceday; Evolve; Xerox; IQ Selection; Mondi IQ; Conqueror; Epsom; Hewlett Packard; Fizz; Regal; Maine; Satimat; Crusade; Amber; Graphic; Colorit; Lumi; Kodak and Fuji.

The brands of paper products available under the Office Depot, Lyreco and Calumet contracts are: Mondi IQ; Conqueror; Epson; Hewlett Packard; Office Depot; Xerox; Kraft; Vanguard; Lyreco/Impega; Avery; Brother; Dymo; P-touch; Clairefontaine; Jiffy; Tyvek; NewGuardian; Tenzalope; Post-it; Pukka Pad; Black n'Red; Unipad; Vestry; Goldline; Collins; Sasco; Filofax; Nobo; Acco; Bantex; Leitz; Centurion; Eastlight; Elba; Exacompta; Esselte; Concord; Acco and Fellowes.

MOD's procurement policy requires the use of recycled paper and paper products except where these do not meet specific requirements, such as for specialist photographic paper. Recycled content under the current contracts with Office Depot and Lyreco varies between 70 per cent. and 100 per cent. It will be our aim in the follow-on contracts to adhere fully to the Government's policy, except in cases where there are specific specialised needs.

Military Bases: Security

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 4 February 2010, Official Report, column 465W, on “Military Bases: Security”, in which military bases the incursions were recorded. (318619)

Communities and Local Government

Departmental Advertising

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was spent on advertising by (a) his Department and (b) each (i) non-departmental public body and (ii) executive agency for which his Department is responsible in each year since 2005. (320779)

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to the hon. Member for Angus (Mr. Weir) on 23 February 2010, Official Report, column 478W, and to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps) on 7 January 2010, Official Report, columns 502-03W.

Departmental Theft

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many thefts from his Department have been recorded in the last two years. (318999)

In the financial year 2007-08 there was a total of 17 thefts from the Department for Communities and Local Government. The items stolen are:

Number

Building passes

3

Desk-top computers

3

Laptop computers

9

Mobile phones

2

In the financial year 2008-09 there was a total of 11 thefts from the Department for Communities and Local Government. The items stolen are:

Number

BlackBerrys

5

Laptop computers

5

Mobile phone

1

The stolen building passes were reported and cancelled ensuring that no unauthorised entry to CLG premises occurred.

None of the information contained on laptops, PCs or BlackBerrys was classified. However, each laptop and PC was password protected and the BlackBerrys were both encrypted and password protected.

Derelict Land: Regeneration

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government it he will establish a Coalfields Regeneration Review to gauge progress and identify priorities for the future. (320516)

Communities and Local Government intend to undertake a review of the Government’s programme to regenerate former coalfield communities. The Department will work with stakeholders on the details of the review and an announcement will be made in due course.

Homes and Communities Agency and Tenant Services Authority: Equality

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the (a) Tenant Services Authority and (b) Homes and Communities Agency has obtained legal advice on its obligations under the provisions of the Equality Bill. (320280)

Neither the Homes and Communities Agency nor the Tenant Services Authority has sought external legal advice on the provisions of the Equality Bill. However, both organisations have considered in-house legal advice and have published single equalities schemes.

Housing Revenue Accounts

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he intends to publish a draft revised Circular 8/95 on the operation of the Housing Revenue Account ring fence. (320571)

We intend to make an announcement in the next few weeks which will describe the progress we have made on self-financing, set out more details of our proposals and provide a summary of responses to the consultation. We expect this will include proposals on how the housing revenue account ring fence would operate within a reformed system.

Housing: Chelmsford

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many first-time buyers purchased a home in West Chelmsford constituency in the last three years. (320353)

Estimates of the number of first-time buyers buying a home with a mortgage in the UK are published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders based on their Regulated Mortgage Survey. However, these data are not available at the geographical level requested.

Regional Planning and Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what strategic development areas (SDAs) there are in England; how many homes are expected to be constructed in each SDA; and when each area is expected to be completed. (320258)

“Strategic development area” is not an official or specific designation—it is a general planning term like the phrase “town centre” used in many, but not all, development plans (local, regional and sub regional) to refer to areas where development is expected to happen. We therefore do not hold the information requested.

Social Rented Housing: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many properties were funded under the Temporary Social Housing programme in each of the last three years; (318774)

(2) how many properties managed by registered social landlords and funded through the Temporary Social Housing programme in 2008-09 were owned by (a) private individuals, (b) unregistered social landlords and co-operatives, (c) local authorities and (d) other public bodies;

(3) how many properties in receipt of Temporary Social Housing programme funding were (a) improved and (b) unimproved in each of the last three years;

(4) how many properties in receipt of funding under the Temporary Social Housing programme in 2008-09 were (a) subject to compulsory purchase orders, (b) subject to Empty Dwelling Management Orders, (c) long-term privately owned, (d) awaiting redevelopment or sale and (e) over shops in town centres;

(5) how many registered social landlords were in receipt of funding under the Temporary Social Housing programme in each of the last three years;

(6) how much was spent on the Temporary Social Housing programme in each of the last five years.

[holding answer 25 February 2010]: The following table shows spend on temporary social housing (TSH) through the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA) National Affordable Housing Programme (NAHP) over the last five years.

£ million

2004-05

17.1

2005-06

9.6

2006-07

10.5

2007-08

12.4

2008-09

12.9

Source:

HCA

The following table shows the number of TSH units provided over each of the three years 2006-07 to 2008-09 through HCA’s NAHP which were improved or unimproved and the number of registered social landlords (RSLs):

Improved

Unimproved

Homes provided

Number of RSLs which completed TSH schemes

2006-07

146

232

378

14

2007-08

311

161

472

14

2008-09

260

197

457

12

Source:

HCA Investment Management System

Information is not held centrally on whether these properties were owned by (a) private individuals, (b) un-registered social landlords and co-operatives, (c) local authorities and (d) other public bodies or on whether they were (a) properties subject to compulsory purchase orders, (b) properties subject to Empty Dwelling Management Orders, (c) long-term privately owned, (d) awaiting redevelopment or sale and (e) properties over shops in town centres.

Supported Housing: Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 26 January 2010, Official Report, columns 770W, on “Housing: Lone Parents”, how many individual places in foyers and specialist supported housing will be provided each year under that scheme; and whether he has made an estimate of the proportion of all 16 to 17 year old single parents able to be housed under that scheme. (319109)

The Prime Minister announced in September 2009 that all 16 and 17-year-old teenage parents should receive housing with support.

Treasury

Alcoholic Drinks: Fraud

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many officials have been employed to deliver the HM Revenue and Customs' alcohol fraud strategy. (316991)

There are no figures available for the number of HMRC staff working on alcohol fraud strategy. This is because officers are deployed flexibly across a number of areas.

Banks: Manpower

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the effect of the reclassification of employees of nationalised banks on the (a) number of public sector employees and (b) total public sector pay bill in the next 12 months; (318633)

(2) what recent estimate he has made of the effect of the reclassification of employees of banks in public ownership on (a) the number of people employed in the public sector and (b) total public sector pay bill.

It is a matter for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to determine classification of employees in these banks and the impact that any such classification has on public sector pay over the next 12 months will be reflected in ONS statistics.

Building Societies: Regulation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what reports he has received from the Financial Services Authority on its stress testing exercise on building societies; and whether that exercise has been concluded. (313292)

The FSA made a statement on stress tests on 28 May 2009, available at:

http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Library/Communication/PR/2009/068.shtml

Further to this, the FSA have set out their ongoing approach to stress testing in Policy Paper PS 09/20 (published December 2009, available at:

http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/About/What/international/stress_testing/index.shtml

More details are available on the FSA's website.

Child Benefit: Foreigners

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many nationals of each A8 country were receiving child benefit for a child or children living in another EEA member state at the end of December 2009; and in respect of how many such children child benefit was being paid on that date; (320265)

(2) how many nationals of each A8 country were receiving child benefit for a child or children living in another EEA member state at the end of the most recent month for which figures are available; and in respect of how many such children child benefit was being paid on that date.

Around 7.5 million families are currently claiming child benefit for around 13 million children.

The information requested is provided in the table. These child benefit awards are made by virtue of EC social security co-ordinating regulations which the UK has administered since it joined the European Economic Community in 1973.

As of 31 December 2009As of 28 February 2010

Country

Number of awards

Number of children

Number of awards

Number of children

Czech Republic

174

289

180

299

Estonia

16

28

19

31

Hungary

76

119

78

124

Latvia

281

373

302

405

Lithuania

797

1,133

827

1,196

Poland

23,214

37,633

23,324

38,677

Slovakia

1,506

2,554

1,523

2,639

Slovenia

5

6

4

6

Total

26,069

42,135

26,257

43,377

Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many (a) banks and (b) building societies have used the provisions of the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 to transfer funds into the Big Lottery Fund for good causes; (319965)

(2) how much money has been transferred to the Big Lottery Fund for distribution to good causes under the provisions of the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008.

The Chancellor announced in pre-Budget report 2009 that the Co-operative Financial Services intend to submit an application to the FSA for authorisation to establish and administrate a Reclaim Fund, subject to work going ahead as planned, as part of the Dormant Bank and Building Societies Accounts Act 2008. Once established, dormant account funds will be transferred from banks and building societies to the Reclaim Fund. This will enable surplus funds to flow to the BIG Lottery Fund and to spending priorities in due course.

Equitable Life Assurance Society

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what occasions Ministers in his Department have met with Mr Chris Wiscarson, Chief Executive of Equitable Life, since his appointment in September 2009; and when he expects the next such meeting to take place. (320579)

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

Gift Aid

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much the Government contributed to charities through the Gift Aid scheme in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and how many people made charitable contributions through the scheme in each such year; (319949)

(2) what steps he has taken to increase the number of charitable donations made using the Gift Aid scheme.

HMRC does not collate figures for the total number of people giving using Gift Aid. However, donations using Gift Aid, and the amount of Gift Aid tax relief paid to charities over the last five years, are set out in the following table.

Amount donated using Gift Aid (£ billion)

Repayments of tax to charities through Gift Aid (£ million)

2004-05-

2.8

626

2005-06

3.4

751

2006-07

3.8

830

2007-08

4.1

898

2008-09

4.3

1947

1 £947 million includes £56 million paid as Gift Aid transitional relief supplement.

Source:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/charities/menu.htm

(tables 10.1 and 10.3)

Following the Gift Aid consultation in 2007, the Government announced a package of measures in Budget 2008 aimed at increasing the take-up of Gift Aid, including:

improved HMRC guidance for charities and donors;

a new Gift Aid toolkit to help charities set up and run successful Gift Aid schemes;

extension of the tax effective giving initiative delivered through the Institute of Fundraising;

a small charities training programme, to ensure that small local charities can access guidance and training on Gift Aid;

promoting the use of local umbrella charities to help community and voluntary groups access Gift Aid;

a new online Gift Aid mentoring forum for charities.

In February 2010, HM Treasury set up a Gift Aid forum to consider further improvements to Gift Aid, informed by recent Government-sponsored research into the effect of tax incentives on charitable giving. The forum will come up with recommendations by September 2010.

Housing: Valuation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 11 January 2010, Official Report, column 765W, on “Housing: Valuation”, how many dwellings are recorded (a) with a WK value significant code and (b) as having a reputational issue. (319737)

The number of dwellings recorded as (a) having a value significant code (VSC) of WK was 72,244 as at 2 September 2009, which represents 0.3 per cent. of all dwellings in council tax valuation lists in England and Wales. No specific recording is made of (b) a ‘reputational risk’. Where a value significant feature is to be recorded that is not covered by any of the other VSCs, it is given a WK code. The number of dwellings with each VSC is available in both the disclosure log on the Valuation Office Agency's website at

www.voa.gov.uk

and the Library of the House.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter of (a) 7 December 2009 and (b) 22 January 2010 from the hon. Member for Forest of Dean on the Government’s proposals to replace the existing taxation system affecting gambling, reference FD4725. (320269)

Non-domestic Rates: Ports

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many port businesses in single port hereditaments were separately assessed for business rates in (a) 2000, (b) 2004, (c) 2005, (d) 2006, (e) 2007, (f) 2008 and (g) 2009; what consultation was held with each of them on the matter; and what statutory requirements applied to such new assessments. (319443)

The Valuation Office Agency does not hold separate lists of properties (hereditaments) attributable to smaller locations. The information requested could be compiled only at disproportionate cost.

As he will be aware, however, prior to the ports review around 2,000 hereditaments within the 55 ports in England and Wales were on the rating lists with an effective date of 1 April 2005. Following the review, the total increased by over 600 hereditaments.

Valuation officers have a statutory requirement to maintain accurate rating lists and occupiers affected by the ports review were notified of the findings of the review as and when each review was completed.

Presbyterian Mutual Society

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made by the Ministerial Working Group on the Presbyterian Mutual Society. (318467)

[holding answer 24 February 2010]: The Ministerial Working Group on the Presbyterian Mutual Society (PMS) continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding its collapse, to consider the losses incurred by its members and to consider what, if any, action can be taken to mitigate members' losses, particularly those hardest hit by the collapse.

Public Sector

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of each Total Place pilot report submitted to his Department. (319633)

The publication of documents submitted by the local authorities and their partners involved in Total Place is a decision for them. However, some of the pilots have now made their February 2010 reports public, by either publishing on their own websites or the Total Place website.

Rates and Rating: Caravan Sites

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Traveller pitches are liable for (a) council tax and (b) business rates; and what estimate the Valuation Office Agency has made of the number of pitches which are not rated either for council tax or business rates. (319016)

No data are available to differentiate Traveller pitches from other caravan pitches treated as dwellings for council tax purposes.

There are currently six Traveller sites subject to non-domestic rating.

Revenue and Customs: Correspondence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Chief Executive, HM Revenue and Customs, expects to reply to the letter of 1 February 2010 from the hon. Member for Walsall, North; and for what reasons no initial acknowledgement of the letter was sent. (320348)

A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 2 March 2010.

HM Revenue and Customs apologises for the oversight in not issuing an acknowledgement.

Revenue and Customs: Surveys

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what HM Revenue and Customs Customer Service Survey overview reports were produced for (a) 2007, (b) 2008 and (c) 2009; and where such reports are published. (312154)

The Customer Service Survey overview report for 2007 is available at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/research/

HM Revenue and Customs is currently finalising the report of the 2008-09 Customer Survey and will publish it on the Department's website in due course.

Revenue and Customs: Television

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much HM Revenue and Customs has spent on sponsorship of the television programme The Business Inspector. (319939)

HMRC’s contribution to the series’ budget is £370,000. This should provide good value for money in comparison with advertising alone.

Taxation: Holiday Accommodation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will report on the findings from the technical consultation on the proposed legislation on Furnished Holiday Lettings which closed on 26 February. (320577)

There are no plans to publish a full report on the findings from the technical consultation on the proposed legislation to repeal the Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHL) rules, as none of the responses to this informal consultation identified any technical difficulties with the draft legislation which was published at the 2009 pre-Budget report.

Some respondents identified specific points on which they would like more information about the effects of the repeal. HMRC plan to issue further guidance to supplement the information provided in the technical note issued at the 2009 pre-Budget report.

Taxation: Overseas Income

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward legislative proposals to allow UK citizens to be taxed on their worldwide income; and if he will make a statement. (319850)

Individuals, including UK citizens, who are resident, ordinarily resident and domiciled in the UK are liable to UK tax on their worldwide income. The Government have no plans to introduce legislation to make all UK citizens taxable on their worldwide income.

Valuation Office Agency: Contracts

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 4 February 2010, Official Report, column 522W, on Valuation Office Agency contracts, how much the Valuation Office Agency spent on each of the listed suppliers in 2008-09. (319644)

A list showing the amounts spent by the Valuation Office Agency on the suppliers who provided goods and services to the Valuation Office Agency in 2008-09 is being placed in the Library of the House.

Valuation Office Agency: North East

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff of the Valuation Office Agency worked in (a) the North East and (b) North Lincolnshire in each year since 1997; and how many such staff were visually impaired in each of those years. (319447)

The Valuation Office Agency does not hold staff in post or disability data based upon the North East and North Lincolnshire for each year since 1997.

Cabinet Office

Census: Sikhs

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will meet representatives of Sikhs to discuss proposals for the inclusion of a Sikh category in the ethnic data collection within the 2011 National Census. (320257)

The Office for National Statistics consulted widely in establishing the proposed content of the 2011 Census, which included a public consultation and consultation with Sikh representatives. Following consultation, and in accordance with the Census Act 1920, the proposed content was laid before Parliament in “The Census (England and Wales) Order 2009 in October 2009”. Parliament approved the Order, which came into force on 10 December. As the content of the 2011 Census is now determined, it is not appropriate for me to meet Sikh representatives to discuss the inclusion of a Sikh category in the ethnicity question within the 2011 Census.

Departmental Buildings

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much her Department spent on office refurbishments in each of the last 10 years. (320508)

Departmental Paper

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what (a) suppliers and (b) brands of (i) paper and (ii) paper products (A) her Department and (B) the Prime Minister’s Office uses; and what the policy is of each on the procurement of those materials. (320035)

The Prime Minister’s Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office.

Office Depot supplies the Cabinet Office with its paper and paper products.

The majority of the Department’s paper usage relates to photocopying and printing, for which Evolve Everyday A4 and A3 80 gsm copier paper is used. These products are 100 per cent. recycled.

The paper for photocopying and printing is ordered centrally; other types of paper products can be bought as required by nominated individuals.

Exports

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the monetary value of goods and services exported from (a) Scotland and (b) the UK was in each of the last five years for which figures are available. (319951)

I have been asked to reply.

The figures in the following table for exports of goods have been taken from HM Revenue and Customs Regional Trade Statistics.

£ billion

UK

Scotland

2004

190.5

11.9

2005

211.8

12.7

2006

243.8

13.5

2007

219.9

13.7

2008

248.8

14.3

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data for UK exports of services for the same years are shown in the following table on a Balance of Payments basis.

UK (£ billion)

2004

112.9

2005

119.2

2006

134.2

2007

150.6

2008

170.8

The ONS does not produce comparable services trade statistics for countries and regions of the UK; the Scottish Executive publishes some data as part of their Global Connections Survey, available from:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/Exports

Honours

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office with reference to the Prime Minister’s speech at Britain’s Everyday Heroes Book Launch of 24 July 2007, how much has been spent on the advertising campaign relating to the Good Neighbour MBE to date. (318358)

£400,000 including VAT was spent on a regional advertising campaign in 2007-08 to encourage nominations for people who were doing outstanding service in their local community. The campaign focused on four areas: Scotland, the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber; and the West Midlands, which had shown least awareness of the honours system.

Hotels

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2010, Official Report, column 1145W, on “Government Departments: Hotels”, if she will place in the Library a copy of the summary data on bookings made under the Expotel facility in respect of her Department in 2009. (318309)

The summary data for bookings made through the Cabinet Office's corporate contract with Expotel contain information including their commercial rates which must be treated as commercial in confidence.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Ruislip Northwood of 3 February 2010, Official Report, column 410W, on hotels, which sections of her Department made the 55 bookings for five star hotels; and which hotel was booked in each case. (318327)

Cabinet Office is periodically requested to answer questions which may relate to the involvement of sensitive work streams. In this instance the majority, of the bookings are sensitive.

In order to safeguard the effectiveness of both the security arrangements in place, and those involved in such areas, it has been the practice of successive governments not to disclose specific information concerning those involved or its associates.

This is in line with exemptions 1(a) and 7(b) as set out in Part II of the ‘Code of Practice on Access to Government Information’.

Jobseeker's Allowance

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many people have claimed jobseeker's allowance in each quarter since April 2008. (320172)

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated March 2010:

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) compiles monthly counts of the number of claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) from the Jobcentre Plus administrative system. Table 1 shows the number of people, resident in the United Kingdom, claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) at the end of each quarter since April 2008.

National and local area estimates for many labour market statistics, including employment, unemployment and claimant count are available on the NOMIS website at

http://www.nomisweb.co.uk

Table 1: Number of persons claiming Jobseeker's Allowance resident in the UK Seasonally adjusted: United Kingdom

Thousand

June 2008

843.3

September 2008

956.7

December 2008

1,175.8

March 2009

1,455.9

June 2009

1,557.8

September 2009

1,626.6

December 2009

1,612.1

Source:

Jobcentre Plus Administrative System

Social Workers: Females

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent estimate she has made of the proportion of people employed in social care who are women. (320654)

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated March 2010:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking for the recent estimate of the proportion of people employed in social care who are women. (320654)

For the period October-December 2009 it was estimated that 1.4 million women were employed in social care in the UK, the proportion of women employed in social care is 80.0 percent.

These estimates are derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and are not seasonally adjusted. The social care estimate was derived using the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC2007) codes: 87. Residential care activities and 88. Social work activities without accommodation.

As with any sample survey, the estimates provided are subject to a margin of uncertainty.

Trade Unions

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many days staff of (a) her Department, (b) the Charity Commission and (c) the Central Office of Information spent on trade union activity in the latest year for which figures are available; and what recent estimate she has made of the annual cost to the public purse of such activity. (320619)

The following number of staff days have been allocated as trade union facility time for 2009-10:

(a) The Cabinet Office: 250 days.

(b) The Charity Commission: 188 days.

(c) The Central Office of Information: 55 days.

The annual cost of trade union activity for each organisation is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Unemployment

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many people were not in employment in each quarter since April 2008. (320175)

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated March 2010:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how many people were not in employment in each quarter since April 2008. (320175 )

The table provided contains estimates of the number of people not in employment. These estimates have been derived from the figures published by the ONS in the monthly Labour Market Statistical Bulletin.

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

Number of people aged 16 and over, not in employment1 United Kingdom, seasonally adjusted

Thousand

April to June 2008

19,504

July to September 2008

19,722

October to December 2008

19,895

January to March 2009

20,153

April to June 2009

20,493

July to September 2009

20,599

October to December 2009

20,708

1 Unemployed people plus those who were economically inactive

Source:

ONS Labour Force Survey

Voluntary Work

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office with reference to the Prime Minister's speech at Britain's Everyday Heroes Book Launch of 24 July 2007, what steps have been taken to mark the contribution of volunteers on 24 July each year. (318357)

The Government have used the 24 July to recognise and celebrate the efforts of those making a difference in our communities. This has included work with the Council on Social Action as well as voluntary and community groups to support and encourage them to find more ways to celebrate all those acting for social good.

Events to mark the day have included the Catalyst Awards for people using technology to create social change, a reception at 10 Downing street for local heroes across the country and the creation of the National Talent Bank to act as an intermediary between employers who are scaling back working hours and volunteering organisations.