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Written Answers

Volume 508: debated on Tuesday 23 March 2010

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Olympics

Olympic Games 2012: Cycling

To ask the Minister for the Olympics whether she has made an estimate of the number of tickets which will be available to (a) members of the public and (b) civic and other official guests for the two Olympic Games Mountain Bike events in Hadleigh. (323167)

[holding answer 22 March 2010]: The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is responsible for ticketing for the London 2012 Games. LOCOG’s ticketing approach will ensure that it raises the funding required to stage the games and that it provides affordable and accessible tickets to deliver full venues, including Hadleigh Farm. LOCOG is working now to finalise the sports competition schedule and venue seating plans, and this work needs to be completed before LOCOG will know the numbers of seats and tickets. It is critical that as many tickets as possible end up in the hands of the public. Tickets will go on sale in 2011.

Culture, Media and Sport

Departmental Legal Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department and its predecessors have spent in (a) legal fees and (b) compensation on legal cases concerning remuneration of its employees in each of the last 10 years. (322055)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not spent any money on legal fees or compensation on legal cases concerning remuneration of employees since October 2007.

No information or record is held by the Department prior to October 2007.

Departmental Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether the dates of publication of any regular statistics or reports by his Department have been affected by planning for the forthcoming general election. (323463)

On the announcement of a general election, the Cabinet Secretary issues guidance to Departments on their activities during the pre-election period. This will be published on the Cabinet Office website.

Regular statistical releases and reports will continue to be issued and published during the election period on dates which have been pre-announced.

Television: Smoking

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department intends to take to ensure adherence to the Ofcom code on smoking on television. (323714)

The Ofcom Broadcasting Code sets out the rules for broadcasters regarding smoking in programmes. Within the framework of the code it is the responsibility of each broadcaster to make judgments about what individual programmes should contain and at what time they are broadcast. Enforcement of the code is a matter for Ofcom, which operates independently of Government.

Tourism: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding his Department has allocated to the tourism industry in (a) the UK and (b) Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency in each of the last 10 years. (322936)

[holding answer 18 March 2010]: The information requested about tourism funding for Westmorland and Lonsdale is not held centrally. The North West Regional Development Agency (NWRDA) has the primary role in taking forward the north-west regional tourism strategy, and in deciding on investment to promote tourism that would affect Cumbria. The NWRDA spent £14 million in support of tourism in 2008-09.

The overall level of public sector investment in UK tourism from local, regional and national sources is likely to exceed £2 billion in the current spending review period.

In partnership with the industry and the wider public sector, DCMS has a clear and coherent policy framework for promoting tourism. The funding provided for heritage and museums and galleries; for branding and marketing improvements led by VisitBritain and VisitEngland; for the National Skills Strategy for tourism and hospitality; and for the work across Britain to drive up product quality through accommodation grading schemes are all investments by Government which support tourism.

Home Department

Dogs: Crime

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate he has made of the incidence of the use of dogs in crime. (322940)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate he has made of the incidence of the use of dogs in crime. (322961)

[holding answer 22 March 2010]: These data are not collected centrally. We are aware of the growing concerns about the use of dangerous dogs to harass and intimidate people. This has promoted the Government to introduce the new gang injunction power under the Policing and Crime act 2009 and launch a public consultation on managing and controlling dangerous dogs.

Crime: York

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offences committed within the City of York area have been recorded by North Yorkshire Police under the National Crime Recording Standard in each year since 2003-04. (323366)

[holding answer 22 March 2010]: All the offences recorded by the police and notified to the Home Office for the period requested have been recorded in accordance with the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) and the Home Office Counting Rules for Recorded Crime.

Offences recorded in the York Community Safety Partnership area are given in the table.

Total offences recorded by the police in the York Community Safety Partnership area

Number of offences

2003-04

29,347

2004-05

23,080

2005-06

22,784

2006-07

20,935

2007-08

18,901

2008-09

17,886

Crimes of Violence: Crime Prevention

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking with local authorities to tackle gang activity. (322997)

Gangs are part of the wider serious youth violence agenda, on which the Government have spent £17.3 million since September 2007 as part of the Tackling Gangs Action Programme (TGAP) and Tackling Knives and Serious Youth Violence Action Programme (TKAP). On 17 March 2010 my right hon. Friend the Minister for Policing, Crime and Counter-Terrorism announced a further £5.5 million for tackling serious youth violence in 2010-11. £1.5 million of this funding has been made available through the Community Fund, ensuring that 150 voluntary and community sector organisations are able to deliver intensive interventions at a local level to young people involved in serious youth violence, including gangs.

Through the Policing and Crime Act 2009 the Home Office created Gang Injunctions, a civil tool to allow local authorities and police to tackle over 18s involved in gang related violence. Parliament is currently considering provisions in the Crime and Security Bill which will allow this civil tool to be used in relation to 14 to 17-year-olds. The £17.3 million funding since September 2007 to tackle gangs and serious youth violence has included £1.6 million to the four cities that were the focus of the TGAP programme, London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, to assist in the multi-agency risk management of violent offenders, including gang members. In Merseyside, for instance, this funding has resulted in the UK’s first Violent Offender Management Unit. The Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) have also jointly established a team of experts from police forces, local authorities and central Government that will be available to local partnerships to deliver focused advice and guidance on gangs.

Further support for local schools, partnerships and practitioners can also be found in guidance on safeguarding children and young people who may be involved in gang activity, recently published jointly by the Home Office and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). This guidance builds on the advice already offered in Tackling Gangs: A Practical Guide, published in 2008, which provides key approaches to help local partnerships devise a gangs strategy.

Criminal Records: Vetting

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with which countries the United Kingdom has bilateral agreements on exchanging criminal records information for employment vetting purposes; and if he will make a statement. (323590)

We do not currently have any bilateral agreements in place but we are in negotiation with a number of countries.

We have reached provisional agreement to exchange criminal record information with Australia and New Zealand for employment checking purposes with an applicant's consent. We are aiming to conclude negotiations around the exact mechanisms for doing so by the end of 2010. We have also reached agreements in principle with Ireland and France in relation to those seeking to work with children.

Within the European Union, under the terms of Council Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA on the organisation and content of the exchange of information extracted from the criminal record between member states, the United Kingdom is told by other member states when a British citizen is convicted of an offence within their jurisdiction. Member states are required to take the necessary measures to comply with this Framework Decision by 27 April 2012. Similarly, information may be received through Interpol channels in relation to British citizens convicted outside the EU. Conviction information received through either channel is recorded on the Police National Computer and so will be disclosed in the same way as convictions in United Kingdom courts.

In many countries individuals, and in some cases third parties, can request criminal records certificates for employment checking purposes. We are currently looking at where we can strengthen the guidance for employers to encourage them to ask to see such certificates, particularly in relation to those seeking work with children and vulnerable adults. We aim to put in place all the information that we have on this process in relation to each country to help employers and prospective employees obtain certificates and understand what is disclosed on them. However, obtaining criminal records is only one aspect of pre-employment checks and good practice is also for employers to obtain character and employment references.

Departmental Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the dates of publication of any regular statistics or reports by his Department have been affected by planning for the forthcoming general election. (323491)

[holding answer 22 March 2010]: On the announcement of a general election, the Cabinet Secretary issues guidance to Departments on their activities during the pre-election period. This will be published on the Cabinet Office website.

Regular statistical releases and statistical reports will continue to be issued and published during the election period on dates which have already been pre-announced.

Domestic Violence: Crime Prevention

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the effects on the level of domestic violence of restraining orders made under section 12 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004. (322838)

Section 12 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 was implemented on 30 September 2009. There has been no assessment of the effects of this legislation on the levels of domestic violence.

Immobilisation of Vehicles: Fees and Charges

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what cap he plans to impose on the charge levied by vehicle immobilisation businesses for the release of a vehicle. (323480)

[holding answer 2010]: Proposals contained in the Crime and Security Bill will make it mandatory for all wheel clamping businesses working on private land to be licensed and to adhere to a strict code of practice. The code will include maximum release fees which may be charged in connection with wheel clamping of vehicles and the related activities of towing and impounding. The details of the code of practice, including maximum fees, will be set out after further consultation with stakeholders.

Independent Police Complaints Commission

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Independent Police Complaints Commission in holding the actions of police forces to account; (323275)

(2) if he will take steps to require police forces to implement the recommendations of the Independent Police Complaints Commission or to state publicly the reasons why they do not intend to implement them.

[holding answer 22 March 2010]: On receipt of a report of an investigation conducted by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) police chiefs are required to report back to the IPCC on the action the police force proposes to take in respect of the matters dealt with in the report. Such matters will include consideration of recommendations from the IPCC as to whether disciplinary proceedings should be brought against a person serving with the police.

Where the force does not accept the recommendation of the IPCC as to the bringing of disciplinary proceedings, the IPCC has the power to direct that disciplinary proceedings are brought.

The Public Accounts Committee's Fifteenth Report on the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), published in March 2009, recommended that the Home Office clarify responsibility for monitoring the implementation IPCC recommendations. Work is currently under way to put in place a suitable framework to achieve this.

The work of the IPCC is crucial to maintaining an effective and efficient police complaints system in England and Wales. The work of the IPCC is subject to detailed scrutiny in for example, criminal, coroners' and disciplinary proceedings. It has led directly to holding individual officers to account.

More widely, the IPCC also chairs a national Learning the Lessons committee with police stakeholders, ensuring that key lessons from investigations are identified and promulgated, leading to overall improvements in policing.

Passports

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of British citizens who hold a valid (a) UK passport and (b) UK biometric passport. (317215)

The latest estimate is that in September 2008 there were some 47 million valid United Kingdom passports covering some 77 per cent. of the population. The split between non-biometric and biometric passports (which were first issued in 2006) is not available.

Police

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were in England and Wales in 2009. (323511)

There were 144,353 police officers (including those on maternity leave and career breaks) in the 43 police forces of England and Wales as at 30 September 2009.

These and other related data are published annually as part of the annual Police Service Strength Home Office Statistical Bulletin. The latest bulletin can be found at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/policeorg1.html

and bulletins for this and previous years are deposited in the Library of the House.

Police: Harassment

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many incidents of harassment in the workplace were reported by employees of (a) police services and (b) his Department in each of the last 10 years. (321438)

Information on the number of incidents of harassment in the workplace in the police service is not collected centrally.

Information prior to the 2005-06 financial year is not held centrally within the Home Office (excluding its agencies) and could be provided only at a disproportionate cost. We are unable to provide information in relation to the number of allegations of harassment within Home Office HQ in each year since 2005-06 as there were fewer than five cases in each year. Further information is therefore withheld on grounds of confidentiality.

Terrorism: Detainees

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign nationals are being detained in the UK under anti-terrorist legislation. (323378)

[holding answer 22 March 2010]: The only anti-terrorism legislation in the UK which provides for the detention of individuals is section 41 of and schedule 8 to the Terrorism Act 2000. This provides for persons arrested as terrorist suspects to be detained pre-charge (for up to a maximum of 28 days). The Home Office does not hold statistics on how many foreign nationals are, or have been, detained under these provisions. However, the Home Office does collate statistics on the number of individuals arrested under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and the length of time that these individuals are detained pre-charge. These are included in a Bulletin published for the first time on 13 May 2009 (Statistics on Terrorism Arrests and Outcomes Great Britain 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008). The first edition of the Bulletin is available at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosb0409.pdf

The second and third issues of the Bulletin were published on 26 November 2009 and 25 February 2010. These are available via the following links:

26 November 2009

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosb1809.pdf

25 February 2010

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs10/hosb0410.pdf

Scotland

Departmental Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the dates of publication of any regular statistics or reports by his Department have been affected by planning for the forthcoming general election. (323456)

On the announcement of a general election, the Cabinet Secretary issues guidance to Departments on their activities during the pre-election period. This will be published on the Cabinet Office website.

Regular statistical releases and reports will continue to be issued and published during the election period on dates which have been pre-announced.

Departmental Theft

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps his Department is taking to deter theft from within the Department. (322654)

A wide range of security measures are in place to deter and detect theft. These are kept under review and additional measures are put in place as appropriate.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Community Development: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding his Department and its agencies have allocated to local authorities for Parish Path initiatives and partnerships in each year since such partnerships were established. (323525)

The Parish Paths Partnership was launched by the Countryside Commission in 1992 and ran until 1998 as a demonstration project. Some local authorities continue to run and fund the scheme, which is aimed at improving and maintaining local public rights of way. There is no centrally held information as to which authorities continue to operate the Parish Paths Partnership scheme, and how much funding is allocated to the scheme by those authorities.

Environment Protection: Seas and Oceans

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to publish the Government's Marine Protected Area Strategy; and what priority will be accorded to ecological coherence in the strategy. (323244)

We plan to publish our Marine Protected Area (MPA) strategy before Easter. MPAs are an important tool to achieve the Government's vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas. The Government are committed to designating Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under the European habitats and birds directives respectively, and Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. Our ambition is to have sufficient sites designated by the end of 2012 so that they form a UK ecologically coherent network together with existing SACs, SPAs, MCZs, Ramsar sites and Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and those sites designated by the Devolved Administrations.

Fish: Conservation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to protect fish stocks in UK waters; and if he will make a statement. (323850)

As UK Fisheries Minister, I have made clear that the conservation of our fish stocks is my top priority. Without sustainable fish stocks, we cannot have a sustainable fishing industry. I want to see that reflected in reform of the common fisheries policy.

In the last round of EU Fisheries Council negotiations, I supported the setting of catch limits for this year, which reflected the scientific advice for the stocks in question—and only sought to alter the Commission’s proposals where these would have caused significant economic difficulties for the coastal communities concerned. Ultimately, this represented a balance of UK interests.

In the lead-up to this year’s negotiations, we will be working with industry and colleagues from the devolved Administrations to further encourage the widespread application of more selective fishing gear and working practices, to deliver even more significant reductions in discards, and eventually more sustainable fish stocks in UK (and EU) waters.

Rodents

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the Central Science Laboratory research reports commissioned by his Department on rodent issues with reference MoU with CSL - WM05002. (323055)

The memorandum of understanding between DEFRA and the Food and Environment Research Agency (previously the Central Science Laboratory) refers to the “English House Condition Survey Rodent Element and other Rodent Issues”. The only reports commissioned on rodents under this agreement have been those reporting on infestation of dwellings by commensal rodents, derived from data arising from the rodent element of the English House Condition Survey. Copies of these commensal rodent infestation reports are already available in the House Library.

Rural Development Programme: North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding has been allocated to businesses in the North West under the Rural Development Programme for England to date; and how many businesses in that region have participated in the programme. (323815)

Under the socio-economic measures of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), to date £62 million of funding has been committed to businesses in the North West for investment projects. This has benefitted 367 businesses in that region.

These figures do not include those businesses benefitting under axis 2 of the programme from the agri-environment or forestry schemes, or payments under the Hill Farm Allowance.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Talisman project is fully operational in Afghanistan. (323638)

The Talisman route clearance system is currently in theatre and should be operational soon. As with other counter-improvised explosive device systems, Talisman is a developing capability and will continue to evolve over the coming months. I am withholding information on the exact schedule as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Animal Experiments

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many animals of each species involved in procedures died as a result of those procedures at (a) Porton Down and (b) other establishments for which he is responsible in each of the last five years. (322457)

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) returns the numbers of procedures undertaken involving animals at DSTL Porton Down to the Home Office on an annual basis, the numbers of procedures returned for last five years are detailed in the following table. This is the only designated defence establishment for such procedures.

Numbers of DSTL procedures returned to the Home Office

Guinea Pig

Ferret

Mouse

Pig

Rabbit

Rat

Sheep

Non-human primate

Total

2005

661

60

20,016

127

3

195

2

54

21,118

2006

545

0

15,986

123

0

335

4

52

17,045

2007

647

0

17,095

74

5

359

2

75

18,257

2008

254

0

10,404

113

2

549

0

55

11,380

2009

190

0

7,698

96

30

5

0

149

8,168

A very large proportion, approximately 95 per cent. of the total number of animals involved in the procedures either died during the procedure, or were humanely culled at the end of the procedures, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986:

http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/hoc/321/321-xa.htm

Sections 3D, 14 (3) and 15 (2) detail the requirement for specific approval to keep animals alive after the completion of any regulated procedure.

A small number of animals, are approved for re-use in further procedures. An example of re-use was the herd of goats retained at Alverstoke for use in the hyperbaric research programme supporting the Ministry of Defence’s Submarine Escape Rescue and Abandonment System. This programme ceased in November 2006, as formally announced in a written ministerial statement on 6 February 2008, Official Report, column 70WS.

Armed Forces: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he received on the research and assessment facility at the Defence Academy prior to the decision to close it; and if he will make a statement. (321484)

[holding answer 10 March 2010]: No representations were made prior to the decision to close the Research and Assessment Branch at the Academy.

The decision was taken as part of our regular review of Defence spending to ensure resources are focused on our top priority—success and support to operations in Afghanistan. To support this, the Secretary of State for Defence announced on 15 December 2009 a package amounting to £900 million over three years. However, in taking the latter decision we must prioritise rigorously and recognise that tough choices are required to better match the Defence programme to the available resources.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which company has been awarded the contract to supply 200 vehicles as part of the light protected patrol vehicle programme; and if he will make a statement. (323639)

A contract has not yet been awarded as the Ministry of Defence is still conducting the Concept Vehicle Evaluation trial phase of the Light Protected Patrol Vehicle (LPPV) Programme. Two contenders, which could fill the LPPV requirement, are currently being trialled, and it is expected that this phase will be completed in April 2010.

Wales

Out of Area Treatment

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the First Minister on arrangements for cross-border healthcare. (321890)

I have regular meetings with the First Minister and we keep under review the cross-border implications of the policies of both Governments. The position of the Governments in Westminster and Wales is that the border should not represent a barrier to provision of health care, and to that end we have worked closely together on the Revised Protocol for Cross-border Healthcare. The Protocol provides increased clarity on commissioning and funding arrangements and on access standards for patients. It ensures patients who live in border regions and who access health services across the border will continue to see improvements to their services. Across the entire UK the Government remain committed to the core defining principles of an NHS funded by tax and free at the point of use.

House of Commons Commission

Illegal Immigrants

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many people have been identified as working illegally on the parliamentary estate in each of the last five years. (323041)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer provided on 8 March 2010, Official Report, column 3W.

Nurseries

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many (a) staff and (b) hon. Members are on the waiting list for a place in the proposed House of Commons day nursery for one or more children. (323705)

There is no such waiting list at the present time, but much interest has been expressed informally.

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission when an application was made to (a) English Heritage and (b) Westminster city council to make changes to 1 Parliament Street in connection with the creation of a day nursery; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the application. (323706)

The design work, which is needed before any application is made, is nearing completion. Any applications made for listed building and change of use consents will be made to Westminster City Council: these will be in the public domain and available in the usual way.

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission when the House of Commons Commission met to discuss the public petition against the closure of facilities at the Astor Suite, Bellamy’s Bar and Bellamy’s Club Room. (323854)

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) of 16 March 2010, Official Report, column 731W, on nurseries, how much time was saved as a result of not referring the matter to the Finance and Services Committee. (323952)

Referring the matter to the Finance and Services Committee would have delayed the opening of the nursery by introducing a further stage in the process of approval. The nursery would not then have been available for Members’ use in the autumn.

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to the Oral Answer to the hon. Member for Gainsborough (Mr. Leigh) of 11 March 2010, Official Report, column 428, on Bellamy’s bar, for what reasons 1 Parliament Street was preferred to the North Curtain corridor for the location of a day nursery. (323978)

Following assessment of the potential sites and advice on their suitability from three child care specialists, 1 Parliament street’s advantages over North Curtain Corridor as a location for a nursery included direct access, ease of conversion, its greater degree of natural light and the fact that no Members’ rooms are affected. In addition, the provisional costs including fees of converting 1 Parliament street were provisionally estimated at £490,000 excluding VAT, compared with £607,000 excluding VAT, for North Curtain.

Speaker’s Adviser

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission whether the financial implications of creating a new post of special adviser to the Speaker were (a) discussed by the House of Commons Commission and (b) referred to the Finance and Services Committee. (323707)

International Development

Bangladesh: Water

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance the Government are giving to Bangladesh to tackle salinity in (a) land and (b) groundwater; and if he will make a statement. (323239)

Supporting Bangladesh to meet the challenges of climate change, including rising land and groundwater salinity, is an important priority for the Department for International Development (DFID).

Since 2003, the UK has disbursed £4.6 million to the Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP) managed by the United Nations Development Programme, which has helped the Government and vulnerable communities to better manage the impact of climate change, including rising salinity. For example, some 34,000 people are benefiting from rainwater harvesting and pond sand filters in Satkhira, one of the worst saline affected districts. We recently committed a further £12 million to a second phase of CDMP, and £60 million to a wider Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Climate Change (subject to approval by the Government of Bangladesh), both of which will be drawn upon for similar activities in the future.

The Sanitation, Hygiene and Water Supply Project managed by UNICEF, to which the UK has provided £36 million, is contributing to better national monitoring of water salinity. We are also supporting innovations such as the cultivation of saline-tolerant vegetables in pilot areas.

Burma: Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding he plans to allocate to the Mae Tao Clinic on the Thailand-Burma border in each of the next three years. (323756)

The Department for International Development (DFID) allocated £120,000 to the Mae Tao Clinic in 2009-10. DFID has recently received a funding request from the Mae Tao Clinic, for a continuation of funding over the next two financial years, which we are considering.

Burma: International Assistance

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether he has made an assessment of the adequacy of World Bank (a) funding and (b) technical advice for development projects in Burma. (323755)

The World Bank has approved no new funding for Burma since 1987 and has no plans to resume its programme. It does not give advice on development projects in Burma. It did however provide valuable technical advice as part of the international humanitarian response to Cyclone Nargis which struck Burma in May 2008.

The UK Government would not support a resumption of World Bank funding for Burma until the country has made genuine progress towards political reconciliation and respect for human rights.

Children, Schools and Families

Children: Day Care

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what payments the National Childminding Association has received from his Department in each of the last three years. (305263)

The total payments made by the Department for Children, Schools and Families to the National Childminding Association (NCMA) in each the last three years are as follows:

£

April 2007 to March 2008

1,804,136.00

April 2008 to March 2009

2,138,095.00

April 2009 to October 2009

1,117,350.00

The bulk of these totals reflect the regular quarterly payments to the NCMA for the work highlighted in each year's Strategic Grant that it receives from the DCSF to support children, families and communities across the country and help deliver departmental priorities and programmes, with a particular focus on further enhancing the professionalization and professionalism of childminders. The four broad objectives of the Association's Strategic Grant are to:

Support families to access the child care they need;

Improve outcomes for children by developing a highly qualified home-based child care work force;

Narrow the gap for disadvantaged and vulnerable families by raising the quality and scope of childminding practice;

Promote integrated working and childcare initiatives.

Departmental Consultants

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much his Department has spent on (a) advertising and (b) consultants in each year since its inception; and how much he expects to spend in each of the next two years. (304754)

The Department's spend on advertising budgets since inception on 28 June 2007 is outlined in the following table. The figures include media spend but do not include production and fees. Figures for 2009/10 are for spend billed to 24 November 2009.

The cost for consultants cannot be obtained without incurring disproportionate cost. Anticipated advertising spend for the next two years cannot be provided at this time.

£ (exc. VAT)

Total

2007/08

4,659,786

2008/09

13,891,106

2009/10

4,260,609

Departmental Official Hospitality

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much his Department spent on (a) alcohol and (b) entertainment in the last 12 months. (305540)

Details of expenditure on entertainment recorded by the Department in the last financial year are as follows:

2008-09: £16,122.

The figure excludes costs incurred as part of official events or formal meetings held to further departmental business. DCSF is unable to separately identify the costs of alcohol from those of general entertainment; as such expenditure is claimed and recorded under the general heading of Entertainment.

The basic rules governing hospitality are set by HM Treasury.

(a) The following guidance is issued by my Department to staff on the provision of alcohol.

There is a general principle that alcohol should not be provided at public expense and never when only civil servants are present.

Moderate amounts of alcohol can be provided at public expense when entertaining non-civil servants if not providing alcohol might be regarded as unusual or cause embarrassment. Examples of such events are hospitality from Ministers, at publicity events such as launches or the rare occasions when senior staff judge that official business can best be transacted by hosting a meeting over lunch or dinner.

(b) Hospitality expenditure is limited to occasions when official business can best be transacted in that way. Entertainment is usually restricted to where senior managers (deputy director or above) are acting as a host and expenditure must be approved in advance by a director or executive board member.

Teachers: City of York

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the gross average salary of a full-time teacher in local authority schools in the City of York was in (a) cash and (b) real terms in each year since 1996-97. (322118)

The information requested is not available for the City of York because it is not possible to verify the reliability of the data source at the constituency level.

The following table provides the average salary of teachers in service in local authority maintained schools in cash terms and real terms for York local authority, in each March, 1997 to 2008.

Average salary of full-time regular teachers1 in service in local authority maintained schools2 in cash and real terms3, Years: March 1997 to March 2008, Coverage: York local authority

£

York local authority

As at March each year

Cash terms

Real terms

1997

22,600

29,400

1998

23,200

29,500

1999

24,100

29,900

2000

24,900

30,400

2001

26,900

32,400

2002

27,800

32,800

2003

29,700

33,800

2004

30,600

33,900

2005

32,100

34,700

2006

33,100

35,100

20074

34,300

35,300

20084

34,800

34,800

1 Teachers of all grades including school leadership.

2 There are no city technology colleges or academies in York local authority.

3 Real terms figures calculated at 2007-08 prices using 4 January 2010 GDP deflators.

4 Provisional.

Note:

Figures are rounded to the nearest £100

Source:

Database of Teacher Records

Teachers: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what representations he has received on the proposals contained in his Department’s White Paper, Your child, your schools, our future, to introduce a system for the re-licensing of teachers every five years. (322299)

[holding answer 15 march 2010]: We have received representations via correspondence from MPs, teachers’ unions and members of the public about our proposals to introduce the licence to practise.

We are continuing discussions with teachers’ unions through our social partnership and with the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) to ensure that we design a licensing system which will bring real benefits to the profession.

Subject to the passage of Children, Schools and Families Bill, we remain committed to holding a public consultation on our detailed proposals for the licensing arrangements which will be set out in draft regulations in the spring.

Northern Ireland

Departmental Food

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to ensure that the meat and dairy products procured by his Department and its non-departmental bodies are free range or produced to standards equivalent to those of the RSPCA Freedom Food scheme. (323065)

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) takes account of advice received from the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when establishing procurement arrangements for the purchase of food.

The Department receives procurement services from Central Procurement Division in the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP). DFP also published guidance in 2008, ‘Integrating Sustainable Development into the Procurement of Food and Catering Services’, which aims to develop the partnership between the public sector in Northern Ireland and its food suppliers as part of the procurement process.

Guidance produced by DEFRA under the Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative also encourages and shows public sector bodies how they can specify higher animal welfare standards, including farm assurance schemes and higher level schemes such as the RSPCA's Freedom Food standards.

Transport

Airports: Security

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what steps he plans to take to improve airport security. (323979)

Following the incident on Christmas day, the Government have directed airports to introduce explosive trace detection equipment at all UK airports by the end of the year. We have also brought into force new restrictions which tighten up security screening for transit passengers. Alongside this body scanners have been deployed at Heathrow and Manchester airports with further deployments expected.

We also continue to work within the European Union context to drive up standards in aviation security across Europe.

The threat to aviation and the responses and measures in force are kept under ongoing review and measures are reviewed and amended as needed.

Bus Services: Lancashire

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport when he expects to announce his decision on whether to proceed with the proposed Pennine Reach bus service. (322815)

Channel Tunnel Railway Line: Construction

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of construction jobs that were created by High Speed One; and how many and what proportion of those employed were (a) UK nationals, (b) nationals of other EU countries and (c) non-EU nationals. (323713)

Surveys of contractors and subcontractors employed by London and Continental Railways (LCR) to develop the High Speed 1 railway suggest that the project created about 8,000 jobs and an estimated 50 million man hours were worked during the ten year construction period.

The surveys indicate that some 22 nationalities were employed during the course of the project. However, a further breakdown of this figure is not available because most of the work force was not employed directly by LCR.

Departmental Location

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much his Department spent on the relocation of staff from posts in (a) Essex and (b) Castle Point constituency in each of the last five years. (321425)

The Department for Transport (central) and five of its agencies (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, Government Car and Despatch Agency, Highways Agency, Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Vehicle Certification Agency) have not relocated staff from Essex or Castle Point constituency in the last five years. The Driving Standards Agency does not record such relocations separately and could only provide the information at disproportionate cost. The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency spent £11,259.74 relocating staff from Essex in 2005-2006, £59,267.34 in 2006-2007, and nothing in subsequent years. Further detail could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Driving: Licensing

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to the answer of 4 March 2010, Official Report, column 1364W, on driving: licensing, how many people were disqualified from driving in each category of disqualification in the last two years for which figures are available. (323475)

The information requested is not readily available and would incur disproportionate costs to gather. The Ministry of Justice publish a comprehensive breakdown of offences and disqualifications. This can be found at:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/criminalannual.htm

Heathrow Airport: Aircraft

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what the average daily aircraft movement rate was at Heathrow Airport in each year from 2000 to 2009. (323779)

The following table shows the average daily aircraft movement rate at Heathrow airport in each year from 2000 to 2009.

Average daily aircraft movements

2000

1,279

2001

1,270

2002

1,278

2003

1,270

2004

1,304

2005

1,309

2006

1,307

2007

1,319

2008

1,311

2009

1,278

Source:

Civil Aviation Authority—airport statistics 2009, table 3.2.

Heathrow Airport: Passengers

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of air passenger journeys made to Heathrow Airport by (a) underground, (b) rail, (c) car and (d) taxi in each year from 2000 to 2009. (323782)

The following table shows the mode of transport used to get to/from Heathrow airport by terminating passengers in each year from 2000 to 2008. Data for 2009 are not available.

Tube (percentage)

Rail (percentage)

Private car (percentage)

Taxi/minicab (percentage)

Other (percentage)

Total terminating passengers (million)

2000

14

8

34

26

18

44.7

2001

13

8

35

27

17

41.1

2002

13

9

36

26

16

39.6

2003

14

9

36

25

16

40.1

2004

14

9

35

26

16

43.6

2005

13

10

34

26

17

43.6

2006

13

9

34

28

16

44.2

2007

15

10

33

27

16

44.0

2008

16

10

31

26

17

43.0

Notes:

1. These results are based on a survey of departing passengers only; that is those flying from Heathrow and excluding transfer passengers. It is assumed that arriving and departing passengers share the same modal characteristics.

2. Where there is more than one mode of transport used, the final mode is presented in this table.

3. ‘Other’ includes bus/coach, hire car, and other modes of transport.

Source:

Civil Aviation Authority's Passenger Survey

Heathrow Airport: Railways

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport with reference to the statement of 11 March 2010, Official Report, columns 446-50, on high speed rail, if he will place in the Library a copy of the remit that has been given to Lord Mawhinney to advise the Government on a high speed station at Heathrow Airport. (323810)

A copy of a letter from the Secretary of State for Transport to Lord Mawhinney setting out the terms of reference of the review of high speed rail access to Heathrow airport has been placed in the Libraries of the House and is also available on the Department for Transport’s website at:

www.dft.gov.uk

Immobilisation of Vehicles

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether his Department has provided guidance to local authorities on procedures for towing away wrongly-parked vehicles. (323052)

Chapter 8 of the Department's ‘Operational Guidance to Local Authorities: Parking Policy and Enforcement (March 2008)’ provides detailed advice on removal of vehicles that are deemed to be parked in contravention.

Maidstone East Railway Line

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the evidence from the loading records (a) referred to in the contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of 24 February 2010, Official Report, column 132WH on Hastings Rail Service and (b) used to determine that running eight-car trains on the Maidstone East line, as proposed in the Kent route utilisation strategy, would be sustainable. (323663)

Loading data are the intellectual property of the train operating company concerned. Requests for information should be directed to the managing director of Southeastern as follows:

Mr. Charles Horton

Southeastern

Friars Bridge Court

41-45 Blackfriars Road

London

SE1 8PG.

Motorcycles: Driving Tests

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what representations he has received on recent changes to the motorcycle test procedures. (323659)

Since the new test was introduced on 27 April 2009, the Driving Standards Agency has received representations from the public and interest groups—primarily about the number of Module 1 test delivery points especially in rural areas, and incidents occurring during the Module 1 test. Some have asked for details of the test design to be reviewed.

In October 2009, the Transport Select Committee took evidence about the new motorcycling test. The Committee's report has been published today.

Driving Standards Agency staff have also been engaged with motorcycling and other interest groups through stakeholder forums and public consultation exercises.

Parking Offences: Closed Circuit Television

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Jackson) of 25 January 2010, Official Report, column 528W, on parking offences: closed circuit television, whether a privacy impact assessment was produced in relation to the use of local authority CCTV for parking enforcement; and on what basis CCTV may be used for civil parking enforcement. (323040)

The certifications we grant to enable CCTV equipment to be used for civil parking enforcement are concerned only with the security, reliability and integrity of the evidence the equipment produces in accordance with regulations made under the Traffic Management Act 2004. We do not seek any information about privacy impact assessments that local authorities may have undertaken for their CCTV systems.

The Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007—SI 2007 No. 3483—and The Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (Approved Devices) (England) Order 2007—SI 2007 No. 3486—prescribe the statutory basis for the use of CCTV for civil parking enforcement. With regard to other guidance we have issued on the use of CCTV for that purpose, I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 6 January 2010, Official Report, column 330W.

Railways: Construction

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport which sites within a 50 mile radius of Amersham have been identified as possible residential sites for workers on High Speed Two. (323711)

Issues relating to the construction of High Speed Two, were the Government to decide to take it forward following full public consultation in the autumn, would be considered during the more detailed design stages. The Government would expect to seek powers by a Hybrid Bill, so construction and other proposals which required statutory powers would be open to full parliamentary scrutiny.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) if he will publish the hydrogeological risk assessment commissioned by his Department on the effect on the (a) ground water and (b) aquifer in the Chilterns of the construction of High Speed Two; (323750)

(2) what steps his Department is taking to ensure the protection of boreholes and springs in the Chilterns region against contaminants as a result of the construction of High Speed Two;

(3) if he will estimate the likely cost of mitigation of any damage to aquifers in the Chilterns resulting from the construction of High Speed Two.

Railways: Fares

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the availability of Oyster cards at mainline stations; and if he will make a statement. (323599)

The retail of Oyster Pay-As-You-Go is limited to London, its area of operation. Stations jointly served by London overground and/or London underground and national rail services are able to issue passengers with new Oyster cards. The Southern and Southeastern train operators also sell the cards at their staffed stations in the Pay-As-You-Go area.

Railways: Fixed Penalties

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport on how many occasions financial penalties have been issued to train operating companies for failure to provide enough seats for rail passengers in each of the last four quarters. (321497)

[holding answer 10 March 2010]: A small number of train operators have arrangements in their franchise agreements under which they pay amounts to the Department for Transport in cases where they fail to provide the scheduled number of seats on nominated services. The three operators are Southern (until September 2009), c2c, and Chiltern.

The number of occasions for which a financial penalty has been paid by a train operating company in these circumstances in each of the last four reporting quarters is given in the following table.

Training operating companies

12 weeks ending

2 May 2009

25 July 2009

17 October 2009

9 January 2010

Number of occasions

233

201

141

71

Railways: Freight

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what steps his Department is taking to encourage the transport of freight by rail. (322628)

In September 2008 we announced an additional funding of £67 million to the sustainable distribution fund. £61 million of this is allocated to the capital budget from which the freight facilities grant allocations are made. We also provide £24 million of funding for mode shift grants through the rail environmental benefit procurement scheme (REPS). The scheme operates until 31 March 2010, when the mode shift revenue support (MSRS) scheme will replace it. And in the last three years the Government have announced record levels of rail freight investment to support continued growth including £200 million towards the development of a strategic freight network and over £150 million of funding towards the provision of infrastructure enhancement for freight through the productivity transport innovation fund.

Railways: Greater London

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what the punctuality rating was of each rail route serving London in each year from 2005 to 2010; and which company operated each such route in each year. (323849)

The Office of Rail Regulation shows quarterly and annual punctuality data (the Public Performance Measure) for each operator in its National Rail Trends publication. A link to the website is as follows:

http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.1863

Information on the punctuality of each route serving London is not held by the Department for Transport. Network Rail is responsible for performance data for the rail industry. The hon. Member may wish to contact Network Rail’s chief executive at the following address for such information:

Iain Coucher

Chief Executive

Network Rail

Kings Place

90 York Way

London, N1 9AG.

Justice

Youth Offending

19. To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of youth offending. (323403)

We have made excellent progress in the last 12 years. The national statistics published last week show that the frequency rate of juvenile reoffending has fallen, with a 24.8 per cent. reduction between 2000 and 2008.

This is in addition to a 12.2 per cent. fall in the number of young people entering the criminal justice system between 2000-01 and 2008-09.

Young Offenders

22. To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent discussions his Department has had with the Department for Children, Schools and Families on policy to prevent children and young people entering the criminal justice system. (323406)

Youth justice is the joint responsibility of the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Children, Schools and Families and therefore such discussions are routine. Through the Youth Crime Action Plan we made a commitment to reduce the rate of young people entering the criminal justice system by a fifth by 2020. Figures released last November show that this has already been achieved and work continues across both Departments to build on this success.

Witness Protection

23. To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps have been taken to improve witness protection arrangements in magistrates courts in the last three years. (323407)

The Government are committed to ensuring that witnesses who attend court are kept safe and protected. Since 2007, Her Majesty’s Courts Service has issued improved guidance which seeks to safeguard the safety of witnesses at court and invested over £825,000 to improve facilities for witnesses. This includes the upgrading and installation of new video link equipment; and provision of in-court witness screens so witnesses are better able to give evidence effectively and safely.

Reoffending

24. To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of prison in reducing reoffending. (323408)

Prison plays a crucial role in punishing and reforming the most serious, dangerous and persistent offenders. There is a range of programmes in prisons to help reduce the level of reoffending, and there is considerable international evidence to support their effectiveness.

Jury Selection

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what criteria apply to the selection of jury members; and if he will make a statement. (323385)

Jury members are selected at random. Anyone registered as an elector and aged 18 to 69 who has been ordinarily resident in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for any period of at least five years is qualified to serve. That is subject to two categories of disqualified people: certain people suffering from mental disorder and those on bail or who have received certain prison or community sentences.

End of Custody Licence Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effects on the size of the prison population of ending the end of custody licence scheme; and if he will make a statement. (323400)

The end of custody licence scheme was withdrawn on 12 March. This is expected to increase the prison population by an additional 1,000 to 1,200 prisoners by the end of April, as those who would have been released serve an additional 18 days in custody. Sufficient headroom exists to accommodate these prisoners within existing capacity.

Prisoners: Literacy and Numeracy

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to increase levels of literacy and numeracy among the prison population. (323405)

The Ministry of Justice works closely in partnership with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills who take the lead on offender learning matters. This partnership has helped enable the Learning and Skills Council, through its education providers, to increase and improve the quantity and quality of learning provision in prisons.

Antisocial Behaviour

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much funding he plans to allocate for the purpose of extending Victim Support services to all victims and witnesses bringing antisocial behaviour cases in magistrates courts. (322842)

Victim Support has agreed to support victims and witnesses bringing antisocial behaviour cases in magistrates courts as part of their existing witness service at no additional cost.

Courts: Video Conferencing

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether his Department has issued guidance in respect of its virtual court pilot scheme on whether a person who appears in court over a video link from a prison or a police station may be held to be in contempt of court. (322862)

No guidance has been issued in relation to contempt of court in virtual court cases.

The legislative framework for virtual courts is in sections 57A-57D of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (as, amended). The legislation provides that the accused is to be treated as present in court when appearing through a live link under those sections. Case law and legislation concerning contempt in the face of the court would therefore apply to such hearings in the same way as it does to hearings where the defendant is present in court.

Departmental Food

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will take steps to ensure that the meat and dairy products procured by his Department and its non-departmental bodies are free range or produced to standards equivalent to those of the RSPCA Freedom Food scheme. (323075)

All products supplied to the Ministry must comply with all current and subsequent relevant UK and EU Legislation, regulations and directives. The suppliers are required to provide products that are sourced in compliance with EC Regulations and from assured providers under animal welfare conditions that are compatible with the UK animal welfare regulations. There are no plans solely to procure or use meat and dairy products which are free range or produced to standards equivalent to those of the RSPCA Freedom Food scheme.

George Kelly

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he plans to respond to the request made on 1 February 2010 by the hon. Member for Torbay under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, on George Kelly, reference FOI/63308/10. (323026)

A response was sent to the hon. Member last week. I apologise for the unacceptable delay, and for any inconvenience it has caused.

Lands Tribunal

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) applications for permission to appeal, (b) notices of appeal and (c) final hearings of an appeal in relation to appeals against leasehold valuation tribunal decisions have been dealt with by the Lands Tribunal in each year since 2005-06; what proportion of final hearings of such appeals were successful; what fees were paid to the Lands Tribunal for each type of appeal and hearing in each year; and what estimate he has made of the equivalent figures in each year from 2010-11 to 2014-15. (323240)

The information available is shown in the following table. The Ministry of Justice records the total number of leasehold valuation appeals received in a format which includes both requests for leave to appeal and appeals lodged. Figures for (a) and (b) separately could be provided only at disproportionate cost by looking through each case file. In any event, files for cases which have been refused leave by the president are only retained for a year and those which go to hearing are destroyed after three years. The difference between the number of appeals received and heard is accounted for by those which are refused leave to appeal or withdrawn during the appeal process.

Leasehold valuation appeals

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-101

Number of appeals received

147

183

164

184

151

Number of appeals heard

26

26

12

17

27

Number of cases determined on paper and leave refused2

0

65

43

72

97

Proportion of successful appeals (%)

58

23

58

53

52

1 Year to date

2 Cases received in one year may be determined in a following year

The Ministry of Justice does not keep information on fees paid to the Lands Tribunal for each type of appeal and hearing. However, the total fees received for each year were:

Lands tribunal fees

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-101

Total fees (£)

262,262

398,564

417,879

332,943

220,103

1 Year to date

The current planning forecast is that fees income in each year from 2010-11 to 2013-14 will be £300,000 per year. No forecast has been prepared beyond that date. The Ministry of Justice is currently reviewing responses to a consultation1 which proposes an increase in current fee levels. However, current forecasts do not assume any increase in income.

1 Review of fees for the Lands Tribunal (Ref: CP44/09 2 December 2009 - 28 February 2010).

Prison Accommodation: Wales

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of prison accommodation in Wales. (323397)

Our most recent assessment of prison accommodation in Wales was given to the Welsh Affairs Committee in November 2009. This highlighted that North Wales is an area of strategic need for prison places within the prison estate and we are conducting a site search for a new prison in this area as well as other areas of strategic need such as London and the south-east, West Yorkshire and the north-west. We are looking to increase capacity in South Wales through the provision of a further 330 prison places at HMP Parc.

Prisons: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will make it his policy to collate at national level the (a) quantity and (b) type of illicit drugs seized in prisons in England and Wales. (322870)

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) collates the number and type of drug seizures in prisons. The number of drug seizures in prisons in England and Wales in 2008-09 is given in the following table. Many seizures are similar in appearance and where not attributable are not categorically identified by scientific analysis. Weight is not recorded and there are no plans to record it.

Drug

Number of seizures

Heroin

776

Cocaine

262

LSD

3

Amphetamines

94

Barbiturates

11

Cannabis

1,731

Tranquilisers

32

Other

2,160

Total

5,069

These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. The data are not subject to audit.

Probation: Per Capita Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his most recent estimate is of the average cost of probation service supervision for an individual on a 12 month (a) anger management, (b) domestic violence and (c) sex offender programme. (323908)

The funding for the supervision of offenders and the delivery of programmes in the community is part of the general grant given to probation areas or trusts. The costs will vary and depend on a number of factors including the risk presented by the individual, the level of supervision required, the programme the individual attends, and the arrangements for delivery in the particular area. It is not possible to accurately disaggregate the cost of this work. Full costs of probation services will be collected and published to benchmark the whole of the probation system by the end of 2011.

Sexual Offences Act 2003

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people received a caution for an offence under section (a) 1 and (b) 5 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in each police force area in 2008. (322837)

The number of offenders cautioned for offences under sections 1 and 5 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, by police force area in 2008 is shown in the following table.

Number of offenders cautioned1, 2 for offences under sections 1 and 5 of the Sexual Offences Act: 20033, by police force area, England and Wales 20084Police force areaSection15Section 56Avon and Somerset—1Cambridgeshire—4Cleveland—1Cumbria1—Devon and Cornwall21Dorset11Essex11Kent1—Lancashire1—Leicestershire—1Lincolnshire11Metropolitan Police13Nottinghamshire12Staffordshire1—Suffolk—1Sussex1—Thames Valley12Warwickshire—2West Midlands—1Gwent—1England and Wales13231 The cautions statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been cautioned for two or more offences at the same time the principal offence is the more serious offence.2 From 1 June 2000 the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 came into force nationally and removed the use of cautions for persons under 18 and replaced them with reprimands and warnings. These are included in the totals.3 The Sexual Offences Act 2003 came into force on 1 May 2004. 4 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.5 Section 1 includes the following offences:Rape of a female aged under 16.Rape of a female aged 16 or over.Rape of a male aged under 16.Rape of a male aged 16 or over.Attempted rape of a female aged under 16Attempted rape of a female aged 16 or over.Attempted rape of a male aged under 16.Attempted rape of a male aged 16 or over.6 Section 5 includes the following offences:Rape of a female child under 13 by a male.Rape of a male child under 13 by a male.Attempted rape of a female child under 13 by a male.Attempted rape of a male child under 13 by a male.Note:A police force area not listed in the table means nil data.Source:Evidence and Analysis Unit—Office for Criminal Justice Reform.

Vetting: Charities

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether individuals with a past conviction for an offence of buggery are required to declare the conviction when applying to work with a charity involved with vulnerable people after the offence is (a) spent and (b) deleted; and if he will make a statement. (322868)

The law currently requires individuals to declare all spent convictions where they are applying to work with vulnerable people as this is an area of activity falling within the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This obligation applies even if the conviction has been deleted from the Police National Computer. We are aware that a conviction for buggery, before aspects of the offence were decriminalised, may relate to consensual homosexual conduct between adults. Therefore, it is our intention to bring forward an amendment to the Exceptions Order so that an individual does not have to disclose a conviction for buggery where this was for behaviour which has subsequently been decriminalised. However, elements of the offence of buggery under the Sexual Offences Act 1956 remain criminal today; therefore the amendment will not affect the obligation to declare a conviction for buggery where the behaviour which attracted the conviction would still be a criminal offence.

Voting Rights: Armed Forces

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he expects his Department to receive the report of the working group on the voting rights of members of the armed forces. (323657)

The working group meets on a regular basis, most recently in early March. I have written to parliamentary colleagues who attended the meeting on service voting in December to give an interim update from the working group and share the group's consideration of the suggestions made at that meeting. The Government are consulting on longer term options to support service personnel and their families to vote in elections, and I have also written to Opposition parties, asking that the parties sign up to the commitment to consult on a cross-party basis.

Voting Systems

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will take steps to ensure that implementation of the provisions proposed in Clause 90 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill does not result in the (a) ending of next-day counts in constituencies in which such counts are a long established practice and (b) counting of votes cast in several constituencies in a central location at the forthcoming general election. (323662)

Clause 90 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill was shared with Opposition representatives as it was developed, and was welcomed widely across the House. By requiring returning officers to take reasonable steps to start the counting of votes by 2 am and to give a reasoned account when they fail to do so, the clause creates a clear expectation that, in line with the clearly expressed view of Parliament on this issue, the counting of votes should start by 2 am, where possible.

It is particularly important for the purposes of the new duty that returning officers look carefully at existing arrangements and past practice and consider the additional steps which they can reasonably take in order to start the counting of votes given on ballot papers by 2 am. Past practice is not necessarily a guide to whether the duty to take all reasonable steps to start the count by 2 am will have been fulfilled. Clause 90 would preserve the operational independence of the returning officer, while providing fresh impetus towards counting votes as quickly as possible. In striking this balance, clause 90 respects the important discretion of the returning officer to make decisions to take account of local circumstances, such as the particular geography of a constituency. In this way, the location of the count remains a matter for the returning officer in each case, taking into account both the legislative framework and local circumstances.

Youth Justice: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 15 March 2010, Official Report, column 703W, on Youth Justice: finance, how much expenditure was re-charged from the Youth Justice Board by the National Offender Management Service Service Development Group in respect of administration costs in 2009-10. (323660)

The Youth Justice Board has provided the National Offender Management Service's (NOMS) Service Development Group with £118.180 million of funding to deliver about 2,400 custodial places and associated services for all young men aged 15 to 17 and 17-year-old young women during the 2009-10 period. This includes £5.070 million for corporate overheads and £2.548 million for the NOMS Young People's Team.

Treasury

Boilers: Government Assistance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to discuss providing more funding for the boiler scrappage scheme. (323176)

The pre-Budget report announced £50 million to fund a £400 incentive to help up to 125,000 residential consumers who live in owned or privately rented homes in England to upgrade their boiler.

Treasury Ministers meet with colleagues regularly to discuss a range of issues as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

Departmental Computer Software

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Hurd) of 1 March 2009, Official Report, column 916W, on departmental ICT, what fonts were purchased by (a) his Department and (b) HM Revenue and Customs; and what consideration was given to using fonts available in software packages already in use in each. (323536)

The Disability Discrimination Act requires Departments to make their materials as accessible as possible and accessibility research suggests that serif fonts are more difficult to read. For the Treasury the existing fonts on the system were examined and none met the accessibility requirements. The core Treasury font was therefore changed to a sans serif font, Humanist 777, ensuring Treasury documents are more accessible.

HM Revenue and Customs purchased a package of font symbols and the cost includes licenses for all of the Department's designers (20 licences).

This new range adds to and updates the Department's library of font symbols to include more up to date images such as mobile phones, Blackberry and iPhone as these were not available in the original software package.

Departmental Food

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to ensure that the meat and dairy products procured by his Department and its non-departmental body are free range or produced to standards equivalent to those of the RSPCA Freedom Food scheme. (323073)

Meat and dairy products are provided to HM Treasury staff in London under a facilities management contract. In line with guidance from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, suppliers under this contract procure meat and dairy products which have been produced under industry welfare standards. Directly procured dairy products are also produced under appropriate industry standards.

Departmental Information Officers

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) press officers and (b) communications staff were employed by his Department (i) in each of the last five years and (ii) on the latest date for which figures are available; and what the cost of employing such staff was in each such year. (310209)

The number of full-time equivalent press officers employed by HM Treasury is nine. In addition HM Treasury employs 22 staff working directly on publishing, digital communications, internal communications and strategic communications. Information on the costs for each year could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

For information on press officers for the previous five years I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answers given to the hon. Member for Tatton (Mr. Osborne) on 11 January 2005, Official Report, column 445W, my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz) on 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 177W, the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 8 October 2007, Official Report, column 213W, the hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. Browne) on 21 February 2008, Official Report, column 939W and the hon. Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr. Hammond) on 19 June 2009, Official Report, 546W.

Previous information on communication staff is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Publications

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the dates of publication of any regular statistics or reports by his Department have been affected by planning for the forthcoming general election. (323661)

On the announcement of a General Election, the Cabinet Secretary issues guidance to Departments on their activities during the pre-election period. This will be published on the Cabinet Office website.

Regular statistical releases and reports will continue to be issued and published during the election period on dates which have been pre-announced.

Departmental Visits Abroad

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department and its agencies, HM Revenue and Customs and the Valuation Office Agency spent on visits abroad by (a) Ministers and (b) officials in each of the last three years. (321175)

[holding answer 8 March 2010]: All travel undertaken by Ministers and civil servants is in accordance with the “Ministerial Code” and the “Civil Service Management Code” respectively. All spending on subsistence is made in accordance with the principles set out in “Managing Public Money”.

The Government published a list of all overseas travel by Ministers costing over £500 on 16 July 2009, and this is available at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/ministers/travel_gifts.aspx

Equitable Life Assurance Society

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department has taken to ensure that its database of contact details of former Equitable Life policy-holders eligible for payments under any payment scheme is accurate and up-to-date. (323356)

Officials have been carrying out work on scheme design in parallel with Sir John Chadwick's work. Ensuring contact details are up to date and accurate is part of this work.

Industry: Private Sector Investment

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department made of the level of private sector investment in industry in real terms in (a) 1994, (b) 1999, (c) 2004 and (d) 2009. (322804)

I have been asked to reply.

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated March 2010:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking the level of private sector investment in industry in real terms in (a) 1994, (b) 1999, (c) 2004 and (d) 2009. (322804)

The attached table gives estimates of Business investment analysed by industrial sector for the years requested. The estimates are chained volume measures and are in 2005 prices. Estimates for other periods are given in the latest Business investment Statistical Bulletin which can be downloaded using this link:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/bi0210.pdf

Business investment, industrial sector—chained volume measure, 2005 prices

£ million

Private sector

Manufacturing

Other production

Construction

Distribution services

Other services

Public corporations

Total business Investment

1994

14454

13500

1205

7566

30677

3746

66944

1999

19552

13447

2101

12621

58691

2799

108894

2004

14534

9876

3979

18649

66975

3250

117047

2009

11,044

16,562

2,046

14,658

67,465

3,987

117,762

Source:

ONS Business Investment

Infrastructure UK: Legal Opinion

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria were used to select Linklaters as legal adviser to Infrastructure UK; how the contract for those services was advertised; how many other companies tendered for that contract; and what the monetary value is of that contract. (323345)

The requirement for legal services was competed under the Office of Government Commerce buying solutions “Legal Services - major projects (including complex, innovative PFI/PPP)” framework ref RM373/L8. The requirement was “advertised” via a collaborative Framework Agreement.

The following evaluation criteria were used:

Demonstrable capability of the team in the relevant areas, particularly strong, proven skills in public finance initiative/public-private partnership lender advisory work on closed transactions.

Demonstrable capability to work with public sector authorities in the PFI/PPP sector

Capacity and strength in depth in the firm, to provide the necessary support as and when required

Costs/Fee proposal

Responses were received from eight firms, three of whom were invited to interview.

No monetary value was assigned to the contract. A schedule of hourly rates was agreed subject to staff seniority.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the reply from the Minister for the Cabinet Office dated 9 March 2010, Official Report, column 299W, on Members: correspondence, when he expects to reply to the letters of 10 December 2008 and 15 July 2009 which were transferred to his Department on 22 December 2008 and 22 July 2009. (323331)

Our records show a reply was sent to the hon. Member on 7 January 2009, however, a scanned copy of the reply was not retained. I have provided a replacement to the hon. Member.

Non-Domestic Rates: Ports

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the performance of the Valuation Office Agency in respect of the separate rating of port businesses. (323597)

The performance of the Valuation Office Agency has been considered in a Framework Review, conducted by an HMRC Director reporting to the Minister then responsible for the Agency, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. It was also dealt with in the Government’s response to the Treasury Select Committee’s (TSC) First Report of Session 2008-09, Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor’s Departments, 2007-08 (HC 35).

The Framework Review is available at:

http://www.voa.gov.uk/publications/framework_doc/voa-review-09.pdf

Non-Domestic Rates: Valuation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many public houses there were on the Rating List in each local authority area in England in (a) 1997 and (b) 2010. (323199)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 16 December 2009, Official Report, column 1303W, in respect of the 1997 data. Information for the draft 2010 Rating Lists was first published by the Valuation Office Agency on its website on 18 December 2009.

http://www.voa.gov.uk/publications/statistical_releases/Table3-England_RV_by_scat_code.xls

Information for Public Houses can be found under:

Public Houses/Pub Restaurants (National Scheme)—SCAT 226

Public Houses/Pub Restaurants (Inc. Lodge) (National Scheme)—SCAT 227

Public Sector: Pensions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the net cost to the Exchequer was of public sector pensions in each year since 1980, expressed in (a) cash terms and (b) 2010 prices. (321900)

The net cost to the Exchequer (on a national accounts basis) of public service pensions for years 2003-04 to 2008-09 is shown in the “Contribution to TME” line of table D.1 of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA) 2009,

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/pespub_pesa09.htm

Earlier years back to 1993-94 are available in previous editions of PESA. However, data in previous PESAs are not directly consistent with PESA 2009 due to changes in data coverage and classification changes and therefore are not presented on a comparable basis.

Data on other public sector schemes are not held centrally.

Revenue and Customs: Chorley

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the outcome was of the moderation process in respect of relocation of HM Revenue and Customs customer operations staff from Lingmell House, Chorley; and if he will make a statement; (317911)

(2) what role (a) his Department and (b) HM Revenue and Customs plays in the moderation process in respect of relocation of staff consequent on the closure of Lingmell House, Chorley; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what commitments HM Revenue and Customs management have made to customer operations staff at Lingmell House, Chorley; and if he will make a statement;

(4) on what dates HM Revenue and Customs wrote to customer operations staff at Lingmell House, Chorley to indicate an intention to move them to employment in a benefits and credits team; on what date HM Revenue and Customs wrote to their staff to rescind that intention; who was responsible for the reversal of that decision; if he will investigate the reasons for that reversal; and if he will make a statement.

Moderation formed part of the Human Resource (HR) procedures put in place by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to facilitate the redeployment of staff from its offices, including Chorley, affected by the decisions arising from the Regional Review Programme undertaken between 2006 and 2008.

The moderation process was developed by HMRC, in consultation with trade unions, to help staff and managers identify whether proposed redeployment options were within the pre-defined Reasonable Daily Travel limits. The process was agreed across the Department together with trade unions, with decisions taken at a local level within line management chains and with independent support and advice to ensure fairness and consistency. Moderation groups were established to make relocation decisions based upon information provided by staff during one-to-one meetings held with their managers.

As part of the moderation process each individual's case was considered individually and personal circumstances were taken into account when deciding if a move was within reasonable daily travelling time for the person concerned.

In February 2008 HMRC announced that Lingmell House would close with the expectation that staff working in customer operations would relocate with their work to customer operations strategic sites in Manchester or Bootle. In line with departmental guidance, customer operations staff working in Lingmell House were then considered for transfer to Manchester and Bootle.

Following one-to-one meetings between managers and staff, decisions were taken by a moderating panel as to whether it was reasonable for an individual to relocate to one of these sites within reasonable daily travel, taking their individual personal circumstances into account. Staff were notified of the outcome of this process by letter in April 2008.

In July 2008 a second moderation process was mistakenly carried out to consider moves for customer operations staff in the Chorley office to the Tax Credit Office in Preston. As an outcome of this moderation on 29 July 2008 HMRC wrote to customer operations staff at Lingmell House, Chorley, who were within reasonable daily travel of Preston, to indicate that they could be relocated to the Tax Credit Office at Preston.

The outcome of this second moderation is invalid, as it was not carried out in accordance with the processes agreed between HMRC and departmental trade unions. These processes required that Chorley customer operations staff be moderated within their own business stream—customer operations—and were therefore not eligible to be moderated with the tax credits office in Preston. Changes to the business and staffing requirements in the Tax Credit Office in the second half of 2008 resulted in recruitment of further staff stopping, with no likelihood of future vacancies in that location.

Those staff members unable to travel to their nearest customer operations strategic site at Manchester or Bootle were informed of this in an office meeting in March 2009 and issued with pre-surplus letters on 17 March 2009 to give them priority access to other jobs or to apply for early release schemes. This decision was taken by HMRC's senior regional manager for customer operations.

After being made surplus in January 2010 some Chorley customer operations staff and the local trade union representative contacted HMRC to clarify the position with regard to the letter they had received in July 2008 about transferring to TCO Preston. The regional director's support team replied giving more details as to why the second moderation process was invalid and apologised for the confusion and unwarranted expectations that had arisen as a result of this moderation.

At the time of the announcement on 13 January 2010 that Lingmell House would close during 2010-11, redeployment solutions had been found for 27 of the 39 staff working there. The announcement on 13 January provided staff who were unable to relocate the option to volunteer for compulsory early severance or compulsory early retirement and leave the Department by 1 April.

HMRC will continue to help those staff who chose not to take up this option to find redeployment opportunities within the Department or in the wider civil service.

Revenue and Customs: Debt Collection

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a detailed analysis of the remissions and write-offs included in the HM Revenue and Customs Trust Statement in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09. (323205)

Paragraph 8.2 Revenue losses on page 100 of HM Revenue and Customs 2008-09 Accounts, Trust Statement sets out the value of remissions and write-offs, by head of duty, for the financial years 2007-08 and 2008-09. Case notes are also included providing the detail of large losses greater than £10 million.

HM Revenue and Customs' 2008-09 Accounts are available at:

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

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish his Department’s evaluation of the pilot exercises on the use of commercial debt collection agencies to collect debts owed to HM Revenue and Customs. (323217)

The final evaluation of the small scale pilot to test the use of commercial debt collection agencies to collect debts owed to HM Revenue and Customs has not yet been completed.

Smuggling: Tobacco

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the estimated monetary value of smuggled cigarettes, tobacco and tobacco-related products which were seized was in each year since 1997. (321893)

Data relating to the estimated value of smuggled tobacco products seized by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, and latterly the UK Border Agency, are only available going back to 2003.

Estimates of the total value i.e. the value of the goods and associated tax, in each year since 2003 are:

Goods and tax values of tobacco seizures border

Total (£ million)

Financial year

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Goods value

44.1

43.1

49

53.8

48.5

50.1

Tax

170.1

165

206.1

224.6

213.6

191.9

Total

214.2

208.1

255.1

278.5

262.2

242.1

Tax Allowances: Housing

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate he has made of the number of (a) UK taxpayers and (b) hon. Members who varied the nomination of a main residence in order to obtain private residence relief from capital gains tax in each of the last 10 years. (323000)

Taxation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department is taking to reduce the tax gaps in (a) stamp duty land tax, (b) income tax, (c) corporation tax and (d) excise duties. (323206)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have set out its compliance strategy and approach to reducing tax gaps in ‘Protecting Tax Revenues 2009’, which was published alongside the 2009 pre-Budget report and is available at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/pbr2009/protect-tax-revenue-5450.pdf

Taxation: Alcoholic Drinks

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average cash value was of (a) valued added tax and (b) alcohol duty charged on a pint of standard (i) lager, (ii) bitter and (iii) cider in each year since 1997. (323575)

The average cash value of value added tax and alcohol duty charged on a pint of lager, pint of bitter and a litre of cider can be found in Section 3 of the HM Revenue and Customs Alcohol Factsheet, available at:

https://www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm?task=factalcohol

The latest available annual data relate to 2009.

Taxation: Self-assessment

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people completed their tax return forms using (a) online and (b) printed forms in January 2010; and if he will make a statement. (323931)

The number of 2008-09 Self Assessment tax returns filed online or in paper format by 31 January 2010 is shown in the following table:

2008-09 returns

Percentage of total received

Online

6,429,899

75

Paper

2,143,753

25

Valuation Office Agency: Contracts

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which company or companies have been awarded HM Revenue and Customs contracts, reference 2009/S 200-288191, for the provision of residential property data to the Valuation Office Agency. (323153)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Jackson) of 4 February 2010, Official Report, column 522W, on the Valuation Office: contracts, how much was spent with Experian in 2008-09; what datasets were purchased by the Valuation Office Agency; and for what purposes. (323192)

Costs in relation to Experian in 2008-09, which related to mapping materials for non-domestic property valuations, were £57,055.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Jackson) of 4 February 2010, Official Report, column 522W, on the Valuation Office: contracts, how much was spent with (a) Rightmove.co.uk, (b) Bodens, (c) Blue Starfish, (d) Bocadillos, (e) Brown’s, (f) Chelsea Football Club. (g) Conflict Management Plus Ltd., (h) Euro RSCG Riley and (i) ZSL London Zoo in 2008-09; what goods and services were purchased; and for what purposes. (323196)

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) spent £776,250 with Rightmove in relation to acquiring property sales data, £271 for publications with Bodens, £9,055 for training staff with Blue Starfish, £1,954 for catering and refreshments with Bocadillos, £2,673 for catering and refreshments with Browns, £293 for training with Conflict Management Plus Ltd., £23,634 for graduate surveyor recruitment and advertising with Euro RSCG Riley, and £3,200 for conference facilities with ZSL London Zoo. VOA did not incur any costs in relation to Chelsea Football Club.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which company or companies have been awarded the Valuation Office Agency contract for property data to replace the previous Rightmove.co.uk contract. (323577)

Valuation: Caravan Sites

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the policy of the Valuation Office Agency is on valuing illegal encampments and Traveller camps for (a) council tax and (b) business rates; and for how many months such a dwelling or hereditament may exist before it is rated. (323444)

Where caravans are sole or main residences and the use of the site is not merely transitory, then either the land as a whole or the individual caravan pitches are liable to be banded for council tax, according to the facts of each case.

Where land is used for caravans which are not sole or main residences, and the occupation is not merely transitory it will be non-domestic and subject to a non-domestic rateable value.

There is no minimum period defined by statute in either case and each situation will be treated on its own merits. However, where a Traveller's caravan occupies a non-established pitch for a period materially less than 12 months, with no sign of likely return, this will generally be regarded as too transient to establish the pitch as a dwelling. The legality of the occupation is not relevant: it is the period of occupation that is considered.

Work and Pensions

Departmental Food

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will take steps to ensure that the meat and dairy products procured by her Department and its non-departmental bodies are free range or produced to standards equivalent to those of the RSPCA Freedom Food scheme. (323078)

The Department has a private finance initiative contract for the provision of fully serviced accommodation which includes catering. The contract is with Telereal Trillium and their catering services supplier is Eurest (part of the Compass Group UK and Ireland). Since 2003, the Department has been working with these suppliers, actively pursuing a Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative action plan and one of the key objectives of this Initiative is to raise farming standards.

Compass Group has confirmed that they endorse the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s Five Freedoms concept and provide full traceability of products and suppliers within their approved supply chain to ensure animals reared for meat, fish, milk and eggs are raised to high standards of animal welfare.

Compass Group has also confirmed a long-standing commitment to source its seafood as sustainably as possible. They were the first food service company to achieve the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody certification enabling them to serve certified sustainable, MSC labelled seafood choices. Within the DWP contract many of their sites are buying products to these standards and promotional activities are run to encourage DWP staff to purchase the more ethically sourced products.

The information requested in respect of DWP’s non-departmental bodies is not collated centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Legal Costs