22 Jun 2011 : Column 319W

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what meetings (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had with the devolved Administrations to discuss child poverty since May 2010. [60348]

Chris Grayling: The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), his ministerial team and the Department's officials have regular discussions with the devolved Administrations and other stakeholders to discuss a range of issues, including child poverty. For example, representatives from the UK Government regularly engage with colleagues from the devolved Administrations as part of the Four Nations Forum on Child Poverty.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children were living in deprived households in each year between 1981 and 1990. [60350]

Maria Miller: Estimates of the number and proportion of children living in poverty are published in the households below average income (HBAI) series. HBAI uses household income adjusted (or “equivalised”) for household size and composition, to provide a proxy for standard of living.

The question asks about children living in deprived households, which I have interpreted as income below 60% of contemporary median income.

The following table shows the number and proportion of children with income below 60% of contemporary median income, before housing costs (BHC) in the available years between 1981 and 1990.

Period Number of children in millions Percentage

1981

2.6

19

1987

2.8

23

1988 and 1989

3.1

25

1990 and 1991

3.4

27

Notes: 1. These statistics are based on households below average income (HBAI) data sourced from the Family Expenditure survey (FES). FES uses disposable household income, adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living. 2. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to uncertainty. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response. 3. FES figures are for the United Kingdom. These are single calendar years for 1981 and 1987; two combined calendar years from 1988 to 1991. 4. Numbers of children in low-income households have been rounded to the nearest 100,000, while proportions have been rounded to the nearest percentage point. 5. These statistics are based on incomes before housing costs. 6. Relative poverty is defined as children living in households with less than 60% of contemporary median household income. 7. These statistics are publicly available in the households below average income report on the DWP website:

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?paae=hbaivl

Training Premium

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Sunderland were in receipt of the training premium in the last 12 months. [60382]

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Chris Grayling: The information requested on numbers in receipt of the training premium is not available.

Unemployment: Ayrshire

Mr Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Central Ayrshire constituency aged 16 to 64 years were not in education, employment or training in the latest period for which figures are available. [61339]

Chris Grayling: In the year to September 2010 the number of people aged 16 to 64 in the Central Ayrshire constituency who were not in education, employment or training averaged around 15,000.

Vocational Training: Scotland

Mr Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Central Ayrshire constituency and (b) Scotland are registered as participating in a training course arranged by his Department. [61340]

Chris Grayling: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Darra Singh. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Darra Singh:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how many people in (a) Central Ayrshire constituency and (b) Scotland are registered on a training course arranged by his Department. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Jobcentre Plus refers customers to various training opportunities that are available. These could be nationally based opportunities or those only available locally. Our advisers are also able to refer customers to training provision that is not necessarily organised, arranged or paid for by the Department for Work and Pensions.

As a result, we have no centrally held records that inform us how many of our customers are registered on a training course at any one time. However Jobcentre Plus does record ‘opportunities’, be they training or some other type of work related activity that is not directly employment, for example work experience.

For 2010/11 and April and May of 2011/12 the total number of customers recorded as being referred to an opportunity in Scotland was 31,418. Similarly 3,392 customers were referred in the district that covers Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway. In addition advisers may refer customers to local training provision that does not get recorded on our national system; therefore these figures may be understated.

The source of the data is an internal system called EPR (Employment Provision Reporting).This is a 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.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he plans to answer (a) questions 53714, 53716 and 53717, tabled on 26 April 2001 for written answer on 28 April 2011, (b) questions 52465, 52515 and 52510, tabled on 5 April 2011 for written answer on 26 April 2011, (c) question 44387, tabled on 1 March 2011 for written answer on 3 March 2011 and (d) question 40572, tabled on 9 February 2011 for written answer on 11 February 2011. [55995]

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Steve Webb [holding answer 17 May 2011]:The hon. Member's questions were replied to as follows:

53714 on 11 May 2011, Official Report, columns 1243-44W;

53716 on 16 May 2011, Official Report, column 103W;

53717 on 17 May 2011, Official Report, column 132W;

52465 on 12 May 2011, Official Report, column 1336W;

52515 on 17 May 2011, Official Report, column 134W;

52510 on 11 May 2011, Official Report, column 1246W;

44387 on 12 May 2011, Official Report, columns 1339-40W;

40572 on 24 May 2011, Official Report, column 592W.

Deputy Prime Minister

Elections

Caroline Nokes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he is taking steps to ensure increased competition amongst companies dealing with elections. [59982]

Mr Harper: The responsibility for the conduct and delivery of elections, including the purchasing of all necessary equipment and software to run the polls, rests with locally appointed returning officers. The Government do not, therefore, have a role in the administration of individual elections on the ground. The Government's role is to maintain the legislative framework within which elections are run and to provide returning officers with funding for UK parliamentary and European parliamentary elections. It is therefore not the Government's role to promote competition directly among companies which provide electoral services, although we ensure that returning officers are aware of the need for value for money judgments to be made when purchasing equipment or procuring services for the conduct of the elections from suppliers.

The Government look to ensure that best value for money is achieved when entering directly into contracts with electoral suppliers and that the relevant legislative requirements are followed with regard to procurement.

Anti-competitive agreements and practices that have the effect of restricting or distorting competition, and abuse of market power by companies that have dominance in a market are outlawed by the prohibitions contained in the Competition Act 1998. Responsibility for enforcement falls to the Office of Fair Trading which has been given significant powers to investigate and act where it finds companies have breached those provisions.

Health

Cancer: Drugs

Mr Robin Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients have received support from the Cancer Drugs Fund in the Worcestershire Primary Care Trust area. [60765]

Paul Burstow: Information at primary care trust level is not collected centrally.

The Cancer Drugs Fund was launched on 1 April 2011 to help thousands of cancer patients to access the drugs their clinicians believe will help them. We made

22 Jun 2011 : Column 322W

an additional £50 million available to strategic health authorities in 2010-11 which has already helped over 2,400 patients in England to access the cancer drugs their clinicians recommended.

Cannabis

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons pharmaceutical companies have been licensed to develop cannabis-based medicines to be dispensed in the UK; and what consideration he has given to licensing the dispensation of similar medicines in naturally-grown formats. [60894]

Mr Simon Burns: The Government accepted that there was a need to explore whether cannabinoids had therapeutic properties and could be developed as an approved medicine for multiple sclerosis sufferers.

We are advised that the issue of licences to companies to manufacture, using controlled substances on specific premises, is the responsibility of the Home Office.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), an Executive agency of the Department of Health, is responsible for ensuring that medicines available in the United Kingdom are efficacious and acceptably safe. The MHRA will only grant a marketing authorisation for any given product once it is satisfied that the product is safe, efficacious and of an acceptable quality for use in specific medical treatments in the defined patient population and it can only do so in response to the submission of an application to market a product.

At this time, no application has been made to the MHRA in relation to “naturally-grown formats” of cannabis. The only cannabis-based medicine to be licensed in the UK is Sativex, a product licensed for use as an add-on treatment for multiple sclerosis-related spasticity when people have shown inadequate response to other symptomatic treatments or found their side effects intolerable. It is based on extracts of two specific varieties of cannabis and controlled so as to produce a product with consistent properties.

Children: Diseases

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if his Department will ask the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to review its appraisal mechanism for treatments for (a) children and (b) very rare diseases. [61045]

Mr Simon Burns: We have no plans to ask the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to review its technology appraisal mechanism.

NICE is an independent body and is responsible for developing and reviewing its own appraisal processes and methods, in consultation with stakeholders, and last did so in 2008-09.

Departmental Data Protection

Andrew Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to promote visual data security in his Department; and what training his Department provides to its officials in respect of the management of visual data security. [60910]

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Mr Simon Burns: The Department regularly promotes the need for visual data security by means of security awareness events and by providing awareness material on the departmental intranet. Regular targeted briefings and security campaigns highlight the need to ensure protectively marked information is not visible to others while on the move.

All departmental staff and contractors are required to carry out information assurance training annually, based on the National School for Government online learning tool “Protecting Information”. This includes a module covering data security away from the office including working on public transport and in other public areas.

Gender Recognition

Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to ensure that no GP consortium shall refuse treatment to an individual diagnosed with gender dysphoria. [61321]

Mr Simon Burns: The NHS Commissioning Board will take responsibility for specialised commissioning, including the commissioning of gender identity services. Each gender reassignment case must be considered individually, according to clinical need and local prioritisation.

Health and Social Care Bill

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many items of correspondence his Department has received on the Health and Social Care Bill from residents of Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency. [60900]

Mr Simon Burns: Departmental records show that, since 6 May 2010, we have received five items of correspondence from residents of Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency about the Health and Social Care Bill. This includes one item of correspondence that consisted of 18 letters from residents of Bexleyheath and Crayford.

Health Services: Finance

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the Government spent on health services in real terms in (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2010-11; and what proportion of any change in expenditure was allocated to (i) the NHS and (ii) the private health sector. [60931]

Mr Simon Burns: Total NHS expenditure outturn in 2009-10 was £101.884 billion.

However in order to compare this figure with the outturn in 2010-11 it must be calculated on the same basis as the 2010-11 outturn. In 2010-11 HM Treasury introduced a new accounting practice, “alignment”, which involved the removal of cost of capital and transfer of resource expenditure for new provisions from departmental expenditure limits to annually managed expenditure. On an aligned basis, i.e. calculating 2009-10 on the same basis as 2010-11, NHS expenditure outturn in 2009-10 was £99.45 billion.

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Final outturn expenditure for 2010-11 is not yet available. The latest forecast outturn expenditure in 2010-11 (as published in Budget 2011) is £102.985 billion: a real terms increase of 0.6%.

Expenditure in the private sector in 2009-10 as reported in audited primary care trust summarisation schedules was £4.149 billion.

It will not be possible to determine the proportion of change in expenditure allocated to the NHS and the private health sector until the final outturn for 2010-11 is known.

Heart Diseases: Children

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the merits of co-location of treatment and follow-on care services for child heart surgery patients. [60885]

Mr Simon Burns: The review of children's heart surgery units (“Safe and Sustainable” review) is being conducted by the NHS Specialised Commissioning Team. We have however been following its progress.

The service standards developed by the Safe and Sustainable Steering Group, against which current services have been assessed and which are proposed as designation standards for future services, include 30 standards (out of a total of 156) relating to co-location of other paediatric services and a further two on services for adolescents. Eight criteria were used to score current centres (for the assessment) and these include one on interdependent services (or co-location). This criterion was ranked four and carried a maximum score of 70 out of 685. This process is set out in the Pre-consultation Business Case pages 50 to 56. The scoring of centres fed into a wider evaluation of the options for future services.

The criteria against which the options for future services were evaluated included the consideration that:

“the negative impact for the provision of paediatric intensive care and other interdependent services is kept to a minimum”.

This was part of the “deliverability” criterion, which was weighted 22 out of 100. This is set out in the pre-consultation business case on page 65. This can be found at:

www.specialisedservices.nhs.uk/library/30/Safe_and_ Sustainable_Review_of_Childrens_Congenital_Cardiac_ Services_in_England_Pre_Consultation_Business_Case.pdf

Incinerators: Health Hazards

Mr Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on any effects on infant mortality and morbidity arising from residence in the vicinity of an incinerator; and if he will make a statement. [61144]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department has not commissioned research specifically on any effects on infant mortality and morbidity arising from residence in the vicinity of a municipal waste incinerator. The Health Protection Agency published a report of its review of the latest scientific evidence on the health effects of modern municipal waste incinerators in September 2009. The report concludes that while it is not possible to rule adverse health effects

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out completely, any potential damage from modern, well-run and regulated incinerators is likely to be so small that it would be undetectable.

IVF: Finance

Julian Sturdy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department is taking any steps to encourage primary care trusts to continue funding IVF treatment. [61490]

Anne Milton: Primary care trusts are well aware of their statutory commissioning responsibilities and the need to base commissioning decisions on clinical evidence and discussions with local general practitioner commissioners, secondary care clinicians and providers.

The national health service deputy chief executive, David Flory, wrote to primary care trust commissioners on 11 January 2011 to highlight to those involved in commissioning fertility services the importance of having regard to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence fertility guidelines, including the recommendation that up to three cycles of IVF are offered to eligible couples where the woman is aged between 23 and 39.

A copy of this communication has already been placed in the Library and is available at:

www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_123405.pdf

Additionally, he supports Infertility Network UK—a leading patient support organisation—to develop and promote standardised access criteria and to work in partnership with commissioners to encourage good practice in the provision of fertility services.

Life

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what process his Department carried out in inviting the organisation Life to participate in its Sexual Health Forum; [61087]

(2) what account his Department took of the participation in sexual health promotion or prevention programmes of the organisation Life when inviting it to participate in its Sexual Health Forum; [61088]

(3) what account his Department took of the policies on the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections of the organisation Life when inviting it to participate in its Sexual Health Forum; [61089]

(4) what account his Department took of the policies on modern methods of contraception of the organisation Life when inviting it to participate in its Sexual Health Forum. [61090]

Anne Milton: The Sexual Health Forum has been established to provide advice to the Department on matters relating to sexual health and HIV. In considering the stakeholder groups who will sit on the core Forum, we felt that it was important to ensure that a wide range of views and interests are represented. This is why Life has been invited to join. Other organisations who sit on the Forum include Brook (the young people's sexual health charity), the Family Planning Association, Terrence Higgins Trust and Marie Stopes International.

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NHS: Procurement

Jesse Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the anticipated efficiency savings from procurement he expects will come from procurement in hospital trusts and other provider organisations; and what proportion of those savings he expects to be attributable to the procurement of medical and surgical equipment. [60853]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department has in place clear plans through the Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention workstream to support the national health service in making £1.2 billion in savings on procurement over the next three years. This applies exclusively to NHS providers—NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts.

These savings are to come in four main areas:

reducing price variation (all providers to use best available prices): £598 million;

efficiencies in back office organisation: £65 million;

improved use and management of stock: £283 million; and

clinical efficiencies (release of time for more direct clinical work): £142 million.

In 2009-10 £16.5 billion was spent by NHS providers (NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts) with external suppliers on the procurement of goods and services. This £16.5 billion comprises a number of different expenditure categories such as drugs, non-clinical supplies and services, transport and establishment; all of which may include elements of medical supplies and equipment. But the category “clinical supplies and services” will cover most of the purely medical and surgical equipment and consumables (such as single use drapes and gowns, bandages etc.). Expenditure in this particular category for 2009-10 was £4.5 billion.

A significant proportion of the savings from reducing price variations is expected to be achieved from the “clinical supplies and services” category. This category is also expected to contribute savings from improved use and management of stock and resulting clinical efficiencies.

NHS: Reorganisation

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the name is of each person who participated in the listening events as part of the NHS Future Forum. [60837]

Mr Simon Burns: All members of the NHS Future Forum listened to individuals and organisations as part of this process. The full list of NHS Future Forum members is:

Lord Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive, Turning Point

Dr Charles Alessi, Senior GP Partner, The Churchill Practice

Geoff Alltimes, Chief Executive, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

Dr Frank Atherton, President, Association of Directors of Public Health

Vicky Bailey, Chief Operating Officer, Principia, Partners in Health, Nottingham

Sally Brearley, Patient representative

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Sheila Bremner, Chief Executive, Mid Essex Primary Care Trust

Dr Simon Brown, Huntingdon GP Consortia pathfinder lead

Sir Stephen Bubb, Chief Executive, Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations

Professor Hilary Chapman, Chief Nurse, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

Ratna Dutt, Chief Executive, Race Equality Foundation

Moira Gibb, Chief Executive, London Borough of Camden

Mark Goldring, Chief Executive, Mencap

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind

Mr Derek Fawcett, Consultant Urological Surgeon, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust

Professor David Fish, Managing Director, UCL Partners

Peter Hay, Strategic Director, Adults and Communities, Birmingham City Council; and Vice President, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

Thomas Hughes-Hallett, Chief Executive, Marie-Curie Cancer Care

Prof. David Kerr, Professor of Cancer Medicine, Oxford University

Joanna Killian, Chief Executive, Essex County Council

Clare Leon-Villapalos, Intensive Care Nurse, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Dr Paul Lelliott, Consultant Psychiatrist, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

Chris Long, Chief Executive, Hull PCT

Malcolm Lowe-Lauri, Chief Executive, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Bill McCarthy, Chief Executive, Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Health Authority

Claire Marshall, Head of Professions, Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Anthony McKeever, Chief Executive, Bexley Care Trust

Dr Kathy McLean, Medical Director, NHS East Midlands

Julie Moore, Chief Executive, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Peter Nightingale, President, Royal College of Anaesthetists

Mr Dermot O'Riordan, Medical Director and Consultant Surgeon, West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust

Dr Niti Pall, Practising GP, Smethwick; and Chair and Clinical Lead, West Midlands Third Wave pathfinder consortia

Tom Riordan, Chief Executive, Leeds City Council

Cllr. David Rogers, Chair, Local Government Association Community Health and Wellbeing Board

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust

Mr Matthew Shaw, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Co-founder, Remedy UK

Ash Soni, Pharmacist, Lambeth; and Chair, Lambeth Professional Executive Committee

Professor Jimmy Steele, Head of School and Professor of Oral Health Services Research, Newcastle University

Professor Terence Stephenson, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive, National Voices

Professor Sir John Tooke, Vice-Provost, University College London

Dr Robert Varnam, Practising GP, Manchester

Gill Walton, Director of Midwifery, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Mr Francis Wells, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

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Public Health

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill to require commissioning bodies to include public health specialists. [61028]

Mr Simon Burns: In line with the recommendations of the NHS Future Forum, the Government intend to bring forward amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill to provide a more direct duty on clinical commissioning groups and on the NHS Commissioning Board to obtain advice from a wide range of health professionals, including those with expertise in the protection and improvement of public health.

As announced in the Government's response to the NHS Future Forum, it is also intended that the NHS Commissioning Board will in future host clinical senates that bring together a range of health and care professionals, including public health specialists, to give expert advice and support the better integration of services for patients. The Department also intends to bring forward more specific proposals in response to the recent public health consultation on how to ensure that public health professionals, in partnership with NHS commissioners, play a key role in providing leadership to drive improvements in quality and patient outcomes and to reduce health inequalities.

Under our proposed amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill, all clinical commissioning groups will have a governing body with decision-making powers. We do not intend to prescribe in detail the professional membership of governing bodies, but they will have to include at least one registered nurse and one doctor who is a secondary care specialist. The main function of the governing body will be to ensure that commissioning groups are run in a way that ensures effective stewardship of public resources and effective decision-making. This will include ensuring that the group obtains advice from the appropriate range of health professionals.

Public Health: Broadcasting

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the Government spent on television public health campaigns in relation to drug misuse in each of the last five financial years. [60927]

Anne Milton: FRANK is the national drugs internet information and advice service funded by the Department of Health, the Home Office and the Department for Education.

The contribution from the Department of Health for television advertising in each of the last five financial years is as follows:


£

2010-11

0

2009-10

775,703

2008-09

608,606

2007-08

0

2006-07

789,933

These figures reflect media spend (inclusive of agency commissions but excluding productions costs, Central Office of Information commission and VAT).

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International Development

Departmental Buildings

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the budget for (a) rent and (b) maintenance was of his Department's offices in the latest period for which figures are available. [60978]

Mr O'Brien: In the UK, the Department for International Development has only one leasehold property, that being our London Headquarters at 1 Palace Street, SW1. The budget for rent to be paid by DFID for 2011-12 is £4.6 million. The total budget for planned preventative maintenance for our two UK offices for 2011-12 is £280,000.

In 2010-11 DFID spend a total of £12.7 million on rental and maintenance costs for overseas offices and accommodation, including £3.2 million on office rental and £430,000 on maintenance for both offices and accommodation. We are unable to disaggregate this maintenance figure further.

Departmental Data Protection

Andrew Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to promote visual data security in his Department; and what training his Department provides to its officials in respect of the management of visual data security. [60912]

Mr O'Brien: It is not in the interests of the UK's national security for the Department for International Development (DFID) to describe our visual data security measures. Such disclosure could undermine the integrity and security of departmental systems and thereby expose them to potential threats.

Departmental Manpower

Dr Wollaston: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many full-time equivalent staff his Department employs; and what the cost of running his Department was in the last year for which figures are available. [60915]

Mr O'Brien: During the year ended 31 March 2010 the Department for International Development (DFID) employed an average of 2,322 full-time equivalent staff across its UK and overseas locations. Total staff costs for the year ended 31 March 2010 were £112 million, within total expenditure for the Department of £7 billion.

Location

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development in which countries his Department has an office. [60995]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development has an office (or offices) in the following countries:

Afghanistan

Bangladesh

Barbados

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Brazil

Burma

Burundi

China

Democratic Republic of Congo

Ethiopia

Ghana

Guyana

India

Indonesia

Iraq

Jamaica

Kenya

Kosovo

Kyrgyzstan

Malawi

Montserrat

Mozambique

Nepal

Nigeria

Occupied Palestine Territory

Pakistan

Rwanda

Sierra Leone

South Africa

Sudan

Tajikistan

Tanzania

Uganda

Vietnam

Yemen

Zambia

Zimbabwe.

Palestinians: International Assistance

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding his Department has allocated for the rebuilding of the Nahr el Bared refugee camp in Northern Lebanon. [60896]

Mr O'Brien: The UK supports Palestinian refugees in Lebanon through its five-year arrangement with UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to provide unearmarked funding to its general budget. This allows UNRWA to plan for the long term and improve service delivery to refugees across the region. Approximately 12% of UNRWA's general budget spending is in Lebanon.

In 2010-11 the UK gave £27 million to UNRWA's general budget and an additional £1.5 million to help support vulnerable families displaced from Nahr el Bared camp. The UK has not allocated any funding in 2011-12 for reconstruction of the Nahr el Bared camp.

Somalia: Overseas Aid

Alison McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to ensure the effective delivery of aid to south central Somalia. [60743]

Mr O'Brien: Approximately 75% of the Department for International Development's (DFID) humanitarian support in Somalia is focused in south central Somalia

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where needs are greatest, but where humanitarian access is most challenging. DFID supports United Nations, Red Cross and international non-governmental organisation partners who have experience of working in the area and who have robust programme and financial management and monitoring systems in place. DFID also actively supports the United Nations humanitarian co-ordination for field-level capacity to effectively manage, monitor and report on the overall international humanitarian response.

We remain extremely concerned that despite these efforts, access constraints mean some needs in south central Somalia are going unmet this year.

Taxis

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department spent on taxi fares for staff in (a) the UK and (b) the rest of the world in the latest year for which figures are available. [60977]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) spent £192,784 on taxi fares in financial year 2010-11. A further breakdown of spend between the UK and the rest of the world cannot be provided without incurring a disproportionate cost.

All expenditure is incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Elections

Bob Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the decision by the Bosnian High Representative to suspend certain decisions taken by the Central Electoral Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 24 March 2011. [60655]

Mr Lidington: On 28 March 2011, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Valentin Inzko, used his executive powers to issue a decision temporarily suspending two decisions of the Central Election Commission relating to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) House of Peoples and to the election of the President and Vice-Presidents of the FBiH. This decision was taken following consultations with the Peace Implementation Council of which the United Kingdom is a member. The High Representative made clear that the decision was needed to enable the vital functions of government to continue without legal ambiguity pending an anticipated deliberation of the Federation Constitutional Court (although the relevant requests for legal review have since been withdrawn by the politicians concerned). The Government fully support the High Representative, including in this application of his executive powers.

Departmental Procurement

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress his Department has made in encouraging small businesses to bid for Government contracts. [60193]

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Mr Lidington: As part of the Government's small and medium enterprise (SME) programme the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) published on its website an SME action plan that details the steps the FCO is taking to increase procurement opportunities for SMEs during 2011-12. The plan is published at:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/word/4535138/sme-action-plan-11

The FCO will be targeting some large procurement framework projects operating outside the UK for specific UK SME involvement where it is relevant. We will also review our UK and global procurement processes to ensure we remove any barriers to SMEs wishing to do business with us, while recognising the differing requirements in terms of contract performance and operational risk around the world.

Entry Clearances

Alison McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has made an assessment of the Home Office consultation, Employment Related Settlement, Tier 5 and Overseas Domestic Workers; and what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department in relation to that consultation. [61186]

Alistair Burt: The consultation on Employment Related Settlement, Tier 5 and Overseas Domestic Workers was published on 9 June and represents an agreed Government approach to reviewing these migration routes. Prior to its publication, the Home Affairs Committee and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, were consulted on the document, and before this, the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne) discussed elements of the draft consultation at the regular meetings with the Minister for Immigration. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials were involved at an early stage in the development of the consultation proposals.

Gilad Shalit

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department, (c) officials in his Department and (d) British embassy staff in Israel have had with the family of Gilad Shalit since February 2011; whether any meetings are scheduled during the next six months; and if he will make a statement. [60468]

Alistair Burt: Our ambassador in Tel Aviv will meet with Gilad Shalit's family in the run-up to fifth anniversary of his kidnapping. We reiterate our demand the he be released immediately and unconditionally. It is unacceptable that he has been held for five years without any Red Cross access.

We are always open to requests for meetings from Gilad Shalit's parents and their representatives and offer assistance wherever we can.

22 Jun 2011 : Column 333W

Kashmir: Politics and Government

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the political situation in Indian-administered Kashmir. [60157]

Alistair Burt: Officials from our high commission in New Delhi made one of their regular visits to Indian-administered Kashmir last month. Indian- administered Kashmir is calmer compared with last summer when over 100 civilians died during violent protests. The improvement is in part due to actions taken by the security forces and the Indian Government since last year. Local elections have also enabled people to address grievances through the ballot box. The Indian Government have increased engagement with those in Srinagar through the appointment of three interlocutors to make recommendations for a political solution.

The Governments of India and Pakistan are currently holding a series of talks addressing issues between them. Both have stated publicly that they expect Kashmir to be included on the agenda on a future round of discussions.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings his Department has had with other nuclear armed signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to discuss the obligations of article VI of the treaty in the last 20 years. [61337]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), in close collaboration with our Ministry of Defence colleagues, has discussed the Non-Proliferation Treaty's (NPT's) article VI disarmament obligations with the four other nuclear weapon states recognised by the treaty on innumerable occasions over the last 20 years. We have discussed our obligations at NPT Review Conferences and Preparatory Committees, the Conference on Disarmament, the UN's Disarmament Commission and First Committee, in bilateral ministerial and senior official meetings, and via videoconference. The FCO hosted a P5 Conference on nuclear disarmament in September 2009—bringing together for the first time policy makers, military staff and nuclear scientists from all five nuclear weapon states. We look forward to the next P5 Conference in Paris at the end of this month.

Passports: Lost Property

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people requested assistance relating to stolen or lost passports at UK embassies in (a) Europe and (b) the US in each of the last two years. [60636]

Alistair Burt: The following figures are taken from Compass, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office consular database:

22 Jun 2011 : Column 334W


Number

2009-10

 

Europe

14,459

US

3,272

   

2010-11

 

Europe

13,609

US

3,120

Sri Lanka: Internally Displaced Persons

Mr Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the situation of internally displaced people in Sri Lanka. [61141]

Alistair Burt: The Sri Lankan Government have made much progress in enabling the resettlement of internally displaced people (IDPs), but challenges remain.

As of 13 May, the UN report that 17,580 remain in IDP camps. Most of these are from Mullaitivu, which is yet to be demined.

The Department for International Development is providing £3 million for demining in Sri Lanka, which will enable even more IDPs to return to their homes. On 13 June, our deputy high commissioner to Sri Lanka visited recently resettled families in Jaffna, in an area benefitting from UK demining assistance.

When I spoke with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister on 31 March I expressed our desire for further improved humanitarian access to the north and the need to address ongoing challenges of resettlement. These include shelter, livelihoods and infrastructure.

UN Resolutions: Females

Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking (a) to promote the protection of women in areas of conflict and (b) to monitor the effective implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1820. [61265]

Mr Bellingham: The Government are committed to improving the protection of women in conflict. They have made national, bilateral and multilateral commitments to promote the protection of women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence and improve intervention strategies in the prevention of such violence. The Government are taking a range of actions to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1820 (2008).

Last year, the UK led efforts in the Security Council for the adoption of UNSCR 1960 (2010) which provides an accountability system for the implementation of UNSCR 1820, including through the establishment of monitoring, analysis, and reporting arrangements specific to conflict-related sexual violence.

More detail on the Government's work in this area can be found in the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security which is available in the House Library.

22 Jun 2011 : Column 335W

Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the measures in UN Security Council Resolution 1888, on protecting women and girls from sexual violence in conflict. [61285]

Mr Bellingham: UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1888 (2009) strengthened the implementation of UNSCR 1820 by assigning leadership and establishing effective support mechanisms for this agenda.

It led to the appointment of Margot Wallstrom as Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, who is co-ordinating UN efforts to address conflict-related sexual violence, and to facilitate the rapid deployment of teams of experts and advisors to situations of concern.

We encourage Ms Wallstrom to work with the head of the UN agency UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, in driving forward the international community's efforts in this area.

Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in promoting the role of women in post-conflict negotiations and reconstruction. [61292]

Mr Bellingham: The UK played an active part in the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 (2000), which was the first UNSCR to link women to the peace and security agenda and forms the basis of our National Action Plan. The resolution recognises that women are disproportionately affected by conflict and calls for their active participation at all levels of decision-making in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peace processes, post-conflict peace-building and governance.

Some progress has been made. However, according to the UN, since 1992 only 2.5% of signatories, 3.2% of mediators, 5.5% of witnesses and 7.6% of negotiators in peace processes have been women. All states need to do more.

The Government are committed to ensure that the promotion of women's participation in conflict resolution is an integral part of our overseas conflict policy because the principles of equality and justice underpin our values and because their effective participation and protection help secure more sustainable peace which is vital to our security interests.

More detail on the Government's work in this area can be found in the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security which is available in the House Library.

Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to support the participation of women in public life, conflict resolution and peace initiatives in Afghanistan under (a) its action plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and (b) UN Security Council Resolution 1889; and if he will make a statement. [61293]

Mr Bellingham: UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1889 (2009) calls for the UN Secretary-General to submit to the Security Council a set of indicators for

22 Jun 2011 : Column 336W

use at the global level to track implementation of UNSCR 1325. It also calls for the strengthening of national and international responses to the needs of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict settings.

The UN agency UN Women is currently formulating a set of indicators for adoption by the UN Security Council. UN Women's executive director, Michelle Bachelet, is committed to driving forward international efforts on this agenda and we are working to ensure that Women, Peace and Security will form a key part of the new agency's strategic work plan.

The Government have been at the forefront of the creation of UN Women and, as the Security Council lead on UNSCR 1325, we will continue to provide political support to the agency, including work on the development of global indicators. This remains a commitment in our National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security which is available in the House Library.

Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the measures in UN Security Council Resolution 1889. [61294]

Mr Bellingham: Afghan women are increasingly playing a role in shaping the country's future. Some progress has already been made, although much more needs to be done.

The Government continue to provide political and financial support to programmes in Afghanistan which promote women's participation in public life, including support to female parliamentarians and women's civil society groups.

Our National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security includes specific commitments on:

Securing the needs and priorities of women in Afghan Security Policy and peace-building efforts;

Increasing the number, influence, and capacity of female Afghans in public life;

Strengthening the capacity and visibility of Afghan women's civil society organisations; and

Increasing female participation in security and justice structures.

More detail on the Government's work in this area can be found in the UK National Action Plan, which is available in the House Library.

USA: Cotton

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his US counterpart on subsidies for US cotton farmers; and whether he raised this issue during the recent visit to the UK of the US President. [61503]

Alistair Burt: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, did not discuss subsidies for US cotton farmers in his most recent meeting with his US counterpart during the US state visit. However, the Prime Minister discussed with President Obama the importance of reaching an outcome on the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) this year and ways of achieving this. The issue of cotton subsidies remains

22 Jun 2011 : Column 337W

high on the Government's agenda, and we believe that a successful conclusion of DDA will be the best route for reform of cotton subsidies.

Energy and Climate Change

Carbon Emissions

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what representations he has received from UK energy-intensive industries since his decision to implement a carbon floor price mechanism. [61216]

Gregory Barker: Following the Chancellor's Budget Announcement, DECC Ministers and officials have received correspondence from, and held meetings with, several representatives of UK energy-intensive industry. This includes industry associations and representatives from the aluminium, chemicals, lime, non-woven textiles, paper and steel sectors.

The Government are looking at how to keep British industry competitive in the transition to a low carbon economy as part of the joint BIS/DECC energy-intensive industry project. As set out in the recent Fourth Carbon Budget Statement, Government will announce by the end of the year a package of measures for the EII sector whose international competitiveness is most affected by UK energy and climate change policies.

Electricity

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will make it his policy to publish all contracts issued under the contract-for-difference model in his proposals for energy market reform. [59750]

Charles Hendry: We will publish a White Paper on electricity market reform this summer. My officials are considering details of contracting arrangements for low carbon generation alongside other implementation issues. Decisions on detailed policy will need to balance transparency with the appropriate handling of commercially sensitive information.

Electricity: Meters

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will investigate the service charges levied by energy companies for domestic pre-payment meter users. [61286]

Charles Hendry: Setting of tariffs, including the cost of providing a supply, is a commercial matter for the company itself.

The manufacturing cost of a pre-payment meter and the provision of the administrative infrastructure required to support it are customarily higher than other types of meters. However, during its recent review into the effectiveness of the retail market, Ofgem found that pre-payment meter customers now pay, on average, £20 less than standard credit customers for their gas and electricity.

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Energy Saving Trust: Finance

Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2011, Official Report, column 579W, on the Energy Saving Trust, if he will ensure that information made available to the public by the Energy Saving Trust will continue to be made available once the trust ceases to receive public funding. [61229]

Gregory Barker: The outcome of the DECC delivery review, announced in May this year, was that the Energy Saving Trust will cease to receive core grant funding from DECC at the end of this financial year. EST is an independent body and its future direction and operations are a matter for its board and management.

The Government are currently developing the Green Deal, an ambitious market-driven energy efficiency retrofit scheme which will be launched in 2012. The Green Deal will have a contact centre to provide energy saving advice to the general public from next year.

Energy: Conservation

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the implications for UK energy efficiency companies of the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's ruling of 15 March 2011 on market-based demand response compensation for negawatts. [61023]

Charles Hendry: The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's ruling puts in place an innovative measure to ensure demand response receives a price comparable to generation. The Government are considering how demand response can be incentivised through the capacity mechanism as part of the Electricity Market Reform programme. In addition, the Electricity Market Reform White Paper will discuss barriers to demand response and will set out a high-level strategy on networks and system flexibility which will include our work programme on demand response.

Energy: Housing

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what the terms of reference are of his Department's joint working group with the Ministry of Defence on improving the energy efficiency of service family accommodation; [60981]

(2) who the members are of his Department's joint working group with the Ministry of Defence on improving the energy efficiency of service family accommodation; [60982]

(3) what timetable he has set for the completion of the work of his Department's joint working group with the Ministry of Defence on improving the energy efficiency of service family accommodation. [60983]

Gregory Barker: The joint working group is currently being established. The membership will include officials from all relevant Government Departments, including the Ministry of Defence's defence infrastructure organisation. The group's terms of reference and work

22 Jun 2011 : Column 339W

plan will need to be agreed at the first meeting, which will take place in July and we will send these to my hon. Friend.

I would expect the recommendations of the group to be set out in the consultation document on the Green Deal to be published this autumn.

Energy: Prices

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) when he last met representatives of Scottish Power to discuss gas and electricity prices; [59312]

(2) what discussions he plans to have with Scottish Power on proposed price rises for gas and electricity. [59653]

Charles Hendry: DECC Ministers and officials meet with energy suppliers on a regular basis to discuss market issues.

Consumers deserve the best possible deal, which means rough and tough competition in the marketplace. We are cutting red tape for smaller suppliers to boost competition in retail markets, while Ofgem is tackling other barriers to effective competition (such as tariff complexity and low wholesale market liquidity) in its retail market review. While greater competition should put pressure on prices, consumers should also regularly evaluate the best deal on the market.

Government are also taking a range of actions to increase people's control over their energy bills through energy efficiency, including the Green Deal, and better information.

EU Law

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for what European directives in force on 1 April 2010 his Department is responsible; and what European directives for which his Department is responsible have come into force since 1 April 2010. [60690]

Gregory Barker: The stock of EU legislation in force is set out in the Eur-Lex database:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/index.htm

It would be of disproportionate cost to review the entire stock to establish which pieces of legislation were currently the responsibility of DECC or its predecessor Departments.

The Department has not identified any Council directives first entering into force after 1 April 2010 for which DECC has primary responsibility. The entry into force date for a directive is usually specified in the directive as being a certain number of days following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Green Deal Scheme: Apprentices

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and (b) the Department for Education on a Green Deal apprenticeship scheme. [61360]

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Gregory Barker: I can confirm that the Department continues to have regular discussions with both Departments. We are keen to ensure that we can make best use of the funding the coalition has made available for apprenticeships to help re-skill existing and future workers to so they can benefit from the huge opportunities the Green Deal will bring.

I can also confirm that my officials are in regular discussion with the Sector Skills Councils to identify the skills gaps and ensure that training provision will be available where there is the demand from industry.

Natural Gas: Carbon Emissions

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will estimate the carbon footprint of shale gas and related extraction processes. [61459]

Charles Hendry: Emissions from shale gas extraction processes will be determined by the design and conditions of a particular development and no development has been proposed for the UK.

However, provided that good practice is adhered to, particularly in the control of fugitive emissions of methane, shale gas should have a carbon footprint of the same order as natural gas from conventional onshore fields, and significantly lower than that of other hydrocarbon sources including coal.

I note that a recent report by the International Energy Authority entitled “Are We Entering A Golden Age For Gas” assessed well-to-burner emissions from unconventional gas, for the particular circumstances they considered and in the “non venting” case, as only slightly higher than from conventional gas, with the combustion of gas being the dominant source of emissions.

Radioactive Waste

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the average unit cost is of disposal of spent fuel from existing nuclear power stations per tonne of uranium; and what estimate has been made of the equivalent figure for the proposed future generation of nuclear power stations. [60549]

Charles Hendry: There is not yet an operational geological disposal facility (GDF) in the UK. Therefore no spent fuel from existing power stations has yet been disposed of and an actual cost figure for the disposal of spent fuel from existing nuclear power stations is not available.

For the purposes of estimating the likely disposal cost of spent fuel from new nuclear power stations, the NDA has provided DECC with estimates of the costs of a GDF, covering both the fixed construction costs of the facility and the variable costs of disposing of a given quantity of waste.

These estimates were published by DECC in the December 2010 “Consultation on an updated Waste Transfer Pricing Methodology for higher activity wastes from new nuclear power stations”, available on the DECC website at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/meeting_energy/nuclear/new/waste_costs/waste_costs.aspx

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Based on NDA's data DECC derived a current best estimate of the cost of disposing of spent fuel from a new nuclear power station of £312,000/tU.

Radioactivity

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to ensure radiation level monitoring results such as gamma spectrometry tests from the Radioactive Incident Monitoring Network and the Health Protection Agency are available publicly without recourse to a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. [60845]

Charles Hendry: Radioactive Incident Monitoring Network (RIMNET) data are currently published on the European Radiological Data Exchange Platform website

http://eurdep.jrc.ec.europa.eu/

Following the Fukushima incident, the HPA, Environment Agency (EA), Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have also jointly been providing updates of their monitoring findings via the HPA website

www.hpa.org.uk

Renewable Energy: Heating

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether (a) ground source heat pumps and (b) air source heat pumps will be eligible for the renewable heat incentive premium payment. [59314]

Gregory Barker: Both these technologies will be included in the renewable heat premium payment scheme. Details on how the scheme will work will be announced shortly.

Solar Power: Housing

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on regulations for the installation of solar photovoltaics in domestic properties. [61213]

Gregory Barker: The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, my right hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne), and the Department have not held recent discussions with the Department for Communities and Local Government about the installation of solar photovoltaics in domestic properties.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent discussions he has had with solar photovoltaic installers on regulations for the installation of solar photovoltaics in domestic properties. [61214]

Gregory Barker: The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, my right hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne), has not held any discussions with solar PV installers about regulations for the installation of solar PV in domestic properties.

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MCS certification is required by all installer companies installing domestic solar PV eligible for feed-in tariffs.

Solar PV is eligible for permitted development.

THORP

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the cost to the public purse was of the closure and clean-up of the THORP reprocessing plant following the leak of radioactive material in 2004-05. [59550]

Charles Hendry: The information requested is as follows:


£000

Continued fixed cost for the incident related shutdown net of savings

68,780

Cost of clean-up

9,592

   

Insurance recovery

(41,500)

   

Net

36,872

Wind Power

Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change by what date he expects wind powered generation to have reached commercial viability. [61146]

Charles Hendry: It is not possible to put a date on commercial viability, which depends on a number of factors, including the cost of fossil fuel, as well as the pace of deployment and innovation in offshore wind.

Wind Power: Noise

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will assess the implications for (a) investment in and (b) the number of wind turbine sites of setting the noise limit threshold for wind turbines below 45 decibels. [60922]

Charles Hendry: The indicative maximum noise level of a wind farm at 350 metres (1,150 feet) is usually roughly comparable to the sound of leaves rustling in a gentle breeze. The method of assessing the noise impact of a wind farm locally is described in “The assessment and rating of noise from wind farms”, ETSU-R-97, by the Working Group on Noise from Wind Turbines for the Department of Trade and Industry. We have no plans to change the noise limits that ETSU-R-97 recommends, and will shortly publish a report which investigates matters arising in the consideration of noise impacts in the determination of wind farm planning applications in England.

Wind Power: Subsidies

Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) if he will make it his policy to reduce the level of subsidy to wind-powered generation as it approaches commercial viability; [61143]

22 Jun 2011 : Column 343W

(2) if he will make it his policy to reduce the level of subsidy for wind power in each successive year. [61145]

Charles Hendry: Legislation provides that a review of renewables obligation (RO) support levels for all technologies may be commenced in October 2010 and then at four-yearly intervals.

These reviews ensure that as market conditions and innovation within sectors change and evolve, developers continue to receive the appropriate level of support necessary to maintaining investment in the renewables industry, while providing value for money to the consumer.

Such a review is currently under way. We will consult on the new bands this summer, with the Government response published in late autumn. Any changes in support levels will be come into effect on 1 April 2013 (1 April 2014 for offshore wind).

Business, Innovation and Skills

Apprentices: Worcestershire

Mr Robin Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many apprenticeships have been started in (a) Worcestershire and (b) Worcester since May 2010. [60766]

Mr Hayes: Table 1 shows the number of apprenticeship programme starts in Worcestershire local education authority and Worcester parliamentary constituency between 1 May 2010 and 31 January, the latest date for which we have data.

Table 1: Apprenticeship starts in Worcester local education authority and Worcester constituency, 1 May 2010 and 31 January
  2009/10 2010/11 Total

May 2010 to July 2010 August 2010 to October 2010 November 2010 to January 2011 May 2010 to January 2011

Worcestershire local education authority

580

1,140

850

2,560

Worcester constituency

110

180

120

400

Notes: 1. All Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Geography information is based upon the home postcode of the learner. Source: Individualised Learner Record

Information on the number of apprenticeship starts is published in a quarterly statistical first release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 31 March:

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_current

Apprenticeships data will be updated in a Statistical First Release published on 23 June, also available at this website.

Business: Loans

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) pursuant to the answer of 8 June 2011, Official Report, column 391W, on business: loans, what effects he expects the (a) stretch and (b) capacity lending targets to have on small and medium-sized businesses; and if he will make a statement; [60603]

22 Jun 2011 : Column 344W

(2) at what level his Department has set stretch lending targets as part of the Project Merlin agreement; and how those levels were determined. [60604]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 17 June 2011]: The Merlin target that was agreed with banks is £190 billion of gross new lending to UK corporates, including lending of £76 billion to small and medium-sized enterprises. The banks will be judged against these published and agreed numbers. Figures published in May by the Bank of England show that the UK's five largest banks lent £16.8 billion to UK small and medium enterprises in the first quarter of this year.

Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what lending targets the Government have agreed with the banking industry as part of the Project Merlin agreement; [60617]

(2) pursuant to the answer of 8 June 2011, Official Report, columns 391-2W on business: loans, what assessment his Department has made of the effects on lending to small and medium-sized enterprises of banks which are party to the Project Merlin agreement meeting the stretch targets, but failing to meet the capacity targets; [60618]

(3) whether the banks which are party to the Project Merlin agreement will be judged against the (a) stretch or (b) capacity targets. [60619]

Mr Prisk: I will reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

The Merlin target that was agreed with banks is £190 billion of gross new lending to UK corporates, including lending of £76 billion to small and medium-sized enterprises. The banks will be judged against these published and agreed numbers. Figures published in May by the Bank of England show that the UK's five largest banks lent £16.8 billion to UK small and medium enterprises in the first quarter of this year.

Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 8 June 2011, Official Report, columns 391-2W on business: loans, what the definition is of the (a) stretch and (b) capacity target agreed as part of the Project Merlin agreement. [60620]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 17 June 2011]: The “stretch” targets were the Merlin banks' initial assessment of what extra they could lend in 2011 compared with 2010.

The Government were not satisfied that these were sufficiently ambitious and pushed them to set a more demanding target—which was what was agreed and published in the Merlin agreement, which stated:

“That will put in place for 2011 new committed lending capacity of £76bn for UK small and medium sized businesses, which is materially higher than both the actual gross new lending delivered by the five banks in 2010 of £66bn and the banks' revised expectations for 2011.”

Employment

Jonathan Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions he has had with representatives of businesses on increasing

22 Jun 2011 : Column 345W

levels of employment among the middle-aged; and if he will make a statement. [60152]

Mr Davey: We have had no direct discussions with business representatives on this question. However, as part of our Growth Review, the Government are taking a number of steps to ensure that the labour market operates efficiently and fairly, and that it promotes economic growth and employment opportunities for people of all ages.

Through the Department for Work and Pension's Age Positive initiative we are working with key business leaders to drive forward sustained improvements in the employment, training and retention of older workers. As the legislated Default Retirement Age is phased out in 2011, we are providing guidance to help employers manage their workforces without the use of compulsory retirement ages. We are also helping to develop and embed effective practices including flexible working and flexible retirement opportunities.

Export Credit Guarantees

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on export credit agreements. [61445]

Mr Davey: Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) officials attend regular meetings on export credit policy and practice with European Export Credit Agencies usually under the aegis of the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the reporting requirements for export credit agreements. [61446]

Mr Davey: Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) publicly reports on its activities and financial performance in its annual report and accounts. The latest copy for the financial year 2009-10 is held in the Libraries of the House. The annual report and accounts for 2010-11 will be published before the summer parliamentary recess. Pursuant to its responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act, ECGD also operates a publication scheme which can be found at its website at:

www.ecgd.gov.uk

Higher Education: Admissions

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to use mobile application technology to engage with prospective university students. [60879]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 21 June 2011]:The Directgov campaign website for the Department's communications campaign about reforms to student finance

www.direct.gov.uk/yourfuture

has been specifically optimised to be accessible to mobile phone users.

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The Student Loans Company is currently considering the development of a mobile application as part of its future communications activity.

Higher Education: Fees and Charges

Mr Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what guidance his Department plans to provide to universities on the tuition fees of students who initially fail to attain the necessary grade for admission to their first choice university in 2011 but who subsequently attain the required grades following a re-mark and are accordingly offered a deferred place for 2012 entry. [60441]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 17 June 2011]: It is a matter for individual higher education institutions (HEIs) to decide whether they wish to charge a student the maximum amount allowed for tuition in such circumstances. We would expect an HEI to make clear to the student the level of tuition charge that would apply if they enter in 2012/13 so that the student can take this into account in deciding whether to accept a deferred place.

Whatever they are charged, eligible students will be able to access a loan to fully meet the cost of tuition, up to the maximum allowed.

If an eligible student decides to defer entry to 2012/13 they will be able access the new, more generous package of student support. Students from the lowest income households will be able to get more non-repayable grant for living costs than under the current system and almost all full-time students will get more overall support for living costs than they do now.

Higher Education: Science

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many pupils from (a) state schools and (b) independent schools applied to study (i) science, (ii) technology, (iii) engineering and (iv) mathematics subjects at universities in each of the last five years for which data are available. [59512]

Mr Willetts: Information on applicants to higher education to science, technology, engineering and mathematics degree courses by school type is included in the following table and is provided by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Applicants domiciled in England to science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects by previous school type
Science

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

State schools

30,904

32,160

33,692

35,188

37,795

Independent schools

6,943

7,212

7,394

8,040

8,353

HE, FE and other

32,213

36,687

36,822

39,090

46,159

Total

70,060

76,059

77,908

82,318

92,307

Technology

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

State schools

8,422

8,244

8,513

9,299

8,659

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Independent schools

1,019

1,027

1,027

1,117

974

HE, FE and other

15,563

17,830

17,941

19,500

21,477

Total

25,004

27,101

27,481

29,916

31,110

Engineering

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

State schools

7,537

7,393

7,654

8,508

8,221

Independent schools

1,933

1,898

2,060

2,107

2,222

HE, FE and other

8,830

10,462

10,499

11,540

12,862

Total

18,300

19,753

20,213

22,155

23,305

Mathematics

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

State schools

3,823

4,353

4,587

5,229

5,296

Independent schools

831

873

987

996

953

HE, FE and other

2,403

2,632

2,827

3,100

3,451

Total

7,057

7,858

8,401

9,325

9,700

Notes: 1. “State schools” includes comprehensive, grammar and other state schools up to the age of 18 years old. 2. “Independent schools” includes independent schools up to the age of 18 years old. 3. ‘HE,FE and other’ includes applicants from further education (including sixth form colleges), higher education institutions and other centres (including those that do not fit in to the major groupings including those applied directly to UCAS, adult college and centres, prisons, language schools). 4. Subjects have been identified using the following subject groups and lines: Science: B1—Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology, B2—Pharmacology Toxicology and Pharmacy, B8—Medical Technology, Group C; Biological Sciences, D7—Agricultural Sciences, Group F Physical Sciences; Technology: G4—Computer Science, G5—Information Systems, G6—Software Engineering, G7—Artificial Intelligence, Group J Technologies; Engineering: Group H Engineering; Mathematics: G1—Mathematics, G2—Operational Research, G3—Statistics. 5. Applicants included in these figures have applied for at least one course from these subjects. 6. Applicants may appear in one more than one subject group if their application includes choices to more than one of these subject groups. 7. Applicants can make up to five separate choices on their application form.

Higher Education: Sunderland

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2011, Official Report, column 570W, on higher education: Sunderland, what proportion of (a) applicants and (b) accepted applicants resident in Sunderland Central constituency were from disadvantaged backgrounds in (i) 2009-10 and (ii) 2010-11. [60383]

22 Jun 2011 : Column 348W

Mr Willetts: The information is in the following tables and has been provided by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Applicants who were not accepted for entry will include individuals who did not receive any offer; individuals who received an offer (conditional or unconditional) but decided not to go to university; individuals who received a conditional offer and failed to meet the specific conditions (e.g. they did not achieve certain grades); and individuals who decided to withdraw from the UCAS system.

Applicants and accepted applicants to full-time undergraduate courses at UK institutions from Sunderland Central constituency by area background 2009/10
Area background Applicants % of total Accepted applicants % of total

Disadvantaged(1)

409

51

306

51

Other

391

49

299

49

Grand total

800

100

605

100

Source: UCAS
Applicants and accepted applicants to full-time undergraduate courses at UK institutions from Sunderland Central constituency by area background 2010/11
Area background Applicants % of total Accepted applicants % of total

Disadvantaged(1)

497

53

358

53

Other

448

47

319

47

Grand total

945

100

677

100

(1) For the purposes of their funding allocations, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) treat entrants from the most disadvantaged 40% of neighbourhoods as “disadvantaged”: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/widen/fund/ HEFCE uses two different groupings of areas to define disadvantage which are based on the historic levels of participation or qualification in higher education by the local population: one based on the participation rates of young (19 and under) people in higher education (HE) (which is used by HEFCE when looking at young full-time entrants); and one based on the proportion of adults in the area who hold HE qualifications (which is used by HEFCE when looking at part-time and mature full-time entrants). Because this table includes applicants and accepted applicants of all ages disadvantage is defined by the HE qualified adults measure. Source: UCAS

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2011, Official Report, column 570W, on higher education: Sunderland, what proportion of (a) applicants and (b) accepted applicants resident in Sunderland Central constituency were aged over 30 in (i) 2009-10 and (ii) 2010-11. [60384]

Mr Willetts: The information is in the following tables and has been provided by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Applicants who were not accepted for entry will include individuals who did not receive any offer; individuals who received an offer (conditional or unconditional) but decided not to go to university; individuals who received a conditional offer and failed to meet the specific conditions (e.g. they did not achieve certain grades); and individuals who decided to withdraw from the UCAS system.

22 Jun 2011 : Column 349W

Applicants and accepted applicants to full-time undergraduate courses at UK institutions from Sunderland Central constituency by age 2009/10
Age range Applicants % of total Accepted applicants % of total

29 and under

721

90

559

92

30 and over

79

10

46

8

Grand total

800

100

605

100

Source: UCAS
Applicants and accepted applicants to full-time undergraduate courses at UK institutions from Sunderland Central constituency by age 2010/11
Age range Applicants % of total Accepted applicants % of total

29 and under

861

91

628

93

30 and over

84

9

49

7

Grand total

945

100

677

100

Source: UCAS

Local Enterprise Partnerships

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on how many occasions he has met the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to discuss the establishment of a national representative body for local enterprise partnerships; and on what date such meetings took place. [58218]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 8 June 2011]:There have been discussions between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Communities and Local Government about the need for a network but there have been no meetings between the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr Pickles), on this specific issue.

Origin Marking: Israel

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what advice his Department has issued to trading standards officers on origin labelling for consumer goods produced in Israeli settlements. [60670]

Mr Davey: There is no general requirement in the United Kingdom or the European Union law for goods to bear marks indicating their origin, nor is there anything to prevent voluntary origin marking. However, where such marks are applied to goods, the consumer protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 requires that these marks are not false or misleading. The regulations also prohibit traders from omitting material information which the average consumer needs, according to the context, to make an informed choice.

This Department and the Office of Fair Trading have issued general guidance on how we expect the regulations

22 Jun 2011 : Column 350W

to operate in practice. This would apply to the accuracy of voluntary origin labelling of consumer goods produced in Israeli settlements.

Public Holidays: St George's Day

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will consider the merits of establishing St George's day as a bank holiday. [61017]

Mr Davey: The Government regularly receive requests to consider making changes to the pattern of bank holidays.

Although the current pattern of holidays is well established, in order to come to a full understanding as to whether the current arrangements are best for the country, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced in the recent Tourism Strategy that it would carry out a pre-consultation on the issue.

The pre-consultation ended on 9 June and examined a range of options, including the possible movement of the May day bank holiday to St George's day in England and St David's day in Wales. Interested parties were encouraged to submit their representations on this matter to ensure all relevant opinions were available during this process. Responses are being assimilated and results are expected later this summer.

Small Businesses

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many and what proportion of small businesses were engaged in innovation in each year since 2005. [61120]

Mr Willetts: These data are not available on an annual basis—data come from the UK Innovation Survey, carried out every two years and covering a three- year period. The latest survey covered the period 2006-08. Over this period, 85,971 small firms reported being innovation active, representing 57.3% of the population of small firms.

An innovation active firm is defined as a business that was a product or process innovator, had ongoing or abandoned innovation projects, or, had invested in activities related to innovation.

A small firm is defined as one with 10 to 49 employees.

The UK Innovation Survey, part of the wider Community Innovation Survey, is carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on behalf of this Department. It seeks to understand business innovation and the conditions that help or hinder it.