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15 Nov 2010 : Column 558W—continued

Departmental Early Retirement

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff of (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have been offered enhanced early retirement packages in each of the last three years. [22022]

Mr Robathan: Data on the number of offers of enhanced early retirement packages are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, the following table gives the number of enhanced early retirement packages that have been awarded over the last three financial years by the Ministry of Defence and its trading funds.


15 Nov 2010 : Column 559W
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10

MOD including agencies

1,260

610

390

Trading funds

50

50

70

Totals

1,310

660

460

Note:
All totals have been individually rounded to the nearest 10.

Departmental Official Hospitality

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on hospitality for events hosted by each of its Ministers in (a) September and (b) October 2010. [21777]

Dr Fox: On 13 and 26 September 2010 and 13 October 2010, the Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Lord Astor of Hever, who is Defence spokesman in the House of Lords hosted a meeting to brief other Members of the House of Lords and ex-service Chiefs on Defence issues. The total cost for these events were £45, £63 and £116 respectively.

Departmental Reviews

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what departmental policy reviews his Department has undertaken since 6 May 2010; on what date each such review (a) was announced and (b) is expected to publish its findings; what estimate he has made of the cost of each such review; who has been appointed to lead each such review; to what remuneration each review leader is entitled; how many (i) full-time equivalent civil servants and (ii) seconded staff are working on each such review; from which organisations such staff have been seconded; and how much on average such seconded staff will be paid for their work on the review. [21887]

Dr Fox: This information is not held centrally. I have tasked my Department to collate this information and I will write to the hon. Member with a full response as soon as this information is collated.

Falkland Islands

Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the likely effects on his Department's operations in respect of the Falkland Islands of the outcomes of the spending review; and if he will make a statement. [22221]

Nick Harvey: The Government are unequivocally committed to the defence of the Falklands.

None of the decisions taken as part of the strategic defence and security review and associated spending review settlement will reduce our ability to deter or defend against an attack on the Falkland Islands.

Falkland Islands: Deployment

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has had discussions with the French Government on the possible deployment of aircraft carriers to the Falkland Islands. [22999]


15 Nov 2010 : Column 560W

Nick Harvey: There have been no discussions with the French Government on the possible deployment of aircraft carriers to the Falkland Islands because we have not seen this as necessary.

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the chain of command is in respect of the deployment of aircraft carriers to the Falkland Islands. [23000]

Nick Harvey: While deployed in the Falkland Islands, a British ship would be under the operational command of the Permanent Joint Headquarters.

France: Nuclear Weapons

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many French Government personnel have visited (a) the Atomic Weapons Establishment and (b) HM Naval Base Clyde in (i) 2009 and (ii) 2010 to date; and which (A) staff of his Department and (B) AWE staff have visited French military nuclear establishments in each of those years. [22701]

Dr Fox: The number of French Government personnel who visited the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) and HM Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde in 2009 and 2010 to date is as follows:

2009 2010

AWE

42

42

HMNB Clyde

67

22


The AWE figures include visits by Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique/ Direction des Applications Militaires (CEA/DAM) personnel, as CEA/DAM is the French Government's equivalent of AWE. The figures for HMNB Clyde exclude the French Navy Exchange Officer permanently attached to the staff of Flag Officer Sea Training (North) and the crews of visiting French naval vessels. French Government personnel involved in the joint operation (and associated training) of the NATO Submarine Rescue System based at the Clyde have been included.

Seventy AWE scientific, engineering and technical staff visited French military nuclear establishments in 2009, and 74 in 2010 to date. To attempt to identify those civilian and military personnel, across the Department (including members of the armed forces), who have also made such visits would incur a disproportionate cost, as this information is not held centrally or in the format requested.

Institute for Fiscal Studies

Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on services provided by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in each of the last 10 years. [23391]

Mr Robathan: There are no contracts recorded on the MOD's Financial Management Shared Service Centre (FMSSC) contracts database for the Institute for Fiscal Studies for any of the last 10 years.


15 Nov 2010 : Column 561W

Low Flying

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many operational low flying passes were flown in (a) low flying area 7 (T), (b) low flying area 14 (T) and (c) low flying area 20 (T) for each (i) aircraft type and (ii) mission duration in each year since 2004; and from which airbase the flights originated. [22952]

Nick Harvey: The statistics for the amount of military low flying carried out in the UK Military Low Flying System is recorded in hours rather than by the number of passes or sorties, as this is deemed to be more representative of the level of activity within the system. Data are recorded by the training year (April to March) rather than by calendar year. The figures for the training year 2010-11 will be published in the next statement on the pattern of military low flying that will be available in the House in summer 2011.

The majority of operational low flying is conducted by fast-jet aircraft, with a lesser amount being conducted by C-130 Hercules aircraft based at RAF Lyneham. Operational low flying is not conducted by rotary wing aircraft. In 2004, fast-jet aircraft conducting operational low flying were the Jaguar based at RAF Coltishall, the Harrier based at RAF Cottesmore, and the Tornado GR4 based at RAF Marham and RAF Lossiemouth. Since 2004, the Jaguar has been retired from service, and in 2010 fast-jet operational low flying is only conducted by the Harrier and Tornado GR4.

Prior to 2010, records were maintained by a manual system that enabled the total amount of operational low flying to be calculated for each tactical training area. These figures are primarily used to regulate the total amount of operational low flying conducted according to the relative size of each tactical training area, and also to enable a year-on-year comparison of this training activity. To ascertain the level of detail requested regarding aircraft type, individual sortie duration and the airbase of origin would require a detailed review of each squadron's authorisation paperwork over the requested period, and would incur disproportionate cost.

From 2010, a system has been developed to enable manual data returns from each squadron to be recorded electronically to produce more detailed statistics. This system will be first-used in the next publication of low flying statistics in summer 2011.

The information which follows reflects the actual amount of operational low flying carried out between 100 and 250 feet within 7T, 14T and 20T, the tactical training areas in mid-Wales, northern Scotland and southern Scotland/Anglo-Scottish border area.


15 Nov 2010 : Column 562W
Hours Minutes

2003-04

LFA 7T

32

12

LFA 14T

197

40

LFA 20T

278

11

2004-05

LFA 7T

27

5

LFA 14T

138

7

LFA 20T

209

8

2005-06

LFA 7T

13

49

LFA 14T

161

48

LFA 20T

202

53

2006-07

LFA 7T

14

30

LFA 14T

161

11

LFA 20T

179

35

2007-08

LFA 7T

18

30

LFA 14T

76

32

LFA 20T

96

4

2008-09

LFA 7T

15

35

LFA 14T

63

46

LFA 20T

46

54

2009-10

LFA 7T

30

37

LFA 14T

117

20

LFA 20T

160

56


Military Bases

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make an assessment of the effects on the local economy of the US base at RAF Menwith Hill; and if he will make a statement. [23659]

Nick Harvey: The most recent assessment of the local economic impact of RAF Menwith Hill estimated that the Base contributes in the order of £130 million per year to the local economy.

Military Exercises

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, column 300W, AWE Management: emergencies, whether the Royal Berkshire Hospital participated in the Aldex 10 emergency exercise. [22699]

Peter Luff: The Aldex 10 emergency exercise tested emergency response arrangements in place for the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) sites. The exercise took place on 10 November 2010.

West Berkshire council had responsibility for this exercise, which had a wide range of participants. The Royal Berkshire Hospital played an important role in emergency planning for AWE and participated in Aldex 10.

Nuclear Weapons

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to secure a supply of tritium for Trident nuclear warheads to cover the period until the current warhead design reaches the end of its planned life; and whether the ability to secure a supply of tritium is recorded as a risk for the defence nuclear programme in his Department's risk register. [22698]

Dr Fox: This information is being withheld for the purpose of safeguarding national security.


15 Nov 2010 : Column 563W

Nuclear Weapons: Finance

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure his Department has incurred on the Nuclear Weapons Capability Sustainment Programme in each year since the programme's inception; and what estimate he has made of such expenditure in each remaining year of the programme. [21972]

Dr Fox: The Nuclear Warhead Capability Sustainment Programme (NWCSP) began in 2005 following the announcement by the then Secretary of State for Defence on 19 July 2005, Official Report, column 59WS, of increased funding to the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).

Expenditure since 2005-06, and the provisional figure for the current financial year is as follows:

£ million at outturn prices

2005-06

493

2006-07

687

2007-08

894

2008-09

800

2009-10

870

2010-11

(1)932

(1) Provisional

Since 1 April 2008, financial planning for AWE has made no distinction between management and operation costs and those associated with the NWCSP.

Future planned expenditure at AWE will be subject to cost savings measures identified in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). Release of further details may prejudice the Ministry of Defence's negotiating position with its commercial suppliers and final savings figures will depend on detailed SDSR-related implementation. The MOD is therefore not prepared to release further financial information at this time.

Operation Phoenix

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make an assessment of the purposes of Operation Phoenix activities at the US base at RAF Menwith Hill. [23657]

Nick Harvey: Project Phoenix is the name given to the demolition and replacement of one of the original operations buildings at RAF Menwith Hill. Construction works are estimated to be completed by June 2011.

Trident

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence until what date the Atomic Weapons Establishment has been tasked to guarantee the reliability of the Trident warhead arsenal. [21973]

Dr Fox: We announced in the strategic defence and security review that a replacement warhead is not required until at least the late 2030s, with a decision on replacing the existing warhead deferred until the next parliament. The Atomic Weapons Establishment is, therefore, undertaking the required stockpile certification work to support the warhead arsenal until the late 2030s.


15 Nov 2010 : Column 564W

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the sale to the private sector of facilities at Coulport for (a) the storage of Trident warheads, (b) the processing of Trident warheads, (c) the storage of Trident missiles and (d) operations at the explosives handling jetty. [22136]

Dr Fox: There are no current plans to sell any Trident warhead or missile, handling, storage, processing or ammunitioning facilities at Royal Naval Armament Depot Coulport.

Since July 2008, the Department has been assessing options on how best to provide elements of Strategic Weapons Systems support at Coulport in the future. One option under review is to engage with an experienced service provider from the private sector to deliver processing, storage and handling activities at Coulport.

On current plans a decision is expected in early 2011. Irrespective of the outcome, Coulport will remain under the ownership and control of the Ministry of Defence. The safety, security and effectiveness of the UK's strategic deterrent remains paramount.

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the likely cost to the public purse of Trident replacement following an Initial Gate Decision in the (a) present and (b) next Parliament. [22376]

Dr Fox: The 2006 White Paper 'The Future of the UK's Nuclear Deterrent' set out the initial total procurement cost of the replacement nuclear deterrent as £15 billion to £20 billion in 2006-07 prices. The likely expenditure is dependent on the decision on Initial Gate which we expect in the next few weeks. I intend to update Parliament on progress, including costs, after the Initial Gate decision through the publication of a report.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will commission research into the incidence of combat stress in operators of unmanned aerial vehicles. [21702]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence takes seriously the mental health of all armed forces personnel, and a local study of the psychological health of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) pilots is currently in progress. Historically, the RAF Medical Services have not detected any instances of acute stress reaction in any pilot responsible for operation of UAVs.

Warships

Mr Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with the First Sea Lord on the Royal Navy's capacity to fulfil current commitments with a surface fleet of 19 ships. [21771]

Dr Fox: The full range of issues associated with the Strategic Defence and Security Review, including the capacity of the Royal Navy to fulfil current commitments, were discussed in the Defence Strategy Group, which included all Ministry of Defence Ministers, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Permanent Under-Secretary and all the Chiefs of Staff among others.


15 Nov 2010 : Column 565W

The surface fleet will remain able to deliver a full spectrum of maritime capabilities ranging from full scale warfare to providing maritime security and projecting UK influence.

Yorkshire Regiment

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons the role of Pioneer has been removed from the 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment. [22236]

Mr Robathan: The role of Assault Pioneer has been suspended in all Territorial Army (TA) Infantry Units. TA battalions will continue to man and train TA Infantrymen in their primary role as Riflemen but will not train them for this additional role. This measure has been taken because the operational requirement is for Riflemen, not Assault Pioneers.

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority Committee

Interns

Luciana Berger: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many interns have been employed by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority since its creation; what (a) pay and (b) expenses they received; and what duties they carried out. [24238]

Mr Charles Walker: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. I have asked IPSA to reply.

Letter from Andrew McDonald, dated October 2010:

Prime Minister

Departmental Responsibilities: Urban Areas

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Prime Minister whether he has assigned Ministers responsibility for cities in England. [22970]

The Prime Minister: These appointments will be announced shortly.

Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr Watson: To ask the Prime Minister (1) whether any special advisers have been disciplined by (a) the Prime Minister and (b) his Chief of Staff since 28 October 2010; and if he will make a statement; [23834]

(2) what discussions the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister has had on the conduct of special advisers since 28 October 2010; and if he will make a statement. [23830]

The Prime Minister: Special advisers are bound by the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers.


15 Nov 2010 : Column 566W

Transport

Aviation: Security

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the budget was of Transport Security and Contingencies in his Department for 2010-11; and what that budget is expected to be in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13 and (c) 2013-14. [22483]

Norman Baker [holding answer 8 November 2010]: The budget dedicated to Transport Security and Contingencies in 2010-11 was £28.7 million. It is expected to fall by around 25% over the period of the spending review. During this time, the Department for Transport is expecting to transfer certain functions to the Civil Aviation Authority, at which point the costs of delivering these functions will be recovered from the aviation industry.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many personnel at each grade work for Transport Security and Contingencies in his Department; and how many he expects there to be at each grade in (a) April 2011, (b) April 2012, (c) April 2013 and (d) April 2014. [22484]

Norman Baker [holding answer 8 November 2010]: The Central Department and its Agencies identified the following number of permanent staff working in Transport Security and Contingencies as at 31 October 2010:

Pay band Transport Security and Contingencies

AA

0.0

AO

16.0

EO

21.6

HEO

101.6

SEO

43.0

Grade 7

23.8

Grade 6

6.0

SCS

5.0

Total

217.0

Note:
Based on full time equivalent (FTE) figures which indicates the number of positions, including part time posts, rather than number of individuals.

The Department is in the process of reviewing its structure in light of the Government spending review. Future staff numbers will be determined as part of that process.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what volume of air freight entering the UK was carried by (a) known consignors and (b) carriers that are not known consignors in each of the last three years for which figures are available. [22581]

Mr Philip Hammond: The UK only recognises known consignors from the Republic of Ireland (through an extant MOU) and since April 2010 from EU member states, provided that they have been successfully validated within the last 12 months. The Department for Transport does not hold any specific statistical data on how much air freight arrives in the UK from known consignors but it will represent a very small percentage of the total.


15 Nov 2010 : Column 567W

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to secure international agreement on increasing levels of security for air cargo. [22582]

Mr Philip Hammond: Within Europe, common rules on civil aviation security are set out in legislation. A new set of detailed baseline standards, strengthening requirements in a number of areas, including cargo, applied from the end of April this year. My officials have met and are working closely with our EU partners to consider whether these rules need amending in light of the 29 October cargo bomb incidents. The UK has also called on the European Commission to advance work already under way in relation to aviation security screening requirements for cargo coming into and moving through Europe.

In addition, my officials are working closely with the International Civil Aviation Organisation. We have taken an active role in promoting Amendment 12 to Annex 17 of the Chicago Convention which we expect the ICAO Council to adopt in mid-November. This will strengthen cargo security requirements worldwide. We are also working with ICAO and its member states to devise and promote the next steps towards further enhancement of international cargo security.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what inspection regime his Department has put in place in respect of third party bodies responsible for screening freight shipped by companies who are not known consignors; [22583]

(2) what mechanism his Department has put in place to ensure that screening of freight shipped by companies who are not known consignors is adequate. [22584]

Mr Philip Hammond: The UK cargo regime is subject to inspection by aviation security compliance inspectors to ensure that entities regulated by the Department for Transport are applying the screening procedures in accordance with directions imposed on them under the National Aviation Security Programme. This includes regular unscheduled inspections.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance his Department issues to third parties responsible for screening freight on the (a) equipment to be used in, (b) frequency of and (c) thoroughness of the screening process. [22585]

Mr Philip Hammond: Directions are made by the Department for Transport under the Aviation Security Act 1982 and issued to directed parties. EU baseline standards for freight screening are contained within Regulation (EC) 300/2008. The UK adds more stringent security measures which are contained within the Single Consolidated Direction (Aviation) 2010. This document is sent to the industry along with the European regulations. For security reasons we do not provide detailed information on the content of this Direction.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport who is responsible for screening freight handled by freight companies who are not known consignors. [22586]


15 Nov 2010 : Column 568W

Mr Philip Hammond: Freight can only be screened and secured for air transport by regulated cargo agents who have been inspected and approved by the Department for Transport. Once approval is granted, they can apply screening measures in accordance with the requirements laid down in extant legislation and are subject to "no notice" inspections by Department for Transport inspectors.

Freight which arrives at an airline cannot fly until it can be proved that it has had suitable and effective security measures applied to it elsewhere. Freight must be kept secure between the point of screening and arrival at the airport. If this is not possible then it and effective controls applied before it can fly.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport who carries out audits of known consignors of air cargo on behalf of his Department. [22587]

Mr Philip Hammond: The annual validations of known consignors are carried out by independent validators who are recruited and trained by the Department for Transport.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) for what period of time a known consignor of air cargo retains its trusted status before it is reviewed; [22588]

(2) how frequently audits are carried out on behalf of his Department to determine whether known consignors of air cargo are to retain their status; [22589]

(3) what requirements there are for inspection of the security arrangements of air cargo agents after they have been designated as known consignors. [22590]

Mr Philip Hammond: Following the initial validation by an independent cargo validator which lasts for 12 months, the Department for Transport undertakes a programme to independently revalidate known consignors on a 12 monthly cycle. This revalidation is carried out by an independent validator different from the one who performed the initial validation. The same validator can not be used in successive years.

Regulated air cargo agents (who are a different category from known consignors) have been inspected and approved by the Department for Transport. Once approval is granted, they are subject to "no notice" inspections by Department for Transport inspectors.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which air cargo agents are designated as known consignors. [22591]

Mr Philip Hammond: Air cargo agents cannot be designated as known consignors. To be a known consignor a company has to prove to an independent validator that it falls into one of the following categories:

The first category is the producer. They must be able to prove that they have produced the item in such a way that, without the use of any screening techniques, there is assurance that it cannot contain any prohibited article, for example a company which produces an item from raw materials.

The second category is the distributor. An example of this is someone who receives identical merchandise from a producer and selects from this the amount necessary to fill an order. Providing the consignor can prove to the validator that the supplier of the stock
15 Nov 2010 : Column 569W
would have no idea who the end customer was or how it would get there, the cargo is considered untargetable and thus the consignor can "originate" it.

If the consignor wants to send cargo out he will often engage a freight agent who will undertake the paperwork, book the space on the truck or plane and sort out any customs procedures-so cargo agents can never be a known consignor as they can only handle other peoples' cargo and they never "originate" any of their own.

A public list of regulated air cargo agents is available on the Department for Transport website at:

These are air cargo agents who have applied to be regulated by the Department for Transport and are subject to legally binding directions from the Secretary of State. They have the authorisation to apply security measures to cargo which enables cargo to pass more quickly and economically to the airline.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department requires freight companies to take to establish whether packages submitted for shipping contain toner cartridges. [22614]

Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 8 November 2010]: Directions and guidance on the prohibition of the carriage of ink and toner cartridges by air have been sent to the aviation industry. It is for the industry to take the necessary steps to ensure compliance.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the statement by the Home Secretary on 1 November 2010, Official Report, column 633, on the aviation security incident, which companies and industry bodies were invited to the meeting he chaired in the week of 1 November 2010 on aviation security; and on what date that meeting took place. [22615]

Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 8 November 2010]: The meeting mentioned in the Home Secretary's statement took place on Thursday 4 November. The companies and organisations in the list were invited to the meeting.


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Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance he has issued to companies on the steps to be taken to comply with the prohibition on the carriage of toner cartridges larger than 500 grams by air cargo into, via or from the UK unless they originate from a known consignor; and from what date such guidance is to have effect. [22616]

Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 8 November 2010]: Directions and guidance on the prohibition of the carriage of ink and toner cartridges by air have been sent to the aviation industry. This prohibition came into force at 00:01 hours on Tuesday 2 November. It is for those subject to the Directions to determine how to ensure compliance with them within their own operators.

Ministers and officials will be meeting with senior representatives of the air cargo industry over the coming weeks to determine future cargo security strategy.

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the extent of the threat to aircraft from malicious software. [23008]

Mr Philip Hammond: We are aware of this potential vulnerability and, as with all possible threat scenarios, we keep this threat under review, working in conjunction with other Government experts and industry.

British Transport Police: Schools

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the chief constable of British Transport Police on the role of British Transport police in schools. [23588]

Mrs Villiers: Department for Transport Ministers have not discussed the subject with the British Transport police. The force is nevertheless heavily involved with schools through both specific programmes such as their project on tackling knife and violence project and on a day to day basis when dealing with anti-social behaviour and other local issues.

Bus Services: Concessions

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the likely effect on (a) average bus fares and (b) the number of bus services of the proposed 20 per cent. reduction in the Bus Service Operators Grant (i) nationally and (ii) in London. [19794]

Norman Baker [holding answer 26 October 2010]: We estimate that the potential increase in average fares and average reduction in bus services, as a direct result of the 20% reduction to the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG), would be around 1.5%. In practice, the effect will depend on the commercial decisions of bus operators and, where relevant, local authorities and Transport for London.

I spoke to the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, who represent the bus industry, following the Chancellor's announcement on 20 October. They were hopeful that, in general, the small reduction in BSOG could be absorbed without fares having to rise.


15 Nov 2010 : Column 571W

Cycling

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the effect on the level of cycling of the (a) Bikeability, (b) Cycling Towns and Cities and (c) Finding New Solutions Cycling England programmes. [20196]

Norman Baker: In 2009, the Department for Transport commissioned an independent evaluation of the Cycling City and Towns programme, which includes infrastructure investment, cycle training (Bikeability), and other measures to encourage more people to cycle more often, and more safely. The evaluation is scheduled to run until 2012, with final results available in 2012-13.

Results from preliminary evaluation of the original six cycling demonstration towns (CDTs) are available. They have shown changes in the levels of cycling and physical activity in CDTs across a range of indicators, including a one percentage point increase in the proportion of people cycling for 30 minutes at least three times a week, and a 27% increase in levels of cycling as measured by automatic cycle counts. These findings strongly suggest that cycling levels were increasing in the CDTs three years after the initiative began, with some evidence that similar increases were not occurring in comparable areas.

The "Finding New Solutions" projects are a number of small programmes looking at other types of journeys people could make by bike: to work, for leisure and to and from railway stations. All of the projects are due to conclude at the end of March 2011. Data are being collected as the projects progress, and evaluation will be undertaken once they are completed.

Departmental Manpower

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) staff numbers and (b) expenditure on staff costs as a proportion of their 2010-11 budget is for each agency sponsored by his Department. [19851]

Norman Baker [holding answer 27 October 2010]: The following table shows (a) the staff numbers and (b) expenditure on staff costs as a proportion of the 2010-11 budget for each agency sponsored by the Department for Transport.

The staff numbers are the 2009-10 figures as published in the 2009-10 Department for Transport resource accounts.


15 Nov 2010 : Column 572W

Staff number s Staff expenditure as percentage of budget

DVLA

5,906

30.44

DSA

2,525

44.00

HA

3,747

2.68

VOSA

2,444

43.60

MCA

1,157

32.40

VCA

139

51.00

GCDA

310

55.52


If the Highways Agency figure appears to be low, this is because Highways Agency has a very large programme budget in excess of £4 billion due to the number of major projects the agency manages.

Departmental Pay

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much was paid to officials in his Department and its non-departmental public bodies in bonuses and other payments in addition to salary in each year since 1997; how many officials received such payments; and what the monetary values was of the largest 20 payments made in each such year. [18719]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport was established following machinery of government changes on 29 May 2002. Details of costs for the period prior to 2002 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The amount paid to officials in the Department for Transport including its seven Executive agencies, and its non-departmental public bodies in non-consolidated performance pay and other payments in addition to salary in each year since 2003 is shown in the following table:

Amount paid (£)

2003-04(1)

2,093,576

2004-05(2)

1,976,838

2005-06

8,323,678

2006-07

10,867,163

2007-08

9,446,901

2008/-9

11,744,001

2009/-0

12,380,715

(1) These figures do not include SCS or Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency as these figures could not be provided without breaching the disproportionate cost threshold. (2) These figures do not include Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency as these figures could not be provided without breaching the disproportionate cost threshold.

We are not able to break the data down to identify the number of officials who received these payments without breaching the disproportionate cost threshold.

The largest 20 payments made to officials in the Department for Transport including its seven Executive agencies, and its non-departmental public bodies, in each such year since 2003 are shown in the following table:


15 Nov 2010 : Column 573W

15 Nov 2010 : Column 574W
£
Rank 2003-04( 1) 2004-05( 2) 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10

1

1,500

8,500

8,500

12,500

20,000

22,000

15,000

2

785

8,500

7,500

10,500

20,000

20,500

12,500

3

732

8,500

7,500

10,500

15,000

20,000

12,500

4

500

8,500

7,500

10,500

15,000

19,000

12,500

5

500

7,500

7,500

10,500

15,000

17,000

12,500

6

500

7,500

7,500

10,500

15,000

15,000

12,500

7

500

7,500

7,500

10,500

15,000

15,000

12,500

8

500

7,500

7,500

10,500

15,000

15,000

12,500

9

450

7,500

7,500

10,500

15,000

15,000

12,500

10

450

6,500

7,500

10,500

15,000

15,000

12,500

11

450

6,500

6,592

10,500

10,000

15,000

12,500

12

450

6,500

6,500

9,000

10,000

15,000

12,500

13

450

6,500

6,500

8,500

10,000

14,000

12,500

14

450

6,500

6,500

8,500

10,000

14,000

10,000

15

450

6,500

6,500

8,500

10,000

14,000

10,000

16

450

6,500

6,500

8,500

10,000

13,615

10,000

17

450

6,500

6,500

8,500

10,000

12,770

10,000

18

450

6,500

6,500

8,500

10,000

12,500

10,000

19

450

1,000

6,500

8,500

10,000

12,500

10,000

20

450

1,000

6,500

8,500

10,000

12,000

10,000

(1) No SCS or Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency payments are included as providing this information would breach the disproportionate cost threshold. (2) No Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency payments are included as providing this information would breach the disproportionate cost threshold.

Electric Vehicles

Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on encouraging the use of electric vehicles. [22412]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport is keen to encourage the development and uptake of electric vehicles.

The spending review announced provision of over £400 million for measures promoting the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicle technologies. These measures include:

EU Efficiency Standards: Cars

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many representations he has received from oil companies regarding proposed EU efficiency standards for cars and vans; which companies made such representations; and what the content of the representations was. [23113]

Norman Baker: No representations have been received from oil companies regarding the proposed EU new van CO2 regulation or the existing EU new car CO2 regulation.

Great Western Railway

Anne Marie Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he made of the cost to the public purse of maintaining the railway line connecting Exeter and Plymouth. [20649]

Mrs Villiers [holding answer 9 November 2010]: The Government's High Level Output Specification sets the overall context for spending on the railway, but the maintenance of the railway is the responsibility of Network Rail. While Network Rail's accounts are scrutinised by the independent Office of Rail Regulation, the company does not currently provide information at the level of detail requested.

GRIP 4 Rail Studies

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many GRIP 4 rail studies his Department (a) started and (b) completed in (i) 2008-09 and (ii) 2009-10. [22295]

Mrs Villiers: The GRIP project development process is a delivery tool used by Network Rail. My hon. Friend may wish to contact Network Rail's acting chief executive at the following address for a response to his question:

High Speed Two

Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements he plans to make for consultation on the route of High Speed Two. [20849]

Mr Philip Hammond: As set out in the Department for Transport's recently published Business Plan, the Government propose to consult on its strategy for high
15 Nov 2010 : Column 575W
speed rail and on its proposed route for an initial line from London to the West Midlands between February and July 2011.

Subject to the outcome of next year's consultation, the Government plan to consult on detailed routes for the second phase of the proposed high speed network, from Birmingham to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds, in 2014.

Large Goods Vehicles: Accidents

Mr Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the incidence of the involvement of (a) foreign-registered and (b) all heavy goods vehicles in road traffic accidents in the latest period for which figures are available. [24088]

Mike Penning: The information requested can be found in table 53 on page 179 of "Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2009", a copy of which is available in the Libraries of the House.

Large Goods Vehicles: Inspections

Mr Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward proposals for road worthiness inspections of foreign road haulage vehicles entering and leaving the UK. [24087]

Mike Penning: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) already inspects a large number of foreign heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), both at ports of entry and at the roadside. In the year to 31 March 2010, VOSA conducted 99,508 roadworthiness checks on foreign-registered HGVs, an increase of more than 60% compared to 2008-09.

Motor Vehicles: Testing

Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans he has for the future of the MOT test; and if he will make a statement; [16955]

(2) what plans he has to review the effectiveness of the MOT test system. [17719]

Mike Penning [holding answer s 13 and 18 October 2010]: I intend to review the MOT test scheme, using the latest information available. However, the Department for Transport has no specific proposals at this stage and no preconceptions about the outcome. The aim of the review will be to strike the right balance between vehicle safety and the burden imposed on motorists by MOT test requirements.

I expect to make an announcement about the timing and scope of the review in due course and there will be an opportunity for anyone with an interest to contribute to the debate.

National Aviation Security Committee

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the Statement by the Home Secretary on 1 November 2010, Official Report, column 633, on the aviation security incident, whether he has (a) met and (b) plans to meet the National Aviation Security Committee on any occasion other than the high level industry meeting in the week of 1 November 2010. [22617]


15 Nov 2010 : Column 576W

Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 8 November 2010]: I have not met the National Aviation Security Committee. Several of the members of that Committee attended the high level industry meeting I held on 4 November 2010.

The National Aviation Security Committee is next due to meet on 29 November 2010 and the Minister of State for Transport will be chairing this meeting on my behalf.

Network Rail: Public Footpaths

Ben Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether Network Rail plans to make formal arrangements for public access to the footpath it owns between Bourne park and Halifax road in respect of its location on Sustrans National Cycle Route 1. [23644]

Mrs Villiers: This is an operational matter for Network Rail as the owner and operator of the national rail network. My hon. Friend should contact Network Rail's acting chief executive at the following address for a response to his question:

Railways: Carbon Emissions

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the carbon dioxide emissions arising from High Speed 2 in circumstances in which it is operational at the train numbers and maintenance requirement levels referred to in the High Speed 2 report to his Department. [19970]

Mr Philip Hammond: The overall level of carbon dioxide emissions from HS2 will depend critically on the carbon intensity of electricity generation at the time the railway became operational. The Government will seek to maximise potential carbon savings. HS2 Ltd calculate that the central case of the impact of the line on carbon emissions will be a reduction of 4.6 million tonnes of CO2 over the 60-year appraisal period, within a range of a reduction of 25 million tonnes to an increase of 26.6 million tonnes. This information is available in HS2 Ltd's main report, published in March 2010, and available at:

Railways: Finance

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which rail capacity improvements he expects to fund as a result of proposed changes to the regulated rail fares formula. [19849]

Mrs Villiers [holding answer 27 October 2010]: The Government are committed to investment in Britain's railways and the comprehensive spending review announcement set out plans for the investment of £18 billion in rail. Raising the cap on regulated fares helps ensure that investment in rail can go forward during a period
15 Nov 2010 : Column 577W
when the pressing need to tackle the deficit means that resources are constrained. Further announcements about specific investment in rail projects will be made in due course.

Railways: North West

Esther McVey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what timetable he has set for the planned rail electrification between Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Blackpool foreseen in the outcome of the comprehensive spending review. [21283]

Mrs Villiers: On 20 October 2010, Official Report, column 963, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that electrification of the lines between Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Blackpool would go ahead. We are working with Network Rail to determine the timetable for the completion of these schemes, and will make an announcement in due course.

Railways: Stoke-on-Trent

Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward proposals for a direct high-speed rail link between London and Stoke-on-Trent. [22575]

Mr Philip Hammond: On 4 October, I wrote to HS2 Ltd to confirm that it should continue to develop detailed route proposals for a high speed line from the west midlands to Manchester. A copy of my letter is available on the HS2 website at:

In taking forward this work, the company will consider the case for intermediate stations between the two major conurbations. I have asked the company to report to me on its findings by December 2011.

Railways: Vale of Glamorgan

Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for (a) improvements and (b) funding for improvements to the Vale of Glamorgan railway line. [22297]

Mrs Villiers: The provision of Vale of Glamorgan train services is a matter for the Welsh Assembly Government.

Funding for major rail investments on the Barry to Cardiff line has been confirmed and work is proceeding. This investment will provide both increased line capacity and additional station platforms at Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Central by 2015, which will benefit the Vale of Glamorgan route.


15 Nov 2010 : Column 578W

Trams: Nottingham

Anna Soubry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria he plans to use to assess whether his Department's contribution to the proposed private finance initiative funding of the extensions to the Nottingham Tram system is affordable. [21019]

Norman Baker: The Government have announced their intention to support the Nottingham Express Transit Phase 2 PFI project, subject to affordability. The Department for Transport is now working closely with Nottingham city council to progress the scheme on an affordable basis. This could include making efficiency savings to the project itself or through an increase in local funding contributions, or a combination of both of these. The Council is currently developing a range of options for further consideration. The Department is determined to ensure that every pound of departmental funding spent on transport projects yields the maximum benefit.

Transport: Schools

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 9 November 2010, Official Report, columns 282-83W, on schools: transport, how many school travel advisers funded by his Department there are in each local authority area. [24247]

Norman Baker: Together with the Department for Education, the Department for Transport has provided sufficient funding through area-based grants in each of the past six years to enable local authorities in England to employ about 250 full-time equivalent school travel advisers (STAs).

However, we do not know how many STAs are employed in each local authority area and this information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Attorney-General

Crown Prosecution Service: Personnel

Mr Umunna: To ask the Attorney-General how many staff were employed at each grade in the Crown Prosecution Service in each year since 2005. [24039]

The Attorney-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) employed the following numbers of staff at the grades shown for the years 2005-10:


15 Nov 2010 : Column 579W

15 Nov 2010 : Column 580W
CPS grade CS grade 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

Al

AA

915

970

927

755

335

260

A2

AO

1.803

1,927

2,036

1,914

2,256

2,280

B1

EO

1.651

1,655

1,698

1,809

1,777

1,849

B2

HEO

608

637

771

837

411

447

Associate Prosecutor

HEO

-

-

-

-

447

466

B3

SEO

113

108

123

127

157

186

C1

SEO

320

252

187

-

-

-

Crown Prosecutor

SEO

-

-

-

120

107

80

C2

G7

1.995

2,174

2,336

-

-

-

Senior Crown Prosecutor

G7

-

-

-

1,855

1,662

1,643

Crown Advocate

G7

-

-

-

538

853

880

D

G7

431

446

474

467

426

453

E

G6

149

147

153

146

146

199

Senior Crown Advoc.

G6

-

-

-

10

28

42

Principal Crown Advoc.

G6

-

-

-

5

6

10

Chief Crown Prosecutor

SCS

49

49

43

52

49

50

SCS (inc. G1 Perm. Secretary)

SCS

27

28

29

30

33

37

Total

8,061

8,393

8,777

8,665

8,693

8,882


Mr Umunna: To ask the Attorney-General what the attrition rate was of Crown Prosecution Service employees in each of the last three years. [24041]

The Attorney-General: The annual attrition rate for Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) employees for each of the last three years, covering the period October to September for each respective year is shown in the following table.

%

2008

9.66

2009

7.65

2010

9.68


Institute for Fiscal Studies

Robert Halfon: To ask the Attorney-General how much the Law Officer's Departments spent on services provided by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in each of the last 10 years. [23404]

The Attorney-General: There has been no expenditure made by the Law Officer's Departments on such services during the last 10 years.

Work and Pensions

Child Benefit: Lone Income

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many single income families with a household income between £43,875 and £50,000 are in receipt of child benefit in respect of (a) one child, (b) two children, (c) three children and (d) four or more children. [17922]

Mr Gauke: I have been asked to reply.

In 2010-11 it is estimated that there were 40,000 families with a single income between £43,875 and £50,000 in receipt of child benefit.

The split between numbers of children is not available.

Children: Maintenance

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made in transferring clients of the Child Support Agency under the pre-2002 scheme to the current scheme; and if he will make a statement. [23497]

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 my hon. Friend with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:

Disability Benefits: East Lothian

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in East Lothian constituency receive (a) disability living allowance, (b) incapacity benefit and (c) employment and support allowance. [24251]

Maria Miller: The information available is in the table.


15 Nov 2010 : Column 581W
Claimants of employment support allowance, disability living allowance and incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance, East Lothian parliamentary constituency
Benefit Number

Incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance

3,490

Disability living allowance (in payment)

5,300

Employment and support allowance

710

Notes: 1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. For disability living allowance the totals show the number of people in receipt of an allowance. 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 support allowance from October 2008. 5. Constituencies used are for the Westminster Parliament of May 2010. Source: DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study as at February 2010.

Disability Living Allowance: Care Homes

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many recipients of disability living allowance of each sex who were in residential care were in receipt of (a) the mobility component at the (i) higher and (ii) lower rate and (b) the care component at the (A) higher, (B) middle and (C) lower rate in 2009-10. [23030]

Maria Miller: Reliable estimates of total Disability Living Allowance claimants in residential care homes are not available as we are unable to identify accurately DLA claimants who meet the full cost of their residential care.

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people in residential homes and colleges in (a) each Parliamentary constituency, (b) Scotland, (c) England, (d) Wales and (e) Northern Ireland who will be affected by the proposed removal of the mobility element of disability living allowance; and what estimate he has made of the average reduction in payments to such individuals. [23075]

Maria Miller: Reliable estimates of disability living allowance claimants in residential care homes are not available other than on a Great Britain wide basis. Information for Northern Ireland cannot be provided as social security is a devolved matter for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Assembly. We estimate approximately 60,000 people who claim disability living allowance and live in residential care will be affected by this measure in Great Britain.

The disability living allowance mobility component is paid at a lower rate of £18.95 and a higher rate of £49.85. Of the 60,000 recipients affected by the measure, approximately 30,000 are currently paid the lower rate and 30,000 are paid the higher rate.

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to publish an impact assessment of the effects on the removal of the mobility element of disability living allowance for people in residential homes and colleges. [23076]


15 Nov 2010 : Column 582W

Maria Miller: The Equality Impact Assessment for removing the mobility component of disability living allowance from state funded care home residents after 28 days is still being completed and will be published shortly.

Employment and Support Allowance

Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people he estimates will claim (a) employment and support allowance (ESA) and (b) contributory ESA in 2014 who (i) will cite mental health issues as the primary reason for claiming and (ii) will previously have claimed incapacity benefit. [23495]

Maria Miller: The requested information will partly be available on 29 November 2010 alongside the autumn statement and will be deposited in the Library. We will be able to provide estimates of (a) the number of people who will claim employment support allowance (ESA), (b) contributory ESA and (ii) whether they have previously claimed IB.

While we do not produce forecasts by medical condition and therefore cannot provide an estimate for 2004, the Department does record the primary health condition of people currently claiming ESA. As a broad indicator, at February 2010 the ESA case load was 479,000. Of these 183,000 reported mental and behavioural disorders as their primary health condition.

Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of claimants of contributory employment and support allowance under the work-related activity group in 2014 who have previously claimed incapacity benefit. [23510]

Maria Miller: The requested information will be available on 29 November 2010 alongside the autumn statement and will be deposited in the Library. We will provide estimates at this time.

Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claimants of contributory employment and support allowance in the support group there are; and how many in that group cite a mental health condition as the primary reason to claim. [23511]

Maria Miller: The number of contributory employment and support allowance claimants under the mental and behavioural disorders category by stage of claim-February 2010-can be found in the following table.

The table firstly gives information on the total ESA caseload and those who have a contributory element to their award. Beneath that it provides the numbers of those specifically with a mental/behavioural health condition and whether they fall into the ESA phase of assessment, work-related activity group or support group. These are also broken down further to show the number of these who have a contributory element to their award.

The ESA phase is derived from payment details held on the source system. Where the claimant is not in receipt of any benefit payment, but receiving national insurance credits, then the stage of benefit is shown as unknown.


15 Nov 2010 : Column 583W

15 Nov 2010 : Column 584W
Stage of claim

All Unknown Assessment Support group Work related group

All ESA claimants

479,430

55,570

312,330

30,610

80,910

ESA claimants with a contributory element

203,680

90

143,430

17,090

43,070

Mental and Behavioural category

All ESA claimants

182,880

17,310

124,740

9,130

31,700

ESA claimants with a contributory element

62,120

-

46,190

3,190

12,740

Notes:
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. ESA statistics by medical condition can be found at
http://83.244.183.180/ESA/esa_additional_feb10.xls
3. Benefit type: The type of ESA is defined as pay status at the caseload date. This may differ to the status at the start or end of the claim.
4. Employment and support allowance (ESA) replaced incapacity benefit and income support paid.
5. Stage of ESA claim: The stage of claim is derived from the amount of payment a claimant receives. There are a number of cases where the stage is unknown, these are claimants which do not receive any payment for ESA (These are those who receive national insurance credits only).
6. ICD (disease) code: Causes of incapacity are based on the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, published by the World Health Organisation. Medical condition is based on evidence provided at the start of the claim, this in itself does not confer entitlement to employment support allowance and may not represent a claimant's most recent medical condition. For ESA claimants data on medical condition are only available from February 2010 onwards.
Source:
DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100%

Employment and Support Allowance: East Lothian

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in East Lothian constituency have received employment and support allowance payments for more than one year. [24250]

Maria Miller: The information available is in the table.

Claimants of employment and support allowance, East Lothian parliamentary constituency

Number

Claimants

710

Duration of over one year

80

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Some additional disclosure control has also been applied. 2. Figures are compiled using 2010 parliamentary constituency boundaries. 3. Employment and support allowance replaced incapacity benefit and income support paid on the grounds of incapacity for new claims from 27 October 2008. 4. Data include those receiving "credits only". Source: DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100% data as at February 2010.

Housing Benefit

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has made an estimate of (a) the number of households in each constituency which will be affected by increasing the age threshold for the shared room rate rules from 25 to 35 years, (b) the average amount of local housing allowance such households would lose if they do not move home, (c) the average combined effects on the income of such households of losing their entitlement to a one bedroom property and reduction of their local housing allowance to the thirtieth percentile of local rents and (d) the number of (i) men and (ii) women who will be affected by the increase. [21758]

Steve Webb: We will publish a document on the impacts of the proposed changes to the shared room rate in due course. This will include information at the local authority level.

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the percentage change in local housing allowance rates has been for each category of house in each local authority area in each month since the allowance's inception. [22088]

Steve Webb: This information is only available at the broad rental market area level. A copy of the available information has been placed in the Library.

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were in receipt of housing benefit in each constituency in the last 12 months; and what the monetary value of the average weekly award was. [22368]

Steve Webb: The information is not available. At present geographic breakdowns are only available for local authorities and government office regions. However, an exercise is being undertaken to add other geographical areas to the data, which will include parliamentary constituencies.

Incapacity Benefit: Medical Examinations

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many decisions to reject applications for incapacity benefit based on medical examinations were overturned on appeal in (a) Wansbeck constituency, (b) Northumberland and (c) the UK in the last 12 months. [22923]

Maria Miller: Please note the information requested is not available at a constituency level. Between October 2009 and September 2010 there have been:


15 Nov 2010 : Column 585W

All figures are rounded to the nearest 10. This information is taken from benefit claims data held by the Department for Work and Pensions and appeals data sourced from the Tribunals Service covering appeals heard up to September 2010.

Poverty: Children

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the number of children in (a) absolute poverty, (b) relative poverty and (c) combined material deprivation and low income in Birmingham, Hall Green constituency. [23446]


15 Nov 2010 : Column 586W

Maria Miller: Estimates of the number and proportion of children living in poverty are published in the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) series. HBAI uses household income adjusted (or 'equivalised') for household size and composition, to provide a proxy for standard of living.

As they are based on survey data, child poverty estimates published in HBAI only allow breakdowns to Government Office Region and analysis by Parliamentary constituency is not possible. However, figures for the West Midlands are set out in Table 1.

Table 1: Number and percentage of children living in (a) relative poverty before housing costs (BHC) (b) absolute poverty (BHC) and (c) combined material deprivation and low income in the West Midlands, before housing costs
Number of children (million) and percentage
Relative poverty Absolute poverty Combined material deprivation and low income
Period Number (%) Number (%) Number (%)

2006-07 to 2008-09

0.3

29

0.2

17

0.2

21

Notes:
1. These statistics are based on households below average income (HBAI) data sourced from the 2008-09 Family Resources Survey (FRS). This uses disposable household income, adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.
2. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to uncertainty. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response.
3. The reference period for households below average income figures are single financial years. Three survey years have been combined as regional single year estimates are subject to volatility.
4. Numbers of children in low-income households have been rounded to the nearest 100,000, while proportions have been rounded to the nearest percentage point.
5. These statistics are based on incomes Before Housing Costs.
6. Each of the measures is defined as:
Relative poverty: percentage of children living in households with less than 60% of contemporary median household income.
Absolute poverty: percentage of children living in households with less than 60% of 1998-99 median household income held constant in real terms.
Low income and material deprivation: percentage of children living in households in material deprivation and with less than 70 per cent of
contemporary median household income.
Source:
Households below average income, DWP

Shared Housing: East Lothian

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has made an estimate of (a) the number of households in East Lothian constituency which will be affected by increasing the age threshold for the shared room rate rules from 25 to 35 years, (b) the average amount of local housing allowance such households would lose if they do not move home, (c) the average combined effects on the income of such households of losing their entitlement to a one bedroom property and reduction of their local housing allowance to the thirtieth percentile of local rents and (d) the number of (i) men and (ii) women who will be affected by increasing the age threshold for the shared room rate rules from 25 to 35 years in such households in East Lothian constituency. [24249]

Steve Webb: We will publish a document on the impacts of the proposed changes to the shared room rate in due course. This will include information at the local authority level.

Social Security Benefits

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to encourage people to take up their benefit entitlements. [23512]

Steve Webb: The latest estimates of take-up of all income-related benefits in 2008-09 were published in June 2010. The figures show that there was £38.1 billion claimed across all income related benefits representing between around 75% and 85% take-up by expenditure. The take-up report is available on line at:

We want to make sure that everyone is getting all of the help that they are entitled to which is why the Department makes information available in various locations including doctors' surgeries, welfare rights groups and Jobcentre Plus offices to ensure that people are aware of the benefits to which they may be entitled and how to claim them. Information on benefits is also available on the Department's website:

With the introduction of universal credit from October 2013, which will replace six working age means tested benefits; people will be better placed to find out what benefits they can get.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has plans to increase internet access for benefit claimants. [23513]

Chris Grayling: The Department is committed to providing accessible and attractive online services for our customers and we have plans in place to deliver
15 Nov 2010 : Column 587W
more and more of our services online. We recognise that some customers do not have access to the internet and so are working with a range of partners to provide information to customers on where and how to get internet access.

Jobcentre Plus has recently introduced Digital Champions in every Jobcentre. Their role is to promote digital take up and to find what support is available locally for customers to get online through partner organisations and share this information with colleagues to help and encourage customers to get online.

In addition, DWP is helping residents in sheltered housing schemes to benefit from access to equipment, training and support to get online. By the end of March 2011, 196 sheltered housing schemes will have received funding for digital equipment.


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