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Alistair Burt: Our close relations with Malaysia are founded on strong cultural and historical connections. We have significant trade, defence and education links, share membership of the Commonwealth and regularly cooperate on a range of shared priorities. We are committed to strengthening our relations further as part of our enhanced engagement with the world's emerging powers. This is already under way:
my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met Foreign Minister Anifah on 2 August; and
my noble Friend right hon. Lord Howell of Guildford visited Malaysia on 11 August.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the shooting of four residents in the Beit Hagai settlement near Hebron on 31 August 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
We condemn such despicable acts of terrorism, which must not be allowed to derail the talks. We call on all parties to refrain from any activity that could undermine the search for a just and lasting settlement.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the shooting of two civilians at Rimonim Junction, east of Ramallah, in September 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: Two Israelis were wounded on the West Bank in an attack on their car on 1 September. The military wing of Hamas has claimed responsibility. This followed an attack on 31 August in which four Israelis were killed.
We condemn such despicable acts of terrorism, which must not be allowed to derail the talks. We call on all parties to refrain from any activity that could undermine the search for a just and lasting settlement.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of raids by Egyptian police on weapons depots in Sinai on 28 and 29 August 2010; and if he will make a statement. [R] 
Alistair Burt: The UK remains in close touch with the Egyptian authorities on a range of security issues, and are aware of recent press reports about the discovery of an estimated 300 anti-aircraft missiles and over 100 kg of explosives in Sinai allegedly destined for Gaza.
Alistair Burt: We have full diplomatic relations with Syria and a wide ranging relationship covering areas of mutual interest-such as the Middle East Peace Process-as well as other issues of concern to the UK including Human Rights and Counter Proliferation.
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was paid by her Department in rent for properties in (a) total and (b) each (i) region and (ii) nation of the UK in each of the last five years. 
Mr David Jones: My Department rents part of a building in Cardiff. The following costs for the past five years include service and utility charges as well as rent as they could be disaggregated only at a disproportionate cost:
Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what recent discussions she has had with the (a) First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Government and (b) Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales on the wording of the question in a referendum on law-making powers of the National Assembly for Wales; 
Mrs Gillan: I have discussed the referendum wording on a number of occasions with the First Minister and Presiding Officer. Both have welcomed the Electoral Commission's recent report and both have confirmed that they support my decision to accept the Commission's revised preamble and question.
I wrote to the Electoral Commission on 23 June 2010 seeking its views, and on the same day informed the House that I had done so. I allowed the Commission the 10 weeks it had requested for its consultation and assessment, which included carrying out public opinion research, gathering views from interested parties including potential campaign organisations and political parties as well as key accessibility groups and the Welsh Language Board. This also included seeking advice from experts on plain language and accessibility in English and Welsh. Anyone could have made their views known to the Commission during that period. There is no statutory requirement to conduct further consultations on the question.
Meg Hillier: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what meetings (a) she and (b) the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Government Equalities Office have had with international counterparts to discuss international standards for the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. 
Lynne Featherstone: In July, we published Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGB & T) Equality, which included a commitment to use our international influence to encourage other countries to advance LGB and T equality.
We are committed to using meetings with our international counterparts and any other levers available to us to tear down the barriers that still exist for LGB and T people throughout Europe and around the world.
Mr Robathan: We are determined that members of the armed forces should receive a remuneration package commensurate with the vital role they play, often in the most difficult circumstances, in the service of this country. SDSR decisions later this year will shape the future employment of service personnel and will also influence our plans for armed forces pay.
Nick Harvey: We continue to work across Whitehall, and with our international partners, to monitor developments on the Korean peninsula. The situation has remained tense since the sinking of the Republic of Korea Naval vessel, the Cheonan, in March of this year as a result of a North Korean attack. We also remain concerned about North Korea's nuclear programme and its ongoing role in the proliferation of military material. Long-term stability on the Korean peninsula will only be achieved through the complete and verifiable denuclearisation of North Korea. We believe the Six Party Talks offer the best prospect for achieving this. It is essential that North Korea abandon its current course and create the conditions for the resumption of talks.
Mr Robathan: As at 1 July 2010, the full-time trained strength of the Army stood at 102,500. I refer the hon. Member to the latest Quarterly Manning report which is available on the Ministry of Defence website.
Nick Harvey: We take the protection of our armed forces extremely seriously and strive continuously to reduce the risk they face and improve their protection. The combined effect of our continuous improvements to use the right training and tactics together with enhancements that have already been made to our counter-improvised explosive device capability are making a difference.
On 30 June 2010, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced an additional £67 million for counter-IED capabilities to protect our troops in Afghanistan. This includes over £40 million for more protected vehicles for use by our counter-IED teams as well as some £5 million for more remote control vehicles. The remaining funds will be used to enhance other critical capabilities in the counter-IED campaign, including enhancements to our military working dog capability.
Dr Fox: No. The Strategic Defence and Security Review is considering options for closer bilateral co-operation with key nations, including partners in Europe. NATO will remain the cornerstone of our defence.
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the likely effects on employment in the defence industry in Lancashire of reductions in levels of defence spending. 
Peter Luff: We recognise the major contribution made to UK defence and the wider economy by industry throughout the North West of England, and particularly in Lancashire. The Strategic Defence and Security Review is still under way and therefore it would be premature to speculate about the impact of future levels of defence expenditure.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 26 July 2010, Official Report, column 615, on Afghanistan: peacekeeping operations, what information his Department holds on the number of civilian deaths which may have been caused by the use of air-to-ground weapons by Reaper air-to-ground weapons since May 2008. 
Every effort is made to avoid civilian casualties and any that are the result of action by UK armed forces are always a matter of profound regret. Should we become aware of incidents in which we may have caused civilian casualties, we undertake a full investigation in accordance with international security assistance force and UK processes.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with how many British-based private security companies his Department has a contract for the provision of services in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: The national event for Armed Forces day 2011 will be held on 25 June 2011 in Edinburgh. Plans are currently being formulated that will once again give the whole country the opportunity to "honour Britain's armed forces' past, present and future."
Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what proportion of service family accommodation units had been continuously empty for (a) six, (b) six to 12, (c) 12 to 24, (d) 24 to 36, (e) 36 to 48, (f) 48 to 60 and (g) more than 60 months on 30 June 2010. 
Mr Robathan [holding answer 9 September 2010]: Against an overall total of 49,505 service family accommodation (SFA) properties in the UK, the following table shows the length of time they have been unoccupied as at 7 September 2010.
|Time scale||Number of SFA properties||Proportion of total SFA (Percentage)|
There are a number of reasons why properties may be held void for extended periods of time. This includes the location where they are held, pending future basing decisions or awaiting disposal action.
Accommodation is usually only void for short periods to allow for routine moves of service personnel, improvement or modernisation work, demolition or disposal. The Department will always need to maintain a management margin of void accommodation for these purposes.
|Location of SFA||Number of void properties||As a percentage of total stock|
As at 6 July 2010, the closest date for which figures are available, 52,375 SLA bed-spaces worldwide were void. This represents 35.6% of the total stock. While this appears high, it will include accommodation for those temporarily away on training or operations.
Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many minority ethnic service personnel were recruited to each service (a) nationally and (b) in Gloucester in each of the last five years. 
Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department takes to consult service personnel and their families on their preferred priorities for accommodation upgrades. 
Mr Robathan: The UK Service Family Accommodation (SFA) upgrade programme endeavours to provide the best value for money options to provide the maximum benefit to the greatest number of families, and decisions will take into account future strategic requirements, together with potential disposal plans.
A follow-up survey identical in content to the one undertaken by the National Audit Office (NAO) during 2008 was carried out on SFA occupants in the UK during December 2009. Subject to future funding, the results of this survey will feed into future SFA improvement strategies.
Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made on implementing recommendation (a) 2, on strategic review, (b) 3, on management of void properties, (c) 4, on contractor management, (d) 5, on preparation of properties for new occupants, (e) 6, on improving the processes of allocations and move-in and move-out and (f) (i) 7 and (ii) 8, on involving families of the National Audit Office report of Session 2008-09 on Service Families Accommodation, HC 13; and what account his Department has taken of modern living requirements in implementing each recommendation. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is currently undertaking a Strategic Defence and Security Review. The rationalisation and development of future estates and the management of defence infrastructure is included within it. The outcome will be announced in due course.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) longest, (b) shortest and (c) average time taken was to make repairs to forces accommodation from the point of a call out in each of the last 12 months. 
Mr Robathan: The repair and maintenance of service accommodation worldwide is carried out under many different arrangements, managed by different areas of the Department. Given this fact, the requested information for each of the last 12 months is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was charged to occupants of Modern Housing Solutions accommodation for repair of damage caused by them in each of the last 12 months. 
Mr Robathan: Charges are raised to cover the cost of remedial work to service family accommodation where occupants vacate a property leaving it below the required move-out standard. Charges are not raised for normal wear and tear, and any charges for the replacement of lifed items such as carpets will take into account the remaining life of the item.
It is not possible to identify charges raised against occupants of properties maintained by modern housing solutions from other UK properties maintained by other contractors. The total charges raised for UK properties in each of the last 12 months are as follows:
|Amount charged (£)|
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints Modern Housing Solutions received regarding animal infestations in service accommodation in each of the last five years. 
Mr Robathan: There are several dedicated housing help lines. Repairs to service family accommodation (SFA) properties in the UK are carried out under the Housing Prime Contract (HPC) in England and Wales, the Regional Prime Contract (RPC) in Scotland and separate arrangements exist in Northern Ireland (NI). In all cases occupants can report faults and request repairs via a freephone helpdesk.
The HPC is being delivered by Modern Housing Solutions (MHS), which is responsible for maintaining some 45,000 properties. The MHS helpdesk received some 393,656 calls in 2009, of which some 226,889 resulted in work orders being raised. Although the total number of calls regarding SFA in Scotland and NI is not available, the RPC raised 15,424 work orders for Scottish SFA in 2009 and 11,148 were raised for NI SFA.
|SFA properties||SLA bed-spaces|
Mr Robathan: The majority of the 65,000 service family accommodation (SFA) properties worldwide are leased rather than owned by the Ministry of Defence. SFA is graded for charge and by standard for condition (SfC), a detailed measure of the physical condition of a property with Standard 1 being the highest and Standard 4 the lowest. While families are no longer allocated SfC SFA, a small number have chosen to remain in these properties for personal reasons.
In 2008, a new condition survey of SFA properties in England and Wales was undertaken, with similar surveys now also under way in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Those UK properties so far surveyed as at December 2009 were at the following SfC:
Kris Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions his Department has been proceeded against for non-payment of (a) council tax and (b) utility bills owed on properties in the defence housing estate in each of the last five years. 
Dr Fox: Under the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) Order 1992, all domestic accommodation for UK service personnel is exempt from council tax but the Ministry of Defence (MOD) pays contributions in lieu of council tax (CILOCT) to billing authorities. Almost all MOD housing is therefore subject to CILOCT payments.
In the period from 1 April 2008 to date, the MOD has received a total of four summonses from local magistrates courts for non-payment of CILOCT. In three instances these resulted from errors by the local authority and were withdrawn. The other instance resulted from a property being inadvertently excluded from a return by the MOD. Payment was therefore made and the summons rescinded.
There have been no occasions of the Department being proceeded against for the non-payment of utility bills in UK in the last five years. Occupants of service families accommodation are directly responsible for the payment of utility bills.
Kris Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many empty properties on the defence housing estate his Department has (a) made ready for occupation and (b) moved service families into in each of the last five years. 
|Number of move-ins( 1)|
|(1 )Figures are for Great Britain only up to 31 March 2008 and for UK thereafter.|
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on (a) offering employment in the military for those members of the armed forces who are injured while on active service and (b) guaranteeing continued employment for such people for the period for which they would have served; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times Army technical officers have been called out to deal with (a) suspected and (b) actual explosive devices in Northern Ireland in (i) 2010, (ii) 2009, (iii) 2008, (iv) 2007 and (v) 2006. 
Nick Harvey: The following table details the number of Explosive Ordinance Disposal tasks attended in Northern Ireland and the number of these that involved an explosive device. A complete and reliable set of data for 2006 is not held.
|2006||2007||2008||2009||( 1) 2010|
|(1) To date|
(2) Not known
Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much it cost to run the Army Technical Operation (Bomb Disposal) in Northern Ireland in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Robathan: The Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) is the occupational pension scheme for the three services including the reserves. The War Pension Scheme (WPS) is a benefit programme that provides no fault compensation to former service personnel and their dependants for injuries and death as a result of service before 6 April 2005, with the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) providing this compensation since that date.
323,714 AFPS pensions and 75,126 dependants (spouses, partners and children) pensions in payment, most of which are paid monthly.
148,377 war pensioners and 30,690 dependants (spouses and civil partners) receiving monthly or weekly benefit payments for injury, illness or death under the WPS.
169 injured former service personnel and 232 dependants (spouses, partners and children) receiving ongoing guaranteed income payments (GIPs) under the AFCS. Additionally, there are a number of injured personnel still in service who will be entitled to a GIP on leaving the services.
Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the estimated total annual pension cost is expected to be in 2020 of payments to (a) uniformed armed forces, (b) uniformed regular armed forces and (c) uniformed reserve armed forces personnel who will then be in receipt of a pension. 
Mr Robathan: The forecast pension spend for the armed forces pension scheme is not available beyond 2014-15 and is not broken down between the regular and reserve armed forces. The forecast spend in 2014-15 is £4.7 billion.
Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total annual pension cost was in the last full year for which figures are available of payments to all (a) uniformed reserve armed forces, (b) uniformed regular armed forces and (c) uniformed armed forces personnel who are in receipt of a pension. 
Mr Robathan: The total annual pension cost of pensions paid to former service personnel or their dependants under the armed forces pension scheme (AFPS) is not broken down between the regular and reserve armed forces. In 2009-10 £3.47 billion was paid under the AFPS.
The budgetary structure of the Ministry of Defence does not show separately the costs of the three individual Armed Services (Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force). This is because large parts of the Armed Services operate as fully integrated joint organisations in which elements from the Navy, Army and Air Force work closely together and share land, buildings and facilities, and sometimes equipment. The MOD's Permanent Joint Headquarters, which commands most of our military operations, is one example. Another is the defence equipment and support organisation which provides front line commands with equipment and logistic support.
EOD operators are not recruited directly from civilian life. Those recruited must already have attained at least the rank of Sergeant (or equivalent) and be able to demonstrate tactical technical experience in a related field. In April this year the MOD began recruiting EOD operators from the wider Army (Royal Engineers, bomb
disposal officers), Royal Navy (EOD divers) and Royal Air Force (EOD armourers) rather than from solely the Army's Royal Logistic Corps. In time, this is expected to give a further significant boost to the number of trained experts available.
Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the document entitled "Meeting the aspirations of the British people: 2007 pre-budget report and comprehensive spending review", Cm 7227, whether the full proceeds of the sale of the Chelsea barracks site were allocated for expenditure on armed forces accommodation. 
Mr Robathan: There is no specific link between disposal receipts and individual elements of defence expenditure. Exceptionally, however, the disposal of Chelsea barracks, which was sold for £959 million, was included in the plans of the Department and underpinned investment in-service accommodation of £250 million in 2007-08.
In addition it was agreed as part of the 2007 comprehensive spending review that a further £550 million should be invested in accommodation over the following three years with plans for the balance of the proceeds of £159 million, to be agreed with HM Treasury as part of the current 2010 Spending Review due to be concluded later in the autumn.
The disposal of Chelsea has, therefore, secured the major investment in-service accommodation through Project SLAM (Single Living Accommodation Modernisation), the service housing upgrade programme and many other significant accommodation projects in the UK and overseas to improve the living conditions for our service personnel.
|Civilian staff type||Number|
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is currently educating 953 children under 10 years old and 489 children between the ages of 10 and 18 in its schools in Cyprus. It is not possible to split these numbers between children of military personnel and those of UK based civilians. Not all parents choose to educate their children within the MOD school system.
The Cyprus schools educate the children of MOD contractors and some local community children on a fee-paying basis. In addition to the numbers above there are currently 17 children under 10 years old and 43 children aged between 10 and 18 being educated on this basis.
Mr Gerald Howarth: We have publicly stated that we intend to re-energise Government support to defence exports. Defence exports make an important contribution to sustaining our defence industry, including tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs. They also help to build relationships with key strategic partners, and provide economies of scale for our own procurement.
We will achieve this in part through an active and innovative programme for defence diplomacy. We also recognize the need to commission equipment which is exportable, and we are embedding this in our future acquisition planning. We are working with industry to bring a clearer understanding of the export marketplace.
Dr Fox: I have regular discussions with my French counterpart, the most recent on 3 September 2010 in Paris when we discussed a range of issues, including bilateral defence co-operation, NATO transformation and Afghanistan.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on (a) reimbursement of staff expenses and (b) the 10 largest staff expense reimbursement claims in each year since 1997. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence reimbursed service and civilian staff £145.6 million for business expense claims incurred on official duty in 2009-10. This includes a wide range of expenses and allowances including: subsistence, motor mileage and incidental expenses.
Comparable information is not held centrally before 2009-10 and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. All figures exclude the cost of business expenses paid direct by the Department and not reimbursed to staff.
The ability of staff to claim for legitimate business expenses is essential to enable the proper conduct of MOD business. We have sites in many parts of the country, and internationally, and staff need to travel between them, and work while they do so.
All MOD staff incurring business expenses are required to demonstrate the highest standards of financial propriety and a level of restraint commensurate with being Crown servants. We are further constraining how much is spent on expenses in the present economic conditions. A key principle is that travel should be avoided where the business need can be met by alternatives to travel, such as e-mail and video or audio conferencing.
Information regarding the 10 largest service and civilian staff reimbursements for business expenditure claims in each year since 1997 is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Ms Bagshawe: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many referrals from the Department of Work and Pensions the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency has received in each year since 2007. 
Mr Robathan: There are no data collected on the source of any referrals to the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA). However, the SPVA Veterans Welfare Service works very closely with the Department for Work and Pensions (on shared IT platforms) and has agreements in place which allow the SPVA to provide assistance on claims for statutory DWP benefits. The SPVA does record action taken to support customers including onward referrals.
The housing in Germany consists of German Federal stock, which are those built and maintained by the Ministry of Defence on land provided by the German Federal authorities, and hirings which are leased from landlords.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has had discussions with the government of Gibraltar on methods of disposing of old ordnance other than exploding it off the coast of Gibraltar; and if he will make a statement. 
Nick Harvey: Over the last two weeks, Ministry of Defence officials have had two meetings with the Gibraltar Department of the Environment to explore options for the demolition of munitions with minimal possible risk to the environment.
Mr Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of his Department's staff at Kentigern House in Glasgow work on duties relating to (a) military staff based in Scotland and (b) (i) military and (ii) civilian staff based (A) in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and (B) overseas. 
Mr Robathan: There are approximately 1,400 people working at Kentigern House in Glasgow, roughly 60% of whom work for the Army Personnel Centre. The remainder are attached to various other Ministry of Defence organisations, principally the Service Pensions and Veterans Agency.
All MOD organisations within the building work either directly or indirectly towards the common outputs of pay, manning and career management of all the members of the armed forces, regardless of where they are serving.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times Royal Air Force aircraft have been deployed from each base to intercept Russian aircraft in each of the last five years. 
Nick Harvey: The number of days on which Royal Air Force Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) aircraft have been launched in response to Russian military aviation in the each of the last five years is contained in the following table.
|Number of days QRA launched in response to Russian military aviation|
|(1 )To date.|
QRA aircraft are held at ground readiness at RAF Coningsby and RAF Leuchars. I am withholding information about from which base QRA aircraft were launched for each incident as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Statement of 17 June 2010, Official Report, columns 1040-41, on public spending, in which country the company contracted to provide the Successor Deterrent Extension and Concept Long Lead Items to be reviewed under the Trident value for money review has its headquarters. 
RFA Cardigan Bay
RFA Lyme Bay
RFA Fort Victoria
RFA Wave Ruler
RFA Black Rover
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the terms of the memorandum of understanding signed on 11 June 2008 between his Department, the wind energy industry and the then Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. 
The Prime Minister: As set out in the Ministerial Code, Departments will publish, at least quarterly, details of all travel overseas by their Ministers. Information for the period 13 May to 31 July 2010 will be published shortly.
(2) for what reasons responses will not be issued to e-petitions to No. 10 Downing Street which had fewer than 500 signatures on 6 April 2010; and if he will contact signatories of such petitions to inform them no response will be made; 
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many staff are employed by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) to work on public relations; what the total cost to the public purse of employing staff for public relations work has been since it began operation; and which (a) agencies and (b) Government departments have provided staff to undertake such work for IPSA in that period. 
Mr Charles Walker: IPSA currently employs two members of staff in its communications team. One person has responsibility for external communications, including the media, and one person has responsibility for internal communications and website management. A director of communications will soon be joining IPSA to provide strategic oversight and direction to its communications activities.
Since IPSA began operations on 7 May 2010, the total spend on employing staff for all aspects of communications activities has been £37,840. This includes the associated expenditure of national insurance and employer pension contributions and VAT on contracted staff supplied by GovGap.
No Government Departments have provided staff to IPSA's communication team in this period. IPSA received communications advice and support from Apex Communications during the initial phase of operation as it was recruiting and establishing its in-house communication team, but does not any more.
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what the (a) value and (b) length of contract is for the computer system used by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority; and with which organisation the contract is made. 
Server hardware, desktops and laptops, network hardware, office infrastructure, firewalls, anti-virus, web proxy and hosting services, WAN link, security solutions, email, telephony.
Software support for financial accounting, online expense system, payroll, HR, customer management system.
Glenda Jackson: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time staff work for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority; and if the Authority will publish its standard employment contract for staff. 
(a) 82 are full-time; and
(b) one part-time.
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many full-time staff each department of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority employs; and what the staff turnover has been in each week since 1 May 2010. 
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, if he will list each of the changes made to the rules and procedures implemented by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority since its inception. 
Mr Charles Walker:
A small number of changes to the MPs' Expenses Scheme were introduced in July 2010, following the consultation required by the Parliamentary Standards Act. The changes are detailed
in "The MPs' Expenses Scheme: Second Edition", which has been made available to all MPs and is available on:
the introduction of a £4,000 advance for MPs and advance payments on production of invoices for a number of high cost items;
a facility for proxies to process expenses for MPs who are not their employer;
the extension of the 90 day deadline for claims until 1 October 2010;
the introduction of the "grace period" until early September, under which claims submitted over the summer which are outside the rules will not be published.
Ann McKechin: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many refusals of claims had been communicated to hon. Members by means of (a) the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority website and (b) by email for the period to 7 September 2010. 
Mr Charles Walker: Where a claim is refused in full or in part, MPs are provided with summary details of the refusal via the online system under heading 'Refusals'. By close of business on 9 September, 25,872 claim lines had been approved and 1,574 claim lines had been refused.
Ann McKechin: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what proportion of claim refusal decisions communicated to hon. Members by 7 September 2010 were accompanied by accurate written accounts of the reasons for which claims had been refused. 
Mr Charles Walker: IPSA does not currently communicate refusal decisions by e-mail. MPs are provided with summary details of the refusal via the online system under heading 'Refusals'. IPSA is developing a process to provide MPs with an automated e-mail alert informing them of the status of claims and to enable Members to view detailed refusal reasons.
Ann McKechin: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority staff are authorised to make claim refusal decisions on claims; and what procedures are followed in circumstances in which such staff make an error in communicating such a refusal decision to an hon. Member. 
Mr Charles Walker:
Currently seven senior members of IPSA staff are able to make final decisions on MPs expense claims. Where a claim is refused, MPs are able to request a review within 14 days on the grounds that
the rules have been applied inconsistently or that IPSA has made an administrative error. If the review finds that the claim should have been paid, the claim is revisited and processed. Individual members of staff are informed of the review and further training is provided where required.
Ann McKechin: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many documents submitted to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority by hon. Members in support of their claims had been lost in the period to 30 August 2010. 
Ann McKechin: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what procedures are followed by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority to record the receipt of supporting documents submitted in relation to claims made by hon. Members; and whether the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority plans to review those procedures. 
Mr Charles Walker: Post deposited in the drop box in Portcullis House is collected by hand and, together with the mail posted directly to IPSA, is sorted every morning. MPs' expense claims and accompanying receipts are placed in individual, transparent pockets with all staples and paperclips removed. Each claim is then logged using documentation tracking software and scanned directly to the online expenses system for validation. The documents are then filed immediately to Members' records. Currently all post received is sorted, logged, scanned and filed within one day. All IPSA processes during this initial phase of operations are kept under review.
Mr Meacher: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many and what proportion of telephone calls to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority from hon. Members were not answered within 15 minutes in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Charles Walker: It is not possible to provide the requested statistics at this time. IPSA intends to provide MPs with information on its performance against its call handling and other service targets shortly.
Rehman Chishti: To ask the Leader of the House what formula is used for calculating Short money; when that formula was set; and what mechanism is used to monitor the usage of allocated funds.  [Official Report, 12 October 2010, Vol. 516, c. 3MC.]
Sir George Young: For 2010-11, the formula used to calculate each opposition party's Short money funding is: £14,351 multiplied by the number of seats won by a party's candidates at the general election; plus £27.99 multiplied by one two hundredth of the number of votes cast at the election. The formula was set by a resolution of the House of 26 May 1999 and has been uprated by increases in the retail prices index since then.
Each Opposition party that receives Short money is required to submit a report from an independent professional auditor, after the end of each financial year, that all the expenses for which the party received financial assistance under the terms of the resolution were incurred exclusively in connection with the party's parliamentary business. The relevant criteria are set out in notes provided to the auditors.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how much was allocated in grants to Arts Council East in (a) each of the last five financial years and (b) 2010-11; and how much he plans to provide in grant funding to Arts Council East in 2011-12. 
|Financial year||Grant allocated (£)|
|(1) Please note this figure applies to an incomplete financial year|
Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on (a) reductions in the expenditure of arts organisations funded by his Department and (b) the future levels of arts funding. 
Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with the BBC Trust on the BBC's use of licence fee revenue; and if he will make a statement. 
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent representations he has received on the grounds for the National Lottery Commission's interim decision to refuse Camelot's application for a licence to provide commercial services; and if he will make a statement. 
Whether to allow Camelot to provide commercial services rests properly within the NLC's remit as regulator. The NLC are rightly independent from political intervention or control on these matters NLC's closing date for representations to their 'minded to' decision is Friday 17 September.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent representations he has received on the continuation of the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
John Penrose: This Department has received a wide range of representations from individuals, congregations and faith groups about the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme. I appreciate that the scheme is well liked and has played a significant role in supporting repairs to places of worship, and I can fully understand their desire for certainty over the scheme's future to be given at the earliest opportunity. This decision can only be taken, however, as part of the wider discussions about Government spending priorities in the next spending round. We will ensure that we publicise any decisions as soon as possible.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many payments to suppliers were made by (a) his Department, (b) its agency and (c) its non-departmental public bodies (i) within 30 days of, (ii) over 30 days after, (iii) over 60 days after and (iv) over 90 days after the date of invoice in the latest period for which figures are available. 
John Penrose: The number of payments in the latest period this Department and its Executive agency, The Royal Parks, made to suppliers within and over 30, over 60 and over 90 working days of date of receipt are in the table.
|June to August 2010||Within 30 days||Over 30 days||Over 60 days||Over 90 days|
The Department does not collate this information for its arm's length bodies. Accordingly, I have asked their chief executives to write to the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr Davies). Copies of their replies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many unpaid, expenses-only internships there have been in (a) his Department and (b) public bodies which fall within his Department's area of responsibility in the last 12 months. 
The Department does not hold this information for its public bodies. Accordingly, I have asked their chief executives to write to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Luciane Berger). Copies of the replies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
George Freeman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will estimate the average cost per pensioner household of upgrading radio equipment in vehicles and properties in preparation for the proposed switchover from analogue to digital radio in (a) England and Wales and (b) Mid Norfolk constituency. 
However, on 8 July the Government published the Digital Radio Action Plan, which outlines information the Government will need in order to make a well-informed decision on whether to proceed with a radio switchover. This will include a detailed cost benefit analysis of the radio switchover; such as the cost to consumers of household and vehicle conversion.
George Freeman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what percentage of radio listeners in (a) England and Wales and (b) Mid Norfolk use digital radio; what percentage of people in (i) England and Wales and (ii) Mid Norfolk are not able to receive digital radio signals; and when full digital radio coverage will be available in Mid Norfolk. 
Mr Vaizey: The weekly reach(1) of digital radio in the UK is 38.7% of the population, while digital radio listening equates to 24.6% of all radio listening. The Government do not hold separate listening figures for the nations or regions.
|Current DAB coverage (percentage of population)|
(1) The number of people aged 15+ who tune to a radio station within at least one quarter-hour period over the course of a week. Respondents are instructed to fill in a quarter-hour only if they have listened to the station for at least five minutes within that quarter-hour. Between 24.00-06.00, listening is recorded in half-hour periods.
George Freeman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with broadcasters to ensure that public service radio broadcasting continues to provide universal coverage in (a) England and Wales and (b) Mid Norfolk after the digital switchover. 
Mr Vaizey: The Government have been clear that digital radio switchover can only occur once DAB coverage is comparable to current FM coverage. To this end we are working closely with the BBC, Ofcom, and the multiplex operators to both define current FM coverage levels and make recommendations for future DAB roll-out.
Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will meet representatives of the Big Lottery to discuss the effects of the withdrawal of funding from the Pathways programme in East Lothian constituency on its work helping people with a history of substance abuse return to further education, training or employment. 
John Penrose: I am afraid I have no plans to meet representatives of the Big Lottery Fund to discuss this issue. The Big Lottery Fund, as with all lottery distributors, rightly makes its funding decisions independently of Government, and decides on its own funding priorities and programmes. In any case, I understand that the Big Lottery Fund is not withdrawing funding from the Pathways to Education, Training and Employment project in East Lothian.
Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) if he will review the operation of the horserace betting levy to ensure that payments are collected effectively; 
John Penrose: I have met with representatives of both racing and bookmaking to discuss the levy and seek suggestions about how it might be improved or, if possible, suitably replaced. I am currently considering what potential changes I may make to the levy structure and will discuss these ideas further with the Levy Board later this month. I have also received representations from the British Horseracing Authority, on behalf of racing, on the future of the Horserace Totalisator Board.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will encourage the Arts Council to relax its free entry conditions on grants to allow recipients to charge admission to art galleries and other arts venues; and if he will make a statement. 
Although it is not ACE's standard policy to stipulate free entry conditions to grants, there may be individual grants which carry this condition in relation to local circumstances, or a proposal in the grant application.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what impact assessment he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the abolition of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. 
Hugh Robertson: No formal impact assessment was commissioned. The basis for the decision has been the need to find savings in all areas of the Department's spending, and to ensure that every pound of public money we allocate to supporting libraries, archives and front-line museum services gives the maximum benefit.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether he has made an assessment of Ofcom's performance in meeting its objectives for the draft Initial Obligations Code. 
Mr Vaizey: We have made no assessment of the draft initial obligations code yet. My officials are engaged with Ofcom as they develop the code in the light of the responses that they received to their consultation, and when the code is ready, then we will look at it carefully. It should also be noted that before the code can be finally consented to by the Secretary of State and put to Parliament for approval, it will need to be notified to the European Commission and member states under the terms of the technical standards directive, who will have a minimum of three months in which to consider it.
Hugh Robertson: As reported in the latest "London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Quarterly Report", published in July 2010, we started with £2.0 billion, of which, £790 million has been allocated, including £110 million this year, leaving £1.2 billion. Any further allocations of contingency will be reported in subsequent 2012 quarterly reports, the next of which is expected to be published in early November 2010.
Mr Vaizey: The Press Complaints Commission is independent from Government. It has over recent years sought to improve its independence from the industry by increasing the number of lay members that serve on the Commission. These now form a clear two thirds majority. We have no plans to suggest any changes.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the provisions of the Code of the Press Complaints Commission on harassment and privacy; and if he will seek a strengthening of the provisions of the Code in those respects. 
Mr Vaizey: The Editors Code of Practice, overseen by the Press Complaints Commission, sets out how the press regulates itself. It is a self-regulatory mechanism, and while the Government might suggest a particular change if they considered one necessary, they could certainly not impose one. We have no plans for suggesting any changes.
Mr Vaizey: The Government strongly support self-regulation of the press. We monitor informally how the arrangements are working, and give careful consideration to the results of regular parliamentary scrutiny from, for example, the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, but have no plans to carry out a formal review.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what guidance his Department has given to the Press Complaints Commission on the definition of the public interest. 
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