Small Businesses: VAT

Glyn Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the effect on small businesses of the increase in the basic rate of value added tax. [45961]

Mr Gauke: I refer the hon. member to my answer of 10 January 2011, Official Report, column 217W.

Smuggling: Fuels

Mr Donaldson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the level of smuggled fuel detected by HM Revenue and Customs officers in Northern Ireland in each quarter in each of the last five years. [46605]

Justine Greening: The amount of illicit fuel seized in Northern Ireland over the last five years is as shown in the following table. HMRC do not hold these figures broken down by quarter.


Fuel (million litres)

2005-06

1.08

2006-07

0.84

2007-08

0.82

2008-09

1.09

2009-10

1.4

Taxation

Mr Hanson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the likely effectiveness of proposals to be tabled at the United Nations Economic and Social Council intended to strengthen its Committee of Tax Experts; and if he will make a statement. [45369]

Mr Gauke: The Government welcome the Secretary-General's advance report, which provides a balanced assessment of the different options for strengthening the committee.

14 Mar 2011 : Column 96W

The UK's priority is to maintain effective and representative arrangements for international cooperation in tax matters that respect member states' sovereignty and avoid duplication with the work of other international organisations.

The Government consider that the best means of enhancing the effectiveness of the committee would be to ensure that the prioritisation of the work of the committee fully represents its members' interests, and consider any practical changes that might improve the committee's work and its ability to involve the widest range of participants.

We have also made clear that the UK could not at this time support a recommendation to upgrade the committee to an intergovernmental body.

The full UK response to the request of the UN Economic and Social Council Secretariat for views on the strengthening of institutional arrangements to promote international cooperation in tax matters, including the Committee of Experts on international cooperation in tax matters, can be found here:

http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/tax/2011SGReport/RepliesMS.htm

Mr Hanson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions has he had with the OECD Informal Task Force on Tax and Development on progress on its commitments on tax and development; and if he will make a statement. [45371]

Mr Gauke: The OECD informal Task Force on Tax and Development has been considering a range of tax issues of relevance to developing countries since its inaugural plenary meeting in April 2010. The task force will be reporting to the G20 on the most effective ways of supporting capacity building in the tax administrations of developing countries.

VAT: Further Education

Damian Hinds: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the amount of unrecoverable value added tax paid by further education colleges and sixth form colleges in England in the last 12 months for which figures are available; [45579]

(2) how many and what proportion of further education colleges in England are registered for value added tax. [45640]

Mr Gauke: Information is not available to assess accurately the amount of VAT paid by further education colleges.

It is not possible to determine the number of further education colleges which are currently registered for value added tax (VAT) as the industry sectors used against the VAT return do not separate out further education from other types of education.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Mr Hanson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to answer question 40993, on national insurance, tabled on 10 February 2011 for answer on 14 February 2011. [46311]

Mr Gauke: I have replied to the right hon. Member's question.

14 Mar 2011 : Column 97W

Transport

Arriva Trains: Deutsche Bahn

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will carry out an assessment of the effects on competition in the railways industry of the acquisition of Arriva Trains by Deutsche Bahn. [45254]

Mrs Villiers: Assessment of the effects of corporate acquisitions and mergers in the rail industry is a matter for the Office of Rail Regulation, which has concurrent competition authority powers with the Office of Fair Trading.

Aviation: Security

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has any plans he has to introduce a crew personnel advanced screening system (CrewPASS); and if he will make a statement. [42060]

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has any plans to introduce a crew personnel advanced screening system (CrewPASS); and if he will make a statement. [43934]

Mrs Villiers: There are no plans to introduce a separate crew personnel screening system at UK airports along the lines of the CrewPASS system being trialled on a limited basis on US domestic flights.

Aviation security is governed by the “host state” principle and it is for each country to put in place the security measures it deems necessary to meet the threat. I have no standing to comment on the measures in place in other countries.

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has (a) undertaken and (b) evaluated on the threat to airport and airline security from air crew. [43766]

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the threat to airport and airline security from air crew. [43935]

Mrs Villiers: I refer the hon. Members to my answer given to the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Stephen Lloyd) of 7 March 2011, Official Report, column 831W.

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has plans to bring forward proposals to enable airports to determine their own security procedures for air crew. [43767]

Mrs Villiers: I refer the hon. Member to my answer given to the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Stephen Lloyd) of 2 March 2011, Official Report, column 460W.

Mr Marcus Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the threat to airport and airline security from air crew. [45578]

14 Mar 2011 : Column 98W

Mrs Villiers: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 16 February 2011, Official Report, column 831W, given to the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Stephen Lloyd).

Biofuels

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he plans to take in response to the results of the study by E4Tech commissioned by his Department on differences between biofuel types; and what assessment he has made of the types of biofuel which are most environmentally sustainable. [45265]

Norman Baker: In 2009 the Department for Transport commissioned E4Tech to study the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) impacts of the five biofuels expected to form the main supply of biofuel in the UK in the next 10 years: palm, soy and oilseed rape biodiesel, and sugarcane and wheat bioethanol.

The report from E4Tech sheds light on the complexity of calculating ILUC emissions, particularly where there are uncertainties due to both limitations in data and knowledge of how future markets will develop.

The Government referenced the E4Tech work in its October 2010 response to the European Commission consultation on ILUC impacts of biofuels and bioliquids. In this response the UK Government called on the Commission to work with member states to develop detailed options to address ILUC which can be subjected to full impact assessments.

The E4Tech research is also being used in ongoing research to assess the potential for regional level actions to mitigate ILUC.

Further information on this research and the UK response to the Commission is available on the Department’s website.

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions officials in his Department have had with HM Treasury on the effect on captive fleets of the 20p tax differential for biodiesel made from used cooking oil. [45453]

Norman Baker: Biofuels from used cooking oil are currently supported through two mechanisms: the 20p tax differential which was introduced on 1 April 2010 and is set to run until April 2012, and the renewable transport fuel obligation (RFTO).

Department for Transport officials have had no recent discussions on the 20p tax derogation for biofuels from used cooking oil.

We are currently consulting on proposals to amend the RTFO. Our proposed amendment will provide additional support to biofuels from waste, including used cooking oil. Currently one renewable transport certificate is awarded per litre of biofuel; we propose to amend the RTFO such that biofuels from waste are awarded two renewable transport fuel certificates per litre.

Cycling

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has for the future of (a) Bikeability and (b) Cycling England. [43107]

14 Mar 2011 : Column 99W

Norman Baker: We have already announced that Bikeability—cycle proficiency for the 21st century—will be supported for the remainder of this Parliament, thereby giving confidence in our commitment to this valuable programme.

We have also announced grants totalling £11 million to local authorities and School Sport Partnerships to provide up to 275,000 Bikeability cycle training places for children in 2011-12.

As announced in the Public Bodies Review, Cycling England is to be abolished when its current remit expires on 31 March 2011 and its functions will be taken in-house. Cycling England was reviewed as part of the coalition Government's commitment to radically increase the transparency and accountability of public services and reinvigorate the public's trust in democracy. The Government's approach was based on the presumption that state activity, where needed, is best undertaken by bodies that are democratically accountable at either national or local level.

We also believe that the Government's move towards localism, and particularly in this regard the nature of the new Local Sustainable Transport Fund, for which all local transport authorities outside London are eligible to bid and for which we expect bids for cycling related projects, means that the rationale for a body like Cycling England has weakened. I would however like to acknowledge the good work the organisation has done during its existence.

Departmental Conditions of Employment

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of his Department’s adherence to each of the principles of good employment practice set out in the Cabinet Office publication Principles of Good Employment Practice. [42621]

Norman Baker: The Principles of Good Employment Practice were published in December 2010 with the expectation that the principles will be relevant in circumstances where Government’s employees transfer to the contractor’s work force. Since December 2010 that situation has not arisen in Department for Transport (DFT).

If, in future, any services currently delivered by DFT employees transfer to the contractor's workforce we will ensure that suppliers are aware of the principles and encourage their application.

Departmental Leaseback Arrangements

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assets his Department has sold and leased back over the last 12 months; what the sale price was of each asset so sold; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of leasing back each such asset over the period of the lease. [45088]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport and its seven executive agencies have not sold and leased back any assets over the last 12 months.

14 Mar 2011 : Column 100W

Electoral Reform Services

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the monetary value was of contracts his Department placed with Electoral Reform Services Ltd. in each year since 2005. [44225]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport has not placed any contracts with Electoral Reform Services since 2005.

Electric Vehicles

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what projections he has made of the likely levels of usage of electric cars in the next 20 years. [44777]

Norman Baker: Specific projections for 2031 are not yet available; the Department for Transport is currently working towards ambitions for the 4(th) Carbon Budget period (2023-27).

It is not known which vehicle technology will dominate the market in the long-term. We are clear that uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles (such as electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles), in addition to efficiency improvements in conventional vehicles, is required to meet our long term carbon reduction targets. EU targets for average new car emissions are currently 130g/km by 2015, and 95g/km by 2020.

Transport Analysis guidance, WebTAG, provides guidance on how to conduct appraisal of transport schemes and forecasts on key uptake assumptions for vehicle propulsion types. WebTAG is being developed to ensure that ultra-low emission vehicles are appropriately represented.

High Speed 1

Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason his Department did not sell High Speed 1 to the highest bidder; and if he will make a statement. [39030]

Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 8 February 2011]:The sale of High Speed 1 was highly competitive and the leading bids were all within a very narrow margin in terms of price. The award was made to the consortium comprising Borealis and Ontario Teachers Pension plan as the bid which best satisfied all the assessment criteria, which offered the fewest modifications to the vendor’s proposed terms of sale and which represented a high level of certainty of early completion.

Large Goods Vehicles: Tolls

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what timetable he has set for the process of consultation and communication on the introduction of a road user charging scheme for heavy goods vehicles. [46008]

Mike Penning: The timetable is set out in section C4.3 of the Department’s business plan 2011-15, available on the Department’s website and are available in the Libraries of the House.

14 Mar 2011 : Column 101W

London Midland: Fares

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has received representations on the practice of London Midland in displaying a list of individuals who have been prosecuted for seeking to avoid the payment of a rail fare. [45411]

Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport has not received any representations relating to London Midland publishing the names of individuals who have been prosecuted for fare evasion.

I understand that London Midland has changed its policy in naming individuals and is currently exploring alternatives, such as displaying the number of people found not to have a ticket on a certain day and station.

Elected Mayors

Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for consultation on the transfer of powers from local transport authorities to proposed elected mayors under the provisions of the Localism Bill; and if he will make a statement. [45255]

Robert Neill: I have been asked to reply.

There is a strong case for elected mayors in our largest cities who have the powers needed for them to promote the success and prosperity of these cities. We intend to look to the cities themselves, their businesses, and those who contribute to the city's life to see just what powers might be needed.

Local and Regional Rail Services

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 28 February 2011, Official Report, columns 17-18WS, on local and regional rail services, how many local rail schemes were planned to be undertaken before April 2015. [45259]

Mrs Villiers: We are aware of 11 services currently funded by local authorities and passenger transport executives (PTEs) which could be eligible for funding by the Department for Transport from April 2015. We are not expecting any additional services to be introduced before April 2012 and any others introduced after then will not be affected by the change in date to April 2015.

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 28 February 2011, Official Report, columns 17-18WS, on local and regional rail services, how many scheduled local rail schemes will be delayed as a result of changes to funding arrangements. [45260]

Mrs Villiers: It is not expected that the introduction of any new services will be delayed by the change in funding arrangements.

Railways: Standards

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions rail services between Norwich and London Liverpool Street were more than (a) 15 minutes, (b) 30 minutes and (c) one hour late in arriving at their final destination in each year since 2007. [45834]

14 Mar 2011 : Column 102W

Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport does not hold performance data for National Express East Anglia at the level of detail requested.

Network Rail is responsible for performance data for the rail industry. My hon. Friend may wish to contact Network Rail’s chief executive at the following address for such information:

David Higgins

Chief Executive

Network Rail

Kings Place

90 York Way

London, N1 9AG.

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department holds on the complaints received by each railway operator concerning its services on the Norwich to London railway line in each of the last 10 years. [45835]

Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport does not receive this route specific information. The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) publishes complaints handling data for the UK rail industry including some specific information for National Express East Anglia (NXEA) in National Rail Trends (NRT). This is available on the ORR website at:

http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk

Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what timetable he has set for his proposed reform of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation; how long the consultation is to last; and by when he expects to have implemented the results of the review. [45448]

Norman Baker: Amendments to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations (RTFO) Order 2007 have been considered to implement both the transport elements of the renewable energy directive (RED) and aspects of the closely related fuel quality directive (FQD).

The Department has published consultation documents on amendments to the RTFO. In line with the code of practice on consultations these will last 12 weeks. The documents are available at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/

As part of the consultation exercise we have set out a timetable for implementation. The Department for Transport will analyse the responses received to the consultations carefully. We aim to lay a draft of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations (Amendment) Order before Parliament in autumn 2011.

Roads: Trans-European Networks

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many miles of roads are identified as (a) part of Trans European Networks and (b) proposed to be designated as part of Trans European Networks in each (i) local authority area, (ii) county and (iii) region. [45164]

14 Mar 2011 : Column 103W

Mrs Villiers: At present it is not possible to provide information to the level of detail requested. A map showing the extent of the United Kingdom's road network can be found using the following link:

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/infrastructure/networks_eu/road_en.htm

and selecting road maps by member states. We are in discussion with the Commission as part of the review of the TEN-T network with the aim of aligning the TEN-T road network more closely with the Strategic National Corridors for the UK.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding he expects to be available for road improvements from EU and other sources in relation to Trans European Networks. [45165]

Mrs Villiers: European funding for transport schemes is not allocated by transport mode and so it is not possible to say what proportion of the budget is available for road improvements in an average year. In the current financial perspective (2007-13) the UK has been awarded over €95 million in funding from the TEN-T programme for road projects.

In a number of cases, the TEN-T network mirrors our domestic priorities for transport. For example, 11 of the 14 forthcoming major road schemes announced in October are on the Trans-European Network. These schemes have been provisionally allocated significant funding from the UK taxpayer.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether improvements to the A12 and A120 could be eligible for funding through programmes relating to Trans European Networks. [45166]

Mrs Villiers: Some parts of the A12 and the A120 are part of the UK road element of the Trans-European Network—Transport (TEN-T) and would be eligible for TEN-T funding.

However, TEN-T funding is only available to reimburse projects that have already confirmed full funding from another source.

Sea Rescue

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times coastguard services have been involved in operations relating to North Sea (a) offshore oil and gas installations and (b) fishing vessels in each of the last five years. [44999]

Mike Penning: The following information has been taken from the coastguard incident management system and is as accurate as the codes used to describe the characteristics of an incident. There may be a regional disparity in the use of these codes over that past four years, due to ongoing industrial action short of strike.

To provide more detailed analysis of these figures for operations relating to offshore oil and gas installations would incur disproportionate costs.

14 Mar 2011 : Column 104W

Incident numbers for Shetland, Aberdeen and Forth combined (Northern Basin)

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

All commercial fishing vessels types recorded.

120

83

11

0

0

Coastguard incidents categorised as 2Rig on fire”, “Gas release or well kickback” and “Man overboard” which indicate the MRCC has been notified, but does not necessarily indicate a response was initiated.

82

72

43

61

50

Coastguard incidents categorised as “Rig at muster” indicating an unscheduled alarm which has been notified to the MRCC.

191

231

233

310

314

Incident numbers for Humber and Yarmouth combined (Southern Basin)

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

All commercial fishing vessels types recorded.

42

15

4

2

2

Coastguard incidents categorised as “Rig on fire”, “Gas release or well kickback” and “Man overboard” which indicate the MRCC has been notified, but does not necessarily indicate a response was initiated.

9

4

2

4

3

Coastguard incidents categorised as “Rig at muster” indicating an unscheduled alarm which has been notified to the MRCC.

105

137

124

121

129

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been allocated to the Coastguard Marine Rescue Co-ordinating centre at (a) Clyde, (b) Forth, (c) Aberdeen, (d) Shetland and (e) Stornoway in each of the last five years. [45000]

Mike Penning: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency does not allocate its budget on an individual Maritime, Rescue and Co-ordination Centre basis. This reflects the fact that the Agency operates nationally, with only some costs attributable to individual centres by virtue of where they are domiciled, and others being part of the national infrastructure and thus not separately identifiable.

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what use the Coastguard has made of emergency towing vessels in operations in the last five years. [45002]

Mike Penning: Between 2006 and 2010, the coastguard used the four emergency towing vessels (ETVs) on a total of 182 occasions. Of this, 134 were incidents where ETVs were sent to stand-by vessels, but where they were not required to render towage services. This would typically be where a vessel had broken down in open sea and was drifting until repairs had been completed, or

14 Mar 2011 : Column 105W

where a vessel’s owners had arranged for a tug belonging to another towage company to attend on scene to assist their vessel.

The coastguard also dispatched ETVs on 48 occasions to assist disabled vessels in circumstances where a tow was connected. In all cases the ensuing towage services were the subject of a commercial towage agreement or the performance of an act of salvage by the tug operator.

The ETVs carry out further supplementary work. The Western Isles ETV undertakes passive escort duties in the Minches, and one ETV undertakes hydrographic survey work during the summer season.

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions coastguard services have worked in conjunction with search and rescue helicopter services in Scotland in the last five years. [45003]

Mike Penning: Figures for the number of times the coastguard services have worked in conjunction with search and rescue (SAR) helicopter services in Scotland for each of the last five years are set out in the following table.


Number

2010

(1)395

2009

(1)392

2008

(1)352

2007

(1)492

2006

410

(1) The quality of information from 2007 onwards may be affected by industrial action short of a strike.

The above figures include information on the use of all air facilities available to HM Coastguard not just dedicated SAR aircraft. They also include information on secondary use of SAR aircraft for inter-hospital transfers, inland incidents where maritime SAR assets have been deployed through HM Coastguard, and exercises and training.

In 2007, the contract provider for HM Coastguard helicopter provision changed. Stornoway moved to the new contract provider in July 2007 and Sumburgh in October 2007. This change necessitated additional training requirements and this additional provision is included in the above figures. Without exercises, training and faults, the figures are as follows:


Number

2010

(1)339

2009

(1)347

2008

(1)339

2007

(1)422

2006

383

(1) The quality of information from 2007 onwards may be affected by industrial action short of a strike.

Southeastern Railways: Franchises

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what levels of service the train operating company operating the Southeastern rail franchise is expected to meet to be considered for renewal of the franchise. [43444]

14 Mar 2011 : Column 106W

Mrs Villiers: The continuation criteria for the Southeastern franchise are set out in Schedule 18 of the National Rail franchise terms. A link to the NRFT can be found at the following address:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/passenger/publicregister/current/lser/lsernational.pdf

Third Sector

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department has taken to support the Big Society initiative. [42647]

Norman Baker: I refer the hon. Member to my answer given on 3 February 2011, Official Report, columns 876-77W.

West Coast Railway Line: Rolling Stock

Mr Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the costs and benefits that would arise from the introduction of double-deck passenger trains on the West Coast Mainline. [45939]

Mrs Villiers: In 2007, the Department for Transport asked Network Rail to carry out preliminary work to assess the case for longer or double deck trains as a way of providing additional capacity on the rail network. Due to the infrastructure changes that would be required, the report concluded that lengthening trains is a more cost-effective solution.

Energy and Climate Change

Biomass

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the use of biomass in his Department’s renewable energy strategy. [46028]

Charles Hendry: The UK Renewable Energy Action Plan, published last summer, shows we expect the use of biomass in the UK heat and power sector to deliver around 6,085 ktoe (kilotonnes of oil equivalent) of renewable energy generation per year by 2020. This equates to biomass heat and electricity contributing around 30% of the renewable energy needed to meet the UK’s renewable energy target in 2020.

Climate Change: Arctic

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment has been made of the level of Arctic ice melt in the summer of 2011 in comparison to the summer of 2010. [45365]

Gregory Barker: Forecasts of the late summer Arctic sea ice minimum can only be made a few months ahead, so will not be available until June at the earliest. In 2010 summer sea ice was the third lowest since satellite records began in 1979. So far in 2011 the sea ice extent has continued to be significantly lower than the 1979 to 2000 average.

14 Mar 2011 : Column 107W

Electric and Magnetic Fields

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will amend the simplified route map in section 2.10 of the draft National Policy Statement on Electricity Networks Infrastructure (EN-5) to take into account recent research into neurodegenerative diseases of old age. [45517]

Charles Hendry: The simplified route map in section 2.10 of the draft National Policy Statement on Electricity Networks Infrastructure (EN-5) is a visual representation of the decision making process to which the Infrastructure Planning Commission and other interested parties can refer when implementing Government policy with regard to electric and magnetic fields associated with high voltage power lines and reflects the process outlined in the previous section. For these reasons, it would not be an appropriate place to take account of any new research on possible health effects.

Departmental Contracts

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what contracts his

14 Mar 2011 : Column 108W

Department has with

(a)

advertising,

(b)

opinion polling and

(c)

marketing agencies or companies; and what the (i) scope, (ii) purpose and (iii) cost is of each such contract. [45519]

Gregory Barker: DECC currently has eight projects with ‘opinion polling’ agencies, including qualitative and quantitive research, budgeted at a total of £995,650 (ex VAT).

Three of the projects have been designed to inform the development and rollout of Green Deal. Other contracts include projects to: benchmark energy use among householders; evaluate the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target; evaluate the Low Carbon Communities Challenge; inform DECC’s stakeholder relationships; and shape the my2050 energy pathways game and schools’ toolkit. Agencies include IPSOS Mori, GfK NOP, and Quadrangle. DECC has no contracts with advertising or marketing agencies.

Details of current contracts with research agencies are shown in the following table.

Agency Type (e.g. Advertising, Opinion Polling/Research, Marketing) Scope Purpose Budget (ex VAT) (£)

GfK NOP

Research

Survey of members of the public

To inform the rollout of the Green Deal

140,000

IPSOS Mori

Research

Qualitative research with home owners (including vulnerable groups) and SMEs

To inform various features of the Green Deal

81,940

Quadrangle

Research

Qualitative research with domestic and non-domestic tenants and landlords

Identifying how best to engage the Private Rented Sector in the Green Deal and drive demand

59,800

IPSOS Mori

Research

Statistical analysis to create benchmarks

To create credible benchmarks for energy use among households

68,000

IPSOS Mori with CAG Consulting and BRE

Research

Policy evaluation of the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT)

To assess how the scheme is being delivered in practice, and examine take-up by householders.

135,000

GfK NOP

Research

This is a two year contract covering years 2009-10 and 2010-11. Covers households in 22 Low Carbon Community Challenge regions and five control areas, plus a nationally representative sample

To evaluate the impact of the LCCC projects

397,000

IPSOS Mori

Research

Survey of 250 of DECC’s stakeholders

To inform stakeholder relationships.

24,750

IPSOS Mori

Research

Deliberative fora including pilot dialogues, my2050 ‘game’ feedback, and toolkit development

These dialogues will help to shape the online digital assets and schools toolkit

89,160

Departmental Manpower

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many staff are employed full-time by his Department to undertake work on or relating to (a) nuclear energy, (b) coal, including carbon capture and storage, (c) natural gas, including carbon capture and storage, (d) renewable gas, biomethane injection, (e) solar photovoltaic, (f) onshore wind, (g) offshore wind, (h) wave and tidal, (i) deep geothermal, (j) solar thermal, (k) heat pumps, (l) biomass boilers and combined heat and power, (m) hydroelectric power, (n) biomass power and (o) anaerobic digestion; and if he will make a statement. [46355]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change has teams that focus on particular groups of technologies. As of 1 February 2011, the number of staff working in the three low carbon offices were as follows:


Number

Office of Nuclear Development

52

Office for Renewable Energy Development

77

Office for Carbon Capture and Storage

30

It is not possible to give more detailed numbers of staff for specific technologies within these broad areas as staff work across different policy areas within these teams.

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Departmental Procurement

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many procurement projects with a monetary value greater than (a) £10 million, (b) £50 million and (c) £100 million (i) his Department and (ii) each non-departmental public body for which he is responsible was engaged upon in the latest period for which figures are available. [45557]

Gregory Barker: The information is as follows:

(i) The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has tendered or awarded the following contracts since April 2009:

(a) Projects with a monetary value of greater than £10 million:

One contract has been let for legal support, advice and claims handling associated with the former British Coal Corporation.

(b) Projects with a monetary value between £50 and £100 million:

No contracts have been awarded and no projects are being tendered.

(c) Projects with a monetary value of £100 million or more:

One project is under tender for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

(ii) The Department’s non-departmental public bodies are engaged in the following contracts:

(a) Projects with a monetary value of greater than £10 million:

One contract has been let by the Coal Authority for a new corporate information system.

A further project is currently being tendered by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority for facilities management services.

(b) Projects with a monetary value between £50 and £100 million:

No contracts have been awarded and no projects are being tendered.

(c) Projects with a monetary value of £100 million or more:

One project is currently being tendered by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to appoint a Parent Body Organisation for the Dounreay Site Licence Company.

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which procurement projects engaged upon by (a) his Department and (b) each non-departmental public body for which he is responsible had a designated senior responsible owner in the latest period for which figures are available; and on what date each officer was appointed in each such case. [45558]

Gregory Barker: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him today to question 45557: a £10 million threshold has been applied to this answer. To investigate smaller projects would incur disproportionate costs.

14 Mar 2011 : Column 110W

(a) Projects engaged upon by the Department of Energy and climate Change (DECC):

Contract for legal support, advice and claims handling associated with the former British Coal Corporation: A senior responsible officer (SRO) has been in place since August 2009.

Project for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): SRO in place since May 2007.

(b) Projects engaged upon by the Department’s non departmental public bodies:

Contract for a new corporate information system for the Coal Authority: SRO in place since January 2008.

Project by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority for facilities management services: This project is currently being tendered. No SRO is in place at the moment.

Project under tender by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to appoint a parent body organisation for the Dounreay Site Licence Company: SRO in place since July 2009.

Departmental Rail Travel

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many and what proportion of civil servants in his Department are entitled to travel first class by rail within the UK. [47072]

Gregory Barker: No Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) staff are automatically entitled to travel by first class rail on business within the UK. All staff are expected to use standard class unless there is a clear need for travelling by first for example:

Where first class is cheaper than standard class

Where there are no standard class seats left on the train

Where there are no standard class facilities to accommodate disabled or other specials needs requirements

Any first class rail travel must be approved by the relevant deputy director.

Departmental Scientists

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many and what proportion of senior civil servants employed directly by his Department hold degrees in a scientific discipline. [46308]

Gregory Barker: DECC does not hold this information centrally and to gather this would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold.

Departmental Written Questions

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what proportion of written questions tabled to him for answer on a named day did not receive a substantive answer on the day named for answer between 27 May 2010 and 9 March 2011. [46557]

Gregory Barker: During this period, 196 named day questions have been tabled to the Department. Of these, 152 (77%) were answered on the named day.

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Devolution: Northern Ireland

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his special advisers on climate change have met representatives of (a) the Northern Ireland Executive and (b) other organisations in Northern Ireland since their appointment. [46601]

Gregory Barker: No.

Electric and Magnetic Fields

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will provide guidance to National Grid on the application of the 1959 Holford Rules to electricity networks infrastructure on overhead lines to ensure that where mitigation measures under these rules cannot be achieved the company is required to utilise other means of connection. [45500]

Charles Hendry: The Holford Rules are designed to help developers draw lines on the map when considering possible routes for overhead electricity lines in a way which is likely to have less, rather than more, adverse visual impact. They are not a basis for deciding whether a particular proposal is acceptable or not on landscape and visual grounds. The final decision will take account of all relevant factors, and therefore we do not believe that further guidance is needed.

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will discuss with National Grid the account taken by its consultation exercise on the revised approach to undergrounding cables of the results of the recent studies on the comparative costs of overhead lines, underground cables and sub-sea cable as means of connection of energy sources to the National Grid. [45501]

Charles Hendry: This consultation exercise is a commercial matter for National Grid. I understand that National Grid will consider all relevant studies, and envisages that the consultation will remain open for some time after the IET/KEMA study on the practicality, costs and impacts of undergrounding and subsea cabling as alternatives to overhead lines is published, so that findings can be taken into account.

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what planning and development control applies to the connection of electricity supply to the national grid via (a) overhead cables, (b) underground cables and (c) sub-sea cables; and if he will make a statement. [45502]

Charles Hendry: The Planning Act 2008 provides for applications for development consent in respect of nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) to be examined and decided by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), and for the Government to set out policy on the consenting of such projects in National Policy Statements. In the case of electricity network infrastructure, NSIPs are defined as overhead electricity lines whose nominal voltage is expected to be 132 kV or above. The Government intend to finalise and formally approve the energy National Policy Statements in spring 2011.

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Installation of underground cables is permitted development under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order (1995) as amended. In view of these permitted development rights there is generally no need for proposals for the underground cable elements of a project to be caught by the Planning Act regime, although (in England) it would be possible for the developer to include aspects of an underground scheme other than the cable itself (such as sealing end compounds) in a Planning Act application as associated development. If the installation of an underground cable would be likely to have a significant effect on a site protected by the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, the developer would have to seek the approval of the local planning authority before proceeding to rely on general permitted development rights.

Applications for sub-sea cables are considered by the Marine Management Organisation under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (FEPA)—to be superseded in April this year by a new marine licensing regime under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. The Infrastructure Planning Commission in England can consent a sub-sea cable as associated development if it forms part of the infrastructure for an offshore generating station by granting a deemed FEPA Licence or marine licence under (respectively) section 149 or 149(A) of the Planning Act.

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what account he has taken in his revised policy on the generation of power of the methods of the connection for that power to the national grid. [45503]

Charles Hendry: Much of the new low carbon electricity generation infrastructure (including many renewable technologies and nuclear generation) required to support the delivery of the UK’s climate change obligations and ensure energy security will need to be located in places where there is no existing transmission network infrastructure. Significant reinforcement of the electricity transmission network will therefore be required over the coming years to ensure this new generation can be connected, and the Government have taken this network expansion into account in the draft energy national policy statements. The impacts and costs of different connection methods, such as overhead lines and underground cables, will vary considerably from one project to another, and each project in England and Wales will therefore be assessed by the Infrastructure Planning Commission individually on the basis of its specific circumstances. The Government intend to finalise and formally approve the energy national policy statements in spring 2011.

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he plans to amend the draft Overarching Energy National Policy Statement (EN-1) and the draft National Policy Statement (EN-5) on Electricity Networks Infrastructure to ensure that overhead electricity lines are not vulnerable to terrorist attack. [45505]

Charles Hendry: The Government have in place a resilience programme to reduce the vulnerability of important national assets, including energy assets, to disruption either from natural hazards or other threats, including acts of terrorism.

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If the Government considered that there was an increased terrorist threat to power lines specifically, there is already scope within the national policy statement (EN-1) to address our concerns. Section 4.15 of EN-1 (as follows) incorporates the requirement for the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and DECC to confirm to the Infrastructure Planning Commission that security issues have been given adequate consideration for any energy infrastructure where national security considerations have been identified. This requirement could apply to overhead lines as well as other energy infrastructure, so no changes to the NPS are necessary.

Extract from EN-1

4.15 Security considerations

4.15.1 National security considerations apply across all national infrastructure sectors including energy. DECC has lead responsibility for security of the energy sector. It works closely with Government security services including the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) to reduce the vulnerability of the most ‘critical’ infrastructure assets in the sector to terrorism and other national security threats. The Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS) is the security regulator for the UK’s civil nuclear industry.

4.15.2 Government policy is to ensure that, where possible, proportionate protective security measures are designed into new infrastructure projects at an early stage in the project development. Where applications for development consent for infrastructure covered by this NPS relate to potentially ‘critical’ infrastructure, there may be national security considerations.

4.153 DECC will be notified at pre-application stage about every likely future application for energy NSIPs, so that any national security implications can be identified. Where national security implications have been identified, the applicant should consult with relevant security experts from CPNI, OCNS and DECC to ensure that physical, procedural and personnel security measures have been adequately considered in the design process and that adequate consideration has been given to the management of security risks. If CPNI, OCNS and/or DECC are satisfied that security issues have been adequately addressed in the project when the application is submitted to the IPC, it will provide confirmation of this to the IPC. The IPC should not need to give any further consideration to the details of the security measures in its examination.

4.15.4 The applicant should only include sufficient information in the application as is necessary to enable the IPC to examine the development consent issues and make a properly informed decision on the application.

4.15.5 In exceptional cases, where examination of an application would involve public disclosure of information about defence or national security which would not be in the national interest, the Secretary of State can intervene and examine a part or the whole of the application. In that case, the Secretary of State may appoint an examiner to consider evidence in closed session, and the Secretary of State would be the decision maker for the application.

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will amend the draft National Policy Statement on Electricity Networks Infrastructures (EN-5) in accordance with the recent International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection’s guidelines for limiting exposure to time-varying electric and magnetic fields (1 Hz to 100 kHz) in respect of childhood leukaemia. [45513]

Charles Hendry: The Department of Health is responsible for the assessment of risks to human health from electric and magnetic fields (EMFs), and they in turn advise other Departments including DECC.

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New guidance for 1 Hz to 100 kHz was published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) in December 2010. However, Government policy remains that we apply the 1998 ICNIRP guidelines in terms of the 1999 European Union (EU) recommendation for public exposure levels to EMFs. If the EU decides to revise its recommendation to member states based on the new 2010 ICNIRP guidance, then at that time the Department of Health will consider how that affects UK policy. If this policy changes as a result of the recommendation we will then look to review EN-5 to ensure that it is still relevant.

Environment Protection

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what policy outcomes to promote growth in environmentally friendly industries his Department (a) has developed and (b) plans to develop following the Green Breakfast meeting with ministerial colleagues hosted by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs on 8 March 2011; and if he will make a statement. [46055]

Gregory Barker: The Green Breakfast meeting is an informal working group, hosted by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It considers practical issues related to the Government’s commitment to deliver sustainable growth. Cabinet Committees remain the place for policy decisions to be made.

The Department is working closely with DEFRA and BIS on a ‘Roadmap for a Green Economy’ to be published in the spring. This will set out for a business audience the Coalition Government’s policy framework for growing the green economy.

Environment Protection: Job Creation

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what definition of the term green job his Department uses. [45155]

Mr Prisk: I have been asked to reply.

While there is no fixed definition of a green job, it should include jobs created, particularly in the low carbon, renewable and environmental goods and services sector, as well as jobs that change in line with sectors undergoing transformation through a greening of the economy. Data commissioned by BIS estimate that in 2008-09 the low carbon environmental goods and services sector in the UK employed around 910,000 people.

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what estimate he has made of the number of green jobs created since May 2010; [45156]

(2) what information his Department holds on the number of green jobs created since May 2010 in each (a) company and (b) region. [45157]

Mr Prisk: I have been asked to reply.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) does not hold data on the number of green jobs created since May 2010.

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Data commissioned by BIS estimate that in 2008-09 the low carbon environmental goods and services sector in the UK was made up of 52,260 companies and employed 910,000 people. Employment estimates by region are:

Region Employment

Yorkshire and Humber

67,688

West Midlands

74,069

Wales

40,838

South West

75,828

South East

116,913

Scotland

76,041

North West

89,671

North East

37,661

Northern Ireland

30,874

London

156,576

East of England

82,778

East Midlands

60,845

Green Investment Bank: Scotland

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many meetings he has had with the Secretary of State for Scotland on the Green Investment Bank; and on which date each meeting took place. [46183]

Gregory Barker: The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, my right hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne), meets regularly with Cabinet colleagues, including the Secretary of State for Scotland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore). The Green Investment Bank is one of many topics discussed at these meetings.

Hydrogen: Nanotechnology

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will assess the potential effects of developments in hydrogen storage at ambient pressures and temperatures using nano-structures on (a) road vehicles, (b) ships, (c) aircraft, (d) offshore wind turbines and (e) portable devices; and if he will make a statement. [45350]

Charles Hendry: Hydrogen is one of a number of potential future, low carbon solutions in which the Government are interested.

The development of low cost hydrogen storage methods coupled with low cost methods of making clean or green hydrogen could make hydrogen an interesting proposition for a wide range of transport and energy applications.

We believe this is inspired by Cella Energy Ltd who recently won the Shell Springboard 2011 competition for innovation.

Their invention uses nanotechnology to store hydrogen in microbeads. They claim that when these beads are heated they produce energy which could fuel cars, lorries, ships or planes.

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Liquefied Natural Gas: Security

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the security of liquefied natural gas operations. [45960]

Charles Hendry: In 2010, provisional figures show that liquefied natural gas (LNG) accounted for 35% of UK gas imports, or around 16% of gross demand. The majority (around three quarters) of LNG imports came from Qatar, with the remainder largely sourced from Trinidad and Tobago, Algeria, and Norway.

DECC assesses that there is not currently a significant risk of disruption to LNG operations in the above countries, or to major shipping routes. LNG operations and shipping through the Suez canal have continued uninterrupted throughout the recent unrest in Egypt and Tunisia, and LNG infrastructure is well protected. The UK has low direct dependence for gas on countries in the middle east and north Africa (MENA) region, and any loss of LNG supplies from MENA countries could be replaced by alternate sources. This analysis is regularly reviewed.

In terms of the security and resilience of LNG operations in the UK, the Government have in place a resilience programme to reduce the vulnerability of important national assets, including energy assets, to disruption either from natural hazards or other threats, including acts of terrorism. Working with the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), Dyfed-Powys and Kent police, as well as the operators of these facilities, we ensure our collective response remains proportionate to the risk.

The Government also have robust plans in place, together with energy companies, the police and other emergency services, to deal with an energy emergency in the UK.

Nuclear Power

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department holds records of the number of local authorities which operate nuclear-free zones. [46274]

Charles Hendry: The Department does not hold records of the number of local authorities which operate nuclear free zones.

Solar Power

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will benchmark the UK’s performance on the use of solar photovoltaics against other EU member states. [45788]

Gregory Barker: The UK is a member of the International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power Systems (PVPS) programme, which includes other EU members states. The annual report includes information on PV developments in each of the 24 participating countries. The 2010 annual report is about to be released and further information is available on the PVPS website at:

http://www.iea-pvps.org/

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Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what proportion of the UK’s renewable energy he expects to come from solar photovoltaics generation in (a) 2011, (b) 2015, (c) 2020, (d) 2025 and (e) 2030. [45791]

Gregory Barker: The proportion of renewable energy predicted to come from solar photovoltaics is given in the following table. The current feed-in tariff scheme provides support from 2010-20, therefore, the following table only provides figures out to 2020. The estimates are consistent with figures produced for the UK National Action Plan

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/what_we_do/uk_supply/energy_mix/renewable/ored/ukaction_plan/uk_action_plan.aspx

Percentage renewable energy from solar photovoltaics

Percentage

2011

<0.5

2015

1

2020

1

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 0.5%. 2. Projections for solar photovoltaics uptake are consistent with analysis undertaken for the final impact assessment for feed-in tariffs, see: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultation/elec_financial/elec_financial.aspx for further information. Figures have not been provided beyond 2020 as estimates are not available on the same basis as the estimates for 2010-20.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what meetings (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with their counterparts in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on the (i) economic and (ii) employment opportunities in the solar photovoltaic sector; and if he will make a statement. [46354]

Gregory Barker: DECC and BIS Ministers have regular discussions on a range of issues which includes economic and employment opportunities in the solar photovoltaic sector.

Solar Power: Feed-in Tariffs

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will consider financial incentives for solar photovoltaics other than feed-in tariffs. [45427]

Gregory Barker: Solar Photovoltaics can already qualify for the feed-in tariff or for the renewables obligation. As a microgenerating technology, they also qualify for a lower rate of VAT on domestic installations. We have no current plans to introduce further financial incentives.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what timetable he has set for the fast track review of the feed-in-tariff for solar photovoltaics. [45970]

Gregory Barker: We will be launching the fast-track consultation this month. The fast-track review is subject to consultation and parliamentary scrutiny as required by the Energy Act 2008. We intend to bring clarity and certainty to the market as soon as possible and envisage this process to be completed by summer recess.

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Vinyl Acetate

Mr Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect on the environment of (a) importing vinyl acetate produced from shale gas in the US and (b) using vinyl acetate made in Europe through other means; and if he will make a statement. [44566]

Charles Hendry: The Department has not made an assessment of the relative effect on the environment of importing vinyl acetate produced from shale gas in the US and using vinyl acetate made in Europe through other means.

Wind Power: Feed-in Tariffs

Julian Sturdy: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what plans he has for the future of renewable energy feed-in tariffs for wind turbines. [44540]

Charles Hendry: The first comprehensive review of the feed-in tariffs (FITs) scheme is currently under way in which all aspects of the scheme will be considered including tariff levels and eligible technologies.

Attorney-General

Departmental Manpower

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Attorney-General how many staff the Attorney-General's Office expects to employ at the end of (a) March 2011 and (b) each subsequent financial year in the comprehensive spending review period. [46240]

The Attorney-General: The Attorney-General's Office currently employs 41 staff. There are no current plans to change this number during the comprehensive spending review period.

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Attorney-General how much the Law Officers’ Departments have spent on (a) salaries and (b) pension entitlements for special advisers in the financial year 2010-11 to date. [46587]

The Solicitor-General: Nothing.

Departmental Procurement

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Attorney-General which procurement projects engaged upon by (a) the Law Officers’ Departments and (b) the agency for which he is responsible had a designated senior responsible owner in the latest period for which figures are available; and on what date that officer was appointed in each such case. [45544]

The Attorney-General: During the financial year 2009-10, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was engaged in two procurement projects that had a designated senior responsible owner (SRO). The first project was for the

14 Mar 2011 : Column 119W

extension of the Department’s existing private finance initiative (PFI) contract for information and communications technology (ICT) services. The second project was led by the CPS on behalf of a number of prosecuting agencies for the procurement of electronic presentation of evidence (EPE) services.

The senior responsible owner was appointed at the start of each project.

During the financial year 2010-11 to date, the CPS has been engaged in no further procurement projects for which a designated SRO was appointed.

The Treasury solicitors routinely appoint SRO’s to be responsible for the delivery of major projects as part of its normal project governance arrangements. SRO’s are appointed at the start of projects.

During the 2010-11 period, three projects were subject to routine reports to the Department’s board, each project had a designated SRO:

1. Development of a case management system (SRO appointed in December 2007)

2. Renewal of the legal information online (LION) site for the Government Legal Service (SRO appointed in December 2009)

3. Development of a disaster recovery site for the Department (SRO appointed in August 2009), Project completed December 2010.

The remaining Law Officers’ Departments have not engaged upon any major procurement projects requiring a designated SRO during the last two years.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Attorney-General what the (a) resource and (b) capital budget of the Attorney-General's Office (i) is in 2010-11 and (ii) will be in each year of the comprehensive spending review period. [46230]

The Attorney-General: The Attorney-General's Office resource and capital budgets are shown in the following table:

£

Resource Capital

2010-11

4,477,000

100,000

2011-12

4,500,000

100,000

2012-13

4,500,000

100,000

2013-14

4,500,000

100,000

2014-15

4,500,000

100,000

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Attorney-General under what budget headings reductions in expenditure will be made by the Attorney-General's Office following the outcome of the comprehensive spending review; and by how much expenditure will be reduced under each heading. [46245]

The Attorney-General: The Attorney-General's Office reduced costs during 2010-11 in preparation for the comprehensive spending review.

The annual budget reductions achieved were a reduction of circa £895,000 in staff costs, a reduction of approximately £75,000 for ministerial cars and a reduction of approximately £300,000 in accommodation costs.

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AGO will continue to identify efficiencies throughout the CSR period particularly taking up opportunities to renegotiate contracts to drive down cost and increase value for money.

Departmental Redundancy

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Attorney-General (1) how much funding the Attorney-General's Office has allocated to redundancy costs in each financial year from 2011-12 to 2014-15; [46225]

(2) how much funding the Attorney-General's Office has allocated to redundancy costs in 2010-11; [46244]

(3) how much the Attorney-General's Office has spent on redundancy costs in 2010-11 to date; [46242]

(4) how many staff the Attorney-General's Office has made redundant in 2010-11 to date; and from what roles staff have been made redundant; [46241]

(5) how many staff the Attorney-General's Office expects to make (a) voluntarily and (b) compulsorily redundant in each financial year from 2011-12 to 2014-15; and from what roles such staff are expected to be made redundant; [46228]

(6) how many staff the Attorney-General's Office expects to make (a) voluntarily and (b) compulsorily redundant in 2010-11; and from what roles such staff are expected to be made redundant. [46243]

The Attorney-General: The Attorney-General's Office have not made any staff redundant in 2010-11 and do not expect to make any staff redundant from 2011-12 to 2014-15. The Attorney-General's Office has not allocated any funding to redundancy costs in the period 2010 to 2015.

Regulation

Gordon Banks: To ask the Attorney-General what regulations the Law Officers’ Departments introduced between 9 and 28 February 2011. [47055]

The Solicitor-General: None. The Law Officers’ Departments seldom have any reason to introduce new regulations.

DNA: Databases

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Attorney-General what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the potential effects on rape conviction rates of proposals to change the length of time for which DNA of suspects is retained. [46671]

The Attorney-General: There have been no such discussions. The Crown Prosecution Service prosecutes cases investigated by the police and applies the Code for Crown Prosecutors in making changing decisions.

Work and Pensions

Child Maintenance

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many resident parents in Livingston constituency use the Child Support Agency and the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to enforce child maintenance payment arrangements. [43204]

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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.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:

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, how many resident parents in Livingston constituency use the Child Support Agency and the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to enforce child maintenance payment arrangements. [43204]

The number of live and assessed cases currently being handled by the Child Support Agency where the parent with care lives in Livingston parliamentary constituency is 2,700 in the quarter ending December 2010. This includes cases where the non-resident parent has a liability to pay child maintenance or ongoing child maintenance. The figure also includes cases where arrears of child maintenance have been requested from the non-resident parent, or the non-resident parent has been assessed as not owing child maintenance.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Council Tax Benefits

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he expects to place constraints on the (a) taper rate and (b) other features of the future council tax benefit scheme offered by local authorities. [46282]

Robert Neill: I have been asked to reply.

Promoting work incentives is at the heart of the programme of welfare reform. In developing their plans for a new system for local council tax rebate schemes, the Government have been clear that the changes should support the positive work incentives that will be introduced through the Government’s plans on universal credit. A full consultation on the new system in England will be undertaken in due course.

Departmental Billing

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of invoices from suppliers his Department paid within 10 days of receipt in January and February 2011. [45079]

Chris Grayling: The Department for Work and Pensions became a signatory to the Prompt Payment Code in March 2009 and set a target to pay 90% of correct invoices within 10 days of receipt. This target applies to all invoices paid by the Department and its agencies which are covered by a single finance system. The target has been met consistently since the signing of the code.

The percentage of all supplier payments made within 10 days of receipt of an invoice for the requested months are:


Percentage

January 2011

98

February 2011

96

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Departmental Expenditure: Newspapers

Mr McFadden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent on newspapers and magazines since May 2010. [38535]

Chris Grayling: Information on the amount spent on newspapers and magazines for the nine months from May 2010 is as follows.

Period Newspaper/magazine spend (£)

May 2010 to January 2011

20,173.07

Information on the amount spent on newspapers and magazines for the nine months from May 2009 to January 2010 as a comparative figure is as follows.

Period Newspaper/magazine spend (£)

May 2009 to January 2010

29,712.54

This represents a 32% reduction in expenditure.

The Department is reviewing all expenditure with a view to driving out inefficiencies and delivering value for money for the taxpayer.

Disability Living Allowance

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Loughborough of 16 February 2011, Official Report, column 809W, on disability living allowance, (1) which claimants of disability living allowance will be re-assessed for eligibility for the personal independence payment; [43327]

(2) what differences there will be between the assessment for the disability living allowance and the assessment for the personal independence payment; [43386]

(3) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the re-assessment of those transferring from disability living allowance to personal independence payment. [43387]

Maria Miller: Eligibility for disability living allowance is based on care and mobility needs. The current assessment for disability living allowance is subjective and inconsistent. We want to ensure support is targeted on those disabled people who are most impacted by their health condition or impairment. Personal independence payment will support disabled people to lead full, active and independent lives and the assessment will consider their ability to carry out a range of key day-to-day activities. We are developing the assessment with a group of independent specialists in health, social care and disability. It is still being developed and the detailed criteria will be set out in regulations.

From 2013-14 we will begin a managed programme to reassess the existing DLA working-age caseload and transfer people to personal independence payment. We want to use the experience of reassessing the working-age caseload to inform any future decisions on arrangements for children and people aged over 65.

The costs of implementing a new benefit will depend on the detail of how the benefit is delivered and the design of the new assessment. Costs will be refined as

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further detail on the reform is developed. The disability living allowance reform impact assessment, published on 16 February 2011, estimated approximate high level costs to be £675 million over five years (real terms, net present value). These include provision for making changes to the IT systems, training DWP staff, the administrative effort required to manage the transition of existing recipients to the new system and the cost of independent health care professionals undertaking the new assessment. As the new assessment for personal independence payment and the process for reassessing the existing DLA case load are still being developed, I am unable, at this stage, to provide a precise estimate for the cost of reassessment alone.

The disability living allowance reform impact assessment can be found at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/dla-reform-wr2011-ia.pdf

Employment Schemes

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to help people move from jobseekers' allowance into secure employment. [45368]

Chris Grayling: The Government are putting in place a much more flexible, personalised approach to helping people back into work, which begins with Jobcentre Plus. From April 2011 the support that Jobcentre Plus delivers to customers across all working age benefits (JSA, ESA and IS) is changing. Jobcentre Plus managers and advisers will have more flexibility to judge which interventions will help its customers, tailored to personal and local labour market needs. To support this Jobcentre Plus are introducing a suite of measures bringing together communities, the voluntary sector, business people and employers, to help get people back to work.

The Government are also implementing a new Work Programme from this summer, which will help a wide range of customers move into sustained employment. Work programme providers will not be required to deliver centrally specified support, which may be inappropriate for many customers, but instead will be given the freedom to innovate and develop personalised support. In return for this freedom, they will be paid on the basis of the results they achieve. We will offer providers higher rewards for supporting harder-to-help customers into employment, to ensure that it is worthwhile for providers to help all customer groups. We will also reward providers for keeping customers in employment, to help meet our aim for sustained employment outcomes.

Jobseeker's allowance customers will become eligible for the Work Programme from 12 months into their claim if they are aged 25 years or over, from nine months into their claim if they are aged 18 to 24, and from three months into their claim if they are disadvantaged in the labour market.

Housing Benefit

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what impact assessment he has carried out in respect of the proposed benefit cap of £26,000 per household. [36424]

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Chris Grayling: The Spending Review 2010 announced that household benefit payments would be capped from 2013 at around £500 per week for couple and lone parent households and around £350 per week for single adult households. War widows, households which include a member who is in receipt of disability living allowance or constant attendance allowance, and working households claiming the working tax credit will be exempt from the cap.

Analysis of the impact of the household cap on total benefit income was published in the impact assessment which accompanied the introduction of Welfare Reform Bill.

If the benefit cap were applied in full we estimate that around 50,000 households will have their benefits reduced by the policy. Households whose benefit is reduced as a result of the cap on total benefit income will lose on average around £93 per week.

Those affected most will generally be households with large numbers of children living in high rent areas. The vast majority (around 90%) will have children. Roughly 35% will be couples. Around 60% will be single women, almost all of whom are likely to be lone parents.

We are looking at ways of easing the transition for families and providing assistance in hard cases.

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the likely level of savings which will accrue as a result of the proposed cap on the level of household benefits. [36426]

Chris Grayling: The spending review 2010 announced that household benefit payments would be capped from 2013 at around £500 per week for couple and lone parent households and around £350 per week for single adult households. War widows, households which include a member who is in receipt of disability living allowance or constant attendance allowance, and working households claiming the working tax credit will be exempt from the cap.

If the benefit cap were applied in full, as described in the supporting documentation for the spending review 2010 the savings to the Exchequer are estimated to be £225 million in 2013-14 and £270 million in 2014-15.

We are looking at ways of easing the transition for families and providing assistance in hard cases.

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has made an assessment of the likely effects on (a) family structure and (b) levels of family breakdown in the geographical areas most affected by the proposed cap on the level of household benefits. [36428]

Chris Grayling: No assessment has been made of the likely effects on (a) family structure and (b)levels of family breakdown as a result of the household cap on total benefit income.

We are looking at ways of easing the transition for families and providing assistance in hard cases.

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has made an assessment of the likely effects of the proposed cap on the level of benefits on families of four children or more in black and minority ethnic communities. [36429]

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Maria Miller: If the benefit cap were applied in full a large proportion of those affected by the benefit cap are likely to be large families, suggesting that households from cultural backgrounds with a high prevalence of large families will be affected.

Based on internal modelling using the Department for Work and Pension’s Policy Simulation Model, we estimate that of the households that are likely to be affected by the cap approximately 30% of them will contain somebody who is from an ethnic minority.

Analysis of the impact of the household cap on total benefit income was published in the Impact Assessment which accompanied the introduction of Welfare Reform Bill. Analysis of the likely effects on ethnic minorities has been included in the equality impact assessment which was published on the Department for Work and Pension’s website.

We are looking at ways of easing the transition for families and providing assistance in hard cases.

Note:

Percentages are rounded to the nearest 10%.

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he plans to take to provide support for households affected by the proposed benefits cap. [36432]

Chris Grayling: When someone in a household enters work and begins to receive working tax credit they will no longer be subject to the benefit cap.

We are putting in place the Work Programme, which will give unemployed people unprecedented levels of personal support to get them into the workplace and barriers to work will finally be broken down.

We will ensure that the full range of options for people facing a shortfall in their rent remain accessible, from renegotiating their rent levels through to applying to their local authority for assistance in obtaining alternative accommodation, and that people are encouraged to consider these options.

We are looking at ways of easing the transition for families and providing assistance in hard cases.

Independent Living Fund

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the closure of the independent living fund on the ability of local authorities to respond to changes in demands for their services. [43511]

Maria Miller: The independent living fund is a discretionary trust and payments from the fund do not take precedence over the responsibility of the local authority to make an assessment of a user's needs. Local authorities have the statutory responsibility to provide social care support to their residents and as part of this responsibility they will need to consider the requirements of people who may otherwise have received an additional package from the independent living fund. However, although there was no requirement for the Department to undertake an assessment, it did discuss the changes to the independent living fund with disability organisations, local government representatives and colleagues in the Department of Health.

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Findings from the planned independent living fund consultation will help inform future decisions around social care investment and distribution to ensure that people receive the care and support suitable for their needs.

Household Income

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the distribution of shared income between couples living in the same household; and if he will make a statement. [44823]

Chris Grayling: In line with international best practice, the methodology for the main analysis of the income distribution, the Households Below Average Income series, measures the living standards of an individual as determined by household income. This assumes that all members of a household benefit equally from the household's income, and will therefore appear at the same position in the income distribution.

Research has suggested that, particularly in low-income households, the above assumption with regard to income sharing within couples is not always valid as men sometimes benefit at the expense of women from shared household income.

The Government are aware of recent research which analyses the distribution of income within families. The extent of pooling of resources between partners in a couple, division of responsibility for different types of expenditure and how this affects welfare of dependents in the household have been investigated by external researchers.

Recent research that has been completed includes:

Written evidence has been submitted to the Work and Pensions committee regarding the White Paper on universal credit by Fran Bennett and Ruth Lister:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmworpen/writev/whitepap/contents.htm

Research in relation to tax credits:

Hall & Pettigrew (2008) “Exploring the Key Influences on the Tax Credits Claimant Population” HMRC Research Report 49:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/research/report-49-final.pdf

In the United Kingdom in 2008-09, less than 0.5% of households contained more than one couple.

Notes:

1. The data on household composition is sourced from the Family Resources Survey, the data source for the Households Below Average Income series. The reference period for the survey is a single financial year.

2. A couple is defined as two adults, of same or different sex, who are married (spouse), or from January 2006 in a civil partnership (partner), or are assumed to be living together as such (cohabitee).

Remploy: Voluntary Redundancy

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assistance is available to explain the voluntary redundancy scheme to employees of Remploy with learning disabilities, who have been offered voluntary redundancy. [43436]

Maria Miller: Remploy has clear responsibilities towards their employers and have in place a guaranteed tailored support package for all employees including those with

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learning disabilities. This support includes internal and external advice and training available online, by telephone or face to face. This support includes:

easy-read information providing a step-by-step guide to the voluntary redundancy scheme and the support available;

one to one sessions with factory managers;

access to a free Employment Assistance programme, providing a range of advice on financial, legal and benefits issues;

information provided to nominated family or friends where the employee has requested this.

Source:

Remploy

Social Security Benefits

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether a couple with children working between 16 and 23 hours per week will have their benefit payments capped at £500 per week following the implementation of changes to working tax credit eligibility criteria proposed in the comprehensive spending review. [23033]

Chris Grayling: As the spending review announced, households which contain a member who is in receipt of working tax credit will be exempt from the cap. We are still considering the precise criteria for an equivalent exemption under universal credit.

In addition, war widows and households that contain a member who is in receipt of disability living allowance or constant attendance allowance will also be exempt from the benefit cap.

We are looking at ways of easing the transition for families and providing assistance in hard cases.

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which benefits he plans to include within his proposed cap on benefit entitlement; and which benefits will not be included within that cap. [45178]

Chris Grayling: We are introducing a cap on the total amount of benefit that working-age people can receive so households on out of work benefits will no longer receive more in benefit than the average weekly wage earned by working families.

The benefits to be included in the benefit cap will be set out in regulations following the passage of the Welfare Reform Bill.

The Bill proposes that all benefits may be included in the cap apart from state pension credit and state retirement pensions.

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However, we have announced that there will be exemptions for war widows and widowers and households that include a member who is entitled to disability living allowance, constant attendance allowance or working tax credit.

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has made an assessment of the likelihood of households separating as a result of the implementation of a cap on benefit entitlement. [45179]

Chris Grayling: We are introducing a cap on the total amount of benefit that working-age people can receive so households on out of work benefits will no longer receive more in benefit than the average weekly wage earned by working families.

No assessment has been made of the likelihood of households separating as a result of the implementation of a cap on benefit entitlement.

We are looking at ways of easing the transition for families and providing assistance in hard cases.