Personal Independence Payment

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to develop a set of assessment criteria for personal independence payments that recognises fluctuating conditions such as myalgic encephalopathy and chronic fatigue syndrome. [107767]

Maria Miller: We recognise the importance of ensuring that the assessment for personal independence payment deals effectively with the impact of variable and fluctuating conditions. This is something we have been considering throughout the development process.

Our proposals for the assessment criteria have been developed in collaboration with a group of independent experts in health and disability and with considerable input from disabled people and disability organisations. Throughout the development process we have met with a range of organisations representing people with fluctuating conditions, including Action for ME and other organisations representing people suffering from CFS/ME.

Our proposal is that the assessment will consider an individual's ability to carry out activities over a period of time, enabling us to capture a reliable picture of how they are affected by their condition. Our current thinking is to look at the impact of impairments over a 12-month

17 May 2012 : Column 292W

period and consider how ability is affected on the majority of the days in that period. This process should allow us to take the fluctuations into account.

However, the criteria have not yet been finalised. Our formal consultation on the second draft of the assessment criteria closed on 30 April and we are now in the process of carefully considering all of the responses we have received, along with feedback from stakeholder meetings held during the consultation period.

I can assure you that we are considering all of these comments very carefully as we evaluate what changes need to be made to the assessment criteria.

We intend to publish a response to the consultation alongside a revised draft of the assessment criteria later in the year, once our considerations are complete. The final draft regulations will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny through the affirmative procedure.

Social Fund

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency took out loans using the Social Fund in each of the last five years. [107707]

Steve Webb: The Kilmarnock and Loudoun Parliamentary Constituency is covered by the Inverness Social Fund Budget Area. Table 1 following provides the figures on the total number of Social Fund Crisis Loan applications and awards for the last five years.

Table 1: Total number of crisis loan applications and awards for the Inverness social fund budget area, 2007-08 to 2011-12
Accounting year Applications Awards Success rate (percentage)

2007-08

137,400

95,780

69.7

2008-09

138,940

90,300

65.0

2009-10

175,400

137,110

78.2

2010-11

136,270

106,320

78.0

2011-12

103,610

84,800

81.8

Table 2 following provides the figures on the total number of Social Fund Budgeting Loan applications and awards for the last five years.

Table 2: Total number of budgeting loan applications and awards for the Inverness social fund budget area, 2007-08 to 2011-12
Accounting year Applications Awards Success rate (percentage)

2007-08

54,150

40,730

75.2

2008-09

53,770

37,780

70.3

2009-10

54,750

41,090

75.1

2010-11

51,820

36,770

71.0

2011-12

51,840

36,730

70.9

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 the Inverness Social Fund Budget Area)

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Social Fund: Birmingham

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Birmingham, Ladywood constituency took out loans using the Social Fund in each of the last five years. [107566]

17 May 2012 : Column 294W

Steve Webb: The Birmingham Ladywood parliamentary constituency is covered by the West Midlands Social Fund Budget Area. Table 1 following provides the figures on the total number of Social Fund Budgeting Loan applications and awards for the last five years.

Table 1: Total number of budgeting loan applications and awards for the West Midlands social fund budget area, 2007-08 to 2011-12
Accounting year Applications Awards Success rate (percentage)

2007-08

141,030

107,920

76.5

2008-09

158,960

116,470

73.3

2009-10

181,230

132,010

72.8

2010-11

169,190

121,380

71.7

2011-12

168,280

120,090

71.4

Table 2 following provides the figures on the total number of Social Fund Crisis Loan applications and awards for the last five years.

Table 2: Total number of crisis loan applications and awards for the West Midlands social fund budget area, 2007-08 to 2011-12
Accounting year Applications Awards Success rate (percentage)

2007-08

134,060

72,310

53.9

2008-09

261,520

178,270

68.2

2009-10

355,170

253,190

71.3

2010-11

298,670

219,360

73.4

2011-12

244,040

192,550

78.9

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 local authority or parliamentary constituency but by Jobcentre Plus Social Fund Budget Area. 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 West Midlands Social Fund Budget Area)

Social Security Benefits

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households his Department estimates will be affected by the benefit cap when it is introduced; and how many such households have been sent a letter warning them that they may be affected by the cap. [107885]

Chris Grayling: The impact assessment published on the 23 January stated that 67,000 households would be affected by the household benefit cap in 2013-14. Following the concessions won in the House of Commons on 1 February, we estimate that the grace period of 39 weeks for claimants who have been in employment for 52 weeks or more before leaving work will reduce the number of households affected to around 57,000.

Between 4 May 2012 and 22 May 2012, around 63,000 households will have received letters which inform them about the benefit cap and state that it may affect them. These figures include those households we forecast may reach the cap amounts in the coming year, due to annual uprating of benefits.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will consider including information about discretionary housing payments in letters warning claimants that they may be affected by the benefit cap when the second tranche of letters is sent out; and if he will make a statement. [107886]

Chris Grayling: Any future letters that we send to claimants who may be affected by the benefit cap in April 2013, if their circumstances remain unchanged, will provide details of the support available to them. DWP will continue to signpost claimants to their local authority to obtain support with their housing needs. Part of this support will be the consideration by the local authority of whether a discretionary housing payment may be appropriate to support claimants in the short-term while they seek employment opportunities or make alternative housing arrangements. Although DWP provides guidance on how LAs should administer the scheme, it is wholly discretionary and we cannot tell LAs how to distribute this money.

The precise wording of any future letters has yet to be decided.

State Retirement Pensions

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 24 April 2012, Official Report, column 793W, on state retirement pensions, if he will estimate the cost of increasing the 25 pence increase to the state pension for over 80 year olds to £10 a week if the payment was (a) tax-free and not taken into account for income-related benefits, (b) taxable but not taken into account for income-related benefits and (c) taxable and counted as income for the purposes of income-related benefits. [107985]

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Steve Webb: The cost of increasing the 25 pence age addition to the state pension for people aged 80 and over to £10 a week is estimated to be:

2012-13
  £ billion

(a) tax free and not taken into account for income-related benefits

1.5

(b) taxable but not taken into account for income-related benefits

1.4

(c) taxable and counted as income for the purposes of income-related benefits

1.0

Notes: 1. Estimates given show the additional spend due to increasing the 25 pence age addition in 2012-13. Part (b) includes savings from taxing the increase, resulting in lower net spend. Part (c) includes savings from taxing the increase and savings from reduced income related benefit payments (including pension credit, housing benefit, council tax benefit, working tax credits and child tax credits), further reducing net spend. 2. The 25 pence age addition is normally taxable and taken into account for income related benefit payments. 3. Part (a) has been calculated using projected expenditure on the 25 pence age addition in 2012-13 under the current system. Parts (b) and (c) were calculated by multiplying part (a) by proportions of expenditure that would be saved if the increase were taxable / counted as income for the purposes of income-related benefits. These proportions were estimated using the Department's Policy Simulation Model. Parts (b) and (c) were not estimated directly using the Policy Simulation Model due to reliability issues associated with smaller sample sizes. 4. Net costs for 2012-13 have been presented, however increasing the 25 pence age addition in 2012-13 will have substantial knock-on effects for spending in future years. 5. Figures shown are against a baseline of current policy spend based on April 2012 benefit rates. 6. Estimates are in 2012-13 prices, have been rounded to the nearest £100 million and are for Great Britain. Source: DWP estimates

Work Capability Assessment

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many work capability assessments have been completed for existing incapacity benefit claimants in each month since February 2011. [107887]

Chris Grayling: The Department recently published official statistics on work capability assessment outcomes for claimants going through the incapacity benefits reassessment programme. This covers all claims referred for reassessment by July 2011.

The publication can be found on the departmental website here:

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

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the suitability of the work capability assessment for applicants with fluctuating conditions such as myalgic encephalopathy. [107889]

Chris Grayling: The WCA gives people with fluctuating conditions the opportunity to explain how their condition varies over time, and how this affects them.

The health care professionals who carry out the WCA are trained to ask about and take account of fluctuation. The assessment is not a snap-shot—if a person can't carry out a function repeatedly and reliably, they will be treated as unable to carry out that function at all.

However, we recognise that particular concerns have been raised about the way the WCA works for people with fluctuating conditions. As part of his second independent review, Professor Harrington asked leading

17 May 2012 : Column 296W

charities, including the Forward ME, to make recommendations to refine the physical descriptors used in the WCA.

These recommendations are being considered as part of the Department's evidence-based review of the WCA, as well as a review of the ESA 50 form.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what feedback his Department has received from applicants for employment and support allowance diagnosed with myalgic encephalopathy following the implementation of the Harrington Review of the work capability assessment. [107890]

Chris Grayling: We welcome feedback about the WCA from claimants, irrespective of their health condition or disability, and we monitor this feedback and react accordingly.

The Department is currently considering the recommendations made by Professor Harrington in his second independent review, and is working closely with disability representative groups, including Forward ME and others, to ensure the needs of specific groups of claimants—particularly people with fluctuating conditions—are taken into account.

In addition, Professor Harrington will publish another call for evidence this summer, which will give individuals, charities and disability representative groups another opportunity to express their views on the WCA.

Treasury

Government Contracts: Political Affiliation

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (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; [107116]

(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 whether they were publicly advertised; [107117]

(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; [107118]

(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. [107119]

17 May 2012 : Column 297W

Miss Chloe Smith: HM Treasury complies with public procurement regulations and aims to secure best value for money for the taxpayer when entering into commercial agreements for goods and services supplied by third parties.

HM Treasury does not hold nor does it request information on whether the companies or organisations it contracts with are run by individuals who were previously employed by a political party or its elected representatives or, in the case of consultants, were themselves an elected representative of a political party. Tenderers are expected to declare actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest.

In line with the Government's transparency agenda, from January 2011 HM Treasury has published all tenders and new contracts valued £10,000 or more (excluding VAT). These can be found on the “Contracts Finder” website at:

http://www.contractsfinder.co.uk

Consultants

Mr Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on external consultants, including management consultants, in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [107504]

Miss Chloe Smith: HM Treasury (the core Department and Group Shared Services) spent £28.5 million (excluding VAT) on external consultants, including management consultants, in the financial year 2010-11.

The figure is published annually in the Department’s annual report and accounts, which can be found online at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/annual_report_accounts 140711.pdf

Information for the financial year 2011-12 will be available in due course. This will also be published on the Department’s website.

Equitable Life Payment Scheme

Mrs Moon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward the publication of the next progress report on the Equitable Life Compensation Scheme to spring 2012; and if he will make a statement. [108254]

Mr Hoban: The scheme intends to publish a progress report in summer 2012 on the volumes and values of payments made.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many Equitable Life policyholders entitled to compensation under the Equitable Life Payment Scheme with (a) accumulating with-profits, (b) conventional with-profits and (c) eligible group pension policies had

17 May 2012 : Column 298W

received payment by 31 March 2012; and how much has been paid to each such category of policyholder is to date; [108314]

(2) how many Equitable Life with-profits annuity (WPA) policyholders entitled to compensation under the Equitable Life Payment Scheme had received payment by 31 March 2012; whether all eligible WPA policyholders will receive a first payment by 30 June 2012; and how much has been paid to such policyholders is to date; [108315]

(3) how many eligible Equitable Life policyholders entitled to compensation under the Equitable Life Payment Scheme with accumulating with-profits and conventional with-profits policies who are not due to receive payment before July 2012 were notified of the (a) value and (b) date of future payments by 31 March 2012; [108316]

(4) how many estates of deceased Equitable Life policyholders entitled to compensation under the Equitable Life Payment Scheme had received payment up to 31 March 2012; and what proportion of the total payments due to estates this represents; [108317]

(5) when his Department last received information on the (a) number and (b) total value of payments made by the Equitable Life Payment Scheme. [108318]

Mr Hoban: The scheme intends to publish a progress report in summer 2012 on the volumes and values of payments made.

Horses

Tim Farron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the value to the economy was of the (a) equine and (b) horse racing industry in (i) 2009-10, (ii) 2010-11 and (iii) 2011-12. [107891]

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 recent Parliamentary Question concerning, what the value to the economy was of the (a) equine and (b) horse racing industry in (i) 2009-10, (ii) 2010-11 and (iii) 2011-12. [107891]

Estimates for the equine and horse racing industries are not available from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). However, the ONS Annual Business Survey provides estimates for Activities of racehorse owners, UK Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities (SIC2007) 93.19/1. The estimates for total turnover, approximate gross value added at basic prices and total purchases and are available, 2008 to 2010. The latest data was released 17th November 2011.

The data for this industry is shown in the following table.

Annual Business Survey
SIC 93.19/1—Activities of racehorse owners. Release date 17 November 2011
Standard Industrial Classification (Revised 2007) Subclass Description Year Number of enterprises Total turnover (1) (£ million) Approximate gross value added at basic prices (2) (£ million) Total purchases (3) (£ million)

93.19/1

Activities of racehorse owners

2008

3,053

48

-44

92

   

2009

2,814

193

49

177

17 May 2012 : Column 299W

17 May 2012 : Column 300W

   

2010

2,701

267

131

142

(1) Total Turnover—Turnover is defined as total sales and work done (2) Approximate GVA at basic prices—Gross value added (GVA) represents the amount that individual businesses, industries or sectors contribute to the economy. Broadly, this is measured by the income generated by the business, industry or sector less their intermediate consumption of goods and services used up in order to produce their output. (3) Total purchases—This represents the value of all goods and services purchased during the year.

Tim Farron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the gross tax revenue was from the (a) equine and (b) horse racing industry in (i) 2009-10, (ii) 2010-11 and (iii) 2011-12. [107892]

Mr Gauke: The information requested is not available. Corporation tax records, VAT and excise duty returns are not broken down to the level of detail required to identify gross tax revenue from the equine and horse racing industries.

Loans: Republic of Ireland

Mr Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to make a decision on the rate of interest payable on the Government's loans to Ireland; and how much interest has been received so far from the Irish government on the loans which have been drawn down. [107686]

Mr Hoban: The rate of interest applicable to each tranche of the bilateral loan to Ireland and the interest payment arrangements are set out in the Loan Agreement that I deposited in the Library of the House on 10 January 2011. As my hon. Friend will be aware, last year, the Chancellor of the Exchequer committed to reduce the interest rate on the bilateral loan while still covering the UK's cost of funding. Work to revise the loan agreement is ongoing. The new interest rate will apply retrospectively to those tranches of the loan that have already been disbursed.

In accordance with the existing terms of the loan agreement, the first interest payment was received on 15 December 2011. Thereafter, interest on each disbursed tranche of the loan is payable every six months until the maturity date of each tranche. Once in force, the new interest rate will apply retrospectively and interest payments will be adjusted accordingly.

Under the terms of the Loans to Ireland Act the Treasury is required to report periodically on the bilateral loan, including on loan payments made, interest received and amounts outstanding. As I set out in my written statement to the House on 17 April 2012, Official Report, column 17WS, to ensure that Parliament has the most useful and up-to-date information, subject to it being feasible to do so, I will lay this report alongside the finalised details of the new interest rate in the coming weeks.

Pool Re

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much the Government has committed to pay under the Pool Re insurance scheme in the next year; [107895]

(2) under what heading in supply estimates government commitments under the Pool Re insurance scheme are represented in the Government's accounts; [107896]

(3) what his policy is on underwriting Pool Re in the event of a terrorist incident which depletes Pool Re's reserves. [107897]

Mr Hoban: The Government established the 'Pool Re' scheme in 1993 after a series of attacks on the UK mainland resulted in reinsurers, and consequently insurers, withdrawing cover for damage to commercial property caused by an act of terrorism. The scheme exists to ensure such cover remains available in the absence of an adequate independently functioning market in this area.

Pool Reinsurance Ltd (Pool Re) provides reinsurance cover for all insurers that wish to become a member of the scheme and which insure commercial property in Great Britain. In order to participate in the scheme insurers must cede all terrorism risk that they cover to Pool Re and they must also guarantee to provide a quote for commercial terrorism cover in response to any request.

The premiums paid by insurers for reinsurance cover are accrued by Pool Re over time and are only used to pay for claims once insurers themselves have paid out in excess of pre-agreed limits. Under the terms of the scheme, as set out in the Reinsurance (Acts of Terrorism) Act 1993, the Government acts as reinsurer of last resort by reinsuring Pool Re in respect of its liabilities to direct insurers. Government would only be called to exercise this function in the event that the Pool Re reserves had been exhausted.

The Retrocession Agreement also provides for an annual premium to be paid to the Government for the provision of this guarantee to Pool Re. In the event that the Government guarantee is called on the Treasury is entitled to recoup amounts paid out through increased premiums from Pool Re in subsequent years.

Government's liabilities in relation to the Pool Re scheme fail under Part III, Note K of HM Government's supply estimates. The specific disclosure relating to Pool Re is within the sub section headed 'Statutory'. The Government's liability in this area is classified as 'unquantifiable' owing to the uncertainty and unpredictability surrounding the likelihood, timing and scale of a terrorist incident.

Since 1993, Pool Re has processed claims relating to 11 separate terrorist incidents with payments to claimants in the region of £610 million.

These payments have been met entirely within Pool Re's own reserves. To date, the Government has never made a payment to Pool Re in respect of a terrorism incident. Pool Re's reserves currently stand at around £4.5 billion.

17 May 2012 : Column 301W

Revenue and Customs

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to limit the costs incurred by people calling the HM Revenue and Customs helpline. [107708]

Mr Gauke: HMRC has responded to the recommendation contained in the Treasury Select Committee report published on 26 October 2011 by introducing a non 0845 number for the tax credits helpline. HMRC is continuing to look hard at what else they can do as an alternative to 0845 numbers in other areas of their business.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for answers to calls to the HM Revenue and Customs helpline. [107709]

Mr Gauke: HMRC have produced a three year business plan for 2012-15 which includes as a priority improving accessibility, accuracy and timeliness.

To help improve the accessibility of its contact centres, HMRC is developing a more flexible resourcing model which allows them to manage busy periods better by deploying extra resource to deal with short-term increases in demand.

HMRC will also continue to reduce the need for customers to contact them unnecessarily resulting in a better service if they do need to call. For example, by making processes simpler or by adding to and improving their automated solutions many customers will obtain the information they need without having to wait to speak to an adviser.

In 2011-12, HMRC has significantly improved the number of call attempts handled to 74% (compared to 48% in the previous year) and aim to achieve 90% of call attempts handled by 2014-15.

Risk Assessment

Mr Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what strategic or transitional risk registers in each area of policy are held by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [107469]

Miss Chloe Smith: The Treasury has in place across all policy areas robust processes for monitoring, managing and mitigating against internal and external risks. The Treasury board and its sub-committees take regular evidence from the Economic, Fiscal and Operational Risk Groups which are chaired by members of the executive management group who are held to account for the Department’s performance.

Tax Allowances: Pensioners

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Leeds West of 30 April 2012, Official Report, column 1205W, on tax allowances: pensioners, and the answer to the hon. Member for Clwyd South of 30 April 2012, Official Report, columns 1200-2W on tax allowances, how many people in (a) the UK and (b) each region will be affected by (i) the freeze in the

17 May 2012 : Column 302W

age-related allowance and (ii) the restriction in eligibility in each of the next five years. [107254]

Mr Gauke: My previous written answers referenced by the hon. Member provide the available information by country and region. Numbers affected specifically by changes to eligibility for personal allowances for those born before 6 April 1948 in 2014-15 and later years will depend on the level of the personal allowance for those born after 5 April 1948.

Taxation

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate his Department has made of the amount of overdue (a) corporation tax, (b) national insurance payments, (c) PAYE and (d) VAT in Scotland. [107996]

Mr Gauke: The information is not available, and could be researched only at disproportionate cost.

Trade Unions

Priti Patel: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many trade union representatives in (a) his Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies had (i) part-time and (ii) full-time paid facility time arrangements in 2011-12; [107397]

(2) 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; [107398]

(3) 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 for trade union (i) duties and (ii) activities in 2011-12; [107399]

(4) 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; [107400]

(5) how many trade unions representatives in (a) his 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; [107401]

(6) 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; [107402]

(7) on how many occasions trade union representatives from (a) his 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. [107403]

Miss Chloe Smith: Since 1 December 2011, no one in HM Treasury or its non-departmental public bodies

17 May 2012 : Column 303W

has been paid in support of trade union activities and the current facility time agreement is under negotiation at the present time. Between 1 April and 30 November 2011, HM Treasury had one member of staff at Grade 7 who spent 0.6 (FTE) of their time working as a trade union representative. The cost to the Department was around £30,000 (based on the average employment cost for the grade).

HM Treasury follow the ACAS code of practice "Time off for Trades Union Duties and Activities" when allowing other staff time off for trade union activities. This is available at:

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2391

No trade union representatives have faced disciplinary action for abusing paid facility time or public resources in the last five years.

Information on the number of occasions trade union representatives have utilised paid facility time to meet Treasury officials or to represent an employee at a meeting or other industrial relations matter is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

VAT

Karen Lumley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number of businesses in the West Midlands that will be affected by planned changes to the imposition of VAT on caravans. [106885]

Mr Gauke: Annex B—Tables of Impact for Individual Measures in HM Revenue and Customs consultation document "VAT: Addressing Borderline Anomalies", published at Budget 2012, sets out estimates for VAT which will be raised from holiday caravans and a summary of impacts upon which comments are invited.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2012/vat-con-4801.pdf

Guto Bebb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer of 25 April 2012, Official Report, column 899W, on VAT, how many of the 750 businesses are based in (a) Wales, (b) England, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland. [107236]

Mr Gauke: No further breakdown of this figure is available. HM Revenue and Customs invites comments on the consultation document.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2012/vat-con-4801.pdf

Simon Hart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many submissions have been received to his Department's consultation on VAT: addressing borderline anomalies; and how many such submissions relate to holiday caravans. [107586]

Mr Gauke: The consultation closes on 18 May 2012. The Government will publish a Summary of Responses document after the consultation has closed and the responses have been analysed.

Mr Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to which exemptions from VAT universities are entitled; and what estimate he has made of the value of such exemptions. [107695]

17 May 2012 : Column 304W

Mr Gauke: The main VAT exemption that is used by universities is the exemption of supplies of education and vocational training. Universities may also benefit from any VAT exemptions provided they meet the conditions for those exemptions. More details of the exemption for education are in HM Revenue and Customs Notice 701/30.

No estimate is available of the cost of exemptions for universities. The estimated cost of the VAT exemption for all education is £2,400 million for 2011-12 and can be found in table 1.5 of the published tax expenditure and ready-reckoner statistics:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/tax_expenditures/table1-5.pdf

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many responses have been received to the consultation on addressing borderline anomalies in VAT; and of these how many related to (a) hot food, (b) sports drinks, (c) hairdressers chairs, (d) caravans and (e) listed buildings and churches. [107710]

Mr Gauke: The consultation closes on 18 May 2012. The Government will publish a Summary of Responses document after the consultation has closed and the responses have been analysed.

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost to an average household of the combined VAT increases announced in Budget 2012 over the next 12 months. [107994]

Mr Gauke: The cost to consumers of the combined VAT increases announced at Budget 2012, coming into effect on 1 October 2012, will depend on their individual expenditure patterns and the extent to which retailers pass on the cost. HMRC have published more detailed assessments of the impact of each individual measure in their consultation document 'VAT: Addressing Borderline Anomalies', published at Budget 2012.

Working Tax Credit

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of families in Hove constituency who will no longer receive working tax credit following changes made in Budget 2012. [107714]

Mr Gauke: The only change to tax credits made in Budget 2012 was to lower the working hours requirement for working tax credit, including the childcare element, for couples with children where at least one partner is entitled to carers allowance. This is likely to slightly increase the number of families that will be eligible for working tax credit. Constituency level breakdowns are not available.

For those losing entitlement due to the changes in tax credits being introduced in April 2012, I refer to the answer I gave 20 February 2012, Official Report, column 644W.

17 May 2012 : Column 305W

International Development

Government Contracts: Political Affiliation

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (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; [107149]

(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; [107150]

(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; [107151]

(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. [107152]

Mr Duncan: As part of this Government's Transparency Agenda, since January 2011, all centrally issued DFID contracts over the value of £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder.

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what the (a) job title and (b) pay band is of each official, excluding special advisers, recruited by his 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; [107264]

(2) what the (a) job title and (b) pay band is of each official, excluding special advisers, recruited by his 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. [107265]

Mr Duncan: DFID does not maintain a central record of previous employers of DFID staff, nor would DFID consider it appropriate to record or seek information about any position they might have hold in any political party.

All DFID appointments comply with the Civil Service Commissioners Recruitment Principles (on merit on the basis of fair and open competition) or by ‘exception’ as permitted by the principles.

17 May 2012 : Column 306W

DFID staff are also made aware of their responsibilities in respect of political activities and impartiality through the Civil Service Code and the DFID intranet guidance.

Consultants

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department spent on external consultants, including management consultants, in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [107487]

Mr Duncan: DFID expenditure on consultancy (as defined by central Government) in the financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12 are provided in the following table:

  Spend (£)

2010-11

1,406,000

2011-12

675,000

Consultancy spend continues to reduce following the introduction of tight controls on the use of consultancy in May 2010.

South Sudan

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what steps his Department is taking to assist women subjected to rape and sexual assault in South Sudan in accessing justice and health services; [107599]

(2) what proportion of his Department's planned expenditure in South Sudan will be allocated to programmes to prevent or respond to violence against women and girls; [107600]

(3) what steps his Department plans to take to address violence against women and girls in South Sudan; [107601]

(4) what assessment he has made of the effects of violence on the life chances of women and girls in South Sudan; [107602]

(5) what recent assessment his Department has made of the main obstacles preventing women and girls from leading free and full lives in South Sudan. [107603]

Mr Duncan: The South Sudan Operational Plan includes an assessment of the situation of women and girls in South Sudan. This analysis confirmed the importance of the four pillars of DFID's strategic vision—economic empowerment, health, education, and tackling violence against women and girls—in the South Sudanese context. Women and girls frequently face domestic violence, and violence related to conflict and insecurity. South Sudan has the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world, and was recently categorised as one of the 10 worst places in the world to be a mother. There is also a significant gender gap in education, with less than 20% of South Sudanese women being literate. Together these barriers seriously restrict the life chances of women and girls.

We are working to expand women's opportunities, and over time, transform attitudes so that women's status is higher and they face less violence; as well as tackling violence directly. It is therefore difficult to quantify precisely the proportion of expenditure which

17 May 2012 : Column 307W

is helping to tackle violence against women and girls. Key programmes in this area include a £50 million plan focused on girls' education, which will support 200,000 girls in school and a £56 million pound Health Pooled Fund that has a particular focus on maternal mortality. We are also exploring the potential to put in place a major programme to deliver access to justice for South Sudanese women. Our humanitarian programming also has a major focus on gender. The Common Humanitarian Fund, to which DFID provided £15 million this year, is developing plans to assist victims of gender based violence, including rape and sexual assault, and training humanitarian actors to respond.

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions his Department has had with the Government of South Sudan on improving the economic independence of women and girls in South Sudan. [107690]

Mr Duncan: My Department has engaged the Government repeatedly on the issues that are critical to women's economic independence, including the oil crisis and its impact on vulnerable groups such as women and girls. Through our work we are seeking to address the significant barriers to women achieving their economic potential, including cultural attitudes, high levels of maternal mortality and low levels of female literacy. This includes ensuring more than 20,000 women have at least four antenatal visits, and supporting an additional 200,000 girls through school.

Trade Unions

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how many trade union representatives in (a) his Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies had (i) part-time; and (ii) full-time paid facility time arrangements in 2011-12; [107313]

(2) 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; [107314]

(3) 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 for trade union (i) duties and (ii) activities in 2011-12; [107315]

(4) 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; [107316]

(5) how many trade union representatives in (a) his Department and (b) each of its non-department public bodies have faced disciplinary action for abusing paid facility time or public resources in each of the last five years; [107317]

(6) how many meetings have taken place between (a) his Department and (b) each of 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

17 May 2012 : Column 308W

conditions and (iv) other trade union and industrial relations duties; and what the dates and times were of each meeting; [107318]

(7) on how many occasions trade union representatives from (a) his 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. [107319]

Mr Duncan: DFID had one part-time member of staff allocated to trade union duties under paid facility time arrangements in 2011-12. This member of staff is the chair of the departmental trade union and represents members of both the First Division Association (FDA) and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS). There are no elected trade union representatives in DFID's two non-departmental public bodies,

The trade union chair allocates all of her time to trade union work. This equated to 138 days in 2011-12. The costs to the Department would be in the range of £15,000-£20,000.

The trade union chair spent approximately 110 days on trade union duties and 28 days on trade union activities; this equates to an 80/20 split.

DFID will not be putting information regarding the facility time arrangements in the Library as this contains personal information.

No DFID trade union representative has faced any disciplinary action for abusing paid facility time or public resources in each of the last five years.

DFID does not hold a central record of the number of meetings that have taken place in each of the last five years to discuss collective bargaining, redundancies, negotiations relating to employment, pay and conditions and other trade union and industrial relations duties.

DFID does not hold a central record of the number of occasions that the trade union has used facility time to represent an employee at a meeting or other industrial relations matters in the last five years.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Birds of Prey: Conservation

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to conserve the hen harrier as a species of principal importance for biodiversity in England. [106417]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA officials are members of the Environment Council-facilitated Hen Harrier Dialogue Working Group, which is looking at how we can improve the population of hen harriers on grouse moors. The Environment Council has commissioned a study on using rearing facilities as a way of maintaining hen harriers alongside grouse and DEFRA has allocated £10,000 to this work in the 2011-12 financial year.

In addition, the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project is trialling methods, such as diversionary feeding, that might enable an economically viable grouse moor and healthy hen harrier population to co-exist.

17 May 2012 : Column 309W

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many hen harriers fitted with radio or satellite tags by Natural England between 2002 and 2012 ceased to transmit data while in the vicinity of land managed for driven grouse shooting. [107774]

Richard Benyon: It is not always possible for fieldworkers to determine the precise location of an individual hen harrier when its radio or satellite tag ceases to transmit data. This is particularly true for birds with radio tags because detection of the signal from a radio tag relies on the presence of fieldworkers on the ground, usually within about 10 km of the bird. Signals are also often lost when the battery of the tag is exhausted. These factors make it impossible to determine the final location and associated land use for many of the tagged birds.

Droughts: Desalination

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has considered use of sea water desalination plants in order to alleviate the drought affecting parts of the UK. [107775]

Richard Benyon: All water companies have drought plans that set out the actions they will take to manage drought and are following these. They are also planning ahead to consider actions that may be needed to manage a prolonged drought.

Water companies plan through their water resources plans to balance supply and demand over the long term and consider all options through an appraisal process to identify a preferred programme. Large scale infrastructure projects such as sea water desalination plants can have a long lead in time and desalination is expensive in energy and green house gas emissions compared to other options. One company, Thames Water, has an operational desalination plant, which treats brackish water drawn from the Thames, and has the capacity to produce sufficient potable water for one million people. No other companies have identified desalination plants as a preferred option for balancing supply and demand.

Fossil Fuels

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will discuss fossil fuel subsidy reform with her international counterparts at the UN conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20. [107736]

Richard Benyon: Fossil fuel subsidy reform is a priority for the UK, and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), will be discussing this with her international counterparts at Rio+20.

Litter: Motor Vehicles

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the oral answer of 19 January 2012, Official Report, column 895, on littering and fly-tipping, over what time period her Department plans to monitor the efficacy of the power granted to local authorities in the London

17 May 2012 : Column 310W

Local Authorities Bill 2007-08 to 2010-12 to make littering from vehicles a civil offence; and what plans she has to pilot this power in rural areas. [107506]

Richard Benyon: Borough councils in London will shortly be able to use new powers acquired through the tenth London Local Authorities Act to issue a civil penalty for the offence of littering from vehicles. DEFRA is working closely with the authorities in London to learn the lessons of this approach before considering further legislation. Following an adequate bedding down of the powers in London, the Government will consider all options pragmatically, including the possibility of rolling out these powers elsewhere in the country.

Private Sector

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many jobs formerly in her Department and its agencies and non-departmental bodies were transferred to the private sector in 2011-12. [107846]

Richard Benyon: During 2011-12 there were no job transfers to the private sector from core DEFRA, its executive agencies and main non-departmental public bodies.

Rural Areas

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to help growth and competitiveness in rural farms and businesses. [107870]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA works across government ensuring measures designed to support economic growth are having proportionate and positive impacts in rural areas.

On 29 November 2011, the Government announced a strong package of new measures, designed to stimulate sustainable growth in the rural economy and help businesses reach their full potential. The results of this include the establishment of five Rural Growth Networks in 2012-13, and the targeting of £100 million of Rural Development Programme for England funding at meeting Rural Economy Growth Review priorities.

Broadband connectivity is also vital for economic prosperity and the Government has invested £530 million to support the roll out of broadband across all rural areas. Through the £20 million Rural Community Broadband Fund, the Government are also providing grant support to enable communities (including businesses) to access superfast broadband in hard to reach locations. £150 million is also being invested in the UK to improve mobile phone coverage.

UN Conference on Sustainable Development

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with which of her ministerial colleagues she is preparing the UK's position for the Rio+20 conference. [107078]

17 May 2012 : Column 311W

Richard Benyon [holding answer 15 May 2012]: The UK's preparations for Rio+20 have been led by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), working closely with Cabinet colleagues, in particular the Deputy Prime Minister, who will lead the UK delegation. This is a matter of the highest importance across government and has therefore been of interest to many Ministers, including the Prime Minister.

Education

Academies: Press Releases

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will instruct officials in his Department not to require supportive quotes from academies for use in press releases. [106404]

Tim Loughton: There is no policy to require supportive quotes from academies for use in press releases.

Accountancy

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many staff in his Department had (a) a recognised accountancy qualification and (b) the Associate Chartered Accountant qualification in each of the last three years; and how many staff in his Department were working towards a recognised accountancy qualification in each such year. [106910]

Tim Loughton: The Department for Education does not currently record information on our qualified accountants and accountancy students in the format requested. We can provide information on how many staff we are aware of in the Department that held a recognised accountancy qualification as at 31 March 2012 and, of those how many held the Associate Chartered Accountant qualification. We can also provide information on how many staff in the Department are currently working towards a recognised accountancy qualification under our Finance Bursary Scheme, but we are unable to provide any of this information for previous years.

(a) Staff in the Department holding a recognised accountancy qualification as at 31 March 2012—36

(b) Those holding the Associate Chartered Accountant qualification—7

(c) Staff currently working towards a recognised accountancy qualification—21

The number of staff holding a recognised accountancy qualification, and those holding the ACA qualification includes those working within the finance function in the Department, and also those qualified accountants who may be working elsewhere across the Department, but who have recorded their qualification with the Head of the Finance Profession in order that they may be included in CPD opportunities. There may be other qualified and ACA qualified accountants within the Department that we are unaware of.

Children in Care: Missing Persons

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what discussions his Department has had with local authorities on collecting data on the number of children who go missing from care each year. [106481]

17 May 2012 : Column 312W

Tim Loughton: We have regular communications with local authorities in relation to the SSDA903 return on children looked after by local authorities. These communications include bulletins, newsletters and focus group meetings. We also produce a set of guidance notes giving clear descriptions for all data items within the return.

It is recognised that there is a need to improve data collection by local authorities on numbers of children who go missing from care. The Department is considering how this can best be achieved.

Full details of the data collected on looked after children from local authorities via the SSDA903 return can be found in the data collection guidance notes which can be found on the Department's website via the following link:

http://www.education.gov.uk/researchandstatistics/stats/childrenlar/b00200554/children-looked-after-general-guidance-2011-12

Computers

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many (a) desktop and (b) laptop computers are available for use by him and his staff in his private office. [108003]

Tim Loughton: The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), and his Private Office have been provided with (a) 11 desktop computers and (b) four laptops.

Curriculum: Mathematics

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of state schools offered further mathematics A-level in the last academic year for which figures are available. [106861]

Mr Gibb: Information on subjects offered by schools is not held by the Department. However there were 1,209 maintained schools or colleges with entries in further mathematics A-level in 2010/11. This represents 58.2% of the 2,077 maintained schools and colleges who had entries for A-levels in 2010/11.

Curriculum: Outdoor Education

Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the merits of introducing elements of outdoor education into the national curriculum. [106631]

Mr Gibb: The Government recognise the important contribution that outdoor education can make to engaging and supporting pupils in their education. However, we believe that schools are in the best position to decide how best to include outdoor education in fulfilling their responsibilities to provide a broad and balanced curriculum. Our current review will refocus the national curriculum on core knowledge in key subjects, while allowing schools greater freedom to design and teach a wider school curriculum that best meets the needs of their pupils.

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Education Maintenance Allowance: Private Education

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many pupils who were enrolled in independent schools in the academic year 2010-11 were in receipt of the top rate of education maintenance allowance. [106630]

Mr Gibb: In the academic year 2010/11, 8,715 recipients of the top rate of education maintenance allowance were enrolled in independent schools. This includes students in independent special schools funded by local authorities.

Free School Meals

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what representations he has received on the effects on children of free school meals. [106479]

Mr Gibb: The Department has not recently received any representations on the effects on children of free school meals.

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what proportion of (a) primary and (b) school pupils are eligible for free school meals in (i) England, (ii) Lancashire and (iii) Hyndburn constituency; [106912]

17 May 2012 : Column 314W

(2) what proportion of eligible (a) primary and (b) school pupils take free school meals in (i) England, (ii) Lancashire and (iii) Hyndburn constituency. [106913]

Mr Gibb: Information on the number and percentage of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals has been placed in the House Libraries.

Information on how many pupils meet the eligibility criteria but do not make a claim is not available.

Information on the number of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals as at January 2011 is published in the Statistical First Release “Schools, Pupils and their Characteristics, January 2011” available at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001012/index.shtml

Free School Meals: Gateshead

Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children in Gateshead are registered for free school meals. [107930]

Mr Gibb: Information on the number and percentage of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals is shown in the table.

Information on the number of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals as at January 2011 is published in the Statistical First Release ‘Schools, Pupils and their Characteristics, January 2011' available at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001012/index.shtml

Maintained nursery, state-funded primary, state-funded secondary, special schools and pupil referral units (1,2,3,4) January 2011
  Number and percentage of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals
  Maintained nursery and state-funded primary (1,2)
  No. on roll (5,6) No. of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals (5,6) % known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals

England

3,873,175

743,255

19.2

Gateshead

13,561

3,112

22.9

  Number and percentage of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals
  State-funded secondary (1,3)
  No. on roll (5,6) Number of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals (5,6) % known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals

England

2,837,825

450,275

15.9

Gateshead

10.611

1,830

17.2

  Number and percentage of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals
  Special (4)
  No. on roll (5,6) No. of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals (5,6) % known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals

England

79,030

28,830

36.5

Gateshead

366

157

42.9

  Number and percentage of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals
  Pupil referral units
  No. on roll (5,6) No. of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals (5,6) % known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals

England

13,725

4,745

34.6

Gateshead

88

11

12.5

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17 May 2012 : Column 316W

  Number and percentage of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals
  Total
  No. on roll (5,6) No. of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals (5,6) % known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals

England

6,803,755

1,227,110

18.0

Gateshead

24,626

5,110

20.8

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed. (2) Includes primary academies. (3) Includes city technology colleges and secondary academies. (4) Includes maintained and non-maintained special schools. Excludes general hospital schools. (5) Includes full time and part time pupils who are sole or dual main registrations. Includes boarding pupils. In pupil referral units, also includes pupils registered with other providers and further education colleges. (6) Pupils who have full time attendance and are aged 15 or under, or pupils who have part time attendance and are aged between five and 15. Note: National totals have been rounded to the nearest 5. Source: School Census

Free School Meals: Primary Education

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education which local authorities have extended free school meals beyond the entitlement criteria to all nursery and primary school children. [106476]

Mr Gibb: Local authorities are able to extend eligibility to free school meals to children beyond the entitlement criteria set nationally by the Government. While the Department does not hold a record of the local authorities which choose to do this, we understand that some in the London area have extended entitlement to free school meals to all primary school children.

Free School Meals: West Midlands

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of children attending schools in (a) Coventry and (b) the west midlands are eligible for free school meals. [106732]

Mr Gibb: [holding answer 16 May 2012]: Information on the number and proportion of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals is shown in the following table:

Maintained nursery, state-funded primary, state-funded secondary, special schools and pupil referral units (1,2,3,4 ) number and percentage of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals. January 2011. Coventry local authority, west midlands and England
  Number on roll (5,6) Number of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals (5,6) Percentage known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals

England

6,803,755

1,227,110

18.0

West Midlands

755,985

160,275

20.9

Coventry

43,514

10,155

23.3

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed. (2) Includes primary academies. (3) Includes city technology colleges and secondary academies. (4) Includes maintained and non-maintained special schools. Excludes general hospital schools. (5) Includes full-time and part-time pupils who are sole or dual main registrations. Includes boarding pupils. In pupil referral units, also includes pupils registered with other providers and further education colleges. (6) Includes pupils who have full-time attendance and are aged 15 or under, or pupils who have part-time attendance and are aged between five and 15. Note: National and regional totals have been rounded to the nearest five. Source: School Census

Information on the number of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals as at January 2011 is published in the Statistical First Release ‘Schools, Pupils and their Characteristics, January 2011’ available at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001012/index.shtml

Priority School Building Programme

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when he plans to announce whether the Grove School in Nottinghamshire will be awarded funding under the Priority School Building Programme. [107045]

Mr Gibb: We intend to announce the outcome of applications for the Priority School Building Programme later this month.

The Priority School Building Programme is targeted at those schools with the most urgent building condition issues. There has been significant interest in the programme and to ensure that investment is targeted where it is most needed, we are carefully assessing and reviewing each application, including making site visits to check the building condition of all schools that applied.

Home Education: Reading (Berkshire)

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children registered to be schooled at home are residents of Reading West constituency. [106668]

Mr Gibb: The Department for Education does not hold information on the number of children registered to be schooled at home in the Reading West constituency.

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Mathematics: Curriculum

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he is taking to improve the quality of mathematics teaching in schools. [107866]

Mr Gibb: Good quality mathematics teaching in schools is fundamental to improving attainment. We are increasing the number and quality of mathematics teachers with bursaries of up to £20,000 to attract the best mathematics graduates into teaching and we are expanding participation in the Teach First scheme. We will be prioritising places on primary Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses in 2012/13 that offer specialisms in mathematics. For 2013/14, we expect to adjust financial incentives for trainees to reward trainees on specialist primary courses with a good A-level in mathematics. We are also continuing to support the Maths Specialist Teacher (MaST) programme to improve primary mathematics teachers' mathematical subject knowledge and expertise. We are providing £6 million over three years to fund the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) to coordinate and quality assure continuing professional development (CPD) activities for mathematics teachers at both primary and secondary phases. We are currently undertaking a review of the National Curriculum at primary and secondary level in order to provide children with the essential mathematical knowledge they need.

Pupils: Disadvantaged

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much each school in Reading West constituency received in funding from the pupil premium in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and how much each is expected to receive in 2012-13. [106741]

Sarah Teather: The Pupil Premium was introduced in April 2011 and allocations have so far been confirmed for the 2011-12 financial year only. Final allocations for 2012-13 will be confirmed shortly.

For 2011-12, the Pupil Premium funding is: £488 per pupil in respect of pupils known to be eligible for Free School Meals (FSM), and for children in care who have been continuously looked after for at least six months; and £200 per pupil for those whose parents are serving in the armed forces.

In 2012-13, the Pupil Premium rises to £600 per pupil in respect of pupils known to have been eligible for FSM at any point within the last six years, and for children in care who have been continuously looked after for at least six months. The Pupil Premium for children whose parents are in the armed services will rise to £250 per pupil.

Allocations for each school in the Reading West constituency for 2011-12 are shown in the following table. It is not possible to present at school level eligible Looked after Children, service children and FSM pupils recorded on the Alternative Provision census. This is because of the way data are collected for these pupils and for data protection reasons. The total Pupil Premium for schools in Reading West in 2011-12 is £1.375 million and the estimated allocation for 2012-13 is £2.294 million.

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State-funded primary, secondary and special schools, and pupil referral units (1,2,3,4) : number of pupils eligible for the pupil premium in 2011/12 (5,6) : Reading West
URN School name Allocation for the deprivation pupil premium 2011/12 (7,8) (£)

109844

Birch Copse Primary School

8,296

109845

Westwood Farm Junior School

5,856

109853

Long Lane Primary School

9,272

109864

Westwood Farm Infant School

2,928

109866

Springfield Primary School

6,344

109896

Downsway Primary School

7,320

109898

Kennet Valley Primary School

13,176

109931

Calcot Infant School and Nursery

15,616

109932

Calcot Junior School

11,712

109940

Pangbourne Primary School

7,808

109971

Purley C.E. Infant School

(9)

109980

Theale C.E. Primary School

9,760

110006

St Paul's Catholic Primary School

3,904

110063

Little Heath School

42,944

110065

Theale Green Community School

39,040

110100

Denefield School

53,192

110186

Brookfields Special School

(10)

134984

Cranbury College

(10)

109777

Battle Primary School

66,856

109779

Coley Primary School

14,640

109781

Geoffrey Field Junior School

43,432

109782

Geoffrey Field Infant School

30,256

109786

Oxford Road Community School

30,256

109790

Park Lane Primary School

18,056

109791

Whitley Park Junior School

64,416

109792

Whitley Park Infant and Nursery School

59,048

109793

Wilson Primary School

21,960

109795

Southcote Primary School

31,232

109796

St Michael's Primary School

31,232

109797

Churchend Primary School

15,128

109799

Moorlands Primary School

50,264

109801

Upcroft Primary School

55,632

109939

Ranikhet Primary School

38,064

109944

Manor Primary School

34,160

109945

All Saints Church of England Aided Infant School

(9)

110002

St Mary and All Saints Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School

55,144

110004

English Martyrs' Catholic Primary School

23,424

110005

Christ The King Catholic Primary School

38,064

110106

Prospect School

115,656

110107

Blessed Hugh Faringdon Catholic School

53,192

130247

John Madejski Academy

171,288

17 May 2012 : Column 319W

110179

The Avenue School

(10)

110193

The Holy Brook School

(10)

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed. (2) Includes primary academies. (3) Includes city technology colleges and secondary academies. (4) Includes maintained special schools, excludes general hospital schools and non-maintained special schools. (5) The number of eligible Looked After Children and FSM pupils recorded on the Alternative Provision census are not included in school level tables (although are eligible for the pupil premium) as they are taken from local authority returns. (6) The number of service children are not provided at school level due to data protection issues. (7) Full time equivalent (FTE) number of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals in year groups R-11, (where National Curriculum year groups do not apply pupils aged four to 15). For all those aged five and over includes sole or dual main registrations only. In Pupil Referral Units, FTE pupils aged four (all registration types) and headcount of pupils aged five to 15 (sole or dual main registrations as well as pupils who are registered with other providers and further education colleges) known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals. (8) Each FSM eligible pupil will attract £488 through the pupil premium. For pupils in maintained primary and secondary schools funding will be passed to schools via the local authorities. Academies will receive funding from the YPLA. For pupils in maintained special schools and PRU's funding will be allocated to local authorities to decide whether to pass on funding to the education setting or to hold back funding to manage centrally for the benefit of those pupils it has responsibility for. (9) Less than five pupils or a percentage based on less than five pupils or an allocation amount based on less than five pupils. (10) Allocations for these schools are not included as they are either a maintained special school or PRU. The premium for these establishments is held with the local authority (please see the conditions of grant).

Schools: Hygiene

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment has been made of the effect of removing the requirement for schools to provide a certain number of washing facilities for a given number of pupils. [106551]

Mr Gibb: While not specifying a specific ratio of wash basins to numbers of pupils, the proposed school premises regulations stress that suitable toilet and washing facilities must be provided for pupils, having regard to, among other factors, their number. To assess the impact of this simplification, in the public consultation on the regulations we asked whether or not respondents agreed that the wording of the proposed standard adequately covered requirements. Responses to this question are being taken into account in finalising details of the regulation.

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether schools will be obliged to provide soap and drying facilities in school toilets when the school premises regulations are revised. [106552]

Mr Gibb: The proposed school premises regulations do not include specific requirements for soap and drying facilities in school toilets, but they do require that the toilet and washing facilities provided should be suitable for pupils to use. They also contain a regulation covering the health, safety and welfare of pupils. It is difficult to see how a school could meet these standards without providing suitable means for pupils to wash and dry their hands.

17 May 2012 : Column 320W

Supply Teachers

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will estimate the number of supply teachers that have been in posts replacing one full-time teacher for over one academic year. [107442]

Mr Gibb: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what recent discussions his Department has had on supply teacher agencies; [107443]

(2) how many complaints his Department received in respect of supply teacher agencies in the latest period for which figures are available. [107444]

Mr Gibb: The Department for Education has a Quality Mark scheme for supply teacher agencies which is administered by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). The Quality Mark sets minimum standards for agencies and LAs which apply to the way they recruit and interview supply teachers and monitor and manage their performance. The Department meets regularly with the REC to discuss the operation of the scheme and to consider issues arising.

The responsibility for investigating complaints made against teacher supply agencies is a matter for the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) where there is a breach of the Department's Quality Mark standards or the Department for Business Innovation and Skills' Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EASI) where there is a possible breach of the law.

In the calendar year 2011, the REC received 21 complaints about supply teacher agencies. In 2010/11, the EASI handled 62 complaints and targeted inspections relating to teachers and tutors.

Teachers: Training

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what funding he plans to make available for the Graduate Teaching Programme for (a) students undertaking placements and (b) schools offering placements in the academic year (i) 2012-13, (ii) 2013-14 and (iii) 2014-15. [106937]

Mr Gibb: The funding for the Graduate Teacher Programme consists of two parts: funding for the training provider to deliver the training programme (the training grant, which includes the salary grant administration fee) and funding to support the school's costs in employing the trainee (the salary grant). For academic year 2012/13 we will make £60.1 million available for salary grant and £23.7 million for training grant. Funding for the Graduate Teacher Programme beyond the 2012/13 academic year is yet to be decided.

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much funding was available through the Graduate Teaching Programme for (a) students undertaking placements and (b) schools offering placements in each of the last five years. [106938]

17 May 2012 : Column 321W

Mr Gibb: The funding for the Graduate Teacher Programme consists of two parts: funding for the training provider to deliver the training programme (the training grant, which includes the salary grant administration fee) and funding to support the school's costs in employing the trainee (the salary grant).

The units of funding (at national rates) for both of these areas are as follows:

Academic year Salary grant (£) Training grant (£)

2007-08

14,000

4,920

2008-09

14,200

5,220

2009-10

14,500

5,330

2010-11

13,500

5,330

2011-12

13,500

5,330

The total funding allocated for the programme is as follows:

Academic year Salary grant (£ million) Training grant (£ million)

2007-08

63.5

24.9

2008-09

63.8

24.6

2009-10

63.3

24.1

2010-11

56

22.8

2011-12

65.9

25.8

Telephone Services

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education 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. [107019]

Tim Loughton: The Department provides a contact centre which operates as the Department's national inquiry line and switchboard service, which is not based abroad. The Department, including its executive agencies, has responsibility for a number of other helplines, none of which are based abroad.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Accountancy

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many members of staff working for his 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. [107988]

Norman Lamb: For financial year (FY) 2010/11 the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) had 55 staff with a recognised accountancy qualification, six of which held the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) (ACA) qualification.

In FY 2011/12 BIS had 69 staff with a recognised accountancy qualification, 11 of which held the ICAEW (ACA) qualification.

17 May 2012 : Column 322W

BIS has 11 staff currently working towards a recognised accountancy qualification which we are funding.

Apprentices

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will estimate the proportion of work contracts offered to apprentices at the end of their training that have been full-time in the last two years. [107766]

Mr Hayes: A survey of apprentices (published 15 May 2012) shows that 85% of apprentices who completed their apprenticeship in the last 12 months were employed by an employer at the time of the survey, with a further 4% being self-employed.

64% were with the same employer and 21% were with a different employer. We do not know if those who changed employer were offered permanent full-time contracts or not. They may have moved by choice.

Of the 85% who were employed by an employer 13% were part time (working under 30 hours a week) and 72% were full time.

Apprentices: South West

Anne Marie Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many apprentice starts there were for 16 to 18-year-olds in (a) Newton Abbot constituency and (b) the south-west in (i) 2010 and (ii) 2011. [107699]

Mr Hayes: Table 1 shows the number of apprenticeship programme starts aged under 19 in Newton Abbot parliamentary constituency, the south-west region and England for academic years 2009/10 to 2010/11, the latest full year for which final data are available.

Table 1: Apprenticeship programme starts by learners aged under 19 by geography, 2009/10 to 2010/11 (full years)
  2009/10 2010/11

Newton Abbot constituency

200

230

South West region

12,620

12,850

England total

116,800

131,700

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 except for England totals which are rounded to the nearest 100. 2. Age is based on age at the start of the programme. These figures include a small number of under 16-year-olds. 3. Geography is based upon the home postcode of the learner. The England totals include some postcodes which are not known. Geographic information is based on boundaries of regions as of May 2010. Source: Individualised Learner Record

Information on the number of apprenticeship starts by age is published in a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 29 March 2012:

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statistical firstrelease/sfr_current

Business: North West

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many UK-owned low carbon businesses are based in (a) Liverpool city region, (b) the north-west and (c) nationally. [108017]

17 May 2012 : Column 323W

Mr Prisk: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has made no estimates for the number of UK-owned low carbon businesses that are based in Liverpool, the north-west or nationally. However, an independent study by K-Matrix, commissioned by BIS has estimated that there were around 2,700 companies operating in the low carbon sector in the north-west in 2009/10. Estimates for the number of companies operating in the low carbon sector for the UK as a whole were almost 26,000 for the same period. These estimates include companies operating across the wider low carbon sector supply chain. It is not possible to determine from these data how many of these firms are UK owned.

Community Interest Companies: Greater London

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many community interest companies were registered in (a) the London borough of Bexley and (b) London in the latest period for which figures are available. [107647]

Norman Lamb: In the latest period for which figures are available there is one community interest company shown as registered in the London borough of Bexley and there are 1,013 community interest companies registered in London. This information will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

However, these figures are not definitive as Companies House's data are extracted primarily from post code areas, which can cross county boundaries.

Community Interest Companies: Sussex

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will place in the Library a list of the community interest companies registered in (a) Mid Sussex and (b) West Sussex. [107762]

Norman Lamb: A list of the 50 community interest companies (CICS) registered in West Sussex will be placed in the Libraries of the House. Companies House's records do not show any CICS being registered in Mid Sussex. However, these figures are not definitive as Companies House's data are extracted primarily from post code areas, which can cross county boundaries.