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Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many employees of his Department attended Civil Service Live in (a) 2008, (b) 2009 and ( c) 2010; and what estimate he has made of the (i) employee working hours taken up by and (ii) cost to his Department of such attendance in each such year. 
The overall delegate numbers for Civil Service Live in 2008, 2009 and 2010 were approximately 6,000, 8,000 and 7,700 respectively. Delegate registration is managed centrally by Dods. The Ministry of Justice does not keep a central record of every member of staff that attends, or the amount of employee working hours taken up by attendance. Obtaining this information would incur a disproportionate cost.
Civil servants do not pay to attend Civil Service Live events. There will have been some travel and subsistence costs for delegates, which will be paid for by the department. Travel and subsistence costs relating specifically to attendance at Civil Service Live events are not held
centrally and obtaining this information would incur a disproportionate cost. Civil servants attending the event will, however, have followed the Ministry's travel and subsistence guidelines.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether his Department or its predecessor has had discussions with the Criminal Cases Review Commission on the case of Gary Critchley since its inception. 
Mr Blunt: There is no record of Ministers or officials from the Ministry of Justice, or its predecessors, having any discussions with the Criminal Cases Review Commission, since its inception, about the case of Gary Critchley. The Commission is independent in its consideration of cases and it would be inappropriate for Ministers to comment or intervene on individual cases.
Mr Blunt: The principal risk assessment tool used across the probation service and prison service is the Offender Assessment System (OASys). OASys includes two predictors of reoffending, the OASys General reoffending Predictor (OGP) and the OASys Violence Predictor (OVP), and a separate risk of serious harm component focusing upon the likelihood of life-threatening and/or traumatic events. For those offenders who are not assessed through OASys, the Offender Group Reconviction Scale version 3 (OGRS 3) provides a prediction of proven reoffending within one and two years.
Other tools are used for particular groups of offenders. The Spousal Abuse Risk Assessment (SARA) is frequently used with those convicted of domestic violence. Risk Matrix 2000 (RM2000) is used across both prison and probation services to estimate likelihood of sexual and violent reoffending risk among men with a history of sexual offending; this is a static risk scale which informs decisions about appropriate intensity of treatment and management. Also for sex offenders undergoing treatment programmes, the Structured Assessment of Risk and Need (SARN) is used to guide treatment, report on the impact of treatment and determine future supervision needs. For long-term, violent, prisoners, tools such as the Historical Clinical and Risk management 20 (HCR-20), Violence Risk Scale (VRS), and Psychopathy Check List Revised (PCL-R) may also be used in order to guide risk assessment and treatment approaches.
fuel and utilities;
Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) arrests, (b) prosecutions and (c) convictions of (i) men and (ii) women who have been in breach of a non-molestation injunction order there have been since the coming into force of the provisions of the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004. 
Mr Blunt: The information requested on arrests is not collected centrally. The arrests collection held by the Home Office covers arrests for recorded crime (notifiable offences) only, broken down at a main offence group level, covering categories such as violence against the person and sexual offences. From these centrally reported data it is not possible to identify specific offences from within the main offence groups.
Information on prosecutions and convictions of those who breach the terms of their injunction is not currently available. Statisticians in the Ministry of Justice are currently undertaking a programme of work which aims to provide reliable statistics on such cases in the future.
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many foster parents have been (a) investigated for, (b) charged with and (c) convicted of child cruelty offences in each of the last five years. 
Mr Blunt: The Ministry of Justice does not centrally hold details on investigations, or whether the defendant was related to the victim other than where the offence is specified separately in law. It is therefore not possible to identify from prosecutions or convictions for cruelty to or neglect of children, those which relate to foster parents.
Mr Straw: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proportion of the prison population in England and Wales comprised prisoners sentenced to (a) six months imprisonment or less and (b) between six and 12 months on the latest date for which information is available. 
Mr Blunt: As at 31 May 2010 there were 4,626 and 3,227 prisoners serving sentences of less than six months and six months to less than 12 months respectively. These groups represent 5.4% and 3.8% respectively of the total prison population, which was 85,018 at 31 May 2010.
Mr Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many staff in HM Prison Service have transferred to work in the National Probation Service since the creation of the National Offender Management Service; 
Mr Blunt: Information on the leaving destination of staff in the HM Prison Service and in Probation Trusts is collected centrally but not in enough detail to provide figures on the number of staff transferring between the two services.
Mr Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much has flowed from (a) the Prison Service budget to the probation budget and (b) from the probation budget to the Prison Service budget in each of the 10 regional offender management areas in each of the last five years. 
Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his most recent estimate is of the number of (a) drug and (b) alcohol-dependent prisoners in the prison population in England and Wales. 
Mr Blunt: The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) estimates that on average 55% of those entering prison are drug dependent. The number who are physically dependent on alcohol, which can be defined as those who need alcohol detoxification, are estimated to be around 15% of males and 12% of females.
Drug and alcohol treatment need in prisons is determined on a local basis. Central estimates of treatment need are reliant on epidemiological surveys. The figures above are derived primarily from an Office for National Statistics (ONS) report(1) which followed a large psychiatric survey of morbidity among prisoners(2) in 1997.
A more recent source of information regarding prevalence of substance misuse among sentenced prisoners is "The problems and needs of newly sentenced prisoners: results from a national survey" published by the Ministry of Justice in October 2008. Although this did not look specifically at drug or alcohol dependency,
it did show 62% of prisoners reporting some drug use and 36% reporting heavy drinking in the four weeks before custody.
In 2009-10, a total of 60,067 prisoners received a clinical intervention for drug dependency. Equivalent figures for alcohol were last collated centrally in 2002-03, when an estimated 6,400 prisoners undertook an alcohol detoxification and an estimated 7,000 more prisoners undertaking detoxification for combined alcohol and drug misuse.
(1) Singleton, N., Farrell, M. and Meltzer, H. (1998) "Substance misuse among prisoners in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics.
(2) Office for National Statistics (1997), "Psychiatric morbidity among prisoners".
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the annual cost to the public purse of detaining a person in prison compared with the cost of such people serving community sentences. 
Mr Blunt: In 2008-09, the annual cost per prisoner was £41,000. It is not currently possible to separate the cost of supervising offenders on community sentences as probation caseloads also include significant numbers of offenders who have been released from a custodial sentence or released temporarily into the community. Work is in hand in the National Offender Management Service to ensure that all offender services delivered in custody and in the community are properly specified and costed so that commissioners can ensure resources are targeted effectively to protect the public and reduce reoffending.
Our future plans for, and the balance of expenditure between, custodial and community provision will need to be considered in light of the assessment of sentencing and work on new approaches to rehabilitation.
Mr George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what research from (a) internal and (b) external sources his Department has (i) commissioned and (ii) evaluated on the effectiveness of sentences of less than six months. 
Mr Blunt: The Ministry of Justice produces re-offending rates. 65.3% of those released from sentences of less than six months in the first quarter of 2008 re-offended within 12 months. In terms of community sentences, the proportion of offenders commencing a court order who committed a re-offence in 2008 was 36.1%. Differences between the offenders that receive different sentences mean comparisons with other forms of disposal cannot be made using these raw figures. However, the Department is currently working on a more sophisticated analysis of re-offending rates to control for differences between those sent to prison and other offenders. The results will be published in late November.
Aside from this the Ministry of Justice has not commissioned or evaluated any evidence specifically on the effectiveness of sentences of less than six months. The Ministry of Justice is conducting further analysis to support the current sentencing review. This will be published alongside the review's proposals.
Mr George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Delyn of 6 July 2010, Official Report, columns 171-4W, on prison sentences, in respect of how many of the offences listed in the answer the available sentences have been reviewed by the Sentencing Guidelines Council. 
Mr Blunt: Of the 116 offences and offence groupings listed 51 are covered by offence-specific guidelines issued by the Sentencing Guidelines Council. In a further eight offence groupings in the list there are offence-specific guidelines issued by the Sentencing Guidelines Council that cover some offences within the grouping.
Mr George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Law Officers, (b) the Chancellor of the Exchequer and (c) the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the use of sentences of less than six months; 
(2) what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Lord Chief Justice, (b) the Sentencing Council for England and Wales, (c) the Crown Prosecution Service and (d) representatives of criminal justice non-governmental organisations on the use of sentences of less than six months. 
Mr Blunt: As part of his introduction to his new role, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Kenneth Clarke) has had discussions with a wide range of Cabinet colleagues and representatives from the criminal justice system, which have touched on many issues. Short custodial sentences will be considered as part of our full assessment of sentencing policy and we will be seeking the views of sentencers and others as part of that exercise.
Mr George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Delyn of 6 July 2010, Official Report, columns 171-74W, on prison sentences, which of the offences listed in the answer for which custodial sentences of six months or fewer were given he is considering for community-based sentences. 
Mr Blunt: We believe that prison is essential for serious offenders. But community sentences can be more effective in promoting rehabilitation and reducing reoffending. We are carrying out a full assessment of sentencing policy and will set out our proposals in a Green Paper in the autumn.
Under current legislation, a community order is available for adults as a sentence for any imprisonable offence, except those for which the sentence is fixed by law, where the offending is serious enough to warrant a community sentence. The law also makes it clear that even if the offending is so serious that custody is justified, mitigating factors can allow the court to impose a community sentence. Within statutory limits, the sentence imposed in any individual case is entirely a matter for the court.
A community sentence is not a soft option. It can combine tough punishment with changing offenders' behaviour and making amends. It can also encourage the offender to deal with any problems that might be making them commit crime, such as drug or alcohol misuse. The failure to deal effectively with the root causes of an individual's offending and the excessive use of imprisonment often just delays further offending when that person is released from prison, having been further influenced by exposure to more serious offenders.
We are conducting a full assessment of sentencing policy to ensure that it is effective in deterring crime, protecting the public, punishing offenders and cutting re-offending. Community sentences will be considered as part of that assessment and we will be asking judges and magistrates for their views on which are effective.
Phil Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of appeals and tribunals relating to disability living allowance in respect of (a) adults and (b) children with autism in each of the last 10 years; 
Mr Djanogly: The First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) does not record disability living allowance (DLA) appeals by the age of the appellant or by their disability and cannot, therefore, provide the cost of specific case types. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost by manually checking individual appeal files. In addition, the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) destroys appeal files six months after the conclusion of a case, so, for the majority of the period requested by the hon. Member, information is no longer available.
The Tribunals Service was created in 2006 and can provide figures only from this date. Prior to this, the Appeals Service, an agency of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was responsible for the appeals system. The DWP is unable to provide any data.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) men and (b) women have been prosecuted under section 1 of the War Crimes Act 1991 in each year since the Act entered into force. [R] 
Mr Blunt: Information collected centrally by the Ministry of Justice on the Court Proceedings Database does not separately identify offences under the War Crimes Act 1991. Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes are recorded as murder or ancillary offences.
Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he plans to publish his Department's implementation plans for achieving a 20 per cent. year reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from its estate over the next 12 months. 
Gregory Barker: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister committed central Government Departments to reduce carbon emissions from energy use in their buildings by 10% in the first 12 months of this Government. As set out in a previous answer I gave to the hon. Member for Coventry South (Mr Cunningham) on 7 July 2010, Official Report, column 337W, DECC will play its part by adopting further technological measures and involving building users in additional behaviour change to deliver the required savings. It is expected that all departments will make further information about the measures they intend to take to reduce emissions available on their websites in due course.
Gregory Barker: DECC are actively engaged in adopting the principles of regulation of the coalition Government. As part of this work all policies inherited by the last Government and yet to be implemented are being reviewed. Lord Marland has also written to DECC stakeholders asking for their views on possible existing or planned DECC regulations that may be simplified or repealed. I will consider the need for a statement once the review has been finalised.
Gregory Barker: We are currently recruiting two European Fast streamers in DECC (due for entry September 2010). As the Cabinet Office guidance states the purpose of these roles is to develop the capacity of the fast streamers to be successful in applications and assessment to posts in the European Commission.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what training has been provided for Ministers in his Department since the formation of the present administration; and at what cost. 
Gregory Barker: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr Maude) to the hon. Member for West Bromwich East (Mr Watson) on 3 June 2010, Official Report, columns 51-52W. The National School of Government is funded through its Core Learning Programme to deliver induction and other training to Ministers and there is no separate charge to Departments.
Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what plans he has to encourage the use of heat pumps in Government buildings, including the implementation of air source and ground source heat pumps, in order to reduce energy costs. 
Gregory Barker: Government Departments will need to make an assessment of where air source and ground source heat pumps can play a cost-effective part in delivering their energy use and emissions reductions to meet the central Government 10% emissions reduction target, alongside other technologies and energy efficiency measures.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) if he will discuss with Ministerial colleagues the introduction in the UK of grid protection measures similar to those in the US Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense Bill; and if he will make a statement; 
Charles Hendry: The protection and resilience of the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI), which underpins the delivery of essential services to our citizens, is taken very seriously across Government. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) works closely with the Centre for the Protection of Critical National Infrastructure (CPNI) and the energy industry to ensure an integrated approach to protective security in the sector, by means of physical, cyber, and personnel security measures which are appropriate and proportionate to the risk.
The Government's Cyber Security Strategy of the United Kingdom, published alongside and reflected in the National Security Strategy update of June 2009, considers a range of methods of cyber attacks. It also outlined new governance structures and workstreams which are now building on existing work to take forward the Government's plan for reducing the impact on and vulnerability of the UK's interests from cyber attacks. The Government are building upon this work and have already discussed the importance of proportionate protection for cyber attacks within the newly formed National Security Council, at which the SoS for Energy and Climate Change was present.
DECC works closely with the UK's energy sector to consider the impacts to energy supplies of a range of hazards and threats, including solar flares and electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Together with the CPNI and the Office of Cyber Security (OCS) we identify and mitigate vulnerabilities in the national infrastructure that could be exploited by such threats, including cyber threats, and share best practice across the CNI. We continually assess the risks we identify, determine proportionate mitigations where necessary, and regularly test our responses through national and international exercises.
The CPNI provides advice on electronic or cyber protective security measures to the businesses and organisations that comprise the UK's critical national infrastructure, including public utilities, companies and financial centres. The CPNI also provides a Response Service which responds to reported attacks on private sector networks. Indeed, if a cyber security breach impacts an energy utility company's operational capability leading to security of supply concerns, the Government have existing procedures (including my Department's emergency response plans) and existing powers (including, where appropriate, emergency powers under the Energy Act 1976) to intervene.
DECC does not, or course, have responsibility for the resilience of sites critical to the UK national defence,
one of the aspects of this particular Act. I can confirm, however, that my colleague, the Secretary of State for Defence, has robust defences and continuity arrangements in place to maintain the integrity of all sites critical to the defence of the United Kingdom.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he has had with the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) on funding the programme of work set out in the recently published NDA report on nuclear waste management, "Geological Disposal: Steps towards implementation". 
Charles Hendry: Ministers have regular discussions with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) which cover all aspects, including resources and financial performance, of the decommissioning and clean-up of the UK's public civil nuclear sites including the geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste.
The Government welcome the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's (NDA) report "Geological Disposal: Steps towards implementation". Government are committed to ensuring implementation of geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste, coupled with safe and secure interim storage and a geological disposal facility siting process based on voluntarism and partnership.
Tackling the nuclear legacy is a high priority and we are committed to securing the funding necessary to maintain safety and make progress with decommissioning. Funding for 2011-12 will be dealt with through the spending review process but implementation of geological disposal is necessarily a long term programme and investment will be incurred over a period of many decades. Government are committed to a process that is staged and allows costs and value for money to be assessed at various points as the programme proceeds.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he last made an assessment of the value for money and relevance of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's Radioactive Waste Management Directorate research and development programme in support of delivery of Managing Radioactive Waste Safely plans. 
Charles Hendry: Government are committed to ensuring implementation of geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste, coupled with safe and secure interim storage and ongoing research and development (R&D) to support its optimised implementation. The implementation process is staged and allows costs and value for money to be assessed at various points as the programme proceeds.
Following consultation, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's Radioactive Waste Management Directorate published its 'Research and Development Strategy to underpin Geological Disposal' in March 2009. This sets out how a needs-driven R&D programme will be delivered in a way that ensures both quality and value for money. This includes procuring R&D services through a competitive tender process, proactively managing R&D activities, using internal and external review to ensure technical
quality, making results widely available and regularly evaluating the outputs of the programme. The strategy is available at:
Furthermore, the independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) reported on the current provision and future R&D needs for the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely programme in 2009. Government are currently considering this report and will be responding shortly. Copies of this response will be placed into the Libraries of the House.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what cost-recovery arrangements the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is applying to the agreement made in June 2010 with the Nuclear Industry Association on behalf of potential new build operators to undertake initial feasibility studies to investigate (a) consideration of alternative geological disposal facility design options for new build spent fuel, (b) issue associated with centralised spent fuel storage, (c) issues associated with centralised spent fuel packaging and (d) consideration of alternative spent fuel cask designs; and what the monetary value is of the contract. 
Charles Hendry: The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) has a contract in place to allow all costs incurred from these initial feasibility studies to be paid by the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA).
The value of the initial feasibility studies contract to be reimbursed to RWMD is £110,000. The contract, which is for the provision of advice, allows for other future work to be contracted by the NIA to the RWMD. The total value of the current contract which could be drawn upon in the future for follow-on studies is £500,000.
Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the provisions of the EU Renewable Energy Directive in supporting the use of waste bioliquids under the renewables obligation; and if he will make a statement. 
Charles Hendry: The renewable energy directive considers bioliquids derived from waste to have zero life cycle greenhouse gas emissions up to the point at which the fuel is collected or processed. Some wastes are exempt from the land-based criteria designed to protect land with high biodiversity, land protected for nature conservation purposes and land with a high carbon stock.
Peter Aldous: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what percentage of the UK energy supply comes from renewable generation; and what the equivalent figure is projected to be (a) in each of the next five years and (b) in 2020. 
Charles Hendry: Overall UK energy consumption from renewables was 2.3% in 2008 (the latest data available). The Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics (DUKES) 2010, giving 2009 data, will be published at the end of July.
Projections of the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption under the EU renewable energy directive definition for 2010-14 and 2020 are given in the table. These are based on June 2010 Updated Energy and Emissions Projections published on the DECC website.
|Projected renewable energy as percentage of final energy consumption (RED) definition|
DECC June 2010 updated Energy and Emissions Projections
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to implement the recommendations of the National Audit Office report on Government funding for developing renewable energy technologies, HC35. 
Charles Hendry: I welcome the National Audit Office (NAO) report on Government funding for developing renewable energy technologies. We are currently drawing up plans to implement the recommendations in the report. Action has already been taken within the Department in response to its Capability Review, and this addresses some of the NAO's recommendations.
Gregory Barker: We are committed to a radical devolution of power and financial autonomy to local government and community groups. The future of local area agreements will be considered in this context and we will make a further announcement in due course.
Tackling climate change is one of our top priorities and we want to see communities and individuals owning a stake in our collective low-carbon future. For example we want communities to directly benefit from wind farms they host. This is why we will allow councils to keep the additional business rates paid by wind farms and other renewable energy generators, and support communities in having a stake in appropriately sited renewable energy projects like wind farms.
As we announced in 'The Coalition: our programme for government', we are seeking the advice of the Committee on Climate Change on whether it will be possible to increase our ambitions for renewable energy. We will make decisions on whether to set any new targets for renewable energy in light of this work.
Peter Aldous: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will bring forward proposals to (a) limit the maximum height of wind turbines and (b) introduce a proximity rule on applications for wind farms sited close to residential areas. 
Charles Hendry: There are currently no plans to bring forward measures to limit the height of wind turbines or introduce a proximity rule. The assessment of an application to develop a wind farm already includes, among other things, an analysis of visual and landscape impacts to ascertain whether the location and height of the wind farm is acceptable. The Government consider that these impacts are best assessed on a case by case basis so that local factors can be taken fully into account, regardless of whether applications are dealt with at national or local level. Where applications are dealt with at local level, we believe that councils should have the opportunity to decide these matters on behalf of their local community.
Ian Austin: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities whether she plans to relocate civil servants working for the Government Equalities Office (a) out of London and (b) to the West Midlands; and if she will make a statement. 
Lynne Featherstone: The Minister for Women and Equalities is not proposing to relocate civil servants working for the Government Equalities Office (GEO) out of London or to the West Midlands. GEO is a very small policy Department working closely with Ministers in London.
Yvette Cooper: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities if she will require businesses with more than 250 employees to disclose gender pay information by 2013 if they have not done so already. 
Priti Patel: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the House of Commons Commission what the cost of administering and processing early day motions was in each year between 1997-98 and 2008-09. 
Sir Stuart Bell: The latest estimate of the annual cost of administering early day motions, set out in the recent answer to the hon. Member for Hartlepool (14 June 2010), was approximately £1 million in financial year 2009-10. This included printing and publication, staff time and technical support. Figures for previous years are not readily available but there is no reason to suppose that that they have altered significantly in real terms, other than that the number of EDMs tabled has increased.
The number of EDMs tabled for each Session since 2000-01, together with the average number tabled per sitting day to enable comparisons to be made between Sessions of differing lengths, are as follows:
|Total||Average per sitting day|
Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the House of Commons Commission what discussions the House of Commons Commission has had on (a) its budget for 2010-11 and (b) the changes to staffing levels required to achieve budgetary reductions; and if he will make a statement. 
Sir Stuart Bell:
The Commission initially discussed and agreed a resource estimate for 2010-11 on 14 December 2009. It also decided to cut House expenditure by 9% by the end of 2012-13, and in addition to absorb the cost of inflation. In the light of current economic circumstances, the Commission reconsidered the proposed 2010-11 Estimate on 7 June and 21 June 2010, and announced a reduction in its 2010-11 budget of 5% to £219 million on 22 June. The initial savings will be made in various ways, including scaling back a number of programmes and projects by £4 million, reducing the parliamentary works programme and a freeze on all but essential recruitment. £800,000 will be cut from the budget for select committee travel this year and, to save a further £500,000, catering prices across the House will be raised. This will bring cafeteria prices into line with benchmark workplace venues and bar prices into line with a competitively-priced high street pub chain. More detailed
consideration of further reductions will be part of a savings programme set up to identify and achieve additional budget reductions over the next three years.
Mr Knight: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the House of Commons Commission for what reasons the cabling work was undertaken in the underground car park during a period when the House was sitting; and for what reasons such work was not scheduled to be carried out during the summer recess. 
Sir Stuart Bell: As part of the fire safety programme a safety issue was identified in the underground car park and it was decided to install, as soon as practicable, equipment to monitor Carbon Monoxide levels. The installation is now complete.
Mr Chope: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the House of Commons Commission how many expressions of interest in obtaining childcare places in the House of Commons Nursery have been received; and how many have been received from (a) hon. Members, (b) hon. Members' staff and (c) others who work on the Parliamentary estate. 
(a) hon. Members: six places;
(b) hon. Members' staff: four places;
(c) staff of the House or PICT (the only others who work on the parliamentary estate who are entitled to apply): seven places.
Expressions of firm interest have been accepted since June. Once the nursery is registered by OFSTED, firm expressions of interest will be able to be converted into bookings. Occupancy rates for a new nursery build up over time: the House of Commons Nursery has been planned on this basis.
The Deputy Prime Minister: The goal of Your Freedom is to allow as many people as possible to contribute their ideas and comments in a cost-effective way. An assessment was made of translating the content into other languages but all options considered were felt to be disproportionately expensive.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what (a) local government and (b) central Government databases electoral registration officers may use in undertaking their registration functions. 
(a) In Great Britain, electoral registration officers (EROs) may currently inspect records held by the local authority that appointed them and by the registrar of births and deaths (in Scotland, the registrar of births, deaths and marriages) to assist them in maintaining the electoral register. These include:
the register of births and deaths;
council tax records;
registers of households in multiple occupation;
local land and property gazetteers;
housing benefit applications;
lists of persons in residential and care homes (in unitary local authorities only); and
details of "attainers" (those aged 16 or 17) held by education departments (in unitary local authorities only).
EROs appointed by district or borough councils in two tier local authority areas may therefore not have access to records held by county councils, including data held by social services and education departments.
(b) EROs in Great Britain do not have access to central Government databases. However, in Northern Ireland a system of Individual Electoral Registration has been in place since 2002, and in 2006 the annual canvass was replaced with a system of 'continuous registration' based on data matching the electoral register against other public databases. The Chief Electoral Officer in Northern Ireland is allowed to access records held by the following authorities:
the Registrar General of Births and Deaths in Northern Ireland;
the Northern Ireland Central Services Agency;
the Department for Work and Pensions;
secondary schools; and
the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate has been made of the proportion of (a) black and ethnic minority people, (b) students, (c) people living in social housing, (d) unemployed people and (e) low paid people who are on the electoral register; and what assessment has been made of the effects of the introduction of individual voter registration on registration rates for these groups. 
(a) 17% of ethnic minority individuals;
(b) 22% of students;
(c) 10% of those renting from a local authority and 11% of those renting from a housing association or similar; and
(d) 18% of unemployed people
"areas with the highest levels of employment and income deprivation had the highest levels of non-registration in 2000."
While no recent national estimates have been made in these areas, the Electoral Commission's more recent report The Completeness and Accuracy of Electoral Registers in Great Britain (March 2010) found that, based on case study research:
"Under-registration and inaccuracy are closely associated with the social groups most likely to move home across all seven areas in Phase two (therefore excluding Knowsley), under-registration is notably higher than average among 17-24 year-olds (56% not registered), private sector tenants (49%) and black and minority ethnic (BME) British residents (31%)".
Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidance is provided to local authority electoral registration officers on their use of telephone calls to increase levels of electoral registration. 
The Commission's guidance highlights that it is for EROs to use whatever methods they decide on to maintain the register, bearing in mind the requirements of section 9A of the Representation of the People Act 1983. Each ERO is under a duty to take all steps that are necessary to maintain their registers.
(a) sending more than once to any address the form to be used for the canvass;
(b) making on one or more occasions house to house inquiries;
(c) making contact by such other means as the registration officer thinks appropriate with persons who do not have an entry in a register;
(d) inspecting any records held by any person which he is permitted to inspect under or by virtue of any enactment or rule of law;
(e) providing training to persons under his direction or control in connection with the carrying out of the duty.
I understand that the Commission's guidance encourages EROs to use telephones for applicants with visual impairments and to consider a telephone translation service for conducting the annual canvass in respect of those who do not speak English. However, applicants cannot apply to be added to the electoral register by telephone.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to encourage sixth formers and university students to register to vote. 
Mr Harper: Neither I nor the Deputy Prime Minister have had such discussions. The Government are considering ways to maximise registration rates in the context of the implementation of individual electoral registration and will announce their approach in due course.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which local authorities (a) used and (b) did not use door-to-door canvassing for the purpose of electoral registration in their most recent registration exercise. 
Mr Harper: Under section 9A of the Representation of the People Act 1983, electoral registration officers (EROs) have a duty to take certain steps to maintain the electoral register. The steps that EROs must take, as set out in that section, include:
(a) sending more than once to any address the form to be used for the canvass;
(b) making on one or more occasions house to house inquiries;
(c) making contact by such other means as the registration officer thinks appropriate with persons who do not have an entry in a register;
(d) inspecting any records held by any person which he is permitted to inspect under or by virtue of any enactment or rule of law;
(e) providing training to persons under his direction or control in connection with the carrying out of the duty.
The Government do not collect information on the steps taken by EROs. However, the Electoral Commission requests that EROs supply them with information about the methods they use to canvass properties. This information is supplied on a voluntary basis, and does not therefore give a comprehensive picture.
Number of households sent an annual canvass form
Number of households returning a canvass form by personal canvasser
Number of electors added to the revised register following the 2009 annual canvass as a result of an annual canvass form
Number of electors on the local government register at 1 September 2009
Number of electors on the local government register at 1 December 2009
Mr Harper: Electoral registration officers (EROs) are responsible for ensuring the accuracy and completeness of the electoral register at a local level. However, the Government have committed to speeding up the implementation of individual electoral registration, which will improve the accuracy of the register in each constituency.
Under individual electoral registration, people will register themselves rather than be registered as part of a household and will each have to provide three personal identifiers, i.e. date of birth, signature and national insurance number-the last of which will be cross-checked against the Department for Work and Pensions database as assurance of identity. This will improve the accuracy of the register and its security, by ensuring that only those entitled to vote will get on the register.
The Government are currently considering the options for implementation of individual electoral registration in a way that will improve levels of registration, so people who are entitled to vote are on the register and will announce its approach to this in due course.
Steve Rotheram: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress he has made in his consideration of implementation of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on the right of prisoners to vote in UK elections; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what guidance the Electoral Commission has provided to electoral registration officers on means of increasing electoral registration rates among groups with low rates. 
The Commission also publishes performance standards for electoral registration officers in Great Britain, which include standards relating to activities to encourage registration. The Commission has also been working with electoral registration officers who have fallen below the standards to improve their performance.
In addition, the Commission provides a range of resources for electoral registration officers to assist them in planning and conducting voter registration activities, which can also be downloaded from its website.
Andrew Griffiths: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission how much funding from the public purse the Labour Party will receive under the Policy Development Grant in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13. 
Mr Streeter: Section 12 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) requires the Electoral Commission to make payments of policy development grants to eligible political parties. Eligible parties are those that have at least two sitting Members of the House of Commons who have taken the oath of allegiance provided by the Parliamentary Oaths Act 1866.
Figures for 2011-12 and 2012-13 are not yet available as the grant amount is determined annually on 7 March and is dependent on the number of sitting MPs on that date and the votes cast in the most recent UK wide election.
Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the contribution to gross domestic product of the Bank of England's Asset Purchase Scheme in fiscal years (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2009-10. 
Mr Hoban: The independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England has operational responsibility for monetary policy, including use of the Asset Purchase Facility (APF). The Bank of England publishes quarterly reports on the APF in addition to minutes of the MPC's meetings, and a quarterly Inflation Report that sets out the detailed economic analysis and inflation projections on which the MPC bases its decisions. For example, analysis of the impact of the programme of asset purchases is set out on pages 12 and 13 of the May 2010 Inflation Report.
Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effects on tax revenues to the Exchequer of liabilities of companies involved in the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13. 
Justine Greening: In his capacity as Master of the Mint, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be considering themes for commemorative coins in 2012 in the coming months. The Royal Mint Advisory Committee will look at all of the proposed options before making final recommendations on which themes should be selected.
Mr Anderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. 
Graham Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many employees of his Department attended Civil Service Live in (a) 2008, (b) 2009 and (c) 2010; and what estimate he has made of the (i) employee working hours taken up and (ii) cost to his Department of such attendance in each such year. 
Justine Greening: As part of the Government's drive to enhance the UK's representation and voice in the EU institutions, HM Treasury focuses on secondments to posts which have an impact in terms of UK priorities for EU economic and financial policy and delivery. Placements are reviewed regularly to ensure value for money.
Nadine Dorries: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 26 May 2010, Official Report, columns 1-2WS, on Equitable Life, what progress he has made on his plans to make fair and transparent payments to Equitable Life policyholders through an independently-designed payment scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Hoban: Sir John Chadwick is advising the Treasury on the relative losses suffered by Equitable Life policyholders in relation to those accepted cases of maladministration resulting in injustice. He will submit his report shortly.
Ms Buck: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the percentage change in market rents for (a) one, (b) two, (c) three and (d) four bedroom properties in each broad market rental area in each year since 2000. 
Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his most recent estimate is of the proportion of the working population in (a) Hartlepool constituency and (b) the North East employed in the public sector. 
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what the most recent estimate is of the proportion of the working population in (a) Hartlepool constituency and (b) the North East employed in the public sector. (8347)
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) compiles statistics for public sector employment from the Quarterly Public Sector
Employment Survey (QPSES) and external sources. The public sector employment figures are compiled from returns from public sector organisations and are considered the best estimates for these statistics, however these figures are not available for parliamentary constituencies.
The ONS compiles employment statistics for local areas from the Annual Population Survey (APS) following International Labour Organisation (ILO) definitions. Individuals are classified to the public or private sector according to their responses to the APS. Consequently, the classification of an individual's sector may differ from how they would be classified in QPSES statistics.
Table 1, shows the number of persons employed in the public sector from the Public Sector Employment statistics in the North East, along with the estimate of the number and proportion of the working age population employed in the public sector in the Hartlepool constituency from the APS for the period January 2009 to December 2009. Estimates for the North East from the APS are also provided for comparison purposes.
As with any sample survey, estimates from the APS are subject to a margin of uncertainty. A guide to the quality of the estimates is given in table 1.
National and local area estimates for many labour market statistics, including employment, unemployment and claimant count are available on the NOMIS website at
|Table 1: Number( 1) and proportion of persons in employment in the public sector, resident in Hartlepool parliamentary constituency and in the North East|
|January-December 2009||Number (thousand)||Number (thousand)||Proportion( 2) (%)|
|'-' Estimates are not available|
(1) Coefficients of Variation have been calculated as an indication of the quality of the APS estimates. See Guide to Quality below.
(2) Proportion of working age population.
Guide to Quality:
The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of an estimate, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV-for example, for an estimate of 200 with a CV of 5% we would expect the population total to be within the range 180-220.
* 0 = CV<5%-Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered precise
** 5 = CV <10%-Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered reasonably precise
*** 10 = CV <20%-Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered acceptable
**** CV ? 20%-Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered too unreliable for practical purposes
Annual Population Survey (APS) and Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (QPSES)
Mr Gauke: The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget statement that the Government will consult with business in autumn 2010 to review the taxation of intellectual property, the support R&D tax credits provide for innovation and the proposals of the Dyson review.
The Government have committed to a "triple guarantee" of increasing the basic state pension by the highest of prices growth, earnings growth or 2.5%. Furthermore, so that pensioners are not left worse off than they would have been under the old price link, in 2011-12 the basic state pension will receive an increase equivalent to the growth in RPI, should that deliver the highest percentage increase. The following figures take into account the effects of this commitment.
These rates are estimated using the Office for Budget Responsibility's forecasts for growth and are consistent with the basic state pension expenditure forecasts published in the Budget of 22 June 2010.
The rates are indicative only as actual levels of inflation and earnings used may differ from forecasts. Actual increases in benefit rates are decided once the September inflation rates are available, ahead of the annual uprating order.
|Level of the basic state pension, standard rate on own contributions, weekly amount (£)|
Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he plans to take to counter the rise of sterling relative to the euro and its effect on the exporting of British goods in the eurozone. 
Justine Greening: The Government do not target the exchange rate but aims for price stability via an inflation target. The Government restated its full commitment to maintaining price stability in the Budget and the Chancellor confirmed that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will continue to target 2% inflation, as measured by the 12-month increase in the Consumer Prices Index.
The Government recognise that UK businesses need an environment which helps them compete in a global market place. The Budget announced a major package of tax reforms to improve the UK's competitiveness, intended to give businesses the confidence to invest for the long term, and to reduce the burden of tax and regulation.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to ensure that listed places of worship will be able to reclaim value added tax incurred on repairs and maintenance following the
closure of the Listed Places of Worship Scheme in March 2011. 
The Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme makes grants equivalent to the VAT incurred in making repairs to listed buildings mainly in use for worship. The scheme is currently in place until the end of March 2011. A decision on the future of the scheme can be taken only as part of wider spending review discussions, and will be announced as soon as possible.
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how much was paid in value added tax by residents in each income group in each constituency in North Wales in 2009-10. (7063).
Table 1 shows the average amount of VAT paid by households, by equivalised disposable income decile groups in the UK in 2008/09, the latest period which data are available. An estimate for all households in Wales is provided; however data by income group in Wales, or by parliamentary constituency, are not available due to small sample sizes.
These estimates, as with any involving sample surveys, are subject to a margin of uncertainty.
|Table 1: Average annual household VAT payment by equivalised disposable income decile groups( 1) , 2008-09|
|£ per year|
|Income decile group|
|(1) Households are ranked from lowest income to highest income. This distribution is then divided into 10 groups of equal size (referred to as decile groups). The bottom decile group is the 10% of households with the lowest incomes. (2) Data by income group are not available for Wales due to small sample sizes. Source: Office for National Statistics.|
Mr Allen: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority what steps the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is taking to provide sufficient fields in its IT system to enable the full addresses of all hon. Members' homes and offices to be (a) entered and (b) accepted. 
Mr Charles Walker: IPSA maintains address information in two systems, HR Payroll and Expenses@Work. Address information in the Expenses@Work system is required to provide a check that any invoice or receipt that the MP submits to IPSA for reimbursement is for the correct property. Only the first line of the address and postcode is required for verification. IPSA uses this to match the invoice or receipt to the registered property. IPSA does not store more information than necessary in the Expenses@Work system and IPSA has no plans at present to include additional fields for addresses.
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (1) what assessment the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has made of the administrative burden its online claims system places on hon. Members in terms of hours worked per month
compared to the paper-based claims system in use previously; and what representations IPSA has received about this matter from hon. Members; 
(2) if the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) will adapt its administrative systems in order to reduce the time required of hon. Members and their staff to complete expenses claims to the minimum that is consistent with the transparency and accountability required by the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009. 
Mr Charles Walker: IPSA has not conducted a review of the administrative burden placed on Members by the online claims system in comparison with the previous paper-based system. It has received a number of representations on this matter, some indicating that the system is easier and simpler to use than expected and others that it places unreasonable burdens on Members and their staff. IPSA continues to review the online system to ensure that it meets industry standards of usability and accessibility, and enables the transparency and accountability required by the Parliamentary Standards Act. In addition, it is offering MPs one-to-one assistance with the online system.
Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority for what reasons the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority offered training to hon. Members on the operation of the online system for claiming reimbursement from allowances by means of a screenshot presentation rather than by means of the on-system training offered to hon. Members staff. 
Mr Charles Walker: IPSA took the view that screenshots would be sufficient to provide an initial overview of the system at induction. This overview could not be provided using the live system because inductions were provided at a variety of locations convenient to MPs, not all of which had a guaranteed internet connection. MPs who wish to have training using the live online system have been invited to contact IPSA to arrange this. They have also been welcomed to attend the same training sessions as have been available for their staff.
Tim Loughton: Since the formation of the Department for Education no new grant programmes to charities, social enterprises and the voluntary and community sector have been announced. All grant programmes administered by the predecessor Department, the Department for Children, Schools and Families, were run in accordance with Compact principles. The Department for Education is committed to adhering to the Compact principles in the consideration and administration of any future grant programmes.
Great Smith Street
St Paul's Place
125 Norfolk Street
Castle View House
Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 26 May 2010, Official Report, columns 2-3WS, on savings (2010-11), under what budgetary headings the £670 million of savings allocated to his Department will be made. 
|Area of spending||Amount (£ million)|
While many of the savings are being achieved through doing things more cheaply and efficiently than previously, others have yet to be finally determined, and there is more work to be done to finalise the details. The thinking is being fleshed out in the course of the spending review work now in hand.
Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2010, Official Report, column 396W, on departmental reorganisation, (1) what the itemised components are of the cost of re-naming the Department for Education; 
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2010, Official Report, column 396W, on departmental reorganisation, how much was spent under each budget heading on renaming his Department. 
Tim Loughton [holding answer 7 July 2010]: The cost of renaming the Department was £5,250. In addition, it cost £2,250 to update our website, £1,404 for signage, £91 for stationery with the new brand and £1,215.44 for disposal and recycling of old stationery stock.
Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much (a) his Department and its predecessors and (b) its non-departmental public bodies spent on (i) electricity, (ii) water, (iii) heating and (iv) telephone services in each year since 1997. 
Tim Loughton: The Department is not able to provide a full response to the above question as this would incur disproportionate costs. We can provide the information for the Department's own buildings since 2007/08.
In 2007/08 the Department spent (i) £1,269,724 on electricity (ii) £86,069 on water (iii) £219,602 on heating and (iv) £1,956,118 on telephony.
In 2008/09 the Department spent (i) £1,443,144 on electricity (ii) £80,680 on water (iii) £240,208 on heating and (iv) £1,862,226 on telephony.
In 2009/10 the Department spent (i) £1,510,386 on electricity (ii) £46,031 on water (iii) £245,280 on heating and (iv) £1,508,973 on telephony.
Tim Loughton: It is not possible to estimate the cost to the Department of compliance with regulations arising from EU obligations because there are no records from which this information can readily be identified
Mr Gibb: This is a matter for the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA), which operates the discretionary learner support scheme for the Department for Education, including issuing the guidance. Peter Lauener, the YPLA's chief executive, will write to the hon. Member for Shipley with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries.
Mr Gibb: As the new coalition Government continue to develop and outline their objectives for education, the Department has taken steps to review all its programmes of work to assess what is required to support such plans, taking into account the imperative of tackling the budget deficit.
The Department has now delivered funding to programmes for 2010-11 that meet the main priorities of the new coalition Government, while ensuring value for money is maintained. As the coalition Government announced at the end of May, funding to support students already in the education system has been protected for this financial year.
In carrying out the review of the 14-19 programmes, as part of the spending review, the Department has also undertaken to make significant savings that will enable us to contribute towards the reduction in the nation's budget deficit.
Barbara Keeley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimate he has made of the number of children in (a) Worsley and Eccles South constituency and (b) Salford who would have been eligible for a free school meal from September 2010 under the proposals of the previous administration. 
Mr Gibb: The sum of £85 million allocated by the previous Government to extend free school meals this year, followed by costs of £190 million in 2011-12 and £215 million in 2012-13, falls far short of the true cost of £125 million this year, which the Department estimates will increase in cost to £310 million in 2011-12 and £350 million in 2012-13. Therefore the previous Administration would not have been able to meet its commitment to extend free school meals.
Mr Gibb [holding answer 8 July 2010]: We plan to give universities and learned bodies more say over the development of A level examinations, to ensure that they are robust and rigorous, and properly prepare students for higher education. We shall make a further announcement on the detail of reforms to the development of qualifications later in the year.
Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of pupils in each school in Enfield North constituency obtained five GCSEs at grades A* to C in each of the last five years. 
|Proportion of pupils at the end of key stage 4 achieving 5 or more GCSEs at grades A*-C; schools in Enfield North|
|(1) School not published. (2) Opened-new school, results not published. (3) No KS4 pupils-school had no pupils in year 11. (4) Results based on 10 or fewer pupils are suppressed. (5) School had pupils in year 11 but did not have any entered for KS4 qualifications. Source: Achievement and Attainment Tables.|
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many and what proportion of schools did not enter pupils for standard assessment tests in 2009 owing to industrial action by teaching unions. 
Mr Gibb: The Qualifications and Development Agency has confirmed that 4,005 schools did not administer the 2010 key stage 2 national curriculum tests. This is 26% of the maintained schools expected to do so. A list of these schools can be viewed at:
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what mechanism was used to establish threshold levels for standard assessment tests in 2009-10; and whether the industrial action by teaching unions had an effect on the threshold. 
Mr Gibb: The Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) was responsible for establishing level thresholds for the 2010 national curriculum tests. Lin Hinnigan, QCDA executive accounting officer, has written to my hon. Friend with the information on the mechanisms used to agree thresholds for this year's tests.
I am writing in response to the Parliamentary Question you recently tabled regarding level setting National Curriculum Tests, as requested by the Minister of State for Schools, Nick Gibb MP: "To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what mechanism was used to establish threshold levels for standard assessment tests in 2009-10; and whether the industrial action by teaching unions had an effect on the threshold."
The process of level setting for Key Stage 2 tests in English and mathematics 2010 was exactly the same as for previous years. The industrial action undertaken by teacher unions did not have any effect on how the process worked this year.
In terms of the process used to set levels, a range of procedures, both statistical and judgemental, are used to ensure the standards of performance required for the award of each level are maintained consistently from year to year. This includes extensive pre-testing of all test papers so that tests can be equated statistically from year to year. Since this equating is based on data obtained during pre-testing, loss of data due to fewer pupils taking the actual test would not have an impact on the process. Evidence is also obtained through a judgemental exercise, whereby a panel of senior markers scrutinise real pupils' test papers in order to identify the threshold where performance characterises that expected of pupils at each level.
QCDA then chairs a formal level setting meeting which takes place to weigh up both strands of evidence in order to recommend a final threshold for each level which is signed off by the QCDA accountable officer. This meeting is also observed by Ofqual, who have a role as the regulator to ensure that assessments give a reliable indication of achievement and indicate a consistent level of attainment.
I trust this information is useful. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the effect on procedures for (a) completion and (b) analysis of
data from standard assessment tests in 2009-10 (i) through the Reporting and Analysis of Improvement through School Self-Evaluation online system and (ii) other means of the industrial action taken by teaching unions. 
Mr Gibb: The RAISEonline (Reporting and Analysis for Improvement through School Self Evaluation) system uses the results of national curriculum tests at key stage 2 to provide schools with analyses of their own results. The system will provide the full range of analyses for those schools that administered the 2010 key stage 2 tests.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the fairness of the application of the school funding mechanism for rural shire counties in comparison with other authorities. 
Mr Gibb: We are already committed to changes to the school funding system through the introduction of a pupil premium for disadvantaged children. As well as the premium, any changes to the funding system will need to support our policy objective of giving schools more freedom including through increasing the number of Academies and making it easier for parents and other groups to start new schools. We are considering school funding arrangements for 2011-12 and beyond and will be announcing our proposals in the coming months.
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