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Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the proportion of the 15% of UK energy consumption to be achieved from renewable sources which will be attributable to wind power. 
Charles Hendry: The UK's National Renewable Energy Action Plan, published in July 2010, estimated that onshore wind would contribute 34 TWh and offshore wind would contribute 44 TWh in 2020 towards a projected overall target of 238 TWh. Wind is therefore expected to contribute around a third of the target of 15% of final energy consumption.
There are no targets for individual technologies, and the actual mix of technologies that makes up the UK's achievement of the 2020 target will depend on how different technologies respond to the financial incentives put in place, and how constraints such as planning, grid, and supply chain ease over time. It should also be noted that the overall target is defined as a proportion of energy demand, which is uncertain, and thus the exact level of renewable energy required in 2020 is uncertain too.
Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment his Department has made of the expected effect of ending the Warm Front scheme on levels of fuel poverty in the next 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Gregory Barker: Warm Front continues to provide a range of heating and insulation measures for vulnerable households. The new Energy Company Obligation, starting in late 2012, will run in parallel with the Green Deal programme. It is intended to focus particularly on households who cannot achieve financial savings without additional support, including the poorest and most vulnerable and those in hard to treat homes. We expect energy companies to play a greater role than they do through the current obligations in ensuring the poorest and most vulnerable can afford to heat their homes adequately. This includes offering a wider range of measures which improve energy performance, such as heating systems.
Between 2007 and 2008 up to an estimated 80,000 households were prevented from falling into fuel poverty and this can be attributed to energy efficiency improvements. We will continue to monitor the impact of such measures on the fuel poor.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether owners of privately-rented accommodation are required to repay funds provided under the Warm Front scheme in circumstances in which the occupiers who were entitled to the assistance move out of that accommodation; and if he will make a statement. 
Gregory Barker: The primary aim of the Warm Front scheme is to improve the thermal efficiency of private sector homes where the occupants are vulnerable to fuel poverty. The scheme is designed in such a way that while the applicant must meet specific qualifying criteria to qualify for a grant, the grant itself is then associated to the property in which they reside.
To encourage uptake of the grant and thereby assist as many qualifying households as possible, the owners of privately rented accommodation are not required to repay funds provided under the grant should a tenant who applied for the grant move out of the property.
James Wharton: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the cost to the National Grid of paying wind farm operators to turn off their turbines during periods of excess generation. 
Charles Hendry: National Grid has never needed to curtail wind output because supply on a national scale exceeded demand. National Grid has made payments to wind farm operators to curtail output on two occasions. The first was a test to ensure the technical capability was present and the second was due to constraints on the transmission network. The total cost incurred was approximately £53,000.
Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many press officers Arts Council England employed in each year from 1996-97 to 2004-05; and at what cost. 
Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the number of arts organisations and projects likely to close as a result of reductions to the Arts Council budget announced as part of the comprehensive spending review. 
Mr Vaizey [holding answer 28 October 2010]: The number and identity of organisations that receive funding, along with the level of that funding, is a matter for Arts Council England. As part of the spending review we have protected front-line funding for the arts, limiting the reduction to the overall budget for arts organisations to 14.9% over four years.
In 2009-10 the typical regularly funded arts organisation received 33% of its income from the Arts Council. Therefore the actual reduction in income seen by the typical arts organisation from the reductions in the Arts Council's budget will be less than 5% over four years. There will, of course, be variation between organisations.
David Mowat: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how much and what proportion of his Department's capital departmental expenditure limit will be allocated to (a) London and (b) the north-west in each year of the comprehensive spending review period. 
Hugh Robertson: The amount and proportion of capital departmental expenditure limit (CDEL) allocated to projects and arm's length bodies (ALBs) located in London and the north-west of England over the four financial years of the spending review period is set out in tables 1, 2 and 3.
A proportion of the Department's CDEL is allocated to England or UK-wide grant schemes administered by our ALBs and to ALBs for the maintenance of multiple
sites, including sites in London and/or the north-west. This is set out in tables 4 and 5. We are unable to estimate the proportion of the CDEL in tables 4 and 5 which will be allocated to London and the north-west because this will be for our ALBs to determine over the course of the spending review period. In the case of some grant schemes, our ALBs will allocate CDEL on the basis of successful applications.
|Table 1: Major projects in London|
|Table 2: Core capital for ALBs in London|
|Table 3: Core capital for ALBs in the north-west|
|Table 4: Core capital for ALBs with multiple sites (including in London and/or the north-west)|
|Table 5: UK/England-wide grants|
|2011-12||2012-13||2013-14 1.5||2014-15 1.5|
John Penrose: The Government are now preparing to launch an open market process in which they will invite proposals from interested parties. This process will be open to all organisations who have an interest in the Tote, and the Government expect to be in a position to update the House early in the new year.
Mr Vaizey: The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport has not made any official library visits since his appointment. However, as the Minister with responsibility for this policy area, I have made official visits to the British Library, Birmingham Central Library, Didcot Library and opened the Thame Library since my appointment.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the operation of the M4 bus lane during the London 2012 Olympics. 
Hugh Robertson: The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport has discussed the Olympics with the Secretary of State for Transport. Their discussions have not specifically included plans for the operation of the M4 bus lane, the details of which will be finalised in due course.
Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how much funding has been made available to the National Lottery Distribution Fund in each year since 2005-06. 
John Penrose [holding answer 28 October 2010]: This information is already published in the annual National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDF) accounts. Copies can be found in the House of Commons Library and online at:
Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether members of the UK armed forces posted overseas but still resident in the UK for tax purposes are eligible to play the national lottery. 
John Penrose [holding answer 26 October 2010]: The National Lottery Commission has advised that in order to be eligible to play the national lottery, players must be resident at a United Kingdom or Isle of Man address, irrespective of their tax status. Residency in this instance is determined by checks carried out by Camelot, the national lottery operator and, in practice, this means members of the armed forces can open an online interactive account and purchase games on the national lottery website, as long as they are in a country where it is legal to do so, and/or set up a direct debit account.
However, the National Lottery Commission understands that in the majority of overseas jurisdictions, local laws forbid the purchase of other foreign lotteries, including the UK national lottery. If tickets are purchased from a country where it illegal to do so, the tickets are invalid and Camelot is not able to pay any associated prizes.
The NLC have therefore required Camelot to amend the rules for national lottery games so that players will only be able to set up or amend their direct debit, or purchase games online when they are physically located in the UK and the Isle of Man. These new rules will apply from 18 December 2010. I welcome the NLC's intention to prevent people buying invalid tickets and inadvertently putting themselves at risk of prosecution in foreign jurisdictions.
I shall be writing to the NLC to thank them for their action so far, but I shall also ask them to consider what can be done in countries where the purchase of UK lottery tickets is lawful to allow armed forces personnel (and others) to participate.
Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport for what sessions at the London 2012 Olympics the "pay your age" ticketing scheme will be available; and in respect of how many such sessions that scheme will be available. 
Hugh Robertson: The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is responsible for ticketing for London 2012. LOCOG announced pricing for Olympic tickets earlier this month, including a "Pay your Age" scheme which will make around 1.3 million tickets available to those 16 and under to pay their age (and to those 60 or over to pay £16). Full details of the specific sessions in each sport will be announced next year, but these special prices will be available across all 26 Olympic sports, and in 220 sessions-almost a third of all sessions. These will be mainly in the morning and day-time, which are most accessible for young people.
Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what proportion of the funding allocation to S4C under the proposed new funding arrangements he expects to be made available for the commissioning of programmes by the independent production sector in Wales. 
Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps he plans to take to ensure that S4C retains full editorial and programming independence following the implementation of new funding arrangements. 
Mr Vaizey: The details of the partnership between S4C and the BBC Trust have still to be developed but the Secretary of State has made it clear in his spending review allocation letter to S4C of 20 October and his funding settlement to the BBC Trust of 21 October that S4C will retain its editorial independence.
Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether the funds made available to S4C under his Department's proposed new arrangements will be ring-fenced in the BBC budget. 
Mr Vaizey: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport's letter of 21 October 2010 to the chairman of the BBC Trust about the next television licence fee settlement set out the level of funding the BBC must provide to S4C.
|Total funding||From DCMS||From BBC|
Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will guarantee the funding allocation to S4C under the new arrangements in the spending review period after 2015. 
Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has for the funding of his Department's Access to Work scheme in the period to 2014-15; and what criteria he plans to use to determine eligibility of support from the Access to Work scheme in the same period. 
Government will continue to review welfare to work programmes to ensure the support they provide remains appropriate, effective and value for money. We are committed to ensuring disabled people are given the right support they need to get a job and remain in employment.
Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether compensation is available to the next of kin of those diagnosed with asbestos-induced lung cancer in circumstances in which that cancer cannot be confirmed as the sole cause of death. 
Chris Grayling: We provide no-fault compensation via the industrial injuries disablement benefit (IIDB) scheme to employed earners for disablement arising from an industrial accident, or from one of the diseases prescribed in regulations. The list of prescribed diseases includes primary carcinoma of the lung where there has been exposure to asbestos in certain defined activities.
Additionally, the Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers Compensation) Act 1979 (the 1979 Act) provides a lump sum payment where a person is unable to pursue
an employer for civil compensation for certain dust- related diseases. One of the diseases is primary carcinoma of the lung when accompanied by asbestosis or diffuse pleural thickening.
Where the sufferer has died, a claim for IIDB can be made on the deceased's behalf. Under the 1979 Act, a claim can be made only by a dependent, or on behalf of a dependent. For both IIDB and the 1979 Act schemes, a claim must be made within 12 months of the death of the sufferer. Benefit is payable provided that the deceased would have satisfied the conditions of entitlement during their life. The fact that primary carcinoma of the lung was not the only cause of death would not affect payment.
Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the likely effects on his Department's provision of support for carers of his Department's settlement in the 2010 spending review; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Miller: The spending review sets out measures to secure a sustainable foundation for the future of the welfare system, delivering fairness, better work incentives and value for the taxpayer. There are no specific measures in relation to carers.
We have set out our commitment to simplify the benefit system in order to improve work incentives and encourage responsibility and fairness. We are giving careful consideration to the needs of carers as we develop our detailed proposals for fundamental welfare reform, including any changes that may be necessary to take account of the introduction of universal credit.
Nick Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much maintenance the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission has collected through the statutory scheme since 1 April 2010. 
Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much maintenance the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission has collected through the statutory scheme since 1 April 2010. .
The amount of child maintenance collected through the statutory maintenance service is routinely published in the Child Support Agency Quarterly Summary of Statistics which is available in the House of Commons library or online at:
The total amount of maintenance collected and arranged through the statutory scheme was £283.5m in the quarter to June 2010 and £1,143.4m in the 12 months to June 2010. This includes both maintenance collected through the Child Support Agency collection service and maintenance the Child Support Agency arranged to be paid directly to parents with care by non-resident parents.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he made of the average council tax benefit payment to (a) pensioner households, (b) working households, (c) households receiving jobseeker's allowances, (d) households receiving income support and (e) households receiving invalidity benefit or education support allowance in each of the last three years. 
Information is collected on the average weekly council tax benefit payment for those also in receipt of a passported benefit, and the available information on the number who are also receiving income-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA(IB)), income support (IS) and employment and support allowance (income-based), in Great Britain, are shown in the table.
However to provide the total number of JSA, incapacity benefit (IB), and employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants receiving council tax benefit would require a significant exercise to merge the relevant data and would incur a disproportionate cost.
|Council tax benefit recipients average weekly award by passported benefit and age, November 2008 to July 2010|
|Passported b enefit||N on-passported (standard c laims)|
|All CTB recipients||All passported||Income support||Jobseeker's allowance (income - based)||Employment and support allowance (income- based)||All aged 65 or over||All non-passported||Of which in employment|
| Notes: 1. Age groups are based on the age on the count date (second Thursday in the month), of either: (a) the recipient if they are single, or (b) the elder of the recipient or partner if claiming as a couple. 2. Recipients are as at second Thursday of the month. 3. Average awards are shown as pounds per week and rounded to the nearest penny. 4. Passported status does not include recipients with unknown passported status. 5. Passported benefit as recorded on systems within the LA. 6. Average weekly amounts do not include second adult rebate cases. 7. SHBE is a monthly electronic scan of claimant level data direct from local authority computer systems. It replaces quarterly aggregate clerical returns. The data are available monthly from November 2008 and July 2010 is the latest available. 8. People claiming council tax benefit not in receipt of a passported benefit are recorded as being in employment, if their local authority has recorded employment income from either the main claimant, or partner of claimant (if applicable), in calculating the housing benefit award. 9. Data are published at http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/hb_ctb/hbctb_release_oct10.xls Source: Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE).|
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the effect on the revenue available to each Scottish local authority of the implementation of his decision to devolve direct control of council tax benefit in each year of the comprehensive spending review period. 
|Council tax benefit Scottish local authorities|
Local authority subsidy returns
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he had with Scottish local authorities prior to his decision to devolve direct control of council tax benefit to local authorities. 
Steve Webb: Local authorities throughout the United Kingdom were consulted extensively about the proposal to rename council tax benefit as council tax rebate. The Government believe it is possible to go further and give local authorities a greater say in how a rebate scheme should operate. Local authorities will be given the opportunity to contribute their views when we consult on the proposal.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff his Department has appointed on secondment since 7 May 2010; and from what organisation each such member of staff has been seconded. 
Chris Grayling: Information about how many staff in the Department have been appointed on secondment since 7 May 2010, and from what organisation each such member of staff has been seconded is not held centrally. As a consequence this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Stephen Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome have had their initial application for disability living allowance turned down in the last three years for which figures are available. 
Maria Miller: Entitlement to DLA is dependent on an assessment of how much help someone needs with personal care/supervision and/or mobility because of their disability and is not based on a particular diagnosis or condition. We are unable to say how many people diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome have had their initial application for disability living allowance (DLA) turned down in the last three years. Although this level of detail is held on the person's records we estimate that there would be a disproportionate cost to the Department in having to extract this information.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people who have been given financial support through (a) credit unions and (b) other community finance organisations that have been supported by funding from the Financial Inclusion Fund in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Steve Webb: The Department for Work and Pensions Growth Fund invests in the capacity of credit unions and other community finance organisations to offer access to savings, banking, insurance, budgeting and affordable credit services.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 27 July 2010, Official Report, column 1137W, when he plans to report the results of his Department's review of the way housing benefit for supported accommodation is assessed. 
Steve Webb: As part of our review of the housing benefit rules for certain types of supported accommodation, we are currently working up options for change to provide a more transparent, consistent and fairer system of expenditure control.
We have already been helped by a number of local authorities who assisted in a survey that we ran last year. Research has also been under way to provide the necessary evidence base for considering change; the research report is due to be published later in the autumn. Our stakeholder working group has also helped in formulating broad options for change.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect on provision of (a) homeless hostels, (b) women's refuges and (c) other homeless services of (i) his proposed changes to housing benefit and (ii) his proposed cap on benefit payments. 
Steve Webb: The proposed changes affect those in the private rented sector whose housing benefit is based on the local housing allowance. Those who live in hostels and in supported accommodation within the social and voluntary sector do not routinely have their housing benefit based on the local housing allowance and are therefore unlikely to be affected by these changes.
We will work closely with other Government Departments, the devolved Administrations, local authorities and external organisations to monitor the impact of the changes and to inform policy development over time.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of social housing tenants in each local authority who are likely to be subject to housing benefit deductions as a result of having one or more bedrooms above their household need. 
The detailed policy design of this change is still being developed. Impact assessments, including the number of households affected, will be published to accompany the relevant legislation when introduced in Parliament.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the likely effect on his Department's expenditure on benefit payments of the change in the number of jobs in the public sector in the comprehensive spending review period. 
Chris Grayling: The Department's benefit expenditure forecasts published following the June Budget are based on the economic assumptions made in the Office for Budget Responsibility's June Budget forecast, as set out in table C5 of the June Budget document. Those economic assumptions reflect the decisions on overall public spending made at the June Budget.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the level of availability of shared room accommodation in each broad market retail area; and if he will make a statement. 
Steve Webb: Information on the number of dwellings available in shared accommodation in the private rented sector is not available. From next year, the local housing allowance rates will be set at the 30th percentile of rents in each broad rental market area, ensuring that 30 % of properties, for each property size, would be affordable under the local housing allowance arrangements.
Steve Webb [holding answer 28 October 2010]: The amount of a social housing tenant's rent that is eligible for help is usually based on their contractual rent. Social housing tenants do not come under local housing allowance arrangements.
John Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many families in Carlisle constituency are in receipt of (a) incapacity benefit, (b) attendance allowance and (c) disability living allowance. 
|Claimants of attendance allowance, disability living allowance, and incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance, Carlisle parliamentary constituency, February 2010|
| Notes: 1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Some additional disclosure control has also been applied. 2. Caseload show the number of people in receipt of DLA, AA and exclude people with entitlement where the payment has been suspended, for example if they are in hospital. 3. A claimant can be in receipt of more than one of these benefits and will therefore be counted for each benefit they receive. 4. Incapacity benefit was replaced by employment and support allowance (ESA) from October 2008. 5. Figures do not include ESA. 6. Constituencies used are for the Westminster Parliament of May 2010. 7. A claimant can receive more than one of the above benefits and will therefore be counted for each of the benefits they receive. Source: DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.|
|People convicted of benefit fraud with two or more previous such convictions in the UK|
Data are incomplete from 2007-08 onwards due to the roll-out of Fraud Referral and Intervention Management System (FRAIMS). Options for reintroducing collation of these data are kept under review subject to cost-effectiveness.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many appeals against mental health benefit assessments were upheld in (a) England and (b) Gloucestershire in the most recent 12- month period for which figures are available. 
Chris Grayling: For appeals relating to the fit for work decision at the initial work capability assessment for employment and support allowance claims where the primary condition recorded at the start of the claim related to a mental and behavioural disorder, the numbers appealing and numbers where the appellant was successful are as follows:
|Total appeals heard||Appellant successful|
Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the average annual difference between the state pension paid to ex-UK residents now resident in other EU member states and the (a) basic and (b) means-tested pension. 
| Notes: 1. The average amount given in the first row of the table is the sum of basic state pension and additional pension paid to UK state pension recipients now resident in other EU member states, based on their Category A entitlement. 2. The average amount figure is rounded to the nearest £1.00. Source: Average amount: DWP calculations; Administrative records, September 2009.|
Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what information his Department holds for benchmarking purposes on mandatory increases in contributions to state pensions in other EU member states. 
EU member states have very different state pension systems which are financed in different ways. Analysis by the OECD in "Pensions at a Glance: 2007" suggests that "pension contribution rates have remained broadly stable since the mid-1990s", reflecting "governments' concerns over the effect on employment of high labour taxes". Projections made by the EU Commission in its "Ageing Report 2009" suggest that revenue from pension contributions should remain stable as a percentage of GDP between 2007 and 2060.
Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people aged (a) 60 to 64, (b) 65 to 69, (c) 70 to 79 and (d) 80 years or over were in receipt of winter fuel allowance in (i) England and (ii) Easington constituency in each year since 2005. 
|Winter fuel payment recipients-Great Britain and abroad: Time Series by age|
|Winter fuel payment recipients-Easington constituency: Time Series by age|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 and therefore totals may not sum.
2. Constituencies used are for the Westminster Parliament of May 2005. DWP are currently working to produce 2009-10 WFP figures for the Westminster Parliament of May 2010.
3. The 'under 60' category contains cases where an IS/JSA claimant receives a payment on behalf of their partner who is aged 60 or over.
4. The age breakdown for 2005-06 winter fuel payments shows a larger than expected number of recipients aged under 60 compared with subsequent years. The age breakdown has been withdrawn while the figures are investigated.
DWP Information Directorate 100% data
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many higher rate taxpayers receive winter fuel payments; and what the cost to the public purse of such payments was in the latest period for which figures are available. 
However, winter fuel payments are paid to those over woman's state pension age, which is increasing from 60 to 60.5 during 2010-11. The estimated number of higher rate tax payers aged 60 and over in 2010-11 is 450,000 (rounded to nearest 50,000). This figure includes those paying tax at the additional rate (i.e. at a rate of 50%).
1. Figures use HMRC data on the number of taxpayers by tax band for 2007-08, projected forwards using June 2010 Budget assumptions. It is assumed that all tax payers of appropriate age get winter fuel payment.
2. The winter fuel payment for 2010-11 is £250/£400 per household.
Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government's position on this issue is well known. We do not encourage trade and investment in Burma and, in compliance with EU sanctions, we do not offer commercial services to any companies who may want to trade or invest there.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on forcible relocations of indigenous farmers in the Hukawng valley, northern Burma. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government are aware of reports that people living in the Hukawng reserve, in Kachin state, northern Burma, have had their homes destroyed, land confiscated and been forcibly relocated as a result of the regime's plans to transform the area into a centre for bio-fuel production. Our embassy in Rangoon is part of an in-country group that is monitoring developments and providing assistance to local communities to help document and highlight the situation.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the construction of a railway link across the Salween river to eastern Shan state in Burma. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government are aware of reports alleging that thousands of acres of farmland have been confiscated in this area and that farmers who complain to the regime have been threatened with imprisonment. Ethnic groups in Shan state are also reportedly concerned that the railway could be used by the regime to deploy military forces and equipment to the area. We are monitoring developments.
Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) which embassies have had their budgets reduced as a result of the removal of the overseas price mechanism; and by how much each such embassy's budget for (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10 and (c) 2010-11 was reduced; 
(3) whether the budget reductions required as a result of the removal of the overseas price mechanism resulted in the withdrawal, reduction or deferral of any of his Department's (a) human rights, (b) democracy promotion, (c) counter-proliferation, (d) counter-projects narcotics, (e) counter-radicalisation and (f) climate change projects; 
(4) whether the spending reductions consequent on the removal of the overseas price mechanism resulted in the withdrawal or reduction of his Department's support to any of the overseas territories. 
Alistair Burt: The overseas pricing movements (OPM) mechanism was abolished by the previous Government as part of the 2007 comprehensive spending review. OPM was originally put in place in order to ensure that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) overseas budget was maintained in real terms after foreign exchange rate and differential inflationary pressures overseas. The decision to remove OPM became effective in April 2008. As a result the FCO implemented a foreign currency forward purchase programme to help manage its foreign exchange needs.
Since April 2008, our posts overseas have faced significant exchange rate and inflationary pressures. In 2008-09 the exchange and inflation rate pressure on our posts' budgets was £59.2 million. In 2009-10 the exchange and inflation rate pressures on our posts' budgets was £80 million and is estimated to be over £100 million in 2010-11. As budgets in the FCO are devolved to our network of over 250 posts, details of the specific impact that the loss of OPM has had on any project or specific area of spend could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Additional exchange rate pressures have had an impact on our international organisations subscriptions, peacekeeping assessed contributions and other budget areas spent in foreign currency from the UK. The total net impact on the Department's budget of adverse currency movements is estimated to be £77 million in 2008-09, £109 million in 2009-10 and £141 million in 2010-11.
In order to manage the pressures on our overseas network from exchange rate movements since the ending of the OPM mechanism and retain a global footprint, the FCO has had to re-examine and reprioritise funds allocated to programmes so they focus on those areas where the FCO itself can make the biggest difference and which offer the best possible value for money.
As part of the 2010 spending round, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced
that a new Foreign Currency Mechanism would be introduced to enable the FCO to better manage exchange rate pressures and allow for better planning. This will allow the FCO to stabilise the value of our budget overseas so that our activity will no longer be dictated by the foreign exchange markets, as it has been since OPM was withdrawn.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials in his Department have had (a) fewer than five days, (b) five to 10 days, (c) 10 to 15 days, (d) 15 to 20 days, (e) 20 to 25 days, (f) 25 to 50 days, (g) 50 to 75 days, (h) 75 to 100 days, (i) 100 to 150 days, (j) 150 to 200 days, (k) more than 200 days, (l) more than three months, (m) more than six months and (n) one year on paid sick leave (i) consecutively and (ii) in total in each year since 1997. 
Alistair Burt: Under our Sickness Absence Management Policy and Procedures, staff, both in the UK and overseas, are required to enter details of any sickness absences they have on our online Human Resource system. Line managers are then required to verify that the absences have been correctly entered. This measure is in place to ensure we have an accurate record of sickness absence and are able to deal promptly with cases of excessive sick leave. Staff who fail to follow correct sickness absence procedures could face disciplinary action under the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Misconduct Procedures guidelines.
We are currently reviewing our Sickness Absence Management Policy and Procedures and will consider as a part of this review whether there are additional steps which may help reduce levels of sickness among both junior and more senior staff.
|Response: (i) consecutively|
|Response: (ii) total in each year|
Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consultation his Department had with community leaders before taking the decision not to include a medical team within the British Hajj Delegation. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The decision to discontinue the medical element of the British Hajj Delegation was taken by Ministers following a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) review in March 2010. The review did not include consultations with community leaders but, rather, took an objective view of the situation on the ground. The review noted significant improvements to the medical facilities provided for pilgrims by the Saudi authorities since the British Hajj Delegation first began 11 years ago. It also noted the declining demand for medical assistance for minor ailments from British Hajjis.
The decision brings our support for British Hajjis more into line with the support we provide for British nationals at other events. The FCO does not provide medical services at any other event involving large numbers of British nationals.
Alistair Burt: I am aware of recent reports relating to the Stuxnet computer virus. It is for Iran to comment on the impact of such incidents. However, it is clear that Iran is continuing to undertake proliferation-sensitive activities including seeking to expand its nuclear programme, in direct defiance of six UN Security Council resolutions.
Michael Ellis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his (a) US and (b) European counterparts on the effectiveness of sanctions against Iran. 
Alistair Burt: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary holds regular discussions with US and EU counterparts on the Iranian nuclear issue, including sanctions. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary most recently discussed Iran with Secretary of State Clinton on 27 September, and with EU counterparts at the Foreign Affairs Council on 25 October, where an EU regulation implementing sanctions against Iran was adopted.
Alistair Burt: We want to see Hezbollah reject violence and play a constructive, democratic and peaceful role in Lebanese politics, in line with the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions, most notably UN Security Council resolution 1701, which calls upon Hezbollah to disarm.
Michael Ellis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the condition of Gilad Shalit; and what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the matter. 
Alistair Burt: The UK has long called for Gilad Shalit's immediate and unconditional release. It is also vital that Hamas allows the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit Gilad immediately and ensure that he is in good health. His continued captivity without any ICRC access and with only very occasional, minimal contact with his family is utterly unacceptable.
"Obviously, we are not able directly to secure his release, but that matter is one of the deeply aggravating factors that mean that Gaza remains such an immense international problem. We have called repeatedly for the release of Gilad Shalit and will continue to do so, and the international community will continue to work towards that end. If Hamas and other forces in Gaza were remotely interested in a political settlement and in coming to terms with Israel and the rest of the international community, they would wish to do that".
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