11 Oct 2011 : Column 317W

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Women and Equalities

Females: Unemployment

Helen Jones: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what recent meetings she has had with ministerial colleagues to discuss the level of unemployment among women. [72661]

Lynne Featherstone: I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues about a range of issues relevant to women.

Culture, Media and Sport

Olympic Games 2012

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport with reference to his Department's announcement of 14 September 2011, whether Barnett consequential funding will arise from unspent London 2012 Olympics funding that is to be allocated to Visit England. [72826]

Hugh Robertson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, recently announced that around £3 million from the public sector funding package for the Olympic and Paralympic Games would be made available to support a domestic tourism campaign to maximise the economic benefits from the Torch Relay and the Cultural Olympiad. This does not constitute the reallocation of unspent Olympic funds, but rather an investment in a key objective of the Olympic programme: to ensure that the benefits from the Games are felt throughout the UK. We hope to include the devolved nations in this campaign and the Secretary of State is in discussions with ministerial colleagues with regard to this possibility. The Olympic and Paralympic Games are a national project and Barnett consequential do not apply.

Justice

Automatic Number Plate Recognition

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prosecutions there were as a direct result of a motor vehicle’s number plate triggering an automatic number plate recognition camera in (a) 2006, (b) 2007, (c) 2008, (d) 2009 and (e) 2010. [72608]

Mr Blunt: It is not possible to separately identify those specific cases where the defendant was proceeded against as a direct result of a motor vehicle’s number plate triggering an automatic number plate recognition camera.

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Data held centrally on the Ministry of Justice court proceedings database do not include information about the circumstances behind each case, other than that which may be identified from a statute.

Driving Offences: Sentencing

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions has he had with the Attorney-General on reviewing the maximum sentence for dangerous driving; and if he will make a statement. [72417]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: The Government are creating a new criminal offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, which will carry a five-year maximum prison sentence. This will be introduced into the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.

The offence is a direct response to the concerns expressed by victims of dangerous driving, and those who represent them. It will allow the most serious consequences of dangerous driving to be dealt with fully by the courts.

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill

Paul Goggins: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions he has had on the likely effects of the provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill on the human rights of people in developing countries harmed by UK companies. [72850]

Mr Djanogly: Overseas victims of alleged corporate harm by UK multinational companies are currently able to bring civil claims in the UK where appropriate, and this will continue to be the case following implementation of our reforms to civil litigation funding and costs. My officials and I have met with relevant stakeholders, including the Coalition for Corporate Responsibility (CORE), Amnesty International and Oxfam, to discuss the impact of the proposed reforms.

Youth Justice Board

Toby Perkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many representations he has received proposing that the Youth Justice Board be abolished; and from whom; [72415]

(2) how many representations he has received proposing that the Youth Justice Board remain as a separate entity from his Department; and from whom. [72528]

Mr Blunt: In July 2011, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) launched a public consultation on the proposals for reform of the majority of MOJ bodies in the Public Bodies Bill to ensure that as many interested parties as possible could contribute views. The consultation closes on 11 October and includes the proposals relating to the future of the Youth Justice Board. Information on the result of the consultation will be published in the usual manner.

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Energy and Climate Change

International Climate Fund Implementation Plan

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what progress has been made in the development of the International Climate Fund Implementation Plan. [73007]

Gregory Barker: We are currently working with the Department for International Development, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and HM Treasury to finalise the International Climate Fund Implementation Plan. We will publish the document later this month.

Wind Power

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many working on shore wind farms were not operational on (a) 11, (b) 12 and (c) 13 September 2011; and for what reasons. [72610]

Charles Hendry: All of the 46 working large onshore wind farms where National Grid monitors output were operational on 11 to 13 September 2011. However, output from some of those onshore wind farms was curtailed or stopped for parts of the days in question, as follows:

(a) 11 September 2011: 11 wind farms;

(b) 12 September 2011: nine wind farms; and

(c) 13 September 2011: 16 wind farms.

This was due to high levels of wind output in Scotland which the transmission network in that area did not have the capacity to carry.

House of Commons Commission

Sitting Days

Mrs Main: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what estimate the Commission has made of the marginal cost to the public purse of the House of Commons sitting for two weeks in September. [71539]

John Thurso: The marginal cost of this year’s additional sitting has been relatively low as most operating costs are fixed costs and are therefore unaffected by the number and distribution of sittings, and there was sufficient notice to take the September sitting into account when planning the works programme. We estimate a marginal cost of around £200,000 will be incurred as the direct result of the two-week sitting in September. To avoid an accumulating backlog of works, further September sittings would be likely to have a marginal cost of some £1.5 million.

Prime Minister

Members: Correspondence

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Prime Minister when he plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Bury South of 29 July 2011. [72828]

The Prime Minister: A reply has been sent.

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Electoral Commission Committee

Electoral Register

Sadiq Khan: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, what information the Electoral Commission holds on the amount each local authority is planning to spend on voter registration in 2011-12. [73766]

Mr Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not currently hold any information on the amount each local authority plans to spend on electoral registration in future financial years. This information is collected only once the financial year has ended.

Over the last three financial years, local authorities across Great Britain spent £82 million (2009-10), £83 million (2008-09) and £81 million (2007-08) on electoral registration.

The Commission is currently collecting information for the 2010-11 financial year and will be publishing a report with the data on their website in December 2011. A copy will also be placed in the Library of the House of Commons.

Attorney-General

Criminal Proceedings: Victim Support

3. Mr Dodds: To ask the Attorney-General what assessment he has made of the level of support provided by the Crown Prosecution Service for victims participating in criminal proceedings. [72846]

The Attorney-General: There is a comprehensive network of joint police and Crown Prosecution Service Witness Care Units, whose role is to provide support to victims and witnesses in the Criminal Justice System. The Victim and Witness Satisfaction Survey in September 2010 found that 85% of victims and witnesses are satisfied with their experience of the Criminal Justice System.

Treasury

Departmental Manpower

Jack Dromey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many officials in his Department worked on the draft of the national planning policy framework produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government. [71889]

Justine Greening: I refer the hon. Member to the answer provided by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, on 10 October 2011, Official Report, column 16W. Officials from the Treasury have worked closely with DCLG officials on the Draft National Planning Policy Framework. Approximately four HM Treasury officials were substantively involved in its development.

Jack Dromey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many officials in his Department worked on the draft of the national planning policy framework produced by the practitioners' advisory group. [71894]

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Justine Greening: I refer the hon. Member to the answer provided by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, on 10 October 2011, Official Report, column 16W. Officials from the Treasury have worked closely with DCLG officials on the Draft National Planning Policy Framework. Two HM Treasury officials provided information when asked by the Advisory Group.

Parish Councils: PAYE

Tony Baldry: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what advice and guidance his Department gives to parish councils in respect of their responsibility for PAYE for parish clerks. [71958]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) provide a range of help to all small employers, including parish councils. HMRC provides a free, downloadable toolkit that will enable a council to discharge all its Pay As You Earn (PAYE) obligations simply and without incurring further cost. HMRC runs free seminars where those in councils responsible for PAYE can receive face-to-face training in payroll.

HMRC recognises the burden on parishes of having to operate PAYE for the first time. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have a team of advisers who have been specially briefed to deal with enquiries from parish councils. These advisers can be contacted on 0845 607 0143.

HMRC has published special guidance for parishes. This is accessible at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/employers/parish_council.pdf

HMRC is also working with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to ensure smaller parishes understand, and can access, the various help and advice available to them.

Public Sector Net Cash Requirement

Ms Angela Eagle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the likely effects on gross domestic product growth in quarter three and quarter four of 2011 of the infrastructure measures announced by the Deputy Prime Minister on 14 September 2011. [72764]

Justine Greening: The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is responsible for producing independent economic and fiscal forecasts. The Chancellor has asked the OBR to publish a new economic and fiscal forecast on 29 November.

Ms Angela Eagle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will estimate public sector net borrowing in 2012 if gross domestic product growth is (a) 1.3 per cent. and (b) two per cent; [72765]

(2) if he will estimate public sector net debt in 2011 if gross domestic product growth is 1.3 per cent. [72766]

Justine Greening: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), and I have asked the OBR to reply.

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Letter from Robert Chote:

As Chair of the Budget Responsibility Committee of the Office for Budget Responsibility I have been asked to reply to your recent questions.

The central forecast in our March Economic and fiscal outlook (EFO) was for GDP growth of 1.7 per cent in 2011 and 2.5 per cent in 2012. Net debt was projected to rise to 66.1 per cent of GDP in 2011-12 and to 69.7 per cent of GDP in 2012-13.

As always, there is considerable uncertainty around such point estimates. In light of this, we undertake extensive sensitivity and scenario analysis in order to illustrate the implications for the public finances of altering some of the key parameters and judgements in the central forecast.

As set out in the EFO document, for these purposes we use a ready-reckoner that assumes a 1 per cent change in GDP in a given year will result in a 0.5 per cent of GDP change in public sector net borrowing (PSNB) in the first year, and a 0.7 per cent of GDP change in PSNB after two years.

This gives a broad-brush guide to the scale of the impact, by assuming that the difference in GDP is structural; the composition of GDP remains unchanged; and that, given the state of the economy, there are no errors in forecasting receipts or expenditure. In reality, there are additional uncertainties around all of these factors. We illustrate some of the general uncertainty through the use of a fan chart, which shows the probability of different borrowing outcomes based on past forecast errors.

We will update our forecasts on 29th November. The Charter for Budget Responsibility requires us to produce each of our fiscal and economic forecasts on a date announced to Parliament by the Chancellor. In line with this, it would not be appropriate to publish new estimates in isolation prior to the publication of the November EFO.

Revenue and Customs: Correspondence

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Inland Revenue Debt Enforcement Unit will respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Coventry South of 8 September, reference: 190PR101450. [72779]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs issued a reply to the hon. Member for Coventry South on 13 September 2011.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Cluster Munitions

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will amend the Cluster Munitions (Prohibition) Act 2010 to prohibit British banks from making investments in companies that produce cluster munitions; and if he will make a statement. [72763]

Alistair Burt: The Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010 comprehensively implements in UK law all of the prohibitions set out in the convention on cluster munitions.

Issues of funding and finance are not covered in the convention. However, direct and explicit financing of cluster munitions production is caught by the Act's prohibition on assisting and encouraging the use of cluster munitions, and is therefore illegal in the UK.

The issue of indirect financing, including investments in companies that may produce cluster munitions alongside a range of other items and services, is an issue for

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individual institutions to consider under their own investment charters and social corporate responsibility agendas.

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) Russia, (b) China and (c) the US on their signature of the convention on cluster munitions; and if he will make a statement. [72817]

Alistair Burt: Globalising the convention on cluster munitions is a Government priority.

The UK became a state party to the convention in November 2010, and since then we have worked to fulfil its obligations: destruction of the UK's stockpile is ahead of schedule; £30 million is being provided by the Department for International Development over 2010-13 to support Mine Action; and we are working to increase the convention's membership. Most recently my officials have organised initiatives to promote the convention within the Commonwealth.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has consistently taken opportunities to lobby counterparts from Russia, China and the US to prohibit cluster munitions and to join the convention. This has included discussions in London, at relevant international meetings, and direct lobbying through our overseas network.

Libya: UN Resolutions

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of UK participants in the Paris conference on the future of Libya were women; and if he will make a statement. [72625]

Alistair Burt: The UK was represented at the Paris summit conference on the future of Libya by the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Paraguay: Forests

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will ask HM ambassador in Paraguay to raise with the Paraguayan authorities allegations of illegal land clearances within the ancestral lands of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode Indians in the Chaco. [72612]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Paraguay's constitution gives legal recognition to its indigenous people. Paraguay has ratified the indigenous and tribal people’s convention of the International Labour Organisation and voted in favour for the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. However, Paraguay's institutional framework could more effectively protect and promote the rights of indigenous people. During the recent Universal Periodic Review of Paraguay's human rights record at the UN, the UK pushed for Paraguay to ensure land disputes involving indigenous people are resolved effectively. Paraguay accepted this recommendation and committed to establishing a proper process to do so. UK relations with Paraguay are conducted through our embassy in Buenos Aires. The UK will continue to monitor this situation from there and through the EU Delegation in Asuncion.

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Health

Cancer: Drugs

Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the likely effects of establishing strategic health authority clusters on the operation of the Cancer Drugs Fund at strategic health authority level; and if he will make a statement. [72767]

Paul Burstow: It is our intention that the clustering of strategic health authorities will not adversely affect the operation of the Cancer Drugs Fund. Work is in progress to scope options for ensuring cancer patients will be unaffected by these changes and that we continue to realise the benefits of the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 6 September 2011, Official Report, column 562W, on cancer: drugs, whether strategic health authorities will be required to account for any funds from their weighted capitation share of the Cancer Drugs Fund that are unspent at the end of each financial year; and if he will make a statement. [72768]

Mr Simon Burns: Strategic health authorities (SHAs) are accountable for the resources available to them, including the Cancer Drugs Fund.

We expect regional SHA clinical panels to plan according to their allocated shares of the available funding. The Department will monitor SHA spend from the Cancer Drugs Fund and transfers between SHAs can be considered if a good reason arises.

Data Protection

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the rate of compliance by NHS personnel with information security guidance issued by (a) him and (b) NHS Connecting for Health. [72776]

Mr Simon Burns: Each national health service organisation is legally responsible for the security of the information it holds and for ensuring that its staff comply with local security policies and procedures. The Department has published an information security code of practice and a range of good practice guidelines to support NHS bodies and the NHS chief executive has recently written, jointly with the Information Commissioner, to all NHS chief executive officers to emphasise the importance of robust information governance.

NHS organisations complete an information governance assessment each year through the online NHS information governance toolkit which can be found at:

https://www.igt.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/

and which also enables each organisation’s performance results to be viewed.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance on information security (a) he and (b) NHS Connecting for Health have issued to NHS personnel on the use of (i) mobile devices, (ii) laptops, (iii) e-mail accounts and (iv) other IT equipment owned by NHS personnel and used for official business relating to (A) non-patient-identifiable information and (B) patient-identifiable information. [72777]

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Mr Simon Burns: The Department has published an information security code of practice and a range of good practice guidelines to support national health service bodies covering all of the topic’s references. This guidance is made available through the NHS information governance toolkit which can be found at:

https://www.igt.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what security breaches involving official material stored on equipment (a) provided by NHS organisations and (b) owned by NHS employees and used for NHS-related purposes there were in each of the last five years. [72778]

Mr Simon Burns: This information is not held centrally. For the past two years, national health service organisations have been required to publish details of security incidents on their websites.

Policy Teams

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what policy teams there are within his Department. [72676]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department does not hold information about its policy teams in a way that specifically distinguishes policy teams from other teams, such as operational or corporate business teams.

In March 2011, as part of the latest transparency exercise, the Department published its organisational chart or ‘organogram’, including details of every branch and senior staff in the Department. This is available at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Aboutus/HowDHworks/Transparency/DH_127549

An update to the organogram is planned shortly as part of the wider transparency agenda.

Security

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the level of compliance by officials in his Department with security guidance issued by his Department. [72611]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department adheres to the Government's Security Policy Framework in developing its own security guidance and assessing compliance. Guidance to staff is set out in an Acceptable Use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) policy and other security related advice.

Responsibility for compliance rests with the Department's managers, who report through quarterly and annual information risk assessments. Specific security checks on how staff use IT services, such as email and the Internet, and on compliance with the Department's clear desk policy are carried out periodically and exceptions reported to managers. The small number of exceptions found is regarded as indicative of good compliance with the Department's security guidance.

In addition, an agreed programme of internal audits covers a full range of governance and internal control issues.

The assessment and audit activities outlined above provide evidence for an annual report to Cabinet Office on protective security and compliance, the Security

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Risk Management Overview (SRMO) Report. The Department's Accounting Officer and Senior Information Risk Owner endorse this report. In 2011, the Department reported in its SRMO that there were no significant risks to our protective security.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Research

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding his Department provided for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 2009-10. [72825]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department spent £0.4 million on directly-funded research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 2009-10.

Exercise: Finance

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding was allocated to his Department's physical activity policy team in each of the last five financial years; and what budget has been allocated for the financial years (a) 2011-12 and (b) 2012-13. [72626]

Mr Simon Burns: The funding allocation to the physical activity team in the last five financial years is as follows:

Financial year Budget allocation (£ million)

2006-07

2.709

2007-08

1.213

2008-09

4.302

2009-10

28.156

2010-11

9.325

2011-12

12.35

The Department has not set budgets for 2012-13 and will do so as part of the usual business planning processes.

Influenza: Vaccination

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health against which strains of influenza he proposes that the influenza vaccination offered by the NHS will provide protection. [72280]

Anne Milton: Each year the World Health Organisation (WHO) advises on the influenza strains that are likely to circulate and, based on this advice, makes a recommendation on the composition of influenza vaccines for the following winter. The WHO has announced that the following influenza strains should be included in the 2011-12 trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere:

an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus,

an A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like virus and

a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

The seasonal influenza vaccines available to the national health service for the 2011-12 influenza season offer protection against these strains. Further details are provided in the chief medical officer's letter on the seasonal flu immunisation programme 2011-12, which can be accessed at:

www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_128175.pdf

A copy of this has been placed in the Library.

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John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to encourage uptake of the influenza vaccination for the 2011-12 winter among (a) at risk groups, (b) carers and (c) health care professionals. [72298]

Anne Milton: The Department published the Seasonal Flu Plan on 25 May to assist local national health service organisations in developing robust and flexible operational plans for the 2011-12 flu season.

The chief medical officer wrote to the NHS on 14 March seeking assurance that primary care trusts have adequate local plans in place for the flu immunisation programme, have ordered sufficient vaccine and will use robust call and reminder systems to contact their eligible patients, including carers. The letter stated the need for the NHS to plan locally to increase uptake in people in the clinical risk groups.

Copies of the plan and letter have been placed in the Library.

Over the summer the chief medical officer, chief pharmaceutical officer, chief nursing officer and chief dental officer have written to the medical royal colleges, professional bodies, professional regulators and health charities to seek their support in increasing uptake of the seasonal flu vaccine in health care workers and their eligible patients, particularly those in at-risk groups.

Messages encouraging people in at-risk groups to be vaccinated against seasonal flu will appear on pharmacy bags across 2,225 pharmacies in England and run for four weeks until 20 November.

The NHS chief executive has asked NHS Employers and the Social Partnership Forum to run a staff vaccination communications campaign to increase awareness and uptake among frontline health care workers. NHS Employers are providing a series of free campaign materials to NHS organisations during September, before the start of the seasonal flu vaccination programme in October. Full details can be found on the NHS Employers website:

www.nhsemployers.org/flu

NHS Foundation Trusts

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 9 May 2011, Official Report, column 1050W, on NHS foundation trusts and of 15 February 2011, Official Report, column 720W, on NHS: legislative framework, what the reasons are for the time taken to publish the work programme for the foundation trust pipeline. [72662]

Mr Simon Burns: Further to the previous two answers in relation to the publication of the work programme for the national health service foundation trust pipeline, significant work has since been undertaken to fully determine the issues faced by individual NHS trusts and the actions trusts and strategic health authorities (SHAs) need to undertake to address these.

This work has been necessary to ensure that the plans agreed for individual NHS trusts to move forward to NHS foundation trust status, will support all these organisations in becoming established as clinically sustainable and financially viable organisations, and best placed to deliver the best health outcomes for patients using services. In a number of NHS trusts, this process has required difficult decisions to be taken by

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trusts working with SHAs to support the achievement of this objective, for which locally-owned, robust plans are necessary. This has been the focus of the work carried out since the previous answers. A significant number of these plans are now signed off and published, with all the remaining plans for NHS trusts to move forward to NHS foundation trust status scheduled to be agreed and signed by the end of September.

Smoking: Motor Vehicles

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what progress has been made on changing the behaviour of people smoking in cars carrying children since March 2011; and if he will make a statement; [72739]

(2) what arrangements his Department has made to measure its progress in achieving a reduction in the number of people smoking in cars with children as set out in the Tobacco Control Plan; and if he will make a statement; [72544]

(3) what progress he has made on exploring new roles for marketing communications in encouraging people to make their family cars smoke free; and if he will make a statement. [72547]

Anne Milton: As set out in the Tobacco Control Plan for England, the Department will launch a marketing campaign to remind smokers of the harms of secondhand smoke and to encourage smokers to make their homes and cars smokefree. This campaign is in the early stages of development and is expected to launch in March 2012. The tobacco marketing strategy, to be published later this year, will set out further details of how we will support efforts by local areas to encourage smokefree homes and cars ahead of the smokefree campaign.

At the request of the Department, the Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England survey, included in 2010, for the first time, a question on whether the 11 to 15-year-olds surveyed were often near another person smoking in specific places. The results indicated that children are more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke in their home or other people's homes, than in vehicles. However, 19% of children reported that they are still often exposed to secondhand smoke in cars (compared to 26% at home and 32% in other people's homes).

A copy of this survey has been placed in the Library.

Everyone needs to take responsibility for protecting children's health, especially parents. We already know that secondhand smoke exposure in children in England has reduced over time. For example, between 1996 and 2007, exposure declined by nearly 70%(1).

The Tobacco Control Plan states that local areas should use behavioural insights in order to develop incentives, such as positive recognition for smokers that take voluntary action to make their homes and family cars smokefree. Rather than extending smokefree legislation, we want people to recognise the risks of secondhand smoke and decide voluntarily to make their homes and family cars smokefree. We will encourage local areas to create networks of local smokefree ambassadors at a community level to encourage people to make their homes and family cars smokefree.

(1) Bauld, “Impact of smokefree legislation: evidence review” March 2011—copy already placed in the Library.

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Tuberculosis: Screening

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when he expects a decision to be made on funding for the (a) Find Treat Tuberculosis project and (b) mobile x-ray screening unit from April 2012; [72770]

(2) what the (a) minimum and (b) maximum length is of a contract allocated for services comparable to the Find and Treat Tuberculosis Project and mobile x-ray screening unit in NHS London; and if he will consider implementing similar services in other urban regions where there is a rising prevalence of tuberculosis. [72771]

Anne Milton: The national health service in London has funded the Find and Treat service since April 2011. Future funding for the Find and Treat service, including the Mobile X-Ray Unit, is currently being considered by NHS in London commissioners as part of the planning round for 2012 and beyond. A model of care for tuberculosis (TB) in the capital will be considered in early November 2011. This will include the possible future role of Find and Treat.

The Department does not collect information on the minimum and maximum lengths of contracts for services comparable to Find and Treat TB project. It is up to the local authorities and primary care trusts to make commissioning decisions regarding implementing services similar to Find and Treat.

Home Department

Asylum

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost to the public purse was of supporting asylum seekers who were not able to work in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. [70722]

Damian Green: The UK Border Agency provides support to everyone who claims asylum and who would otherwise be destitute, until they have exhausted their appeal rights. Support is also provided to failed asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute and who face a legitimate barrier to return. Asylum seekers and failed asylum seekers are not permitted to work while the case is being considered other than in exceptional circumstances where there has been a delay of more than 12 months in deciding their case.

The cost of asylum support in the last five years was as follows:


£ million

2006-07

524

2007-08

485

2008-09

511

2009-10

524

2010-11

401

Asylum support costs have been reduced by over £100 million in the last year, a 20% reduction, and we expect to bring costs down again this year.

In the last year the proportion of asylum seekers removed within one year of their application has nearly doubled and around 60% of applicants now receive a

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decision within one month. Our vision is an asylum system with swifter case conclusions and no backlogs, delivered at significantly lower cost to the taxpayer.

Domestic Violence: Immigrants

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what support is available to the victims of domestic violence who have no recourse to public funds. [71367]

Damian Green: Support is currently provided to victims of domestic violence who have no recourse to public funds through a UK Border Agency (UKBA) funded project called Sojourner. This is limited to migrants who entered the UK as a spouse, civil partner, un-married or same-sex partner of a British citizen or person present and settled in the UK.

The project provides refuge places to vulnerable victims for a limited period while an application for indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence is considered by UKBA officials.

The Sojourner project is not a long term solution which is why, after April 2012, migrants on spousal visas in need of refuge places will be given a short period of leave so they will be able to access welfare benefits while their claim for indefinite leave to remain in the UK is considered. This is a major step to ensuring that this vulnerable group remains protected and safe from abuse.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Minister for Immigration plans to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton of 5 August 2011 with regard to Dr Peter Capon. [72621]

Damian Green: A reply to the right hon. Gentleman's letter was sent on 6 October 2011.

Missing Persons Bureau

Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to make an announcement on the future of the Missing Persons Bureau. [72782]

James Brokenshire: The Missing Persons Bureau currently sits within the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA). Ministers will update the House on plans for the future of NPIA functions in the autumn.

Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to publish the next missing persons data and analysis report. [72783]

James Brokenshire: The National Policing Improvement Agency's Missing Persons Bureau intends to publish a second report focussing on the financial year 2010-11 in the new year 2012.

Police Deaths on Duty

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers in England and Wales were (a) killed and (b) seriously injured while on duty in each of the last 30 years. [72028]

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Nick Herbert: Available information relates to assaults on police officers resulting in fatal and serious injury, from 1999-2000 to 2010-11 is given in tables 1 and 2 (the tables indicate where forces did not make a statistical return for the assaults—two tables are given to better accommodate the footnotes).

Table 1: Assaults (1) on police officers resulting in fatal and serious injury, England and Wales, 1999-2000 to 2004-05 (2,) () (3,) () (4,) () (5,) () (6,) () (7) (, ) (8)

Fatal Serious

1999-2000

1

299

2000-01

1

349

2001-02

1

400

2002-03

4

263

2003-04

0

253

2004-05

0

262

(1) Provisional data collated on behalf of and published by HMIC. Serious assaults are those for which the charge would be under sections 18 and 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. Other assaults include those with minor or no injury. Recording practices may vary over time and between forces. (2) Financial year runs 1 April to 31 March inclusive. Data include the sum of injuries for the 43 police forces in England and Wales. (3) HMIC did not publish a force breakdown of assaults prior to 1999-2000. 2004-05 was the period for which HMIC published assaults data for the last time. (4) Northamptonshire was not able to separate serious assaults from 1999-2000 to 2002-03. (5) Lancashire, Greater Manchester and West Midlands were not able to provide data in 2003-04. (6) Lancashire and West Midlands were not able to provide these data in 2004-05. (7 )Metropolitan police was unable to provide these data in 2000-01 and 2001-02 to 2003-04. (8) South Wales was not able to provide these data in 1999-2000.
Table 2: Assaults (1) on police officers resulting in fatal and serious injury, England and Wales, 2005-06 to 2010-11 (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

Fatal Serious

2005-06

3

423

2006-07

0

506

2007-08

1

502

2008-09

1

439

2009-10

0

381

2010-11

0

333

(1) Provisional data collated on behalf of HMIC. Serious assaults are those for which the charge would be under sections 18 and 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. Recording practices may vary over time and between forces. (2) Financial year runs 1 April to 31 March inclusive. Data include the sum of injuries for the 43 police forces in England and Wales. (3) These data were released as supplementary datasets to the HMIC Annual Report by Home Office Statistics from 2005-06 to 2009-10 except for 2010-11. (4) Cambridgeshire were not able to provide consistent figures from 2005-06 and 2006-07. Their reporting 2007-08 data are therefore not comparable with previous years data. (5) Cheshire from 2005-06 to 2008-09 and Warwickshire from 2005-06 to 2007-08 were not able to provide data from the HR recording system, data are therefore taken from the crime system and are not comparable with that from other forces. (6) Cleveland and Devon and Cornwall during 2005-06. Cumbria during 2006-07 and 2007-08, Derbyshire, North Yorkshire and South Wales from 2005-06 to 2007-08 were not able to provide these data. (7) Dyfed-Powys were not able to provide consistent figures for the reporting period, and data for each year are therefore not comparable. (8) Cumbria and North Yorkshire were not able to provide data for 2008-09. (9) Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Hampshire and North Yorkshire were not able to provide data for 2009-10. (10) Cheshire and Greater Manchester were not able to provide data for 2010-11.

Smuggling: Tobacco

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what steps her Department is taking to stop the sale of counterfeit cigarettes from tab houses; [69482]

(2) what steps her Department has taken to prevent the sale of counterfeit cigarettes from tab houses. [69522]

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James Brokenshire: The sale and distribution of counterfeit items is a threat that the Government take seriously. The distribution of counterfeit tobacco carries serious health risks and the Government are working to tackle this threat, with the police and other enforcement agencies.

The North of England Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health programme is a multi-agency partnership covering three Department of Health regions (North West, North East, and Yorkshire and Humber) where smoking rates are some of the highest in the country, and there are a number of major hot spots for illicit tobacco. The programme was launched in 2009 following a period of extensive research. Programme funding of £1 million over three years has been provided by the Department of Health and subsequent funding from Department of Health and primary care trusts from tobacco control budgets has allowed the programme to extend into other activities such as evaluation support.

The programme brings together regional public health, trading standards, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), local authorities and the police—all committed to reducing the supply and demand for illicit tobacco. The programme plan sets out the following eight key objectives:

Developing partnerships

Engaging health and community workers

Generating and sharing intelligence

Identifying informal markets and preventative action

Delivering enforcement

Marketing and communication

Working with business

Assessing progress

The North of England programme has enabled the HMRC to influence outside enforcement activity and improved join working with Trading Standards in tackling illicit tobacco at the local level. The HMRC/Trading Standards Joint Working Protocol has been updated to clarify responsibilities, develop data sharing practices and improve flows of intelligence for joint planning purposes to target illicit tobacco.

In addition the Intellectual Property Office Intelligence Hub manages the national Intellectual Property Crime Intelligence Database. The hub receives intellectual property crime intelligence from a number of sources, including industry anti-piracy and brand protection units, trading standards, police forces, HMRC, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This intelligence is fed into the Intellectual Property intelligence database, to help co-ordinate the response to the national threat of counterfeit products.

Third Sector

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the name is of each charity and voluntary organisation visited by Ministers in her Department since 12 May 2010. [67673]

Damian Green [holding answer 19 July 2011]: Ministers from the Home Department have visited the following charities and voluntary organisations as part of their ministerial roles:

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Secretary of State (Mrs May)

Stonewall: June 2010

Still Human Here: July 2010 and March 2011

Relate: January 2011

Stalking Charities: January 2011

Stephen Lawrence Centre: February 2011

Fawcett Society: March 2011

Rape Crisis Centre: March 2011

Equality and Diversity Forum: March 2011

Age UK: March 2011

NR5 Futures Project based in Heartsease: March 2011

Damian Green

Refugee Council: June 2010

Refugee Action: June 2010

Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund: July 2010

Barnado's: February 2011

James Brokenshire

Action for Children: June 2010

Drugscope: July 2010

Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse: July 2010

Children's Charities Coalition on Internet Safety: July 2010

NSPCC: July 2010

Prince's Trust: July 2010

Childnet International: January 2011

NSPCC: March 2011

Twelves Company: March 2011

Laureus ‘Sport for Good’ event: March 2011

Chance UK: March 2011

Suzy Lamplugh Trust: March 2011

Horizon Kent: May 2011

Barnado's: April 2011

Horizon Kent: May 2011

Baroness Browning

Neighbourhood Watch launch event: June 2011

Turning Point: July 2011

King George's Hostel and Homeless Link: July 2011

Baroness Neville-Jones

Human Rights Watch: July 2010

Lynne Featherstone

Women's Aid: June 2010

Anawim—women's community project: November 2010

Selby Trust for social enterprise day: November 2010

Solace—women's refuge: December 2010

Actionaid: March 2011

Liberty: March 2011

Lesbian and Gay Foundation: March 2011

MASH—Manchester Action on Street Health: July 2011

RSPCA: July 2011

Womankind: July 2011

Defence

Deepcut Barracks

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on bullying in the armed forces; and in what ways has that policy changed since the statement of the then Secretary of State for Defence of 27 April 2004, Official Report, column 201WH, on Deepcut Barracks. [72605]

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Mr Robathan: Bullying and harassment are not tolerated in the armed forces. All service and civilian personnel, regardless of rank or grade, have a right to be treated with dignity. All MOD employees have a responsibility to do all they can to ensure that the working environment is free from all forms of bullying and harassment and that the dignity of others is respected. This is clearly laid down, along with the procedures to be followed if a complaint is made, in the Joint Service Publication 763.

The policy has not changed since April 2004. Its implementation has, however, been reinforced following criticism from the then Equal Opportunities Commission and recommendations made by Nicholas Blake QC in his review of the deaths at Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut. We have, for example, reviewed equality and diversity training to ensure it is delivered to all levels of personnel, and ensured that sanctions are brought against those found culpable of bullying or harassment. In response to the Deepcut review, we established the post of Service Complaints Commissioner in the Armed Forces Act 2006.

The Commissioner provides an avenue for individuals to raise an allegation of bullying, harassment or improper behaviour, which the Commissioner can decide to refer to the chain of command for investigation, and about which the Commissioner must be kept updated. In addition, independent scrutiny of our training environment is now provided through inspections carried out by Ofsted.

Defence

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's brief for the Assistant Director of Information dated October 1998 D/DAO/14/3/5. [72725]

Dr Fox: I will write to the hon. Member.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much is projected to be saved in (a) Resource DEL, (b) Capital DEL, (c) annually-managed expenditure and (d) in total from training efficiencies in each financial year from 2010-11 to 2014-15. [71279]

Dr Fox: It is too early to provide an estimate of the projected savings accruing from training efficiencies as we continue to explore how best to prepare our armed forces to undertake the tasks that will be expected of them. We plan to introduce more modern and cost-effective methods of training and to deliver further efficiencies through estate rationalisation and improvements in the delivery of tri-service technical training. The Ministry of Defence will, however, provide the fullest possible information as progress is made.

Libya: Arms Trade

Mr Khalid Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what weapons (a) British companies and (b) the Government have sold to the National Transitional Council (NTC) of Libya; what (i) civil and (ii) military training the Government has provided to the NTC; and what the cost to the public purse was in each case. [70696]

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Dr Fox: The Government have not sold weapons to the National Transitional Council (NTC) of Libya nor has it issued export licences to British companies for such sales. Therefore, there was no cost to the public purse.

However, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, informed the House on 16 May 2011, Official Report, column 61 and 30 June 2011, Official Report, column 66WS, that the Government intended to provide additional practical and material support to the NTC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. He confirmed the details of the equipment granted for use by the NTC and the civilian police force. Provision of this equipment is fully in line with UNSCRs 1970 and 1973 including the arms embargo.

The Government have not provided civil or military training to the NTC and, therefore, there was no cost to the public purse.

The UK has sent a small military mentoring team to Libya to enable the NTC to better protect civilians and civilian areas. This team has provided the NTC with mentoring on information handling, internal organisation and processes, logistics, communications and planning. A police adviser has also worked with the NTC but has not provided training.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Duncan Hames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many service personnel serving in Germany have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder; and how many of these are being treated (a) in the UK and (b) in Germany; [72772]

(2) how many service personnel were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in each of the last three years; and how many service personnel have been discharged as a result of a diagnosis of PTSD in each of the last three years. [72773]

Mr Robathan: Defence Analysis Statistics and Advice (DASA) collate the results of initial psychiatric assessments of all patients who are referred to one of the Ministry of Defence (MOD)'s Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMH). This information is necessarily provisional, as final diagnoses may be refined once patients have commenced their course of clinical treatment.

In the period 1 January 2007 to 31 March 2011, the earliest and latest dates for which verified information is available, 66 service personnel serving in Germany had been given an initial assessment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

As at 1 September 2011, out of those 66 personnel, six were currently receiving treatment for PTSD at one of the MOD's DCMHs in the UK, and 22 at one of those in Germany. The other 38 have completed their course of treatment and have been discharged from care.

The numbers given an initial medical assessment of PTSD in each of the last three years were 156 in 2008, 172 in 2009 and 249 in 2010. It should be noted that during this period, the MOD refined its methodology for recording mental health statistics. Up until 30 June 2009, only new referrals at DCMHs were recorded; from 1 July 2009, anyone re-referred following

11 Oct 2011 : Column 336W

discharge from care was recorded again. This has resulted in an increase in recorded numbers from July 2009 onwards.

The following table shows the numbers of UK service personnel medically discharged from service with a principal condition of PTSD between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2010 by financial years.


All 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10

Naval Service (including Royal Navy and Marines)

15

7

Army

79

21

32

26

RAF

5

Note: To protect individual identities, and in keeping with the Office for National Statistics Guidelines, all numbers fewer than five have been suppressed and presented as ‘—’. Where there is only one number in a row or column that is fewer than five, the next smallest number (or numbers where there are tied values) has also been suppressed so that numbers cannot simply be derived from totals.

The processes for administering a medical discharge differ between the three services and as a consequence the numbers have been presented by service rather than tri-service totals.

Communities and Local Government

Air Travel

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) contractual obligations and (b) other processes his Department uses in respect of travel management companies to ensure the best value is achieved when purchasing airline tickets. [72697]

Robert Neill: The Department’s travel management company, Redfern Travel Ltd, provide an online booking facility which allows staff to compare prices and modes/class of travel and source the best value when booking air or rail travel. Additionally, Redfern supply detailed management information that allows travel to be comprehensively monitored across the Department. The terms of the contract also require Redfern Travel Ltd to:

Provide and deliver the lowest price travel tickets possible within the UK and overseas and within the travellers requirement and the departmental travel policies.

Constantly source new routes and lower fares on existing routes.

Proactively advise the authority and the customers in methods on how to reduce air travel expenditure.

Additionally, there are no minimum commitments as this is a non-exclusive contract.

Requirements for air travel within the Department are minimal but there is clear guidance that first-class travel is not permitted. The travel management company must notify the Department’s central procurement team for authorisation prior to booking first-class tickets. Furthermore, any expenditure on air travel outside of Europe for greater than £350 is also referred to the central procurement team for authorisation.

Staff source low cost tickets by searching available deals and rates. This is facilitated by Redfern having access to the Government Air Programme and ensuring the best available Government rates are available.

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Legal Opinion

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average hourly rate paid was to external (a) solicitors and (b) barristers engaged by his Department in 2010-11; what guidance his Department uses in commissioning external legal advice; and if he will publish (i) the names of each external (A) solicitor and (B) barrister engaged by his Department in 2010-11 and (ii) the sums paid in each case. [72562]

Robert Neill: The range of hourly rates paid were (a) £110 to £288 per hour to solicitors and (b) £45 to £220 per hour to barristers.

Departmental guidance requires that external solicitors and barristers are engaged after consultation with the legal director, and only for highly sensitive cases, cases which may lead to litigation or where the Department’s expertise is limited. The barristers are engaged from a Panel of Counsel approved by the Attorney-General, and solicitors from the Office of Government Commerce approved suppliers, with few exceptions.

Details of all expenditure over £500 are published, each month, on the Departments website. Legal advice is coded under ‘legal consultancy’ and ‘legal fees’.

http://www.communities.gov.uk/corporate/transparencyingovernment/spenddata/

Local Development Frameworks

Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment his Department has made of the relative legal weight of local development frameworks and the national planning policy framework. [71878]

Greg Clark: The proposed abolition of regional strategies through the Localism Bill will increase the salience and importance of local plans; otherwise, the Localism Bill does not alter the legal status of councils’ development plans.

The proposed changes to national planning guidance will strengthen the importance of local plans at the heart of decision-making.

Social Rented Housing: Chippenham

Duncan Hames: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many households in social housing are living in (a) underoccupied properties and (b) overcrowded conditions in (i) Chippenham constituency and (ii) England. [72827]

Grant Shapps: It is estimated that 423,000 households were under-occupying and 273,000 were living in overcrowded conditions in the social sector in England in 2009-10. This estimate is a three-year average based on data from the Survey of English Housing (2007-08) and the English Housing Survey (2008-09 and 2009-10). Under-occupying households are those with at least two bedrooms more than they need according to the Bedroom Standard and overcrowded households are those with one or more bedrooms fewer than they require.

It is not possible to provide estimates for individual constituencies as sample sizes are too small.

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Transport

Bus Services: Finance

Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether his Department has undertaken an impact assessment on the provision of bus services in (a) shire and (b) non-shire authorities following changes to the Formula Grant in April 2011; [72180]

(2) what assessment he has made of the impact of local authority decisions on funding for subsidised bus services on the provision of community transport. [72184]

Norman Baker: I am aware that, as a result of local decisions, in some areas of the country bus services are being reduced. The latest statistics on bus services can be found at the Department for Transport website and are updated periodically:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/statistics/series/buses/

Changes to bus and community transport services are a matter for bus operators and local transport authorities; the Government do not and cannot make an assessment of every individual change but are working with local transport authorities to get an overall picture.

The Government understand that community transport, which provides essential services for those unable to access conventional public transport, has a role to play in filling gaps left by the withdrawal of both commercial and supported bus services. This is why the Government announced a one-off funding package of £10.2 million for rural local authorities to kick-start and support community transport.

Staff Survey

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with what frequency his Department produces a staff survey; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the most recent such survey. [72808]

Norman Baker: The Department participates in the annual Civil Service People Survey. This is a single staff survey (managed by the Cabinet Office) measuring employee engagement across the entire civil service.

The Department's staff survey results for 2010 are available on its external website.

Procurement

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has made an assessment for comparative purposes of the way public procurement tenders for transport-related projects are undertaken in other EU member states. [72400]

Norman Baker [holding answer 10 October 2011]: An assessment of public procurement tendering is being undertaken as part of the growth review. It is intended that the outcome of this assessment will be announced at the end of November.

Railways

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what support he provides to local authorities seeking to introduce light railway systems. [72607]

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Norman Baker: The Government recognise the many clear benefits of light rail and since May 2010 have supported a number of proposed extensions to existing light rail systems following approval of business cases. This includes £120 million for the Manchester Metrolink extensions to Ashton and to East Didsbury currently under construction. The Government have also announced their intention to support an extension to Midland Metro to Birmingham New Street Station and extensions to the Nottingham tram system subject to final approval. I also announced in March 2011 that the Department for Transport would be undertaking a tram-train pilot in South Yorkshire, which is now being progressed.

The Government do not provide direct support to local authorities for development work on light rail systems. It would be for the relevant authority to undertake any feasibility studies at its own cost before submission of a business case to the relevant funding authority. The Department has recently published a report on light rail with the aim of helping to make this mode more cost effective in the future. The report is available on the Department's website.

Railways: Contracts

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has assessed the effects of exchange rate movements on the costs of the contract for the (a) Intercity Express Programme and (b) Thameslink Rolling Stock since the announcement of the preferred bidder. [72784]

Mrs Villiers: The Department performs sensitivity analysis of exchange rate movements, and their repercussions on contract awards, on an ongoing basis. Moreover, the Department takes advice on a number of hedging strategies that could be implemented at the point of financial close to mitigate the risk of said movements.

Railways: Olympic Games 2012

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has any proposals to change the availability of cheaper or advanced train fares around the period of the London 2012 Olympics. [71938]

Mrs Villiers [holding answer 15 September 2011]: The setting of quota levels for advance fares is a commercial matter for train operators. There are therefore no DFT proposals to change the availability of cheaper or advanced purchase train fares during the Olympics.

However, train companies are offering special rail fares exclusive to Olympic and Paralympic event ticket holders. ‘2012 Games Train Tickets’ are now available to buy.

Rescue Services

Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how the operational role of coastguards based in the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres would differ to that envisaged for coastguards employed in the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centres under the Government's revised proposals for the Coastguard Service. [69444]

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Mike Penning: The proposals to modernise the Coastguard would broaden its formal role and responsibilities beyond civil maritime search and rescue, to encompass Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Counter Pollution operations. These additional functions would enable coastguards to develop improved awareness of the maritime domain and to identify and manage emerging risks to safety more proactively than at present.

Compared to existing roles in the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres, individual coastguards employed in the new network of Maritime Rescue Sub-Centres would acquire significantly broader and deeper skill sets in order to cope with increased workloads and greater levels of responsibility, and to operate with greater autonomy and accountability within the national search and rescue co-ordination network.

Further detail about the role of the coastguards under the Government's revised proposals can be found on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/concept_of_operations_doc

Thameslink: Consultants

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has assessed the risk of any potential conflict of interest in respect of consultants providing advice on Thameslink. [72786]

Mrs Villiers: It is the Department's policy to require all consultants and advisers to declare any possible conflicts of interest when offering their services on any particular contract or assignment. This requirement is set out in the contract terms issued to consultants and advisors when invited to bid for a contract.

Furthermore, bidders are advised that it is their ongoing responsibility to advise the Department of any change in circumstances which potentially could be viewed as a conflict of interest during the period of the contract.

Deputy Prime Minister

Second Chamber

9. Jessica Morden: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he plans to take to achieve his objective of creating a second chamber reflective of the share of the vote secured by political parties at the last general election. [72863]

Mr Harper: For as long as the composition of the Other Place cannot be changed by election, any government has the right to ensure that its composition better reflects the views of the electorate—as was proposed in the Coalition programme for government.

West Lothian Question

10. Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he plans to establish the commission to consider the West Lothian question. [72864]

Mr Harper: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement that I made on 8 September 2011, Official Report, column 27WS. The Government will make a more detailed follow-up announcement soon, including details on the terms of reference and time-scale of the commission.

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Party Funding

11. Simon Hughes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent progress he has made on the reform of party funding; and if he will make a statement. [72865]

13. Mike Crockart: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent progress he has made on the reform of party funding; and if he will make a statement. [72867]

Mr Harper: The Government are committed to work to reform party funding. The Committee on Standards in Public Life is conducting a review into this area and the Government will consider its recommendations, alongside other relevant evidence, before taking this forward.

Parliamentary Constituencies

12. John Stevenson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent representations he has received on proposals for reducing the number of parliamentary constituencies. [72866]

Mr Harper: The Government have received representations from parliamentarians, interest groups and members of the public on this issue. However, it is the responsibility of the independent Boundary Commissions to make proposals, and I would urge people to contribute to their consultations.

Trust in Politics

14. Helen Jones: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had on restoring trust in politics. [72868]

The Deputy Prime Minister: I have had a number of discussions with Cabinet colleagues and others about the Government's programme of constitutional and political reform which are designed to restore trust in politics.

Civil Disorder

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will conduct research into the numbers of those involved in the public disorder of August 2011 who were registered to vote. [72119]

Mr Harper: There are no plans to carry out such research. There are several pieces of research which have been commissioned about electoral registration to inform the move to Individual Electoral Registration (IER). We are funding the Electoral Commission this year to carry out a study into the completeness and accuracy of the electoral register which should be published before the end of the year. We have carried out a literature review to consider all the currently available evidence on registration, including which groups are most likely to be missing from the register such as young people or Black and Minority Ethnic groups. Further qualitative research will be carried out into these groups which will inform decisions on the transition to IER.

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Electoral Register

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to increase the level of electoral registration of service personnel in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) the rest of the UK. [72121]

Mr Harper: The Ministry of Defence recently published a report on Service Voter registration levels in 2010 and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House. That report shows a positive trend and indicates that 75% of service personnel are registered to vote, up from 69% in 2009 and 60% in 2005.

We recognise that there is still work to be done and remain committed to making it as easy as possible for service personnel to register to vote, and to cast their vote. In Northern Ireland, Area Electoral Officers maintain regular contact with family liaison officers at the army barracks, encouraging service personnel and their families to register.

More generally, we are exploring a number of options for a one-time registration scheme for service personnel with the Ministry of Defence to consider how this might best work in practice. In addition, we have published draft legislative provisions to extend the electoral timetable for UK parliamentary elections from 17 to 25 working days, and will make a corresponding change for the by-elections timetable, to take effect in time for the next scheduled general election in 2015. These provisions will have particular benefits for service personnel stationed outside the UK as it will allow more time for the dispatch and return of postal votes to overseas locations.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what use has been made of free prize draws to improve electoral registration in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) the rest of the UK. [72123]

Mr Harper: Quarterly free prize draws for all those added to the electoral register or those who notified the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland of a change in their details ran for three years in Northern Ireland—ending in March 2011. Information for the rest of the UK is not held. However, the Government are considering a number of ways to increase voter registration rates in the context of the move from household to Individual Electoral Registration. This includes conducting research with groups who have traditionally been under-registered to explore ways in which they may be encouraged to register.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what co-operation there has been between his Office, electoral registration officers and the devolved Administrations on foreign citizens who became British citizens for purposes of electoral registration. [72124]

Mr Harper: It is a matter solely for individual Electoral Registration Officers to determine whether an individual meets the nationality and other eligibility criteria for electoral registration. More generally, within the Cabinet Office the Electoral Registration Transformation Programme (ERTP) is working with a wide range of stakeholders including the Electoral Commission, Electoral Registration Officers and the Association of Electoral Administrators to improve electoral registration under the move to Individual Electoral Registration.

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Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he plans to extend the Pointer system from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK for electoral registration purposes; and if he will make a statement. [72125]

Mr Harper: The Government have no plans to extend Pointer across the UK. Pointer is an address database providing a common standard address for every property in Northern Ireland. The National and one Scotland Address Gazetteers already collectively provide standard addresses for every property in England, Wales and Scotland and since 1 April 2008, all Electoral Registration Officers in England, Wales and Scotland have been required to maintain information held in their registers according to specified data standards.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what co-operation there has been between his Office, electoral registration officers and the Registrar General on adjustments to the electoral register to reflect (a) recent marriages and (b) recently deceased electors in (i) Northern Ireland and (ii) the rest of the UK. [72126]

Mr Harper: Electoral Registration Officers are under a duty, under section 9 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, to maintain electoral registers. Pursuant to regulation 35 of the Representation of the People Act Regulations 2001, in fulfilling their registration duties, Electoral Registration Officers are authorised to inspect council records and any registrar of births and deaths.

In Northern Ireland, weekly lists of marriages, civil partnerships and deaths are collected from the Registrar General and circulated to area offices. Deceased persons are removed from the register and the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland write to those who have married or registered civil partnerships, enclosing registration forms, to facilitate registration and amendments to the register.

I have had no contact with the Registrar General on this issue. My officials are in regular contact with electoral administrators on matters relating to registration.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what co-operation there has been between his Office, electoral registration officers and (a) the owners of nursing homes, (b) local authority housing departments, (c) post-primary schools and further education colleges, (d) the Department for Work and Pensions and (e) the NHS on steps to improve electoral registration in (i) Northern Ireland and (ii) the rest of the UK. [72127]

Mr Harper: Within the Cabinet Office the Electoral Registration Transformation Programme (ERTP) is working with a wide range of stakeholders including individual Electoral Registration Officers and the Association of Electoral Administrators to improve electoral registration under the move to Individual Electoral Registration (IER). This is both within the context of policy development and data matching. Data matching pilot schemes match the electoral registers against various national databases to identify missing people and properties. The Department for Work and Pensions are also represented on the ERTP Board which oversees the programme.

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In addition the ERTP is discussing with organisations that represent groups who have been traditionally under-registered or for whom IER may pose different challenges, such as those at 16 and 17 years old (attainers) and people with specific needs. A number of initiatives run by the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland, including contacting nursing homes to facilitate registration of new residents, visits to post-primary schools, and information sharing with further education colleges, the Department for Work and Pensions and other agencies have successfully increased registration in Northern Ireland.

Electoral Register: Standards

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of (a) post-primary schools and (b) further education colleges were visited by electoral registration officers for the purpose of improving electoral registration in (i) Northern Ireland and (ii) the rest of the UK in 2010-11. [72122]

Mr Harper: I am informed by the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland that in Northern Ireland 100% of post primary schools with more than 10 pupils in the 16 to 17 age range are visited by electoral administrators. All pupils in further education colleges who are not already registered are contacted by letter enclosing a registration form. The Government do not hold the requested information for the rest of the UK.

Work and Pensions

Atos Healthcare: Doctors

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 7 September 2011, Official Report, column 671W, on Atos Healthcare: doctors, if he will meet Atos Healthcare to discuss their employees' registration with the General Medical Council. [72346]

Chris Grayling: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West (Tom Greatrex) on 7 September 2011, Official Report, columns 671-72W.

Atos Healthcare: Manpower

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 7 September 2011, Official Report, column 681W, on Atos Healthcare: manpower, whether approved healthcare professionals carrying out work capability assessments who are under investigation by the General Medical Council for misconduct other than professional misconduct may continue to carry out work capability assessments whilst being investigated. [72713]

Chris Grayling: The General Medical Council and Atos Healthcare do not differentiate between professional and other misconduct.

The term “professional misconduct” in the previous response refers to cases that the GMC considers require investigation into potentially serious concerns (Stream 1 referrals).

11 Oct 2011 : Column 345W

It should be noted, however, that there are many cases (for Atos it is the majority) where the General Medical Council would not consider that the allegations, even if proven, would require them to take formal action. They refer these cases to the doctor's employer or contracting body so that they can consider what action, if any, they should take (Stream 2 referrals).

Child: Maintenance

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many successful prosecutions there have been for failure to make payments to the Child Support Agency of non-resident parents of children residing in Pendle constituency. [71777]

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 Noel Shanahan:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions 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 successful prosecutions there have been for failure to make payments to the Child Support Agency of non-resident parents of children residing in Pendle constituency. [71777]

Failure to pay child maintenance is not a criminal offence, so parents can not be prosecuted. However, where a non-resident parent fails to pay maintenance, there are a number of enforcement actions available. Money can be taken directly from a non-resident parent's earnings if the non-resident parent is employed, money can be taken directly from a non-resident parent's bank or building society account, or action can be taken to recover money through the courts.

The most serious forms of enforcement are commitment to prison or disqualification from driving. The decision whether to impose these, and the length of any order made, is at the discretion of a Magistrates' Court (or Sheriff in Scotland) where they are satisfied that a non-resident parent has “wilfully refused or culpably neglected” to pay child maintenance—but these are not criminal sanctions.

Page 23 of the June 2011 Child Support Agency Quarterly Summary of Statistics (QSS), available at:

http://www.childmaintenance.org/en/publications/stats0611.html

and in the House of Commons library shows enforcement actions carried out by the Child Support Agency. It is not possible to break down these figures specifically for those non-resident parents who have failed to pay maintenance for children residing in Pendle.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Air Travel

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which travel management companies his Department uses for the purchase of airline tickets. [72680]

Chris Grayling: The DWP contract with a booking agent Expotel Hotel Reservations Ltd for the provision of air, rail, ferry and hotels.

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John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) contractual obligations and (b) other processes his Department uses in respect of travel management companies to ensure the best value is achieved when purchasing airline tickets. [72711]

Chris Grayling: The DWP has a business travel policy and uses the services of a travel management company (TMC) to ensure best value is achieved when purchasing airline tickets.

The TMC contract was sourced from Government Procurement Service (GPS) Travel Management Service Provision framework, which was let compliant with the public contracting regulations and EU procurement directives. This framework offers the most cost-effective travel management services available to central Government. The DWP is contracted with Expotel Hotel Reservations Ltd who access the airlines’ global distribution system (GDS) and low cost carriers on our behalf.

The Department also complies with the Government Air Programme (GAP) which is a discount framework agreement, launched on 1 August 2009 by the GPS on behalf of central Government. The TMC uses the Government Air Programme appropriately whenever it is most economical to do so.

Departmental policy is that staff must always consider use of video conferencing where appropriate or travelling by rail rather than air and this has resulted in a 67.4% reduction in ticket purchases since 2009-10.

To facilitate further reductions in air travel, policy now restricts air travel for flights within the British mainland to journeys of over 300 miles. Journeys under this limit require the use of an alternative mode of travel, to limit the Departments’ carbon emissions.

It should also be noted that the Department has achieved a 40% reduction in spend on travel in the last year and the Department continuously reviews policies and processes with a view to driving out further efficiencies. For example, the Department has introduced a ban on first-class rail travel.

Chief Scientific Adviser

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the resource budget allocation was for the office of his Department's chief scientific adviser in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [72499]

Chris Grayling: No specific resource budget allocation was made in any of the last five years.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the salary, including benefits, was of his Department's chief scientific adviser in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and how many individuals have held the post in the last five years. [72500]

Chris Grayling: Dr Bill Gunnyeon has been joint chief medical adviser and chief scientist of DWP since 1 June 2005. The greater part of his time is spent on his duties as chief medical adviser. It is therefore not possible to define the salary, including benefits, for the science component of his post.

11 Oct 2011 : Column 347W

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many full-time equivalent staff were employed in the office of his Department's chief scientific adviser in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and on what date the office was established. [72501]

Chris Grayling: The office was established in 2003. Only part of one post has ever been allocated to support the DWP chief scientific adviser.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is on requiring his Department's (a) agencies and non-departmental public bodies and (b) contractors to have a written code of practice or protocol relating to the provision, conduct and quality assurance of scientific evidence and advice. [72502]

Chris Grayling: All but two of the Department's agencies and non-departmental public bodies have no reason to commission or seek scientific advice and evidence; the two which do are the Health and Safety Executive and the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council. The Health and Safety Commission, and more recently the HSE Board and Chief Executive, are responsible for the issues listed in (a), as set out in the DWP/HSE framework document at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/howwework/management/dwphse.pdf

HSE policy is set out at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/policy.htm

showing their implementation of the Government Chief Scientific Adviser's Guidelines 2010. Research into scientific evidence for the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council is procured by DWP. DWP's research policies apply to such research, as set out at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/Ts_and_Cs_June_2011.pdf

Legal Opinion

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average hourly rate paid was to external (a) solicitors and (b) barristers engaged by his Department in 2010-11; what guidance his Department uses in commissioning external legal advice; and if he will publish (i) the names of each external (A) solicitor and (B) barrister engaged by his Department in 2010-11 and (ii) the sums paid in each case. [72578]

Chris Grayling: DWP's in-house legal services are the first point of contact for all legal requirements within the Department. All requests are considered in relation to the Attorney-General's guidance on the use of external legal services and the GLS procurement of legal services protocol. A decision is then taken by the in-house team as to whether the legal service required should be delivered in-house or by an external contracted legal services provider.

DWP engages solicitors or barristers in three distinct areas for which it has different guidance and rates of pay:

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Prosecutions:

DWP's prosecutions are undertaken by agent solicitors or barristers in the magistrates courts. We do not have hourly rates, but rather use rates as set out in the following table:

Number of cases London rates (£) National rates (£)

Single case

100.00

75.00

Two cases in the same court on the same day

125.00

125.00

Three or more cases in the same court on the same day attracts a flat rate as follows:


London rates (£) National rates (£)

For half a day

175.00

175.00

For whole day

260.00

260.00

We may agree a small uplift in scale rates if the number of cases listed in the same court, on the same day, exceeds 20.

For work in the Crown court, rates are paid in accordance with the Attorney-General's Graduated Fee Scheme for Prosecutors.

Civil Litigation:

DWP only instructs counsel from the Attorney-General's Panel Counsel list for which the rates in 2010-11 are set out in the following table:

Panel Rate per hour (£)

A

120

B

100

C

(1)60

 

(2)80

(1) Under five years call (2) Over five years call

If Counsel is required from outside the Attorney-General's Panel Counsel list, permission and a nomination is sought from the Attorney-General's Office.

External Solicitors:

DWP has procured a range of call-off contracts for which the rates are set out as follows:

DWP legal services average supplier rates 2010-11
£ per hour
Supplier Trainee/ paralegal 0-2 years 3-5 years 6-10 years Partner Average (across grades)

Average costs across all suppliers

95

140

162

182

201

156

A full list and the sums paid on each case could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Employment Schemes

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many (a) jobseeker's allowance and (b) employment and support allowance claimants entered the Work programme in each contract package area in each of the eight payment groups in each (i) week and (ii) month from 1 June 2011 to 8 September 2011; [72801]

11 Oct 2011 : Column 349W

(2) how many (a) jobseeker's allowance and (b) employment and support allowance claimants entered the Work programme in each contract package area in each (i) week and (ii) month from 1 June 2011 to 8 September 2011; [72802]

(3) what the caseload was of (a) jobseeker's allowance and (b) employment and support allowance claimants on the Work programme in each contract package area (i) in total and (ii) in each of the eight payment groups in each (A) week and (B) month from 1 June 2011 to 8 September 2011; [72803]

(4) how many job starts were registered on the Work programme in each contract package area for (a) jobseeker's allowance and (b) employment and support allowance claimants (i) in total and (ii) in each of the eight payment groups in each (A) week and (B) month from 1 June 2011 to 8 September 2011; [72804]

(5) how many job outcome payments were made to providers in each contract package area in respect of employment and support allowance claimants on the work programme (a) in total and (b) in each of the eight payment groups in each (i) week and (ii) month from 1 June 2011 to 8 September 2011. [72805]

Chris Grayling: The Work programme was launched in June 2011, to deliver sustained employment that can change people's lives; providers have longer than ever before to make a difference.

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The Department is working to guidelines set by the UK Statistics Authority to ensure we are able to publish statistics that meet high quality standards at the earliest opportunity.

Statistics on referrals and attachments to the Work programme will be published from spring 2012 and Job outcome data will be published from autumn 2012. The Department's publication strategy for Work Programme statistics was placed in the House of Commons library and is also available at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=wp