Written Answers to Questions
Wednesday 25 November 2009
England and Wales have an established network of specialist anti-fraud prosecutors. The Attorney General and I keep their effectiveness under review. Our most recent assessment, coordinated by the Serious Fraud Office and the National Fraud Authority and involving the Association of Chief Police Officers, City of London Police, Metropolitan Police Service, Serious Organised Crime Agency, Crown Prosecution Service, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, Companies Investigation Branch, Office of Fair Trading, Financial Services Authority, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office, the Home Office and the Attorney General's Office, has resulted in further work, being planned to strengthen multi-agency collaboration on the detection, disruption, investigation and prosecution of fraud. Details of this work will be set out in a report on progress against the National Fraud Strategy which will be published shortly.
The Integrated Prosecution Team (IPT) project, which has been introduced across London, will create an integrated process that brings together pre-trial and case-build functions of the police and the CPS. The aim of the project is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of casework handling between the police and the CPS. Teams will be mostly located in police stations. IPT is functional in 16 Boroughs (50 per cent.) across London. A further five boroughs have commenced the IPT implementation process. The remaining eleven Boroughs will co-locate during the period December 2009 to July 2010. The project includes provision for a post implementation review. The outcome from this review will enable the CPS to consider whether this London initiative has wider application across England and Wales.
M18: Repairs and Maintenance
[holding answer 24 November 2009]: The closure was to carry out advance works for the M18 J6-J7 north bound carriageway resurfacing scheme. The works comprised the installation of closed circuit television systems and average speed measuring systems which will mitigate the risk to road workers during the main works. The scheme will be completed before Christmas.
[holding answer 24 November 2009]: On the M5 motorway the Highways Agency has three types of fixed camera in use.
CCTV Cameras allow real-time traffic conditions to be monitored by the Highways Agency's National and Regional Traffic Control Centres, enabling an efficient response to be made to incidents. The cameras also feed traffic information to a variety of information and media services for drivers to plan their journeys.
Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras link to a system which converts and anonymises number plates to ‘tag' codes for each passing vehicle at each camera location. The ‘tag' codes are then used to calculate traffic flows and speed between camera locations in order to inform our understanding of network performance.
Average speed cameras are positioned temporarily at major roadwork sites to improve safety for road users and the workforce on the motorway. The cameras monitor vehicle speed between two points and check the average speed compliance with the speed limit.
Network Rail: Consultants
Network Rail is a private sector not-for-dividend company limited by guarantee. The Department for Transport does not hold the information requested.
This is an operational matter for Network Rail as the owner and operator of the national rail network. My hon. Friend should contact Network Rail's Chief Executive at the following address for a response to her question:
90 York Way
London, N1 9AG.
The Department for Transport is assessing the competition issues associated with the request to relax the restrictions.
If the conclusion is that there would be no distortion of competition, Government Office for the North West would further examine state aid implications, before seeking advice from the European Commission.
Road Signs and Markings: Bridges
(2) what information his Department holds on the nature of the signage in place at locations where vehicles have struck bridges;
(3) what research has been (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated by his Department on the adequacy of the signage in place at locations where vehicles have struck bridges; and whether any such research has been taken into account in the formulation of proposals to make metric measurements mandatory on road signs warning of or imposing height restrictions.
[holding answer 23 November 2009]: The Department for Transport is currently consulting on amendments to Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 (TSRGD) which include the mandatory use of both imperial and metric units on road signs warning of or imposing height restrictions. These signs are currently prescribed in TSRGD but the use of dual-unit signing is discretionary.
The consultation document is on the Department's website at the following address and the consultation closes on 24 December 2009:
Evidence presented by Network Rail suggests that 10-12 per cent. of bridge strikes involved foreign lorries and this is disproportionately high. Current policy has also been informed by a 2004 TRL research report ‘Measures to Reduce the Frequency of Over-Height Vehicles Striking Bridges: Final Report', which covers signing issues. The report is on the Department's website at the following address:
The consultation proposals are intended to help reduce the risk of bridge strikes by foreign lorry drivers who may misunderstand imperial-only measurements.
There are no centrally-held records on the nature of traffic signs placed for all locations where vehicles have struck bridges.
Speed Limits: Cameras
Separate information about cameras operating in Norwich, North is not held. The number of camera sites operating in Norfolk at the end of the National Safety Camera Programme, which ended on 31 March 2007, was 37. Since then, the deployment of safety cameras has been the responsibility of individual local partnerships. The number of cameras currently in place will therefore be a matter for Norfolk county council and the local road safety partnership.
Health Care and Housing: Armed Forces
The principles underlying the provision of healthcare and housing to members of the armed forces returning from operational deployment to Scotland are no different from those for other parts of the UK. I do however have regular discussions with Defence and Scottish Ministers about armed forces personnel in Scotland.
Digital Economy Bill
Small Businesses: UK Financial Investments
In its response to a report by the Public Administration Select Committee, “Lobbying: Access and influence in Whitehall”, the Government agreed to publish on-line, on a quarterly basis, information about ministerial meetings with outside interest groups. Information for the period 1 October to 31 December 2009 will be published by Departments as soon as the information is ready.
Departmental Rail Travel
The Secretary of State for Scotland works in partnership with the Home Office, UKBA, the Scottish Government, local authorities and third sector groups across Scotland to ensure that immigration levels are monitored appropriately. The greatest number of those who choose to move to Scotland to live and work, reside in other parts of the UK.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund
In total, £3 million from the Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF) has been allocated to local authorities in each financial year of 2008-09 and 2009-10. The funding was allocated to the 18 local authorities with the highest aggregates production, in proportion to production levels in each of those authorities. A full breakdown is provided in the following table.
Local authority £000 Somerset 330 Derbyshire 330 Leicestershire 330 North Yorkshire 308 Staffordshire 210 Cumbria 150 Lancashire 143 Devon 120 Essex 112 Lincolnshire 107 Durham 107 Doncaster 107 Shropshire 107 Cornwall 107 Nottinghamshire 107 Gloucestershire 107 North Somerset 107 South Gloucestershire 107
In addition, £500,000 was allocated in each year to ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England) to support projects in the remaining local authority areas.
Funds are provided to local authorities via an area-based grant which gives them freedom over how to spend money locally. There is no requirement for local authorities to report directly to DEFRA, but some, including Derbyshire, do put data about their projects onto DEFRA's ALSF database. Reports reviewing ALSF, including local authority funding, were undertaken in 2003 and 2006 and a further review is planned for early 2010.
Dogs: Electric Shock Equipment
The research project on electronic training aids for dogs is due to be completed at the end of February 2010. The cost of the research project will be £469,000. We will not be able to announce any decision on the future use of such devices until the results of the research have been peer-reviewed, and we have had the time to fully consider the results.
Genetically Modified Organisms: Food
In the last five years DEFRA has issued three consents for GM crop trials as follows:
Consent ref. Applicant Crop Date of consent Release site 06/R42/01 BASF Plant Science GmbH Potato 1 December 2006 Girton, Cambs. 07/R42/01 BASF Plant Science GmbH Potato 14 May 2007 Trial did not proceed—no material grown 07/R31/01 University of Leeds Potato 9 May 2008 Bramham, Leeds
Date of consent
BASF Plant Science GmbH
1 December 2006
BASF Plant Science GmbH
14 May 2007
Trial did not proceed—no material grown
University of Leeds
9 May 2008
The trials by Leeds university formed part of a wider research project on the control of potato cyst nematodes, funded mainly by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and with a contribution from DEFRA under a Government Partnership Award programme. DEFRA’s contribution to the overall project costs was £41,000 in 2005 and £18,000 in 2009. Specific cost figures just for the field trial component of the project are not readily available. The BASF trials were entirely funded by the company.
Horses: Animal Welfare
It is DEFRA’s understanding that the RSPCA are present at the Appleby Horse Fair and work closely with participants to encourage adherence to good standards of horse welfare.
If anyone has any evidence of unnecessary suffering or if animal welfare is being compromised, then they can either report it to the appropriate authorities or take forward a prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Nature Conservation: Trade
The police service is primarily responsible for training its officers in those areas where it has enforcement responsibility.
In addition, members of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) provide assistance and support in this specialist area of enforcement, including training opportunities. Members of PAW include the UK Border Agency and the UK’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Scientific Authorities.
Animal Health (an Executive agency of DEFRA) also provides advice and information on CITES to police officers on request.
Pets: Retail Trade
Local authorities are required to enforce the Pet Animals Act 1951 (as amended, 1983). However, local authorities are not bound to use the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health’s Model Standards as guidance. If anyone considers that a particular authority is not enforcing the 1951 Act or is not applying appropriate standards they can report it to the local government ombudsman.
Sewers: Private Sector
On 15 December 2008 the Secretary of State announced the Government's decision to transfer all private sewers and lateral drains linked to the public sewerage system from 2011. Since that announcement officials have been working to prepare proposals to prevent the proliferation of new private sewers as a precursor to the transfer of the existing stock. The proposals are contained in the Flood and Water Management Bill, which was presented to Parliament on 19 November.
The Bill's provisions will ensure that, in future, all new sewers and lateral drains connecting to the public sewerage system will be required to be built to a mandatory standard and will be automatically adopted by water and sewerage companies as public sewers.
Officials have also been developing detailed proposals for regulations to implement the transfer of existing private sewers and lateral drains that will be the subject of consultation this winter, prior to the regulations themselves being presented to Parliament for approval.
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 17 January 2008, Official Report, column 1394W, by my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, Deptford (Joan Ruddock), to the same question. We do not directly fund, or keep a national register of, small community-led projects tackling the local environment, important though these are. My hon. Friend is welcome to write to me with a more specific request and I will respond to him.
The Government have taken steps to ensure that remuneration paid at systemically significant financial institutions is commensurate with a prudent approach to risk and leads to long-term value creation. The FSA code, which comes into force on 1 January 2010, includes requirements for deferral and clawback from significant banking and other institutions. In addition, the Government are taking legislative measures in the Financial Services Bill that will strengthen the FSA's hand and enable improved disclosure of remuneration, which in turn will facilitate better shareholder oversight of risk.
No additional revenues would be raised. Companies capital gains are charged to corporation tax as part of their total profits, at the same rate as any income profits. Consequently companies’ chargeable gains are already taxed at the relevant rate of corporation tax for 2009-10. It is highly probable that there would be a fall in net receipts once account is taken of any accumulated capital losses which are currently only given relief against future capital gains, rather than income.
The Government have stated their intention to realise £16 billion in asset disposals over the period 2011-14 and will publish further details of opportunities to commercialise business assets in the coming weeks.
The Treasury’s Asset Management Strategy was published in December 2007 on the Treasury’s website at:
It stated that with the disposals in 2007-08, the Treasury Group will have met the Government’s aim that each Department should dispose of at least 10 per cent. of its asset stock in the period 2004-05 to 2010-11. There will be limited opportunities to make any further disposals in the remainder of the period through to 2010-11.
Departmental Coordination: Economic Situation
HM Treasury Ministers and officials are in constant contact with colleagues in BIS on economic policy matters including those activities designed to tackle the recession.
The National Economic Council is a full Cabinet Committee introduced in October 2008 to provide a new approach to managing economic policies across Government in the context of the immense challenges created by recent global financial and economic uncertainties.
The Chancellor and the First Secretary of State—as well as other HMT and BIS Ministers—are members of the National Economic Council, which meets frequently to assess the implications of the ongoing challenges in the financial markets for the wider economy, at both a global and national level.
In addition, both HM Treasury and BIS are jointly responsible for public service agreement 1 (PSA 1)—to raise the productivity of the UK economy. This mechanism provides a forum for coordinating action across member departments.
Departmental Cost Effectiveness
HM Treasury Group’s Value for Money Delivery Agreement, revised in July 2009, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House, sets out how it is aiming to deliver £35 million of VfM savings by 2010-11, including £5 million increased at Budget 2009 as a result of work on the Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP).
The Treasury Group will provide an update on progress towards delivering its VfM target in its Autumn Performance Report. Details of VfM plans beyond the current spending review period are not yet available.
Departmental Disclosure of Information
The following table shows the information requested, where such food products were procured by contractors supplying food to HM Treasury during 2008-09.
Percentage (a) Mutton and lamb 87 (b) Beef and veal 92 (c) and (e) Poultry meat, including chicken and turkey 35 (d) Bacon 15 Other Pork 95 (g) Unprocessed potatoes 90 Processed potatoes 82 Roots and Onions (including carrots, parsnips, onions, turnips and swedes) 70 Brassica (including Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower) 75 Legumes (including beans and peas) 55 Protected vegetables (including tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, celery and sweet peppers) 35 Other vegetables (including asparagus, celery, leeks, lettuce and watercress) 45 (h) Orchard fruit (including apples, pears and plums) 20 Soft fruit (including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blackcurrants) 35
Mutton and lamb
Beef and veal
(c) and (e)
Poultry meat, including chicken and turkey
Roots and Onions (including carrots, parsnips, onions, turnips and swedes)
Brassica (including Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower)
Legumes (including beans and peas)
Protected vegetables (including tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, celery and sweet peppers)
Other vegetables (including asparagus, celery, leeks, lettuce and watercress)
Orchard fruit (including apples, pears and plums)
Soft fruit (including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blackcurrants)
Departmental Legal Costs
Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.
The Department does not normally pay bonuses to consultants or contractors. Performance incentives may be included within contracts, where appropriate, and paid according to the terms of those contracts. However, analysis of all the contracts in each of the last three financial years to determine whether incentives were paid could not be provided within the disproportionate costs threshold.
Departmental Rail Travel
HM Treasury has had contracts with two taxi companies in the past three completed financial years. The following table sets out the total expenditure on each.
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 Premier Despatch Ltd., London1 168 139 216 1st Goldstar Taxis, Norwich — 8 13 1 Premier Despatch Ltd was acquired by Addison Lee in February 2009
Premier Despatch Ltd., London1
1st Goldstar Taxis, Norwich
1 Premier Despatch Ltd was acquired by Addison Lee in February 2009
Departmental Working Hours
The Treasury and OGC offer flexible working and job share to staff, where operational constraints permit, as a tool to improve work/life balance. Many flexible working arrangements including job share are made informally between managers and staff and are not formally recorded. This information could only therefore be provided at disproportionate cost.
The UK Debt Management Office has thirteen staff who work either flexibly or part-time, representing proportionately 13.13 per cent. of staff. The UK Debt Management Office has an “Alternative Working Arrangements” policy by which staff may make an application for working either flexibly or on a part-time basis. Decisions are taken on the basis of statutory and business requirements and on a case by case basis.
Financial Services: Regulation
Generic Financial Advice Review
The Government are testing the Thoresen Review's blueprint for a generic financial advice or ‘Money Guidance' service through a large-scale pilot or pathfinder in the North West and North East of England. The £12 million pathfinder is jointly funded and delivered by HM Treasury and the Financial Services Authority. Launched in April, it is on track to meet its target to reach over 500,000 people by March 2010, through the Moneymadeclear website, helpline and face- to-face services provided by a wide range of local partners. The Moneymadeclear website and helpline is also available UK-wide.
Interim evaluation findings from the pathfinder indicate that the Money Guidance service can be effective and the Money Guidance service will therefore be rolled out nationally from spring 2010. The Financial Services Bill introduced in the Commons on 19 November includes provisions for a new consumer financial education body which will lead and direct funding to national implementation of Money Guidance.
A table showing the number of properties with each individual dwellinghouse code and each value significant code, for all local authority areas, has been placed in the Freedom of Information Disclosure Log on the Valuation Office Agency's website in Excel format. A link to the information is as follows:
The Bank of England has operational responsibility for monetary policy, including use of the Asset Purchase Facility. The Bank publishes quarterly reports on the APF, the first of which was published on 27 April with subsequent reports published on 27 July and 26 October. The Bank also reports on the APF in its Inflation Report and Quarterly Bulletin and regularly publishes operational information for the APF on its website.
The Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill contains two clauses in Part 8 of the Bill that relate to implementation of the Clear Line of Sight project.
Clause 57 makes provision to include the spending of non-departmental public bodies, and other central Government bodies so designated by HM Treasury, in the Supply Estimates and resource accounts of the responsible Government Department. Clause 52 makes corresponding provision by amending part 5 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 to enable the Welsh Assembly Government to include in their annual Budget motions information on the use of resources by bodies funded by the Assembly.
Both clauses provide for a statutory instrument to contain an order listing the bodies to be designated.
Departmental budgets have been set to financial year 2010-11. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will announce the timing of the spending review process to set budgets from financial year 2011-12 in the normal way. The Chancellor will set out more detail on the Government's spending plans at the pre-Budget report 2009.
Tax Allowances: Pensions
Tax Allowances: Professional Organisations
Taxation: EU Countries
Tax developments in all EU member states are continuously monitored and taken into account when deciding tax policy.
The comparisons we make illustrate that the UK remains a competitive place to do business with the lowest corporation tax rate of the major G7 economies.
The Government remain committed to maintaining the competitive position of the UK.
Treasury Ministers and officials receive representations from 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 representations.
Olympic and Paralympic Games
33.8 per cent. of the £9.325 billion public sector funding package has been spent to the end of September 2009.
Further information is provided in the latest London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games quarterly economic report (published 23 November 2009). I have placed copies in the Libraries of both Houses.
Operational Efficiency Programme
My ministerial portfolio requires my office to operate out of the Cabinet Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Both Departments have Operational Efficiency Programmes, the details of which are outlined in the answers provided by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport and the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, respectively.
Third Sector Organisations
An element of the Olympic Delivery Authority's (ODA) budget has been allocated for upgrading local host borough sporting facilities for use as Games-time training venues, and some of these facilities may be owned by third sector community organisations. It is expected that such facility developments will remain as a benefit in legacy.
Works to enhance existing facilities for the Games have been agreed at a number of venues including Eton Dorney (for rowing and flat water canoeing events) and at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (for sailing events).
As agreements are being reached with each individual facility, the value of the budget available for these works is commercially confidential.
Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations
I am withholding the information requested about how many armoured vehicles military forces will receive in Afghanistan as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.
However, I am able to confirm that there are currently 51 Mastiff 2 and 59 Ridgback vehicles available for pre-deployment training in the UK. Under existing procurement, a further 22 Mastiff 2 for training purposes are due for delivery in third quarter 2010.
A further procurement package is being planned which will provide additional Mastiff 2 and Ridgbacks.
While there are currently approximately 440 UK troops directly involved in the training of Afghan National Security Forces in Helmand Province, over the coming year, as the UK re-configures its force structure in Helmand to fully support COMISAF's partnering plan, the proportion of UK troops in Helmand involved in the training of Afghan Security forces will increase significantly.
All forces deploying to Afghanistan receive a comprehensive training package that incorporates up-to-date tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs). These TTPs are constantly informed by a Lessons Learned process ensuring that current counter-insurgency measures being used in Afghanistan are taught to those about to deploy. The amount and content of such training is continuously reviewed and adjusted as and when operational requirements dictate.
Armed Forces: Accommodation
[holding answer 23 November 2009]: The allowances mentioned are paid only to Service personnel who meet the relevant eligibility criteria, and not to civilians. Rates of allowances are reviewed annually.
Food and Incidental Allowance is paid at a daily rate of £12.78 (£383.40 per month, pro rata). This is paid to assist single and unaccompanied Service personnel in the UK to meet the necessary costs of food and incidental expenses when they are without access to Service accommodation/messing facilities, but have self-catering facilities, and does not require submission of receipts.
Recruitment and Retention Allowance (London) is paid at a daily rate £3.76 for all Service Personnel who work within five miles of the statue of King Charles I at Charing Cross. This is paid to counter reluctance to serve in designated London locations by contributing to the higher costs encountered during a permanent assignment in London and by compensating for the reduced quality of the supporting infrastructure.
Get You Home Travel, the rate of which is determined by the distance from a family home and the place of duty. The minimum amount payable is £1.07, commencing at 20 miles, and the maximum amount payable is £13.39 per day. The latter represents a family home being 530 miles away from a place of duty. It is paid to support the mobile nature of the Services and improve retention by reducing the financial impact of separation on Service personnel.
Home to Duty (Public) is paid to those eligible service Personnel who reside in Forces Family Accommodation, to assist with the daily cost of travel between their home and place of duty. In certain circumstances, Service personnel in receipt of Get You Home Travel will not be eligible for concurrent payment of Home to Duty (Public). Dependant on the distance and method of travel used the following maximum rates are payable:
Miles/£ Distance each way from Place of Duty (miles) 70 Automatic motor vehicles - daily rate (£) 25.81 Manual motor vehicles - daily rate (£) 43.61 Automatic pedal cycles - monthly rate (£) 12.43 Manual pedal cycles - monthly rate 21.00
Distance each way from Place of Duty (miles)
Automatic motor vehicles - daily rate (£)
Manual motor vehicles - daily rate (£)
Automatic pedal cycles - monthly rate (£)
Manual pedal cycles - monthly rate
Home to Duty (Private) is payable to those eligible Service Personnel who do not occupy Service Accommodation, to assist with the daily cost of travel between their home and place of duty. Service personnel in receipt of Get You Home Travel will not be eligible for concurrent payment of Home to Duty (Private). Dependant on the distance and method of travel used the following maximum rates are payable:
Miles/£ Distance each way from Place of Duty (miles) 70 Automatic motor vehicles - daily rate (£) 15.24 Manual motor vehicles - daily rate (£) 25.75 Automatic pedal cycles - monthly rate (£) 7.34 Manual pedal cycles - monthly rate (£) 12.40
Distance each way from Place of Duty (miles)
Automatic motor vehicles - daily rate (£)
Manual motor vehicles - daily rate (£)
Automatic pedal cycles - monthly rate (£)
Manual pedal cycles - monthly rate (£)
Most allowances are payable on qualifying criteria other than rank held. The status of ‘staff officer' has a number of different meanings and could be applied to a specific appointment undertaken by a Junior Military Officer or those officers of starred rank. As a result it would be difficult to obtain information on recipients of ‘staff officer' status, as it would require the application of varied parameters to a number of different searches which could be provided only at disproportionate cost. All of these allowances are applicable to commissioned and non-commissioned personnel.
Armed Forces: Body Armour
(2) whether his Department is assessing or commissioning research on the protection which can be provided for servicemen’s testicles with relation to blast injuries on operations; and if he will make a statement.
All of the protective personal equipment provided to armed forces personnel is constantly under review. The Osprey body armour systems are considered to be among the best in the world, and the survival rates are testimony to that. However, a direct by-product of that is that personnel are now surviving with other associated and sometimes life-changing injuries. We are continually seeking ways to further protect our personnel, and work is well under way to research ways of providing additional protection including for the whole perineal area.
Armed Forces: Injuries
The Defence Medical Services (DMS) provide an extensive range of medical treatment and wider support for wounded Service personnel. Since 2001 we have made numerous clinical and administrative improvements to the treatment that we provide, all of which are intended to improve the quality of care that our wounded personnel receive. Where these are a consequence of operational requirements, they have been funded from the Reserve (Conflict Prevention Fund). The Government have also funded many improvements from within the Defence budget, such as £24 million of additional funding over four years for the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC), Headley Court, announced in 2008.
For personnel on operations, the care starts in the operational theatre, with life-saving medical treatment on the frontline and in our field hospitals. Those who need further specialist care back in the UK are normally returned to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital, which is at the leading edge in the treatment of multiple trauma injuries as commonly sustained by our battle casualties, and has since 2006 had a military-managed ward.
If patients require further rehabilitation care they may be referred to Headley Court, or for outpatient treatment at one of MOD's 15 military Regional Rehabilitation Units. We also provide mental healthcare for those who need it, primarily through our 15 military out-patient Departments of Community Mental Health across the UK (plus centres overseas); in-patient care is arranged for those who need it.
Wider support to those who are injured is overseen by a Welfare Coordinator, who will work with appropriate specialists to offer support and advice in such areas as housing, access to services and counselling if required, as well as providing support through key transition points, such as a move to or from Headley Court.
Medical policy for the DMS is overseen by the Surgeon General's Department. However, the organisational structure of the DMS means that comprehensive budgetary planning information on medical care could be provided only at disproportionate cost as substantial elements are disaggregated and embedded in the budgets of the single Services, individual military units, and overall operational budgets.
The Ministry of Defence publishes the numbers of personnel categorised as Very Seriously Injured and Seriously Injured as a result of Operations Telic and Herrick on its website at:
The figures are updated fortnightly. In addition, we are committed to publishing on a quarterly basis the numbers of service personnel who have suffered limb amputations as a result of injuries sustained while on operational deployment. However, in order both to protect the identities of small numbers of patients and to maintain operational security for the effectiveness of our protective countermeasures, we do not routinely publish VSI and SI sub-classified by other types of physical injury.
Departmental Legal Costs
The information with regard to expenditure my Department and its agencies have incurred on external legal advice and representation in each year since 1997 is not held centrally, and due to re-organisation over the period in question could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
The total paybill for some 50,000 non-industrial and 11,000 industrial staff below the Senior Civil Service (SCS) (excluding Trading Funds) covered by the main pay awards is £1.827 billion of which 2.7 per cent. has been allocated for non consolidated performance awards for year end 2009-10.
The total paybill for permanent members of the SCS is £19.3 million of which 8.6 per cent. has been allocated for non consolidated performance awards for year end 2009-10. This does not include Fixed Term employees at SCS level, who are employed on individual contracts.
0.4 per cent of the total paybill for staff (excluding Trading Funds) has been allocated for in year Special Bonus Payments for year end 2009-10.
European Defence Agency
The European Defence Agency (EDA) was established in July 2004. The mission of the EDA is to support the European Council and the member states in their effort to improve the EU's defence capabilities in the field of crisis management and to sustain the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) as it stands now and develops in the future. The agency was tasked by the council to:
Develop European defence capabilities;
Promote armaments co-operation in the EU;
Improve the European defence industrial and technological base; and
Promote collaborative defence research across the Union.
The Ministry of Defence supports the European Defence Agency’s Capability Development Plan (CDP), which focuses the Agency’s and participating member states’ efforts on developing European military capabilities in 12 selected priority areas. We participated fully in the development of the CDP and we are currently engaged in a number of the CDP programmes. We will continue to support the CDP as a mechanism for addressing military capability shortfalls across Europe and participate in projects where we see military benefit to the UK.
The European Defence Agency (EDA) does valuable work developing European military capabilities and works successfully with participating member states on collaborative programmes and projects. The amount paid by the Ministry of Defence to the EDA in each year since 2005 is provided in the following table:
Calendar year £ million 2005 2.36 2006 2.09 2007 1.95 2008 3.11 2009 3.03
The figures in the table relate to the amounts paid for each calendar year. It should be noted that the answers provided previously to this question on 6 March 2009, Official Report, column 1857W and 20 April 2009, Official Report, column 65W referred to financial years (April to March) but the amounts detailed actually related to calendar years.
Military Aircraft: EU Action
The European Air Transport Fleet (EATF) aims to address shortfalls in military strategic air transport capability, for example through the pooling of aircraft or shared procurement. The UK will indirectly benefit from the improved aircraft availability across Europe for support to operations through increased burden sharing. The UK procures military aircraft according to our national requirements and does not have spare capacity to contribute to the EATF. Therefore, we do not currently plan to participate in the programme. As such we have not carried out any detailed assessments of the potential wider benefits to the UK. We will continue to monitor the EATF programme and keep our position under review.
Warships: EU Action
There are two principal European initiatives on naval interoperability, the European Amphibious Initiative (EAI) and the European Carrier Group Interoperability Initiative (ECGII). Both initiatives seek to enhance European interoperability and capability in Amphibious and Carrier Strike Group operations respectively through greater cooperation and combined training and exercising at both the tactical and operational level. The main objective of these initiatives is that, by working more closely together in peacetime, it will allow for a more rapid and effective deployment of a multinational Amphibious or Carrier Strike Group force, when required, in the framework of NATO or EU-led operations.
As a permanent member, along with France, Italy, Netherlands and Spain, and with its well developed and balanced Amphibious forces, the UK plays an important part in the EAI. The UK provides the Permanent Secretariat and in 2010 will assume the chair, which is rotated on an annual basis between its members.
The UK, as a lead nation in operating Vertical and Short Take Off aircraft (VSTOL) from the sea, also plays an important role in the ECGII as one of its permanent members, along with Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
I plan to host a Christmas reception in London and another in Cardiff this year. We will not be serving food, only snacks and drinks will be provided. I would estimate the cost of each reception to be around £250, although the final amount will not be known until after the events are held.
Departmental Air Travel
Departmental Cost Effectiveness
The Wales Office does not have any in-house catering. External caterers supply food and drink for meetings and receptions in London and Cardiff. Catering for functions and meetings in London and Cardiff includes, where possible and consistent with value for money, a mixture of fair trade or locally sourced produce.
Departmental Rail Travel
The Northern Ireland Office does not record procurement of meat, vegetables and fruit by country of origin and the information would be available only at disproportionate cost. Where possible, the Department always aims to use local Northern Ireland produce.
The Northern Ireland Office established a Devolution Programme team in April 2007 which up to the end of October 2009 has cost £633,961. Other staff across the Department have also been involved in implementing proposals for the devolution of policing and justice but quantifying these costs could not be done within the disproportionate cost limit.
Work and Pensions
[holding answer 23 November 2009]: Outturn expenditure, in cash terms, on bereavement benefits for 2008-09 was £675 million.
The available information on the number of recipients is in the following table.
Number May 2008 59,850 August 2008 59,400 November 2008 59,190 February 2009 60,720 Note: Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Source: DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study
Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study
There is no information available about the percentage of cases where the benefit was subsequently reduced.
Winter Fuel Allowance
The current per household amounts for the winter fuel payment are £250 for those aged 60-79 and £400 for those aged over 80 (including the additional payment of £50 and £100 respectively). The additional public expenditure consequences of making winter fuel payments at double these rates, to only those who have reached state pension age, would be around £2 billion for 2009-10.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
We hold figures for the number of Commonwealth nationals who have sought the protection or assistance of British missions overseas, but make no further breakdown by nationality. In 2007-08 (the latest year for which figures are available) our overseas Posts provided 423 services, including advice and self help, to Commonwealth nationals.
Colombia: EU External Trade
Yes, the UK is leading efforts within the EU to ensure that any agreement with Colombia is linked to a human rights clause. This clause will enable us to suspend the agreement if it is breached, and will act as a catalyst for frank dialogue with Colombia on the issue.
The latest period for which figures are available is April 2008 to March 2009. Details have been provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for publication by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at:
The proportions of foods procured by the FCO that were produced in the UK are as follows:
lamb and mutton - 50 per cent.
beef and veal - 80 per cent.
chicken - poultry meat - 75 per cent.
pork - 45 per cent.
turkey - included in poultry meat
other meats - 0 per cent.
Ware potatoes - whole, unprepared - 99 per cent.
Processed potatoes - for prepared both whole and cut - 100 per cent.
Roots and Onions - for example carrots, parsnips, onions, turnips and swedes - 82 per cent.
Brassicas - for example brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower - 65 per cent.
Legumes - for example beans (broad), beans (runner and dwarf), peas (green for market), peas (green for processing), peas (harvested dry) - 52 per cent.
Protected vegetables - for example tomatoes (round, vine, plum and cherry), tomatoes (cold), cucumbers, lettuce, celery, sweet peppers - 25 per cent.
Other vegetables - for example asparagus, celery, leeks, lettuce, watercress - 55 per cent.
Orchard fruit - for example dessert apples, culinary apples, pears, plums - 50 per cent.
Soft fruit - for example strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants - 31 per cent.
Departmental Legal Costs
The amount spent by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on external legal advice and representation from counsel and solicitors in private practice by way of disbursements paid via the Treasury Solicitor (which form the bulk of the FCO's external legal costs) in each year since 1998 is as follows:
(£) 1998-99 54,667.70 1999-2000 50,963.21 2000-01 117,117.11 2001-02 124,641.66 2002-03 697,878.22 2003-04 204,366.75 2004-05 331,731.68 2005-06 328,378.29 2006-07 387,591.16 2007-08 294,497.06 2008-09 362,177.08
The figure for such spending for the financial year 1997-98 is no longer held by the FCO.
The FCO does not hold information on aggregate amounts of external fees paid other than via the Treasury Solicitor.
These professional services are commissioned for the purposes of legal representation in court proceedings and obtaining legal advice.
The information is as follows.
(a) Neither the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, its Executive agencies (FCO Services and Wilton Park) or its non-departmental public bodies make bonus payments to consultants or individual contractors.
(b) Incentive regimes are rarely used for contracts with consultants and individual contractors. If incentives are included in a contract they are negotiated on a case- by-case basis taking care to ensure value for money. No central record is maintained of such contractual provisions.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) operates two types of bonus scheme.
The main scheme is purely performance related, based on the previous year’s appraisal. The purpose of the scheme is to encourage excellent individual performance and achievement during the year.
We also operate an in-year bonus scheme for staff below the senior civil service only.
The scheme is designed to give managers scope to recognise specific examples of good performance, which contribute towards the achievement of the FCO, directorate general, directorate or mission’s objectives.
Departmental Property: Theft
Departmental Rail Travel
The total weight of paper recycled on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) UK estate during the last five financial years was:
FY Tonnes 2004-05 153.88 2005-06 76 2006-07 130.4 2007-08 137 2008-09 148
In 2008-09 the total waste arisings of the FCO on its UK estate were 960 tonnes of which 59 per cent. was recycled. This compares to a figure of 48 per cent. for 2007-08.
Diplomatic Relations: Parliament
The report on “Promoting Parliamentary Diplomacy” is still in draft and has not yet been approved by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe or communicated to the Committee of Ministers. We will contribute to the Committee of Ministers’ response in due course, if the Parliamentary Assembly requests such a response.
Gibraltar: Politics and Government
While the Government continually monitor Gibraltar’s compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights, there have been no recent discussions on the specific application of the convention.
The issue of citizenship by Moroccan residents in Gibraltar has been recently discussed by officials of the Governor’s Office and the Government of Gibraltar. Processes which lead to the acquisition of British Citizenship in Gibraltar come under the responsibility of the Governor’s Office on behalf of the Government. The Government of Gibraltar are responsible for regulation covering immigration to Gibraltar.
In the financial year 2008-09 Government Hospitality managed 213 functions hosted by Ministers or permanent secretaries for the following Government Departments:
The Office of the Prime Minister; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; the Ministry of Defence; the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; the Ministry of Justice; the Department for International Development; the Home Office; the Department for Children Families and Schools; the Department for the Energy and Climate Change; the Department of Health; HM Treasury; the Cabinet Office, and the Office of the Attorney-General.
Officials in the Department for International Development (DFID) have received reports from the Child Victims of the Iraq War Foundation of high rates of foetal abnormalities and infant deaths in Fallujah. At present, the situation remains unclear due to discrepancies in the data available from a range of sources on this topic. DFID has requested further information on this issue from various international medical organisations operating in Fallujah.
We understand that since the events at Camp Ashraf on 28 July, the situation is generally calm and the camp residents have continued access to food, water, medical and essential supplies. Officials from our embassy in Baghdad have met with the Iraqi government Ashraf Committee and the UN to discuss the situation. During these meetings they confirmed that necessary supplies were able to enter the camp unimpeded.
Our ambassador in Iraq wrote to the Iraqi Human Rights Minister to ask for a review of the events that took place at the camp on 28 July. The Iraqi government are undertaking a review and we have asked to be kept informed of progress.
Camp Ashraf is in a sovereign and democratic Iraq and the camp residents subject to its laws. The UK is of the view that the residents of Camp Ashraf, as with all people in Iraq, enjoy rights and protections under the Iraqi constitution and applicable international obligations to which Iraq is a signatory. We do not consider that they have ‘protected persons’ status.
We do not feel a ministerial statement is necessary at this time.
Middle East: Armed Conflict
We made clear that the Goldstone report raised very serious issues. We worked hard before the vote at the UN General Assembly in New York on 5 November to reach a consensus on calling for independent investigations. In the end we had to abstain, with France and 42 others, because voting for would have meant endorsing the report and ignoring its flaws. But the issues are serious and the parties should address them.
The UK worked hard before the vote at the UN in New York, on 5 November, to reach a consensus on calling for independent investigation. In the end we had to abstain, with France and 42 others, because voting for would have meant endorsing the report and ignoring its flaws. But the issues are serious and the parties should address them. The UK representative voted in accordance with Ministers' instructions.
National Independent Electoral Commission
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) was able to hold the first Afghan-led elections for over 30 years. In the face of insecurity and threats to its 160,000 staff across Afghanistan, it enabled millions of Afghans to come out and make their voice heard in choosing the future leadership of their country. While there were minor complaints about the quality of some of the materials it used, such as the hole punches to mark the voter cards, the operation overall was well resourced. The UK contributed £16.5 million to the UN basket fund for elections, which included recourses and capacity building for the IEC.
Clearly there are lessons to be learned for future elections. But the processes in place provided for an independent audit of the results that came through the IEC. The audit process, conducted by the Electoral Complaints Commission, in co-operation with the IEC following election day on 20 August, was robust and transparent: flaws in the process were reported, investigated and decided on, and fraudulent ballots removed. Following the conclusion of this process, we are confident that the result of the 2009 presidential elections reflects the will of the Afghan people.
Somalia: Human Trafficking
We have not received any reports on the levels of human trafficking in Somalia. The extremely fragile security situation in Somalia means that the UK does not have any presence on the ground with which to monitor issues such as human trafficking. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not held discussions with his Somali counterpart on the matter.
The February 2009 report of the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights in Somalia identified human trafficking, along with many other human rights issues and criminal acts, as an important challenge to be addressed. The report recommends that the Transitional Federal Government make human rights the foundation of its transitional period and that the UN address the root causes of smuggling and trafficking of people across the Gulf of Aden. The UK works closely with the UN Political Office for Somalia to progress the UN-led Djibouti peace agreement.
United Arab Emirates
The UK aims to strengthen relations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in all fields to our mutual benefit.
We work closely with the UAE to promote support for enhanced regional and global security, we aim to improve cultural, sporting and scientific co-operation including supporting the creation and promotion of large scale renewable energy programmes by the UAE.
Our work also aims to support British citizens in the UAE and to foster effective trade and economic co-operation that will further enhance links between British and Emirati businesses to operate successfully.