Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 507: debated on Wednesday 17 March 2010

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Leader of the House

Written Questions: Government Responses

To ask the Leader of the House when she plans to answer Question (a) 311222, (b) 311223, (c) 311224, (d) 311225 and (e) 311226, on public duty costs allowance, tabled on 12 January 2010. (322735)

These five parliamentary questions were transferred to the Cabinet Office as I informed the Member in my letter of 14 January 2010.

International Development

Somalia: Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 8 March 2010, Official Report, column 67W, on Somalia: overseas aid, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of arrangements for food supplies to be delivered and disbursed in the camps at Afgooye; and if he will make a statement. (322373)

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), current arrangements for distributing food aid to internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Afgooye corridor are inadequate. Between October and December 2009, IDPs in the Afgooye corridor received only half of the allocated food rations. Since the suspension of the United Nations World Food programme's (WFP) work in Afgooye in January, no food rations have been distributed.

On 10 March, the Secretary of State for International Development announced an additional £7.5 million to be channelled through UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and United Nations Humanitarian Response Fund (UN HRF) to help deliver emergency food for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children and provide lifesaving water supplies. UNICEF is already working in the Afgooye corridor, providing emergency nutrition to starving children and their mothers, and is considering expanding its remit. UN HRF and ICRC are exploring possibilities of providing food aid to the Afgooye Corridor.

Justice

Care Proceedings

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average time taken to complete care proceedings in the courts was in each local authority area in each year since 2003-04. (322412)

The following table shows the average number of weeks from the date of application to order made for care and supervision cases in England and Wales (where completed cases are counted by child for family proceedings courts and by orders made for County courts). Data are provided by court area, as a local authority area breakdown is unavailable. Data are presented by court type, from 2006-07; the earliest year for which data are available.

Average number of weeks from application to order for care and supervision cases in England and Wales, for orders made in each year

Court area

County court

Family proceedings court

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, and Gloucestershire

58

62

57

43

45

44

Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire

52

53

62

45

40

51

Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire

62

67

69

47

52

50

Black Country, Staffordshire and West Mercia

48

52

56

45

48

47

Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk

45

49

49

39

39

39

Cheshire and Merseyside

55

58

57

43

46

55

Cleveland, Durham and Northumbria

48

57

59

45

47

46

Cumbria and Lancashire

51

53

61

42

41

44

Dorset, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, and Wiltshire

50

58

54

45

42

44

Greater Manchester

55

57

59

43

42

40

Humber and South Yorkshire

41

45

46

38

36

39

Kent

53

61

67

45

45

50

Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire

51

54

55

42

41

42

London (Civil and Family)

56

66

65

51

53

49

Mid and West Wales

52

53

47

42

52

46

North and West Yorkshire

49

48

53

38

37

39

North Wales

62

51

58

45

31

38

Nottingham and Derbyshire

44

42

45

43

45

45

South East Wales

51

60

59

42

47

51

Surrey and Sussex

50

55

54

50

47

45

Thames Valley

47

51

55

41

39

44

England and Wales: Average number of weeks

52

56

57

44

45

46

England and Wales: Total number of care and supervision orders made1

4,161

3,923

3,636

3,730

3,746

3,596

1 The figures for County courts count the number of care and supervision orders disposed in each year. Family proceedings courts figures count the number of children disposed.

Notes:

1. The data are taken from the HMCS FamilyMan System and from the Case Tracker system.

2. The figures only cover cases where a care order or a supervision order was made. The figures do not include other care and supervision disposals (e.g. order refused, order of no order) and do not include other order types (e.g. emergency protection, secure accommodation).

3. The figures reflect the mean number of weeks from application to order. This means that the numbers of weeks taken for each order have been added up, and the total has then been divided by the number of orders.

Children in Care: Child Trust Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what percentage of Child Trust Funds managed by the Official Solicitor or Accountant of Court on behalf of looked-after children have been re-allocated to a different provider following concerns about investment performance. (322393)

15.12 per cent. of Child Trust Funds (969) managed by the Official Solicitor have been reallocated to a different provider following concerns about investment performance. At the time of the review of providers, the Official Solicitor acted as the registered contact for 6,076 children's Funds. To date, the Official Solicitor manages 6,406 Funds.

Scotland

Departmental Surveys

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will place in the Library a copy of the benchmark results of the Civil Service People Survey for his Department. (322574)

The 2009 People Survey results are now available in the Library. Information about the survey will also be put on the Scotland Office website in due course.

Defence

Afghanistan and Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel who were repatriated from Afghanistan and Iraq were seriously wounded and subsequently died in each year since the start of each conflict started in each of those countries. (322184)

Since operations began in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) up to 10 March 2010 (latest date for which data is available), a total of 17 UK armed forces personnel who were categorised as very seriously or seriously injured on operations have subsequently died following repatriation as a result of the injury sustained, as shown in the following table:

Operation

Iraq

Afghanistan

Total

All

8

9

17

2001

0

0

0

2002

0

0

0

2003

2

0

2

2004

0

0

0

2005

0

0

0

2006

1

1

2

2007

5

1

6

2008

0

0

0

2009

0

7

7

2010

0

0

0

These figures include all regular and reservist personnel, and include personnel repatriated to countries outside of the UK.

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has received reports of UK armed forces' Bowman radio equipment being recovered from Taliban combatants in Afghanistan. (321729)

The Ministry of Defence has not received reports of Bowman radio equipment belonging to UK armed forces being recovered from the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Air Force: Military Aircraft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many RAF aircraft of each type were (a) in service, (b) in the forward fleet and (c) fit for purpose on the latest date for which figures are available. (319493)

The information requested is shown in the following table. The figures shown are the average for January 2010 and have been rounded to the nearest aircraft.

“In service” has been taken to mean the effective fleet, which includes all aircraft barring those which are redundant, declared as surplus or awaiting disposal. The Forward Fleet comprises aircraft which are serviceable and those which are short-term unserviceable. Short-term unserviceable aircraft are undergoing minor works, forward maintenance or any other unforeseen rectification work that can arise on a day-to-day basis. Serviceable aircraft available to the front-line commands for operational and training purposes on a given date are termed available. The number of aircraft available in individual fleets varies according to normal fleet management activities including requirements for mandated maintenance and upgrade programmes and the larger variations are explained in the table.

Aircraft type

In service fleet

Forward fleet

Available

Notes

BAe 146

2

1

1

BAe 125

6

6

4

C-17

6

5

4

Dominie

9

7

5

Harrier

74

50

48

The Harrier fleet continues to progress with the GR9 upgrade programme.

Hawk T1

129

85

68

A number of Hawk T1 aircraft are being held in long-term storage for future use by the RAF Aerobatic Team (Red Arrows) and others require depth servicing.

Hawk T2

17

6

3

Hawk T2 aircraft being held are in storage pending the introduction of a new flying training course.

Hercules C130K

14

7

5

A number of aircraft in the K fleet were in depth maintenance.

Hercules C130J

24

18

12

For the J Fleet, aircraft were in depth maintenance, on trials or undergoing unscheduled maintenance or rectification after returning from operational theatres.

Nimrod MR2

6

5

2

The number of aircraft in the service fleet is being reduced as the out of service date approaches. Other issues include work generated through safety inspections and to maintain serviceability.

Nimrod R1

2

1

1

One Nimrod R1 has been retired and is awaiting disposal.

Sentinel

5

3

1

The Sentinel fleet was affected by a technical issue, which is now being resolved.

Sentry

5

4

2

The Sentry fleet had an unanticipated requirement for fleet engine changes in December which was still being implemented during January.

Tornado F3

22

12

12

Tornado F3 numbers are being reduced as the aircraft is progressively withdrawn from service.

Tornado GR4

137

102

98

Tristar

9

5

3

Tucano

93

47

32

A number of Tucano aircraft are being held in long term storage as they are not required for training purposes.

Typhoon

64

42

40

Tranche 2 aircraft deliveries continue and some of the in-service fleet are currently undergoing a process of upgrade.

VC10

15

13

6

As a result of the severe weather conditions during January there were occasions when aircraft movements around the airfield were reduced. As a consequence aircraft repairs and maintenance tasks took longer than normal thereby reducing availability.

Vigilant

65

64

64

Viking

82

81

81

Armed Forces: Bomb Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on explosive ordnance disposal (a) training and (b) equipment from (i) his Department's core budget and (ii) the contingency reserve in each year since 2005. (321706)

The Ministry of Defence's accountancy systems do not support calculations of aggregate expenditure on all explosive ordnance disposal equipment and training over the last five years. A complete answer to the question could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: Cadets

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding has been allocated to cadet forces in Shrewsbury for 2010-11. (322273)

The information is not held centrally.

Funding for any particular area comes from a wide variety of sources including the single services, the use of subsidised facilities, and local donations and fundraising efforts. To determine how much funding has been allocated to a specific unit would require a manual search of records and would therefore incur disproportionate cost.

The Government remain committed to the Cadet Organisation whose origins date back 150 years. It is one of the oldest and most successful voluntary youth organisations in the world. Today it numbers 131,000 young people, led by 25,000 adult volunteers, in well over 3,000 sites across the country.

Armed Forces: Discharges

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what proportion of personnel of each of the armed forces were administratively discharged in each year since 2001. (320773)

[holding answer 5 March 2010]: The term administrative discharge is applied to those service personnel who are to be dismissed from the armed forces for which there is no specific exit category. Service personnel may be administratively discharged as a result of a range of factors including: civil conviction, failing to maintain a level of physical fitness to pass a fitness test despite undertaking remedial training, financial mismanagement, persistent poor conduct and failing a random drug test. The following tables provide information on the total administrative outflow since 2001:

Table 1: Administrative discharges in respect of the naval service

Naval service

Administrative discharge

Proportion of all discharged (percentage)

2001-02

1,500

28.4

2002-03

1,420

29.6

2003-04

1,320

28.3

2004-05

1,350

29.6

2005-06

1,130

25.9

2006-07

1,000

23.1

2007-08

1,090

24.6

2008-09

660

23.0

Table 2: Administrative discharges in respect of the Army

Army

Administrative discharge

Proportion of all discharged (percentage)

2001-02

6,460

45.5

2002-03

6,950

48.5

2003-04

7,230

50.7

2004-05

6,940

47.1

2005-06

6,070

43.1

2006-071

6,750

47.7

2007-08

2

2

2008-09

2

2

1 Data are for an 11 month period from legacy systems prior to JPA.

2 Not held centrally.

Table 3: Administrative discharges in respect of the Royal Air Force

Royal Air Force

Administrative discharge

Proportion of all discharged (percentage)

2001-02

750

16.5

2002-03

990

23.3

2003-04

1,210

29.9

2004-05

940

25.3

2005-06

730

15.9

2006-071

1,660

32.7

2007-08

1,950

38.7

2008-09

1,360

31.6

1 Introduction of new administrative discharge procedures under Queen’s Regulations

Note:

Data have been rounded to the nearest 10.

All data have been gathered from legacy systems and JPA. The Army are continuing data cleansing and improvement exercises. As a result figures are not held centrally, at this time, in respect of those Army personnel administratively discharged after 2006.

Armed Forces: Rescue Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the C-130 Hercules has been chosen as a replacement aircraft for the Nimrod MR2 for UK-based long-range search and rescue missions. (321290)

The C-130 Hercules has not been chosen as a replacement aircraft for the Nimrod MR2 for UK-based long-range search and rescue missions. The Nimrod MR2 will be replaced by the substantially more capable Nimrod MRA4.

Until the MRA4 enters service we intend to use other assets to undertake the long-range search and rescue role.

Defence: Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the average rate of inflation for major defence procurement projects in each of the last five years. (322036)

[holding answer 12 March 2010]: In response to observations by the House of Commons Defence Committee (pages 41 to 42 of the HCDC Fifth Report of the 2007-08 session on the Ministry of Defence’s Annual Report and accounts 2006-07, published in January 2008 (HC 61), the Department has carried out a two year programme of work to develop a robust measure of defence inflation.

The results of this work will be published on Defence Analytical Services and Advice’s website on 30 March 2010 at 9.30 am as an Official Statistic at:

www.dasa.mod.uk

Departmental Theft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to deter theft from within the Department. (322644)

The Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) has actively promoted a number of crime reduction initiatives throughout the Ministry of Defence (MOD). One such initiative is the “office watch” scheme, which encourages the safeguarding of MOD offices and MOD property by raising awareness of staff, in relation to their own and others’ personal property, as well as property of the MOD. The MDP also have 63 community based Beat Officers, who are trained crime reduction officers working in MOD establishments across the country. These officers provide an effective deterrent to potential criminals, by raising the awareness of staff, service personnel, service families and contractors. At sites where there are no trained MDP crime reduction personnel present, all staff, and also contractors and visitors, are encouraged to work together to make their places of employment and homes safer and more secure.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library an unclassified copy of the 7th Armoured Brigade Post Operation Tour Report of Op Telic 1. (321705)

Post operational tour reports are not intended for external publication and unclassified versions are not produced. This information could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Nimrod Aircraft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the first Nimrod MRA4 to enter service; and if he will make a statement. (321966)

The first Nimrod MRA4 production aircraft was accepted by the Ministry of Defence on 10 March 2010. The aircraft will initially be used for pilot and rear crew training and is then expected to enter service with the RAF in mid 2010.

Transport

Cycling

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what information his Department holds on which local authorities make cycle training available to (a) the general public and (b) schools; and what proportion of schools in providing local authorities are receiving cycle training programmes. (321420)

Most if not all local highway authorities offer some level of cycle training to both adults and children.

In addition the Department for Transport supports and funds National Standard cycle training which is predominately delivered in England as ‘Bikeability’ training. The Department provides a maximum grant of £40 per child to be trained to Level 2 on the National Standard and we recently announced funding of over £12 million for local authorities and School Sports partnerships for 2010-11.

The Department does not hold information about the proportion of members of the public and schools being offered cycle training. However a table has been placed in the Libraries of the House providing the information which the Department holds on the proportion of Year 6 pupils being offered training to the National Standard by those authorities delivering that training through Department for Transport grants awarded in 2009-10 and their own funding. The Department does not fund cycle training in London boroughs as the responsibility for cycle training in London rests with Transport for London.

Departmental Disciplinary Proceedings

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many (a) disciplinary and (b) capability procedures have been (i) initiated and (ii) completed in his Department in each of the last five years; how much time on average was taken to complete each type of procedure in each such year; how many and what proportion of his Department's staff were subject to each type of procedure in each such year; and how many and what proportion of each type of procedure resulted in the dismissal of the member of staff. (320621)

The Department for Transport comprises a central Department and seven agencies. The following table provides details of how many disciplinary and capability procedures have been initiated and completed in the Department over the past five years. It should be noted that the figures on capability dismissals include trainee driving examiners who undertake the entrance course but do not go on to qualify as driving examiners and are not included in the capability cases specified in category (b) of the table.

2009-10

2008-09

2007-08

2006-07

2005-06

(a) Discipline

101

143

139

54

8

(b) Capability

18

17

5

4

1

Dismissal discipline

9

6

11

12

5

Dismissal capability

10

14

9

12

1

The Department does not routinely record the time taken to complete each type of procedure in each year nor how many and what proportion of staff were subject to each type of procedures in each year. This information can be provided only at disproportionate cost. The total number of staff in February 2010 in the Department and its agencies is just over 19,000.

Two of our agencies, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and the Government Car and Despatch Agency, do not record this information centrally and could collate the information only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Energy

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what steps his Department plans to take to participate in the Earth Hour event on 27 March 2010. (319101)

The Department for Transport will participate in the Earth Hour event.

The event occurs outside of normal departmental working hours and as such we expect the majority of our sites to already be in a state of near darkness. However, to emphasise the importance of this event any maintenance works or activity during Earth Hour will be curtailed where it is practical to do so.

This event has also been promoted to staff across the Department and its agencies.

Electric Motors

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether he plans to extend the plug-in car grant to electric-powered motorcycles and scooters; and if he will make a statement. (322688)

Passenger cars are by some distance the biggest source of emissions from road transport, forming almost 60 per cent. of total UK domestic CO2 transport emissions compared to less than 1 per cent. by powered two wheelers. As such, the focus of the Plug-In Car Grant is on cars where it will have the biggest impact on greenhouse gas emissions from road transport. We recognise that electric motorcycles offer environmental benefits compared to conventional motorcycles and they are already zero rated for vehicle excise duty purposes and exempt from fuel duty. Electric motorcycles and scooters should be able to access the majority of recharging infrastructure installed as part of the £30 million Plugged-In Places framework.

Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many vehicles were exempt from vehicle excise duty as a result of having been first registered prior to January 1973 in each of the last five years. (320879)

The following table provides the number of licensed vehicles that were exempt from vehicle excise duty on the 31 December in each of the last five years as a result of having been manufactured prior to January 1973. These figures are for Great Britain.

Number of vehicles

2004

322,842

2005

318,300

2006

307,406

2007

303,943

2008

302,891

Data for 2009 will be published at the end of April 2010.

Railways: Coventry

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) whether Coventry city council has submitted to his Department a business plan for development under the Nuneaton, Coventry, Kenilworth and Leamington (NUCKLE) project which includes a station at the Ricoh Arena; and what recent discussions his Department has had with Coventry city council on the production of a future business plan in connection with the NUCKLE project; (321821)

(2) what assessment he has made of the effects of the timing of submission of business plans in connection with the NUCKLE project on the (a) timetable for delivery and (b) costs of the project.

The Department for Transport has had recent discussions with Coventry city council about producing a business plan in connection with the NUCKLE project. From this, I understand that they are proposing to submit a major scheme business case shortly. As a result, the Department has not made an assessment of the effects of the timing of submission of business plans.

Railways: Tickets

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what estimate he has made of the effect on the cost of off-peak rail travel in the London borough of Bexley of the implementation of the Oyster pay-as-you-go agreement. (322453)

The Department for Transport has made no specific analysis of this effect on the London borough of Bexley. Before the launch of Oyster Pay As You Go, some high level analysis was carried out on the likely effects of Pay As You Go fares changes across London as a whole. Within that analysis there were both positive and negative effects, but overwhelmingly those who had been disadvantaged can switch to Pay As You Go and get the best value fares available for their time of travel.

Railways: York

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what the (a) open full, (b) average and (c) lowest advance purchase fare available to the general public was for rail travel between York and London in (i) 1996-97 and (ii) the latest period for which figures are available, expressed in (A) cash and (B) real terms. (322098)

Typically over 75 per cent. of long distance rail journeys are made using discounted tickets. The cheapest York London Advance fare today is £10 single. In 1996 it was £34 in simple cash terms. Around under 20 per cent. of longer journeys are made with Anytime Returns. In 1996 the Standard Class Anytime fare was £102, it is now £223.

The regulated Off Peak Return in 1996 was £57. This now costs £83.70, and is cheaper in real terms, having increased by less than the change in RPI since 1996. An operator specific Off Peak Return costing £61 is also available.

Roads: Greater London

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport when the Secretary of State's approval for the form of the fixed penalty notice to be used in cases of highway obstruction under the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003 was first sought; on how many subsequent occasions his Department has discussed that matter; and when he expects to be in a position to decide on the form of the fixed penalty notice. (322046)

Responsibility for this matter was transferred to the Department for Transport from the Government Office for London in 2007. The Secretary of State expects to be in a position to approve the form of the fixed penalty notice later this year.

Rolling Stock

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many short forming trains were run by each train operating company in each week of the last six months. (321485)

[holding answer 10 March 2010]: Only certain train operators are required to report the number of trains short-formed, and do so as part of a contractual monitoring regime. The Department does not hold information for operators whose franchise agreement does not require this.

For those that are required to report short-formed services, the numbers for the six most recent four-weekly reporting periods are shown in the following table:

20092010

Train operator

Aug-Sept

Sept-Oct

Oct-Nov

Nov-Dec

Dec-Jan

Jan-Feb

First Capital Connect

147

134

196

71

92

309

National Express East Anglia

39

25

20

63

33

79

Southeastern

81

110

98

176

395

287

Crosscountry Trains

117

63

70

78

121

107

London Midland

843

120

476

701

375

207

East Midland Trains

95

32

51

100

98

59

Southern

1

50

40

51

91

70

Northern

243

226

149

186

270

332

1 A new franchise agreement commenced on 20 September 2009 and equivalent data was not previously reported

For the operators shown above, the total number of services operated from which short-formed trains are reported, is shown in the following table. In some cases, operators are not required to monitor and report all services operated.

20092010

Train operator

Aug-Sept

Sept-Oct

Oct-Nov

Nov-Dec

Dec-Jan

Jan-Feb

First Capital Connect

20,582

20,767

20,203

18,421

16,661

20,644

National Express East Anglia

45,778

46,610

45,974

45,383

38,867

45,642

Southeastern

44,373

44,540

44,580

44,526

36,349

49,715

Crosscountry Trains

7,442

7,530

7,429

7,654

5,790

7,749

London Midland

31,391

32,601

31,298

31,722

28,162

32,607

East Midland Trains

11,761

11,732

11,727

11,657

10,642

11,955

Southern

1

6,680

6,676

6,675

3,483

5,966

Northern

4,663

4,675

4,636

4,613

4,039

4,413

1 A new franchise agreement commenced on 20 September 2009 and equivalent data was not previously reported

Wales

Unemployment

10. To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the level of unemployment in Wales. (321817)

The Government's extra investment in jobs, education and training is making a real difference in Wales. Latest labour market statistics show the employment level in Wales rising by 7,000 from the previous quarter.

11. To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent estimate he has made of the level of long-term unemployment in Neath constituency. (321818)

Despite the worst global economic recession in the last 60 years, this Government's action has ensured that long-term unemployment in Neath is over 60 per cent. lower than it was in 1997, with long-term youth unemployment over 40 per cent. lower.

Industrial Action

12. To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many days were lost to industrial action in Wales in 2009. (321819)

Figures for 2009 are currently not available. However, in 2008, the number of working days lost to industrial action in Wales was 55,000. This was just over 7 per cent. of the total working days lost in the United Kingdom (759,000) in 2008.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales pursuant to the answer of 4 March 2010, Official Report, column 1303W, on departmental internet, what the cost was of the website redesign. (321923)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Monmouth (David T. C. Davies) on 14 December 2009, Official Report, column 643W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many designs for its (a) internal website and (b) intranet his Department has commissioned since 2005; and what the cost was of each such design. (321977)

The Wales Office does not have an internal website or intranet. Staff have access to the Ministry of Justice intranet site.

Incinerators: Merthyr Tydfil

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and (b) Welsh Assembly Government Ministers on the effect on the UK Government's waste and sustainability strategy of the proposed construction of a 50MW, open grate, waste-to-energy incinerator near Merthyr Tydfil fuelled by non-recyclable waste and the likely effect of the importation of such fuel stock by sea to proposed receiving and transfer stations located at Welsh ports. (322323)

I have regular discussions with UK and Welsh Assembly Government Ministers on a range of issues including sustainability.

Both UK and Welsh Assembly Governments recognise that recovering energy from waste can play an important part in helping to meet Government commitments to tackle climate change, improve our energy security and create new business and job opportunities. Both Governments also recognise the need to take into account a range of factors when taking decisions on such proposals.

I understand the planning application for the proposed construction of an energy-from-waste incinerator at Merthyr Tydfil is being considered by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), who consider all applications in England and Wales where a plant has electrical capacity greater than 50MW. It would therefore be inappropriate for me to comment on this development further while it is in planning stages, except to say that the generation of energy from waste is highly desirable compared with depositing waste in landfill which is completely unsustainable

Notice of the application and details of the scoping exercise for the proposed project can be viewed at:

http://infrastructure.independent.gov.uk/?page_id=202

Cabinet Office

Civil Contingencies Emergency College

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when she last visited the Civil Contingencies Emergency College at Hawkshill, near Easingwold; and if she will make a statement. (321865)

I have not yet visited the Emergency Planning College. The college is currently engaged in a major project within the Government's Operational Efficiency Programme to develop a commercial partnership with Serco in order to allow it to deliver maximum benefit to the resilience of the UK while achieving greater efficiency. In view of the exceptional demands on the college's management team during the transition stage, I do not think the time is right for a ministerial visit at this particular stage.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer of 25 February 2010, Official Report, column 698W, on departmental internet, what the cost was of the website redesign. (321935)

The design referred to in the answer of 25 February 2010, Official Report, column 698W, was provided by in-house resource at no cost.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many designs for its (a) internal website and (b) intranet her Department has commissioned since 2005; and what the cost was of each such design. (321992)

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

The (a) internal website and (b) intranet are classed as the same website for the purpose of this response.

The Department has commissioned one redesign of its intranet home page since 2005. In March 2009 the Cabinet Office replaced its PDF staff newsletter, ‘Inside’, with an online news service. This work was carried out by an external agency at a cost of £10,245 plus VAT. This spend only relates to the Department's intranet.

No designs have been commissioned for the intranet for No. 10 Downing street since 2005.

Unemployment

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many and what proportion of people in (a) Glasgow East constituency and (b) the UK are unemployed. (321879)

The information 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 and what proportion of people in (a) Glasgow East constituency and (b) the UK are unemployed. (321879)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) compiles unemployment statistics in line with International Labour Organisation (ILO) definitions for local areas from the Annual Population Survey (APS). However, due to the small sample size, no reasonable estimate is available for Glasgow East.

As an alternative, in table 1, we have provided the number and proportion of persons, of working age, claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), in January 2010, for (a) Glasgow East constituency and (b) the United Kingdom, from the Jobcentre Plus administrative system.

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

http://www.nomisweb.co.uk

Table 1: Number and proportion of persons, of working age, claiming jobseeker's allowance resident in Glasgow East parliamentary constituency and the United Kingdom

Not seasonally adjusted

Glasgow East1

United Kingdom2

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

January 2010

4,022

7.2

1,654,025

4.3

1. Proportions for constituencies in Scotland, from 2007 onwards, are calculated using the mid-2006 resident working age population.

2. Proportions for regions and countries from 2009 onwards are calculated using the mid-2008 resident working age population. This is different from the headline claimant count figures which are seasonally adjusted and use a denominator based on workforce jobs and claimant count to calculate the claimant count rate.

Source:

Jobcentre Plus Administrative System

Work and Pensions

Carbon Monoxide: Poisoning

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps she plans to take to reduce the incidence of carbon monoxide poisoning. (322248)

The primary focus of Government work to reduce the incidence of carbon monoxide poisoning is to ensure that consumers use competent engineers to undertake work on their appliances. The Gas Safe Register, established by HSE in 2009, provides consumers with a clear route to find competent engineers and works to promote better public awareness of gas safety risks and the dangers arising from carbon monoxide. Since 1 April 2009 the Gas Safe Register have been undertaking a significant gas safety and carbon monoxide awareness raising campaign aimed at consumers, including national TV and online advertising, coverage on consumer programmes and national and regional radio and newspaper reporting.

There are other complementary Government work streams relating to carbon monoxide, including the Department for Communities and Local Government’s recent consultation on amendments to the Building Regulations which proposed the compulsory installation of carbon monoxide alarms when a new or replacement solid fuel appliances are installed, a Health Protection Agency’s study to assess the effectiveness of campaigns in increasing the knowledge of CO and Department of Health research into the long term effects of exposure to carbon monoxide.

Additionally, the Cross Government Group on gas safety and CO awareness, which covers all combustion fuels, aims to share knowledge and information and develop effective strategies to improve gas safety and tackle carbon monoxide risks from all fuels.

Departmental Temporary Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which companies were contracted by her Department for the provision of temporary staff in each of the last three years; how many temporary staff were employed by her Department in each such year; and what the monetary value was of contracts with each such company in each such year. (317995)

[holding answer 22 February 2010]: The DWP has a contract with Brook Street for the provision of temporary staff since September 2007; prior to this the service was contracted through Reed Employment plc (full UK coverage) and Hays Specialist Services (London only).

The expenditure and numbers of temporary staff were as follows:

2007-082008-092009-10 (year to date December)

Expenditure (£ million)

Headcount (average)

Expenditure (£ million)

Headcount (average)

Expenditure (£ million)

Headcount (average)

Total

6.48

unknown

10.2

1270

4.6

1215

Brook Street

0.076

3.5

4.6

Reed

0.432

0.312

0

Hays

4.5

3.5

0

Other

1.48

2.9

0

1 Headcount figures are averaged across the period noted.

The headcount for temporary staff for 2007-08 is not available centrally as DWP did not capture management information as standard across the various suppliers for the periods in question.

Departmental Theft

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps her Department is taking to deter theft from within the Department. (322658)

The Department takes extensive measures to protect our assets and to deter theft.

The physical security of all our premises complies with central Government security standards. The measures we use to prevent unauthorised access and to protect our assets include entry controls, pass systems, security guarding, CCTV and intruder detection systems.

All employees are required, as part of their conditions of employment, to safeguard the Department's assets, and to take care to ensure that no loss or damage occurs. Suspected thefts will, where appropriate, be referred to the police, and the Department will strongly support any ensuing police action.

All employees have been required to undertake security awareness training in the past year, which covers the protection of the Department's assets. We have issued reminders to employees to protect valuable assets and the information on them, when off the Department's premises.

We require all portable IT equipment, such as laptops and memory sticks, to be encrypted. The same applies to BlackBerry phones. This means that these items will not work if stolen.

Departmental Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will publish the travel guidance issued to staff of her Department's agencies and non-departmental public bodies. (314929)

The DWP has a detailed travel policy which seeks to promote consistent and best value use of transport options by its staff. It is made available to all staff through its intranet site.

This policy is currently under review, however the full text of existing policy has been placed in the Library along with details relating to the Department's agencies and non-departmental public bodies.

The following non-departmental public bodies follow the Department for Work and Pensions travel guidance:

Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board

Equality 2025

Industrial Injuries Advisory Council

Pensions Ombudsman

Pensions Protection Fund Ombudsman

Social Security Advisory Committee.

Disability Living Allowance: Tribunals

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many appeal tribunals related to disability living allowance took place in each of the last five years. (322343)

I have been asked to reply.

The number of tribunal appeals relating to disability living allowance for each of the last five years is shown in the following table.

Financial year

Cases disposed of at a hearing

April 2005 to March 2006

71,125

April 2006 to March 2007

65,088

April 2007 to March 2008

57,824

April 2008 to March 2009

53,880

April 2009 to February 2010

48,077

Total

295,994

Employment: Disabled

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many disabled people living in the City of York have moved into work in each of the last three years. (321689)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many disabled people living in Milton Keynes have moved into work in each of the last three years. (321870)

Government Car and Despatch Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much her Department paid to the Government Car and Despatch Agency in each of the last five years; how much it has spent on such payments in 2009-10; and what proportion of such payments was made in respect of the Government Car Service. (316427)

The Department’s expenditure with the Government Car and Despatch Agency is detailed in the following table.

£

2004-05

n/a

2005-06

390,700

2006-07

407,800

2007-08

415,900

2008-09

779,865

2009-10 (nine months to December)

479,497

The Department does not hold this information for 2004-05. The data for 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 relate to the use of ministerial cars and the car for the permanent secretary only. The expenditure for 2008-09 and for the first nine months of 2009-10 includes all departmental expenditure with the Government Car and Despatch Agency. The proportional split of expenditure the Government Car Service could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Housing Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what expenditure her Department has incurred on the local housing allowance scheme since it was introduced. (316798)

The available information is in the table.

Local housing allowance expenditure

In cash terms (£ million)

2004-05

199

2005-06

332

2006-07

379

2007-08

422

2008-09

1,863

Source:

Local authority subsidy claims.

In 2004-05 nine Pathfinder local authorities piloted the local housing allowance. In 2005 the pilot was extended to 18 local authorities.

From April 2008 the local housing allowance was used by all 408 local authorities for new claims from renters in the deregulated private sector, replacing the Local Reference Rent scheme.

The Department also provided around £9 million of funding to the Pathfinder local authorities, and £59 million to fund the administrative costs of national implementation.

Housing Benefit: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Fife and (b) Scotland receive local housing allowance. (322401)

The available information is in the table.

Housing benefit recipients—local housing allowance tenants: Great Britain November 2009

Number

Scotland

52,590

Fife local authority

3,470

Notes:

1. Recipients are as at second Thursday of the month.

2. Local housing allowance tenants may include a small number of non-LHA cases making a new claim since 7 April 2008. This will include recipients in caravan accommodation.

3. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

4. The data refer to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple.

5. SHBE is a monthly electronic scan of claimant level data direct from local authority computer systems. It replaces quarterly aggregate clerical returns. The data are available monthly from November 2008 and November 2009 and are the most recent available.

6. Housing benefit figures exclude any extended payment cases. An extended payment is a payment that may be received for a further four weeks when they start working full-time, work more hours or earn more money.

7. Data from SHBE incorporate the local authority changes from 1 April 2009.

Source:

Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE)

Housing Benefit: Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people under the age of 19 years who are not in employment, education or training are living in supported housing schemes; what assessment she has made of the effects of housing benefit levels on the prospects of such people obtaining employment; and if she will make a statement. (320878)

The information requested is not available. Figures on the total number of young people under the age of 19 years who are not in employment, education and training and living in supported housing schemes are not collected centrally.

The Government are committed to ensuring that there are suitable employment and training opportunities for all and that the system of working age benefits provides effective support for people to return to work. Young people are a specific priority. In December 2009 we published ‘Investing in Potential’, our cross-Government strategy for increasing the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds in education, employment or training.

Housing benefit is an income-related benefit designed to help people who rent their home and have difficulty in meeting reasonable housing costs. There is no age restriction and it can be paid to people whether or not they are working or training. Full-time students in non-advanced and further education who are aged less than 21 may also get housing benefit. We have recently launched the Working Benefits campaign to help advisers explain to their clients the in-work support that this benefit can offer and make it clear that help with housing costs is still available to people in work or training on a low income.

On 15 December 2009 we launched the consultation document ‘Supporting People into Work: The next stage of Housing Benefit Reform’ which examines how housing benefit might play a part in encouraging people to work. It contained proposals that will improve incentives for people to get a job, building on an on-going programme of IT projects and financial help designed to smooth the transition for our customers as they move into work.

Many single young people aged under 25 will have the amount of their rent which is eligible for help with housing benefit restricted to the amount they would pay on a shared room basis, regardless of the property they rent. This reflects the fact that this group commonly have earnings prospects well below those of older people and addresses any possible disincentive to work that may arise from meeting high rent levels a person could not afford while in work.

However the housing benefit rules recognise the additional costs that might arise from the provision of supported housing. For this group no account is taken of a person's age in working out what help is available and help for those living in the social and voluntary sectors is usually based on the contractual rent.

Occupational Pensions: Regulation

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reason the cost to businesses of external advice to comply with the provisions of the Pensions Act 2008 was not included in her Department's estimate of the cost to the private sector. (318523)

The Workplace Pension Reform Regulations Impact Assessment, published January 2010, makes clear we have not calculated the costs to employers of seeking external advice, as the regulations do not require employers to seek such advice on how to implement or comply with the reforms.

The Government are working closely with both the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority and the Pensions Regulator and already have plans in place to provide employers with information and support both before and during the implementation of the reform. The Pension Regulator's communication and education campaign is being designed to help employers and the intermediaries employers rely on for help, to understand what must be done to meet the new employer duties.

Employers who still choose to seek advice from external bodies on top of the information provided by the Department and the Pensions Regulator must anticipate a benefit from this advice that outweighs the cost.

Pension Credit: Glasgow

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people are in receipt of pension credits in Glasgow East constituency; and what the average weekly payment was in the latest period for which figures are available. (321880)

The information is as follows:

Recipients of pension credit in the Glasgow, East constituency, August 2009

Number/£

Individual beneficiaries

9,340

Households recipients

7,850

Average weekly award of pension credit (£)

60.56

Notes:

1. Case load figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

2. Household recipients are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves or on behalf of themselves and a partner. Beneficiaries are the number of claimants in addition to the number of partners for whom they are claiming.

3. Pension credit is claimed on a household basis. The average weekly award of pension credit is in relation to the household.

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

Source:

DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data.

Pension Credit: Milton Keynes

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Milton Keynes receive (a) basic state pension and (b) pension credit; and what the average weekly amount of pension credit received is. (321869)

The information requested is in the following table.

Milton Keynes local authority

Date

Number/£

People in receipt of basic state pension

March 2009

29,200

Individual beneficiaries of pension credit

August 2009

8,820

Households in receipt of pension credit

August 2009

7,200

Average weekly award of pension credit (£)

August 2009

57.98

1 Numbers in receipt of Basic State Pension rounded to nearest 100.

2 Pension credit caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

3 Household recipients are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves or on behalf of themselves and a partner. Beneficiaries are the number of claimants in addition to the number of partners for whom they are claiming.

4 Pension credit is claimed on a household basis. The average weekly award of pension credit is in relation to the household.

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

Sources:

Basic State Pension

Department for Work and Pensions, Information Directorate, 5 per cent sample. The figures have been adjusted in line with the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent data.

Pension Credit

DWP Information Directorate Work and Pension Longitudinal study 100 per cent. date

Pension Credit: York

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in City of York local authority area receive (a) basic state pension and (b) pension credit; and what the average weekly amount of pension credit received is. (321690)

As at March 2009, there were 36,800 recipients of the basic state pension in York local authority.

Notes:

1. Figures are subject a high degree of sampling error and should be used as a guide.

2. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 100.

3. Totals may not sum due to rounding.

Source:

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

The information requested on the number of recipients of pension credit in York local authority and the average weekly award of pension credit received is in the following table:

As at August 2009

Number/£

Individual beneficiaries

8,010

Households recipients

6,650

Average weekly award of pension credit (£)

47.51

Notes:

1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

2. Household recipients are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves or on behalf of themselves and a partner. Beneficiaries are the number of claimants in addition to the number of partners for whom they are claiming.

3. Pension credit is claimed on a household basis. The average weekly award of pension credit is in relation to the household.

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

Source:

DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data.

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what requirements apply to people found to have committed benefit fraud to repay money defrauded; and what mechanisms are in place to recover the money in such cases; (322731)

(2) whether a claimant who has committed benefit fraud is required to repay the sum defrauded before making a further claim for benefit.

The Department seeks to minimise the amount of fraud arising in the system. Proportionally, fraud in the benefit system is now over 60 per cent. less than it was in 2000-01.

When benefit fraud is discovered the resultant overpayment is pursued in all cases and priority is given to fraud cases to ensure that the time delay between discovery and recovery is kept to a minimum. The mechanics of the recovery of the overpayment will vary depending on the value of the debt and the circumstances of the customer, but will include one or more of the following:-

Compulsory recovery from ongoing benefit entitlement;

Recovery by lump sum or instalment for those no longer in receipt of benefit;

Seizure of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act;

Compensation order awarded by the courts;

Referral to a private sector partner to undertake debt recovery where appropriate; and

Enforcement of the debt through civil court where appropriate.

A customer is not required to repay the sum defrauded before making a further claim to benefit, though we would take deductions from future benefit payments to recover the debt. The maximum rate for recovery of overpayments arising from fraudulent activity is greater than it is for ordinary overpayments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many fraudulent benefit claims were detected in each of the last five years; how many such cases resulted in (a) administrative penalties, (b) cautions, (c) prosecutions and (d) convictions in each of these years; and how many of those convicted received a (i) custodial sentence, (ii) community sentence and (iii) discharge in each of these years; (322732)

(2) what sanctions are available to her Department with respect to people found to have committed benefit fraud; and how many and what percentage of people found to have committed benefit fraud received each type of sanction in each of the last five years.

The Department for Work and Pensions has three criminal sanctions available for use in cases of benefit fraud. These are cautions, administrative penalties and criminal prosecutions.

In addition, the ‘Two Strike’ 13 week loss of benefit sanction applies to those who have been convicted twice of benefit fraud within a set period. From 1 April 2010 the Department will also be able to apply a ‘One Strike’ four week loss of benefit sanction to those who have been convicted of benefit fraud for the first time, as well as to those who have accepted an administrative penalty or caution.

If a benefit claim is confirmed as fraudulent following an investigation, one of the above criminal sanctions will be applied in all cases. The figures provided in the following tables represent the number of fraudulent benefit claims detected in each of the last five years.

The available information for both Department for Work and Pensions and local authority administered benefits is provided. Information on local authority prosecutions and convictions is not yet available for 2008-09.

Department for Work and Pensions administered benefits

Number of administrative penalties issued

Number of cautions issued

Number prosecuted for benefit fraud

Number of convictions for benefit fraud offences

2004-05

8,510

9,997

10,295

9,219

2005-06

10,870

10,543

10,262

8,740

2006-07

9,810

11,976

8,964

6,861

2007-08

8,566

12,821

10,274

7,745

2008-09

7,160

14,320

8,840

6,700

Sources:

1. Administrative penalty and caution data is taken from the Fraud Information by Sector system (FIBS) and the Fraud Referral and Intervention Management System (FRAIMS).

2. Prosecution and conviction data for England and Wales is taken from DWP/DH Legal Group's computerised information system.

3. Prosecution and conviction data for Scotland is taken from FIBS and FRAIMS.

Local authority administered benefits

Number of administrative penalties issued

Number of cautions issued

Number prosecuted for benefit fraud

Number of convictions for benefit fraud offences

2004-05

4,496

6,649

5,544

4,688

2005-06

6,199

9,708

7,717

6,234

2006-07

6,742

10,662

6,023

5,860

2007-08

8,416

12,569

6,611

6,493

2008-09

1

1

1

1

1 Unavailable.

Note:

The decision to prosecute is taken by the appropriate local authority.

Source:

Housing Benefit Operational Database (HOBOD) using local authority administrative returns.

Information relating to how many individuals convicted of benefit fraud received a custodial sentence, community sentence or discharge is only available for Department for Work and Pensions administered benefits. The available information is provided in the following table.

Department for Work and Pensions administered benefits

Number of convictions for benefit fraud offences

Number of custodial sentences given

Number of community sentences given

Number of discharges given

2004-05

9,219

601

2,492

2,652

2005-06

8,740

919

2,927

2,441

2006-07

6,861

616

2,415

1,734

2007-08

7,745

522

2,780

2,207

2008-09

6,700

467

2,507

1,516

Sources:

1. Information for England and Wales is taken from DWP/DH Legal Group's computerised information system.

2. Information for Scotland is taken from the Fraud Information by Sector system (FIBS) and the Fraud Referral and Intervention Management System (FRAIMS).

Social Security Benefits: Publicity

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what her policy is on the provision of (a) information and (b) information leaflets on (i) attendance allowance and (ii) other welfare benefits in (A) post offices, (B) libraries and (C) other public places. (322255)

There is currently no contractual agreement between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Post Office for the display of leaflets about attendance allowance or any welfare benefits.

While there is no national agreement for the display of leaflets at libraries, doctors surgeries, council offices and citizens advise bureaux there are a number of routes that ensure the availability of leaflets at these locations:

The Pension Service’s local service teams, located throughout England, Scotland and Wales, have local partnerships with external organisations and formally monitor the use and availability of leaflets at ‘Hard Copy Information Points’ on partner premises. They also share local knowledge and experience of which leaflets are the most popular and most useful to our customers.

The 62,000 subscribers to the Central Office of Information’s Publicity Register receive a quarterly magazine called ‘Touchbase’ which provides details of current and forthcoming information campaigns. Subscribers are also able to order leaflets directly from the Department through its on-line catalogue of information products.

The Department has a commercial agreement in place to provide key Pension Service and Disability and Carer Service leaflets in more than half of all doctors waiting rooms and pharmacies across the UK. The cost of this service is met directly by the Department and the information provided by it is available free of charge to the public.

Customers can also access the Department’s leaflets and the latest information about benefits and services online at the Directgov website.

State Retirement Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment she has made of the merits of uprating earnings-related state pensions at the same rate as the basic state pension from April 2010. (318622)

The conventions on uprating state pensions are concerned with maintaining their price value. Had we applied those rules this year, when inflation as measured by the September retail Price Index was minus 1.4 per cent. pensioners would not have received a rise in their State pension.

However, we are committed to getting help to the 11 million pensioners in Great Britain, many of whom are facing difficulties in the current economic climate. We are determined that the fairest and most effective way was to apply an above inflation increase of 2.5 per cent. to the basic state pension. This will be worth around £1 billion to pensioners and will mean that on average state pension recipients will see an overall increase of 2 per cent. in their state pension. At the same time we have increased the pension credit standard minimum guarantee by £2.60 a week for single pensioners and £3.95 for couples to help the poorest pensioners.

By contrast, increasing additional State pension would have a widely variable effect on the help given to pensioners. For example, very elderly female pensioners receiving on average £5 of additional pension a week would only see an increase of a few pence each week on their state pension. However, others, typically younger male pensioners who had higher earnings, could see increases closer to around £4 a week. Increasing the basic state pension means that help is provided to more pensioners with a more even distribution.

Communities and Local Government

Community Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has set a timetable for reaching agreement with the Local Government Association on the proposals on the shortlist produced under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 to be implemented. (321664)

[holding answer 17 March 2010]: The Government are carefully considering each of the 199 short-listed proposals submitted by the selector body, the Local Government Association (LGA) under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007. We are now discussing these with the LGA as part of the process of seeking to reach agreement required by the Act.

Departmental ICT

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what information technology projects initiated by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies were cancelled prior to completion in the last 12 months; and what the cost of each such project was to the public purse. (320430)

Departmental Lost Property

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what property has been recorded as (a) lost and (b) stolen from his Department in the last 12 months; and what estimate has been made of the cost of the replacement of that property. (322071)

The property recorded as (a) lost or (b) stolen from Communities and Local Government in the last 12 months and the estimated cost of the replacement of that property is as follows:

Departmental property reported as stolen

Five BlackBerrys—valued at approximately £1,000 (£200 each)

Six laptop computers—valued at approximately £6,000 (£1,000 each)

One mobile phone—valued at approximately £200

One mobile phone charger—valued at approximately £10

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

Employee property reported as stolen

One bottle of aftershave—nil replacement cost for the Department.

Employee property reported as lost

One Apple iPhone—nil replacement cost for the Department

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of senior civil servants in his Department were awarded a bonus in 2009; and what the (a) highest, (b) lowest, (c) mean, (d) median and (e) mode bonus awarded was. (320798)

The following table sets out the details of performance related payments made to senior civil servants in the Department for Communities and Local Government following the 2009 pay award, broken down into £5,000 bands.

Details of performance related payments

Number of performance related payments made

102

Proportion this represents (percentage)

76

Highest in the range

£10,001 to £15,000

Lowest in the range

£0 to £5,000

Mean in the range

£5,001 to £10,000

Median in the range

£5,001 to £10,000

Mode in the range

£0 to £5,000

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of his Department’s Board members who were civil servants working in his Department were awarded a bonus in (a) 2008 and (b) 2009; and what the highest bonus paid was in each of those years. (320799)

The Communities and Local Government Board consists of eight senior civil servants (SCS) and currently five non-executive members. CLG only holds records of those who are civil servants within Communities and Local Government.

In 2008 all eight executive board members received a performance related payment. The highest payment made was in the range of between £20,000 and £25,000.

In 2009, the permanent secretary volunteered to forgo a bonus. The seven other executive members received a performance related payment. The highest payment made in the range of between £10,000 and £15,000.

An element of the Communities and Local Government overall pay award is allocated to non-consolidated variable pay related to performance. These payments are used to drive high performance and form part of the pay award for members of staff who demonstrate exceptional performance, for example by exceeding targets set or meeting challenging objectives.

Non-consolidated variable pay awards are funded from within existing pay bill controls, and have to be re-earned each year against pre-determined targets and, as such, do not add to future pay bill costs. The percentage of the pay bill set aside for performance-related awards for the SCS is based on recommendations from the independent Senior Salaries Review Body.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) highest, (b) lowest, (c) mean, (d) median and (e) mode salary paid to (i) senior civil servants in his Department and (ii) his Department’s Board members who were senior civil servants was following the 2009 pay award. (320800)

The following table sets out salary details of senior civil servants in the Department for Communities and Local Government following the 2009 pay award broken down into £5,000 bands.

Within the below salary range

Highest

£175,000 to £180,000

Lowest

£55,000 to £60,000

Mean

£80,000 to £85,000

Median

£70,000 to £75,000

Mode

£55,000 to £60,000

Of these senior civil servants eight were board members in 2009, and salary details of these are set out in the following table broken down into £5,000 bands.

Within the below salary range

Highest

£175,000 to £180,000

Lowest

£105,000 to £110,000

Mean

£145,000 to £150,000

Median

£150,000 to £155,000

Mode

n/a

n/a = Not applicable.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many senior civil servants there were in his Department at the time of the 2009 pay award; how many of them received a pay award excluding any bonuses; what the (a) lowest, (b) highest, (c) mean, (d) median and (e) mode pay award was; and how many such officials (i) received a fully consolidated increase in salary and (ii) received a pay award but no increase in salary. (320801)

At the time of the 2009 pay award 134 senior civil servants were included in the annual pay assessment for the main Communities and Local Government Department. Of these, 112 received a fully consolidated increase in salary and one received a non-consolidated pay award but no increase in salary.

The following table sets out the increases in salary of the senior civil servants in the Department for Communities and Local Government following the 2009 pay award, broken down into £5,000 bands.

Within the range

Highest

£10,000 to £15,000

Lowest

£0 to £5,000

Mean

£0 to £5,000

Median

£0 to £5,000

Mode

£0 to £5,000

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Neill) of 12 October 2009, Official Report, columns 312-3W, on departmental pay, what contractual arrangements led to the payment of a non-consolidated sum to Mr. Falvey. (322710)

Homelessness: Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans his Department has to increase support for young homeless people seeking permanent accommodation; and if he will make a statement. (307019)

Government have recently provided £30 million capital funding over three years from Communities and Local Government that will provide up to 500 new places in Foyers and specialist supported housing through the National Affordable Housing Programme.

Since September the following allocations have been made:

Client group

Grant (£)

Units

Teenage parents

3,228,924

43

Young people at risk

6,562,003

134

Young people leaving care

90,000

2

Total for supported housing for 16 to 17-year-olds

9,880,927

179

In addition local authorities provide a broad range of assistance and support for all ages which young people will also benefit from.

The Supporting People programme provides revenue funds for local authorities to commission housing related support services for vulnerable people in their area, to enable them to develop independent living skills. Data relating to the supply of and spend on Supporting People housing related support services are collected retrospectively. The following table shows the national spend, per primary client group, for the year 2007-08 for the three ‘young person’ client groups reportable for Supporting People.

Supporting People spend on the three Young Person client groups

2007-08 spend (£)

Teenage parents

23,403,241

Young people at risk

124,728,170

Leaving care

11,853,858

Housing: Sustainable Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment he has made of progress in the provision of affordable sustainable homes; and whether his Department was represented at the Ecobuild exhibition and conference held in London in March 2010. (322554)

I receive regular reports on the performance of the Homes and Communities Agency programmes which promote affordable sustainable homes. For example, in 2008-09, funding was allocated through the National Affordable Housing programme to support over 50,000 homes being built to level 3 or above of the code for sustainable homes. Ninety per cent. of proposals I've approved under this year's Local Authority New Build programme are at code level 4. The Social Housing Energy Saving programme is delivering cavity wall insulation in an estimated 108,000 homes.

The Department had a stand at the Ecobuild conference and exhibition held in March in London, as it has in previous years. I spoke at the conference and my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State visited the event. Several CLG officials gave speeches, chaired sessions or were present at the Department's stand to answer questions from visitors to the event.

Non-Domestic Rates

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the combined rateable value of hereditaments in each local authority area is on the (a) 2005 and (b) draft 2010 Rating List. (312098)

[holding answer 20 January 2010]: I have placed in the Library of the House a table showing the total rateable value for all hereditaments in Local List for England broken down by billing authority on the 2005 and the draft 2010 Rating Lists as at 2 November 2009. These data are consistent with the statistical release titled: “Non-domestic rateable values: 2010 Local Rating Lists—England and Wales”, published on 18 December 2009. A copy of this statistical release is available at the following link:

http://www.voa.gov.uk/publications/statistical_releases/VOA_Statistics_Release_Final.pdf

The rateable values have been rounded to the nearest £1,000.

The five-yearly business rates revaluations make sure each business pays its fair contribution and no more by ensuring the share of the national rates bill paid by any one business reflects changes over time in the value of their property relative to others. The 2010 revaluation will not raise a single extra penny for Government.

Over 1 million properties will see their business rate liabilities come down as a result of revaluation. The Government intend to put in place a £2 billion relief scheme to limit the impact on the minority with bill increases, which in 2010-11 will ensure no business property sees its rates bill increase by more than 11 per cent. as a result of the revaluation, with maximum increases capped at just 3.5 per cent. for small properties. That is on top of the wider support available to help ease business pressures including discounted rate bills for small businesses and deferring tax payments.

Non-Domestic Rates: Ports

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reasons the Valuation Office Agency drew up a rating list in 2005 for port businesses. (322226)

I have been asked to reply.

Valuation officers are required under section 41 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 every five years (starting on 1 April 1990) to compile and then maintain accurate rating lists. New rating lists were therefore required on 1 April 2005 The circumstances leading to the review of the ports were explained in the answer given to him on 2 March 2010, Official Report, column 1153W.

Planning Permission: National Policy Statements

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he expects to publish the guidance to local authorities on National Policy Statements referred to by Baroness Andrews on 18 November 2008, Official Report, House of Lords, column 1019. (322394)

Preventing Violent Extremism Community Leadership Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what projects and programmes Preventing Violent Extremism funds will be spent in Northamptonshire in 2009-10. (321647)

As my hon. Friend will be aware, this Department has, since April 2008, funded local authorities to undertake Prevent work through Area Based Grant, which in line with Government policy is not ring-fenced. This means that local authorities themselves decide how to support and deliver a diverse set of projects and programmes at local level with the Prevent funding provided by this Department. Funding is provided at a unitary or district level. Northampton borough council is receiving a total of £443,122 from 2008-09 to 2010-11, as follows:

£

2008-09

105,000

2009-10

143,292

2010-11

194,830

The local authority will be able to provide specific information on which projects and programmes are being funded.

Supported Housing: Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of young people under the age of 19 years are living in supported housing schemes; and what the maximum weekly housing benefit payable to such people is. (320880)

Figures on the total number of young people living in supported housing schemes are not collected centrally. There is no universal definition of supported housing, the different data sources CLG collects contain information on different types of supported housing (therefore the two following data sets are not comparable).

Of the 32,813 clients under the age of 19 years who accessed housing related support services funded by the Supporting People programme between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009, 15,155 (46 per cent.) entered supported housing.

The Continuous Recording (CORE) of lettings provides information on the number of supported housing lettings in the social housing sector. Between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009, CORE estimates that 15,200 new supported housing lettings were provided to households headed by a young person under 19. Of all under-19s receiving new social housing lets, 60 per cent. were provided with supported housing.

Those who live in either social or voluntary sector supported housing will have their housing benefit based on their actual rent, which may be limited to a reasonable amount for the property that they occupy where necessary. In the private sector, single young people aged under 25 have their rent restricted to that of shared accommodation, unless they are severely disabled or aged under 22 and have previously been in care.

Trade Unions

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff of (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the Audit Commission are seconded to trade unions; what facilities are made available to those staff; how many days other staff of each organisation spent on trade union activity in the latest year for which figures are available; and what recent estimate has been made of the annual cost to the public purse of union activity by staff of each organisation. (320599)

The main Department pays the cost of two full-time staff trade union representatives. In 2008-09 the total cost was approximately £95,000. CLG also pays the cost of a number of part time staff. The total amount allocated for trade union activities for 2008-2009 was £192,000, and the number of days staff in the Department spent on all trade union activities was 1,075.50 days.

Basic office facilities are available to these staff e.g. office space, telephones, desks, chairs, cupboards, personal computers and stationery.

Records for CLG agencies and the Audit Commission are not held centrally.

Treasury

Business: Government Assistance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many businesses in Wolverhampton have been visited by representatives of his Department’s time to pay initiative during the recent recession. (322261)

Since its introduction on 24 November 2008 and up until 7 March 2010, HMRC’s Business Payment Support Service (BPSS) has agreed over 303,000 time to pay arrangements with businesses in the UK to spread tax payments of just under £5.2 billion over a period they can afford.

During the same period, BPSS agreed 990 time to pay arrangements worth £20 million with businesses in Wolverhampton.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the monetary value of capital allowances to UK industry in the latest year for which figures are available. (322262)

The value to UK industry of capital allowances arises from the tax relief given against profits from specific capital allowances on investment. As set out in the 2009 pre-Budget report, the latest estimate of the value of the relief is £21,100 million for 2009-10:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/pbr09_taxreadyreckoner.pdf

Revenue and Customs: Data Protection

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what steps he plans to take to reduce the number of incidents of staff misuse of customer data at HM Revenue and Customs; and by what means he plans to inform the public of such steps; (317294)

(2) what steps are being taken in respect of HM Revenue and Customs staff found to have misused customer data.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) introduced a strategic objective to reduce incidences of customer data misuse by at least 75 per cent. between 2009 and 2012. The Department's planned actions to achieve this are set out in its annual business plan, with performance against the objective set out in its annual reports, both are available at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/about/reports.htm

All instances of suspected misuse are thoroughly investigated and are subject to appropriate disciplinary action, with penalties up to and including dismissal and criminal action. All departmental staff must attend mandatory training to reinforce the consequences they face in the event of misusing customer data.

Tax Collection

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the cost-effectiveness of recovering a debt in respect of which the due and payable date passed more than 12 months earlier; (317310)

(2) what the (a) age and (b) likelihood of recovery is of the debt owed to HM Revenue and Customs totalling more than £27 billion at 31 March 2009; and how much such debt has been outstanding (i) less than six months, (ii) between six and 12 months, (iii) between 12 months and two years, (iv) between two and three years and (v) for more than three years since the due and payable date;

(3) what recent assessment he has made of HM Revenue and Customs' performance in the recovery of taxes owed to the Government.

The Public Accounts Committee examined the Department in its 2009-10 report: ‘HM Revenue and Customs: Improving the Processing and Collection of Tax: Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax and Tax Credits’ (HC 97) published on 10 December 2009 and available at:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmpubacc/97/97.pdf

The Government will publish their responses to the Committee's report in a Treasury minute in due course.

The value and age of unpaid tax debts is shown on page 96 of HM Revenue and Customs' 2008-09 Trust Statement, available at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/about/hmrc-accs-0809.pdf

Other breakdowns of tax debt by age are available only at disproportionate cost, as HMRC's systems cannot readily produce these.

Taxation: Domicil

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what definition of long-term resident of the UK is used for the purposes of determining a person’s tax status; and how many days per year are required to be spent in the UK in order to be eligible for that classification. (321406)

[holding answer 9 March 2010]: The term ‘long-term resident’ only occurs in UK tax legislation in the context of defining individuals who are required to pay the £30,000 remittance basis charge introduced in Finance Act 2008 where it refers to those who have been resident in the UK for at least seven out of the last nine years.

An individual’s residence status depends upon a number of different factors and is not simply a question of the number of days spent in the UK. Further guidance on residence and domicile issues is available at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/hmrc6.pdf

Taxation: Gaming Machines

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of gaming machines in public houses which are not subject to Amusement Machine Licence Duty (AMLD); what representations he has received in respect of the proposal to extend AMLD to include such machines; whether he has (a) sought and (b) received advice from the Gambling Commission on the practical arrangements for regulating such machines; and if he will make a statement. (320949)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) does not hold information on the nature of the businesses in which gaming machines are located as this information is not necessary for the administration of Amusement Machine Licence Duty (AMLD).

Treasury Ministers meet with, and receive representations from, a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the usual policymaking process. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such representations.

On 26 February, the Government announced a four-month review of “skills with prizes” machines and the games played on them for the purposes of AMLD. This will be undertaken by HM Treasury and HMRC in consultation with the Gambling Commission and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The review will engage fully with all stakeholders.

Trade Unions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many days staff of (a) his Department, (b) HM Revenue and Customs and (c) the Valuation Office Agency spent on trade union activity in the latest year for which figures are available; and what recent estimate he has made of the annual cost to the public purse of such activity. (320616)

HM Treasury has one member of staff, grade 7, who spends 0.60 (FTE) of time working as a trade union official. As fewer than five staff are employed to work as union officials it is not HM Treasury policy to provide salary information that could be attributed to an individual.

As already released in a Freedom of Information Request of 25 September 2009, staff of HM Revenue and Customs spent 48,902 days on trade union activity during the year 2008-09 at an estimated cost to the Department of £5,918,065.

The total number of days allocated to staff in the Valuation Office Agency for trade union activity in the latest year was 4,861 days. The estimated cost of the Valuation Office Agency trade union activity is £756,193.

Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many legal proceedings have been instigated for recovery of tax credit overpayments in each quarter since April 2003; what the average overpayment outstanding is for which legal action has been instigated; what the total monetary value is of such overpayments; what estimate he has made of the average cost to the public purse of pursuing such cases through the courts; and how much has been recovered through court action. (317146)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) initiates court action only as a last resort.

The information requested is in the following table.

Tax credit cases entered into Court by HMRC

Number

Total Value (£)

Average Value (£)

2008-091

April-June 2008

1,090

7,649,000

7017

July-September 2008

2,623

18,032,000

6874

October-December 2008

887

6,465,722

7289

January-March 2009

1,719

10,889,145

6334

2009-102

April-June 2009

792

4,184,128

5282

July-September 2009

408

1,854,732

4545

October-December 2009

249

2,356,757

9464

Notes:

1 Includes England and Wales and Scotland

2 Includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Information for 2006-07 and 2007-08 could be obtained only at disproportionate cost, as the data for these periods are not centrally held by HMRC's systems.

No estimate has been made of the cost to the Exchequer of pursuing tax debt through Court Proceedings.

Information of the amount recovered through court action is only available at disproportionate cost, as HMRC systems do not separately record the amount recovered as a result of court proceedings as distinct from the amounts recovered from all stages of the enforcement process.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in how many individual tax credit cases which involved overpayments made in (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-07 and (c) 2007-08 the claimants were prosecuted by his Department for the purposes of recovering such overpayments in each year in which such prosecutions were initiated. (317581)

The recovery of tax credit overpayments is a civil matter. Therefore, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) does not prosecute but may seek action to recover tax credit debt through the county court system in England and Wales, the Sheriff's court in Scotland and the magistrates court in Northern Ireland. This is only done as a last resort.

For information on the number of actions commenced in 2006-07 and 2007-08 I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Cardiff Central (Jenny Willott) on 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1926W. Information for years prior to 2006-07 is only available at disproportionate cost, as it is not centrally held by HMRC's systems.

HMRC can and does prosecute for fraud.

Women and Equality

Equality and Human Rights Commission

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many properties are (a) owned and (b) leased by the Equality and Human Rights Commission; what the cost to the Commission was in the latest period for which figures are available; and how many people work at each property. (321391)

The EHRC is independent and it manages its own affairs; the following is based on information it has provided.

(a) No properties are owned by the Commission.

(b) 10 properties are currently leased by the Commission. The Commission will release one of these with effect from 1 April 2010 and is actively seeking to release a further three from its portfolio. In addition the Commission rents space in six Government Offices and the Scottish Government in Edinburgh.

The cost of these arrangements was £3.6 million per annum in 2009.

The numbers of people who work at each office location are shown in the table. Figures are taken from the EHRC estates review presented to the EHRC Board in December 2009 and are the latest available.

Headcount1 (total)

FTE2 (total)

Office

1. London (3 More London)

162

155.01

2. Manchester

209

193.09

3. Birmingham

54

49.59

4. Buckingham Palace Road London

6

5.54

5. Glasgow

43

40.38

6. Cardiff (Callaghan Sq)

39

34.47

7. Bangor

3

3.00

Vacant property

8. Edinburgh (Old Tun)

0

0

9. Cardiff (Ty Nant Court)

0

0

10. London (Fox Court)

0

0

Government Offices

Bristol

2

2.00

Cambridge

3

3.00

Guildford

3

3.00

Leeds

3

3.00

Newcastle

3

3.00

Nottingham

4

4.00

Scottish Government

Edinburgh

1

1.00

Edinburgh/Glasgow split

6

6.00

Total

541

506.08

1 Headcount equals number of EHRC employees excluding those on maternity leave, secondment out or career breaks.

2 FTE equals full time equivalent.

Notes:

1. Six employees work between both Glasgow and Edinburgh sites.

2. The Buckingham Palace Road lease expired in April 2010 and staff are being transferred to the London HQ at 3 More London.

Culture, Media and Sport

Butterfly World Project

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent meetings Ministers and officials in his Department have had with representatives of Butterfly World Project Ltd. (320852)

Neither Ministers nor officials from this Department have met with Butterfly World Project Ltd., as neither the people involved in running this world class attraction nor the local Member of Parliament have asked for a meeting.

Departmental Disciplinary Proceedings

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many (a) disciplinary and (b) capability procedures have been (i) initiated and (ii) completed in his Department in each of the last five years; how much time on average was taken to complete each type of procedure in each such year; how many and what proportion of his Department's staff were subject to each type of procedure in each such year; and how many and what proportion of each type of procedure resulted in the dismissal of the member of staff. (320636)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not had any capability procedures initiated and completed in each of the past five years. The Royal Parks Agency has had two capability procedures initiated and completed in the past five years, neither of which resulted in the dismissal of staff.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has had three disciplinary cases initiated and completed in the past five years, resulting in two dismissals. The Royal Parks Agency has had two disciplinary cases initiated in the last five years, one of which has been completed, neither resulting in dismissal.

Neither the Department nor Agency keep a record of time spent on such cases.

Departmental Lost Property

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what property has been recorded as (a) lost and (b) stolen from his Department in the last 12 months; and what estimate has been made of the cost of the replacement of that property. (322072)

During the last 12 months the following items were recorded as lost or stolen.

Item

Date

Recorded lost or stolen

Estimated cost of replacement (£)

Blackberry

April 2009

Stolen

200

Secure remote access token

June 2009

Lost

12.75

Disc drive

June 2009

Lost

25

Laptop

July 2009

Stolen

800

Blackberry

July 2009

Lost

200

Blackberry

July 2009

Lost

200

Laptop

July 2009

Stolen

800

Blackberry

October 2009

Stolen

200

Mobile phone

October 2009

Stolen

120

Secure remote access token

November 2009

Lost

12.75

Secure remote access token

December 2009

Stolen

12.75

Blackberry

February 2010

Stolen

£200

During the last 12 months the following works of art have been reported missing from the Government Art Collection and are as yet un-located.

Works of Art

Date

Reported missing

Estimated cost of replacement (£)

The Cathedral Church of St. Peter in Chichester print by Leonard Knyff

March 2009

Reported missing from Department for Children, Schools and Families Sanctuary Buildings, London

250

Bambridge on Trial for Murder by a Committee of the House of Commons print after William Hogarth

April 2009

Reported missing from the Royal Courts of Justice, London

200

The Railway Station print after W.P. Frith

April 2009

Reported as missing from DEFRA, Ashdown House, London

600

Derby Day print after W.P. Frith

April 2009

Reported as missing from DEFRA, Ashdown House, London

600

Leaving painting by David Pugh Evans

May 2009

Reported missing from British Deputy High Commission, Lagos, Nigeria

500

House Plant 2/25 1971 print by Boyd & Evans

May 09

Reported missing from British Deputy High Commission, Lagos, Nigeria

500

Evening Menu 31/70 1975 print by Patrick Caulfield

May 2009

Reported missing from British High Commission, Abuja, Nigeria

1600

Untitled string hanging by Peter Collingwood

May 2009

Reported missing from British High Commission, Abuja, Nigeria

3000

Museums and Galleries: Newcastle upon Tyne

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) whether Arts Council England has agreed a business plan for the Waygood Art Galley project, High Bridge, Newcastle; (321040)

(2) how much (a) revenue and (b) capital funding Arts Council England has allocated to the Waygood Gallery project, High Bridge, Newcastle to date.

To date Arts Council England has been unable to agree a business plan with the Waygood Gallery. Arts Council England has formally notified the Waygood Gallery that it is considering withdrawing revenue funding from the organisation. The final decision on Waygood Gallery’s long-term funding will be made by Arts Council England’s north-east regional council on 31 March 2010. The Arts Council and Newcastle city council are committed to working closely together to ensure the successful opening of the studios on High Bridge.

Since 2001, £630,380 was allocated to Waygood Gallery through Arts Council England’s Regularly Funded Organisation programme and a further £49,778 was awarded through Arts Council England’s lottery funded Grants for the Arts scheme.

£130,000 was allocated directly to Waygood Gallery from Arts Council England’s capital budget.

Museums and Galleries: South West

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what grants were awarded by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to non-hub designated museums in the South West in 2009. (321199)

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has supplied the information in the table of Renaissance grants awarded to non-designated museums in the South West in 2008-09.

Designated collection holder

Grant (£)

Cheltenham Art Gallery

14,608

Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum

14,133

Tank Museum

15,000

Wiltshire Heritage Museum

15,000

National Waterways Museum

15,000

Roman Bath Museum

10,000

In the 2009-10 financial year, two further grants have been announced by the MLA for non-designated museums in the South West and shown in the table.

Designated collection holder

Grant (£)

Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum

100,000

Tank Museum

50,000

Theatre: Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department is taking to encourage young people to use the (a) free theatre tickets available under the A Night Less Ordinary Scheme and (b) the National Theatre Entry Pass. (320524)

The Department provided Arts Council England with £2.5 million to deliver the A Night Less Ordinary scheme. This included a budget for the promotion of the scheme, including the creation of the website:

www.anightlessordinary.org.uk

Individual theatres were also assessed on their plans to market the scheme in their local area during the application process.

The National Theatre Entry Pass scheme is administered solely by the theatre. The Department does not centrally promote either scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many young people have registered for the National Theatre Entry Pass to date. (320660)

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the performance of the Rural Payments Agency in making payments to farmers on time; and if he will make a statement. (321975)

As of 25 February 2010 over 98,000 farmers from the estimated total claimant population of 107,500 have received a full Single Payment Scheme (SPS) payment from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). 90 per cent. of the estimated total fund of £1.86 billion has now been paid for SPS 2009.

Some 2,000 of the remaining claims have been processed and resulted in no payment being due. This situation arises where, for example, farmers hold entitlements for the wrong area type, have submitted duplicate claim forms or will receive payment from the devolved Administrations.

Processing now continues on approximately 7,500 claims where no payment has been made to date and RPA is working to finalise these as quickly as possible. Some of these are complex cases involving probate, business partnership changes and domestic issues. It is likely that work on these claims will reveal that some will not be eligible for payment. Claims which are confirmed will be paid as soon as possible.

The agency met its first 2009 SPS target of making 75 per cent. of full payments by value, six weeks ahead of its formal target date of the end of January 2010. It has now met the second of its formal targets of making 90 per cent. of full payments, by value, five weeks ahead of its formal date of the end of March 2010.

RPA is on track to meet its EU target of making 95.238 per cent. of payments by value by the close of the payment window on 30 June 2010.

The following table shows the agency continues to improve in making SPS payments.

Scheme year

75 per cent. of payments made by value

90 per cent. of payments made by value

2007

22 February

21 May

2008

22 January

16 March

2009

17 December

24 February

Processing continues on claims from all previous scheme years where no payment has been made to date and RPA is working to finalise these as quickly as practicable. The following table shows a summary of these claims.

Single Payment Scheme year

Number of claims outstanding as at 10 March 2010

Number of claims not received full payment as at 10 March 2010

2005

3

574

2006

6

629

2007

33

55

2008

84

100

Total

1126

1,358

1 Included within the 126 outstanding claims are three (2005), five (2006), 29 (2007) and 64 (2008) claims that are complex cases involving probate, business partnership changes and domestic issues. It is likely that work on these claims will reveal that some will not be eligible for payment.

Claims which have not received a full payment may be due a top-up payment once their entitlements have been reviewed. Further such claims may arise from data correction work within the Rural Payments Agency.

Animal Feed

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department has estimated the effect on (a) the price of animal feed and (b) the population of fish of a reduction in the organic content of organic animal foods to below 90 per cent. following the reclassification of fish as a non-agricultural ingredient; and if he will make a statement. (322660)

Under EU rules, up to 5 per cent. of the diet of organic livestock other than herbivores may currently consist of non-organic feed. After 1 January 2012 all organic livestock must be fed entirely on organically produced feed and there are concerns about providing a 100 per cent. organic diet with a balanced protein content for pigs and poultry because of the difficulties with sourcing the correct protein ingredients for feed for these animals. We are currently investigating with our Advisory Committee on Organic Standards how the use of fishmeal might contribute to a solution for the problem, including the effects on the price of animal feed and the sustainability of fish stocks from which the fishmeal is sourced.

Animal Welfare

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to reply to the correspondence from Mr. Richard D. Hall of Blaydon on animal mutilation phenomena. (321206)

DEFRA and its agency, Animal Health, received several items of correspondence from Mr. Hall between May and September 2009, both directly and through my hon. Friend. I replied to my hon. Friend on 19 October, 2009 and regret the intervening delay.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received on the use of bolt guns to end the life of (a) domestic animals and (b) livestock; and if he will make a statement. (322281)

In the last six months we have received three letters from members of the public and 15 from Members of Parliament on behalf of constituents regarding the use of bolt guns to end the lives of domestic animals. We have received no such letters on the use of bolt guns on livestock.

Biomass: Air Pollution

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by what mechanisms emissions from biomass boilers will be made compliant with his Department’s Air Quality Strategy. (322265)

The aim of the air quality strategy for the UK is to protect public health by providing mechanisms for compliance with a number of air pollution concentration objectives.

The impact of emissions of biomass boilers on air concentrations of pollutants will depend on the dispersion characteristics of the installations and the number of installations affecting any particular location. Guidance has been provided to local authorities, through the British Standards Institution and the Institute of Gas Engineers and Managers on how to apply good design and placement of chimney location and exit height to prevent significant impacts of units on air quality.

Local authorities, in order to protect public health, have a number of existing powers to guide the outcome of developments incorporating biomass boilers through both the planning system and powers under the Clean Air Act 1993. Taken together with the Renewable Heat Incentive, which encourages the uptake of cleaner appliances, the impact of biomass boilers on air quality should be managed to avoid concentrations in excess of air quality objectives.

Bovine Tuberculosis

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of trends in the incidence of bovine tuberculosis in (a) England and (b) Gloucestershire; and if he will make a statement. (321974)

The latest bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) figures available for the first 11 months of 2009, compared with the equivalent period in 2008, show the following:

England

Gloucestershire

Reactors slaughtered

2008

23,631

2,169

2009

23,068

2,031

New herd breakdowns

2008

3,766

273

2009

3,125

198

Confirmed new incidents per 100 test in unrestricted herds

2008

5.46

13.69

2009

4.69

10.93

Notes:

1. Data from VetNet are produced three months in arrears and the latest report available is for November 2009. Comparative 2008 data are shown up to November 2008. Therefore data cannot be provided for the last three months.

2. Data from VetNet are provisional and subject to change as more data become available.

Source:

VetNet—Animal Health Database

Although the apparent year-on-year reduction in bTB incidence headline indicators (despite the increase in numbers of herds and animals tested for bTB in 2009) is welcome, the Government remain cautious and does not want to read too much into the short-term disease trends, given the cyclical and multifactorial nature of bTB incidence in the endemic areas. The incidence of bTB in parts of England is still far too high for EU standards and we continue to take the fight against the disease very seriously, not least because of the serious impact it has on farmers.

We have a range of measures in place to help control spread of the disease including routine cattle testing, use of the gamma interferon blood test in prescribed circumstances, pre-movement testing, zero tolerance on movement of cattle with overdue tests and encouraging use of husbandry measures. In addition, vaccination of cattle and/or badgers is potentially a valuable tool as part of a range of measures to control bTB. A Badger Vaccine Deployment Project will take place in six high incidence areas each of 100 sq km (25,000 acres) in England, starting in summer 2010.

Breeding of Dogs Act 1991

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Breeding of Dogs Act 1991; (322458)

(2) what funding his Department provides to local authorities to inspect outbuildings for breeding establishments under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1991;

(3) what recent assessment he has made of the incidence of illegal dog breeding taking place in residential properties and outbuildings;

(4) what recent representations he has received from animal welfare charities on backstreet breeding of dogs; and if he will make a statement;

(5) what estimate he has made of the number of dog breeding farms in England.

We have not made any recent assessment as to the effectiveness of the Breeding of Dogs Acts1991. Any future assessment we make of current dog breeding legislation will be conducted in parallel with our consideration on the two recent reports into dog breeding by Professor Sir Patrick Bateson and the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare. We have regular discussions with animal welfare groups on a range of welfare topics, including the breeding of dogs.

We have provided no such funding to local authorities to inspect outbuildings for breeding establishments, we have made no assessment of the incidence of illegal dog breeding taking place on residential properties and outbuildings, and we have made no estimate of the number of dog breeding farms in England.

Cattle: Animal Welfare

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which assessment has been made of the effects on animal welfare of keeping dairy cattle in (a) very large herds and (b) herds kept largely under a roof. (321319)

DEFRA is currently funding a three- year project by the Scottish Agricultural College which is investigating the management and welfare of continuously housed cows. It will compare the health of cows in continuously housed systems with those in summer grazing systems, by using culling and fertility data. Work on this research is at an early stage, and is due to be completed at the end of June 2011.

In relation to herd sizes, in reviewing its risk model for welfare inspections, Animal Health, the body responsible for enforcing animal welfare legislation in England, did not include the size of the herd as a predictive factor to the model as no correlation was found between the size of the herd and compliance with welfare legislation and welfare advisory codes.

All dairy cattle, in whatever system they are kept, are protected by comprehensive animal welfare legislation. In England, the welfare of cattle is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal. The Act also contains a duty of care to animals—this means that anyone responsible for an animal must take reasonable steps to make sure the animal’s needs are met. These general requirements are supplemented by detailed requirements in the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 for calves and cattle such as accommodation, tethering, inspection, feed and water.

Poor welfare can exist in both intensive and extensive systems. The most significant influence on the welfare of livestock is the stock-keeper, not the system in which is it reared.

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of local authorities' statutory responsibilities for stray dog control under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005; (322465)

(2) what assessment he has made of the impact of the dog control provisions in the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 on animal rescue centres.

Dairy Farming

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward proposals to introduce a maximum size for dairy herds. (322052)

While we recognise the trend is towards fewer, larger dairy herds, we have no plans to introduce proposals on a maximum size for dairy herds.

Dogs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received from animal welfare charities on stray dog control services. (322467)

In the past year DEFRA has corresponded with the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes, The Dogs Trust and the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home about stray dog control services.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the total dog population in England; and if he will make a statement. (322468)

Dogs: Crime

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many prosecutions there were for offences of each type under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1991 in 2009; and if he will make a statement; (322459)

(2) how many prosecutions there have been for dog control offences under the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847 in each year since 1997;

(3) how many prosecutions there have been for dog control offences under the Metropolitan Police Act 1839 in each year since 1997.

The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for offences under, (i) Breeding Dogs Act 1991, (ii) Town and Police Clauses Act 1847, in England and Wales 1997 to 2008 (latest available) can be viewed in the table.

The Ministry of Justice Court Proceeding database cannot separately identify offences relating to dogs under the Metropolitan Police Act 1839.

The Ministry of Justice advise that court proceedings data for 2009 are planned for publication in the autumn of 2010.

Number of defendants proceeded against for selected offences relating to dogs, England and Wales 1997 to 20081,2,3

Offence description

Offences in relation to dogs

Intentionally obstructing or delaying any person in the exercise of his powers of entry or inspection

Statute

Town Police Clauses Act 1847, Sec 28(2) to (4)

Breeding of Dogs Act 1991

1997

10

1

1998

9

1

1999

14

2000

8

1

2001

8

2002

7

2003

8

2004

1

2005

4

2006

4

2007

3

2008

1

1 The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

3 Excludes data for Cardiff magistrates court for April, July, and August 2008.

Source:

Justice Statistics Analytical Services in the Ministry of Justice

Floods: Maps

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the work of his Department in preparing the Ordnance Survey flood maps first published in April 2010 was funded; and if he will make a statement. (322439)

DEFRA does not produce Ordnance Survey flood maps. The Environment Agency publishes its maps showing the most up-to-date information available on areas at risk of flooding on a quarterly basis. The next date for publication is the end of March 2010. The map and publication is funded by grant in aid from DEFRA.

DEFRA is aware of a project initiated by Norwich Union working with Ordnance Survey to map flood risk, but this project has not been funded by DEFRA.

Government Car and Despatch Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department paid to the Government Car and Despatch Agency in each of the last five years; how much it has spent on such payments in 2009-10; and what proportion of such payments was made in respect of the Government Car Service. (316785)

The Department’s cumulative spend with the Government Car and Dispatch Agency in each of the last five years and for the current year to January 2010 is shown in the following table.

Total (£)

2004-5

758,687.35

2005-6

1,198,282.79

2006-7

906,287.79

2007-8

709,682.06

2008-9

694,574.07

2009-101

543,727.83

Grand Total

4,811,241.89

1 Part year to February 2010

Costs to the Department for ministerial cars are reported annually to Parliament by my right. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport through written ministerial statements and are available in the Libraries of the House.

Milk: Imports

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many litres of milk a day were imported on average in each of the last five years. (322357)

[holding answer 15 March 2010]: Imports of liquid milk are shown in the tables.

Liquid milk is imported into the UK in two forms, as raw milk for processing by dairies (table 1), or as liquid drinking milk (e.g. pasteurised or UHT milk) (table 2).

Raw milk is only traded across the Irish border; imports come from the Republic of Ireland for processing by dairies in Northern Ireland.

Table 1: UK imports of raw milk for processing, 2005 to 2009 (all imports across the Irish border)

Imported per year (1,000 litres)

Average imported per day (1,000 litres)1

2005

45,589

125

2006

33,278

91

2007

57,109

156

2008

48,516

133

2009

82,774

227

1 Figures are rounded to the nearest 1,000 litres.

Source:

DARDNI

Table 2: UK imports of liquid drinking milk, 2005 to 20091

Imported per year (1,000 litres)

Average imported per day (1,000 litres)2

2005

47,066

129

2006

84,406

231

2007

87,668

240

2008

134,068

366

20091

89,420

245

1 2009 data is subject to amendments.

2 Figures are rounded to the nearest 1,000 litres.

Source:

H M Revenue and Customs

Poultry: Animal Welfare

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions there were for offences relating to unnecessary pain or distress caused to broiler and battery chickens in each of the last five years. (320407)