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Mrs Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much funding he has allocated to (a) prison psychology, (b) prison probation and (c) prison education services in 2010-11; and how much such funding he plans to allocate in each of the next four years. 
The specific budget for public sector prisons allocated to prison psychology services in the 2010-11 financial year was £85.5 million. However,
additional funding would have been included in the budgets for individual programmes and cannot be identified separately.
Responsibility for the funding of prisoner education in England rests with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). BIS are still working through the detail of the comprehensive spending review and information will be announced as soon as possible.
In 2010-11, BIS plans to spend £171 million on offender learning in English public sector prisons. This includes spend associated with the employment of heads of learning and skills in prisons, libraries and higher education in public sector prisons in England and a small amount in private sector prisons.
The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) provides both physical resources and staff to support educational activities for prisoners. It is not possible to separately identify these costs which are not held centrally. Education in private prisons is largely run in house and the full costs are not available.
Training for prisoners is undertaken, mainly by Prison Service staff, while prisoners work or are engaged in various areas such as prison industries, catering, physical education, land based activities, industrial cleaning and laundries. The central costs of the training elements of these, mainly production functions, are not kept centrally.
NOMS gained co-financing organisation status in January 2009 and successfully bid for a total of £50 million of European social funding to enhance the skills and employment services to offenders in prison and the community. NOMS has been granted the funding over 27 months to increase offenders' employability and improve their access to mainstream support provision. Funding has been extended into a second phase up to 2013.
Mr Blunt: The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) does not keep records of employment taken up by former prison governors after they have resigned or retired from the service. We are aware that a small number of senior managers resigned from NOMS in 2010 to take up posts in the private sector, including the governors of Holloway, Whitemoor, Moorland and Isle of Wight. There may have been others who joined private sector providers but there is no requirement for those resigning or retiring to advise the service of their future employment plans.
|Prison||Private sector provider|
Mr Blunt: In the Green Paper "Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders", we announced that we would fundamentally reshape probation services to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy, empower front-line professionals and make them more accountable.
We will do this by reforming the way in which probation trusts are managed; reviewing targets and standards to ensure greater flexibility and professional discretion; considering the scope and value of different business models, such as public sector workers forming employee-owned co-operatives; and reforming the National Offender Management Service to reduce costs and enable effective local commissioning in the longer term.
Mr Blunt: The specifications for the current Community Payback competition stipulate that a provider will ensure that the local community is able to express their views about the type of work that is undertaken and provide local forums with regular updates about the progress of projects. Liaison must also take place with the local Probation Trust and other relevant local bodies to engage in discussion concerning local requirements for Community Payback projects.
Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people who were originally convicted of (a) sexual and (b) violent offences are resident in approved premises in England and Wales. 
Mr Blunt: The number of (a) sexual and (b) violent offenders accommodated in approved premises in England and Wales will vary from time to time. Statistical information about the offending history of offenders residing in approved premises at any one time is not collected centrally, although offenders' assessed level of risk of harm at the point of admission is.
Approved premises provide for enhanced supervision, particularly of high risk of harm offenders on release from custody. It would be much more difficult to provide that level of supervision, were such offenders to be dispersed into less suitable accommodation in the community on release from custody.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will assess the (a) drafting requirement and (b) parliamentary time required for the enactment of legislative provisions to regulate will writing. 
Mr Djanogly: In order for will writing to become regulated, it is likely that primary legislation would be required. In order for will writing to become a reserved activity under the Legal Services Act 2007 (LSA), secondary legislation would be required.
Since the Legal Services Board (LSB) is currently investigating whether or not it would be in the interests of the legal consumer to regulate will writing, it will be more appropriate to await the outcome of that investigation before making an assessment of next steps. Although the activity itself is not regulated, under the LSA authorised persons that provide will writing services, like solicitors, are regulated by their approved regulator.
Mr Blunt: I refer the hon. Member to my reply of 17 November 2010, Official Report, columns 865-67W, to the hon. Member for Maidstone and the Weald (Mrs Grant) and specifically to the information contained therein on the average annual cost per place in a young offender institution holding 15 to 18-year-olds at 1 April 2009.
Young people in custody can also be placed in secure training centres and secure children's homes. The following table provides the average annual cost per place in a secure training centre and a secure children's home at 1 April 2009. The information includes the cost to the Youth Justice Board of providing these places and excludes VAT.
|Average annual cost per place at 1 April 2009 (nearest £000)|
Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of antibiotics was administered to (a) domestic and (b) farmed animals in relation to the amount administered to the human population in the last 12 months. 
Mr Paice: The most recent data comparing the use of antimicrobials in human and veterinary medicine are from 2007. The report "Overview of Antimicrobial Usage and Bacterial Resistance in Selected Human and Animal Pathogens in the UK: 2007", published in March 2010, shows that in 2007 in the UK:
335 tonnes of antimicrobial active ingredient were sold for animals reared for food;
34 tonnes were sold for use in domestic animals; and
19 tonnes were sold in veterinary medicines authorised for both farmed and domestic animals.
73 tonnes were prescribed in hospitals in England and Wales (no data were available for Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2007);
337 tonnes were prescribed in the community in England, Wales and Northern Ireland during 2007; and
41 tonnes were prescribed in the community in Scotland between April 2007 and March 2008.
Mr Paice: Controls on pesticides work at a number of levels, initially by identifying the hazard potential, then by assessing and managing risk. Under European legislation, pesticide active substances are first evaluated at community level. A key part of this process is an assessment of the risks to bees. If an active substance meets the EU safety requirements then products containing that active substance can be authorised at member state level, taking into account that country's individual agronomic, climatic and dietary requirements.
In the UK, pesticide products can only be sold or used after they have been authorised. As part of this process, the Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) of the Health and Safety Executive (the Government body responsible for regulating pesticides) undertakes an assessment of the toxicity of each product and the ways in which spray operators, the public or environment (in particular honey bees) may be exposed. The purpose being to ensure that the use of the product poses no unacceptable risks.
The controls extend to the use of products and CRD routinely restricts the way products can be used (e.g. specifying dose rates, timing and place of application) to ensure protection of human health and the environment. Users are also legally obliged to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health of human beings, creatures and plants. Advice on how this can be done is set out in a statutory "Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products" which, amongst other things, contains guidance on minimising the exposure of bees to pesticides.
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she next expects to report on progress towards achieving each of the 2010 targets for priority species and habitats contained in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. 
Richard Benyon: The four administrations of the UK plan to undertake separate, national assessments on the 2010 targets. The timing is a matter for the respective devolved Administrations. In England, the aim is to initiate this work in 2011. The approach and extent of the assessments is expected to vary between each country.
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her most recent assessment is of progress towards achieving the targets contained in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan in respect of (a) maintenance of the extent of lowland raised bog, (b) an increase of 3,784 hectares on the extent of lowland heathland, (c) maintenance of the extent of intertidal sediment saltmarsh and mudflat ecosystems, (d) re-establishment of 800 hectares of coastal and flood plain grazing marsh of wildlife value from appropriate land sources, (e) re-establishment of 8,426 hectares of lowland calcareous grassland of wildlife value from arable or improved grassland, (f) restoration of 26,880 hectares of non-native plantations on ancient woodland sites to native woodland and (g) restoration of 1,736 hectares of lowland meadow from semi-improved and neglected grassland by 2010. 
Richard Benyon: Progress towards the UK Biodiversity Action Plan targets for 2010 was last assessed in 2008 by the UK Biodiversity Partnership. The assessments for the habitat targets mentioned were as follows:
(a) Maintenance of the extent of lowland raised bog: target not achieved. 32,806 ha was reported to have been maintained.
(b) An increase of 3,784 ha on the extent of lowland heathland: some progress but target not achieved. 1858 ha was reported to have been created.
(c) Maintenance of the extent of intertidal sediment saltmarsh and mudflat ecosystems: 2008 value was not known for the UK, but the England figure was reported as 204,000 ha.
(d) Re-establishment of 800 ha of coastal and floodplain grazing marsh: exceeded. An estimated 11,001 ha was reported to have been created.
(e) Re-establishment of 8,426 ha of lowland calcareous grassland: some progress but target not achieved. Over 300 ha was reported to have been created in England.
(f) Restoration of 26,880 ha of non-native plantations on ancient woodland sites to native woodland: some progress. 5,442 ha was reported to have been restored with a further 4,233 under way in Wales so target not achieved.
(g) Restoration of 1,736 ha of lowland meadow: some progress, however the restoration will take many years and no specific figures were reported on the Biodiversity Actions Reporting System (BARS).
Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial compensation is available to farmers who lose cattle from a rare breed of bovine tuberculosis. 
Mr Paice: The Cattle Compensation (England) Order 2006 sets out how compensation is determined for all TB affected cattle. Since February 2006, compensation in England has been determined primarily using table values, which reflect the average open market sale prices of bovine animals in 47 different categories. The categories are based on the animal's age, gender, type (dairy or beef) and status (i.e. pedigree (including rare pedigree breeds) or non-pedigree).
Kris Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she plans to introduce mandatory carbon reporting for companies by 2012; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: The UK wants to see a competitive, thriving and sustainable EU agriculture and food sector that is able to rise to the challenges and opportunities of the future. We therefore need ambitious reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP) to deliver good value for farmers, taxpayers, consumers and the environment.
Future agriculture policy must have viable, competitive farming at its heart, building a stronger European agricultural sector that is free to farm and able to compete in global markets. With intense pressures on public finances, there should be a substantial cut to the CAP Budget. Future expenditure must be well targeted, delivering measurable outputs that offer real value for money and societal benefits that the market place cannot provide. It should tackle the key objectives of encouraging a competitive, sustainable EU agriculture sector, reducing reliance on subsidies and focusing resources on the provision of environmental public goods. This must be underpinned by further simplification of the CAP and reduction of regulatory burdens.
Richard Benyon: I have had discussions with a range of organisations and people about Common Fisheries Policy reform, including the EU Fisheries Commissioner, MEPs, representatives of the fishing industry, processors, retailers, and non-government organisations.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effects on the environment of recent trends in bottled water sales; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: DEFRA has not carried out any recent research on this topic. A 2009 report by the Sustainable Development Commission, called "Setting the Table: Advice to Government on Priority elements of Sustainable Diets" included some analysis of a possible guideline about reducing consumption of bottled water (Guideline 10 in the report). This concluded that reliable research and evidence regarding the overall impacts of bottled water was not available. DEFRA recognises the work the industry is doing to achieve high standards of sustainability in what it does.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to ensure environmental and sustainable development policy is mainstreamed in the work of other Government Departments. 
Mr Paice: We are considering the recommendations of the recent Environmental Audit Committee report on embedding sustainable development across Government, and will announce details of our approach in the coming weeks.
Richard Benyon: As UK Fisheries Minister, I lead on discussions with our European counterparts on the discarding of fish. At the Fisheries Council in December 2010, I negotiated with the European Commission and member states to agree fishing opportunities for 2011. The need to find solutions to the problem of discarding formed an important part of those negotiations.
There will be further discussions this year with member states and the Commission on the topic of minimising discards, and the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy in 2012. The UK will continue to lead the way within the EU on finding practical solutions to the discard issue.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the (a) weight and (b) retail value of edible fish discarded by UK fishermen due to their being over-quota in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
The total discard estimate in 2009 (the latest period for which figures are available for those fisheries sampled in UK) is 51,179 tonnes. There are many reasons explaining these discards; however, the current system for recording catch and discard data
does not allow us to differentiate (year on year) why each fish is discarded. Despite this, CEFAS analysis, conducted in 2010 on the 2008 English and Welsh discard data, estimated that;
54% (13,230 tonnes) of total discards were discarded for reasons relating to weak/absent markets (i.e. non-quota species).
Quota constraints were estimated to account for 22% (5,390 tonnes) of discards (i.e. quota species above the legal minimum landing size)
24% (5,880 tonnes) of total discards were quota species below the legal minimum landing size (MLS) and were too small to land.
High grading is another type of discarding where fishermen try to optimise the value of their catches by keeping the good value fish and discarding the poorer value ones. This creates a financial profit for fishermen but is still a waste of legally landable fish. A European high grading ban is in place in waters around the UK to prevent this behaviour. The extent of high grading has not been successfully separated from estimates for other types of discarding. Other types of discarding, such as unmarketable species, over quota and under MLS may represent a loss of value to the fishermen and from the fishery.
Because discard estimates 1997-2010 have not undergone the same analysis as 2008 data, estimates of the financial impacts of discards for the British fleet as a whole are unreliable. To simply use the average market value of all fish species as a multiplier would give an inaccurate estimate of the financial impact of discards.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of food labelling practices in the meat and poultry supply industries. 
Mr Paice: The food industry has always shown itself to be adaptable and flexible to its customers' demands and much progress has already been made in providing more and better information on food labels. However, we recognise that more could be done to ensure origin information is provided on products of interest to consumers, such as fresh meat.
Discussions in the EU on a new Food Information Regulation are ongoing. The UK supported the extension of compulsory origin labelling to all fresh meat, a review of extending origin labelling for other foods, and a requirement for origin information to be given for main ingredients when origin claims are made. Member states have reached political agreement on the text, which will now be sent to the European Parliament for further consideration. We do not expect the regulation to be adopted and published until early 2012.
In the meantime, we continue to work with the food industry, retailers and others to encourage better labelling. Voluntary principles on country of origin labelling, developed by industry and facilitated by DEFRA, were launched on 24 November and have been agreed by trade associations representing manufacturers, retailers and the food service sector. All of the major supermarkets have signed up to this approach and
many individual businesses already provide excellent origin information. These principles formalise and strengthen the current labelling practices of many businesses. As part of the Structural Form Plan, DEFRA will be carrying out an assessment of current origin labelling practices in the UK during the first half of this year.
Mr Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what decisions about governance arrangements for National Parks have been made ahead of the closure of the current consultation; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon [holding answer 17 January 2011]: No decisions on the governance arrangement for national parks will be made until after the consultation has closed on 1 February and the responses have been carefully considered.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she plans to publish the results of her Department's research project on beak trimming of hens; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Marcus Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she plans to review Sections 53 and 54 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to withdraw the provision to re-classify public paths as byways open to all traffic. 
Richard Benyon: Section 54 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 was repealed through section 47 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, consequently enacted by commencement order in May 2006. At the same time all roads used as public paths not yet reclassified under section 54 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 became restricted byways, under the Restricted Byways Regulations 2006.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to increase the proportion of publicly-procured (a) beef, (b) lamb and (c) pork which comes from UK sources. 
One of the Government's priorities is to support and develop British farming and encourage sustainable food production. To achieve this it needs to
be seen to lead by example and encourage sustainable food procurement by the Government and the wider public sector. In support of this the Government have made a commitment to source food, subject to no overall increase in costs, meeting British or equivalent standards of production.
This commitment will be included as part of a set of Government Buying Standards for food, covering sustainability of food and catering operations as well as nutrition, which will be mandatory for central Government Departments and will be promoted to the wider public sector. These Government Buying Standards, currently the subject of an external review ending on 24 January, will be published in March this year.
We know that some Departments are already buying a high proportion of food that meets British or equivalent standards of production and therefore it should be possible for others to do the same. DEFRA will be working to help all Departments achieve this goal through guidance and learning from best practice. Departments will be asked to report on the extent to which they meet the Government Buying Standards in June 2011.
Government, procurement has to comply with EU and UK legislation which is intended to prevent 'buy national' policies and encourage free trade and equal access to markets. Any action in contradiction to these principles would run a high risk of legal challenge and would be contrary to the Government's wider public procurement policy.
Neil Parish: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will consider reducing the quarantine time for UK search and rescue dogs used in international humanitarian assistance missions. 
Mr Paice: The UK maintains strict controls on the movement of dogs and cats into the UK. These controls require all dogs, including working dogs, entering the UK from certain countries to be placed in quarantine on their arrival. This is intended to protect us from the incursion of serious diseases like rabies.
However, we recognise the excellent work carried out by UK search and rescue dogs in response to international emergencies. We also appreciate that ongoing and regular training is critical for these dogs so that they can maintain their response capability, and the burden that quarantine places on these animals.
Each case would need to be considered on an individual basis, but we would be willing to work with the relevant organisations to explore potential options which prove an acceptable compromise between the needs of these dogs, and our disease control requirements.
For example, DEFRA worked closely with the Essex Fire Service in 2009 to develop a system which allowed a rescue dog returning from the earthquake in Indonesia to continue her training routine, while maintaining our strict controls protecting the public from the very serious disease of rabies. DEFRA is happy to continue working with search and rescue dog organisations to look at ways to maintain their dogs' readiness to respond to international situations in this manner.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of pump stations which will be transferred to water companies between 1 October 2011 and (a) 1 October 2012, (b) 1 October 2013, (c) 1 October 2014, (d) 1 October 2015 and (e) 1 October 2016. 
Richard Benyon: Draft regulations for the transfer of private sewers to water and sewerage companies were the subject of consultation between August and November 2010 and provide for the transfer of all eligible pumping stations by 1 October 2016. The precise timing of the transfer of individual pumping stations will be a matter for each company to determine in light of the need for improvement or replacement works. The impact assessment published alongside the consultation paper estimates the total number of pumping stations to be transferred as 22,000.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect on flood management of transferring private drains, sewers and pump stations to water companies. 
Richard Benyon: The proposed transfer will significantly aid surface water management, which is currently inhibited by disparate ownership of sewerage assets. One of the primary benefits will be better integrated management and maintenance of the transferred assets as part of the public sewerage system. In his report on the 2007 floods, Sir Michael Pitt welcomed the clarification of institutional responsibilities that the proposed transfer will bring as a contribution to reducing surface water flooding. The transfer will apply to private foul and surface water sewers that connect to the public sewerage system.
Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with Ministerial colleagues on the spread of Sudden Oak disease in England; and what steps (a) her Department and (b) its agencies are taking to curtail the spread of the disease. 
In 2009, a five-year £25 million programme began in England and Wales, in addition to ongoing work across the UK, to tackle diseases caused by two plant pathogens, the Phytophthora species "P. ramorum" and "P. kemoviae". "P. ramorum" is known as Sudden Oak Death in the USA, although the impact on oak species in the UK has been limited.
The focus of the programme has been reconsidered since finding "P. ramorum" seriously affecting Japanese larch trees in the south-west of England in August 2009. The programme has been subject to review, in consultation with a range of interested parties, and the outcome of this review should be announced shortly.
The Forestry Commission has been working closely with the Food and Environment Research Agency to deliver the programme against the diseases and has been carrying out annual surveys of woodland since 2004. Wherever the pathogen's presence is confirmed it requires the removal of all infected plants and trees, and the Forestry Commission takes the same action on the land it manages. Activity has increased significantly since "P. ramorum" was confirmed on Japanese larch, an important component of commercial forestry, and currently some 3,000 hectares of Japanese larch are being cleared mainly in south west England and south Wales in an effort to halt the spread of the disease. Funding totalling £600,000 has been made available from the programme funds to help owners arrange for the felling and marketing of their timber and the clearance of younger non-commercial crops.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many staff of the Sustainable Development Commission will be (a) transferred to her Department and (b) released following its abolition; 
Mr Paice [holding answer 17 January 2011]: DEFRA and the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) are currently reviewing evidence as to which SDC staff are eligible to transfer to the Department. This is part of the Cabinet Office Statement of Practice on Staff Transfers in the Public Sector process. Numbers of staff who will transfer or be released from the SDC Whitehall office will be known once this process has been completed.
DEFRA has contributed approximately £2.5 million a year to the SDC's budget. We are determining the scale of any costs arising from the abolition of the SDC as part of the SDC transition project. This will include the cost of redundancy compensation payments as well as salary costs for any staff that transfer into DEFRA. We anticipate that any costs will be outweighed by the long term savings to DEFRA and to Government.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the effect on rural communities of the proposed Work Programme; 
(2) what assessment she has conducted with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government of the effects on construction of social housing in rural communities in England over the next five years; 
Richard Benyon: DEFRA is the Rural Champion within Government, and its officials engage regularly with those of other Government Departments to highlight rural issues and ensure that rural interests are taken into account in policy making.
I am currently undertaking a programme of rurally-focused meetings with all Ministers from other policy Departments, which will naturally include Ministers from the Department for Communities and Local Government, which will include discussions on delivery of social and affordable housing, as well as meeting with Ministers from the Department for Work and Pensions, which will include discussions on the issue of pensioner poverty in rural areas.
Mr Bellingham: Our principal aims in the Arctic are to promote peace and good governance, and increase UK influence in the region by maintaining good bilateral and multilateral relationships with the Arctic States, for example, through supporting the work of the Arctic Council and other international and regional bodies.
The UK recognises the need to protect the Arctic environment, particularly in light of rapid regional climate change, but also recognises that the Arctic region is crucial to UK energy security and of increasing interest to British business and scientists. The Government therefore works with the Arctic States to promote and support British interests in the region, including in respect of science, energy, fisheries and potential transport routes opened up by the melting sea ice.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress his Department has made on negotiations on an international arms trade treaty; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: Securing a robust and effective arms trade treaty remains a priority for the Government. The UK played a full and active role at the start of negotiations on an arms trade treaty (ATT) in New York in July 2010. Good progress was made at the meeting, with constructive engagement by the majority of UN member states.
The UK regularly discusses the ATT with both supportive states, and those that still have concerns about the treaty. We are also working with non-governmental organisations and the UK defence industry to build support for the ATT, including through the funding of a range of ATT related projects. Negotiations will continue at the next preparatory committee meeting in February 2011.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the negotiation of an international arms trade treaty that is legally binding on signatories. 
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to maintain the post of Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament after the end of the current Ambassador's term of office in 2011. 
Alistair Burt: Following an internal reorganisation to our multilateral diplomatic posts in Switzerland, the responsibilities currently held by the Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament have been redistributed to ensure that Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) resources are best placed to service both Geneva and non-Geneva based work. When the current Ambassador's term ends in 2011, we will retain the post of UK permanent representative to the conference on disarmament in Geneva. However leadership of the UK delegations to the non-proliferation treaty and the arms trade treaty will revert to the relevant heads of department at the FCO in London. This will ensure even greater Whitehall and ministerial co-ordination across the multilateral arms control and disarmament community, including on the arms trade treaty as we approach the critical UN negotiating conference in 2012. I can confirm that multilateral arms control and disarmament continue to be a high priority for the FCO.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when his Department plans to clarify the ambiguity which exists on the support services offered to British nationals bereaved by murder and manslaughter abroad. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The consular support currently available to British nationals bereaved by murder and manslaughter abroad is set out in our publications 'Support for British nationals abroad: a Guide', and a 'Guide for bereaved families', both available at:
Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to implement the provisions of the Crime and Security Act 2010 related to compensation for victims of terrorism overseas; and if he will make a statement. 
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on which occasions British ambassadorial posts have been recruited through open competition in each of the last two years. 
Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received on the ability of British citizens to acquire visas to visit countries in the Indian sub-continent. 
Alistair Burt: We cannot go into details on individual cases. However we are aware that British citizens of Pakistani origin applying for an Indian visa have been subject to additional checks by the Indian Government and these have led to delays. We have raised our concerns about this issue with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in India, both bilaterally and in conjunction with European Union colleagues.
Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress has been made on strengthening the UK's relations with India; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: The bilateral relationship with India sits on solid foundations, but my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made clear that the UK is committed to making this partnership stronger, wider and deeper, to mutual benefit. This reflects India's increasingly important role in the world and our shared interest in democracy, sustained economic growth, and global security through effective international institutions.
Since my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's visit to India and the summit with Indian Prime Minister Singh in July 2010 we have set in train an ambitious agenda of practical co-operation. A number of further visits, including by Cabinet Ministers, have taken place in both directions. A significant UK trade delegation is accompanying my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable) on a visit to India this week. In February a forum of chief executive officers from both countries will meet to advise on improving bilateral trade. A new phase in the UK/India Education and Research initiative will further enhance co-operation between educational institutions and provide a platform for the increased ties in science and technology that will help drive economic growth on both sides. Co-operation also continues on defence, counter terrorism and climate change.
Both sides are committed to deepening the relationship at the non-governmental level and hon. Members may be aware of recent parliamentary exchanges. India's new membership of the UN Security Council also provides an opportunity to engage even more closely on key international issues and it is the Government's intention to do so.
Neil Parish: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the government of Iran on the arrest of Mrs Nasrin Sotoudeh; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: As I said in my statement of 10 January 2011, I am deeply disturbed by the ongoing detention of Nasrin Sotoudeh, and by the 11 year prison sentence which was recently handed down to her. I have raised this case on a number of occasions directly with the Iranian embassy in London and will continue to call on the Iranian authorities to overturn these sentences. I am also deeply concerned by reports that Reza Khandan, Ms Sotoudeh's husband, has now been detained by the authorities. Arrests and harassment of family members as a means to exert pressure are entirely unacceptable. I urge Iran to cease its harassment of human rights defenders and lawyers for doing their jobs and defending those without a voice.
Mr Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) when he expects to commence the process to identify a successor for the present UK Permanent Representative to the EU; 
Mr Lidington: The post of UK Permanent Representative to the EU is being handled as part of a continuing appointments process to fill a number of senior diplomatic posts from within the civil service. Diplomatic service appointments of ambassadorial rank are agreed by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, and made by Her Majesty the Queen. An announcement will be made once this process is complete. The Government do not propose to bring forward proposals to enable either the Foreign Affairs Select Committee or the European Scrutiny Committee to have the right to confirm the appointment of a new UK Permanent Representative to the European Union, or any other diplomatic service appointment. We do propose to continue the practice that political appointees to diplomatic service positions should appear before the select committee after their appointments have been made. It would not be appropriate to appoint the UK Permanent Representative to the Cabinet: Ministers are accountable to Parliament for all aspects of the Government's European policy.
Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent consideration he has given to upgrading the status of the Palestinian delegation in London to that of a full diplomatic mission; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: We are aware of the steps that some other EU states have taken to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Delegations in their capitals. The Palestinians have made the same request to the UK, which we are considering in accordance with our long standing support for Palestinian state building.
The Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964 and the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 confer diplomatic privileges and immunities in the UK on accredited diplomats, their families etc. of other states.
As the UK does not recognise Palestine as a state, the Palestinian Authority in the UK is not entitled to the privileges and immunities provided for in the United Kingdom Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964 and the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987. These Acts implement the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1964 in UK law, a convention that regulates the diplomatic conduct between states.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of the Russian Federation on allegations of corruption in the construction of the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline. 
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in the east of Sri Lanka following the recent floods; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: I have received regular reports from our high commission in Colombo on the effect of the floods on central and eastern Sri Lanka. These indicate that over one million people have been affected by the severe weather and just over 51,000 are displaced as of 17 January 2011. The Sri Lankan Government and the UN are co-ordinating humanitarian relief for the flood victims. I have expressed to the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister our sympathy for those affected by these devastating floods. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and follow UN assessments of the humanitarian operation.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the Child Support Agency is required to assess income from war disability benefit when calculating payments due in respect of children. 
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 Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner as the Child Support Agency is now the responsibility of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the Child Support Agency is required to assess income from war disability benefit when calculating payments due in respect of children. 
Under the current child maintenance scheme introduced in 2003, the receipt of a war disablement pension is a prescribed benefit for the purposes of the Child Support Act 1991. A non-resident parent in receipt of a prescribed benefit is liable to pay maintenance at the flat rate which is currently £5 per week.
In old child maintenance scheme, for cases opened between 1993 and 2003, a war disablement pension is included in the calculation of the net weekly income but £10 of their total income is then disregarded. If the revised calculation leads to a liability of £6.50 or less per week, then they are exempt from paying maintenance.
I hope you find this answer helpful.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has carried out on the effects of measures announced as a result of the June 2010 Budget and the Comprehensive Spending Review on people with disabilities. 
Maria Miller: Within the Department for Work and Pensions, all Budget and spending review measures will be equality impact assessed. Where the detail of policies is still being developed we will publish equality impact assessments at the most appropriate time, for example alongside the Welfare Reform Bill.
Steve Webb: The Department published a document on 'Impacts of Housing Benefit proposals: Changes to the Local Housing Allowance to be introduced in 2011-12' on 23 July, which includes analysis at the local authority level. An impact assessment and equality impact assessment were published on 30 November. Copies of the documents have been placed in the Library. We will publish impact assessments for the remaining measures at the time the relevant legislation is introduced.
The administration of Social Fund is mainly carried out by Jobcentre Plus. The following table provides data back to 2006-07. This is the earliest time for which data is available for Social Fund activity.
|Table 1: Social Fund direct staff administration costs|
1. The costs shown represent the direct staff costs within Jobcentre Plus associated with Social Fund activity. The basis for allocating management, support costs and head office costs has changed over this period and it would be disproportionately costly to attempt to include all of these costs on a comparable basis.
2. The costs cover the direct staff administration costs of Budgeting and Crisis Loans including face to face interviews, Community Care Grants, Funeral Payments and Sure Start Maternity Grants, reviews and appeals and exclude Winter Fuel payments. Debt Management activity is carried out by a Shared Service function on behalf of Jobcentre Plus. Activity specific to Social Fund Debt is not separately identified from the wider debt recovery costs.
3. The increase in cost mainly reflects increased volumes of Crisis Loans.
4. In 2009-10 face to face interviews were introduced where an individual made a third or subsequent request for a Crisis Loan within a rolling 12 month period. The aim of these interviews is to:
Help ensure that the Fund is not being mis-used. Evidence suggests that on being invited to interview, significant numbers of applicants either terminate the telephone call or fail to attend the appointment.
Help sign-post genuine needy customers for independent money advice so that they can receive help with matters such as budgeting.
Jobcentre Plus Activity Based Management System
Yvonne Fovargue: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average time taken to process notification of changes of circumstance of benefit claimants (a) resident in Makerfield constituency and (b) nationally was in the latest period for which figures are available. 
AACT measures the average number of working days we take to process changes of circumstance. The measure starts when the notification is received in Jobcentre Plus and ends when the relevant details have been recorded.
You have asked for details for claimants resident in Makerfield constituency these are not processed at Makerfield Benefit Delivery Centre (BDC) they are dealt with by Bolton BDC. Makerfield BDC processes claims made in London.
|Change of circumstance : Average Actual Clearance Time|
|April||May||June||July||August||September||Octobe r||November||December||Year to date|
| Source: Management Information System Programme (MISP). MISP is the departmental performance management, data capture and reporting tool. This type of internal management information does not form part of the official statistics outputs that are released by the Department in accordance with the UK Statistics Authority's Code of Practice.|
In PDCS we have taken your question to mean what is the average number of working days it takes us to process a notification of change of circumstances. The way in which management information is captured means that we are unable to provide what the average time taken to process notification of changes of circumstance of benefit claimants resident in Makerfield constituency. However we are able to provide information nationally in the following table:
|Year to date Average Actual Clearance Time, as at December 2010|
| Notes: 1. A supersession is where the customer raises questions about entitlement to DLA/AA e.g. there has been a change of circumstances and they require more help with personal care or getting about. 2. A Secretary of State Supersession (SofS) is undertaken when information is received that raises questions about a customer's entitlement to DLA or AA. 3. Maintenance is where the customer reports a change of personal circumstances such as a change of address or bank account etc. 4. The Average Actual Clearance Time (AACT) target measures the average number of days we take to process changes of circumstances. The purpose of the target is to make sure that our customers' changes of circumstances are processed in a reasonable length of time. 5. The AACT is calculated by dividing the total number of days taken to clear cases by the total number of cases cleared. Example: Total number of working days taken to clear cases is 150; total number of cases cleared is 50. Therefore the average clearance time is 150/50 = 3. Source: Department for Work and Pensions-PDCS Management Information Statistics.|
Information for the average time taken to process notification of changes of circumstances for state pension changes is not captured however we can tell you that the target is 95% in 15 days and the year to date figure for December 2010 is 94.9%.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people have been transferred to an alternative benefit following a medical assessment for the purposes of determining
benefit suitability in (a) Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency, (b) South Lanarkshire and (c) Scotland since May 2010; 
(2) how many people have had benefit withdrawn following a medical assessment for the purposes of determining benefit suitability in (a) Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency, (b) South Lanarkshire and (c) Scotland since May 2010; 
(4) how many medical assessments for the purposes of determining benefit suitability have been carried out in (a) Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency, (b) South Lanarkshire and (c) Scotland since May 2010; 
(5) how many appeals against medical assessments for the purposes of determining benefit suitability have
been submitted in (a) Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency, (b) South Lanarkshire and (c) Scotland since May 2010. 
Chris Grayling: Since the questions all relate to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in the same geographical areas, a single response addressing all the questions is given in the tables.
Table 1 gives information on all initial WCAs that took place between October 2008 (when ESA was introduced) and June 2010, the latest data available. The data are presented for the South Lanarkshire local authority area and for the Scotland government office region. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10, so columns may not sum to the totals shown.
|Table 1: All ESA WCAs held and number of fit for work outcomes for South Lanarkshire LA and Scotland GOR|
|Fit for work||All completed work capability assessments|
|Month of assessment||South Lanarkshire||Scotland||South Lanarkshire||Scotland|
Benefit claims data held by DWP and functional assessment data sourced from Atos Healthcare
Table 2 gives the number and outcome of all completed appeals against a fit for work decision at initial WCA in the requested areas, for ESA claims starting between October 2008 and August 2009, the latest data available. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 so columns may not sum to the totals shown.
|Table 2: Appeals against an ESA Fit for Work decision at WCA for South Lanarkshire and Scotland|
|Decision in favour of appellant||DWP decision upheld||Total appeals|
|Month of claim start||South Lanarkshire||Scotland||South Lanarkshire||Scotland||South Lanarkshire||Scotland|
Benefit claims data held by DWP, functional assessment data sourced from Atos Healthcare and appeals data sourced from the Tribunals Service
The tables presented above are equivalent to tables 3 and 5 in the official statistics report on the WCA last published in October 2010. The latest report can be found on the DWP website at the following link. All WCA data relates to outcomes at initial WCA only, i.e. repeat WCA outcomes are excluded from this analysis. These statistics are regularly updated and present the latest and most reliable data we hold, more information is available in the report.
While we do hold some data on destinations of people leaving ESA after a fit for work decision at WCA, this data is incomplete and so not robust. Any conclusions drawn from this data would be at best unreliable and at worst potentially misleading.
Data on people appealing against a fit for work decision is only available once the appeal has been heard and the result given. Since appeals take around six months to be completed on average, there is a significant delay between an appeal being lodged and the result being given. Data are presented for claims starting by August 2009 since we expect that the large majority of appeals for these cases will have been cleared to date. If we were to provide data on more recent cases it would be unreliable and probably underestimate the true number of appeals.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what recent discussions the Church Commissioners have had with local authorities on Church-sponsored youth groups. 
Tony Baldry: The Church of England has a long history of delivering youth work and currently provides activities outside church for over 439,900 children and young people. At a local level, the church has seen extensive growth in the number of churches employing youth workers in recent years and the establishment of some key projects, often with the financial support of local authorities.
At both national and local levels the Church has had a long history of delivering youth work collaborative working partnerships with national and local government. Currently there are approximately 440,000 children and young people up to the age of 25 attending church-based activities and youth groups which are staffed by 116,000 volunteers and an additional 4,900 employed adults.
There is still a desire to work in partnership but most recent conversations have inevitably focused on how reductions in their budgets will impact on projects undertaken by the Church and other voluntary sector organizations. In Lincolnshire the county council is proposing a 60% cut to the youth budget of children's services and there are similar stories from across the country. The Church's concern is not only for young people within it but also those in the wider community.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what contingency arrangements the Church Commissioners have made to cover the pension liabilities of former Roman Catholic priests who moved to the Church of England in the last five years. 
Tony Baldry: Figures held centrally by the Ministry Division of the Archbishop's Council show that in the period 2005-10 the division's candidate's panel dealt with 14 former Roman Catholic priests seeking ordination in the Church of England, of whom 11 were accepted for ministry. As there is discretion at diocesan level over the requirements for acceptance into ministry, not all cases are centrally recorded, meaning the national figure is likely to be higher. There are, however, no pensions implications for the Church Commissioners who are responsible only for clergy pensions earned for service in the Church of England before 1998.
Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to raise the profile of sanitation and water through the Sanitation and Water for All initiative; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) is a member of the Sanitation and Water for All initiative (SWA) Steering Committee. Having played a leadership role in establishing of SWA, DFID has recently taken on the role of vice chair of the partnership. We are driving the initiative forward to help the most off-track countries to make tangible progress in water and sanitation.
Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the Indian government on its plans to reduce poverty; and if he will make a statement. 
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made towards each of the millennium development goals; what steps he plans to take to ensure further progress; and if he will make a statement. 
The Secretary of State for International Development has initiated three thorough reviews of UK bilateral aid, multilateral aid and humanitarian emergency response programmes. These reviews will determine how we can accelerate progress towards the millennium development goals and achieve maximum value for money for the UK taxpayer. The results will be announced in the spring.
In December 2010 DFID launched two new frameworks for results to tackle malaria and prevent deaths during pregnancy and childbirth. They set out how British aid money will deliver the coalition Government's commitment to help halve malaria deaths in at least ten high burden countries in Africa and Asia and save the lives of at least 50,000 women and 250,000 newborns. Full details are available on the DFID website.
Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans his Department has to increase the geographical coverage of its Education Sector Support programme in Nigeria. 
Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) does not currently plan to expand the geographical coverage of the Education Sector Support programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN). The programme is working at the Federal level and within six states. This is already a challenging level of operation and the approved coverage for this programme. DFID is currently assessing how best to ensure that more children, particularly girls, access improved education opportunities in Nigeria. We are considering through which mechanisms we can best achieve this, with the emphasis on best value for money.
Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development to what use the UK's contribution from the Environmental Transformation Fund to the World Bank's Climate Investment Funds has been put; what proportion of the contribution was in the form of loans; and whether any conditions were placed on the contribution. 
Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) are not World Bank funds, but rather are managed by an equal number of developing and developed countries. The World Bank acts as trustee and, alongside other multilateral development banks, is one of the agencies recipient countries may choose to implement their national programmes.
The UK's £735 million contribution to the CIFs is helping 45 developing countries to pilot transformational investments in clean technology, sustainable management of forests, increased access to renewable energy, and climate resilient development. For example, the CIFs are expected to install over 12.5GW of renewable energy-enough for the equivalent of nearly 16 million households-and increase crop yields for 440,000 people in Bangladesh through improved water management.
The money provided to the Environmental Transformation Fund under the 2007 comprehensive spending review was a capital grant contribution. The UK's contribution to the CIFs is then used to make loans on highly concessional terms, with a small proportion available as grants. Once loans are repaid to the CIFs, they can be reinvested in further programmes to help other developing countries tackle climate change.
As a first mover in the development of the CIFs, the UK's contribution of £735 million has leveraged over five times this amount ($6.4 billion) from other donors, much of this in the form of grants. These donor pledges are, in turn, leveraging further funds from the multilateral development banks and the private sector. For example, for every £1 of finance for clean technology we have agreed to spend, another £8 is being mobilised from other sources.
In accordance with the International Development Act 2002, no conditions were placed on the UK's contribution, although we are working hard to ensure that the CIFs deliver results and value for money.
Mr Andrew Mitchell: The UK's contribution to the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) is paid into a trust fund with other donors' funds. Funding decisions are taken on a consensus basis by the CIF committees which have equal representation from developed and developing countries. The UK is represented on all the CIF committees. To ensure the CIFs deliver with maximum impact we have agreed a set of results frameworks which we will use to assess all funding proposals.
Mr Harper: The Deputy Prime Minister is chairing a cross-party Committee to produce a draft Bill on House of Lords reform early this year, which will include the Government's proposals on the transition from the House of Lords to a reformed second chamber.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received from the Electoral Commission on the preparation time required between Royal Assent to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act and the date of the referendum to be held on the alternative vote; and if he will place in the Library a copy of each item of correspondence on the matter. 
Mr Harper: The Electoral Commission wrote to the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform on 11 January highlighting the key dates and milestones that must be met between Royal Assent and a polling day of 5 May in order for the Electoral Commission to successfully deliver its key responsibilities in relation to the referendum on the alternative vote. The Electoral Commission will be publishing this letter on their website and a copy will also be placed in the Library.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether the Government have identified any alternative date for a referendum on the alternative vote in the event that the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act does not receive Royal Assent in time for a poll on 5 May 2011. 
Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his most recent estimate is of the proportion of new social rented homes required to be let at the rate of 80% of market rent to meet his target for new affordable home construction by 2015. 
Amber Rudd: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his most recent estimate is of the number of people who are homeless in (a) England, (b) East Sussex and (c) Hastings and Rye constituency. 
Grant Shapps: Information about local authorities' discharge of their duties under homelessness legislation is collected on quarterly P1E returns. Summary information about English local housing authorities' actions under the homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected at local authority level, and published by the Department in the quarterly Statistical Release on Statutory Homelessness, available both in the Library of the House and via the DCLG website:
Data collected includes the number of households accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to ensure that suitable accommodation is available). If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority must secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available and this information is also collected.
The number of households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty during the July to September quarter of 2010 and the number of households in temporary accommodation at the end of September in East Sussex and England are given in the following table:
|Number of households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty||Number of households in temporary accommodation|
P1E returns, July to September quarter 2010
Information is also collected on rough sleeping. Since 1998, only councils in areas with a known, or suspected, rough sleeping problem were required to conduct an official rough sleeper count-which meant that only 70 councils submitted information to central Government. Figures published in July 2010 showed that under this previous method, on any given night there were 440 rough sleepers in England. However, the coalition Government wanted a more complete measure of rough sleeping and when the remaining 256 councils provided estimates of the scale of the problem in their areas, this added a further estimated 807 rough sleepers-taking the national total to 1,247 rough sleepers on any given night. All local authorities in East Sussex gave estimates, these are given in the following table along with the England figure:
|Number of rough sleepers|
2010 local authority street counts and estimates
Under new guidance all councils across England will now provide information on rough sleeping. This move follows consultation with homelessness charities and councils and is aimed at getting a clearer picture of the scale of the problem in each area so more targeted support can be provided to some of the most vulnerable in society.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of the total number of households in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) nationally are housed by housing associations. 
Andrew Stunell: Information for households at local authority level is not available. However, information is available on the number of dwellings owned by registered housing associations in England. Although not identical to figures for households, because some dwellings are empty and others can contain more than one household, these figures are a good proxy for households.
These figures include not only self-contained dwellings but also some bedspaces within communal accommodation, and this inclusion of bedspaces tends to inflate estimates of the size of the housing association dwelling stock by a small amount.
TSA Regulatory and Statistical Return.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many housing association households were refurbished in the West Midlands in 2009-10; and if he will make a statement. 
Andrew Stunell: Data on dwellings made decent or receiving capital works are not collected from housing associations. The number of housing association owned non-decent homes in the west midlands reduced from 6,814 in April 2009 to 2,314 in April 2010.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will assess the merits of ensuring the new planning system for housing requires local authorities to assess and meet housing need and incentivises local communities to build more homes. 
Andrew Stunell: On 21 December 2010 the Minister for Decentralisation, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark), announced that the National Planning Policy Framework will streamline the national suite of planning policies including those currently set out in Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing.
Organisations and individuals are currently being invited to offer views on priorities and policies that should be included in the new framework before a draft is produced and available for formal consultation.
The New Homes Bonus scheme is a powerful, simple, transparent and permanent incentive for local authorities and communities to increase their aspirations for housing growth. Commencing in April 2011, the New Homes Bonus will match fund the additional council tax raised for new homes and properties brought back into use, with an additional amount of £350 for affordable homes, for the following six years.
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