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Written Answers

Volume 508: debated on Wednesday 7 April 2010

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Transport

Croydon

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will set out with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to the Croydon Central constituency, the effects of his Department's policies on that constituency since 2005. (325822)

The Department for Transport does not routinely hold transport statistics on a parliamentary constituency basis. However, the Department provides Transport for London (TfL) with a block grant to fund transport delivery in London. This grant has more than doubled in the last nine years, rising to some £3.3 billion in 2010-11. Drawing on these and other resources, the Mayor is responsible for publishing and, through TfL, implementing a Transport Strategy for London, while the boroughs are required to publish local implementation plans which set out how they will contribute to the Mayor's strategy.

Bus services in London have improved. 2,247 million passenger journeys were made in 2008-09 and patronage grew by grew by 40 per cent. between 2000-09.

Concessionary travel continues to benefit elderly and disabled Londoners, and more than a million older people currently hold a Freedom Pass.

South London rail routes serving Croydon have also improved. Southern have delivered a new fleet of trains, some of which operate on South London services, and the remaining rolling stock has been refurbished.

TfL took over operational control of Croydon Tramlink in June 2008. Approximately 27.2 million passenger journeys were made on Croydon Tramlink in 2008-09.

On the roads, national targets to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured by 40 per cent. and reduce the number of “slight” casualties by 10 per cent. (compared to the period 1994-98) by 2010 were largely exceeded by TfL by 2004, leading to TfL setting themselves new targets of 50 per cent and 25 per cent. respectively.

Various improvements in relation to cycling have also been realised across London. TfL report that cycling now accounts for 2 per cent. of trips in London compared to 1.2 per cent in 2000, and London is the only major city in the world to have achieved a modal shift away from the car. From 2000-2009 the mode share of private motorised transport has fallen by around 6 per cent, levels of cycling have almost doubled and public transport use has risen dramatically. On an average weekday over one million people enter Central London on public transport during the morning peak.

Driving: Disqualification

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what progress has been made on the adoption of the 1998 European Convention on Driving Disqualifications; and what steps he has taken to promote mutual recognition of driving disqualifications in EU member states. (325677)

On 28 January 2010 mutual recognition of driving disqualifications between the UK and Ireland entered into force.

We wish to gain practical experience with our arrangements with Ireland before considering mutual recognition with other member states.

Heathrow Airport

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will make it his policy not to proceed with his Department’s proposals for a third runway at Heathrow Airport. (325676)

The High Court ruling on 26 March 2010 does not require us to change our policy, which remains to support a third runway at Heathrow subject to conditions, including compliance with limits in respect of noise and local air quality. The ruling acknowledges that the Heathrow decisions announced in January 2009 are part of a continuing process which, under the Planning Act 2008, will involve further steps including the preparation of a national policy statement for airports and further consultation, and that this process provides a complete legal framework for considering all the issues raised in the court case.

Railway Stations

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effect on (i) rail services and (ii) the energy consumption of trains of station stops aligned (A) horizontally and (B) vertically. (325698)

HS2 Ltd. commissioned Imperial College to undertake traction energy modelling, which included the impact of station stops. This report was published earlier this month and is available on HS2 Ltd.’s website

www.hs2.org.uk/supporting-documents-temp

Railways: Construction

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how long on average it takes to travel from each of (a) Glasgow, (b) Aberdeen, (c) Norwich, (d) Exeter, (e) Middlesbrough, (f) Liverpool and (g) Milton Keynes to each of (i) Brussels, (ii) Madrid, (iii) Chicago and (iv) Tokyo; and what the equivalent average travel times are expected to be following completion of the HS2 core network. (325700)

The Department for Transport does not hold this information in the form requested.

The completion of the potential HS2 core network would accelerate surface access to certain UK airports, but actual time savings would depend on rail and airline service patterns and timetabling at that time.

Sea Rescue: Emergency Exits

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport for what reason the fire escape at Flamborough Head coastguard station is considered inadequate for its purpose. (325742)

Flamborough Head coastguard rescue team base is located in an old three-storey building. Each storey is a single, small room and the room on the ground-floor is used to house unmanned radio equipment. A single narrow staircase is the only means of access and escape. This arrangement does not meet modern fire safety standards.

Sea Rescue: Fire Services

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many fires requiring evacuation there have been at Flamborough Head coastguard station in the last 30 years. (325744)

There have been no fires requiring evacuation at the volunteer Flamborough Head Coastguard Rescue Team base in the last 30 years.

Sea Rescue: Standards

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what studies his Department has conducted on the likely effect on incident response times of the closure of Flamborough Head coastguard station. (325743)

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has considered the effect of closing its Flamborough Head volunteer coastguard rescue team base and has concluded that incident response times will be unaffected.

Thameslink Railway Line: Rolling Stock

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether the bringing into service of new Thameslink rolling stock is dependent on the provision of additional train maintenance depots. (325801)

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether the introduction of new Thameslink rolling stock is dependent upon the establishment of new train maintenance depots. (325832)

I can confirm that the bringing into service of new Thameslink rolling stock is dependent on the provision of additional train maintenance depots.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) when he expects to announce his decision on the location of additional train maintenance depots for new Thameslink trains; [R] (325802)

(2) what plans he has to (a) establish new and (b) develop existing train maintenance depots to support the new fleet of Thameslink trains. [R]

The Department for Transport is planning to establish new depots to support the new fleet of Thameslink trains at Hornsey in the London borough of Haringey and at Three Bridges in the borough of Crawley.

Network Rail has commenced the process for securing planning consents for these depots with the relevant local authorities. It would be inappropriate to comment on the outcome of these discussions at this stage.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) which locations are being considered for the construction of additional train maintenance depots to service new Thameslink trains; [R] (325803)

(2) what discussions (a) he and (b) officials of his Department have had with representatives of (i) Network Rail, (ii) train operating companies and (iii) local authorities on the provision of additional train maintenance depots for the new Thameslink rolling stock. [R]

Department for Transport officials have had a number of discussions with Network Rail, train operating companies and local authorities regarding the additional train maintenance depots for the new Thameslink rolling stock. We are proposing a new depot in Hornsey in the London borough of Haringey and at Three Bridges in the borough of Crawley.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what assessment he has made of the merits of building new train maintenance depots for Thameslink stations at different locations. (325833)

Department for Transport officials have worked closely with Network Rail and the train operating companies to assess the options for locating new train maintenance depots for the new Thameslink rolling stock. We are proposing a new depot in Hornsey in the London borough of Haringey and at Three Bridges in the borough of Crawley.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what discussions his Department has had with (a) Network Rail, (b) train operating companies and (c) local authorities on new train maintenance depots for the new Thameslink rolling stock. (325834)

Department for Transport officials have had a number of discussions with Network Rail, train operating companies and local authorities regarding the new train maintenance depots for the new Thameslink rolling stock. We are proposing a new depot in Hornsey in the London borough of Haringey and at Three Bridges in the borough of Crawley.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 8 March 2010, Official Report, column 19W, on Afghanistan: peacekeeping operations, what the average cost of (a) aviation and (b) vehicle fuel was (i) per litre and (ii) per imperial gallon in each such year. (322182)

The average monthly price of fuel for operations in Afghanistan is:

Aviation fuel per litre (£)

Vehicle fuel per litre (£)

Period

April 2009 - end January 2010

1.325

1.25

May 2008 - March 2009

1.46

1.38

We purchase fuel in litres and keep records only on this basis. The costs per litre prior to May 2008 are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 25 February 2010, Official Report, column 674W, on armed forces: manpower, what the shortfall of (a) reservists and (b) regular (i) medical, (ii) nursing and (iii) paramedic staff was on 1 October in each year since 2002; and if he will make a statement. (322550)

The information requested is shown in the following tables for regular and reserve forces. To enable comparisons with past years using the data currently available, the total ‘requirement’ figures include ‘manning and training margins’ and the ‘manning’ figures include personnel who were both trained and in-training. Shortfalls have been addressed by a variety of means and they have never resulted in the Defence Medical Services being unable to meet their operational commitments. The standard of medical care provided to service patients remains extremely high as has been recognised by the House of Commons Defence Committee and the National Audit Office.

Regular forces

Requirement

Manning

Shortfall (percentage)

Data as of 1 October 2002

Doctors

1,060

918

13

Nurses

1,976

1,600

19

Dental Officers and Allied Dental Healthcare Professionals

817

858

-51

Medical Allied Health Professionals

4,610

3,748

19

Total

8,463

7,124

16

Data as of 1 October 2003

Doctors

1,168

897

23

Nurses

2,015

1,735

14

Dental Officers and Allied Dental Healthcare Professionals

845

875

-41

Medical Allied Health Professionals

4,542

4,101

10

Total

8,570

7,608

11

Data as of 1 October 2004

Doctors

1,199

998

17

Nurses

2,052

1,805

12

Dental Officers and Allied Dental Healthcare Professionals

913

829

9

Medical Allied Health Professionals

5,255

3,846

27

Total

9,419

7,478

21

Data as of 1 October 2005

Doctors

1,155

1,037

10

Nurses

2,068

1,725

17

Dental Officers and Allied Dental Healthcare Professionals

886

820

7

Medical Allied Health Professionals

5,108

4,084

20

Total

9,217

7,666

17

Data as of 1 October 2006

Doctors

911

Nurses

1,758

Dental Officers and Allied Dental Healthcare Professionals

790

Medical Allied Health Professionals

4,029

Total

7,488

Data as of 1 October 2007

Doctors

1,132

1,050

7

Nurses

1,889

1,745

8

Dental Officers and Allied Dental Healthcare Professionals

992

788

21

Medical Allied Health Professionals

4,286

4,221

2

Total

8,298

7,804

6

Data as of 1 October 2008

Doctors

1,137

1,113

2

Nurses

1,901

1,723

9

Dental Officers and Allied Dental Healthcare Professionals

984

796

19

Medical Allied Health Professionals

4,276

4,267

0

Total

8,298

7,899

5

Data as of 1 October 2009

Doctors

1,137

1,076

5

Nurses

1,901

1,677

12

Dental Officers and Allied Dental Healthcare Professionals

984

774

21

Medical Allied Health Professionals

4,276

4,063

5

Total

8,298

7,590

9

1 Surplus

Notes:

1. Requirement figures include ‘manning and training margins’.

2. Manning data include personnel who are both trained and in-training.

3. Requirement data not available for October 2006 as these were being recast in a DMS-wide study at that date.

4. ‘Medical Allied Health professionals’ include the paramedics cadre.

Reserve forces (Army and Navy)

Requirement

Trained strength

Shortfall (percentage)

Data as of 1 October 2002

Medical officers

771

499

35

Nurses

2,343

1,337

43

Medical support services

2,017

1,592

21

Dental officers and allied dental healthcare professionals

128

57

55

Total

5,259

3,485

34

Data as of 1 October 2003

Medical officers

857

544

37

Nurses

2,487

1,390

44

Medical support services

2,357

1,456

38

Dental officers and allied dental healthcare professionals

128

55

57

Total

5,829

3,445

41

Data as of 1 October 2004

Medical officers

566

354

37

Nurses

2,114

1,076

49

Medical support services

1,640

1,154

30

Dental officers and allied dental healthcare professionals

128

52

59

Total

4,448

2,636

41

Data as of 1 October 2005

Medical officers

566

348

39

Nurses

2,105

1,024

51

Medical support services

1,388

1,077

22

Dental officers and allied dental healthcare professionals

128

50

61

Total

4,187

2,499

40

Data as of 1 October 2006

Medical officers

566

339

40

Nurses

2,105

973

54

Medical support services

1,300

1,032

21

Dental officers and allied dental healthcare professionals

40

25

38

Total

4,011

2,369

41

Data as of 1 October 2007

Medical officers

527

333

37

Nurses

2,053

815

60

Medical support services

1,300

887

32

Dental officers and allied dental healthcare professionals

40

16

60

Total

3,920

2,051

48

Data as of 1 October 2008

Medical officers

618

336

46

Nurses

1,400

883

37

Medical support services

1,100

960

13

Dental officers and allied dental healthcare professionals

27

18

33

Total

3,145

2,197

30

Data as of 1 October 2009

Medical officers

607

326

46

Nurses

1,440

813

44

Medical support services

1,104

882

20

Dental officers and allied dental healthcare professionals

27

16

41

Total

3,178

2,037

36

Notes:

1. ‘Dental officers and allied dental healthcare professionals’ include dental practitioners, dental support officers, dental surgery assistants and dental technicians.

2. ‘Medical Support Services’ include the paramedic cadre.

3. Data is only available in this form over this period for RN and Army Reservists.

Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF)

Requirement

Trained strength

Shortfall (percentage)

Data as of 1 October 2002

Total (all specialties)

225

154

32

Data as of 1 October 2003

Total (all specialties)

227

149

34

Data as of 1 October 2004

Total (all specialties)

229

133

42

Data as of 1 October 2005

Total (all specialties)

229

112

51

Data as of 1 October 2006

Total (all specialties)

229

98

57

Data as of 1 October 2007

Total (all specialties)

227

93

59

Data as of 1 October 2008

Total (all specialties)

227

95

58

Data as of 1 October 2009

Medical officers

33

12

64

Nurses

86

44

49

Medical Support Officers

6

4

33

Dental officers and allied dental healthcare professionals

109

62

43

Total

234

122

49

Notes:

1. In 2009, the data system for recording RAuxAF manpower statistics was revised to contain more detail, including the introduction of recording personnel by trade.

2. For pre-2009 statistics, a breakdown of total numbers by trade could only be provided through manual search of the Joint Personnel Administration database. This information could therefore only be obtained at disproportionate cost. For years prior to 2009 the total shortfall percentage is provided.

Armed Forces: Rescue Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he expects to sign (a) a contract and (b) any other agreement with the preferred bidder for the provision of search and rescue helicopter services from 2012 before the Dissolution of Parliament. (325816)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 22 March 2010, Official Report, column 16W.

Army: Allergies

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the applications guidelines of the Armed Forces Careers Office, Form 5, June 2007, how many people have been refused entry into the Army on the grounds of an allergic disorder in each of the last five years; and how many such refusals were the subject of an appeal supported by medical evidence. (325762)

Information on the number of individuals who have been refused entry to the British Army on the grounds of an allergic disorder is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, I can confirm that the Army recruiting and training division headquarters have considered 21 allergy-related appeals against non-selection over the last five years. Of these appeals, four were successful, two were withdrawn and 15 were unsuccessful.

Chinook Helicopters

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out the details of the contract he has signed with Boeing in respect of the acquisition of additional Chinook helicopters; and whether (a) the contract will provide for the provision of the Julius cockpit design and (b) the helicopters will be acquired under the US foreign military sales. (325790)

Long-lead engineering work and acquisition of long-lead manufacturing components will be undertaken under the contract signed with Boeing on 23 March 2010. This work is necessary to protect the critical path to delivery of initial aircraft during the course of 2012 and 2013.

No final decision has yet been made on the cockpit configuration, nor on the procurement route, although if the Julius cockpit solution is selected this would not be under a US foreign military sale. I expect the Main Gate investment decision to be taken very shortly.

Departmental Disclosure of Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what restrictions there are on his Department's officials regarding the disclosure of information on future defence policy matters; and if he will make a statement. (324524)

[holding answer 29 March 2010]: MOD officials may disclose official information only in accordance with current rules and procedures including, in the case of civil servants, the Civil Service Code and in compliance with the Official Secrets Acts, the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Departmental Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the most recent Armed Forces Families Continuous Attitude survey. (325550)

Each service conducts a Families Continuous Attitude survey. The aim is to assess and monitor the attitude of serving personnel's spouses in key areas such as housing, child care, communication and welfare. The results obtained help to formulate strategic policy and identify specific trends, such as quality of service families' accommodation or the effectiveness of MODern Housing.

The most recent reports from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force will be placed in the Library of the House.

Departmental Temporary Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 8 March 2010, Official Report, column 22-3W, on departmental temporary employment, what the total amount spent on employing temporary staff was in (a) each of the last three years and (b) 2009-10 to date. (324328)

Manpower substitutes are only engaged to fill funded posts until permanent recruitment can be completed or where the posts cannot be filled by other means. They are particularly important where units are closing or merging to enable permanent staff to be redeployed to secure posts while maintaining the role of the unit until closure, to ensure that services to the front line or other critical areas do not suffer gaps while permanent recruitment takes place or to temporarily fill specialist posts where the gap is caused by the individual being forward deployed.

While a great deal of work is being undertaken to increase the information available on the amount of money spent across the Ministry of Defence on manpower substitutes, this work is still ongoing and will improve further as the People Pay and Pensions Agency assumes more responsibility for delivering manpower substitution services for more categories of temporary staff. Consequently, the information requested is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Electronic Warfare

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the feasibility of strengthening military systems against electromagnetic attacks; and what estimate he has made of the cost of undertaking such work. (323136)

It would not be in the interests of national security to provide information about specific vulnerabilities, assessments or protective measures relating to electromagnetic attack.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effects on the critical infrastructure of his Department of an electromagnetic pulse strike caused (a) deliberately and (b) through solar activity. (321755)

Information about specific vulnerabilities, assessments or protective measures relating to electromagnetic pulse strike is being withheld for the purpose of safeguarding national security.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2010, Official Report, column 1117W, on armed forces: housing, when he plans to write to the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife. (325678)

Snow and Ice

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of his Department have taken authorised days of absence owing to severe weather in 2010. (322623)

The information on the number of members in the Ministry of Defence who have taken authorised days of absence owing to severe weather in 2010 is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

War Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future provision of services to war pensioners; whether he plans to close any war pensions offices; and if he will make a statement. (325697)

The Veterans Welfare Service (VWS) is part of the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) and provides one to one support, via telephone and home visits, to veterans throughout the UK and Ireland. Advice can be offered on many issues but the most common are war pension/compensation entitlement and applications, housing, benefits, employment and personal welfare.

The VWS has been reorganised into five regional centres each providing one to one telephone advice. This has improved customer service and efficiency, without reducing the capacity to handle cases. All the welfare managers who conduct home visits have been retained.

Veterans organisations were advised of the change and War Pensions Committee chairmen formally gave their backing.

Weapons: Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the (a) transport cost in respect of and (b) carbon emissions arising from (i) the arrangements for supply of armaments under his Department's pilot scheme and (ii) the transition to direct delivery of such armaments. (325584)

[holding answer 6 April 2010]: The additional transport costs of the pilot scheme to assess the feasibility of direct delivery of armaments to Ministry of Defence depots to supply Royal Naval vessels is assessed as small in terms of the overall savings achievable, equating to around two vehicles per week.

No estimate has yet been made of the change in carbon emissions which might result from the pilot scheme, or the overall implementation of the improvement programme.

Justice

Croydon

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will set out, with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to Croydon Central constituency, the effects on that constituency of his Department's policies since 2005. (325588)

The Ministry of Justice's work spans criminal, civil and family justice, democracy, rights and the constitution. Every year around nine million people use, our services in 900 locations across the United Kingdom, including 650 courts and tribunals and 139 prisons in England and Wales.

The range of the Department's policies and actions is wide and the statistical information relating to it is not normally collected on a constituency basis. Consequently, some of the information requested in the question cannot be provided in the form requested except at a disproportionate cost.

Although data on sentencing for the period are not available for the constituency of Croydon, Central, they are available for London. These show the total number of offenders sentenced annually was 216,107 in 2005 and 242,429 in 2008, the latest period for which such information is available.

The number of offences brought to justice for London increased from 182,350 for the 12 months ending 31 March 2006 to 230,202 (provisional figures) for the 12 months ending 31 March 2009.

With regard to prosecutions, data are not available for the constituency of Croydon, Central. However, the total number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts by the Metropolitan Police was 261,617 in 2005, compared to 279,581 in 2008.

The latest data, which cover reoffending in the period 1 October 2008 to 30 September 2009, showed that the three month reoffending rate for offenders on the probation caseload in Croydon was 9.49 per cent. After controlling for changes in the characteristics of offenders on the probation caseload, there was an increase in reoffending of 3.12 per cent. compared to the 2007-08 baseline. Data are not available prior to 2007 on this basis.

The number of persons commencing court order supervision by the Probation Service in London was 18,931 in 2005 and 23,787 in 2008.

154,616 civil non-family proceedings were started in the county courts of London Civil and Family HMCS area in 2009, compared to 175,889 in 2005. There were also 15,437 private law applications and 886 public law applications made in the county or High Courts of this HMCS area in 2008-09, compared to 14,540 and 1,207 respectively in 2005-06.

In addition, at a national level:

Local communities are being better engaged in criminal justice—by giving them a say in the types of Community Payback projects offenders carry out and allowing them to see justice being done, for example through the use of high visibility jackets. Offenders have now worked more than 14 million hours, with an estimated value to the taxpayer of over £80 million.

Major constitutional reforms have been delivered, including devolution, the Human Rights Act, Freedom of Information, Lords Reform, and a new Supreme Court for the UK.

House of Commons Commission

Charlie Whelan

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Hurd) of 24 March 2010, Official Report, column 295W, on Charlie Whelan, what type of pass Mr. Whelan holds; when it was issued; and who the sponsor is of the pass. (325342)

Mr. Whelan holds a temporary pass (light blue) issued in June 2009. It is sponsored by the parliamentary Labour party from within an agreed allocation.

Culture, Media and Sport

BBC

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what meetings he has had with the BBC in each of the last two years; what the agenda was of each such meeting; who attended each such meeting; if he will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of each such meeting; and if he will make a statement. (325170)

Details of meetings with outside groups that I have held since I became Secretary of State on 5 June 2009 are regularly published on my Department's website. I have held the following meetings with representatives of the BBC:

Reason for meeting

10 June 2009

Digital Britain Report

27 July 2009

Digital Britain Discussion

19 October 2009

Regular update

5 November 2009

Broadcasting in Scotland

8 March 2010

BBC Strategic Review

Notes of meetings with outside groups are not published as a matter of course.

Departmental Buildings

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department and its agency have spent on rooms for staff leisure in each of the last five years. (324435)

Departmental Marketing

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department and its agencies spent on promotional items carrying the Department’s branding and logo in the last five years; and what such items were. (324722)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and its agency, the Royal Parks, has not spent any money on promotional items carrying the Department’s branding logo in the last five years.

Opposition

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) whether his Department has undertaken costings of the policies of the (a) Conservative Party and (b) Liberal Democrat Party at the request of Ministers or special advisers in the last 36 months; (324247)

(2) whether his Department has undertaken costings of the policies of (a) the Conservative Party and (b) the Liberal Democrat Party at the request of Ministers or special advisers in the last 36 months.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my right hon. Friend the Exchequer Secretary, on 30 March 2010, Official Report, column 1913W.

Television: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the percentage change was in (a) the cost of the television licence fee and (b) the number of licence fee payers in each year since 1997. (324384)

The percentage increase in the licence fee in each year is set out in the tables.

Level of colour licence fee (£)

Percentage increase

1997

91.50

1998

97.50

6.6

1999

101.00

3.6

2000

104.00

3.0

2001

109.00

4.8

2002

112.00

2.8

2003

116.00

3.6

2004

121.00

4.3

2005

126.50

4.5

2006

131.50

4.0

2007

135.50

3.0

2008

139.50

3.0

2009

142.50

2.2

2010

145.50

2.1

Level of black and white licence fee (£)

Percentage increase

1997

30.50

1998

32.50

6.6

1999

33.50

3.1

2000

34.50

3.0

2001

36.50

5.8

2002

37.50

2.7

2003

38.50

2.7

2004

40.50

5.2

2005

42.00

3.7

2006

44.00

4.8

2007

45.50

3.4

2008

47.00

3.3

2009

48.00

2.1

2010

49.00

2.1

The percentage increase in licence fee payers each year since 1997 is set out in the table.

Licence fee payers (excludes free licences to entitled persons introduced autumn 2000)

Percentage increase

1997

21,305,247

1998

21,722,714

2.0

1999

22,240,032

2.4

2000

22,625,387

1.7

2001

22,838,887

1.0

2002

23,157,215

1.4

2003

23,485,613

1.4

2004

23,898,749

1.8

2005

24,161,532

1.1

2006

24,418,757

1.1

2007

24,545,516

0.5

2008

24,740,047

0.8

2009

24,877,070

0.6

Treasury

Banks: Finance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes in levels of (a) taxation and (b) public expenditure will be required to finance the requirement to repay loans made from the public purse to banks, as referred to in the Financial Services Authority’s publication Financial Risk Outlook of 10 March 2010. (322682)

[holding answer 16 March 2010]: The Financial Risk Outlook discusses liquidity and funding support provided to eligible institutions. Responsibility for repayment of such support lies with the eligible institution itself.

Council Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when officials in his Department became aware that the costs of a council tax freeze referred to on 3 February 2010, Official Report, column 370, were incorrect; on what date it was decided to place a correction on his Department’s website; and what the effect of a two-year freeze on council tax would be on expenditure in council tax benefit. (323165)

[holding answer 22 March 2010]: The estimates referred to on 3 February 2010, Official Report, column 370, are the cost to central Government of providing every council in England with top up funding to compensate for freezing council tax for two years. This costing considered only the direct costs of providing a top-up, assumed to be equivalent to a 2.5 per cent. increase in band D bills in England.

The Treasury’s website was updated on 22 February 2010 to make clear that the costing, which was originally placed on the Treasury’s website on 24 December 2009 related to the cost to central Government of compensating local authorities.

The impact on council tax benefit of a two-year freeze on council tax has not been estimated.

Council Tax: Valuation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the Valuation Office Agency’s Council Tax Revaluation 2007 Programme Board minutes of 21 September 2004, paragraph 3.3, if he will place in the Library a copy of the Data Enhancement Questionnaire policy approved by the Minister. (324172)

The then Minister approved the use of the Data Enhancement Questionnaire, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

Croydon

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out, with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to Croydon Central constituency, the effects on that constituency of his Department's policies since 2005. (325586)

The Neighbourhood Statistics Service provides a wide range of statistical information at Parliamentary constituency level, taken from the 2001 Census and other sources. This service is available on the National Statistics website at

http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk./

The Government have put in place a broad programme of reform since 1997. Over the decade to 2007, the economic performance of all parts of the UK has improved considerably. In Croydon Central, the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance reached its lowest level on record in November 2007.

The global recession has had a negative impact on economic activity in all areas of the UK. However, the economy was starting from a position of strength and is actively supported by policies implemented by the Government, including the fiscal stimulus and a significant package of support for those out of work.

In Croydon Central people are benefiting from this investment. Having risen through the first half of last year, the claimant count has remained broadly flat since the middle of 2009, with more than 700 people moving off of the claimant count each month on average over the period. Youth unemployment has also started to decline and now stands more than 10 per cent. below the highs seen in the third quarter of 2009.

Departmental Buildings

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many smoking shelters have been built for his Department’s staff in the last five years; and at what cost. (324356)

The information requested is given in the following table.

HM Treasury spend on smoking shelters, 2005-09

£000

London

Norwich

2005

2006

2007

2008

10.8

2009

1 Cost of moving existing shelter in order to comply with changes in legislation.

Departmental Food

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what account his Department’s food procurement policy takes of animal welfare. (325525)

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Torbay (Mr. Sanders) on 23 March 2010, Official Report, column 189W.

Departmental Information Officers

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff in (a) his Department, (b) HM Revenue and Customs, (c) the Valuation Office Agency and (d) his Department’s other agencies (i) have the status of embedded communicators and (ii) are members of the Government Communications Network but are not listed in the Central Office of Information White Book. (315169)

HM Treasury and the Valuation Office Agency have no embedded communicators. HM Revenue and Customs has 304 embedded communicators. Of HM Treasury’s agencies, the Office of Government Commerce has six embedded communicators and the Debt Management Office has none.

Data are not held on Government Communications Network membership.

Departmental Travel

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much (a) Ministers and (b) staff of each grade in (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies spent on first class travel in the last 12 months. (320395)

The normal class of travel for staff in HM Treasury and its agencies is standard class. However, where there is a business or other justification, first class travel is available to staff at all levels but the reason must be included when seeking reimbursement. Information on the class of tickets purchased and the grade of the user is not held, because HM Treasury’s accounting system records the costs of travel but not the number, type of tickets bought or traveller’s grade. However, for financial year 2008-09, the travel management company provided information on the number and type of tickets purchased through them.

HM Treasury spent £382,000 on air travel and £18,000 on rail travel, the Debt Management Office £3,000 on rail travel and Office of Government Commerce £319,000 on rail travel. Tickets bought but subsequently refunded are excluded and some tickets are bought directly by the traveller, so this information is not a complete record of all tickets bought.

Since 1999, the Government have published, on an annual basis, a list of all overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500, as well as the total cost of all ministerial travel overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the “Civil Service Management Code” and the “Ministerial Code”.

Early Intervention

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress his Department has made on development of financial mechanisms to support early intervention policies across the Government in the long-term. (325694)

The Budget announced the Government's support for the first social impact bond (SIB) pilots to help investment in long-term initiatives and support preventative action—including an MOJ pilot to reduce reoffending rates in HMP Peterborough.

The Government will explore further application of this model through the Total Place programme and more widely. The DCSF, for example, have recently pledged to explore the potential of SIBs to lever in additional resources to support early intervention approaches with children and young people.

Financial Services: Advisory Services

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to publish the full evaluation of the Money Guidance Pathfinder. (325792)

The full evaluation report on the Money Guidance pathfinder, conducted by the Personal Finance Research Centre at the University of Bristol, will be published by June 2010.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people took part in the Money Guidance Pathfinder. (325793)

In total, 575,000 people used the Money Guidance service in the North West and North East of England between April 2009 and March 2010.

Green Investment Bank

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what timetable he has set for the launch of the Green Investment Bank announced in Budget 2010. (325811)

Government anticipate that the Green Investment Bank could be operational by autumn 2011, and this timing accords with that of the projected need for investment. Further details are provided in Chapter 2, paragraph 2.23 of Infrastructure UK’s Strategy for national infrastructure, which was published alongside the Budget.

Import Duties: Mephedrone

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been collected in import duty on mephedrone in each of the last three years. (325798)

Mephedrone is listed as a Home Office controlled drug. Import consignments of mephedrone will have been entered under commodity codes 293299 85 90 (prior to 1 January 2009) and 293299 00 90 (from 1 January 2009).

The information requested is set out in the following table. Imported mephedrone attracts an import duty rate of 6.5 per cent.

Import duty collected on consignments of mephedrone (£)

2007

174,900.06

2008

158,546.69

2009

250,857.43

Investment Income

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) total monetary value of and (b) proportion of net investment income in the UK balance of payments has been in each year since 2006. (325711)

Official estimates of the current account, including net investment income are available from the Office for National Statistics.

The information requested is as follows:

Net investment income

£ billion

Percentage of current account flows

2006

9.6

15.2

2007

20.1

26.2

2008

30.2

36.7

2009

28.7

37.8

Investment Returns

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate the Financial Services Authority has made of the monetary value of losses incurred by with-profits bond investors who were entitled to claim the guaranteed value of their investments on a market value reduction-free date but failed to do so. (325656)

The FSA does not hold the information requested.

It is a matter for individual policyholders when they decide to cash in their with-profits bond investments. However, where life insurance companies sell policies which include guarantees for market value reduction-free (MVR-free) encashment, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) requires them to treat their policyholders fairly by informing them of the existence of such guarantees at the point of sale and reminding them of those guarantees in post-sale communications. In addition, FSA rules require firms not to make an MVR unless the market value of the assets in the fund is, or is expected to be, significantly less than the face value of the policy being surrendered.

Keydata Investment Services

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with the Financial Services Authority on its regulation of Keydata; and if he will make a statement. (325830)

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

National Insurance Contributions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect on the level of unemployment in (a) the UK, (b) each region of England, (c) Scotland, (d) Wales and (e) Northern Ireland of the planned rise in the rate of National Insurance contributions. (325758)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given on 22 March 2010, Official Report, column 71W, to the hon. Member for Solihull (Lorely Burt). The effect is expected to be the same across the UK.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the effect on small businesses of the planned rise in the rate of national insurance contributions. (325759)

The national insurance contribution changes have been designed so that the impact is balanced fairly between individuals and employers, and between businesses of different sizes. The increase in national insurance contributions in 2011 represents only a small proportion of total business costs. Therefore, in the climate of stronger economic growth forecast by the Treasury and independent commentators in 2011 and beyond, the Government expect the rise in national insurance contributions to be an affordable contribution to fiscal consolidation.

This rise should also be seen in the context of the significant support available for businesses, including small businesses. Budget 2010 announced further measures, including an increase in the annual investment allowance, an extension of entrepreneurs' relief and a temporary increase in the level of small business rate relief.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's impact assessment on the planned rise in the rate of National Insurance contributions announced in the pre-Budget report in (a) 2008 and (b) 2009. (325780)

An impact assessment, if necessary, will be published alongside the Bill which will introduce these changes. Impact assessments are not required where there are no associated administrative costs.

Revenue and Customs: Visits Abroad

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff at HM Revenue and Customs have visited (a) Barbados, (b) Vanuatu, (c) St. Lucia, (d) Spain, (e) Turkey, (f) Venezuela, (g) New Zealand, (h) Australia, (i) Spain, (j) Cyprus, (k) Jamaica, (l) Malta, (m) Sri Lanka, (n) China, (o) Japan and (p) the United Arab Emirates on official business in each of the last three years; and what the cost was of visits to each destination. (324344)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) staff may travel overseas where it is necessary to deliver the Department’s objectives, including on fiscal fraud enforcement, enforcement of prohibition and restrictions, and the provision of mutual administrative assistance.

Information disaggregated by country is not available, as publication of this information could compromise and prejudice the Department’s compliance work.

Aggregated information from HMRC’s central travel contract on the number of HMRC staff who travelled to any of the countries in question, and the overall cost of air travel and hotel accommodation is set out in the following table.

Number of staff

Cost (£)

2007-08

250

244,834

2008-09

282

392,829

April 2009 to December 2009

138

165,664

Information on other travel costs and expenses incurred by HMRC staff while abroad is only available at disproportionate cost.

On occasion, for operational reasons, HMRC staff may book their travel through means other than the Department’s travel contract. For example, this may be due to the need to travel at short notice, with colleagues from other organisations or to take advantage of special deals for cheaper flight tickets available elsewhere. Information on the number of staff who travelled to the destinations in question having booked travel in this way, and the expenditure incurred in doing so, is available only at disproportionate cost.

Royal Bank of Scotland: Liverpool Football Club

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the loans made by Royal Bank of Scotland to Liverpool Football Club are guaranteed under the Government's asset protection guarantee scheme. (325740)

The Royal Bank of Scotland is a participant in the Asset Protection Scheme. The Government will not disclose any information on individual assets covered by the scheme because this information is received via the Financial Services Authority and relates to the business affairs of individual customers and counterparties. Disclosure of such information is restricted by domestic and European law, and there are no provisions which would permit disclosure in this case. Such information may also be considered commercially sensitive.

Taxation: Domicile

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people paid the £30,000 remittance basis charge in the 2008-09 tax year; how many people claimed to be non-domiciled in the UK in 2008-09 tax returns; and how many such people were resident in the UK. (320748)

[holding answer 10 March 2010]: Based on an initial analysis of the Self Assessment returns received to date, HMRC estimate that around 4,600 individuals paid the remittance basis charge of £30,000 for the 2008-09 tax year. The same data also indicate that around 103,000 individuals claimed non-domicile status for 2008-09, of whom 74,000 were resident in the UK. However, these figures may need to be revised in the light of later tax returns.

Valuation Office Agency

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 3 March 2010, Official Report, column 1264W, on Valuation Office Agency (VOA), what data the VOA has (a) requested and (b) received from the National Register of Social Housing; and on what statutory basis the VOA obtained access. (324317)

Only a list of addresses of properties on the National Register of Social Housing was requested and received by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). This information was received on 2 March 2005 and was a snapshot of the addresses of properties on the National Register at that time. The list of addresses was provided voluntarily to assist the VOA in its preparations for the now postponed Council Tax Revaluation in England. No further information has subsequently been requested or received. The VOA does not have, and has never had, access to the full National Register of Social Housing, nor is there a statutory gateway giving such access.

Home Department

Abuse: Parents

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department has taken to reduce the incidence of abuse of parents by children under the age of 18 years. (325449)

[holding answer 6 April 2010]: Such cases would be captured within the Government’s definition of domestic violence. The commitment in our strategy: “Together We Can End Violence Against Women and Girls” to include gender equality and violence against women in the national curriculum will help to educate young people that violence is unacceptable in any relationship.

Arrest Warrants: Human Trafficking

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) European arrest warrants and (b) other arrest warrants were issued in the UK in respect of people suspected of human trafficking offences between 1 April 2009 and 31 January 2010. (325183)

[holding answer 30 March 2010]: It is not possible to disaggregate the number of warrants by offence type.

Asylum

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for asylum under consideration by the UK Border Agency were received before the introduction of his Department’s new asylum model. (325785)

The Agency is unable to accurately report on the outstanding asylum cases being dealt with by the Case Resolution Directorate (CRD). As reported in February 2010 to the Home Affairs Select Committee, 52 per cent. of the concluded cases were data errors and required no further action. Therefore, any such report would be unable to accurately represent CRD cases with outstanding applications.

Crime: Children

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) undertaken into (i) child victims of crime and (ii) child criminals in each of the last five years. (319777)

For the purposes of this reply we have considered any Home Office research looking specifically or primarily at children (those aged under 18) as perpetrators or victims of crime, where the research was undertaken in 2005 or later. A number of Home Office research projects may include some information on young people as victims or offenders as part of a more general research study: these are not covered in this reply.

(i) Child victims of crime

Since 2005 the Home Office has commissioned or undertaken the following research in respect of child victims:

BMRB (British Market Research Bureau) were commissioned to extend the British Crime Survey (BCS) to include a representative sample of children aged 10 to 15 as part of the BCS 2010-11 fieldwork contract. The BCS was extended from January 2009 with the objective of providing estimates of victimisation among those aged 10 to 15 and better understanding children's experiences of victimisation and key crime related issues in England and Wales.

The Home Office reported in 2009 on the key trends in monitoring Phase 1 of the Tackling Knives Action Programme (TKAP) aimed at reducing the carrying of knives and serious stabbings among teenagers (13 to 19-year-olds) in 10 police force areas. The report is available at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/horr18c.pdf

The Home Office commissioned a process evaluation in March 2009 to look at the implementation of the Child Sex Offender Review public disclosure. The final report was published in March 2010.

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs10/horr32c.pdf

(ii) Child criminals

Since 2005 the Home Office has commissioned or undertaken the following research in respect of child offenders:

The Home Office was responsible for carrying out the Offending Crime and Justice Survey (OCJS) since 2003. The survey has completed four annual sweeps (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006). The main aim of the survey is to gather information on young people's attitudes towards and experiences of offending in England and Wales (particularly those aged from 10 to 25). The OCJS also collects information about young people's victimisation experiences. Results from the 2005 and 2006 OCJS surveys are available at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/hosb1706.pdf

and

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs08/hosb0908.pdf

In November 2009 longitudinal analysis of those who took part in all four years of the OCJS was published and is available at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/horr19c.pdf

The Home Office commissioned the Juvenile Cohort Study in 2007. It was designed to provide evidence about which interventions are associated with reductions in re-offending for young offenders with different characteristics. Since the machinery of government changes (May 2007), this work is now owned and being taken forward by the Ministry of Justice.

The Home Office commissioned an evaluation of the Drug Intervention Programme pilots for children and young people. The report was published in 2007.

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs07/rdsolr0707.pdf

In 2009 the Home Office commissioned a process evaluation of the implementation of the Youth Crime Action Plan. This study is ongoing.

Crime: Shropshire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) car thefts, (b) burglaries and (c) violent crimes have been reported in North Shropshire in each year since 1997. (325414)

The requested information is given in the tables.

Figures at Community Safety Partnership (CSP) level, formerly Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP), are available from 1999-2000 onwards. CSPs arose from the introduction of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

The National Crime Recording Standard was introduced in April 2002. Figures before and after this date are not directly comparable.

Police recorded crime statistics are affected by changes in reporting and recording practice, and can be influenced by police priorities and activity.

All of these factors need to be considered when looking at the trends in recorded crime. The Audit Commission undertook substantial audit work on crime recording in the years following the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002 (up until 2006-07) this indicating a generally increasing level of NCRS compliance across forces in this period.

Table 1: Offences recorded by the police in the North Shropshire Community Safety Partnership area—1999-2000 to 2001-021

Number of offences

Offence

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

Violence against the person

491

436

738

Burglary in a dwelling

222

217

180

Other burglary

*

*

*

Theft of motor vehicle

166

148

111

“*” = Not available.

1 The data in this table are prior to the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002. These figures are not directly comparable with those for later years.

Table 2: Offences recorded by the police in the North Shropshire Community Safety Partnership area—2002-03 to 2008-091

Number of offences

Offence

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Violence against the person

881

886

705

567

649

612

484

Burglary in a dwelling

183

159

128

117

108

100

137

Other burglary

574

453

392

397

329

412

360

Theft of motor vehicle

129

98

104

79

84

78

78

1 The data in this table take account of the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002. These figures are not directly comparable with those for earlier years.

Crimes of Violence

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) murders and (b) sexual offences recorded in (i) each police force area and (ii) England and Wales, in each year since 1998 remain unsolved. (317568)

The available information is given in the form of tables showing undetected crime in each financial year from 1998-99 to 2008-09. Tables 1 and 2 show the numbers for undetected homicides; tables 3 and 4 those for undetected sexual offences. As offences detected in the current year may initially have been recorded in an earlier year it is not possible to determine the numbers of undetected crime in a particular year.

It should be noted that non-sanction detections, which contribute to the overall detection rates, have fallen in recent years. This reflects a significant shift by many police forces away from recording detections where no further action is taken. This will have had an impact on the number of crimes which remain undetected.

Table 1: Undetected homicides by police force area1998/99 to 2001/02

Undetected

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

Avon and Somerset

2

2

-3

6

Bedfordshire

-1

-2

3

0

Cambridgeshire

-2

0

-1

4

Cheshire

1

0

0

1

Cleveland

0

1

-2

1

Cumbria

0

1

2

1

Derbyshire

0

2

1

-2

Devon and Cornwall

1

0

2

-1

Dorset

2

-3

0

5

Durham

0

-2

-1

0

Dyfed-Powys

0

1

-1

0

Essex

4

3

2

4

Gloucestershire

2

1

1

3

Greater Manchester

-8

6

5

6

Gwent

0

0

1

-1

Hampshire

-1

0

3

3

Hertfordshire

0

0

2

-1

Humberside

4

0

4

5

Kent

-1

3

2

4

Lancashire

0

1

1

-1

Leicestershire

-2

0

2

0

Lincolnshire

2

1

2

-1

London, City of

0

0

0

0

Merseyside

0

-2

7

13

Metropolitan Police

20

45

19

55

Norfolk

2

-2

2

3

Northamptonshire

1

0

0

1

Northumbria

-1

0

3

1

North Wales

0

0

0

0

North Yorkshire

0

1

0

0

Nottinghamshire

3

0

4

1

South Wales

1

4

0

-6

South Yorkshire

1

1

-1

6

Staffordshire

4

2

3

-3

Suffolk

0

1

-3

0

Surrey

1

1

7

-3

Sussex

4

-1

5

5

Thames Valley

3

4

4

-1

Warwickshire

0

-1

0

0

West Mercia

-2

1

1

0

West Midlands

0

3

8

8

West Yorkshire

-1

0

-1

8

Wiltshire

0

1

1

-1

England and Wales

39

73

84

123

Note:

Offences detected in any given year may have been previously recorded in an earlier year. When offences detected in the year exceed the number recorded a negative value is shown.

Table 2: Undetected homicides by police force area—2002-03 to 2008-09

Undetected

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Avon and Somerset

5

1

4

1

2

1

1

Bedfordshire

-1

0

-1

3

-4

-2

1

British Transport Police

-1

43

-3

2

0

1

2

Cambridgeshire

-2

1

1

2

0

1

2

Cheshire

0

2

1

2

-2

-2

2

Cleveland

2

-1

1

-3

1

0

1

Cumbria

0

1

2

0

0

0

0

Derbyshire

2

0

-3

0

2

0

1

Devon and Cornwall

4

0

0

1

6

5

-1

Dorset

0

0

2

-1

3

-1

0

Durham

-2

1

0

0

2

1

-1

Dyfed-Powys

1

0

1

-1

0

1

-1

Essex

6

3

0

9

-3

2

-1

Gloucestershire

2

1

2

1

0

2

-1

Greater Manchester

7

2

15

0

7

6

8

Gwent

0

0

1

0

0

1

1

Hampshire

9

3

4

0

5

2

0

Hertfordshire

1

4

-1

4

-2

1

-1

Humberside

1

5

-32

1

0

1

0

Kent

-1

-1

2

1

1

3

0

Lancashire

4

19

-20

-1

0

0

3

Leicestershire

2

2

2

1

4

-2

1

Lincolnshire

-3

2

0

0

1

6

4

London, City of

0

0

0

0

1

-1

0

Merseyside

11

9

12

-2

2

3

2

Metropolitan Police

37

6

16

16

27

18

14

Norfolk

2

0

-1

4

-2

1

2

Northamptonshire

1

0

1

0

2

0

1

Northumbria

-1

2

-1

2

0

3

-2

North Wales

7

-5

1

1

0

1

-3

North Yorkshire

-2

2

-3

0

1

-1

0

Nottinghamshire

4

-1

1

-3

3

-3

2

South Wales

-4

3

-2

5

2

-1

1

South Yorkshire

1

0

0

0

3

2

0

Staffordshire

5

0

-2

1

2

1

0

Suffolk

2

0

1

4

2

1

0

Surrey

6

2

3

1

-1

1

-1

Sussex

5

2

5

0

0

4

-1

Thames Valley

7

5

-3

7

1

2

-4

Warwickshire

1

1

-1

4

0

-1

-1

West Mercia

0

3

2

-2

1

3

4

West Midlands

15

0

-4

8

-3

6

5

West Yorkshire

-3

19

2

3

4

2

5

Wiltshire

0

1

1

0

1

1

-1

England and Wales

130

137

6

71

69

69

44

Note:

Offences detected in any given year may have been previously recorded in an earlier year. When offences detected in the year exceed the number recorded a negative value is shown.

Table 3: Undetected sexual offences by police force area—1998-99 to 2001-02

Undetected

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

Avon and Somerset

394

441

673

915

Bedfordshire

260

279

250

269

Cambridgeshire

241

232

278

378

Cheshire

106

76

90

113

Cleveland

104

93

95

87

Cumbria

35

37

30

49

Derbyshire

299

405

482

430

Devon and Cornwall

236

162

229

484

Dorset

213

225

253

316

Durham

82

49

58

181

Dyfed-Powys

28

23

21

28

Essex

695

620

711

721

Gloucestershire

172

176

189

165

Greater Manchester

1,242

1,354

1,340

1,599

Gwent

132

97

55

56

Hampshire

189

663

794

822

Hertfordshire

170

181

289

207

Humberside

501

569

516

651

Kent

499

486

674

702

Lancashire

455

385

531

691

Leicestershire

414

471

437

526

Lincolnshire

129

116

123

225

London, City of

20

16

9

16

Merseyside

335

423

467

657

Metropolitan Police

6,447

7,911

7,566

8,057

Norfolk

168

196

216

281

Northamptonshire

153

97

81

165

Northumbria

531

607

553

649

North Wales

75

72

169

262

North Yorkshire

65

118

125

145

Nottinghamshire

603

675

740

875

South Wales

143

142

145

154

South Yorkshire

223

214

229

253

Staffordshire

372

735

803

815

Suffolk

166

216

251

319

Surrey

80

376

511

446

Sussex

564

697

818

783

Thames Valley

680

824

862

857

Warwickshire

76

108

118

115

West Mercia

206

256

248

469

West Midlands

915

1099

1331

1518

West Yorkshire

690

596

606

751

Wiltshire

114

165

256

220

England and Wales

19,222

22,683

24,186

27,422

Note:

The data in this table are prior to the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002. These figures are not directly comparable with those for later years.

Table 4: Undetected sexual offences by police force area2002/03 to 2008/09

Undetected

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Avon and Somerset

1,306

1,386

1,531

1,113

1,292

1,115

1,095

Bedfordshire

362

437

392

493

350

280

348

British Transport Police

656

795

876

671

700

534

547

Cambridgeshire

540

624

560

572

544

561

523

Cheshire

386

533

585

649

589

484

433

Cleveland

221

409

444

434

397

330

315

Cumbria

89

163

200

179

169

211

192

Derbyshire

716

700

758

754

752

745

702

Devon and Cornwall

813

1,047

1,095

1,085

1,040

1,033

992

Dorset

448

542

500

560

472

579

543

Durham

237

129

170

453

265

285

260

Dyfed-Powys

31

261

289

256

250

208

184

Essex

1,023

1,136

884

973

777

815

846

Gloucestershire

338

322

364

465

470

426

377

Greater Manchester

1,844

2,330

2,430

2,184

2,052

2,048

1,963

Gwent

153

130

248

294

335

430

375

Hampshire

1,078

1,606

1,846

1,951

1,975

1,699

1,634

Hertfordshire

401

435

563

565

612

523

438

Humberside

857

1,136

1,072

943

928

676

665

Kent

857

1,046

1,308

1,334

1260

1,140

935

Lancashire

579

1,014

983

874

830

817

684

Leicestershire

745

768

1,006

948

915

931

856

Lincolnshire

482

501

504

441

455

424

426

London, City of

20

24

34

30

32

37

17

Merseyside

834

946

873

912

666

620

497

Metropolitan Police

8,343

7,800

7,193

6,725

6,717

6,288

5,976

Norfolk

503

533

588

573

483

447

359

Northamptonshire

362

300

345

395

348

449

409

Northumbria

943

990

1,018

825

735

657

582

North Wales

465

404

411

388

395

408

402

North Yorkshire

248

309

304

335

332

372

348

Nottinghamshire

731

805

731

759

778

807

870

South Wales

377

429

528

707

610

622

607

South Yorkshire

524

540

890

1,043

878

782

563

Staffordshire

757

766

836

865

794

701

782

Suffolk

363

490

400

407

435

473

489

Surrey

429

468

549

492

397

439

618

Sussex

889

939

1,331

1,119

1,128

960

1,034

Thames Valley

1,398

1,500

1,517

1,456

1,680

1,580

1,617

Warwickshire

188

292

268

242

300

265

269

West Mercia

601

672

706

576

609

740

720

West Midlands

1,849

2,137

2,434

2,325

2,329

2,140

1,786

West Yorkshire

1,280

1,832

1,652

1,822

1,662

1,589

1,532

Wiltshire

455

404

345

351

419

404

343

England and Wales

35,721

40,030

41,561

40,538

39,156

37,074

35,153

Note:

The data in this table take account of the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002. These figures are not directly comparable with those for earlier years.

Croydon

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to Croydon Central constituency, the effects on that constituency of his Department's policies since 2005. (325590)

Departmental Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what (a) voltage optimisers and (b) equivalent technologies are used within buildings occupied by his Department. (324974)

The Home Office has adjusted the transformers in its headquarters in 2 Marsham street to tap down the voltage levels thereby reducing energy consumption. The Border Agency building Vulcan house in Sheffield has highly efficient inductive lighting and inductive motor loads so voltage optimisation would be of little or no value.

The Home Office, working with the Carbon Trust, has also identified several potential sites to install voltage optimisation technology on the Home Office estate (including its Executive agencies). Work on fitting voltage optimisation technology in a UKBA building in Hayes has commenced.

Departmental Telephone Services

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer of 12 November 2009, Official Report, columns 937-8W, on departmental telephone services, whether contracts were let for the provision of services relating to the helplines run by its agencies. (324118)

With reference to the answer of 12 November 2009, Official Report, columns 937-8W, on departmental telephone services, the answer as to whether executive agencies of the Home Department let contracts for the provision of services relating to the helplines is as follows:

(a) following procurement competition the operation of the Identity and Passport Service's helplines are contracted to Teleperformance;

(b) the Criminal Records Bureau's helplines are operated as part of the services provided under its contract with Capita Business Services Ltd/ for disclosure processing; and

(c) the United Kingdom Border Agency has not let contracts for the provision of services relating to helplines.

Departmental Translation Services

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was spent on translation services by his Department in (a) Ribble Valley, (b) Lancashire and (c) England in each of the last five years. (324419)

[holding answer 25 March 2010]: Translation services specific to Ribble Valley, Lancashire and England can be extracted only at disproportionate cost from the overall Home Office expenditure data provided in the background to the question.

Domestic Violence: Shropshire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to reduce the level of domestic violence in North Shropshire. (325420)

The National Domestic Violence Delivery Plan sets out the Government's framework to support victims and manage perpetrators. Key initiatives identified in this Plan are being taken forward in North Shropshire to reduce the incidents of domestic violence, these include;

A Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) which covers the whole of Shropshire and focuses on high risk victims;

an Independent domestic violence adviser to support the cases

identified at the MARAC, providing protection and support and helping to reduce repeat incidents of domestic violence;

a specialist domestic violence court located in Shrewsbury;

and a dedicated domestic violence forum which also provides practical support to victims such as mobile phones and home safety packs.

Drugs: Crime

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Ion Track drug detection devices are possessed by each police force in England and Wales. (321257)

The Home Office allocates funding to the police authority and it is for the chief constables and police authorities to determine their spending on different types of policing activity. It is therefore not possible to provide the data in the format requested.

There are two main manufacturers of devices using the ion mobility spectrometry technology to detect either drugs or explosive traces. One of these was known as Ion Track prior to 2003.

According to the Department's records, in excess of 150 devices using the ion mobility spectrometry technology have been supplied to police authorities in England and Wales since 2003. Some are used for drugs detection and others for explosive detection.

Drugs: Shropshire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the estimated street value is of drugs seized by police in North Shropshire in each year since 1997. (325419)

Illegal Immigrants

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many illegal immigrants have been found (a) in total and (b) at each of the main ports of entry to the United Kingdom in each year since 1997. (317764)

It is Government policy to publish border force management information at a regional level, as location specific information could provide value to those seeking to circumvent our controls.

The following table provides the number of illegal entrants detected by border force officers in the south and north regions between 2003 and 2009. These figures do not include the number of illegal immigrant's encountered in-country, and do not include those encountered at the juxtaposed borders in France and Belgium.

Region

South

North

Total

2009

303

23

326

2008

455

45

500

2007

487

47

534

2006

393

28

421

2005

312

7

319

2004

241

241

2003

70

70

Prisons: Organised Crime

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what information police forces have on the extent of organised crime within prisons; (325662)

(2) how many police investigations are under way into organised crime within Prison Service establishments in England and Wales.

This information is not collected centrally. Some organised criminals may seek to continue their activities following prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment and the National Offender Management Service is working closely with the law enforcement agencies in order to identify such activities and to take appropriate action to prevent them.

Sweet Concepts

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 22 February 2010, Official Report, column 156W, on Central Office of Information: marketing, what promotional products were purchased from Sweet Concepts Ltd. on behalf of (a) the Police Information Technology Organisation and (b) the Home Office; and at what cost in each case. (324407)

The promotional products purchased from Sweet Concepts Ltd on behalf of (a) the Police Information Technology Organisation and (b) the Home Office, and the cost in each case are as follows:

Body

Promotional Product

Cost (£)

October 2006

HO, Office of Criminal Justice Reform (now part of MoJ)

450 boxes of fortune cookies containing clues for distribution by 42 Local Criminal Justice Boards in community engagement events. These encourage the public to access a web interactive game employed in OCJR's Inside Justice Week campaign

11,003

May 2007

UKBA

2,500 mint cards for e-Borders branding campaign

1,150

April 2009

National Policing Improvement Agency formerly PITO

2,500 tins of mints for distribution at different events

1,150

War Crimes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there are plans to establish a specialist war crimes unit in the Metropolitan police. (325660)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to my answer of 6 April 2010, Official Report, columns 1287-288W.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Colombia: Human Rights

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will request that the Colombian authorities provide an explanation for the variation in the figures provided by different Colombian state organisations on the number of bodies in the mass grave recently discovered in La Macarena; and if he will discuss that matter with (a) his counterparts and (b) human rights organisations. (325562)

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 25 March 2010, Official Report, column 425W to the hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson) and can inform him that since then our ambassador has written a follow up letter to Carlos Franco, Director of the Presidential Human Rights Programme, requesting an update into the investigation and asking for an explanation of the difference between the Procurador General’s findings and those of the Human Rights Programme.

(a) Our embassy in Bogota and our representation at the EU in Brussels have constant contact with other EU member states on Human Rights issues in Colombia.

(b) As stated in my answer of 25 March I met human rights activist Carolina Hoyos on 16 March where we discussed the mass graves in La Macarena. We work closely with non-governmental organisations and human rights defenders in Colombia.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the British embassy in Bogota has informed him of any steps taken by the Colombian authorities to ensure that physical evidence located at the mass grave recently discovered in La Macarena is protected pending an investigation by the government of Colombia or the International Criminal Court; and if he will make a statement. (325574)

We received assurances in Carlos Franco’s letter of 16 February that the Colombian Government has instructed the police to adopt special security measures around the site of the mass grave.

We trust that the Colombian Government will conduct a thorough investigation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will request information from the Colombian authorities on the number of bodies recently found in a mass grave in La Macarena which are subject to an individual investigation; and if he will discuss that matter with his EU counterparts. (325575)

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 25 March 2010, Official Report, column 425W to the hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson) and can inform him that since then our ambassador has written a follow up letter to Carlos Franco, Director of the Presidential Human Rights Programme, requesting an update into the investigation and asking for an explanation of the difference between the Procurador General’s findings and those of the Human Rights Programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government will (a) help facilitate and (b) participate in a human rights fact-finding mission to the recently discovered mass grave in La Macarena. (325576)

Our embassy in Bogota is currently looking at logistical arrangements for a possible fact finding visit to the site.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take immediate steps to cease all co-operation with the Colombian Army until (a) the Colombian authorities have provided him with a satisfactory explanation for the alleged presence of approximately 2,000 unidentified bodies in a mass grave in La Macarena and (b) a thorough investigation has been carried out; and if he will discuss that matter with his EU counterparts. (325577)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the status of the legal investigation into the presence of a mass grave in La Macarena; and whether he has received reports of a forensic search of those graves being conducted on behalf of any international organisation. (325578)

We are awaiting responses from the Director of the Presidential Human Rights Programme and the Office of the Procurator General. Given the complex nature of DNA and forensic investigations we do not expect further updates for a number of weeks.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make an assessment of the merits of offering the government of Colombia assistance for a forensic investigation of the mass grave recently found in La Macarena. (325579)

No request has been received from the Colombian Government for assistance on the investigation but we would consider the merits of any such request, including financial viability.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will (a) obtain and (b) place in the Library a copy of the report of the Colombian Procurator General's office on the 2,000 bodies allegedly found in the recently discovered mass grave in La Macarena; and if he will discuss the matter with (i) his EU counterparts and (ii) human rights organisations. (325580)

Our embassy will liaise with the Procurador General's office, and if and when an official report is made public, we will provide a copy to the Library of the House. We have contacted the Procurador General's office who has informed us that the investigation is still at the preliminary verification stage and that they are currently building up an historic memory. As developments into the investigation proceed our embassy will regularly liaise with EU member states and human rights organisations, as part of our constant contact with these groups.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received reports on the activities of units of the Colombian Army which operate in and around the southern Colombian municipality of La Macarena in the province of Meta; and whether he has received representations on alleged human rights abuses by those military units. (325581)

We have received no reports or representations on battalions operating in the La Macarena area. However, the organisation DHBAJOARIARI follows up on cases which are allegedly committed by the state and includes issues such as forced disappearances, extra-judicial killings. The organisation has not directly lobbied us on any individual incidents.

Scotland

Employment

11. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues on measures to promote employment in Scotland. (325097)

I have regular discussions on employment in Scotland including about the Future Jobs Fund in Scotland.

Employment: Glasgow

12. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had on levels of employment in Glasgow. (325098)

In January I set up a taskforce to look at the problems of worklessness in Glasgow. I received the final report on 25 March which I discussed with the chair of the taskforce, Professor Pamela Gillies, Principal of Glasgow Caledonian university. I have had a number of discussions with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions about the work of the taskforce.

Anti-Slavery Day Bill

13. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland pursuant to the answer of 13 January 2010, Official Report, column 961W, if he will seek the consent of the Scottish Parliament to extending the provisions of the Anti-Slavery Day Bill to Scotland. (325099)

The Scotland Office plays a vital role in working with the Scottish Government to ensure that where a Bill at Westminster covers areas of devolved policy the appropriate consent is secured. However, ultimately it is the Scottish Government that must agree to seek consent from the Scottish Parliament to extend the provisions of a particular Bill. My officials kept Scottish Government officials fully informed of progress of the Anti-Slavery Day Bill, but we were advised that the Scottish Government did not wish to bring forward a Legislative Consent Motion for this Private Members' Bill at this time.

Economic Growth

14. To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on measures to increase the rate of growth of the Scottish economy. (325100)

I have had numerous discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a range of issues affecting Scotland, most especially around ensuring we do everything possible to help Scotland through the most severe global downturn in 60 years. The Scottish economy has benefited from the UK Government's fiscal stimulus, and will benefit from a range of measures designed to drive the economy to a sustained recovery.

Scottish Consolidation Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the method for determining the level of grant to be allocated to the Scottish Consolidated Fund in 2010-11. (325095)

Communities and Local Government

Council Housing: Oldham

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has given an undertaking to write off the sum provided to Oldham council to achieve the Decent Homes Standard in the event that it is successful in its stock transfer initiative. (325800)

I refer my right hon. Friend the answer I gave him on 25 March 2010, Official Report, column 542W.

Croydon

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will set out with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to the Croydon Central constituency, the effects of his Department's policies on the constituency since 2005. (325821)

This Department does not routinely collect information at constituency level but, as the constituency of Croydon, Central, falls within the local authority of Croydon we have, where relevant included information from them in this answer.

The Neighbourhood Statistics Service provides a wide range of statistical information at parliamentary constituency level, taken from the 2001 census and other sources. This service is available on the National Statistics website at:

http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/

Communities and Local Government statistical publications can be found at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/corporate/researchandstatistics/statistics/

This includes time series data across the Department's remit at various geographic levels.

Details of research projects commissioned by Communities and Local Government and its predecessors are available from our Research Database (RD) at:

http://www.rmd.communities.gov.uk/

This includes evaluations of key policies.

Over the last year, Communities and Local Government has:

Played a critical role responding to the recession ensuring people, business and communities receive the practical help they need, including: helping people avoid repossession; Real Help Now; supporting the construction industry, critical regeneration projects, jobs through Future Jobs Fund; and businesses with the business rates deferral scheme.

Set in place a platform for greater local devolution for more effective decision making through local area agreements (LAAs)—including slashing central performance standards from over 1,200 to fewer than 200.

Continued building on this through Total Place pilots, leading innovation across public services—cutting out waste, overlap and duplication, meaning more and better quality services at less cost to the taxpayer.

Established the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) set out in the Planning Act 2008—which will make the major infrastructure planning decisions for the country, delivering a faster, fairer and more transparent planning regime.

Announced the £1.5 billion Housing Pledge to deliver an additional 20,000 units of affordable housing, creating 45,000 jobs in the construction industry over this year and next, including 1,300 new apprenticeship schemes.

Last year there were 600 additional affordable homes provided by Croydon local authority. See link for further information:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/xls/1406085.xls

During the period since 2005, the Department's achievements include:

Working with local housing authorities to reduce the number of people accepted as owed a main homelessness duty by 43 per cent. since 2005-06, and 72 per cent. since the peak in 2003—the lowest level since the late seventies—through greater emphasis on the prevention of homelessness.

In 2008-09, there were 449 households accepted as being homeless and in priority need in Croydon local authority compared to 581 households accepted as being homeless and in priority need in 2005-06. See link for further information:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/xls/141476.xls

Launching the Local Government White Paper ‘Strong and Prosperous Communities’ which set out a new stage of public sector reform, significantly strengthening leadership and devolving power to local government as well as providing a major expansion of opportunities for local people to influence local decision-making and improve their lives.

Helping reduce accidental fire-related deaths—the lowest level since 1959.

In 2008-09, there were 30 accidental fire related deaths in Greater London, compared to 47 accidental fire relate deaths in 2005/06. At the local level, fire deaths may fluctuate within a general declining national trend. See link for further information (Table 4b):

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/xls/1403049.xls

Reducing by 1.2 million the number of non-decent social homes As at the 1st April 2009, there were 1,088 non-decent dwellings in Croydon local authority, compared to 2,463 non-decent dwellings at 1 April 2006 See links for further information:

2008-09 data

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/xls/1393612.xls

2005-06 data

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/xls/153226.xls

Investing through the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund £1.87 billion for England's 88 most deprived local authorities—leading to real positive change.

Departmental Food

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what account his Department’s food procurement policy takes of animal welfare. (325533)

Communities and Local Government’s (CLG) catering contract specifies that the provider shall take account of and support the Department in fulfilling the objectives of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) guidance for Public Sector Food Procurement Initiatives. The initiative aims to deliver a world class sustainable farming and food sector, including the consideration of animal health and welfare, and provides data on domestically produced food used by, and supplied to Government Departments.

CLG reports to DEFRA on procurement of food, catering services and catering equipment, indicating the proportion of UK produced supplied from farm assured, organic, Fairtrade and seasonal produce.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people his Department employs to maintain its social media and networking sites; and at what cost in the last 12 months. (325593)

The Department’s social media channels are maintained as part of the routine business of its web team. This has eight full-time, and one part-time, member of staff. The cost in salary terms for maintaining these social media channels has not been disaggregated but only forms a small proportion of the team’s work load.

Departmental Senior Civil Servants

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people entered post at each grade of the Senior Civil Service in his Department (a) on promotion from within and (b) on recruitment from outside his Department in each year since January 2005. (322711)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many grade 2 civil servants are employed in his Department. (324956)

[holding answer 29 March 2010]: There are six directors general (SCS pay band 3) civil servants employed in the Department.

Departmental Temporary Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department spent on (a) agency fees and (b) salaries of agency staff recruited to work at its headquarters (i) in each financial year since 2004-05 and (ii) in 2009-10 in the latest period for which figures are available; and how many agency staff his Department employed at each grade or equivalent at its headquarters in each year since 2004-05. (322840)

The Department has published its expenditure on Agency staff, staff substitution and Interim Management for the last three years in its annual reports. The breakdown of (a) agency fees and (b) salaries of agency staff could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

For 2006-07 spend (contained in Chapter 10, Table 4 —page 115):

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/corporate/pdf/2007-annual-report.pdf

For 2007-08 spend (contained in Chapter 10, Table 5 —page 141):

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/corporate/pdf/05.pdf

For 2008-09 spend (contained in Chapter 10, Table 13 —page 165):

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/corporate/pdf/1281142.pdf

In the current financial year 2009-10 the indicative spend is £15.1 million as at the end of February 2010. However full out-turn figures will not be available until the early summer when they will be published in the Department’s annual report.

AA

AO

EO

HEO

SEO

G6

G7

SCS

HPTO

SPTO

N/A

Total

2004

4

38

9

11

6

1

6

1

1

1

38

116

2005

3

41

20

12

3

0

4

2

1

1

57

144

2006

8

47

30

32

14

1

14

6

1

0

73

226

2007

2

91

65

39

18

4

19

6

0

3

0

247

2008

2

59

107

46

25

19

28

12

2

5

0

305

2009

2

5

14

21

3

3

7

2

0

0

1

58

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many agency and temporary staff his Department employed in each of the last three years. (324331)

Over the last three years the Department has used several different suppliers to find temporary and agency staff and, the details of the many individual contracts involved can only be disaggregated at a disproportionate cost.

Details of the Department's staffing levels are published each year in its Annual Report and Resource Accounts, copies of which can be found on its external website:

http://www.communities.gov.uk

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 1 March 2010, Official Report, column 957W, on departmental temporary employment, what the total amount spent on employing temporary staff was in each of the last three years. (324332)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell) today, PQ 322840.

Departmental Translation Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department spent on translators in each year since 1997. (325591)

The Department have spent the following on language interpretation for the last four years. Figures for earlier years could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

FY

Amount (£)

2006-07

2,428

2007-08

6,529

2008-09

4,337

2009-10

3,428

Departmental Written Questions

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of written questions for answer on a named day his Department has answered on the due date in the current session of Parliament. (325596)

Up to 30 March 2010, the Department had received 368 written questions for answer on a named day of which 303 (82 per cent.) were answered on the due date.

Disadvantaged

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made on each of the adults facing chronic exclusion pilots, which began in 2007; and which of them have been continued and included in other Government programmes. (325675)

All 12 of the adults facing chronic exclusion pilots continue to provide support to vulnerable people.

Two interim reports have been published on the Cabinet Office website, detailing the outcomes for clients; including improvements in accommodation, use of health services and overall wellbeing.

The complete findings of the ACE pilots—including cost-benefit analysis—are due to be published in the autumn.

Continued funding has been confirmed for:

Tyneside Cyrenians

Turning Point Connected Care

South West London and St. George’s New Directions Team

Provisional funding has been agreed for:

NOAH Enterprise, Luton

Negotiations for the continuation of funding in the remaining eight areas are ongoing.

Housing: Prices

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average cost was of a dwelling purchased by a first-time buyer in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) each Government Office Region and (d) each local authority area in (i) 1996-97 and (ii) the most recent period for which figures are available. (324617)

The latest average mix-adjusted purchase price for first-time buyers from 1993 for England, Wales and Government Office regions are available on the Department's website.

Since 1997 over 160,000 households have been helped into home ownership through Government schemes. A full breakdown of low cost home ownership provision can be found on the Department's website.

Leasehold Valuation Tribunal

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many cases relating to major works affecting local authority leaseholders have been brought before leasehold valuation tribunals in each year since 2005-06. (325276)

It is not possible without disproportionate cost to say how many cases relating to major works affecting local authority leaseholders have been brought before leasehold valuation tribunals in each year since 2005-06.

Local Government Finance: Home Care Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the Personal Care at Home Bill's compliance with the new burdens doctrine for local authorities. (325755)

As with all policies and programmes the Government are committed to assessing the costs to local authorities of the Personal Care at Home Bill. This will be funded through a combination of additional grant and from local authority efficiency savings and will only be introduced from April 2011.

It is right for local government to help central Government deliver this new commitment. We believe that councils can implement efficiency savings because:

the costs of delivering local services has fallen, with recent low levels of inflation and affordable pay settlements;

Budget 2010 announced new measures to free-up local resources by reducing burdens and targets and making reductions in ring-fencing;

we have made record amounts of investment in local government, with councils receiving £8.6 billion more over the current spending review period.

Non-Domestic Rates: Ports

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government of 17 March 2010, Official Report, column 279WH, on port business rates, what steps have been taken to improve the Valuation Office Agency's fast-track process following his discussions with Treasury Ministers. (324780)

Under its fast-track arrangements for ratepayers with backdated bills, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has pledged to give an initial response to points raised in a proposal within 10 working days and a final decision within two months in all but the most complex cases. As at 4 November 2009, the VOA statistics show that they have met the fast-track timescales on 97 per cent. of proposals received.

Where the ratepayer is not in agreement with the decision, the VOA refers appeals to the independent Valuation Tribunal for England (VTE) for early listing. Once a proposal is transferred to the VTE as an appeal, it is outside the fast-track system and falls into the usual appeals process.

There are currently no plans to amend the fast track process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many fast track reviews of rating assessment of port companies were (a) initiated and (b) completed in 2009; how many will continue into 2010-11; how business rates are being collected from companies which have not yet been assessed; and whether such companies are deemed to be listed for business rates. (325558)

Under the fast-track arrangements for ratepayers with backdated bills, which it introduced on 24 November 2008, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) pledges to give an initial response to points raised about proposal within 10 working days and a final decision within two months in all but the most complex cases.

Up until 17 March 2010, 1,026 formal challenges have been subject to the fast-track arrangements, of these, 644 have been resolved and 382 are outstanding. 197 have been transmitted as appeals to the valuation tribunal following issue of the valuation officer’s considered decision. In practice, although ratepayers and their agents have been invited to support early listing dates, very few have taken this offer up.

Rates are a tax on properties capable of beneficial occupation. When one appears on the ratings list, its occupier, which may be a business, becomes liable for this tax. All properties that appear on the ratings list are similarly liable and their rates will be collected by the billing authority in the usual way. However, if for any reason, including an exemption, a property does not appear on the ratings list, it means that rates are not being collected in respect of that property.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what procedures were used to implement the separate rating of port companies in each year since 1999; and how many such companies were (a) visited and (b) notified of their rating by a representative of the Valuation Office Agency in each year since 1999. (325559)

The principles concerning separate rateability where there is ‘exclusive occupation’ and ‘paramount control’ are long established and predate the ports review as well as the end of prescribed rating. The lead case on this subject is a House of Lords decision which dates back to 1936—Westminster Council v. Southern Railway Company and W.H. Smith and Son. There was, therefore no ‘implementation’ of a new separate ratings policy either after or before 1999. In other words, any property, other than a statutory port authority, that met the separate assessment criteria, even before 1999, should have been rated separately.

The Valuation Office Agency have advised us that since May 2006, it has inspected over 800 properties (hereditaments) within 55 ports in England and Wales as part of the ports review.

Information was collected from the statutory port operators, ratepayers and through physical inspection of the property. In cases where the information supported separate assessment, the ratepayer was served a notice informing them of the assessment.

The agency does not maintain records of the number of properties within ports inspected and notified in each year since 1999. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Non-Domestic Rates: Ports

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what changes in rateable values in the 2005-10 Rating Cycle have been provided to port operators as a result of the new regime of retrospective business rates on firms