Road Traffic Offences: Cycling

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fixed penalty notices were issued for the offence of cycling on the pavement in each year since the introduction of the offence, by location. [107679]

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Nick Herbert: Data on fixed penalty notices issued for cycling on a pavement are not collected centrally.

Sick Leave

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many days of sick leave were taken by staff in her Department in each of the last three years. [106446]

Damian Green: Table 1 includes the average working days lost to sickness absence in the Home Department in the financial years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12. Figures include Home Office Headquarters as well as the Department's Executive agencies—United Kingdom Border Agency, Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau. 2010-11 onwards includes former HMRC Detection staff. 2011-12 also includes National Fraud Authority and Government Equalities Office.

Table 1: Average working days lost 2010-12
  RYAWDL

2010(1)

8.80

2011(2)

7.83

2012(3)

7.88

(1, 2) Figures given are based on paid civil servants only and include current employees and those who left the Home Office during the period, in line with Cabinet Office reporting guidelines. Figures include Home Office Headquarters, the United Kingdom Border Agency, Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau. (3) Figures given are based on paid civil servants only and include current employees and those who left the Home Office during the period, in line with Cabinet Office reporting guidelines. Figures include Home Office Headquarters, the United Kingdom Border Agency, Identity and Passport Service, Criminal Records Bureau, National Fraud Authority and Government Equalities Office. Extract date: 1 April of each year (Figures based on period from 1 April to 31 March in each year). Source: (1 )Permanent Secretaries Management Group Cabinet Office return, Quarter 1 2010. (2) Permanent Secretaries Management Group Cabinet Office return, Quarter 1 2011. (3) Home Department Dataview Extract as at 31 March 2012, to be included in Permanent Secretaries Management Group Cabinet Office return, Quarter 1 2012.

Trade Unions

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many days were utilised for paid facility time by each trade union representative in (a) her Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies in 2011-12; and at what cost to the public purse. [107391]

Damian Green: The number of days used by trade union representatives for paid facility time within the Department and its non-departmental public bodies is not recorded centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many days were utilised for paid facility time by each trade union representative in (a) her Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies for trade union (i) duties and (ii) activities in 2011-12 [107392]

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Damian Green: The amount of days utilised for paid facility time by each trade union representative is not recorded centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many trade union representatives in (a) her Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies have faced disciplinary action for abusing paid facility time or public resources in each of the last five years. [107394]

Damian Green: The Department and its non-departmental public bodies have no record of any trade union representatives having faced disciplinary action for abusing paid facility time or public resources during the past five years.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many meetings have taken place between (a) her Department and (b) its non-departmental public bodies and trade union representatives utilising paid facility time in each of the last five years to discuss (i) collective bargaining, (ii) redundancies, (iii) negotiations relating to employment, pay and conditions and (iv) other trade union and industrial relations duties; and what the dates and times were of each meeting. [107395]

Damian Green: A significant number of meetings take place each year between the Department and its non-departmental public bodies and representatives of trade unions at national and local level on a wide range of topics on which the Department is legally required to

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consult or negotiate. Central records of the number, date, time and subject matter of these meetings are not kept. The information requested could be gathered only at disproportionate cost.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions trade union representatives from (a) her Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies have utilised paid facility time to represent an employee at a meeting or other industrial relations matter in each of the last five years. [107396]

Damian Green: The information requested is not recorded centrally and could be collected only at disproportionate cost. Under the Employment Relations Act 1999 staff have a legal right to be accompanied to disciplinary or grievance hearings.

UK Border Agency

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff of the UK Border Agency worked on (a) international operations, (b) immigration operations, (c) intelligence operations and (d) enforcement and crime operations in (i) 2010-11 and (ii) 2011-12; how many she expects to be working in each area in 2012-13; and if she will make a statement. [107203]

Damian Green: The information requested is provided in the following table. Posts have moved between these groups as a result of organisational changes over the period, which are explained in the footnotes.

Area 31 March 2010 Average 2010-11 31 March 2011 Average 2011-12 31 .March 2012 Average 2012-13

Immigration Group(1)

10,287

9,577

8,867

8,061

7,255

7,372

International Group

2,331

2,234

2,137

2,056

1,974

2,011

Enforcement and Criminality Group(1)

1,163

1,507

1,850

2,022

2,194

2,268

Intelligence(2)

240

234

228

Strategy and Intelligence Directorate(3)

261

227 (200)

193 (139)

113

113

109

(1) The 2010 Enforcement and Criminality Group figure is made up of work force in the former Criminality and Detection Group (CDG). From 2011-12 Enforcement and Criminality Group also includes the majority of the former Intelligence Directorate(2) as well as work force transferred from Immigration Group. From 1 April 2011 onwards it also includes 160 inwardly seconded police officers. (2) The 2010 figure for Intelligence is made up of the old Intelligence Directorate. This was amalgamated with CDG from 2011 to form Enforcement and Criminality Group, with the exception of the Strategic Intelligence Team which became part of Strategy and Intelligence Directorate. (3) The 2010 Strategy and Intelligence Directorate figure is for Policy and Strategy Group. Part of this function moved to Home Office core, the smaller figure in brackets in 31 March 2011 and the 2010-11 average represents the staff remaining as part of UKBA.

In addition to the staff in Strategy and Intelligence above undertaking intelligence operations there are a further 680 (2010-11) and 660 (2011-12) staff undertaking intelligence operations in the field who cannot be disaggregated throughout from the individual areas. The total intelligence operational figures for 2010-11 and 2011-12 are therefore 819 and 778 respectively, including the old Intelligence Directorate line.

USA

Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent progress she has made on discussions with her US counterpart on the UK's extradition treaty with that country. [106427]

Damian Green: Following the Prime Minister's meeting with President Obama in March, UK officials have held constructive discussions with the US State and Justice Departments on drawing up guidance for prosecutors when there are jurisdictional issues in extradition requests made between our two countries.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), is giving careful consideration to the independent review of extradition, published in October 2011 and will announce what action the Government will take, including on the issue of prosecutors' guidance, shortly.

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Culture, Media and Sport

Arts: Charitable Donations

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps his Department has taken to increase philanthropy in the arts. [107871]

Mr Vaizey: The Department has made excellent progress on boosting philanthropy in the arts. A reduced rate of inheritance tax, to help boost legacy giving, came into effect in April this year for those who leave more than 10% of their estate to a cultural body or charity.

Together with Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are investing £100 million in match funding to incentivise philanthropy through the Catalyst programme. This programme will help cultural organisations diversify their income streams and access more funding from private sources, including through the development of endowments.

We are also establishing the new Cultural Gifts Scheme, which will enhance acquisitions by museums across the country through the first scheme to use tax incentives to promote lifetime giving to public collections.

British Sky Broadcasting: News Corporation

Mr Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether he was aware at the time that on 13 December 2010 Rebekah Brooks had discussed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer News Corporation's bid for BSkyB; and if he will make a statement. [107881]

Mr Jeremy Hunt: I was not aware of any such discussion.

Broadband

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent progress he has made on the delivery of superfast broadband. [107872]

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent progress has been made on the roll-out of universal broadband in rural areas of England. [107981]

Mr Vaizey: I have now approved 37 Local Broadband Plans in support of the Government's rural broadband objectives and nine of those projects are in procurement, with most of these due to commence delivery shortly. The Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) Broadband Delivery Framework is due to be signed this month and the first four projects will enter procurement immediately following signature. The first 10 super-connected cities have been announced and a further 27 cities eligible for phase two of the Urban Broadband Fund have also now been announced.

Cultural Heritage

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what plans he has to ratify the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage. [107101]

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John Penrose: We have no plans to ratify the convention, although we support many of its aims and spirit. We are keen that the rich intangible cultural heritage of the United Kingdom is properly valued and, when necessary, preserved. However, we are wary of legislating on such a sensitive matter as culture, especially in an area such as intangible heritage which, by its very nature, changes rapidly and is difficult to define.

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the 2003 UNESCO convention for the protection of intangible cultural heritage. [107268]

John Penrose: The Department has made no formal assessment of the effectiveness of the 2003 convention.

Departmental Staff

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many jobs formerly in his Department and its agencies and non-departmental bodies were transferred to the private sector in 2011-12. [107845]

John Penrose: No jobs were transferred to the private sector directly from this Department in 2011-12.

We do not collate this information for our arm's length bodies (ALBs) and so I have asked their chief executives to write to the hon. Member. Copies of the responses will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

For ALBs which were declassified during 2011-12, but are still in existence, I can confirm that the Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester transferred no jobs to the private sector, and that all jobs at the Horserace Totalisator Board (the Tote) moved to the private sector following its sale in July 2011.

Mobile Phones

Anna Soubry: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) what support he plans to provide to assist households with the installation of filtering equipment to protect their television services from interference from the use of spectrum by 4G mobile services; [107212]

(2) what provision is being made to assist public organisations in meeting the cost of protecting digital terrestrial television equipment from interference from new 4G mobile services; [107213]

(3) what his estimate is of the cost to consumers of the installation of equipment to protect digital terrestrial television services against interference from 4G mobile signals. [107214]

Mr Vaizey: The Government has taken a number of policy decisions relating to coexistence between the new mobile services to be introduced in 800 MHz and the existing digital terrestrial television service. These are as follows:

A single implementation body (referred to as ‘MitCo’) will be set up to manage the delivery of DTT interference mitigation and provide support to DTT consumers. This will be led by the new 800 MHz licensees.

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MitCo will be provided with funding of £180 million. This money is expected to come from the new 800 MHz licensees. Government will bear the risk of any overspend and there will be a 50:50 gain share of any underspend between new licensees and Government when MitCo is closed down.

MitCo will provide support to DTT consumers. This will include information and providing DTT receiver filters to households proactively and reactively. Platform changes will also be offered to households where filters do not solve the issue of interference.

A Supervisory Board will be established to monitor MitCo's performance, and to advise Ofcom accordingly.

Additional support will be provided to vulnerable consumers, including installation support; approximately £20 million of the £180 million fund is intended to cover the cost of this support.

On 23 February 2012, Ofcom published a consultation on the implementation of these policy decisions. They are currently considering all responses received and expect to make a statement in the summer.

The consultation documents remain available on the Ofcom website.

Newspaper Press

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has held with (a) Welsh Ministers and (b) other groups, organisations or individuals on the printed news media in Wales. [108188]

Mr Vaizey: Neither the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt), nor I have held any meetings with Welsh Ministers regarding the business model for the printed news media in Wales. However, I have organised a Q&A session with local newspaper groups for all Westminster MPs, which is to be held on 23 May. I look forward to a very high attendance from hon. and right hon. Members to discuss this important issue.

Trade Unions

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many trade unions representatives in (a) his Department and (b) its non-departmental public bodies have faced disciplinary action for abusing paid facility time or public resources in each of the last five years. [107310]

John Penrose: No trade union representatives in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have faced disciplinary action for abusing paid facility time or public resources in the last five years.

DCMS does not hold this information for its arm's length bodies (ALBs). Accordingly, I have asked the chief executive of our ALBs to write directly to my hon. Friend with this information.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many meetings have taken place between (a) his Department and (b) its non-departmental public bodies and trade union representatives utilising paid facility time in each of the last five years to discuss (i) collective bargaining, (ii) redundancies, (iii) negotiations relating to employment, pay and conditions and (iv) other trade union and industrial relations duties; and what the dates and times were of each meeting. [107311]

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John Penrose: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost, as we do not hold this data centrally.

Defence

Depleted Uranium

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Article 36 legal review of CHARM3 will be completed. [106781]

Nick Harvey: The Article 36 legal review of CHARM3 is expected to now be completed by 1 June 2012.

Trade Unions

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library copies of the facility time agreements between trade unions and (a) his Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies. [107379]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence makes certain facilities available to civilian employees who are accredited representatives or members but not paid officials of trade unions recognised by the Department. The amount of time off and the purposes for which it is allowed is in accordance with the ACAS code of practice on time off for trade union duties and activities.

The Facility Time Agreement with the MOD recognised trade unions and staff associations is contained in the Department's HR policy and processes. The document will be placed in the Library of the House.

Energy and Climate Change

Government Contracts: Political Affiliation

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what (a) grants and (b) contracts his Department has awarded to companies or organisations run by individuals who were previously employed in any capacity by (i) the Conservative Party or its elected representatives and (ii) the Liberal Democrat Party or its elected representatives since May 2010; what the (A) value and (B) nature was of these contracts; and whether they were publicly advertised; [107136]

(2) what (a) grants and (b) contracts his Department has awarded to companies or organisations run by individuals who previously held an elected position as a member of the (i) Conservative Party and (ii) Liberal Democrat Party since May 2010; what the (A) value and (B) nature was of these contracts; and whether they were publicly advertised; [107137]

(3) which individuals have been paid by his Department for consultancy or other services who were previously employed in any capacity by the (a) Conservative Party or its elected representatives and (b) Liberal Democrat Party or its elected representatives since May 2010; what the (i) cost and (ii) nature was of the services provided; and whether they were publicly advertised; [107138]

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(4) which individuals have been paid by his Department for consultancy or other services who previously held an elected position as a member of the (a) Conservative Party and (b) Liberal Democrat Party since May 2010; what the (i) cost and (ii) nature was of the services provided; and whether they were publicly advertised. [107139]

Gregory Barker: As part of this Government's Transparency agenda, since 2010 all contracts over the value of £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder.

Disclosure of Information

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will publish all letters, emails and text messages between Ministers, special advisors and officials in his Department and energy companies in the last 12 months. [108019]

Charles Hendry: This information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Energy: Billing

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to help households with their energy bills. [107631]

Mr Davey: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Oldham East and Saddleworth (Debbie Abrahams) today.

Energy: Prices

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent discussions he has had with the six largest energy companies on their planned residential prices for 2012. [107984]

Charles Hendry: DECC Ministers and officials meet with energy suppliers on a regular basis to discuss a range of issues. Electricity and gas pricing for household consumers is a commercial matter for the companies concerned and is regulated by Ofgem.

The Deputy Prime Minister announced in April that all major suppliers have committed to a number of actions to ensure household energy consumers secure the best deal for them.

Private Sector

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many jobs formerly in his Department and its agencies and non-departmental bodies were transferred to the private sector in 2011-12. [107844]

Gregory Barker: No jobs in the Department of Energy and Climate Change, its agencies or non-departmental bodies, have been transferred to the private sector in 2011-12.

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Procurement

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when his Department next expects to undertake a spend recovery audit to identify overpayments to suppliers caused by fraud or error. [107918]

Gregory Barker: The Department is currently investigating options for how best to undertake spend on this work and expects to complete a spend recovery audit in the current financial year.

Risk Assessment

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what strategic or transitional risk registers in each area of policy are held by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [107477]

Gregory Barker: Each significant policy area, function, project and programme within DECC is expected to maintain a risk register. Those registers provide the information that is used to maintain a departmental risk register which is reviewed by the departmental board. The registers form part of the risk management and assurance framework described in the Department's annual report and accounts 2010-11:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/about/our_goals/annual_reports/annualreports.aspx

Telephone Services

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many call centres provide services for his Department and the bodies for which he is responsible; and how many such call centres are based abroad. [107015]

Gregory Barker: Seven call centres provide services for the Department and, of these, none are based abroad.

Trade Unions

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many days were utilised for paid facility time by each trade union representative in (a) his Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies in 2011-12; and at what cost to the public purse. [107356]

Gregory Barker: The Recognition Agreement between DECC and the recognised trades unions (the Public and Commercial Services Union, the FDA and Prospect) follows the ACAS Code of Practice ‘Time off for Trades Union Duties and Activities’ and sets out the details of facility time agreed between parties.

In 2011-12 DECC employed two full-time equivalent officers who utilised 252 working days. In addition, the department had 11 part-time representatives who utilised approximately 10 working days. The total salary costs were £87,491.98.

The Department has responsibility for four non-departmental bodies:

The Civil Nuclear Police Authority

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The Coal Authority

The Committee on Climate Change

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Of these, the Civil Nuclear Police Authority employed two full-time equivalent officers who utilised 252 working days. No figures were held for four part-time representatives. The total salary costs were approximately £100,000.

The other bodies confirm no days were utilised for paid facility time and so zero cost.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will place in the Library copies of the facility time agreements between trade unions and (a) his Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies. [107358]

Gregory Barker: The Recognition Agreement between DECC and the recognised trades unions (the Public and Commercial Services Union, the FDA and Prospect) follows the ACAS Code of Practice “Time off for Trades Union Duties and Activities” and sets out the details of facility time agreed between parties.

A copy will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

The Department has responsibility for four non-departmental bodies:

The Civil Nuclear Police Authority

The Coal Authority

The Committee on Climate Change

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

None of bodies have a facility time agreement.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many trade union representatives in (a) his Department and (b) each of its non-departmental bodies have faced disciplinary action for abusing paid facility time or public resources in each of the last five years. [107359]

Gregory Barker: DECC was created in October 2008 so we only have data from this date.

No trade unions representatives faced disciplinary action for abusing paid facility time or public resources in any of the years from October 2008.

The Department has responsibility for four non-departmental bodies:

The Civil Nuclear Police Authority

The Coal Authority

The Committee on Climate Change

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Of these, the Civil Nuclear Police Authority reports no trade unions representatives faced disciplinary action for abusing paid facility time or public resources in any of the years from October 2008.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many meetings have taken place between (a) his Department and (b) each of its non-departmental bodies and trade union representatives utilising paid facility time in each of the last five years to discuss (i) collective bargaining, (ii) redundancies, (iii) negotiations relating to employment, pay and conditions and (iv) other trade union and industrial relations duties; and what the dates and times were of each meeting. [107360]

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Gregory Barker: DECC was created in October 2008 so we only have data from this date. The Recognition Agreement between DECC and the recognised trades unions (the Public and Commercial Services Union, the FDA and Prospect) follows the ACAS Code of Practice “Time off for Trades Union Duties and Activities”.

The Departmental Consultative Council (DCC) meetings take place twice a year, February for the main annual ‘forward planning' meeting, October for a ‘mid-year progress' review. There are two sub-committees: HR Policy meets twice a year (January and September) and Working Environment, Wellbeing and Diversity (January, April, July and October). Other meetings are held on an ad hoc basis and detailed information is not held and would involve disproportionate cost to collect.

The Department has responsibility for four non-departmental bodies:

The Civil Nuclear Police Authority

The Coal Authority

The Committee on Climate Change

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

For the Civil Nuclear Police Authority, from April 2007 until March 2011 monthly Joint Consultative meetings were held with all three representative bodies, which, became a Joint Negotiation meeting at quarterly intervals.

For Police Staff Pay Structure design and implementation a fortnightly consultation and negotiation meeting with Prospect from November 2010 until September 2011.

Detailed information is not held and would involve disproportionate cost to collect.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has only had a recognition agreement in place since January 2012. Since then there have been two meetings to discuss this year's pay remit; 1 meeting to discuss collective bargaining as the body has just agreed this for pay, holidays and hours; no meetings on redundancies and no meetings on trade union and other industrial relations reasons.

With the national officers there has been two meetings on other industrial relations duties but no meetings in the other three categories.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on how many occasions trade union representatives from (a) his Department and (b) each of the non-departmental public bodies have utilised paid facility time to represent an employee at a meeting or other industrial relations matter in each of the last five years. [107361]

Gregory Barker: DECC and its non-departmental bodies does not hold the information you have requested centrally and answering the question would incur disproportionate costs.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Foreign Relations

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have had with officials in the government of (i) India, (ii) China and (iii) Brazil in the last 12 months. [106682]

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Mr Jeremy Browne: Ministers and officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office meet their counterparts from India, China and Brazil on a regular basis, through our diplomatic posts, with the relevant high commissions and embassies in London, and during inward and outward visits. These interactions occur in a wide variety of circumstances, and it is therefore not possible to assess accurately the total number of meetings that have taken place in the last 12 months.

Iran

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the government of Iran following recent reports of executions in that country. [106709]

Alistair Burt: Iran's excessive use of the death penalty is a major cause for concern. Last year over 650 people were executed, more people per capita than any other country in the world. Iran also shows little regard for minimum international standards in the application of the death penalty, including a lack of fair trial for those convicted and abhorrent methods of execution such as suspension strangulation. The UK has repeatedly called on Iran to address its appalling use of the death penalty, and appealed for sentences, such as that handed to Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, to be overturned. We will continue to do so, and to lead international efforts to hold Iran to account for its human rights record.

Israel

Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 8 December 2011, Official Report, column 458W, on Israel, what recent representations he has received on the situation in the village of Al-Araqib in the Negev; and what reports he has received on the conditions for villagers in Al-Araqib. [107533]

Alistair Burt: I have not received specific representations or reports on the village or villagers of Al-Araqib in the Negev. But I have received regular reports on the general situation of the Bedouin communities in Israel.

The British embassy in Tel Aviv is in regular contact with Bedouin leaders and activists and our ambassador in Israel has discussed the Israeli Government's plans for relocation of thousands of Bedouin in the Negev with the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and Minister Begin.

The Israeli Government's plans were a major focus of my visit to Israel on 8-11 January 2012. I travelled to the region and met Minister Begin during my visit to raise our concerns and encourage further dialogue between the Israeli Government and Bedouin representatives. Extensive consultations with the Bedouin community are under way and it is clear that decisions are not yet imminent. We hope that this process will result in an agreed and satisfactory solution to the long-standing issues of unrecognised Bedouin villages.

17 May 2012 : Column 272W

Sierra Leone

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support his Department plans to provide for the election process in the November 2012 elections in Sierra Leone. [107218]

Mr Bellingham: The British Government, along with its international partners, supports the democratic process in Sierra Leone and is committed to peace, security and stability across the region. Our high commissioner in Freetown and his staff have regularly made our support clear to the Government of Sierra Leone. We hope that the EU will send an observation mission to cover the elections.

The Department for International Development in Sierra Leone is the largest donor to the electoral process and November elections, providing approximately 50% of election funding to a wide range of government and civil society stakeholders. This includes:

building capacity in electoral management bodies, including the National Electoral Commission and Political Parties Registration Commission, to enable them to conduct an open and transparent electoral process, which is key to free, fair and credible elections; and

providing support to a range of institutions responsible for upholding the rule of law—key to ensuring the right security environment on election day—including the Office of National Security and Sierra Leone police.

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on steps being taken to reduce registration fraud in Sierra Leone. [107221]

Mr Bellingham: The Department for International Development (DFID) has taken the following steps to support the electoral process and help reduce registration fraud in Sierra Leone:

The Government of Sierra Leone, through the National Electoral Commission, has introduced the requirement for a biometric system to minimise the opportunities for duplicate voter registration and/or voting. DFID has supported the procurement and set-up of this new system;

Support to the National Elections Watch, a civil society umbrella group to train and field long-term national observers at all stages of the process including registration and the vote itself; and,

jointly working with the EU to field a team of international observers.

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department has spent in Sierra Leone by (a) region and (b) category of spending in each of the last 10 years. [107222]

Mr Bellingham: As details are not held centrally, this information can be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has made an assessment of the Sierra Leonean government's relations with (a) the Sierra Leonean police force and (b) other national institutions that are independent of government. [107223]

17 May 2012 : Column 273W

Mr Bellingham: The Sierra Leone Police Force (SLP) is responsible to the Sierra Leone Ministry of Internal Affairs. The SLP are required to operate under the rule of law and are subject to parliamentary oversight. The UK encourages the Government of Sierra Leone to ensure their relationship with the SLP and other national institutions remain neutral, balanced and within the framework of the Sierra Leone Constitution.

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the ability of the Sierra Leonean judiciary to operate independently of the executive. [107224]

Mr Bellingham: The UK works closely with the Government of Sierra Leone and the judiciary to promote an environment in which the rule of law in Sierra Leone is impartial and independent of the executive.

The Department for International Development is a long-term supporter of the justice sector. Its new Access to Security and Justice Programme builds on its six year Justice Sector Development Programme, which supported rebuilding and reshaping of the formal justice sector.

This new programme will also focus on increasing access to justice to a greater number of citizens. It aims to do so affordably and sustainably by broadening access through community mediation and the use of paralegals as well as maintaining the more formal elements of the system.

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which international organisations are offering support for a safe and fair election process to provide for a stable government in Sierra Leone. [107225]

Mr Bellingham: The UK Country Team in Sierra Leone is involved in preparations for the election process as well as in monitoring the implementation of the elections in November 2012. Other international organisations offering support include the UN Development Programme and the UN Integrated Peacekeeping Mission in Sierra Leone. We understand that the Economic Community Of West African States, the Commonwealth and the EU are considering sending observer missions to the elections.

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the greatest threat to economic and political stability in Sierra Leone. [107226]

Mr Bellingham: As with any post-conflict country, there are a range of threats to political and economic stability in Sierra Leone. The UK Country Team regularly reviews four main areas of potential threat. These include political violence, specifically in the context of the upcoming elections; corruption; narcotics and organised crime; and external economic shocks, such as the knock-on effects of regional instability.

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received regarding the importation of weapons and military equipment into Sierra Leone. [107227]

17 May 2012 : Column 274W

Mr Bellingham: The British Government fully recognises Sierra Leone's right to self defence. There have been reports that heavy weaponry had recently been purchased by the Government of Sierra Leone. Initial confusion over the identity of the intended recipients of the heavy weaponry have now been clarified by the Government of Sierra Leone. Acting on international advice, the weaponry has been transferred to the Republic of Sierra Leone armed forces for use in their external peacekeeping operations in Somalia.

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the recent UN delegation to Sierra Leone. [107228]

Mr Bellingham: The most recent UN visit to Sierra Leone was from Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission Country Configuration for Sierra Leone, in January 2012. Ambassador Rishchynski reported his findings to the UN Security Council.

We also understand that representatives from the UN Security Council plan to visit Sierra Leone in the near future.

State Visits: Olympic Games 2012

Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which heads of government and ministers have been invited to the London 2012 Olympic games. [107861]

Mr Bellingham: Heads of State and Government are invited to attend the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games by their National Olympic and Paralympic Committees. It is not yet clear which Heads of State and Government will attend and we do not expect to have this information until closer to the games.

Sudan

Hazel Blears: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the treatment of the Nuba people in South Kordofan, Sudan. [106947]

Mr Bellingham: The lack of access to Southern Kordofan has so far prevented any proper assessment of the situation. We are in regular touch with the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs on this issue, as well as with non government organisations in Khartoum and Juba. We are deeply concerned at the humanitarian impact of the ongoing conflict. We continue to press both parties to agree a ceasefire in order for humanitarian agencies to be permitted access to those most in need.

Tibet

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans to visit Tibet up to 2015. [106883]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), and I have no plans to visit the Tibetan Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China.

17 May 2012 : Column 275W

Uganda

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will arrange for officials in his Department to discuss with the Wake Up Ministries charity reports of the rape of a child whose education it sponsors in eastern Uganda; and if he will make representations to the Government of Uganda on this issue. [106965]

Mr Bellingham: We cannot comment on this specific case but encourage anyone with information about child abuse in Uganda to report it to the Ugandan police force.

We are deeply concerned by the high number of reported incidents of child abuse in Uganda. The most recent police report notes in 2010 they investigated 4,781 cases of child related offences. A report released by the Child and Family Protection Unit of the police force indicates that 320 minors were defiled in 2010.

We are working closely with our EU partners in pressing the Government of Uganda to protect child rights as enshrined in the constitution, including through adopting and implementing a national action plan to combat child abuse. The Department for International Development is providing almost £500,000 for child protection work in Uganda through the African Network for Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect.

Visits Abroad

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many visits have been made to (a) India, (b) China and (c) Brazil by Ministers in his Department in each of the last 10 years. [106797]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Full records of ministerial travel over the last 10 years are not available within the time available without incurring disproportionate cost. However, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers have visited India on three occasions in 2011 and once in 2012, Brazil on four occasions in 2011 and once this year, and China on five occasions in 2011. In addition, I am currently travelling in Asia and will visit China. A full list of ministerial visits overseas is published quarterly on the FCO's website at:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/publications-and-documents/transparency-and-data1/hospitality

Zimbabwe

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to ensure that the Zimbabwean government honours its obligations to UK citizens entitled to a Zimbabwean pension. [107898]

Mr Bellingham: We have for many years and will continue to make representations, through our embassy in Harare, to the Government of Zimbabwe on the importance of fulfilling their legal responsibilities to former public servants who are entitled to a Zimbabwe government pension.

17 May 2012 : Column 276W

HM consul in Harare last met with the Director of Pensions of the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare on this issue in April 2012. The Director confirmed that trial payments were made to some pensioners in South Africa in March 2012: South Africa so chosen because of the proximity of the countries, similarities in the banking systems and the fact that most of the pensioners reside there. However, the Department of Pensions encountered technical and procedural difficulties with some of the banks and have had to stop all payments to review the process.

We will continue to press the Zimbabwean authorities to ensure that this process is taken to its conclusion.

Transport

A31

Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will take steps to reinstate the brown tourism sign on the A31 Canford Bottom junction for Wimborne Minster; and if she will make a statement. [107687]

Norman Baker: I am pleased to confirm that the brown tourism sign for Wimborne Minster will be reinstated as part of the A31 Canford Bottom junction improvement scheme.

Accountancy

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many members of staff working for her Department had a recognised accountancy qualification in each of the last three years; and how many such staff (a) have the Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) qualification and (b) are working towards a recognised accountancy qualification. [107989]

Norman Baker: The Department (including its seven executive agencies) has 183 staff with recognised accountancy qualifications, of whom 36 have ACA status. In addition, 25 staff are currently working towards a recognised accountancy qualification.

Bus Services

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress she is making with plans for the implementation of Regulation 181/2011/EU in relation to coach travel for disabled people; and if she will make a statement. [108190]

Norman Baker: EU Regulation 181/2011 on the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport will apply from 1 March 2013. As a Regulation, it will be directly applicable. However, each Member State is responsible for putting in place enforcement measures and deciding whether to use the time-limited exemptions available to delay the application of certain aspects of the EU Regulation. We will be consulting on these issues shortly.

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration she has given to reducing the period of notice required under Regulation 181/2011/EU from the proposed 36 hours for UK coach operators; and if she will make a statement. [108191]

17 May 2012 : Column 277W

Norman Baker: The Government is not minded at present to go beyond the requirements of the EU Regulation, which was agreed after 2 years of detailed negotiations.

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether journeys within the UK which are in excess of 155 miles in total but which are made up of separate individual legs of less than 155 miles on different coaches will be treated as a single journey for which assistance is available under Regulation 181/2011/EU on the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport. [108326]

Norman Baker: The Government is currently considering whether guidance on the application of EU Regulation 181/2011 on the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport is required. However, we cannot give a definitive interpretation of the law, as that is a matter for the courts.

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had with disability organisations on the implementation of Regulation 181/2011/EU on the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport. [108327]

Norman Baker: Ministers have had no specific meetings with disability organisations to discuss the application of EU Regulation 181/2011 on the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport. We will shortly be undertaking a public consultation exercise on how the EU regulation should be applied, allowing stakeholders to express their views.

Government Contracts: Political Affiliation

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what (a) grants and (b) contracts her Department has awarded to companies or organisations run by individuals who were previously employed in any capacity by (i) the Conservative party or its elected representatives and (ii) the Liberal Democrat party or its elected representatives since May 2010; what the (A) value and (B) nature was of these contracts; and whether they were publicly advertised; [107173]

(2) what (a) grants and (b) contracts her Department has awarded to companies or organisations run by individuals who previously held an elected position as a member of the (i) Conservative party and (ii) Liberal Democrat party since May 2010; what the (A) value and (B) nature was of these contracts; and whether they were publicly advertised; [107174]

(3) which individuals have been paid by her Department for consultancy or other services who were previously employed in any capacity by the (a) Conservative party or its elected representatives and (b) Liberal Democrat party or its elected representatives since May 2010; what the (i) cost and (ii) nature was of the services provided; and whether they were publicly advertised; [107175]


(4) which individuals have been paid by her Department for consultancy or other services who previously held an elected position as a member of the (a) Conservative party and (b) Liberal Democrat party since May 2010; what the (i) cost and (ii) nature was of the services provided; and whether they were publicly advertised; [107176]

17 May 2012 : Column 278W

(5) what the (a) job title and (b) pay band is of each official, excluding special advisers, recruited by her Department since May 2010 who was previously employed in any capacity by the (i) Conservative party or its elected representatives and (ii) Liberal Democrat party or its elected representatives; and whether their position was advertised publicly; [107183]

(6) what the (a) job title and (b) pay band is of each official, excluding special advisers, recruited by her Department since May 2010 who previously held an elected position as a member of the (i) Conservative party and (ii) Liberal Democrat party; and whether their position was advertised publicly. [107184]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport and its seven Executive Agencies does not capture such data.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department plans to spend on the High Speed 2 Rail project in (a) 2013-14 and (b) 2014-15; and how much of this expenditure will be allocated to consultancy fees in each of those years. [106541]

Justine Greening: The planned spend in developing High Speed 2 in 2013-14 is £150.1 million and in 2014-15 is £211.5 million. As part of undertaking the environmental impact assessment for phase 1 of the route, HS2 Ltd will be procuring services from specialist firms (e.g. engineering and environmental design). The planned spend in these activities, which are classified as technical consultancy, will be approximately £138.7 million in 2013-14 and £174.7 million in 2014-15.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of whether the business case ratio for High Speed Rail 2 may fall below 1.2:1. [107217]

Justine Greening: As with any major project of this kind, the Government continues to review and update its economic assessment as the project develops, key milestones are reached and to reflect the latest research and evidence. I intend to publish updated economic analysis later in the summer. However, the narrow economic case is only one part of the decision-making process for this strategically important project.

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Birmingham Yardley of 8 November 2010, Official Report, columns 110-11W, on railways: West Midlands and to the answer to the hon. Member for South Northamptonshire of 1 May 2012, Official Report, columns 1374-75W, on the High Speed 2 Railway Line, for what reasons the estimated and actual expenditure for her Department's high speed rail proposals were different for the financial year 2011-12. [107991]

Justine Greening: The difference between the comprehensive spending review allocation for high speed rail and actual spend in 2011-12 reflects changes to the

17 May 2012 : Column 279W

project including my decision moving from December to January, which affected the timing of expenditure on some contracts.

Highways Agency

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many full-time equivalent staff worked for the Highways Agency in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and how many she expects to work there in 2012-13. [107759]

Mike Penning: The number of full-time equivalent staff employed by the Highways Agency (HA) in 2010-11 was 3,545 and in 2011 -12 was 3,385.

The number of full-time equivalent staff expected to work in the Highways Agency in 2012-13 is 3,380. This figure is based on the number of HA staff employed on 1 April 2012.

Level Crossings: Accidents

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many incidents reported at level crossings involved collisions between trains and (a) pedestrians and (b) road vehicles in each of the last 10 years; how many such incidents resulted in a fatality; and where such incidents occurred. [108014]

Mrs Villiers: This information is not held by the Department for Transport. The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) and the RSSB collate figures of incidents and accidents on the railway that are reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.

Safety statistics for railways are available on the RSSB website at:

www.rssb.co.uk

In addition, the ORR reports annually on safety performance, including at level crossings.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport at which level crossings safety works have been undertaken following an incident involving a collision between a train and (a) pedestrians and (b) road vehicles in each of the last 10 years. [108015]

Mrs Villiers: This information is not held by the Department for Transport. Safety at level crossings is a matter for the relevant railway safety duty holder. These duty holders, such as Network Rail, have a legal obligation to reduce risks at level crossings so far as is reasonably practicable.

It is the responsibility of the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) to monitor that railway duty holders meet those obligations, and to take enforcement action to secure improvements as necessary.

Motorcycles

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment she has made of the quantitative indicators provided by the European Commission to support the extension of anti-tampering measures to unrestricted motorcycles under Articles 17, 18 and 52 of its proposed measures concerning the approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles; [107812]

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(2) what assessment she has made of the evidence cited by the European Commission on the scale of tampering and illegal modification of powered two wheelers as a proportion of the EU and UK fleet for (a) mopeds, (b) 125cc machines and (c) machines greater than 125cc; [107813]

(3) what assessment she has made of the evidence cited by the European Commission on the proportion of accidents involving death or serious injury of motorcycle riders for which tampering and illegal modification has been identified as a primary cause of the accident in the (a) EU and (b) UK; [107814]

(4) what assessment she has made of the figures provided by the European Commission to demonstrate that anti-tampering measures are effective at enforcing type approval regulations. [107815]

Norman Baker: The Commission has not published any indicators to support the extension of anti-tampering measures to unrestricted motorcycles as part of their current proposal. A Commission sponsored study is under way which may provide evidence on the scale of tampering, its influence on accidents in the EU, and the effectiveness of new regulations. The Department will consider the results of this study when they are published.

The Department's impact assessment could not find evidence to support anti-tampering measures on unrestricted motorcycles and on this basis the Government has opposed proposals to extend anti-tampering measures to unrestricted motorcycles.

Pay

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many of her Department's officials located in Wales would be affected by proposals for local-facing pay. [107526]

Norman Baker: The Department is still considering its plans on reform of pay arrangements in light of the recently issued civil service pay guidance for 2012/13. This process takes place every year and departmental officials will begin consultation with the TUS in each of the Agencies and DfT(c) in the coming months.

Railways: Carbon Emissions

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what projections her Department has made of carbon emissions from the UK rail sector in each year to 2050. [107702]

Mrs Villiers: The Department has made the following projections of rail passenger and freight traction carbon emissions in Great Britain.

The projections show an initial rise in carbon emissions resulting from running more and longer trains to accommodate passenger and freight growth. Over time this growth is then offset by energy efficiency improvements, further electrification and, in particular, by the gradual decarbonisation of the electricity generating sector resulting in a net reduction in carbon emissions.

17 May 2012 : Column 281W

  MtCO 2

2011-12

3.25

2012-13

3.20

2013-14

3.22

2014-15

3.21

2015-16

3.24

2016-17

3.21

2017-18

3.14

2018-19

3.12

2019-20

3.12

2020-21

3.08

2021-22

3.01

2022-23

2.99

2023-24

2.96

2024-25

2.98

2025-26

3.00

2026-27

2.96

2027-28

2.93

2028-29

2.90

2029-30

2.87

2030-31

2.83

2031-32

2.79

2032-33

2.73

2033-34

2.67

2034-35

2.59

2035-36

2.52

2036-37

2.46

2037-38

2.39

2038-39

2.31

2039-40

2.24

2040-41

2.15

2041-42

2.13

2042-43

2.13

2043-44

2.12

2044-45

2.11

2045-46

2.10

2046-47

2.09

2047-48

2.08

2048-49

2.08

2049-50

2.08

Railways: North West

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much she expects to be spent on the Northern Hub project in each year of the current spending review period; and how much she expects to be spent in subsequent spending review periods. [107688]

Mrs Villiers: We have announced two Northern Hub schemes comprising £85 million for the Ordsall Chord and associated works, and £130 million for Sheffield-Manchester capacity improvements and line speed improvements between Manchester and Preston, Manchester and Bradford and Manchester and Sheffield. We have also announced, subject to confirmation of the business case, £290 million funding for a related scheme; namely the electrification of the railway between Manchester, Leeds and the East Coast Main Line.

The phasing of the work, and therefore the timing of the expenditure, is a matter for Network Rail, but we expect all the funding allocated to date will be spent by 2018-19.

17 May 2012 : Column 282W

We will be considering the remaining Northern Hub schemes in the High Level Output Specification which will be published in July 2012.

Rescue Services

Mr Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how often the helicopters based at Portland and Lee-on-Solent have been airborne on operational missions at the same time in the latest period for which figures are available. [106900]

Norman Baker: The Search and Rescue helicopters based at Portland and Lee-on-Solent were airborne on operational missions on 27 occasions at the same time in the period between April 2011 and March 2012.

Mr Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how often the search and rescue aircraft based at Portland has been called out on operational missions in the latest period for which figures are available. [106901]

Norman Baker: The Search and Rescue helicopter based at Portland was called out on 195 operational missions in the period April 2011 to March 2012.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the short-listed bidders for Long Term Search and Rescue helicopter services will be published. [107654]

Norman Baker: The shortlisted bidders were first published on the UK SAR page of the DfT website in February.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what account she plans to take of UK growth and employment when procuring Long Term Search and Rescue helicopter services. [107739]

Norman Baker: In the Invitation to Participate in Dialogue, bidders have been asked how they will engage with the supply chain, UK industry and small and medium sized enterprises.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration she plans to give to supporting (a) major UK manufacturers, (b) the UK aerospace supply chain and (c) UK small and medium-sized enterprises when awarding the contract for Long Term Search and Rescue helicopter services. [107740]

Norman Baker: In the Invitation to Participate in Dialogue, bidders have been asked how they will engage with the supply chain, UK industry and small and medium sized enterprises.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how she plans to (a) determine, (b) monitor and (c) enforce (i) environmental, (ii) economic and (iii) social standards in the procurement of Long Term Search and Rescue helicopter services. [107741]

Norman Baker: Bidders must demonstrate how they will comply with all the standards set out in the Invitation to Participate in Dialogue documents. The resulting information will be taken into account in the evaluation

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of their management plans. How the standards are monitored and enforced will be considered by both parties during the competitive dialogue process.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what relative weighting will be given to (a) economic, environmental and sustainability elements and (b) other aspects of the bids for Long Term Search and Rescue helicopter contracts. [107742]

Norman Baker: I refer the hon. Member to the following web page, which explains all relative weightings for the evaluation of bids:

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/uk-sar-helicopters-services/part-3-evaluation-strategy-and-process.pdf

The economic, environmental and sustainability elements of bids will be component parts of bidders' management plans.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps will be taken against or penalties applied to the operator of search and rescue helicopter services should it not meet the environmental and sustainability commitments set out in its bid for the contract. [107743]

Norman Baker: Steps to be taken in the event of a future search and rescue operator failing to meet any of the terms and conditions of the contract will be the subject of negotiations during the dialogue phase of the procurement process.

Rolling Stock: Procurement

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the reasons are for the time taken to finalise the Thameslink rolling stock contract; and when she expects the contract to be finalised. [107765]

Mrs Villiers: The Department expects to conclude the core project agreements with Siemens and Cross London Trains shortly, following which Cross London Trains and their lending banks then need to conclude the financing documentation required to secure the necessary equity and debt funding for the project.

Telephone Services

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many call centres provide services for her Department and the bodies for which she is responsible; and how many such call centres are based abroad. [107017]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport and its seven Executive Agencies directly operate four public facing contact centres for motoring and highway services, and contracts out two contact centres—one for the Driving Theory Test and another for the National Vehicle Recovery Centre. It also operates an internal facing contact centre for its Shared Service functions. All are based in the UK.

Transport: Disability

Anne Marie Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of disabled access to transport in Newton

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Abbot constituency; and what steps she is taking to improve such access. [107698]

Norman Baker: The Secretary of State has made no recent assessment of the adequacy of provision for disabled access to transport in Newton Abbot. Newton Abbot, like other towns, will benefit from the increase in the number of accessible buses and trains that are required by regulation. I would invite my hon. Friend to contact me if she has a specific issue in mind.

Work and Pensions

Crisis Loans

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many crisis loans were provided to people living in Ashfield constituency in each of the last three years for which figures are available. [107997]

Steve Webb: The Ashfield parliamentary constituency is covered by the East Midlands North Social Fund Budget Area. The following table provides the figures on the total number of Social Fund crisis loan applications and awards for the last three years.

Total number of crisis loan applications and awards for the East Midlands North Social Fund Budget Area, 2009-10 to 2011-12
Accounting year Applications Awards Success rate (%)

2009-10

76,010

56,220

74.0

2010-11

85,970

66,360

77.2

2011-12

71,060

56,480

79.5

Notes: 1. The information provided is Management Information. Our preference is to answer all parliamentary questions using Official/National Statistics but in this case we only have Management Information available. It is not quality assured to the same extent as Official/National statistics and there are some issues with the data, for example, these amounts do not include expenditure on applications which were processed clerically and have not yet been entered on to the Social Fund Computer System. 2. Data on Budgeting Loans and Crisis Loans is not held by parliamentary constituency but by Jobcentre Plus Social Fund Budget Area. The Social Fund Budget Area information provided will also cover other parliamentary constituencies. 3. All of the figures relate to applications and awards, not people. Individuals can apply for and receive more than one Social Fund loan in any given year. 4. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. Source: Budget and Management Information System (PBMIS, Applications Received and Initial Awards for East Midlands North Social Fund Budget Area).

Disability Living Allowance

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many families with disabled children in receipt of disability living allowance have been sent a letter warning them they may be affected by the benefit cap; and if he will make a statement. [107884]

Chris Grayling: The first direct mail letters were issued on 4 May 2012 and will continue to be issued to potentially affected claimants up to 22 May 2012. During this period around 2,600 claimants with children in receipt of DLA will be sent a letter.

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Disability Living Allowance: Appeals

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the maximum length of time from the date of appeal against the removal of disability living allowance to the date of the hearing. [107706]

Maria Miller: Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are responsible for the preparation of appeal submissions with Her Majesty's Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) being responsible for the scheduling and hearing of appeals.

DWP Management Information statistics do not record the level of detail requested. The maximum number of days would depend on the individual case and the level of additional evidence that may be required. In certain instances it may be necessary to request a medical to be undertaken which can delay submission of the case.

The SSCS Tribunal does not hold information on the shortest and longest waiting times for an appeal hearing. The information could be provided only at disproportionate cost by manually checking each individual case file.

It is possible to provide, from management information, the percentages of appeals disposed of within four weeks and longer than 52 weeks. During the period 1 April to 31 December 2011 (the most recent period for which statistics have been published), 65,200 DLA appeals were disposed of nationally. Of these, 6.9% were disposed of within four weeks and 7.9% were aged 52 weeks or more when disposed of. Those appeals that take longer than 52 weeks to be disposed of are likely to be complex cases which may have more than one hearing, for example a first hearing may have been adjourned for further evidence to be gathered.

The average time from receipt at Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to hearing for DLA appeals in the period 1 April 2011 to 31 December 2011 was 25.5 weeks.

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has for the average length of time from the date of appeal against the removal of disability living allowance to the date of the appeal hearing in the most recent period for which figures are available. [107883]

Maria Miller: Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are responsible for the preparation of appeal submissions with Her Majesty's Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) being responsible for the scheduling and hearing of appeals.

The average actual clearance time (AACT) within DWP for submitting disability living allowance (DLA) appeal submissions to HMCTS during the period from April 2011 to March 2012 was 30 days.

The SSCS Tribunal does not hold information on the shortest and longest waiting times for an appeal hearing. The information could be provided only at disproportionate cost by manually checking each individual case file.

It is possible to provide, from management information, the percentages of appeals disposed of within four weeks and longer than 52 weeks. During the period 1 April to 31 December 2011 (the most recent period for which statistics have been published), 65,200 DLA appeals

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were disposed of nationally. Of these, 6.9% were disposed of within four weeks and 7.9% were aged 52 weeks or more when disposed of. Those appeals that take longer than 52 weeks to be disposed of are likely to be complex cases which may have more than one hearing, for example a first hearing may have been adjourned for further evidence to be gathered.

The average time from receipt at Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to hearing for DLA appeals in the period 1 April 2011 to 31 December 2011 was 25.5 weeks.

Employment Schemes: Young People

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether an unemployed young person can change their Work Programme prime provider if offered a Youth Contract position with an employer that has a partnership with a different prime provider. [107888]

Chris Grayling: Individuals cannot change their Work Programme prime provider. However, in the example cited, the young person's prime provider would be free to engage with the employer concerned to discuss payment of a wage incentive under the Youth Contract.

European Social Fund

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much of the funding available to his Department from the European Social Fund was unspent in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [108016]

Chris Grayling: The 2007-13 England European Social Fund programme achieved its expenditure targets in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and no funding was decommitted by the European Commission.

Housing Benefit

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what financial assistance is available other than the discretionary hardship funds, to assist claimants aged under 35 whose housing benefit is restricted to the shared accommodation rate. [106853]

Steve Webb: The extension to the age threshold for the shared accommodation rate, from 25 to under 35s has been introduced from January 2012 for new claims. For existing claimants, the change will apply at the end of their transitional protection period or, where no transitional protection is in place, on the anniversary of their claim or on a change of circumstances after that date.

Various groups of tenants in vulnerable situations are exempt from the shared accommodation rate and these will be carried forward to the age increase.

Discretionary housing payments can be paid to those in receipt of housing benefit or council tax benefit, who face a shortfall in meeting their contractual rent and where the local authority considers that further financial assistance with housing costs is required. There is no other financial assistance available from the housing benefit budget for claimants affected.

17 May 2012 : Column 287W

Shared Accommodation Rate Exemptions:

Local Authority and Housing Association tenants—Social sector tenants normally have their rent met in full (less deductions for non-dependants and earnings) as rents are generally below market rates.

Tenants in certain supported accommodation—Tenants who are in accommodation where the landlord is a county council, voluntary organisation or charity and provides care, support or supervision. These cases are assessed under pre 1996 rules which recognise that their housing costs may be more expensive.

Claimants entitled to the severe disability premium—customers in receipt of middle or higher rate care component of disability living allowance provided no one gets a carer's allowance for them.

Claimants under the age of 22 who were formerly in social services care—Allows care leavers some leeway to become settled and establish links whereby they could share accommodation with others.

The Government has added two further exemptions for those aged over 25:

A small group of ex-offenders subject to active multi-agency management under the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). Offenders subject to MAPPA are in the main 25 years or over. This is considered appropriate in order to safeguard the public rather than relying on discretionary housing payments.

People who have spent three months or more in a homeless hostel specialising in rehabilitating and resettling this group within the community. The three month qualifying condition is designed to target people receiving sustained rehabilitation rather than those who have sporadic, short term stays. Targeted at people aged 25 years and over as there is increasing prevalence among this age group of rough sleeping.

Jobseeker's Allowance: Young People

Mr Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) 18 to 24 and (b) 18 to 21 year-olds claimed jobseeker's allowance in England in the latest period for which figures are available; what proportion ceased claiming after (i) three, (ii) six, (iii) nine and (iv) 12 months; and how many of those who ceased claiming after each such period (A) found a full-time job, (B) found a part-time job, (C) entered full-time higher education, (D) entered full-time further education, (E) transferred to other benefits and (F) left for another destination. [106467]

17 May 2012 : Column 288W

Mr Hurd: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated May 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how many (a) 18-24 and (b) 18-21 year olds claimed Jobseekers Allowance in England in the latest period for which figures are available; what proportion ceased claiming after (i) three, (it) six, (iii) nine and (iv) 12 months; and how many of those who ceased claiming after each such period (A) found a full-time job, (B) found a part-time job, (C) entered full-time higher education, (D) entered full-time further education, (E) transferred to other benefits and (F) left for another destination. (106467)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) compiles the number of claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) from the Jobcentre Plus administrative system.

Table 1 shows the number of people aged 18-24 and 18-21 who were claiming JSA in England in April 2012.

Table 2 shows the number of people aged 18-24 and 18-21 who flowed off Jobseeker's Allowance in England by age group, length of claim and destination between the March and April 2012 counts. We have provided the length of claim in weeks as follows: 0-13 weeks, 14-26 weeks, 27-39 weeks, 40-52 weeks and 52 and over weeks. The requested categories for the destination of these off-flows are not available. As an alternative we have categorized these off-flows as Found job/increased hours; Full-time education; Transfer to other benefits; and Other/Unknown.

Table 3 shows the number of off-flows of people aged 18-24 and 18-21 as a percentage of all off-flows between the March and April 2012 counts for each age group for the same breakdowns as table 2.

National and local area estimates for many labour-market statistics, including employment, unemployment and claimant count are available on the NOMIS website at:

http://www.nomisweb.co.uk

Table 1: Number (1) of people claiming jobseekers allowance in England—April 2012
Age Number

18 to 24

381,895

18 to 21

234,270

(1) Data rounded to nearest five. Source: Jobcentreplus Administrative System
Table 2: Number (1) of people who flowed off jobseeker's allowance in England by age group, length of claim and destination—April 2012
  Aged 18-24
Length of claim (weeks) : All durations 0-13 14-26 27-39 40-52 Over 52

Destination

           

Total

107,605

63,720

21,260

11,190

4,310

7,125

Of which:

           

Found job/ increased hours(2)

37,225

19,030

9,070

4,990

1,905

2,225

Full-time education

940

810

70

40

15

5

Transfer to other benefits(3)

3,195

1,200

870

520

260

345

Other/unknown

66,245

42,680

11,250

5,635

2,135

4,550

  Aged 18-2 1
Length of claim (weeks) All durations 0-13 14-26 27-39 40-52 Over 52

Destination

           

Total

63,370

38,725

12,810

7,045

2,410

2,385

Of which:

           

Found job/ increased hours(2)

20,470

10,105

5,140

3,080

1,025

1,120

Full-time education

810

710

55

35

10

5

Transfer to other benefits(3)

2,100

795

570

360

160

215

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17 May 2012 : Column 290W

Other/unknown

39,990

27,115

7,045

3,570

1,215

1,050

(1) Data rounded to nearest five. (2) Increased hours covers those who have increased their work to more than 16 hours a week (3) Transfer to other benefits covers the categories incapacity benefit, income support and other benefits. 4. Other/unknown covers the categories ceased claiming; gone abroad; deceased; failed to sign; retirement age; claim review; automatic credits; defective claim; gone to prison; training; and not known. Note: Totals may not add up to their independently rounded components. Source: Jobcentreplus Administrative System
Table 3: Percentage of people who flowed off jobseeker's allowance in England by age band, length of claim and destination—April 2012
Percentage
  Aged 18-24
Length of claim (weeks) : All durations 0-13 14-26 27-39 40-52 Over 52

Destination

           

Total

100

59

20

10

4

7

Of which:

           

Found job/ increased hours(1)

35

18

8

5

2

2

Full-time education

1

1

0

0

0

0

Transfer to other benefits(2)

3

1

1

0

0

0

Other/unknown(3)

62

40

10

5

2

4

Percentage
  Aged 18-21
Length of claim (weeks) : All durations 0-13 14-26 27-39 40-52 Over 52

Destination

           

Total

100

61

20

11

4

4

Of which:

           

Found job/ increased hours(1)

32

16

8

5

2

2

Full-time education

1

1

0

0

0

0

Transfer to other benefits(2)

3

1

1

1

0

0

Other/unknown(3)

63

43

11

6

2

2

(1) Increased hours covers those who have increased their work to more than 16 hours a week (2) Transfer to other benefits covers the categories incapacity benefit, income support and other benefits. (3) Other/unknown covers the categories ceased claiming; gone abroad; deceased; failed to sign; retirement age; claim review; automatic credits; defective claim; gone to prison; training; and not known. Note: Totals may not add up to their independently rounded components. Source: Jobcentreplus Administrative System

Occupational Pensions

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the competitiveness of the agency worker industry of the staged implementation scheme for the automatic enrolment regulations. [106530]

Steve Webb: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave on 30 April 2012, Official Report, column 1323W.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the potential (a) cost and (b) administrative burden of a voluntary anytime opt-out from the automatic enrolment regulations for temporary workers; and what steps his Department has taken to minimise the administrative obligations for (i) agency workers and (ii) agencies. [106531]

Steve Webb: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave on 30 April 2012, Official Report, column 1323W.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 30 April 2012, Official Report, column 1323W, on occupational pensions, what mechanisms his Department has put in place to monitor the effect of the automatic enrolment regulations on the competitiveness and flexibility of the agency worker industry; and what arrangements are in place to review the provisions of the regulations once their effect has been evaluated. [106532]

Steve Webb: We are committed to a full evaluation of the impact of the workplace pension reforms. A copy of the workplace pension reform evaluation strategy, published in summer 2011, can be found at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2011-2012/rrep764.pdf

The first evaluation report will be published in summer 2012. This will describe the landscape before implementation of the reforms. Subsequent reports will measure the effects of the reforms. Information will also be made available through publications linked to each of the data sources used in the evaluation. These reports will be available from the DWP Research & Statistics website:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/research-and-statistics/

17 May 2012 : Column 291W

The Department will undertake a review of the regulations at the appropriate time, should the evaluation show that to be necessary.