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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 20 October 2011

Culture, Media and Sport

Creative Industries Council

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) on what dates the Creative Industries Council plans to meet; [75771]

(2) what matters will be on the agenda of the next meeting of the Creative Industries Council; and which Secretaries of State plan to attend; [75772]

(3) on how many occasions the Creative Industries Council is expected to meet between October 2011 and January 2012. [75795]

Mr Vaizey: The Creative Industries Council will meet once every six months between July 2011 and July 2012. The next meeting will take place on 24 January 2012, when the council will consider the findings and recommendations of the skills working group. That meeting will be attended by the council's co-chairs: the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), and the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt).

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what the aims are of each group formed by the Creative Industries Council. [75773]

Mr Vaizey: At the first meeting of the council, members decided to take forward work on access to finance and skills through two time-limited working groups. Detailed objectives for the skills working group can be found via the Skillset website. The access to finance working group are considering evidence on access to finance issues in order to identify recommendations to tackle barriers to growth in this area.

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many meetings he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to discuss access to finance for businesses in the creative industries sector in the last 12 months; and whether an action plan was drawn up as a result of such meetings. [75976]

Mr Vaizey: The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt), has not met with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), specifically to discuss this issue. However, access to finance has been identified as a key barrier to growth by the Creative Industries Council and was discussed at the first meeting of the council. A working party has now been established under the council to take the issue forward, chaired by Ian Livingstone

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Cultural Heritage: Children

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the cultural activities children are exposed to each week; and if he will make a statement. [75927]

Mr Vaizey: The Department assesses children's engagement with cultural activities using the Taking Part Survey. This is a large national survey of children aged five to 15 and adults aged 16+.

In 2010-11, the majority of children (98.6%) had engaged with the arts, 71.6% had visited a heritage site, 75.6% had visited a library and 64.7% had been to a museum in the last 12 months. While the Taking Part Survey records weekly activity, these figures are not routinely published. The latest adult and child findings can be found at:

http://www.culture.gov.uk/publications/8398.aspx

Departmental Meetings

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many meetings he has had with representatives of (a) social enterprises, (b) charities, (c) large private sector businesses and (d) small and medium-sized private sector businesses since May 2010; and if he will make a statement. [75703]

Mr Vaizey: The Department does not record meetings by the specific categories of organisation you have requested. However, we do publish meetings between Ministers and outside interest groups on the Departmental website at the following link:

http://www.transparency.culture.gov.uk/category/financial/expenses-and-hospitality/

This information is currently available from May 2010 to March 2011 and is published on a quarterly basis.

Public Libraries: Closures

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many libraries have (a) closed and (b) had their opening hours reduced in each local authority since May 2010. [75347]

Mr Vaizey: Robust data about the library sector are only published annually by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and the initial release of provisional data for 2010-11 is to be published later this month. The Department supplements it by monitoring proposals about changes to library services across England through information gathered via correspondence, media coverage and from relevant bodies such as Arts Council England. Many local authorities are still developing and consulting on proposals and consequently the overall picture is always changing. It is therefore not practical to attempt to provide definitive numbers for libraries that have closed or have reduced their opening hours.

Social Media

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what social media outlets his Department operates. [75840]

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Mr Vaizey: The Department operates on the following social media outlets; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

St George’s Day

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what support his Department gives to organisations celebrating St George’s Day. [75949]

John Penrose: The Department funds its arm’s length body English Heritage who marked St George’s day in 2011 with four separate events that were attended by around 16,000 visitors. This included the annual St George’s Festival at Wrest Park, which welcomed 8,500 visitors over three days. We anticipate a similar level of activity for 2012.

Attorney-General

Charity Commission: Independent Schools Council

Mr Thomas: To ask the Attorney-General how many meetings (a) he and (b) officials in the Law Officers' departments have had with (i) the Charity Commission and (ii) the Independent Schools Council since May 2010; and if he will make a statement. [75461]

The Attorney-General: I have not met with either the Charity Commission or the Independent Schools Council since May 2010. However, as Attorney-General I have a number of important public interest functions in respect of charity, some of which overlap with the regulatory powers of the Charity Commission. In consequence, officials from my office are in regular contact with officials from the Charity Commission. This is also true of those officials in the Treasury Solicitor's Department who provide my office with legal advice on policy and litigation support in charity matters. Those officials have not met with the Independent Schools Council.

I am not aware of any meetings between the Charity Commission or the Independent Schools Council and officials of the Crown Prosecution Service, Serious Fraud Office or HM Crown Prosecution Inspectorate.

A number of lawyers from the Treasury Solicitor's Department are permanently attached to other Government Departments including the Department for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Cabinet Office and the Department for Education. These Departments have dealings with the Charity Commission in its role as principal regulator of charities. The Department for Education also has dealings with the Independent Schools Council. I have not considered lawyers attached to these or other Departments as officials of the Law Officer Departments for the purposes of this answer.

Procurement

Mr Thomas: To ask the Attorney-General how many meetings he has had with representatives of (a) social enterprises, (b) charities, (c) large private sector businesses and (d) small and medium-sized private sector businesses since May 2010; and if he will make a statement. [75698]

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The Attorney-General: I meet with a range of organisations and individuals in my ministerial role. Since May 2010 I have not had any meetings specifically with social enterprises or private sector businesses, but I have met with representatives from a number of charities both in my role as Government pro bono champion and as Attorney-General.

Scotland

Departmental Allowances

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much members of his departmental management board have claimed in expenses since May 2010. [74942]

David Mundell: No member of the joint management board of the Scotland Office and Office of the Advocate-General has made any expense claims in relation to the work of the board since May 2010.

Electoral Commission Committee

Electoral Register

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will place in the Library a copy of its most recent assessment of the effects of the Government's proposals on electoral registration on levels of registration. [75964]

Mr Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that it has now placed in the Library a copy of its formal response to the Government White Paper on individual electoral registration. In it the Commission sets out what it believes needs be done to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the electoral register is improved, and what the possible impact of certain aspects of the proposals might be on registration levels. The submission is also available on their website:

www.electoralcommission.org.uk

Communities and Local Government

Adam Werritty

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has met Mr Adam Werritty in the course of his ministerial duties; and, if so, for what purpose. [75969]

Robert Neill: No.

Audit Commission

Mr Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he plans to take to increase the transparency of public body auditors under his proposed new local audit framework. [73020]

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Robert Neill: Earlier this year we consulted on our proposals for the new local audit framework which included a number of proposals that will increase transparency, for example, increasing transparency in the way that auditors are appointed. We proposed that local public bodies would appoint their own auditors from a published register of eligible auditors, taking advice from an independent audit committee. The advice of that independent audit committee would be published (giving regard to commercially confidential material). If the local public body did not follow the independent audit committee's advice as to the auditor that should be appointed, it would be required to publish the reasons why it had departed from that advice. The consultation also included proposals around the transparency of the audit itself, for example continuing the requirements to publish accounts and auditors' reports.

We are currently considering the responses to the consultation and will publish our response later this year.

Council Tax

Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the level of funding available for local authorities from rateable values arising from the decision to freeze council tax for 2012-13 given an inflation rate of four per cent.; and if he will make a statement. [73679]

Robert Neill: No such estimate has been made.

Departmental Buildings

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) building and (b) refurbishment projects his Department plans in (i) the current and (ii) the next financial year; and what the cost of each such project will be. [74342]

Robert Neill: DCLG's estates strategy has seen a significant reduction in the size and cost of the DCLG estate. To build on our achievements over the last year the Department plans to consolidate its operations in Eland House. The project will further improve the Department's space efficiency and will ‘free up’ further space that can be sub-let, generating income from additional tenancy receipts. The first phase of this project has commenced and will deliver DCLG further tenancy receipts of £1 million per annum from the end of financial year 2012-13. This part of the project is anticipated to cost £75,000.

Over the first half of financial year 2011-12 DCLG was responsible for a series of projects relating to the closure of the Government office for the regions and the regional development agencies.

All but one of these were purely staff moves into:

(a) existing DCLG accommodation making use of existing surplus space from the abolition of the Government office for the regions.

(b) more efficient and right-sized civil-estate accommodation for smaller teams in existing DCLG locations where lease-break opportunities enabled the surrender of larger, less flexible and more expensive ex-Government office for the regions estate.

(c) new DCLG occupations in Sheffield, Truro and Exeter to meet the specific business-needs of the European Regional

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Development Fund teams in these locations. All three are existing buildings on the civil estate and Sheffield and Exeter were purely staff-moves into 'as is' accommodation.

The new DCLG office at Lysnoweth House, Truro was the only one of these relocations that required ‘fit out’ work which was done in partnership with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs at a cost of £47,000 with all furniture reused from elsewhere in the DCLG estate.

No other building and refurbishment projects are currently planned in this or financial-year 2012-13.

Note:

Achieving these relocations in Manchester in April 2011, Nottingham July 2011 and Liverpool September 2011 cost DCLG circa £120,000 to complete, but will realise savings of circa £3 million per annum from the start of financial year 2012-13.

Departmental Fines

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many transport-related fines his Department has settled on behalf of its staff; and at what cost in each year since 2007. [74345]

Robert Neill: It is DCLG policy that staff are personally liable for any transport fines. Therefore since 2007 the Department should not have settled any of these fines and there is no identifiable information in our records that indicate any fines have been met by the Department.

Departmental Land

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the monetary value of the maintenance backlog on his Department's estate in each of the last five years; and what estimate he has made of the time required to complete such maintenance. [74198]

Robert Neill: The Department for Communities and Local Government has both planned and reactive maintenance arrangements in place across its estate to ensure that the Department does not have a backlog of maintenance.

The DCLG estate is maintained to ensure that it fulfils its leasehold, statutory and sustainable operations obligations. DCLG monitors supplier adherence to contractual obligations through active contract management and through service level agreement and key performance indicator reporting.

Empty Property: Non-domestic Rates

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effects of ending business rate relief for empty properties on private landlords in the commercial property sector. [73315]

Robert Neill: I refer my hon. Friend to the answers I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for York Outer (Julian Sturdy) on 26 January 2011, Official Report, column 2MC, and to my hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Patrick Mercer) on 8 February 2011, Official Report, column 178W.

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Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions he has had with representatives of the commercial property sector on business rates on empty properties. [73347]

Robert Neill: I refer my hon. Friend my answer of 9 June 2011, Official Report, column 452W. In addition, details of ministerial meetings with external organisations can be found on my Department's website.

Empty Property

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will estimate the number of empty properties owned by businesses of each size in (a) Witham constituency, (b) Essex and (c) England. [74156]

Robert Neill: The Department does not collect information on the number of empty properties split by business size in (a) Witham constituency, (b) Essex and (c) England.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many businesses are paying business rates on empty properties in each planning

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control class of use categorisation in

(a)

Witham constituency,

(b)

Essex and

(c)

England; and what estimate he has made of the sums collected in such rates in the latest period for which figures are available. [74199]

Robert Neill: The Department does not collect data on the amount collected from businesses paying business rates on empty properties. Data are not available at constituency level or split by class of planning use categorisation.

The total estimated number of empty hereditaments as at 31 March 2010, split by local authority, is available on the Department for Communities and Local Government website:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/xls/1972201.xls

In addition to this, the number of hereditaments in receipt of empty property relief in England for 2011-12 is available on the Department for Communities and Local Government website:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/corporate/statistics/nondomesticrates201112f

From these figures a broad estimate of businesses paying business rates on empty properties can be inferred as shown in the following table:

Inferred estimate of businesses paying business rates on empty properties

Number of hereditaments in receipt of empty property relief as at 31 December 2010 Estimated number of empty properties as at 31 March 2011 Inferred estimate of businesses paying business rates on empty properties

Essex—shire districts only

3,884

5,686

1,800

Essex—including unitary authorities Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock

4,766

6,844

2,100

       

England

220,631

268,990

48,300

Note: The number of hereditaments in receipt of empty property relief and the estimated number of empty properties are taken from different time periods Source: NNDR1 (Supplementary) Form2011-12; NNDR3 Form 2010-11

The data are as reported to the Department for Communities and Local Government by all billing authorities in England on National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR3) and NNDR1 (Supplementary) forms.

Government Procurement Card

Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) date of purchase, (b) gross amount and (c) supplier was in respect of each transaction undertaken by the Audit Commission using the Government Procurement Card since April 2011. [73225]

Robert Neill: This is an operational matter for the Audit Commission and I have asked the chief executive of the Audit Commission to write to my hon. Friend direct.

Letter from Andy McKeon, dated 20 October 2011:

Your Parliamentary Question has been passed to me to reply in the absence of the Chief Executive, who is on leave.

The transaction details requested, concerning the Commission's use of GPC cards, are only currently available relating to statement date from April-August 2011. This information is shown in the attached appendix. Where an entry is marked in red and is a minus figure, this indicates a credit.

A copy of the appendix will be placed in the Library of the House.

Local Government: Bank Services

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what steps he is taking to support English local authorities owed money by Icelandic institutions; [75376]

(2) what assistance he is providing to English local authorities in their attempts to retrieve money invested in Icelandic institutions. [75377]

Robert Neill: Local authorities are receiving repayments from the two Icelandic banks in administration in the UK (Heritable and Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander). For the two failed banks in administration in Iceland, Glitnir and Landsbanki, authorities are directly represented on the Resolution Committees, and are awaiting the decision of the Icelandic Supreme Court on priority status.

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Local Government: Pensions

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate he has made of the number of local government employees likely to leave the local government pension scheme if the level of contributions is increased. [75346]

Robert Neill: Because the local government pension scheme is funded, it has been possible to design a scheme-specific approach to securing savings by 2014-15 to protect membership levels. A current statutory consultation exercise proposes increases in contribution tariffs in England and Wales involving either a 1% increase, or a 1.5% increase phased in over a three year period, commencing in April 2012, plus accrual rate adjustments for either one or two years.

The terms of the options set out in the consultation proposals, issued on 7 October, specifically reflect the occupational and pay characteristics of the local government workforce and so provide total protection for all members earning less than £15,000, partial protection for those earning up to £21,000 and sets an overall limit of 6% on any increase in contributions.

Non-domestic Rates

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what his Department's policy is on the use of the yield from business rates in an area as a general measure of that area's economic (a) growth needs and (b) performance; [74123]

(2) what his Department’s policy is on the yield of business rates paid by businesses in an area being used as a general measure for that area's economic growth needs and economic performance. [74703]

Robert Neill [holding answer s 13 and 17 October 2011]: The Department does not currently use business rate yield as a measurement in this context.

In relation to our proposals for the local retention of business rates, I would refer the hon. Member to the Technical Paper 5 on my Department's website on tariff, top-up and levy options:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/pdf/19695901.pdf

Non-domestic Rates: Durham

Pat Glass: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to his oral statement of 18 July 2011, Official Report, columns 662-4, on local government finance, what modelling his Department has carried out on the likely change to Durham county council's budget under his proposed scheme for localisation of business rates in each of the next five years. [74613]

Robert Neill: The impact of the Government's proposals will depend on a range of factors, including future business rates growth at the local level, the behavioural response to the changes, and the final design of the scheme following consultation. The Government have sought views on its proposals and, on 19 August, published eight technical papers which provide further details on the proposals, together with an interactive calculator.

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The calculator enables users to explore the possible effects of certain scheme design options based upon their own assumptions about local circumstances.

The proposals incorporate a range of protections to ensure councils can meet local needs, including a safety net for places in need of additional support, funded by a levy covering a share of disproportionate gain.

Pat Glass: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what correspondence he has had with Durham county council on the effects of his proposed scheme for localisation of business rates. [74614]

Robert Neill: The Department has not had any correspondence with Durham county council on the effects of the proposed scheme for the local retention of business rates.

Procurement

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress his Department has made in eliminating pre-qualification questionnaires for procurements with a value of under £100,000. [73842]

Robert Neill: The Department has eliminated all pre-qualification questionnaires for procurements with a value of under £100,000 since July 2011.

Redundancy

Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authorities have applied for capitalisation directives for redundancy payments; and how much each local authority has applied for. [73241]

Robert Neill: The Government understand that councils will have had to make tough decisions on where they will make savings to help pay off the last Government's budget deficit. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr Pickles), has been clear that councils should explore all avenues to achieving savings including reducing senior salaries, joining forces to share back office staff and spending smarter.

In relation to requests to capitalise redundancy costs, 54 authorities made requests in the main 2011-12 process. Information on the amounts applied for by each authority is available on the Department's website at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/xls/19511381.xls

Wales

Departmental Re-location

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many civil servants in her Department have been (a) relocated and (b) agreed to relocation in the last 12 months; and to which areas of the UK. [74891]

Mr David Jones: No staff have been relocated in the last 12 months.

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Departmental Pay

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if she will estimate the total monetary value of London weightings and London living allowances for staff in her Department. [74892]

Mr David Jones: Wales Office staff are employed either by the Ministry of Justice or the Welsh Government; neither of which offer London weighting or London living allowances.

Procurement

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) how many contracts her Department has awarded directly to third sector organisations in each month since May 2010; what the value was of such contracts; and if she will make a statement; [75174]

(2) how many contracts her Department has advertised on the Contracts Finder website in each month since May 2010; what the value was of such contracts; what proportion were awarded to (a) third sector organisations and (b) small businesses; and if she will make a statement. [75177]

Mr David Jones: None. The Wales Office uses contracts awarded by larger Departments—such as the Ministry of Justice—to maximise buying power and value for money.

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many contracts her Department has awarded directly to (a) small, (b) medium-sized and (c) large businesses in each month since May 2010; what the value was of such contracts; and if she will make a statement. [75175]

Mr David Jones: The Wales Office has not awarded any new contracts since May 2010.

The Wales Office uses contracts awarded by larger Departments—such as the Ministry of Justice—to maximise buying power and value for money.

Cyber-Security

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps her Department is taking to improve cyber-security in relation to her Department's estate; and if she will make a statement. [75176]

Mr David Jones: The Government take cyber-security very seriously and it has been categorised as a tier one threat to UK national security. £650 million is being invested over the next four years in a National Cyber- Security Programme, working across Departments, with the private sector, international partners and citizens to improve the UK's cyber-security capability.

The Wales Office, as a small Department, obtains its IT services from the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry routinely assesses the prevailing threats to its ICT systems and applies appropriate and proportionate measures in accordance with the Government standards set out in the Cabinet Office's Security Policy Framework (SPF); these standards are aligned with industry best practice approaches.

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It is not in the interest of national security to make public details of particular improvements in relation to individual Departments as it may expose vulnerabilities to those who may seek to exploit them.

Transport

Crossrail

Michael Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment her Department has made of the cost of ensuring that Crossrail is compliant with the Railway (Interoperability) Regulations 2006. [75916]

Mrs Villiers: The Crossrail project is being delivered by Crossrail Ltd on behalf of the Department and its co-sponsor, Transport for London. Crossrail Ltd's cost and risk assessments take account of all of its legal obligations, including compliance with the Railway (Interoperability) Regulations 2006.

Cycling: Accidents

Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate her Department has made of the number of traffic accidents involving cyclists (a) wearing and (b) not wearing high-visibility clothing in the latest period for which figures are available. [75866]

Mike Penning: In 2010, there were 17,604 reported personal injury road accidents involving at least one pedal cyclist in Great Britain. The number of these accidents involving cyclists wearing or not wearing high-visibility clothing is not collected.

However, under the STATS19 system, the Department collects information on reported injury road accidents where ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing at night’ was reported as a contributory factor to the accident by the attending police officer. The number of personal injury road accidents with this contributory factor for 2010 in Great Britain can be found in Table RAS50001 (Contributory factor article) of Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2010. A copy of this table can be found using the following link:

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/statistics/tables/ras50001.xls

Please note that contributory factors are reported only for injury road accidents where a police officer attended the scene and reported at least one contributory factor. These factors are largely subjective, reflecting the attending officer's opinion at the time of reporting. It is recognised that subsequent inquires could lead to the reporting officer changing his/her opinion.

It is important to note that it may be difficult for a police officer, attending the scene after an accident has occurred, to identify certain contributory factors.

Official Hospitality

Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department has spent on hospitality for staff since May 2010. [67628]

Norman Baker [holding answer 19 July 2011]:The departmental policy is not to provide hospitality for staff, including refreshments at staff meetings or staff working lunches. Refreshments are provided exceptionally for meetings with external visitors.

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The Department is unable to provide information on how much has been spent incidentally on hospitality for staff since May 2010, as the data is not collected at this level of detail. It is not required for our statutory reporting and it could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Pay

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will estimate the total monetary value of London weightings and London living allowances for staff in her Department. [74900]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport was formed in 2002 and consists of a central Department and seven executive agencies as follows:

Highways Agency (HA)

Driver Standards Agency (DSA)

Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA)

Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)

Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA)

Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA)

Government Car and Dispatch Agency (GCDA)

The estimated total monetary value of London weightings and London living allowances for staff in the Department for Transport is £1.67 million.

Cyber-Security

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department is taking to improve cyber-security in relation to her Department's estate; and if she will make a statement. [75168]

Norman Baker: The Government take cyber security very seriously and this issue has been categorised as a tier one threat to UK national security. £650 million is being invested over the next four years in a National Cyber-Security programme, working across Departments, with the private sector, international partners and others to improve the UK's cyber security capability.

The Department for Transport routinely assesses the prevailing threats to its ICT systems and applies appropriate and proportionate measures in accordance with the Government standards set out in the Cabinet Office's Security Policy Framework (SPF). These standards are aligned with industry best practice approaches.

As I am sure the hon. Member will recognise, it is not in the interest of national security to make public details of particular improvements in relation to individual Departments as it may expose vulnerabilities to those who may seek to exploit them.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations she has received on the future of local DVLA offices; and if she will make a statement. [73874]

Mike Penning [holding answer 12 October 2011]:Since 1 June, the Department has received 11 letters concerning the future of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's local offices.

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No decisions on the way forward have yet been taken. Any proposals involving changes to the way face to face services are operated would be the subject of discussion with stakeholders.

Driving under Influence: Drugs

Joseph Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to raise awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs. [75542]

Mike Penning: The Department has run a number of campaigns on the dangers of drug driving in the past and is currently developing its future marketing plans. As part of the THINK! road safety campaign, there is a website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/think/drugdrive/

which raises awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs including legal and personal consequences, as well as how drugs impair driving. Communication materials can be downloaded from the website or ordered separately for use by road safety professionals and teachers.

Joseph Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what representations she has received on proposals to (a) introduce roadside drug testing devices and (b) increase sentences on people found guilty of driving whilst under the influence of drugs; [75543]

(2) if she will meet the family of Lillian Groves to discuss their campaign to introduce roadside drug testing devices and increase sentences on people found guilty of driving whilst under the influence of drugs. [75544]

Mike Penning: The Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), has not received any representations related to drug driving. I have received a number of representations on proposals to introducing drink and drug testing devices. The Government in their response to the North review committed to introduce a range of measures to combat drug driving including approving preliminary drug testing equipment initially in the police station and at the roadside as soon as possible.

I will be happy to meet the family of Lillian Groves, to discuss their proposals.

Driving: Licensing

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many reviews of a driver's licence were initiated by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency due to receiving information from a third party concerning a present licence holder's competence. [75694]

Mike Penning: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency acts on third party notifications when a person's ability to drive safely has been called into question due to a medical condition. The latest figures available show that, in 2010, the DVLA carried out investigations into 10,740 drivers' records as a result of receiving such notifications.

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Motorways: Speed Limits

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the potential effects of the proposed increase in the motorway speed limit on the level of (a) slight injuries, (b) serious injuries and (c) fatalities occurring as a result of accidents on motorways. [75876]

Mike Penning: The potential effects on casualties will be included in the assessment of all the principal effects of raising the national speed limit on motorways and we will include the figures as part of the documentation for the consultation planned for later this year.

Roads: Accidents

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will visit an accident and emergency department to discuss with medical staff the extent of injuries caused in crashes involving vehicles driven at speed. [75874]

Mike Penning: I am well aware of the extent of injuries that can occur. The Department for Transport is committed to a raft of measures to improve road safety, which are set out in the framework published in May 2011: our vision is to ensure that Britain remains a world leader on road safety.

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions she has had with her EU counterparts on the (a) cost and (b) effect on privacy and liberty of the European Commission's recent recommendation on eCall. [75909]

Mike Penning: There have been no recent discussions between the Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening) and her EU counterparts on the European Commission's recent Recommendation on eCall.

An Explanatory Memorandum on the Commission's Recommendation on eCall was laid before Parliament on 28 September.

Roads: Safety

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contribution she expects the UK to make to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020; and if she will make a statement. [75231]

Mike Penning: The UK's contribution to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-20 was set out in the Strategic Framework for Road Safety launched on 11 May 2011 as part of our launch of the Decade of Action. The UK is a world leader in road safety and the framework and associated actions demonstrate our commitment to contribute to the further reduction in road deaths envisaged globally by the UN.

Third Sector

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much direct funding her Department has allocated to each civil society organisation in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12, (c) 2012-13, (d) 2013-14 and (e) 2014-15; and if she will make a statement. [74816]

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1066W

Norman Baker: I am afraid that the information requested is not available other than at disproportionate cost.

Trams: Edinburgh

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she last met the Scottish First Minister to discuss the Edinburgh tram project. [75216]

Norman Baker [holding answer 17 October 2011]:The Edinburgh tram project is a devolved matter for the Scottish Government. The Secretary of State for Transport, the right hon. Member for Putney (Justine Greening), has not met the Scottish First Minister to discuss this project.

Defence

Army Cadet Force: Kent

Michael Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many cadets were enrolled in the Kent Army Cadet Force in each of the last five years; [75968]

(2) how much funding per cadet his Department provided to the Kent Army Cadet Force in each of the last five years. [75970]

Mr Robathan: The number of cadets who have enrolled annually in and the total number of cadets, based on a snapshot position as at 1 September 2011, who were members of the Kent Army Cadet Force (ACF) in each of the last five calendar years are shown in the following table.


Number enrolled annually Total number of cadets as at 1 September 2011

2006

192

1,043

2007

278

1,034

2008

337

919

2009

220

1,060

2010

280

1,013

Details of the funding provided to the Kent ACF from the Ministry of Defence over the past five financial years are shown in the following table.


Funding (£)

2007-08

455,839.08

2008-09

554,904.00

2009-10

442,750.00

2010-11

379,555.00

2011 (to date)

80,776.00

These figures represent funding for cadet activities such as ammunition, rations, transport, paid training days and travel and subsistence. This does not cover the cost of salaries and pensions of permanent staff employed in the ACF, nor other support costs, such as buildings maintenance, which are accounted for centrally.

Departmental Manpower

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many military assistants his Department has employed in each year since 2004; [75492]

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1067W

(2) how much each military assistant received in salaries and benefits in each year since 2004. [75496]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 18 October 2011]: Historical data on the number of military assistants (MAs) employed are not available without incurring disproportionate cost as this would require an interrogation of individual records. However, there are 119 MAs, or equivalent, currently in post working to personnel at two star level or above.

The salary paid to individual MAs cannot be provided without an interrogation of individual records which would incur disproportionate cost. Every individual is paid in respect of their rank but also in respect of their seniority, personal skills and training which would require each individual's salary to be researched. There are no payable benefits open to MAs or the equivalent, although some personnel may accrue allowances due to their personal circumstances or trade/specialty. However the current salary ranges for those ranks who undertake MA roles are given in the following table as an indication of salaries received.

£
Rank Minimum Maximum

Officer Level

   

OF 6—Cdre/Brig/Air Cdre

97,030.20

100,963.56

OF5—Capt/Col/Gp Capt

81,310.44

89,408.28

OF4—Cdr/LtCol/WgCdr

67,031.64

77,617.20

OF3—Lt Cdr/Maj/Sqn Ldr

47,760.48

57,199.56

OF2—Lt/Capt/Flt Lt

37,915.92

45,090.48

Procurement

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many contracts his Department has awarded directly to (a) small, (b) medium-sized and (c) large businesses in each month since May 2010; what the value was of such contracts; and if he will make a statement. [75127]

Peter Luff: The Government values the flexibility, responsiveness and innovation that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) bring and are taking action to increase the opportunities for such businesses to bid for Defence contracts.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD)'s contract records distinguish between SMEs—as defined by the European Commission—and larger enterprises, but not between the individual categories of ‘small' and ‘medium' sized enterprises. Also, our assessments of the number and value of contracts with SMEs are carried out annually and relate to periods running to the end of March. Monthly analysis separately distinguishing the three categories could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

During the 12 months to the end of March 2011, the MOD awarded approximately 2,500 direct contracts to SMEs, with a total value in the region of £950 million. We estimate that, in the same period, approximately 3,550 direct contracts were awarded to large businesses, with a total value of approximately £6,280 million—values are rounded to the nearest £10 million.

These figures, produced by a sampling exercise, relate to contracts administered through our central system which excludes purchases made through the Government

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1068W

procurement card and miscellaneous transactions. It is important to emphasise that they also exclude subcontracts placed with SMEs by our prime contractors and their supply chains, which are extensive and include a high proportion of SMEs.

Libya: Armed Conflict

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many fire missions have been undertaken by Royal Navy warships against Libya land maritime targets in Operation Ellamy to date; and how many of these targets were (a) detected and (b) fire adjusted onto target by (i) United States Navy P-3 Orion aircraft, (ii) Canadian P-140 and (iii) US Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. [74138]

Nick Harvey: From the beginning of the current operations in Libya up to 6 October 2011, the Royal Navy has undertaken naval gunfire support on 17 occasions.

UK Forces are operating as part of a NATO operation. As part of this multilateral mission individual nations have provided various capabilities requested by NATO. Therefore is it entirely appropriate that nations will co-operate when undertaking these operations.

I am withholding the information on which capabilities have provided assistance to naval gunfire support missions as their disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

NATO

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to learn lessons from Operation Unified Protector (a) in general and (b) in relation to the capacity of the UK and other European NATO members to provide (i) air-to-air refuelling, (ii) intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft and (iii) sufficient stocks of precision-guided missiles. [74844]

Nick Harvey: The National Security Council is conducting a cross-Whitehall Lessons Identified exercise into operations in Libya. The Ministry of Defence routinely conducts lessons learned exercises as part of military operations. The lessons learned process for Operation Unified Protector will cover each of the areas mentioned.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Marine Pollution

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will discuss with her New Zealand counterpart the likely environmental effects of the recent accident near the Astrolabe Reef involving a Liberian-flagged ship. [74808]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA's role in responding to marine pollution emergencies is described in the National Contingency Plan for Marine Pollution from Shipping and Offshore Installations, which is maintained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Responses to maritime incidents need to be proportionate. Regional or national

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1069W

responses to maritime incidents involve the establishment of an Environment Group, which advises on environmental impacts and may initiate the collection of real time environmental data. If a marine pollution incident is expected to have a significant impact on the marine environment or the shoreline, arrangements are made to monitor and assess the impact in the longer term.

Since the New Zealand oil spill does not affect UK shorelines and the cargo vessel involved is not UK registered, we have no plans at this stage to intervene.

Procurement

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress her Department has made in eliminating pre-qualification questionnaires for procurements with a value of under £100,000. [73837]

Richard Benyon: The Department does not use pre-qualification questionnaires for tenders under the OJEU threshold (£100,000).

Additional statement follows from CEFAS :

“Since the forming of the Coalition Government and the planned reduction in PQQ's for requirements under £100k, Cefas have not issued any PQQ's. To further support this reduction in PQQ's, Cefas utilises wherever possible existing Government frameworks for its requirements under (and over) £100k.”

Fisheries

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with representatives of the Scottish fishing industry. [75340]

Richard Benyon: Most recently, I met with representatives of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation to discuss a range of issues including Common Fisheries Policy reform and the forthcoming negotiations for 2012 total allowable catches. In my role as UK Fisheries Minister, I am committed to ensuring that Scottish fishing interests are taken into account and that any decisions affecting the fishing industry balance the interests of the UK as a whole.

National Park Authorities

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) who will be responsible for funding the pilot project for direct elections of representatives to the Peak District National Park Authority; [73423]

(2) what criteria were used to select the Peak District National Park as the pilot for the direct election of representatives to National Park Authorities. [73422]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA officials are consulting with both the Peak District and New Forest National Park Authorities on the procedural arrangements for direct elections, including the costs.

In its response to the public consultation, the New Forest National Park Authority has indicated willingness to trial direct elections. In order to test the concept properly, the Government felt it was important to run the trial in at least two areas and the Peak District has characteristics that the New Forest lacks. These include

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1070W

the fact that it is a long established National Park with a larger membership and a greater number of, and more complex, local government structures.

National Watersure Scheme

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to make an announcement on funding for the National Watersure scheme. [72419]

Richard Benyon: In the 2011 Budget the Government committed public expenditure to supporting households that face water affordability pressures and households in areas with particularly high water charges. We are currently finalising the decision on how best to meet this commitment. Our consultation on affordability closed in June and we are reviewing responses, which will inform the content of the Water White Paper, to be published shortly. We will be setting out the way forward on Watersure and general affordability issues later this year.

Natural Gas

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will direct the Environment Agency to consider the implications of the (a) geology and (b) redundant mine-workings of the South Wales coalfields for shale gas exploration and hydraulic fracturing before the grant of any licence for exploitation or exploration. [74024]

Richard Benyon: This is a devolved issue. It is for the Welsh Assembly Government to direct Environment Agency Wales on the points raised.

Whales: Imports

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what representations she has made to the government of Iceland on the import of whale products into the UK; [75381]

(2) what evidence she has received of the import of illegal food products including whale meat and whale fins from Iceland. [75382]

Richard Benyon: The UK firmly supports the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) restrictions on international trade in whale meat and whale products. In the EU, we prohibit international trade in all whale meat and products apart from in exceptional circumstances.

I am not aware of any evidence of imports of such food products to the UK.

Home Department

Asylum

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment her Department has made of the effects of experiencing an extended period outside the labour market on the long-term integration into UK society of asylum seekers; and if she will make a statement. [70723]

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Damian Green: None. We do not believe that asylum seekers should have access to the labour market as it would become a pull factor and encourage more applications in the UK. The exception is when asylum seekers have waited for more than 12 months for an initial decision on their application, when they can seek permission to work, in line with the recent court ruling.

Civil Disorder

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department plans to take to ensure that police are able to deal with serious public order offences in the future. [70224]

Nick Herbert: The Government will always ensure that police have the tools and powers that they need to maintain order on our streets and discussions are taking place with chief constables on an ongoing basis. The Prime Minister has already announced that extra powers will be given to police regarding the removal of face coverings and the Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), has asked Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to look at the disorder, and for its findings to inform and support police guidance, tactics and public order policing resources. In addition the Home Office will be looking into whether curfew powers need to be extended.

There is significant evidence that social media played a part in the recent riots in London and other English cities. The Secretary of State has met with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Metropolitan police and social media industry representatives to consider whether and how they can stop people communicating via these websites and services when it is known that they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality. They also considered what action can be taken to prevent access to those services by customers identified as perpetrators of disorder or other criminal action. The Home Office will continue to take this work forward in partnership with the police and social media industry.

Crime: Victims

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of victims of crime who have reported crimes to the police have been kept informed of the progress of the police investigation in each of the last two years. [73920]

Nick Herbert: The latest available information comes from the British Crime Survey (BCS) and relates to 2008-09. BCS interviews for 2008-09 show that 55% of victims of crime said that they had been kept well informed of the progress of the police investigation.

Departmental Fines

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many transport-related fines her Department has settled on behalf of its staff; and at what cost in each year since 2007. [74381]

Damian Green: Neither the Home Office nor the UK Borders Agency meets the costs of traffic fines as these are considered the personal liability of the member of staff who incurred them.

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1072W

The Identity and Passport Service incurred seven fixed penalty notices (parking fines) in the last five years at a total cost of £400. Two were incurred in 2007-08 at a cost of £120, three in 2008-09 at a cost of £180 and two in 2010-11 at a cost of £100.

These fines were incurred by individuals in the course of their official duties, providing a visa delivery/collection service to embassies within central London.

The Criminal Records Bureau have not owned or operated any vehicles in the last five years and have therefore not incurred any such costs.

Training

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training (a) she and (b) other Ministers in her Department have undertaken since 12 May 2010. [67674]

Damian Green [holding answer 19 July 2011]: Home Office Ministers have undertaken the following training since May 2010:

Home Secretary

No training

Baroness Browning

Finance workshop

Ministerial learning and development induction workshop

Nick Herbert

Ministerial learning and development induction workshop

Damian Green

Ministerial learning and development induction workshop

James Brokenshire

Bill training

Select Committee training

Lynne Featherstone

Ministerial learning and development induction workshop

Media and presentation training.

Departmental Travel

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much her Department has spent on first class travel by (a) air, (b) boat and (c) train since May 2010. [75519]

Damian Green: The table gives the Home Office (including all agencies) spend on first class travel since May 2010. All figures are shown to the nearest £1,000.

Differentiations in class of travel by boat are not recorded within Home Office Management Information.

Since May 2010 the Home Office (including all agencies) has spent the following on first class travel:


£

(a) Air

0

(b) Boat

n/a

(c) Train

51,000

Note: All figures are shown to the nearest £000.

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1073W

Economic Crime Unit

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which police forces in England and Wales (a) had a specialist Economic Crime Unit in March 2010 and (b) are expected to have a specialist Economic Crime Unit in March 2012. [70752]

Nick Herbert: It is for chief constables and police authorities to decide how to allocate resources within their police forces to ensure that they have the capacity and capability to investigate economic crime. If required they also have access to specialist regional resources for support on all types of serious and organised crime.

The Home Office continues to fund the City of London police with £5.1 million in 2012-13 to act as the lead force for tackling economic crime and to operate the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau which collates and distributes intelligence on economic crime to all police forces.

We have set out how we will increase the ability to tackle economic crime with the creation of the Economic Crime Command in the National Crime Agency which will;

improve the sharing and use of intelligence about economic crime;

increase the capacity and effectiveness of the law enforcement response; and

increase activity on prevention, including using intelligence and information to provide real-time advice on how businesses and individuals can protect themselves.

Ahead of the Economic Crime Command being established, the Economic Crime Coordination Board, which is now in place, will drive forward improvements in how economic crime is tackled in the UK.

Firearms

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to reduce the availability of illegal firearms. [74474]

Nick Herbert: The UK has some of the toughest firearms laws in the world. As we set out in the Government's response to the Home Affairs Committee report on Firearms Control, published on 29 September 2011, we are currently considering whether it is necessary and proportionate to tighten the legislation still further in respect of the criminal supply and importation of firearms.

Illegal Immigrants

Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many non-UK citizens attempting to enter the UK illegally or clandestinely were apprehended at (a) the Port of Dover and (b) the Port of Calais in (i) 2008-09, (ii) 2009-10 and (iii) 2010-11. [75830]

Damian Green: The number of non-UK citizens apprehended by the UK Border Agency and its French counterparts attempting to enter the UK illegally at Calais, and the numbers of interceptions at the port of Dover, for the specified years are as follows:

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1074W

Detections

2008-09 2009-10 2010-11

Calais

21,881

13,847

5,345

Dover(1)

554

383

328

(1 )Supplied by Local Immigration Team Kent, Immigration Group. Note: Locally collated management information statistics subject to the national protocol.

Illegal Immigrants: Employment

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign nationals were found to be working illegally in Birmingham Ladywood constituency in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and what steps her Department has taken in respect of such findings. [74513]

Damian Green: The records kept by the UK Border Agency show that during illegal working visits in the UK from September 2010 to August 2011 18,329 individuals were encountered. This figure includes those arrested. It is not possible to disaggregate these figures by constituency or county without incurring a disproportionate cost.

Where individuals are found to be working illegally a decision on any further action is made on a case by case basis. A civil penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker may be imposed on employers found to be employing illegal workers.

The figures provided are sourced from management information tools; they are not quality assured under National Statistics protocols and are subject to change.

Immigration

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on skills training for the UK workforce to meet future business demands which may arise from a reduction in immigration. [73244]

Damian Green: This subject is a key part of the Government's proposals for reducing net migration. The Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), meets regularly with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), as do I with other Ministers in his Department. This subject has also been discussed at Cabinet level and other cross-Whitehall Ministerial meetings.

Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency

Julian Sturdy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she has considered requesting that the Ministry of Defence Police should be deployed to support the territorial police forces. [71991]

Nick Herbert: The Ministry of Defence Police routinely provides security for key defence sites.

Protocols are in place between the Ministry of Defence Police and the police forces in England and Wales to support their operations, where Defence security priorities allow. The Ministry of Defence Police provides mutual aid to local police forces, particularly on specific police

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1075W

service operations, such as riots and demonstrations. For example, it provided mutual aid in London and York during the recent public disorder.

Offensive Weapons: Sales

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions she has had with representatives of business regarding the sale of knives. [74477]

Nick Herbert: The Secretary of State for the Home Department, the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), has not had any recent discussions with representatives of retail businesses on the sale of knives. However, we expect all retailers to provide appropriate training and support to staff on the sale of knives and to clearly display to the public signs stating that knives are not for sale to people under the age of 18.

Police

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to amend the law following the outcome of DPP v Oram to ensure respect for police officers acting in the course of their duty. [74664]

Nick Herbert [holding answer 17 October 2011]: The Government have launched a consultation which is seeking views on whether section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 should be amended.

Police Federation of England and Wales

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she last met the Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales. [73771]

Nick Herbert: The Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), last met the Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales on 10 October 2011.

Police Federation of England and Wales: Civil Disorder

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations she received from the Police Federation on the risk of public disorder occurring in the last 12 months. [74511]

Nick Herbert: The Home Office has regular discussions with the Police Federation on a wide range of issues.

Police: Manpower

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were in each police authority area on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many of these in each area have had MAST public order training to each level. [74706]

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1076W

Nick Herbert [holding answer 17 October 2011]: The available information shows the number of police officers in England and Wales, by police force area as at 31 March 2011 (full-time equivalent). This is shown in the following table.

Information on the number of police officers who have received MAST public order training to each level is not collected centrally by the Home Office. Decisions on MAST training are for chief constables to take locally in conjunction with their police authority and, from November 2012, their elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs).

Police officer strength in England and Wales by police force area on 31 March 2011
Police force All officers (FTE) (1)

Avon and Somerset

3,210

Bedfordshire

1,214

Cambridgeshire

1,398

Cheshire

2,079

Cleveland

1,655

Cumbria

1,180

Derbyshire

2,021

Devon and Cornwall

3,436

Dorset

1,452

Durham

1,431

Essex

3,577

Gloucestershire

1,262

Greater Manchester

7,791

Hampshire

3,658

Hertfordshire

2,048

Humberside

1,952

Kent

3,668

Lancashire

3,448

Leicestershire

2,211

Lincolnshire

1,202

London, City of

878

Merseyside

4,297

Metropolitan police

32,441

Norfolk

1,598

Northamptonshire

1,306

Northumbria

4,102

North Yorkshire

1,458

Nottinghamshire

2,319

South Yorkshire

2,888

Staffordshire

2,079

Suffolk

1,244

Surrey

1,885

Sussex

3,102

Thames Valley

4,375

Warwickshire

919

West Mercia

2,251

West Midlands

8,149

West Yorkshire

5,536

Wiltshire

1,099

Dyfed-Powys

1,157

Gwent

1,501

North Wales

1,530

South Wales

3,100

Total 43 forces

139,110

(1) This and other tables contain full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number. Because of rounding, there may be an apparent discrepancy between totals and the sums of the constituent items.

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1077W


Police: Pensions

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration she gave to undertaking a public consultation on the change in the basis for indexation of police pensions from the retail prices index to the consumer prices index. [74083]

Nick Herbert: The change in indexation was a result of the announcement in the Budget on 22 June 2010 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tatton (Mr Osborne), that from April 2011 the consumer prices index would be used for the indexation of benefits, tax credits and public service pensions (including police pensions). This was confirmed in the Pensions Increase (Review) Order 2011 made on 16 March 2011 by the Treasury.

The annual increase of public service pensions is governed by the Pensions (Increase) Act 1971, rather than the legislation that provides for police pensions. There has been no consideration of consultation concerning the basis for indexation as it applies specifically to police pensions.

Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether police station inquiry officers are eligible to receive the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal; and what criteria are used to assess eligibility for the award of the medal. [74056]

Nick Herbert [holding answer 13 October 2011]: Members of the emergency services eligible for the medal are those that are called to attend emergencies, potentially placing themselves in danger or who face challenging situations in order to keep the public safe. The criterion for the medal has been agreed across Government Departments and has received Royal Assent.

Vetting: Appeals

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to introduce a right of appeal to an independent body in respect of the content of Criminal Records Bureau checks; and if she will make a statement. [74519]

Damian Green: The Protection of Freedoms Bill, currently before Parliament, would enable those seeking Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks to apply to the independent monitor if they believed that information provided by the police on an enhanced criminal record certificate was irrelevant or ought not to have been included.

Health

Abortion

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the timetable is for his Department's planned consultation on abortion policy. [75535]

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1078W

Anne Milton: The Department will carry out a public consultation on independent abortion counselling. We are currently developing proposals for consultation including the timetable for introduction. We intend to work with experts in the field and other interested parties to develop these proposals.

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of treating people with alcohol-related health problems in (a) Ashfield constituency, (b) Nottinghamshire and (c) England. [75432]

Anne Milton: The Department has made no estimates of the cost to the national health service of treating people with alcohol-related health problems in Ashfield constituency and Nottinghamshire. We have previously estimated the cost to the NHS of treating people with alcohol-related health problems in England at about £2.7 billion per year. The Department published this estimate in ‘The cost of alcohol harm to the NHS in England’ in July 2008, a copy of which has already been placed in the Library.

Arthritis: Health Services

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of people with rheumatoid arthritis received treatment by a consultant-led multidisciplinary team that included physiotherapy in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [75693]

Paul Burstow: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Cancer: Screening

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure co-ordination between Public Health England, local authorities and the NHS on the early diagnosis of cancer following the implementation of his planned reforms to the NHS. [75536]

Anne Milton: The Department is in discussion with local government, the national health service, the voluntary and community sector and others to finalise the operational design of the new public health system. This includes publishing further details of the new public health leadership role for local authorities and the operating model for Public Health England.

These documents will set out where the best place for commissioning responsibility should rest for campaigns around early diagnosis.

Ministerial Meetings

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many meetings he has had with representatives of (a) social enterprises, (b) charities, (c) large private sector businesses and (d) small and medium-sized private sector businesses since May 2010; and if he will make a statement. [75709]

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1079W

Anne Milton: Details of all ministerial meetings with external parties are published quarterly in arrears on the Department's website. The latest data up to the end of March 2011 can be found at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Aboutus/MinistersandDepartment Leaders/Departmentdirectors/DH_110759

Doctors: Foreign Nationals

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many non-UK doctors and consultants were working in the NHS in the last year for which figures are available. [75937]

Anne Milton: This information is not collected centrally. However, all doctors, including those in training, must be registered with the General Medical Council and they would be better placed to provide this information.

Health Visitors

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many health visitors have sought training in (a) children's wellbeing, (b) children's emotional development, (c) parenting and (d) the importance of attachment between parent and child as part of their continuous professional development in each of the last five years; [75506]

(2) what guidance and training is provided to health visitors on children's emotional development, wellbeing, attachment and parenting; and if he will make a statement. [75509]

Anne Milton: This information is not held centrally.

Where aggregation of data relating to the professional development of health visitors does take place, it would be carried out at local level by primary care trusts.

The National Health Visitor Programme has identified the need to educate the new entrants to the profession to deliver the new health visiting services. Children's emotional development, wellbeing, attachment and parenting are recommended areas of theory, knowledge and skills for practice, set out in the Department's “Educating Health Visitors for a Transformed Service” Published by Department of Health, August 2011 document and included in the health visitor education programme.

A copy of the document has been placed in the Library.

The Health Visitor Programme has also identified the need to develop and refresh the current workforce to provide leadership in delivery of the new service and to have the opportunity to extend and refresh clinical practice skills through national and local programmes. The Professional Mobilization work stream has provided direct Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and support to local services to deliver CPD.

Clinical leaders estimate around 2,000 health visitors have been engaged in nationally run and/or supported events, including three events run in partnership with the NHS Institute. All programme evaluations have aimed to provide the strategic and leadership framework and to promote access to programmes such as:

a number of e-learning modules that support delivery of the Healthy Child Programme that are accessible to health visitors online;

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a development programme for the health visitor early implementer sites encompassing leadership training, new models of practice, general and bespoke support; and

a ‘Building Community Capacity’ project tested by health visitors and school nurses in the early implementer sites, with national roll-out next year.

All events have evaluated very well, with health visitors being engaged with the developments. Additionally, professional organisations have provided learning opportunities through events and clinical articles in journals.

Guidance on appropriate training and development is available locally in provider organisations and will often form the basis of appraisal discussions.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which early implementer health visiting sites were carrying out the practice of corporate working in the latest period for which figures are available; [75507]

(2) what assessment he has made of the implementation and effectiveness of corporate working undertaken by early implementer health visiting sites; and if he will make a statement; [75508]

Anne Milton: All services are moving towards delivery of the new health visiting service vision and offer to families spearheaded by the early implementer sites. The actual arrangements for deployment of health visitors is a matter for local leadership based on meeting local health needs. This may include a range of approaches including primary care attachment, geographic placement and corporate caseload. All local arrangements must address key issues of professional relationships with families, working with local communities and optimising working arrangements with other local providers of children and family.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to incorporate the advice contained in “Educating Health Visitors for a Transformed Service” into the continuous professional development of health visitors; and if he will make a statement. [75510]

Anne Milton: “Educating Health Visitors for a Transformed Service”(1) provides guidance for education commissioners and higher education institutions (HEIs), to assist with alignment of health visiting courses with the new service vision for health visiting as set out in the “Health Visitor Implementation Plan 2011-15: A Call to Action”. Copies of both documents have already been placed in the Library.

The guidance was produced by the Department, in collaboration with partners, including the Council of Deans, the United Kingdom Standing Conference, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association, and higher education commissioners and institutions. It supports the NMC standards, and serves as a useful framework for education providers seeking to reflect the new vision in their courses.

The Department recommends that commissioners and higher education institutions consider the range of topics provided by the guidance when reviewing their programmes to ensure that health visitors are equipped with appropriate theory, knowledge and skills to deliver

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the new service on completion of training. The guidance specifically prompts both HEIs and commissioners to focus on how they will work closely with community practice teachers and mentors in supporting students. It also suggests close working with strategic health authorities, to identify and increase the range of high quality clinical placements.

Guidance on appropriate training and development is available locally in provider organisations and will often forming the basis of appraisal discussions.

(1 )Published by Department of Health, August 2011

Incontinence: Medical Equipment

Peter Aldous: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions his Department has had with the NHS Business Services Authority on its research report into the supply of urology and stoma products. [75450]

Anne Milton: The Department has not had any recent discussions with the NHS Business Services Authority in relation to its report which is still in preparation.

Peter Aldous: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of Part IX of the Drug Tariff on patient choice of urology and stoma products; [75451]

(2) what recent assessment he has made of the price variation in primary care for urology and stoma products. [75452]

Anne Milton: We have made no assessment of the effect of Part IX of the Drug Tariff on patient choice of urology and stoma products.

We have made no assessment of price variation in primary care for urology and stoma products. For national health service prescriptions dispensed in primary care dispensing contractors are reimbursed according to the Drug Tariff. The Drug Tariff sets out Secretary of State determinations, which apply nationally of the amounts pharmacy and appliance contractors will be paid for dispensing NHS prescriptions.

NHS Blood and Transplant

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the future of the NHS Blood and Transplant Service; and if he will make a statement [75550]

Anne Milton: I refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statement given on 18 October 2011, Official Report, columns 61-62WS.

NHS: Privatisation

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 22 March 2011, Official Report, column 1011W, on health services: privatisation, what definition of privatisation his Department uses. [75337]

Anne Milton: The answer given by the Minister of State, Department of Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr Burns), on 22 March 2011, Official Report, column 1011W, confirmed that

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the Government are not pursuing a policy of privatisation of health care providers whereby national health service organisations would be transferred from public to private ownership and control.

NHS: Procurement

Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the NHS has spent on legal, accounting and other advisory fees when going through tendering processes in each of the last three years. [75796]

Anne Milton: This information is not held centrally. This information will be held by individual national health service bodies.

NHS: Reorganisation

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of whether his planned reforms of the health service will result in the fragmentation of NHS services; and if he will make a statement. [75338]

Anne Milton: We do not consider that the Health and Social Care Bill will lead to the fragmentation of NHS services.

The Bill would place a duty on clinical commissioning groups and the NHS Commissioning Board in relation to securing integrated services where they benefit patients. Monitor would also be required to enable the delivery of integrated services.

Commissioners will continue to be responsible for securing healthcare services for their local populations and will be empowered to take decisions on how services will be bundled together. This will include commissioning integrated services to deliver better outcomes for patients. Nothing in the Bill would force commissioners to unbundle or fragment services against the best interests of patients.

Nurses: Foreign Workers

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure testing of the language and competence of nurses who have trained within the European Economic Area and Switzerland. [75579]

Anne Milton: Systematic testing of the language knowledge of health care professionals at the point of registration is contrary to European law. However, nurses work in an employed environment and their employers can and should ensure that any nurse appointed is able and competent to carry out their duties effectively. This must include their overall competency for the role and more specifically their ability to communicate to the required standard.

The Department recognises that there are widespread concerns about this issue, and we are in discussions with the Nursing and Midwifery Council about whether any steps can be taken to strengthen local checks on nurses.

Orthopaedics: Footwear

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have received treatment involving orthopaedic shoes in each of the last five years. [75617]

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Anne Milton: Information about orthopaedic footwear is not collected centrally. It is for local national health service organisations to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health and to commission services accordingly including the provision of orthopaedic footwear.

Work and Pensions

Children: Day Care

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what support his Department is providing to low-income parents to assist with child care costs. [75552]

Maria Miller: Jobcentre Plus advisers help parents identify and access appropriate child care provision in their area. Partnership managers work with local authorities to identify gaps in provision. The costs of child care are paid by Jobcentre Plus for parent claimants on Jobcentre Plus work and training programmes.

Help with child care costs for working parents is currently provided via working tax credits. Families are able to receive support for child care costs of 70% up to a maximum of £175 for one child or £300 for two or more children per week. From 2013 this support will be paid through the universal credit. Currently, child care support is only available for people who work 16 hours a week or more, but under universal credit this requirement will be removed.