Entry Clearances: Overseas Students

Anna Soubry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to ensure that genuine students from overseas will be able to continue to study theology at private colleges. [85197]

Damian Green: My officials continue to discuss implementation of the student visa rules with theological colleges. The Government have been clear that genuine high-quality educational institutions have nothing to fear from our reforms of student visas, which ensure that we can continue to attract the best students whose main motivation is study. No permanent limit has been placed on student visas.

Harassment: Surveillance

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions where complaints received by each police force in England and Wales about harassment or stalking the suspect was the subject of a police surveillance operation in 2010. [81894]

Lynne Featherstone: The information requested is not recorded centrally.

Stalking behaviour can be prosecuted under The Protection from Harassment Act 1997. My Department, working with the Ministry of Justice, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) continues to keep the effectiveness of this legislation under review. The Home Office has recently launched a consultation seeking views on how we can better protect victims of stalking.

Hillsborough Independent Panel

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the statement of 17 October 2011, Official Report, columns 668-70, on Hillsborough disaster, how many documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster have so far been released to the Hillsborough independent panel. [84563]

6 Dec 2011 : Column 205W

Nick Herbert [holding answer 5 December 2011]: I am happy to confirm that all documents held by Government Departments have been released to the Hillsborough independent panel. The Government fully support the work of the independent panel and it is for the panel to take forward its work in relation to those documents.

Human Trafficking: Northern Ireland

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the extent of human trafficking in Northern Ireland. [84850]

Damian Green: During the period 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2011 there were 1,481 referrals to the National Referral Mechanism, of these 35 (2%) related to Northern Ireland and comprised 14 nationalities. 24 of these referrals were from three nationalities: China (17), Nigeria (5) and Romania (2).

Illegal Immigrants

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of people in the United Kingdom who have no right to be within the jurisdiction. [85208]

Damian Green: The UK Border Agency is not able to provide the information requested. It is not possible to accurately quantify the number of individuals currently in the UK who have no right to be within the jurisdiction, as some deliberately evade immigration control in order to remain in the country illegally.

The e-Borders system enables checks to be made on individuals arriving or exiting the country but is not yet fully rolled out. The Government are committed to ensuring that the number of UK ports undertaking exit checks is increased to ensure a more complete travel history is recorded on passengers.

The UK Border Agency has established local immigration teams across the UK to gather intelligence, tackle illegal working, and track down and detain immigration offenders. The focus of these teams include the prevention and disruption of illegal activity and the arrest and removal of offenders.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been arrested as illegal workers during searches of business premises in each of the last three years; and how many such people were removed from the UK in each region in each year. [85300]

Damian Green: The UK Border Agency record data relating to offenders arrested on the National Operations Database. From information held we can state that the following numbers of people were arrested for offences related specifically to illegal working visits:


Number

2008-09

5,804

2009-10

4,288

2010-11

4,186

Total

14,278

6 Dec 2011 : Column 206W

All data are sourced from the National Operations Database (NOD) system. The NOD is a management information tool and data from it are not quality-assured under national statistics protocols. Figures provided from the NOD do not constitute part of national statistics and should be treated as provisional.

However, to determine which of these individuals arrested have been removed would only be possible by examination of individual records which would exceed the cost threshold.

Immigration Controls

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking in respect of her Department’s performance in arresting and detaining those who do not comply with immigration controls. [85206]

Damian Green: The UK Border Agency’s enforcement operation remains focused on arresting, detaining and removing illegal migrants. Between 1 January and 30 September 2011, 26,962 illegal migrants in the UK were removed or voluntarily departed.

The agency has taken further steps to improve the information we have on the whereabouts of illegal migrants. In particular, to make it easier for members of the public to submit information, a new web form was introduced on the UK Border Agency website on 2 November 2011, which sets out clearly the information needed in order for the agency to act. We are currently developing this form further to enhance the quality of the information we receive from the public, part of our ongoing commitment to improve our capability in this area.

The agency is working to improve its performance in achieving removals of illegal migrants. There is a current focus on refinement of our contact management techniques to improve the voluntary return rate of illegal migrants. Additionally, steps are being taken to enhance absconder tracing and streamline processes to improve the success rate of enforcement operations. The agency will continue to focus on maximising productivity from all its enforcement assets including reporting centres, arrest teams, immigration removal centres and charter flights.

Immigration: Europe

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures her Department has taken to share criminal records data with other EU member states in order to exclude EEA nationals from entry to the UK under the provisions of Regulation 19 (1B) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006; and if she will make a statement. [84632]

Lynne Featherstone [holding answer 5 December 2011]: Regulation 19(1 B) which came into effect on 1 June 2009 enables the Secretary of State for the Home Department to exclude an EEA national, or member of his/her family, where she considers that exclusion is justified on the grounds of public policy, public security or public health. In reaching a decision the Secretary of State is obliged to take a number of factors into account. These include: the decision must be proportionate, it

6 Dec 2011 : Column 207W

must be based on the personal conduct of the individual concerned and that conduct must represent a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society. The fact that a person may have a previous criminal conviction does not of itself justify an exclusion decision.

Where the United Kingdom receives information, such as arrest warrants, from foreign law enforcement agencies which indicates that individuals might be present in, or coming to, the United Kingdom and could present a risk to public protection, we will include that information on the watchlists. Where an individual is extradited from the United Kingdom, or is deported as a result of their criminal record, such information may also be recorded on the watchlists.

The United Kingdom also exchanges data with other EU member states under Council Decision 2005/876/JHA on the exchange of information extracted from the criminal record. This means that where an EU national is subject to criminal proceedings here, the United Kingdom may ask their country of nationality for details of their previous criminal record. Such information may then be used in the criminal justice process.

When the United Kingdom connects to the new second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) in 2015 we will receive more information about individuals wanted on European arrest warrants and we anticipate stopping more EEA nationals at our borders as a result.

Kidnapping: Children

Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of children abducted from the UK since 2006; and how many such abductions were carried out by the child's parents. [84110]

Mr Djanogly: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

The Home Office has responsibility for prevention of the criminal offence of child abduction. The Home Office statistics for the number of children reported to police as abducted within England and Wales in each financial year for which statistics are available from 2006 are shown in the table; children are those under 16. Home Office statistics do not show whether or not the abduction was by a parent, nor whether the abducted child was removed from the UK, or not. Some of these offences may have an international element involving a parent and may therefore also appear in the international parental child abduction statistics as follows.

Police recorded offences of child abduction 2006-07 to 2010-11, England and Wales. Each offence relates to one child .

Number

2006-07

696

2007-08

595

2008-09

567

2009-10

559

2010-11

552

The collection of police recorded statistics for Scotland and Northern Ireland is a matter for the devolved Administrations.

Statistics on international parental child abductions are collected by the number of cases, where a case can

6 Dec 2011 : Column 208W

involve more than one child; cases under the 1980 Hague convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction relate to children under 16.

The number of outgoing international parental child abduction cases since 2006 from the UK to countries that have ratified or acceded to the 1980 Hague convention are as follows, by calendar year:

International parental child abduction. Each ease may involve more than one child
Cases

Outgoing from England and Wales Outgoing from Scotland Outgoing from Northern Ireland

2006

153

9

6

2007

183

10

5

2008

181

9

12

2009

193

15

7

2010

158

10

8

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has responsibility for international parental child abduction from all parts of the UK to countries that have not ratified or acceded to the 1980 Hague convention or where the convention is not in force between the UK and the country in question. Children are those under 16. The FCO may also provide consular support in outgoing Hague convention country cases. Cases by financial year dealt with by the FCO to Hague convention and non-convention countries between 1 April 2006 and 31 March 2011 are shown in the table. Where a case was to a Hague convention country, that case will also appear in the statistics for the relevant part of the UK.

International parental child abduction FCO cases (outgoing from the UK) Each case may involve more than one child .

Cases

2006-07

265

2007-08

249

2008-09

196

2009-10

238

2010-11

264

The Government have not made an overall estimate of the number of child abductions within the UK or from the UK to countries abroad. Statistics can only cover reported cases.

Metropolitan Police: Manpower

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were in each basic command unit of the Metropolitan police force on (a) 31 March 2010, (b) 30 September 2010 and (c) 31 March 2011; and if she will make a statement. [84750]

Nick Herbert [holding answer 5 December 2011]: Available data on police officer strength for the Metropolitan police force by basic command unit, as at 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2011, are given in the following table.

Information on police officer strength relating to 30 September 2010 is not available centrally.

The latest published police personnel statistics relate to 31 March 2011 and were published in July 2011. They are available online at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk

6 Dec 2011 : Column 209W

Police officer strength (1) by basic command unit (BCU), Metropolitan police, as at 31 March 2010 and 2011
BCU 31 March 2010 31 March 2011

Barking and Dagenham

448

443

Barnet

596

585

Bexley

406

400

Brent

712

682

Bromley

524

511

Camden

889

831

City of Westminster

1,656

1,586

Croydon

755

736

Ealing

728

697

Enfield

601

580

Greenwich

711

669

Hackney

784

771

Hammersmith and Fulham

600

574

Haringey

734

708

Harrow

404

392

Havering

395

387

Hillingdon

526

540

Hounslow

540

522

Islington

719

713

Kensington and Chelsea

579

565

Kingston upon Thames

337

321

Lambeth

1,042

1,004

Lewisham

691

657

Merton

396

392

Newham

826

805

Redbridge

502

486

Richmond upon Thames

335

307

Southwark

964

933

Sutton

356

344

Tower Hamlets

829

793

Waltham Forest

578

556

Wandsworth

619

608

Heathrow

461

435

Central Services

12,126

11,907

(1) These are full-time equivalents figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number. Figures include those officers on career breaks.

Police: Bournemouth

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) special constables and (b) community support officers are operating in Bournemouth. [84574]

Nick Herbert: The latest available information shows that there were 79 community support officers in post on 31 March 2010 in the Bournemouth and Poole basic command unit (BCU). This is a full-time equivalent figure that has been rounded to the nearest whole number; it includes those community support officers on career breaks or maternity/paternity leave. Figures for special constables are not available centrally for this BCU.

Dorset police force was restructured and BCUs were redefined during 2010-11 and, as a result, data for Bournemouth and Poole are not available for 31 March 2011.

6 Dec 2011 : Column 210W

Police: Crimes of Violence

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have been stabbed during the course of their duties in each of the last five years. [84739]

Nick Herbert: The requested information is not collected centrally by the Home Office.

Police: South Wales

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many police officers were employed by South Wales Police in each of the last five years; [84715]

(2) what estimate she has made of the number of police to be employed by South Wales Police in each of the next five years. [84716]

Nick Herbert: It is a matter for the chief constable and the police authority in each force to determine the number of police officers that are deployed within the available resource.

The latest available information shows the number of police officers in South Wales police force between 2007 and 2011 (full-time equivalent) is set out in the following table:

Number of police officers in South Wales police force between 2007 and 2011 (1)
As at 31 March each year Number

2007

3,336

2008

3,244

2009

3,146

2010

3,148

2011

3,100

(1) This table contains full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

Police: Surveillance

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will collect information on the deployment of undercover officers by police forces in England and Wales over the last 10 years. [77037]

Nick Herbert: The decision on whether to deploy covert undercover officers is an operational matter for individual law enforcement agencies. The chief surveillance commissioner has the statutory responsibility for the oversight of whether police use of this technique is in accordance with the law. His key findings and broad statistics are published in annual reports which are laid before Parliament and are available in the House Library.

Stalking: Homicide

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases which included a stalking-related murder have been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission since 2009. [78996]

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Nick Herbert: This is a matter for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). However, it does not hold the specific data requested.

The IPCC is responsible for the annual publication of statistics relating to deaths during or following police contact. The most recent report is available on the IPCC website at:

www.ipcc.gov.uk

Energy and Climate Change

Carbon Sequestration: Finance

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the decision to reallocate the fund which had been earmarked for the carbon capture and storage competition. [84891]

Charles Hendry: My right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and the Chancellor of the Exchequer have discussed financing of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects and £l billion remains available. The detailed profile of spend will be determined by the projects selected and when they require funding.

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) when he was informed of the decision by HM Treasury to reallocate the fund earmarked for the carbon capture and storage competition; [84892]

(2) what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the decision to reallocate the fund earmarked for the carbon capture and storage competition on the time taken to develop a demonstrator project. [84894]

Charles Hendry: £1 billion remains available to support CCS projects. I expect CCS projects to come forward in this spending review period and for some expenditure to be committed as part of that process. The detailed profile of spend will be determined by the projects selected and when they require funding.

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he has had with representatives of industry involved in development of carbon capture and storage projects on the availability and timetable for a competition supporting a demonstration project. [84893]

Charles Hendry: My colleagues and I, at ministerial and official level, meet regularly with industry representatives to discuss the CCS demonstration programme.

On 16 December we are holding an industry day to provide further information on the CCS programme, to which this Government have already committed £1 billion of capital funding. Sponsors and developers of proposed CCS projects, power generators, CO2 transport infrastructure providers, oil and gas field operators and independent operators, and CO2 capture technology providers are invited to contact the Office of Carbon Capture and Storage if they wish to attend.

6 Dec 2011 : Column 212W

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether any of the resources reallocated from the carbon capture and storage competition fund will be directed to low-carbon projects. [84895]

Charles Hendry: The £1 billion allocated for CCS projects remains available to support CCS projects.

Climate Change: Africa

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what proportion of his recently announced funding to tackle climate change in Africa he proposes will come from (a) the Department for International Development and (b) existing funding allocated as official development assistance. [85323]

Gregory Barker: I will be announcing a package of support to help Africa adapt to the impacts of climate change and move to low carbon development paths in Durban on 6 December. The package is funded out of the UK's £2.9 billion International Climate Fund, which was announced in the 2010 spending review and is all classified as official development assistance. The fund consists of £1.8 billion from the Department for International Development, £1 billion from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and £0.1 billion from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what proportion of his recently announced funding for climate change finance in Africa (a) has already been committed and (b) is new funding commitments. [85324]

Gregory Barker: I will be announcing a package of support to help Africa adapt to the impacts of climate change and move to low carbon development paths in Durban on 6 December. The package is all funded out of an existing funding commitment—the UK's £2.9 billion International Climate Fund, which was announced in the 2010 spending review.

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change through which (a) Departments, (b) funds and (c) programmes he proposes that his recently announced funding to tackle climate change in Africa will be delivered. [85325]

Gregory Barker: I will announce the full details of the package of support to help Africa adapt to the impacts of climate change and move to low carbon development paths in Durban on 6 December. The package is funded out of the UK's £2.9 billion International Climate Fund and will be drawn from the budgets of the Department for International Development and the Department of Energy and Climate Change through the UK's International Climate Fund.

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether the recently announced aid funding to tackle climate change in Africa is additional to the funding already (a) committed as fast-start funding and (b) announced for

6 Dec 2011 : Column 213W

climate change by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department for International Development. [85326]

Gregory Barker: I will announce the full details of the package of support to help Africa adapt to the impacts of climate change and move to low carbon development paths in Durban on 6 December. The package is funded out of the UK's £2.9 billion International Climate Fund, which was announced in the 2010 spending review.

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to his recent announcement of climate change funding for Africa, from which Departments' budgets he proposes such funding will be drawn. [85327]

Gregory Barker: I will be announcing a package of support to help Africa adapt to the impacts of climate change and move to low carbon development paths in Durban on 6 December. The funding will be drawn from the budgets of the Department for International Development and the Department of Energy and Climate Change through the UK's International Climate Fund.

Diesel Fuel: Prices

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent representations he has received on (a) diesel pump prices in England and (b) how such prices compare with those in other European countries; and if he will make a statement. [85303]

Charles Hendry: The Department has received a number of representations on diesel prices and how pump prices compared with those in other European countries.

UK pre-tax petrol and diesel prices are among the lowest in Europe.

The Government are aware of the significant impacts high oil prices are having on consumers, which is why the autumn statement document announced that the fuel duty increase of 3.02p/l that was expected to take place in January 2012 has been deferred to August 2012. In addition, the 2011-12 inflation only increase in fuel duty that was planned for August 2012 has been cancelled.

Energy: Meters

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) how his Department proposes to take account of consumers’ experience of the installation of smart meters when developing the smart metering installation code of practice; [83622]

(2) if he proposes that the smart metering installation code of practice will include measures to prevent doorstep selling of utilities during the installation of smart meters. [83623]

Charles Hendry: Electricity and gas suppliers have developed a draft smart metering installation code of practice, which they published for consultation in August 2011. They are now considering responses. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has consulted on the draft licence conditions that will formally underpin an industry code. These draft conditions include rules

6 Dec 2011 : Column 214W

on sales of goods and services during the smart meter installation visit and arrangements for updating a code in the light of, among other things, consumer experience during the roll-out. We will publish our response in the new year.

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he plans to expand the energy grid network to ensure people in rural areas who do not receive gas from the grid are able to participate in the smart meter roll out. [84999]

Charles Hendry: Customers who receive only electricity from the energy grid network will be offered an electricity smart meter and in-home display by their energy supplier, and so will be able to participate in, and benefit from, the smart meter roll-out.

Ofgem is responsible for regulating the extension of the gas grid and has encouraged the larger gas distribution networks to extend the grid to fuel poor households and homes within the priority group for the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target. In total up to 20,000 households could be connected under this scheme over the current price control period (2008-13).

Fuel Poverty

Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the likely level of support for energy efficiency programmes for households in fuel poverty from 2013 onwards. [84169]

Gregory Barker: Government are currently consulting on the Green Deal framework which will be in place from late 2012 and will enable households to access energy efficiency improvements at no upfront cost. This includes a new Energy Company Obligation (ECO), worth £1.3 billion per year, providing extra support where it is most needed.

Under the ECO 'Affordable Warmth obligation', we expect energy suppliers to invest around £350 million per year in providing heating and insulation measures for vulnerable households on low incomes at greatest risk of fuel poverty. We anticipate that the rest of ECO will support energy efficiency improvements in more difficult and expensive to treat properties, whatever the income or circumstances of the householder, through a 'Carbon Reduction obligation'. We are consulting specifically on expected models for “roll-out”, to ensure all households stand to benefit, including those in the poorest communities.

Fuel Poverty: Winter Deaths

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the number of (a) men and (b) women over the age of 65 years who have died as a result of being unable to heat their home due to fuel poverty; and if he will make a statement. [R] [84549]

Gregory Barker: The specific data requested are not recorded.

However, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) measures the number of excess winter deaths each year. During the 2010-11 winter, of the 25,700 excess winter

6 Dec 2011 : Column 215W

deaths recorded by ONS in England and Wales, around 8,800 were recorded among men aged 65 and over, with around 12,900 recorded among women aged 65 and over.

Fuel Poverty: North York Moors

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the number of households in fuel poverty in the North York Moors National Park. [85383]

Gregory Barker: DECC do not calculate fuel poverty at this geographical level. The estimated number of fuel poor households in 2009 in local authorities which broadly cover the National Park are as follows:

Redcar and Cleveland: 14,800 households (25% of households in Redcar and Cleveland)

Scarborough: 13,200 households (26%)

Ryedale: 6,500 households (28%).

Inverkip Power Station

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the capacity and total output from Inverkip power station was during its lifetime; and what were the costs per MWh of this output. [84424]

Charles Hendry: DECC does not hold data on the capacity, output or costs per MWh of output of Inverkip power station. However, a Scottish Power (the owners of Inverkip) press release on the redevelopment of the site states the capacity was 2,028 MW:

http://www.scottishpower.com/PressReleases_1891.htm

Nuclear Power

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he has had with the European Commission on allowing nuclear power to be recognised as a renewable source of energy; and if he will make a statement. [83612]

Charles Hendry: The Government believe that nuclear power is an important low carbon source of energy and should be a part of the UK's future energy mix, but accept that nuclear power should be considered as a low carbon rather than a renewable source of energy. Therefore, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the right hon. Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne), has had no discussions with the European Commission on allowing nuclear power to be recognised as a renewable source of energy. The UK's vision for a low carbon future sees a diverse mix of low carbon energy sources contributing to our power supply including both renewables and nuclear power.

Oil: Canada

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the quantity of oil used in the UK which is derived from Canadian tar sands. [84713]

6 Dec 2011 : Column 216W

Charles Hendry [holding answer 5 December 2011]: Trade data on the amount of oil that is derived from tar sands are not collected in National or International Statistics.

In 2010, the UK imported 272,000 tonnes of crude oil from Canada, and one tonne of petroleum products. In total, these imports account for 0.4% of the oil imported into the UK.

Solar Power

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department has made an assessment of any change in household energy consumption following the installation of solar photovoltaic systems. [83905]

Gregory Barker: We have no robust quantitative evidence from the FITs scheme to date about behavioural change in households that install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

Solar Power: Feed-in Tariffs

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether (a) individual solar photovoltaic installations and (b) community-owned solar photovoltaic schemes will be eligible to receive support through the proposed feed-in tariff with contract for difference. [85187]

Gregory Barker: Eligible individual and community-owned renewable electricity generating schemes below 50 kW can currently receive the small scale feed-in tariff, while those between 50 kW and 5 MW are able to choose support under either the small scale feed-in tariff or the renewables obligation. Work is currently under way to determine the appropriate eligibility criteria for the feed-in tariff with Contract for Difference scheme and how it should interact with other support mechanisms. Further details will be published in quarter 1 next year.

Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the operation of (a) section 1 and (b) section 2 of the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000 since July 2010; what representations he has received since that month on the operation of the Act; and what responses he gave to such representations. [R] [84484]

Gregory Barker [holding answer 5 December 2011]: The Government announced a review of the definition of fuel poverty at the spending review in October 2010. The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change appointed Professor Hills to carry out a review of the current definition of fuel poverty (as set out in section 1 of the Act and under the strategy required in section 2) in March 2011.

Professor Hills ran a call for evidence on the definition that received views from a variety of stakeholders including Fuel Poverty Advisory Group and the All Party Parliamentary Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency Group.

Professor Hills published his interim report in October 2011. The final report is due to be presented to Government in early 2012, when we will respond formally.

6 Dec 2011 : Column 217W

World War II: Medals

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to encourage former Bevin Boys to apply for the Bevin Boys Veterans Badge. [85321]

Charles Hendry: To date, the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA), acting on behalf of DECC, have issued just under 5,000 Bevin Boys Veterans Badges to former Bevin Boys and their widows, where their husbands passed away after the Badge was announced on 20 June 2007.

At the time the Badge was announced and when the first Badges were issued in March 2008 there was significant publicity both nationally and regionally by DECC and the Bevin Boys Association. Subsequently many local councils have carried out regional advertising campaigns to encourage all former veterans, including the Bevin Boys, to apply for Badges as part of their Veterans Day celebrations.

Full details of the Badge, the eligibility criteria and the application process appear on both the DECC and SPVA website.

Work and Pensions

Business: Government Assistance

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the adequacy of support available from Jobcentre Plus for people wishing to start their own business who are in receipt of employment and support allowance in (a) Merseyside and (b) the UK. [85218]

Chris Grayling: While people on employment and support allowance (ESA) are not eligible for the new enterprise allowance, Jobcentre Plus advisers can signpost claimants who are interested in self-employment to other sources of support such as Enterprise Clubs, where available, and on-line support for new businesses, including mentoring. ESA claimants can also access the Work Programme at a time that is right for them, where providers are free to deliver the right support for the individual.

People on ESA with more complex support needs that cannot be met through other employment support provision have access, via their disability employment adviser, to Work Choice which can provide the right support to help them find work or self-employment.

Child Support Agency: Prosecutions

Jack Lopresti: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what consideration he has given to widening the powers of the Child Support Agency to allow it to prosecute for non-payment of regular maintenance. [82912]

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 my hon. Friend with the information requested and I have seen the response.

6 Dec 2011 : Column 218W

Letter from Noel Shanahan:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner as the Child Support Agency is now the responsibility of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what consideration he has given to widening the powers of the Child Support Agency to allow it to prosecute for non-payment of regular maintenance. [82912]

The Child Support Agency already has a wide range of enforcement powers for the purposes of securing child maintenance from non-resident parents, who would otherwise fail to pay. 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 through the courts.

The most serious forms of enforcement are commitment to prison or disqualification from driving. The decision whether to implement, and the length of the order, 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 this is not a criminal sanction.

There are no plans at present to widen the enforcement powers of the Child Support Agency.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Construction: Employment

Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the proportion of jobs lost in the construction industry from sub-contracting businesses in each of the last three years. [84457]

Mr Prisk: I have been asked to reply.

The information is not collected in the form requested. However, the change in construction employment in each of the last three years for which information is available is shown in the following table. The table covers all constructing firms, both main contractors and subcontractors.


2008 2009 2010 2011

Jobs (thousand)

       

Workforce jobs

2,304

2,240

2,158

2,093

Employee jobs

1,361

1,363

1,281

1,231

Self-employed jobs

933

874

872

858

         

Change (thousand)

       

Workforce jobs

-64

-82

-65

Employee jobs

2

-82

-50

Self-employed jobs

-59

-2

-14

         

Change (percentage)

       

Workforce jobs

-2.8

-3.7

-3.0

Employee jobs

0.1

-6.0

-3.9

6 Dec 2011 : Column 219W

Self-employed jobs

-6.3

-0.2

-1.6

Source: ONS, Workforce Jobs series, United Kingdom

Advisory Services

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what contribution his Department has made to the cross-Government review of advice funding announced in July 2011. [84337]

Chris Grayling: DWP officials met with Cabinet Office officials to discuss the review of advice funding, in order to outline the range and scope of advisory and referral services that the Department provides.

Food Procurement

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that the same standards of animal welfare for whole eggs apply to imported liquefied eggs procured by (a) his Department and (b) public bodies for which he is responsible. [83781]

Chris Grayling: The information requested is as follows:

(a) Since 1998 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) occupies the majority of its accommodation under a private finance initiative (PFI) known as the Prime contract. Under the terms of this PFI the Department leases back fully serviced accommodation from its private sector partner, Telereal Trillium. This covers a variety of facilities including, where appropriate, the provision of catering services which is delivered through Telereal Trillium's service partner, Compass Group UK. Compass undertakes all catering activity including food procurement. Compass has confirmed that all the liquid egg supplied on the DWP catering contract is sourced from hens from an enriched cage system.

In line with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs guidance, DWP reports on how the Government Buying Standards criteria are being met. One of the criterion that will feature in future reports is around how eggs are sourced. This report will feature in periodic updates on the DWP public website—the following link gives the latest details:

www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/gbs-food-catering.pdf

This link advises on DWP's commitment and that we are working closely with Telereal Trillium/Compass to maximize compliance with this commitment. For example, ensuring this subject features in regular meetings/discussions with Telereal Trillium/Compass and receiving updates/progress on compliance. In addition, Compass regularly meets with Telereal Trillium encouraging initiatives to promote local food producers.

(b) Non-departmental public bodies that share accommodation with the DWP on Prime contract sites are included in the response at (a) above. Of the remaining non-departmental public bodies which have catering facilities and are not covered by the Prime contract, the Independent Living Fund (2006), Remploy and The Pensions Advisory Service have confirmed that

6 Dec 2011 : Column 220W

they do not procure whole or liquefied eggs. The Health and Safety Executive only use fresh eggs all of which are sourced in the UK.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of food sourced by (a) his Department and (b) public bodies for which he is responsible was procured from UK food producers in the latest period for which figures are available. [83782]

Chris Grayling: The information requested is as follows:

(a) Since 1998 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) occupies the majority of its accommodation under a private finance initiative (PFI) known as the Prime contract. Under the terms of this PFI the Department leases back fully serviced accommodation from its private sector partner, Telereal Trillium. This covers a variety of facilities including, where appropriate, the provision of catering services which is delivered through Telereal Trillium's service partner, Compass Group UK. Compass undertakes all catering activity including food procurement.

Compass has confirmed that between April and November 2011 the percentage of food procured from UK food producers is 24%. With regard to the sourcing from UK producers, Compass’ figures have been determined as follows: they have defined UK as guaranteed UK provenance which can be fully traced back to the source, i.e. food that has been grown and harvested or born, bred and slaughtered in the UK. Therefore, they have not included any products that even though may have been produced or manufactured in the UK, are of mixed origin. In addition Compass has confirmed the following:

100% of fresh beef is UK sourced

100% of fresh pork joints is UK sourced

100% of fresh milk is both UK sourced and Red Tractor

100% of shell eggs are UK sourced and Lion marked

All potatoes and root vegetables are sourced from UK when in season.

(b) Non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) that share accommodation with the DWP on Prime contract sites are included in the response at (a) above. For those NDPBs not covered by the Prime contract, none directly source food, e.g. The Pension Advisory Service and the Independent Living Fund (ILF) only occasionally buy food and snacks on an ad hoc basis in small quantities from local food retailers and as such unable to verify the source of food producers. Given the low expenditure, e.g. ILF spent £1,400 in the last calendar year, it would seem disproportionate for local caterers to provide this information to these NDPBs. Remploy has indicated that for their multiple sites their canteens are operated by local third-party organisations. The Health and Safety Executive's HQ at Bootle has a similar PFI contract to DWP, covering accommodation and all services. HSE has no direct management responsibility for the caterers and the contract does not specify how supplies should be sourced. The supplier, Baxter Storey, sources their catering supplies from Brake Bros whenever possible; however they cannot assess what proportion of supplies is sourced at home or abroad.

6 Dec 2011 : Column 221W

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps (a) his Department and (b) public bodies for which he is responsible are taking to ensure that they meet the Government’s buying standards for food and catering. [83783]

Chris Grayling: The information is as follows:

(a) Since 1998, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) occupies the majority of its accommodation under a private finance initiative (PFI) known as the PRIME contract. Under the terms of this PFI, the Department leases back fully serviced accommodation from its private sector partner Telereal Trillium. This covers a variety of facilities including, where appropriate, the provision of catering services which is delivered through Telereal Trillium’s service partner Compass Group UK. Compass undertakes all catering activity including food procurement.

In line with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs guidance, DWP reports on how the Government Buying Standards criteria are being met. This will feature in periodic updates on the DWP public website—the following link gives the latest details:

www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/gbs-food-catering.pdf

This link advises on DWP’s commitment and that we are working closely with Telereal Trillium/Compass to maximise compliance with this commitment. For example, ensuring this subject features in regular meetings/discussions with Telereal Trillium/Compass and receiving updates/progress on compliance. In addition, Compass regularly meets with Telereal Trillium encouraging initiatives to promote local food producers. Regular promotions are delivered throughout sites such as vegetarian week, British sandwich week, Apple day, all of which support local producers.

Compass/Telereal Trillium actively encourage the sourcing of local produce. Compass maintain over 600 producers throughout the UK, actively encouraging the sale of local breads, eggs, vegetables and meats where possible. 38% of produce sourced for the DWP contract is produced by SME’s. Recent promotional activities have included:

Introduction of the Chunky Farmer Sandwich Bloomer August 2011

Best of British Food Month June 2011

Promotions on locally produced yoghurts—ongoing

Eat Well Live Well fruit and vegetable promotion July 2011

Best Bramley Food Service Product award won by Compass in June 2011 for the Apple Crumble Slice which is sold across the DWP estate

Support of British Fruit Orchards—ongoing

British sandwich week—May 2011 focused on locally produced breads.

(b) Non-departmental public bodies that share accommodation with DWP on PRIME contract sites are included in the response at (a) above. For those NDPBs not covered by the PRIME contract, none directly source food, e.g. the Pension Advisory Service and the independent living fund (ILF) only occasionally buy food and snacks on an ad hoc basis in small quantities from local food retailers and as such unable to verify the source of food producers. Remploy no longer has a catering business. Their canteens are operated by local third party organisations and there is

6 Dec 2011 : Column 222W

no central purchasing by the company of food or food materials. All non-departmental public bodies are aware of the Government Buying Standards.

Departmental Pay

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many officials in his Department and the bodies for which he is responsible earned more than (a) £65,000, (b) £95,000, (c) £140,000 and (d) £175,000 in the last year for which figures are available. [78053]

Chris Grayling: At the end of the last financial year, there were in the region of 122,000 civil servants in DWP and its bodies. Of these, 761 earned more than £65,000, 87 of whom earned more than £95,000, nine of whom earned more than £140,000, six of whom earned more than £175,000. Since the end of the financial year, we have made reductions in the size of the senior civil service and reduced the number in each of the two highest categories by one.

Information about senior salaries can be found on the data.gov.uk website at:

http://data.gov.uk/organogram

Social Exclusion

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department plans to take together with (a) the Minister for Women and Equalities, (b) the Department for Education, (c) the Department for Communities and Local Government and (d) the Department of Health to tackle social exclusion. [85340]

Chris Grayling: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions chairs the Social Justice Cabinet Committee, of which my right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, the Secretaries of State for Education and for Communities and Local Government, and the Under-Secretary for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Guildford (Anne Milton), are members.

The Committee exists to consider issues relating to poverty, equality and social justice, and facilitates cross-Government working and scrutiny of policies for their effects on some of the most disadvantaged groups on society.

Employment and Support Allowance

Mr Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people received overpayments of employment and support allowance in (a) St Helens South and Whiston constituency, (b) Merseyside and (c) England in each year since 2008; and what average amount each was asked to repay in each such year. [84660]

6 Dec 2011 : Column 223W

Chris Grayling: The information requested is not available as the Department does not record cases in the format that would enable us to report against their location. We can provide volumes for the whole country with an average. The information is in the following table:


Volume (k) Average value (£)

2008-09(1)

3,329

57.19

2009-10

120,521

139.18

2010-11

233,481

202.71

(1) ESA commenced 27 October 2008. Source: Debt Accounting. This does not form official statistics but is derived from management information.

Employment Schemes: Compensation

Mark Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how his Department calculates the amount of compensation due to employment agencies that have recorded losses due to the switch from the Flexible New Deal to the Work programme. [85213]

Chris Grayling: Negotiations to agree settlements in closing Flexible New Deal Phase 1 contracts are currently in train and are commercial in confidence. It would therefore be prejudicial to DWP's remaining active negotiations to release this information at this time.

Employment Schemes: Third Sector

Mark Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the Work programme on the likelihood of third sector employment agencies being able to take part in future contacts. [85214]

Chris Grayling: DWP's delivery partners are expected to be able to demonstrate the capital strength to take on the risks inherent in an exclusively or heavily outcome-based approach. Smaller voluntary and community organisations were unable to demonstrate the capacity, especially the financial capacity, for selection onto the Employment Related Support Services (ERSS) Framework, from which future contracts will be delivered. However, many voluntary and community sector organisations are involved as subcontractors or work on a call-off basis delivering personalised and tailored employment services via a prime contractor.

Jobcentre Plus: Telephone Services

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his policy to discontinue premium rate telephone numbers for people calling jobcentres. [85239]

Chris Grayling: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) does not use any premium rate telephone numbers.

The Department's policy is that all calls should be free to our 0800 numbers to claim:

state pension;

pension credit;

jobseeker’s allowance;

employment support allowance; and

emergency payments or crisis loans.

6 Dec 2011 : Column 224W

It is free to call DWP 0800 numbers from BT landlines. DWP has secured agreements to ensure that it is free to call via nine of the UK's largest mobile phone operators, representing 95% of the mobile market.

For other services, including calling local Jobcentres, 0845 numbers are used. This is because they are for inquiries that typically take less time to resolve. DWP strive to achieve the right balance between meeting customer needs and using taxpayers' money effectively. These calls are charged at variable rates determined by landline and mobile phone providers. DWP has retained geographical telephone numbers for personal advisers in Jobcentres, which means that claimants can contact their adviser directly when necessary. The Department appreciates the financial hardship that this can cause some people and so, if a customer raises a concern over the cost of the call or asks, we will offer to call them back.

The Department is currently reviewing its telephony numbering policy in conjunction with Ofcom. This includes the use of 0845 telephone numbers.

Pensions

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the percentage increase will be in additional pension as a result of SERPS contributions from April 2012. [85101]

Steve Webb: As announced in the Uprating Statement today, SERPS pensions will rise in April 2012 by 5.2%.

Social Justice Committee

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many meetings of the Social Justice Committee he has attended since its establishment. [85291]

Chris Grayling: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, is the Chair of the Social Justice Cabinet Committee. It is however longstanding Government practice not to disclose information relating to ministerial meetings, including the proceedings of Cabinet and Cabinet committees, as to do so would put at risk the public interest in the full and frank discussion of policy by Ministers.

Social Security Benefits

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many incapacity benefit claimants who have participated in work capability assessments since February 2011 resulting in a recommendation by Atos of receipt of employment and support allowance in the support group his Department has subsequently decided should (a) receive employment and support allowance in the support group, (b) receive employment and support allowance in the work-related activity group and (c) not receive employment and support allowance. [85092]

Chris Grayling: The information requested is not available. Information on the number of work capability assessments (WCAs) completed for incapacity benefits claimants can be provided using the Department's

6 Dec 2011 : Column 225W

management information system, but to know the outcomes of the WCAs and the variation from the Atos recommendation requires individual level data.

Due to the overall length of the incapacity benefits reassessment process, information on the entire process including the final outcomes and subsequent destinations of claimants being reassessed is not yet available. Individual level data are being collected, but it will take time to complete because of the overall length of the reassessment process. The Department plans to publish data on the outcomes of the reassessment process, but only once they have been quality assured and are considered robust.

Social Security Benefits: Gurkhas

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many of the retired Gurkhas and their dependents that have settled in (a) Maidenhead, (b) Aldershot, (c) Reading and (d) Folkestone since 2009 have received (i) housing benefit, (ii) state pensions and tax credits and (iii) council tax benefit. [85220]

Chris Grayling: The information you have requested is not available. The UK's benefit payment systems do not record whether or not individuals in receipt of benefits are retired Gurkhas.

Unemployment: Ex-servicemen

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many armed forces veterans were (a) economically inactive and (b) long-term unemployed in each year since 2005-06; [84986]

(2) whether his Department has estimated the number of armed forces veterans who will be (a) economically inactive and (b) long-term unemployed in each year to 2015-16. [84987]

(3) what information his Department holds on the number of unemployed armed forces veterans in each English region. [84995]

Maria Miller: The Department for Work and Pensions does not routinely record whether benefit claimants are former armed forces personnel. Also, the Labour Force Survey does not record whether respondents are former armed forces personnel.

We are looking into ways of improving knowledge on the employment and benefit outcomes of ex-service personnel.

Universal Credit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on what date the integrated assurance and approvals plan for universal credit was presented to the programme board; and if he will place a copy in the Library. [83573]

Chris Grayling: The integrated assurance and approvals plan was presented to the Universal Credit Programme Board on 21 March 2011. The Programme Board signed-off the plan.

Government are currently considering how to drive greater transparency in project reporting through their policy on the publication of project and programme

6 Dec 2011 : Column 226W

data. Key milestones, and other project-related information typically included in an IAAP, will form part of those policy considerations. DWP is party to those considerations and will align its reporting of all projects with the transparency policy once it is agreed.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much of the funding allocated to universal credit implementation will be spent on staff training. [85094]

Chris Grayling: The 2010 spending review settlement included funding of £2 billion for the period 2011-12 to 2014-15. This is intended to meet all the costs of introducing universal credit including any increases in benefit expenditure, additional benefit administration costs in the transition period, the costs of IT development and implementation, communications, staff training and programme management. Detailed commitments will be developed alongside programme plans.

Welfare to Work

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of the upfront investment from private and voluntary bodies to his welfare to work programme came from private sector businesses; and if he will provide a breakdown of such investment. [84247]

Chris Grayling: During the bidding process for the Work programme, the 18 preferred bidders indicated they planned to invest up to £580 million over the lifetime of the contracts.

A breakdown by sector is not available.

Work Capability Assessment

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were exempted from a work capability assessment on the grounds that they were receiving intravenous chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment for cancer in the latest period for which figures are available. [85093]

Chris Grayling: The exact information requested is not available as the Department's administrative data do not record the detail of the treatment being received by the claimant. However, the Department regularly publishes official statistics on employment and support allowance (ESA) and the work capability assessment (WCA). The latest report was published in October 2011 and can be found on the internet at the following link:

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

Table 7 of the publication shows the results of initial assessment by condition group for claims started between October 2008 and February 2011. This shows that for all new claims to ESA with the primary condition in the 'neoplasms' group (the World Health Organisation classification of disease group for cancer), 13% were assessed to be fit for work, 14% were assessed to be in the work-related activity group, 52% were assessed to be in the support group and remainder were awaiting or closed their claim before completing the assessment.

6 Dec 2011 : Column 227W

Table 5 of the publication shows the number of claimants assessed to be in the support group at initial assessment by reason for claims started between October 2008 and February 2011. This shows that there were 16,400 claimants assessed to be in the support group because they were assessed as awaiting, receiving or recovering from intravenous, intraperitoneal or intrathecal chemotherapy. This is 15% of all those assessed to be in the support group at initial assessment.

International Development

Departmental Communications

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many (a) press officers, (b) internal communications officers, (c) external communications officers, (d) communications strategy officers and (e) other positions with a communications remit were employed by his Department on the most recent date for which figures are available. [84208]

Mr Duncan: The most recent figures are 48 (full-time equivalents) communications staff in the Department for International Development. This can be broken down as follows:

(a) 11 press officers

(b) Five internal communications officers

(c) 0 external communications officers

(d) 17 strategic communications officers

(e) Nine digital (web content) and six communications officers overseas.

Official Hospitality

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what receptions and events have been hosted by his Department since May 2010, including those sponsored by third parties. [84207]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Department for International Development (DFID) has hosted or co-hosted 15 events and receptions since May 2010. Contacting country offices for details of their events and receptions would incur disproportionate cost, so this list includes events and receptions organised by DFID's UK headquarters only. All events and receptions are carried out at minimal cost to the Department by collaborating with partners and making use of free venues where possible.

Date Event

2010

 

21 to 22 June

Hosted: Politics of Poverty event. Sunningdale.

8 July

Hosted: Launch of Development Assistance Committee peer review of DFID. Palace St.

22 September

Co-hosted: High level event on Malaria. UN MDGs summit. New York.

6 December

Co-hosted: EU conference on international development.

   

2011

 

29 March

Co-hosted: Afghanistan stakeholder event, with Baroness Northover. British Museum.

7 June

Hosted: DFID alumni annual event. Palace St.

8 June

Hosted: Secretary of State one year on speech. Royal College of Pathologists.

12 June

Co-hosted: GAVI reception. Central London.

6 Dec 2011 : Column 228W

13 June

Co-hosted: GAVI pledging conference with Gates Foundation and Government of Liberia. Central London.

20 to 22 July

Co-hosted: Annual Tidewater meeting. Wilton Park.

4 to 5 August

Hosted: Gulf donors meeting. Lancaster House.

11 July

Hosted: Secretary of State speech on business in Africa. London Business School.

21 September

Co-hosted: MDG Countdown event. UN General Assembly.

9 November

Hosted: Secretary of State Beyond Aid speech. Wellcome Trust.

24 November

Hosted: 30th Anniversary event for DFID's Scottish HQ. Abercrombie House.

Departmental Pay

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether any senior staff in his Department are paid by means of payments to a limited company in lieu of a salary; and if he will publish his policy on such payments. [85075]

Mr O'Brien: No senior members of staff working for the Department for International Development (DFID) are paid by means of payments to a limited company in lieu of salary. DFID does not have a policy on such payments.

Procurement

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which services his Department has outsourced in each of the last five years. [84227]

Mr Duncan: Information in relation to the outsourcing of goods and equipment is on the external Department for International Development (DFID) website:

www.dfid.gov.uk

as are the details of the competitively let frameworks and the associated contract details of Crown Agents, Charles Kendall and International Procurement Agency. Most recently these were let in 2009 and run until February 2013.

DFID outsource their travel management requirements with Hogg Robinson Group (HRG). All UK generated travel requirements such as air, rail and hotels are booked by HRG. Value for money is achieved through HRG providing “best fare on the day”. DFID are also rolling out this contract to overseas offices and migration is expected to be by June 2013. DFID will then transfer onto the new central Government contract which is currently being procured for all central Government Departments. The contract which is a call-down from the Buying Solutions framework commenced in July 2009 and expires in June 2013.

DFID outsource their facilities management requirements to MITIE Technical Facilities Management Ltd for the provision of Total Facilities Management in the UK. We have also outsourced a small number of information technology functions.

DFID humanitarian operations and support services are outsourced to Crown Agents under the Conflict Humanitarian and Security Department (CHASE OT outsourced contract). The contract duration is five years (2005-11).

6 Dec 2011 : Column 229W

Developing Countries: Malaria

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of rapid detection tests on the treatment of malaria. [84463]

Mr O'Brien: More accurate diagnosis can improve outcomes for malaria and other diseases, including major causes of child deaths, such as pneumonia. Therefore, World Health Organisation malaria treatment guidelines now recommend universal diagnostic confirmation of suspected cases of malaria.

Low cost and accurate rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are now available for use at the point of care. However, their influence on subsequent clinical practice has been variable in different settings and with different providers, and adherence to test results is still an issue in countries where RDTs have been scaled up. But there is growing evidence to show that RDTs can be used for effective case management when supported by training, supervision and the availability and use of quality assured malaria medicines, and options for treating or referring non-malaria cases.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding his Department allocated to malaria diagnosis through rapid detection tests in each of the last five years; and what funding he has allocated for each of the next five years. [84464]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development does not track inputs, allocations and expenditure according to the category requested. The UK's codes are based on the OECD Development Assistance Committee codes which are used for reporting ODA and, as a DAC member, the UK is committed to transparent reporting of development assistance in a way that permits international comparisons.

Addressing malaria is one of the main priorities of the UK Government. We are committed to helping halve malaria deaths in at least 10 of the worst affected countries by 2015. And we will support action to sustain and expand gains into the future. The UK will invest up to £500 million each year by 2014-15 to support this goal where results can be delivered and value for money demonstrated.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of malaria diagnosis through rapid detection tests on the tracking and mapping of malaria. [84465]

Mr O'Brien: The increased use of diagnostic testing can support more accurate reporting on malaria. Initially, it is likely to lead to a significant decrease in the number of reported cases in many countries, as rates of misdiagnosis decrease. Data collection and monitoring systems also need to be strengthened.

The combination of increased use of rapid diagnostic tests for malaria and improved data monitoring contributes to more effective and cost-efficient planning and delivery of malaria services. This, in turn, helps address the health needs of people who would otherwise be misdiagnosed.

6 Dec 2011 : Column 230W

Developing Countries: Malnutrition

Mark Menzies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to reduce levels of child malnutrition in fragile states. [84280]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) recently published the paper ‘Scaling Up Nutrition: the UK's position paper on undernutrition', which states that, between 2011 and 2015, its nutrition-related programmes (in addition to humanitarian assistance) will reach 20 million children under the age of five, 10 million of whom are in fragile countries. For example, in five states in northern Nigeria, the UK is developing a six-year programme that will reach 6.2 million children through the expansion of services for the community management of acute under-nutrition, providing essential vitamin and minerals supplementation and helping to promote exclusive breastfeeding.

Tackling acute child under-nutrition remains a strong focus of the UK's humanitarian response. The UK is increasing its support to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to scale up and sustain coverage of its young child feeding, provision of micronutrients and nutrition security in emergencies and protracted crises. In Yemen the UK is delivering humanitarian assistance through a variety of agencies including UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross and a consortium of non-governmental organisations including Oxfam, Save the Children, CARE and Islamic Relief. This is already helping to treat over 80,000 malnourished children under the age of five and screen 1.1 million more. Where possible DFID will use its nutrition programmes to build longer-term capacity to respond to nutrition crises through multi-year funding.

EU Aid: Family Planning

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will discuss with his EU counterparts (a) global interests in stabilising population levels and (b) increasing EU aid for family planning. [84855]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The UK Government are working closely with others, including the EU, to advance a comprehensive understanding of the role of population dynamics (specifically the demographic dividend associated with declining fertility) in helping achieve increased economic productivity and rising per capita income in developing economies. A major cause of poverty and a contributor to rapid population growth is the lack of choice for women and girls over their own fertility. We know that 215 million women in the developing world, who would like to delay or avoid a pregnancy, do not have access to modern family planning methods.

This is why the Government have recently announced additional support for contraceptive supplies to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to help prevent two million unintended pregnancies and avert nearly 220,000 unsafe abortions. In November 2010, the EU also pledged €23 million to UNFPA's Global Programme for Reproductive Health Commodity Security.

6 Dec 2011 : Column 231W

Overseas Aid: Education

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many education officers his Department employs. [84587]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development currently employs 34 education advisers. During 2012 this is likely to increase to 42 education advisers as the result of recent and ongoing recruitment. Education advisers work alongside programme management staff and advisers from other disciplines in the delivery of DFID's education programmes.

Sri Lanka: Internally Displaced People

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent reports he has received on the situation of internally displaced people in Sri Lanka. [85229]

Mr O'Brien: DFID receives regular reports through the British High Commission in Colombo on the situation of internally displaced peoples in Sri Lanka. About 7,500 displaced people remain in camps in Sri Lanka, out of about 300,000 at the end of the conflict in 2009. They are receiving humanitarian assistance through a number of UN agencies.

World Bank

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the (a) World Bank's proposed new lending instrument set out in Operational Policy 9.00: Programme for Results heading and (b) proposal to remove application of World Bank social and environmental safeguard policies from financing under that instrument; and whether under that proposal there will be effective and appropriate use of the UK's contribution to the funding of the World Bank. [85309]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: I consider Program-for-Results (P4R), the World Bank's proposed results-based lending instrument, to be an effective way of modernising the way the World Bank lends to developing countries. The results focus of the new lending instrument will encourage efficiency, sharpen the emphasis on impact and enable the bank to partner with others more effectively. This will help to ensure value for money from the UK's funding to the World Bank.

The World Bank continues to update the proposal. We take social and environmental risks seriously and will consider these issues in detail when we receive the final proposal.

Communities and Local Government

Affordable Housing

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he plans to take to provide (a) low cost housing for sale and (b) affordable rented housing in the next three years. [84652]

6 Dec 2011 : Column 232W

Andrew Stunell [holding answer 5 December 2011]: The Homes and Communities Agency's Affordable Homes Programme 2011-15 will deliver 80,000 new homes for Affordable Rent and Affordable Home Ownership with Government funding of just under £1.8 billion. Around 21% of these homes will be for Affordable Home Ownership.

Overall, with our total investment of £4.5 billion we expect to provide up to 170,000 new affordable homes by 2015, compared to the 150,000 originally estimated.

Business

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if there are any regulations governing local authority subsidy of commercial businesses; and if he will make a statement. [85159]

Robert Neill: Authorities need to act within European Commission regulations on state aid. Other domestic regulations may be relevant such as the ones governing business rate reliefs.

Council Housing

Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has made an estimate of the proportion of council houses which have been sold and are available to rent. [84771]

Andrew Stunell: Almost all council homes that have been sold will have been through the Right to Buy or through transfer to housing associations. The vast majority of homes disposed to registered housing associations will still be available for rent. We keep no record of the use made of homes sold to individuals, for example through the Right to Buy, or to other bodies.

Statistics relating to the disposal of council housing can be found on the Department's website:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/socialhousingsales/livetables/

Council Tax Benefits

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to announce whether the work associated with council tax discounts will be transferred to local authorities along with the council tax benefit scheme. [84053]

Robert Neill: The Government are proposing a number of technical reforms for council tax, which are currently subject to a public consultation exercise. We would expect any changes to be in force by April 2013.

The separate consultation on localising council tax support, which is to replace council tax benefit, has now closed. Local schemes of support for council tax will be in place from April 2013.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration he has given to delaying his planned introduction of local authority-based schemes for council tax benefit support to allow a greater period of time between the coming into force of secondary

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legislation and the date on which local authorities must issue invoices; and whether he has carried out a risk assessment in respect of his current planned timetable. [84055]

Robert Neill: My Department has no intention of delaying the planned introduction in April 2013.

Food Procurement

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he is taking to ensure that the same standards of animal welfare for whole eggs apply to imported liquefied eggs procured by (a) his Department and (b) public bodies for which he is responsible. [83796]

Robert Neill: All eggs used by the Department for Communities and Local Government and its public bodies are Lion branded and sourced from enriched cages as a minimum standard.

From 1 January 2012, all eggs and egg products will be sourced from enhanced conventional cages.


Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of food sourced by (a) his Department and (b) public bodies for which he is responsible was procured from UK food producers in the latest period for which figures are available. [83797]

Robert Neill: The Department for Communities and Local Government’s caterers procured 56% of food from UK food producers. The Department does not hold this information for its public bodies.

The Department’s caterers are contracted to comply with Government buying standards for food with regard to food purchase and provision and we are working to increase the volume of food procured from the UK.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps (a) his Department and (b) public bodies for which he is responsible are taking to ensure that they meet the Government’s buying standards for food and catering. [83798]

Robert Neill: The Department for Communities and Local Government’s and its public bodies’ caterers must comply with Government buying standards for food and catering.

Formula Grants

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what funding was allocated by his Department for (a) the formula grant and (b) specific grant funding for (i) Suffolk Coastal, (ii) Teignbridge, (iii) Breckland, (iv) Mid Sussex, (v) South Oxfordshire, (vi) South Cambridgeshire, (vii) East Lindsey, (viii) Isle of Wight and (ix) Wealden in each financial year between 2008-09 and 2011-12; [84756]

(2) what funding was allocated by his Department for (a) the formula grant and (b) specific grant

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funding for (i) Ipswich, (ii) Halton, (iii) Nuneaton and Bedworth, (iv) Slough, (v) Norwich, (vi) Thanet, (vii) Reigate and Banstead, (viii) Torbay, (ix) Windsor and Maidenhead, (x) Oxford, (xi) Canterbury and (xii) Blackburn and Darwen in each financial year between 2008-09 and 2011-12; [84757]

(3) what funding was allocated by his Department for (a) the formula grant and (b) specific grant funding for (i) Newcastle-under-Lyme, (ii) Preston, (iii) Middlesbrough, (iv) Poole, (v) Arun and (vi) Elmbridge in each financial year between 2008-09 and 2011-12; [84758]

(4) what per capita funding was allocated by his Department for (a) the formula grant and (b) specific grant funding for (i) Suffolk Coastal, (ii) Teignbridge, (iii) Breckland, (iv) Mid Sussex, (v) South Oxfordshire, (vi) South Cambridgeshire, (vii) East Lindsey, (viii) Isle of Wight and (ix) Wealdon in each financial year between 2008-09 and 2011-12; [84964]

(5) what per capita funding was allocated by his Department for (a) the formula grant and (b) specific grant funding for (i) Ipswich, (ii) Halton, (iii) Nuneaton and Bedworth, (iv) Slough, (v) Norwich, (vi) Thanet, (vii) Reigate and Banstead, (viii) Torbay, (ix) Windsor and Maidenhead, (x) Oxford, (xi) Canterbury and (xii) Blackburn with Darwen in each financial year between 2008-09 and 2011-12; [84965]

(6) what per capita funding was allocated by his Department for (a) the formula grant and (b) specific grant funding for (i) Newcastle-under-Lyme, (ii) Preston, (iii) Middlesbrough, (iv) Poole, (v) Arun and (vi) Elmbridge in each financial year between 2008-09 and 2011-12; [84966]

(7) what per capita funding was allocated by his Department for (a) the formula grant and (b) specific grant funding for (i) Eastleigh, (ii) Amber Valley, (iii) North Hertfordshire, (iv) Broadland, (v) Stafford, (vi) Epping Forest, (vii) Swale, (viii) Warwick, (ix) East Hertfordshire, (x) St Albans, (xi) Guildford, (xii) Cherwell, (xiii) Lancaster, (xiv) Dacorum, (xv) Maidstone and (xvi) Redcar and Cleveland in each financial year between 2008-09 and 2011-12; [84967]

(8) what per capita funding was allocated by his Department (a) for formula grant and (b) specific grant funding for financial years 2008-09 and 2011-12 for (i) Vale of White Horse, (ii) Waverley, (iii) Horsham, (iv) South Kesteven, (v) East Devon, (vi) Braintree, (vii) King's Lynn and West Norfolk and (viii) Tendring in each financial year between 2008-09 and 2011-12. [84968]

Robert Neill [holding answer 5 December 2011]: These data can be found online at:

http://www.local.communities.gov.uk/finance/ssas.htm

Comparisons between years may not be valid due to varying functions and responsibilities of different tiers of local government.

Disabled Facilities Grants

Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has any plans to change the assessment for the Disability Facilities Grant. [84997]

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Andrew Stunell: There are currently no plans to make changes to the way in which Disabled Facilities Grants are assessed. However, the recently published report by the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support recommends reviewing the operation and administration of the grant. The Government welcome this report and are reviewing the recommendations with the care sector. Following this engagement, we will publish a White Paper on social care reform in the spring next year, as well as a progress report on funding reform. By the end of the spending review period the national Disabled Facilities Grant budget will increase from £169 million in 2010-11 to £185 million in 2014-15.

Empty Property

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of empty properties in (a) the borough of Swindon and (b) England in each year since 2001. [84451]

Robert Neill: Details of the total number of empty dwellings in the borough of Swindon and England in each year since 2004 are shown in the following table. The figures include both long-term and short-term empty dwellings. Data prior to 2004 are not available.


Swindon England

2004

1,768

710,935

2005

2,374

723,509

2006

1,877

744,931

2007

1,723

763,319

2008

1,714

783,119

2009

1,928

770,661

2010

1,897

737,491

2011

1,832

720,328

The data are taken from the council tax base form completed annually in the autumn by all billing authorities in England and returned to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

This information is available on the Department for Communities and Local Government website at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/xls/1815793.xls

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which bodies are eligible to apply for funding from (a) his Department and (b) the Homes and Communities Agency to address the problem of empty homes. [85304]

Grant Shapps: £100 million has been made available within the Affordable Homes Programme to tackle long term empty homes. The Homes and Communities Agency issued bidding guidance on 21 November 2011 at

www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/ourwork/empty-homes

which sets out how the funding available will be allocated either through the Homes and Communities Agency (or, from 1 April 2012, for London, the Greater London Authority) or through a national intermediary appointed via the Cabinet Office's Office for Civil Society Framework

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Agreement. The two funding routes ensure that both Registered Providers of Social Housing and smaller not-for-profit community and voluntary groups are able to apply.

We have announced £50 million of additional funding to tackle some of the worst concentrations of empty homes. Tackling empty homes in these areas will require an intensive approach—refurbishing and reconfiguring homes, as well as improving the public realm and tackling wider issues in the local area. Further details will be announced shortly.