General Social Care Council
  (i) Total number of meetings Date Time (ii) Total number of meetings Date Time (iii) Total number of meetings Date Time (iv) Total number of meetings Date Time

2007-08

0

n/a

n/a

0

n/a

n/a

0

n/a

n/a

0

n/a

n/a

                         

2008-09

0

n/a

n/a

0

n/a

n/a

0

n/a

n/a

0

n/a

n/a

                         

2009-10

0

n/a

n/a

0

n/a

n/a

4

January

2hrs each

0

n/a

n/a

               

February

       
                         

2010-11

0

n/a

n/a

0

n/a

n/a

4

January

2hrs each

0

n/a

n/a

               

February

       
                         

2011-12

0

n/a

n/a

3

27 January

2hrs

2

February

2 hrs each

0

n/a

n/a

         

24 February

2hrs

           
         

2 April

2hrs

           

Culture, Media and Sport

Football

Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will take steps to investigate reform of the football creditors rule. [108881]

Hugh Robertson: The Government support the recommendation of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee for a change to the present rule.

At the same time, we recognise the legal issues under consideration and the current legal challenge being brought by HMRC against the Football League. We await the outcome of the court's decision on this before deciding what further steps may be needed.

Lost Property

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many items of equipment valued at £10,000 or more his Department lost in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [108924]

John Penrose: No items of equipment valued at £10,000 or more have been lost by the Department in the last two years.

Ministerial Meetings

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport on what dates (a) he, (b) Ministers and (c) senior officials in his Department

23 May 2012 : Column 699W

have met representatives of (i) the Institute for Public Policy Research, (ii) the Taxpayers' Alliance, (iii) the Institute of Economic Affairs, (iv) ResPublica, (v) the Centre for Social Justice and (vi) Policy Exchange; and if he will publish the minutes and agendas of these meetings. [108974]

John Penrose: The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt), Ministers and senior officials in the Department have not met with representatives of the Institute for Public Policy Research, the Institute of Economic Affairs, ResPublica, or Policy Exchange.

The Minister for Sport and the Olympics, my hon. Friend the Member for Faversham and Mid Kent (Hugh Robertson), met with representatives of the Centre for Social Justice on 21 March 2011 to discuss a report on the 2012 sports legacy. No minutes were taken.

A senior official met with the chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance on 29 March 2012 to discuss philanthropy. No minutes were taken.

Members

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport when he plans to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton of 30 March 2012 with regard to Ms L Watson. [109011]

John Penrose: The subject of this correspondence is a matter for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Therefore, this letter has been transferred to it to provide a response.

Public Expenditure

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will publish a statement of his Department's expenditure in each of the last 36 months; and what steps his Department takes to avoid an annual underspend. [108619]

John Penrose: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport's (DCMS) expenditure against its departmental expenditure limit (DEL) from April 2009 to March 2012, is shown in the table.

£ million
  2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

April

189.1

171.5

336.9

May

182.3

251.5

199.3

June

254.3

259.5

271.3

July

177.6

198.4

264.6

August

161.4

173.6

137.8

September

160.6

147.6

213.3

October

208.5

225.2

176.3

November

137.6

107.4

158

December

188

143

238.1

January

107.6

142.9

208.3

February

179.8

196.3

224.4

March

222.6

80.8

376.2

Total

2,169.5

2,097.7

2,804.5

23 May 2012 : Column 700W

The nature of the expenditure limit, which is set by the Treasury and agreed by Parliament, is such that DCMS is required not to overspend its budget each year. The Department also takes a variety of steps to monitor any potential material underspend (for example if a programme is delayed). The most notable of these are:

Monthly monitoring and reporting of expenditure across DCMS and its arm's length bodies (ALBs)

Maintenance of a risk tracker to provide early warning of potential variances before they arise

Active management of the budget across budget heads and between years

Tourism

Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the value to the UK economy of outbound tourism. [108812]

John Penrose: The Government's Tourism Policy, published in March 2011, outlines the UK Government's approach to the visitor economy as a whole—including outbound tourism—both for leisure and business purposes. Further information can be found on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's website, or by using the following link:

http://www.culture.gov.uk/publications/7896.aspx

No official estimate has been made of the precise value of the outbound sector, but ABTA's recent report estimated that outbound travel directly contributes over £22 billion to the economy, representing 1.6% of UK GDP. With the inclusion of contributions made by industries supplying the sector, the total economic impact rises to over £54 billion, or 3.8% of UK GDP. ABTA's report has been published on its website and can be found using the following link:

http://www.abta.com/resources/news/view/491

The Office for National Statistics records that UK residents spent £31.0 billion abroad in 2011.

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-263688

Prime Minister

Ministers: Code of Practice

Ms Harman: To ask the Prime Minister, with reference to his oral answer of 30 April 2012, Official Report, columns 1241-2, on the Ministerial Code (Culture Secretary), if he will place in the Library a copy of the letter sent by the Cabinet Secretary and the Head of the Civil Service to all Departments on 25 April 2012 clarifying the rigorous procedures for handling cases of a quasi-judicial nature. [109138]

The Prime Minister: A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

23 May 2012 : Column 701W

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Biofuels: Pollution

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information her Department holds on the level of (a) hexavalent chromium, (b) chromium, (c) titanium dioxide, (d) particulates and (e) arsenic emitted to the atmosphere from biomass plants in the UK in the latest year for which figures are available. [108212]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA's National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) estimates emissions to the atmosphere of a wide range of air pollutants. The most recent available estimates are for 2010 and are as follows. All the data relate to emissions from non-domestic combustion of wood and straw and excludes open burning of wood waste.

(a) Emissions of hexavalent chromium from biomass plants were estimated at 16 tonnes, 0.4% of the total national emission.

(b) Emissions of chromium are estimated at 160 tonnes, 0.6% of the national total. The NAEI estimates that 10% of chromium is present in the hexavalent form in emissions from combustion processes.

(c) Emissions of titanium dioxide have not been assessed.

(d) The NAEI provides information on emissions of particulate matter in a number of size ranges. The emissions of particles less than 10 micrometers (PM10) were 5,700 tonnes and of those less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) were 3,200 tonnes. This represents 5% of UK emissions for both size fractions.

(e) The emissions of arsenic to air were 130 tonnes, 1% of total UK emissions.

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which (a) incineration and (b) biomass plants are permitted to burn wood containing chromated copper arsenate. [108213]

Richard Benyon: There are 15 incinerators in England and Wales that are permitted to burn wood coated with preservatives containing heavy metals, including chromated copper arsenate. No biomass plants are permitted to burn separately collected fractions of such wastes. The permitted sites are as follows:

Environment Agency region Site

Anglian

Twinwoods Heat and Power Ltd

Anglian

Huntingdon Waste to Energy Plant

Midlands

Stoke Alternative Energy Centre

Yorkshire and North East

Wilton 10 Power Station

Yorkshire and North East

Sandsfield Co-Incinerator

Yorkshire and North East

North Shields Waste to Energy Plant

Yorkshire and North East

Port Clarence Waste Recovery

Yorkshire and North East

Yatts Biomass Energy Recovery Demonstration Plant

Yorkshire and North East

Seamer Carr Waste to Energy Plant

Yorkshire and North East

Kirk Sandall Thermal Treatment Plant

North West

Ellesmere Port Incinerator

South East

Fawley Energy From Waste Facility

23 May 2012 : Column 702W

South East

Fawley High Temperature Incinerator

South West

Peake (GB) Ltd

Wales

Tythegston Gasification Plant

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the amount of (a) Strontium 90 and (b) Caesium 137 that was released in stack emissions and wood ash from biomass power stations in the UK in the last year for which figures are available. [108395]

Gregory Barker: Emissions from biomass power stations in England and Wales are regulated by the Environment Agency. The agency has not made any such estimates because these are anthropogenic radioisotopes that would not normally be present above trace quantities in biomass feedstock and so offer no potential threat to human health.

Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress her Department has made on developing new measures on the control of bovine tuberculosis. [107982]

Richard Benyon: In July 2011, DEFRA published a Bovine TB Eradication Programme for England setting out a package of measures to tackle the disease. Delivery of the programme is continuing, including work on both cattle and badger controls and development of vaccines. The programme is available at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/files/pb13601-bovinetb-eradication-programme-110719.pdf

Departmental Staff: Political Affiliation

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what the (a) job title and (b) pay band was 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; [107256]

(2) what the (a) job title and (b) pay band was 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. [107257]

Richard Benyon: To collect any such information would require a search of all HR records, which would involve disproportionate costs.

Consultants

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the answer of 30 April 2012, Official Report, column 1336-7W, on consultants, what additional payments were made to IBM to conduct the feasibility study and assist in setting up the shared service centre. [108660]

23 May 2012 : Column 703W

Richard Benyon: This information cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.

Floods: Stoke on Trent

Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many homes in Stoke-on-Trent were at high risk of flooding in the most recent period for which figures are available. [108105]

Richard Benyon: There are a total of 1,219 residential properties at significant risk of flooding in Stoke-on-Trent.

Food

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to support the food industry and food exports. [107869]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA works closely with the food industry to encourage innovation, competitiveness and growth. The joint government-industry action plan, ‘Driving Export Growth in the Farming, Food and Drink Sector’, published in January, details how we will work together to open up and take advantage of key markets to boost our economy and generate jobs.

DEFRA is working with other funders (Technology Strategy Board, Research Councils) and industry to boost innovation through collaborative research and development through investment in a £90 million Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform. We recently held an innovation summit to increase awareness of innovation support mechanisms available to the agri-food industry.

New opportunities in overseas markets are important to the UK's long-term growth prospects for the sector and, as such, the Minister of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Mr Paice), has recently been to China to promote UK exports with the aim of opening up markets there.

Equally important for promoting long-term growth is our aim to encourage young people to build careers in the food production industry. DEFRA has worked with the food chain to facilitate the development of a skills action plan for the food chain, with the aim of making the industry more attractive to young people and identifying skills required for the future food system. The Action Plan was launched last June.

Horses: Infectious Diseases

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has to counter and prepare for a possible outbreak of African horse disease in the UK. [107894]

Richard Benyon: The likelihood of the introduction of the African Horse Sickness (AHS) virus to the UK via legal trade in horses and other equidae is considered very low but, should disease occur, we recognise that the impact could be high. Any outbreak would be managed in accordance with DEFRA's Contingency Plan for Exotic Diseases of Animals, which is regularly tested. DEFRA has been working closely with representatives of the equine sector, through a joint Government and

23 May 2012 : Column 704W

Industry Working Group, to agree a control strategy setting out what would happen should we get an outbreak of AHS. We have reached agreement with the Working Group on the control measures needed and expect to publish this control strategy shortly.

Manpower

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many full-time equivalent employees (1) her Department employed in May 2010; and how many it employed at the latest period for which figures are available; [108153]

(2) have (a) left and (b) been recruited to her Department in the last two years. [108183]

Richard Benyon: Core DEFRA employed 2,560.36 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees on 31 May 2010 and 2,072.79 on 30 April 2012.

In the last two years (i.e. 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2012), 681.18 FTE employees left DEFRA. This figure includes 99.75 FTE legal staff who transferred from DEFRA to Treasury Solicitors on 31 August 2011.

364.31 FTE employees joined DEFRA between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2012. This figure includes 101.40 FTE staff transferred to DEFRA from the regional development agencies on 1 July 2011.

Power Stations: Pollution

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to reduce emissions to the atmosphere of (a) carcinogens and (b) particulates arising from power stations. [108215]

Richard Benyon: Any combustion activity with a rated thermal input of greater than 50 megawatts is subject to integrated pollution prevention and control. The regulator (the Environment Agency in England and Wales) is required to set emission limits for any pollutant likely to be emitted in significant quantities, basing those limits on what can be achieved through the application of best available techniques (BATs). The regulator has to review those limits periodically as BATs develop.

Risk Assessment

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what strategic or transitional risk registers in each area of policy are held by her Department; and if she will make a statement. [107478]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA's 2010-11 Annual Report and Accounts contained a Statement on Internal Control (page 55)

http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/2011/07/26/annual-report-accounts-2010-11/

which included information on DEFRA's risk and control framework and the effectiveness of DEFRA's risk management.

Each policy team takes a proportionate and appropriate approach to assessing the risks in its area and discusses these frequently with Ministers when advising them of policy options.

23 May 2012 : Column 705W

Updated information on DEFRA's risk management and its key risks will be available in the 2012 Annual Report and Accounts.

Sheep

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has assessed the merits of sheep farming in less favoured areas. [107980]

Richard Benyon: The Uplands Policy Review, published in March 2011, recognised the important role played by sheep farms, particularly in relation to shaping the environment. This important role, particularly in the uplands, is recognised within Environmental Stewardship and appropriate payments are available. On 9 May 2011, the National Sheep Association launched a report entitled ‘Complementary Role of Sheep In Less Favoured Areas’. The report draws on the support of many other organisations with environmental and agricultural interests that agree that traditional sheep farming practices can bring a host of environmental, social, and economic benefits to these remote and disadvantaged areas.

UN Conference on Sustainable Development

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education on working with schools and organisations representing young people to consult on priorities for the Rio Earth Summit 2012; and if she will make a statement. [108325]

Richard Benyon: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), is leading the Government's preparations for Rio+20; the Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), has been involved, through the normal course of Cabinet business. Preparations for Rio+20 have involved extensive consultation with civil society organisations, including those representing young people.

Transport

A683

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she expects the M6 to Heysham Link Road to be completed. [109310]

Norman Baker: The latest information provided to the Department by the scheme promoter—Lancashire county council—is that the scheme will be finished by December 2015. This will require statutory procedures to be completed and the approval of the Secretary of State for Transport on the amendments to the orders.

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) homes and (b) businesses will be compulsorily purchased to facilitate the route of the M6 to Heysham Link Road; and how much on average it will cost to buy each (i) home and (ii) business. [109311]

23 May 2012 : Column 706W

Norman Baker: The Department does not hold the information requested. These are matters for the scheme promoter, Lancashire county council.

Lost Property

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many items of equipment valued at £10,000 or more her Department lost in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if she will make a statement. [108935]

Norman Baker: The Department (including its seven Executive agencies) has not lost any individual items of equipment valued at over £10,000 in the last two financial years. However, the Highways Agency has suffered incidents of metal theft, details of which will be disclosed in the Agency's 2012-13 Annual Report and Accounts which is due to be published at the end of June.

Departmental Staff

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many full-time equivalent employees have (a) left and (b) been recruited to her Department in the last two years. [108181]

Norman Baker: The following figures are for the central Department and its seven Executive Agencies:

Financial year (a) Employees left the Department (b) Employees recruited to the Department

(i) 2010-2011

1382.4

577.53

(ii) 2011- 2012

1111.33

692.38

The majority of the employees recruited were recruited from within the civil service.

Midland Main Line

Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the likely increase in (a) freight and (b) passenger capacity of upgrading and then electrifying the Midland Mainline. [108609]

Mrs Villiers: Network Rail is assessing the business case for upgrading and electrifying the Midland Main line, which could support additional freight and passenger capacity. The Department for Transport will announce overall decisions on rail investment in the period from 2014 to 2019 by the end of July.

Public Sector

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many new public sector mutuals were created or spun off by her Department in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if she will make a statement. [108917]

Norman Baker: In the Department for Transport, no new public sector mutuals were created or spun off in the financial years quoted.

23 May 2012 : Column 707W

Officials are currently working closely with Cabinet Office colleagues on Better Business Models. DVLA is developing a £100 million efficiency programme, VOSA and DSA are transforming their provision of testing by taking it to the customer, and we are working on detailed options for the business model for VCA.

Rotherham Station

Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether Rotherham Central railway station will require structural modification to accommodate the tram train announced by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at her Department on 17 May 2012. [109248]

Norman Baker: Network Rail is currently designing two short low floor platforms for use by tram train services. It is not planned to reconstruct Rotherham Central which will continue to be served by existing services.

Trade Unions

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport 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. [107333]

Norman Baker: Trade union representatives can represent an employee both formally and informally through a range of mediums, to discuss various issues. We do not record this information.

West Coast Main Line

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to open access to multiple operators on the West Coast Main Line link from Carnforth to London. [109307]

Mrs Villiers: Open access or non-franchise passenger train operators (those who operate services purely on a commercial basis, i.e. not under either a franchise or a concession agreement) are a matter for the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR). Companies which wish to run such services must apply to the ORR for the necessary track access rights and to Network Rail for train paths in the timetable.

I understand that Alliance Rail is currently in discussion with the ORR with a view to start operating services from London Euston to Carlisle via Barrow-in-Furness and the Cumbrian coast.

Treasury

Carbon Emissions

Luciana Berger: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his Department's total level of carbon emissions was between (a) 1 April 2010 and 1 April 2011 and (b) 2 April 2011 and 1 April 2012. [108567]

23 May 2012 : Column 708W

Miss Chloe Smith: The Department’s total greenhouse gas emissions in tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) for the years specified are as follows:

  2010-11 2011-12

Energy

3,379.16

2,882.16

Travel

78.14

58.83

Total

3,457.30

2,940.98

Luciana Berger: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures his Department introduced to reduce its carbon emissions in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [108568]

Miss Chloe Smith: Since 2010, HM Treasury has achieved significant reductions through a programme of works and several initiatives to help meet its carbon reduction targets:

Introduction of a Waste Management Strategy, including the recycling of batteries and food waste, removal of junk mail, and introduction of virtual printing to reduce paper wastage;

Purchase of environmentally friendly products wherever possible, including the disposable containers used in the Department's canteen at 1 Horse Guards road, and aerated water taps to reduce water use;

Energy saving measures including lights being set to dim to 50% capacity outside of core hours, meeting room sensors set to switch off after 15 (rather than 30) minutes of inactivity and adjusted to lower levels in infrequently accessed areas, the use of low-energy, long-life light bulbs, evening security patrols tasked with checking that lights are switched off, and office cleaning taking place during the day rather than at night;

Upgrades to the Building Management System (BMS) and controls, with adjusted settings during bank holidays and real time data available on energy usage on HM Treasury’s website; and

Rationalisation of the Department’s estate and IT equipment to reduce energy use and carbon footprint, with sustainable disposal of obsolete equipment.

Projects planned for 2012 include low-carbon awareness campaigns in 1 Horse Guards road, promotion of video conferencing rather than travel, and a move to closed loop paper (where paper used on site is recycled and turned back into paper which is delivered back to the Department).

HM Treasury is currently developing a sustainability plan which will outline its strategy and actions up to 2015 for increasing sustainability and reducing carbon emissions further. The plans will be published in the Department’s Annual Report and Accounts.

Corporation Tax

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the amount of corporation tax revenue generated in Northern Ireland that is paid by companies with headquarters or registered offices in (a) London, (b) England, (c) Scotland and (d) Wales. [108624]

Mr Gauke: The information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

23 May 2012 : Column 709W

Excise Duties: Fuels

Anne Marie Morris: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue was generated for the Exchequer by fuel duty in the last year for which figures are available. [106813]

Miss Chloe Smith: The latest outturn figure for fuel duty was £27.3 billion in 2010-11, published in table ‘D.3: Current Receipts: OBR forecast’ of Budget 2012, HC1853.

Financial Services: Education

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to foster a savings culture in the UK. [108675]

Mr Hoban: The Government's savings strategy is based on the principles of freedom, fairness and responsibility, so that it meets the needs of consumers while remaining effective and affordable. In particular, the Government aim to encourage more lower and middle-income households to start saving and to save more, especially for the long term and retirement.

The Government have taken steps to support existing savers and encourage new savers, including:

1. Promoting choice by providing flexibility to consumers in a competitive market. This Government introduced the Junior ISA, removed the effective requirement to annuitise at age 75 and announced at Budget 2012 that the Government will work with industry to improve competitiveness and transparency in the ISA market, including encouraging the industry to make use of the technological advances in how information and funds can be transferred to bring further reductions in the time taken to transfer cash ISA between providers. The Government also welcome and strongly support the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) recommendations to make it easier for personal customers, small businesses and charities to switch their bank account. The Government are clear that the new switching proposals need to be fully implemented by the industry by September 2013 and will monitor progress closely through quarterly interim reports.

2. Promoting fairness in incentives to save by introducing automatic enrolment of employees into a pension scheme from October 2012, reforming the way pensions tax relief is restricted and indexing ISA contribution limits to inflation.

3. Promoting personal responsibility within the saving, debt and protection system so individuals are equipped to exercise effective choice and plan for expected and unexpected events. This Government have introduced the Money Advice Service, which among other services provides a free financial ‘healthcheck’; asked an independent Steering Group to devise a suite of simple financial products to help increase the number of new participants in savings and protection insurance markets by providing straightforward, easy to understand products; and worked with industry and consumer groups to establish a ‘default’ open market option, which requires retirees to make an active choice about their provider and the shape of their annuity.

Chris Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress the Money Advice Service has made in its review of the provision of financial education in schools; and when he expects the review to be published. [109106]

Mr Hoban: The Money Advice Service is undertaking a strategic overview of the educational work of the financial services industry, to inform and improve the provision of financial education for young people in the

23 May 2012 : Column 710W

UK. A two-part research project, which is expected to be completed by June 2012, will inform further work in this area.

International Monetary Fund

Chris Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of International Monetary Fund (IMF) plans to review the size of the New Arrangements to Borrow and the implementation of the IMF quota change. [109107]

Mr Hoban: At the spring meetings in Washington in April 2012, a G20-led deal to increase IMF resources by $430 billion was agreed. The IMF's International Monetary and Financial Committee and the G20 also reaffirmed the urgency of making the 2010 quota and governance reforms effective by the 2012 Annual Meetings, which this year will be held in Tokyo from 12 to14 October.

As agreed by the G20 in South Korea in 2010, the New Arrangements to Borrow are currently planned to be rolled back when the IMF quota and governance reforms are ratified by the required majority of member countries. The UK ratified the reforms in Parliament in July 2011.

Revenue and Customs

Mike Freer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much HM Revenue and Customs has earned through penalties since 31 January 2012. [108408]

Mr Gauke: The HMRC Financial Accounts, which contain details of penalties accrued during the financial year, are currently in the process of being prepared and audited. They are timetabled to be laid before Parliament on 27 June 2012.

The accounts will specify the revenue accrued, including penalties, for the period 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012. Revenues are deemed to accrue evenly over the period for which they are due.

The data will appear in the ‘Statement of Revenue, Other Income and Expenditure’ within the Trust Statement and in the ‘Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Net Expenditure’ in the Resource Accounts (with specific detail in the accompanying note on ‘operating income’).

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many additional tax inspectors have been recruited by HM Revenue and Customs in each month since September 2011; [108626]

(2) how many tax inspectors were employed by HM Revenue and Customs in each year since 2009. [108627]

Mr Gauke: HMRC was created by the merger of Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise in 2005 and “tax inspectors” is no longer a role within the merged organisation.

However, following the £917 million reinvestment in HMRC at the spending review 2010, the number of staff tackling avoidance and evasion and fraud will increase by around 2,500 full-time equivalent staff by 2014-15.

23 May 2012 : Column 711W

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will extend the use of 0345 numbers for telephone calls made by the public to HM Revenue and Customs to all calls handled by its contact centre network. [108741]

Mr Gauke: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Cathy Jamieson) on 17 May 2012, Official Report, column 301W.

VAT

David Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with independent care providers about their VAT status. [108605]

Mr Gauke: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

The Treasury publishes a list of ministerial meetings with external organisations, available at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/minister_hospitality.htm

David Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether arrangements are in place for small businesses to pay VAT on a monthly basis with regular adjustments made for outstanding debt. [108686]

Mr Gauke: The Annual Accounting Scheme allows businesses with an estimated VAT taxable turnover for the coming year of £1.35 million or less to spread their VAT payments equally over nine months, or pay by quarterly instalments towards their annual VAT bill. The instalments are based on the VAT liability from the previous year. If there is a balance or repayment due this will be settled at the end of the financial year.

The scheme also allows businesses to make additional voluntary payments towards their end of year VAT bills. At the end of the year, these businesses get two months (rather than the standard one month) in which to submit their VAT return and any balancing payment.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Diplomatic Service: Training

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what education and training his Department provides for its staff in women's rights. [108094]

Mr Bellingham: The FCO provides job-related training to staff covering international human rights issues, including women's rights. There are opportunities for FCO staff working on conflict issues to participate in cross-Whitehall training on women, peace and security including the HMG Conflict Foundation Course. Women's rights also feature in some of the training and development opportunities organised individually by FCO Posts and Directorates on countries, regions and broader thematic issues.

23 May 2012 : Column 712W

In addition, staff in front line roles overseas working for the UK Border Agency (UKBA) as Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs) or Managers (ECMs) are required to complete the ECM/ECO training course, which includes gender sensitivity issues such as on the policy and practice of forced marriage. There is also a forced marriage module in consular assistance training for staff in the UK and overseas.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is committed to a diverse and inclusive work force that represents modern Britain. All staff are expected to complete diversity training which underlines the need to respect difference, including gender, and to create an inclusive working culture in which all are encouraged to develop their full potential.

Iraq

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 23 April 2012, Official Report, columns 752-3W, on the Arab Partnership Fund, what the (a) objectives, (b) outcomes and (c) amounts of funding are of the two projects undertaken under the auspices of the Arab Partnership Fund in Iraq to strengthen a free and balanced media and parliamentary capacity; and whether any follow-up projects are envisaged. [108245]

Alistair Burt: For the project to strengthen parliamentary capacity through support to the Finance Committee of the Iraqi Council of Representatives:

(a) The objective is to support the Finance Committee of the Iraqi Council of Representatives in improving its internal organisation, financial oversight, capacity for legislative scrutiny, and develop its relations with the Board of Supreme Audit and other policy committees.

(b) The outcomes are: the internal restructuring of the committee and new committee strategy, new oversight processes, enhancement of policy understanding including on banking sector reform, improved procedures to undertake questioning of finance ministry officials, improved links with other parliamentary policy committees on financial oversight, and creation of a Scrutiny Unit within parliament.

(c) The Arab Partnership Participation Fund provided £155,729.03 of funding for this project, which is part of a larger four-year Conflict Prevention Pool funded programme to strengthen the capacity of the Council of Representatives. The programme will continue (funded through the Conflict Prevention Pool) until the next Iraqi parliamentary elections.

For the project to strengthen a free and balanced media through support to the Iraqi National Public Service Broadcaster:

(a) The objective is to increase the capacity of Iraq Media Network (IMN) for editorial independence and impartiality in accordance with its public service broadcasting (PSB) mandate.

(b) The outcomes are: (i) review under way of the structure and internal communications of the IMN against its mandate, (ii) review under way of the curriculum, training facilities and procedures of IMN staff to ensure better understanding of PSB and of Iraqi legal frameworks, (iii) development under way of online staff training modules along the lines of those developed by the BBC

23 May 2012 : Column 713W

Academy, (iv) review under way of the code of conduct and development of training modules, (v) introduction of multi-media platforms and review of the strategic goals of IMN's online forums to produce more dynamic and participatory content.

(c) The Arab Partnership Participation Fund provided £234,025 for this project, which is part of a wider programme of reforms of the IMN. We will monitor this progress carefully.

Israel

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on a total ban on settlement trade. [108726]

Alistair Burt: Our position on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is clear: they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and make a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, harder to achieve. We constantly urge the Israeli authorities to cease all settlement activity.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), and I have regular discussions with our EU counterparts on these issues. The EU Foreign Affairs Council most recently discussed issues relating to the Middle East Peace Process, including settlements, on 14 May. In the meeting's conclusions, the EU and its member states

“reaffirmed their commitment to fully and effectively implement existing EU legislation and the bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products. The Council underlines the importance of the work being carried out together with the Commission in this regard.”

Full text of the conclusions may be found at:

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/130195.pdf

We regularly discuss with EU partners our assessment of Israeli settlement activity. There is currently no specific proposal for a total ban on settlement trade.

Mali

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 30 April 2012, Official Report, column 543W, on Mali, what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Mali; what information his Department holds on the number of international aid organisations that have withdrawn since the military coup in March 2012; what recent discussions he has had on the restoration of democracy and civilian rule when the agreement to hand power temporarily to President Dioncounda Traore runs out on 21 May 2012; and if he will make a statement. [108199]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Reports suggest that over 300,000 men, women and children have been uprooted by the current crisis in Mali. Ongoing conflict in the country is exacerbating the already worsening food and nutrition crisis that is affecting some 18 million people across the Sahel. The UK is supporting, where local conditions allow, the work of UN and international non-governmental organisations to provide humanitarian assistance for

23 May 2012 : Column 714W

approximately 68,000 individuals. We continue to monitor the situation and are in close contact with agencies working on the ground.

The deterioration in security conditions in the northern regions of Mali has also limited the delivery of humanitarian assistance. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we are monitoring the issue of humanitarian access closely.

We cannot say precisely how many aid organisations have left since March 2012 but, at the time of the coup d’état in March, we know that the UN World Food Programme (WFP) was one of many organisations that had to close their offices in the north of Mali as a result of insecurity and unrest. The WFP is working on ways to guarantee safe conditions for the return of their staff and the resumption of aid to those affected by conflict in Kidal, Timbuktu and Gao.

We understand that agreement was reached over the weekend of 19-20 May to extend the mandate of the interim government for a further 12 months. However, the status of this agreement remains unclear following the attack on President Traore on 21 May. The UK continues to monitor the situation in Bamako. We condemn the latest violence and continue to engage actively—including through our recently reopened embassy—with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), regional Governments and our international partners, to support a swift return to democratic, constitutional government.

North Africa and Middle East

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what programmes his Department supports in north Africa and the Middle East on (a) women's social and political participation, (b) women's health and (c) reduction of female genital mutilation. [108095]

Alistair Burt: The UK is supporting the empowerment of women in the political, economic and social life of the middle east and north Africa (MENA). As part of the UK's national action plan to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security we have launched a specific action plan for the MENA region.

(a) The UK is supporting women's political participation in the MENA region. For example, the UK's Arab Partnership is funding an Electoral Reform International Services programme in Egypt to promote the participation of women candidates in Egyptian local council elections. The tri-Departmental Conflict Pool (FCO/Department for International Development/Ministry of Defence) is supporting women's participation in the Libyan political process, co-funding the first ever Women's Convention in Tripoli in November 2011, and programmes to mobilise women to form networks and common platforms to advocate locally and nationally for greater social, economic and political inclusion. The UK's DFID-led bilateral aid programmes in Yemen and Palestine are also working for women's empowerment. For example DFID's support to the Yemeni Social Fund for Development (SFD), is contributing to increasing girls' participation in and access to education, and improving economic opportunities for women through micro finance and labour intensive works projects. In the Occupied Palestinian Territories

23 May 2012 : Column 715W

(OPTs), DFID's state-building programme is boosting citizen's rights by helping the Palestinian Authority to be more accountable and responsive to the public, including improving their services for female victims of violence.

(b) The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not directly support women's health programmes, but the UK's bilateral aid programmes are working to improve women's health in Yemen and Palestine. For example, UK support to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) provides essential services, including female healthcare, to Palestinians living in the OPTS and Palestinian refugees. In 2011, our support to UNRWA helped provide maternal health care to 263,000 women, and our funding to the PA supports over 2,000 women a year to give birth assisted by skilled health personnel. In Yemen, our support will also help deliver access to basic health care for 50,000 girls and women and access to health care for approximately 38,000 women.

(c) We are clear that the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) needs to end. While we do not have any specific FGM programmes in the MENA region, we are making a contribution to global measures to eliminate FGM through our core support to UN organisations working on this issue—the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Children's Fund and the World Health Organisation.

Yemen

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) money, (b) training, (c) personnel, (d) security equipment and (e) other support for security assistance his Department has provided to Yemen in (i) 2012 and (ii) 2011; and what such support he plans to provide to Yemen in 2012-13. [108650]

Alistair Burt: As part of the British Government's package of measures to support the Government of Yemen, we have agreed a detailed programme to assist them with improvement in aviation security at Sana'a International airport. This programme includes the provision of aviation security equipment and training which the British Government have been rolling out since 2011. We do not comment on the detail of wider security assistance.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the airport scanners promised to Yemen in 2011 were delivered; and when such delivery took place. [108651]

Alistair Burt: As part of the British Government's package of measures to support the Government of Yemen, we have agreed a detailed programme to help to improve aviation security at Sana’a International airport. This programme includes the provision of aviation security equipment and training which the British Government have been rolling out since 2011. We do not comment on the detail of wider security assistance.

Defence

Aircraft Carriers

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the operation of two active carriers is budgeted for in his Department's post 2015 Equipment and Support budget. [108870]

23 May 2012 : Column 716W

Peter Luff [holding answer 22 May 2012]:A decision on the status of the second aircraft carrier will be made in the next strategic defence and security review in 2015. An £8 billion headroom has been established in the Equipment and Equipment and Support programme over the next 10 years having balanced the Ministry of Defence budget.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Statement of 10 May 2012, Official Report, column 141, on carrier strike capability, (1) from which year he proposes that the net additional operating cost averaging about £60 million per year will be incurred; and for how many years; [109062]

(2) from which budget he proposes that the net additional operating cost will be met. [109087]

Peter Luff: As stated by the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), in his statement of 10 May 2012, Official Report, columns 141-42, on Carriers, the net additional operating costs estimated to be around £60 million relate to the second aircraft carrier. A decision on the use of the second aircraft carrier will be made in the next Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what items were ordered by his Department relating to the conversion of UK aircraft carriers to take catapult and arrestor gear. [109076]

Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence did not order any equipment as part of the investigations into the conversion of the operational Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier. The investigations focused on the development of a new Carrier Variant-based ship design, a revised build strategy and development of both in-build and refit conversion options. This work was undertaken by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and Naval Design Partnership in the UK, supported by the US Department of Defence.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the number of industrial jobs that were reliant on the conversion of the UK's aircraft carriers to take catapult and arrestor gear. [109078]

Peter Luff: In the absence of a contractual commitment to conversion, no jobs could be said to be reliant on the work.

Armed Forces: Mental Illness

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to combat stigmatisation of mental illness in the armed forces. [108494]

Mr Robathan: We take the mental well-being of our people very seriously and have put systems in place for those who need help to obtain it without recourse.

Service personnel, and their families receive education on the signs and symptoms of mental health difficulties and are signposted to help and support by the chain of command, and the relevant welfare organisations. In

23 May 2012 : Column 717W

addition, through initiatives such as peer-led Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) sessions, individuals are encouraged to speak freely about their experiences following a traumatic incident. This can be followed up with in-theatre medical teams and during decompression in Cyprus.

I am satisfied that through a wide range of education and material and the proactive campaign to remove the stigma associated with mental health difficulties, any member of the armed forces suffering with this debilitating condition is now more likely to come forward and obtain the help they need.

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department are taking to improve the screening, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in the armed forces. [108498]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) takes the issue of mental health very seriously, and we are always looking for ways to improve the already excellent treatment and care that we provide for those who need it. We have a close working relationship with the King's Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR) at King's College, London, which undertakes a range of research aimed at understanding and improving the mental health of the UK armed forces. It currently includes a major study, funded by the US Department of Defence, of a possible mental health screening tool using UK armed forces personnel returning from operations.

As well as carrying out or commissioning our own research, we closely monitor clinical advances and developments in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions, both in the UK and internationally, in order to ensure that patients receive the most effective and efficient care.

In accordance with the recommendations of my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison)’s ‘Fighting Fit' Report, published in October 2010, additional resources are also being allocated by MOD and the Department of Health to improve the mental health care provided to both serving and ex-service personnel. Key among these are the commissioning of an extra 30 whole-time equivalent NHS mental health professionals to deliver improved access to NHS mental health services to veterans, and the launch in March last year of a professional 24-hour helpline for current and ex-service personnel and their families. Additionally, we are currently trialling use by the service community of the Big White Wall, an online early intervention service for people in psychological distress. An e-learning package has been launched to help civilian GPs understand the needs of the military, their families and ex-service personnel. We are also introducing mental health assessments into routine service medical examinations and into discharge medicals, which are currently being introduced on a regional basis.

Armed Forces: Officers

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people were employed in the Retired Officer Corps on 31 December in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [108705]

Mr Robathan: It was previously the case that some posts in the civil service were designated as requiring specialist knowledge or experience of service in the

23 May 2012 : Column 718W

armed forces. As a result such posts were designated as retired officer posts and only open to former service personnel.

Although some retired officer posts remain, they have, in the main, been replaced by posts designated as Military Support Function. These no longer limit applications to former service personnel in recognition that civil servants can also acquire the specialist knowledge or experience to compete for these posts.

The following table lists the number of retired officer posts since 31 December 2003, this being the only period for which this information is available in this format:

As at 31 December Total number of retired officer posts

2003

895

2004

768

2005

650

2006

564

2007

461

2008

360

2009

301

2010

244

2011

197

Armed Forces: Pay

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel have been accidentally overpaid in Scotland in each of the last five years; how much was repaid in each year and what the highest amount repaid was. [109082]

Mr Robathan: This information is not held in the format requested and could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: Schizophrenia

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of levels of schizophrenia in the armed forces. [108497]

Mr Robathan: The number of armed forces personnel to have been diagnosed with schizophrenia is small. According to data collated by the Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA), between 2007 and 2011 (earliest and latest dates for which verified data are available) 108 UK armed forces personnel had an initial assessment of either schizophrenic, schizotypal or delusional disorders at a Ministry of Defence Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) or MOD in-patient care contractor.

Arms Trade

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 30 April 2012, Official Report, column 1134W, how many of his staff work on export promotion in support of the UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation; and what the budget was for (a) their salaries and (b) other costs in 2011-12. [108720]

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Mr Gerald Howarth: UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO), led by Lord Green, has overall responsibility within Government for trade promotion. However, UKTI DSO works very closely with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) whose contribution can be critical to the success of an industry-led export campaign. A wide variety of support is provided from across the Department. Records on how many staff are engaged in supporting UKTI DSO are not centrally held.

There is no central budget for export support. The cost of supporting a particular export campaign is funded by the business unit providing the support where there is a defence benefit in doing so, in accordance with HM Treasury rules. Alternatively the costs of support are charged back to UKTI DSO or to industry.

There is a permanent team of two in the MOD responsible for export support policy and direct engagement with UKTI DSO. There are also two senior civil servant (SCS) posts—at pay band one and two—who are responsible for co-ordinating the Department's export effort. The pay range for each post per annum is:

SCS pay band 2: Minimum £82,900, Maximum £162,500

SCS pay band 1: Minimum £58,200, Maximum £117,750

B2: Minimum £49,860, Maximum £59,535

C2: Minimum £30,428, Maximum £36,333

The MOD can charge a Commercial Export Levy to offset costs incurred by the Department in supporting export campaigns.

Army

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) which (a) infantry and (b) armoured units his Department plans to (i) abolish and (ii) merge in the next 12 months; and which such units are based in Wales; [108535]

(2) what criteria his Department uses when deciding which infantry and armoured units to abolish and merge; [108642]

(3) when he expects the review of the future structure of the Army to close. [108643]

Nick Harvey: The Army is undertaking a study into its future size and structure, the outcome of which we expect to announce once decisions have been made. Until then it is not possible to comment on which specific units may be affected.

Army: Scotland

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) recruitment targets and (b) levels of recruitment were for (i) The Royal Scots Borderers, (ii) The Royal Highland Fusiliers, (iii) The Black Watch, (iv) The Highlanders, (v) The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, (vi) 1st Battalion Scots, (vii) The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and (viii) 19th Regiment Royal Artillery in the latest period for which figures are available. [106754]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 14 May 2012]: The following table shows numbers recruited (excluding officers) for each of the named units in recruiting year 2011-12 and the manning shortfalls that existed before and after that period.

23 May 2012 : Column 720W

  Manning shortfall as at January 2011 Manning shortfall as at April 2012 Recruiting target 2011-12 (1) Recruited during 2011-12

Royal Regt of Scotland(2)

-402

-354

671

641

1st Battalion Scots Guards

-53

-58

198

143

Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

-33

-78

43

25

19 Regt RA(3)

+72

+48

40

40

(1) Recruiting targets do not equate directly to the number of trained individuals necessary to ensure full manning of units. They are based on a number of criteria which will include the ability to recruit in particular areas, the share of the funded number of trained soldiers allocated to each arm and service and the resources available. The Royal Regt of Scotland would have required around 1,000 new recruits during 2011-12 to return to full manning (taking account of outflow and those recruits who would not complete training), but the target was reduced to one considered more achievable. (2) The Royal Regiment of Scotland (The Scottish Division), consisting of the Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 SCOTS); the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS); the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS); the Highlanders, 4(th) Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 SCOTS); the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (5 SCOTS) has one recruiting target which is not broken down to the Battalions named. Newly trained Scottish Regiment recruits are allocated to the Battalion where the demand is greatest. (3) The manning surpluses against 19 Regt RA are due in large part to preparation for deployment to Afghanistan and the addressing of some structural changes.

Carbon Emissions

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures his Department introduced to reduce its carbon emissions in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [108574]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has a varied programme of work to reduce carbon emissions including boiler optimisation, lighting upgrades, adjusting heating times to reflect building occupancy, minimum/maximum temperature mandates, weekend and holiday shutdowns, IT and electrical equipment reductions and rationalisation, staff engagement and behavioural campaigns.

In 2010-11 (the last year for which figures are available) the MOD exceeded the 10% carbon emission reduction commitment on the civil office estate, by achieving a 14.7% reduction. In addition the Department also exceeded the Sustainable Operations on the Government estate targets, achieving a 21.4% reduction against the carbon emissions from the office estate target of 12.5% and a 24% reduction against the carbon emissions from vehicles' target of 15%.

The MOD is now working toward the new Greening Government Commitment of a 25% reduction in emissions from the whole estate and business related transport by 2015.

Chief Scientific Advisers

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons his Department downgraded the post of Chief Scientific Adviser from a 4-star post to a 3-star post. [108424]

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Peter Luff [holding answer 21 May 2012]: The change to Director General reflects a decision to reduce the post's level of executive responsibility and, in future, to increase its focus on advisory responsibilities.

The post will remain one of the most influential within the MOD with the post-holder being directly accountable to Ministers and to the Permanent Secretary.

Consultants

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence 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. [107493]

Peter Luff: In 2010-11 the Ministry of Defence (MOD), including MOD's trading fund agencies, spent £26 million on consultancy contracts (as defined by the Cabinet Office)—about one third of what was spent in 2009-10. This figure includes expenditure on management consultants.

The final out-turn on 2011-12 external consultancy is not yet available.

Expenditure on consultancy is now published annually in UK Defence Statistics.

Defence: Procurement

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department's equipment budget will increase by 1% above inflation in each financial year from 2015 onwards. [108994]

Peter Luff: In Planning Round 2012 we assumed that the Department's spending on equipment and equipment support would increase by 1% above inflation in each financial year from 2015.

Devonport Dockyard

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the annual budget of Her Majesty’s Naval Base Devonport has been written off as a (a) loss and (b) theft in the last three years for which figures are available. [108006]

Peter Luff: The proportion of the budget of Her Majesty's Naval Base Devonport written off as a result of losses and theft combined accounted for less than 1% of the annual budget for financial years 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12.

Disclosure of Information

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to his answer of 7 March 2012, Official Report, column 780W, on departmental disclosure of information, if he will publish any interim findings of the inquiry into the unauthorised disclosure of the letter between the former Secretary of State and the Prime Minister which appeared in T he Daily Telegraph on 28 September 2010. [108829]

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Mr Philip Hammond: The investigation remains open. Active inquiries are not being conducted, but if relevant information comes to light it will be investigated. I regret to say that the person responsible for the leak has not been identified.

Freedom of Information

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times his Department has used a qualified exemption to withhold answers with relation to Freedom of Information requests in each of the last five years; and on what subjects. [108862]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) submits statistical information on the use of exemptions to the Ministry of Justice which is published on its website.

The following figures are taken from the annual exemptions tables (Table 5 2007-09 and Table 10 2010-11). The figures represent the total number of times all of the qualified exemptions have been applied.

  Number of qualified exemptions (1)

2011

391

2010

259

2009

199

2008

238

2007

283

(1) More than one exemption may be applied to any one request.

Due to the scope of MOD business, the Department receives requests for information on a wide variety of subjects. It would only be possible to provide the subject of each of the requests to which qualified exemptions have been applied at disproportionate cost.

Harrier Aircraft

Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give consideration to reversing the decision to transfer the UK's Harrier warplanes to the US. [108250]

Peter Luff: The Harrier was a flexible and capable aircraft which served the nation well. However, owing to the reduction in the size of the Harrier fleet to 32 aircraft in 2009 under the previous Government it was unable to achieve sustained operations in Afghanistan and maintain an adequate contingent capability for the unexpected on its own. Only the Tornado could do this and sustaining fleets of three types of aircraft was unaffordable. We accepted that this decision would create a gap in carrier strike capability until the end of the decade. The sale has been completed and the Government do not intend to reverse the decision to sell the Harrier fleet to the US Government.

Iraq Conflict

Dr Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what medical conditions are more prevalent amongst veterans of the second Iraq war; [R] [108363]

(2) what (a) potential and (b) actual causes of ill-health have been associated with service in Iraq. [R] [108365]

23 May 2012 : Column 723W

Mr Robathan: While we hold information on medical conditions affecting our service personnel, it is not possible to attribute these to a particular deployment. However, we will shortly be beginning a long term study covering operations in Iraq and Afghanistan which will mirror the ongoing study into the health of veterans of the first Gulf war. As with the ongoing study, the results of this new study will be published regularly.

This ongoing study published its latest findings on 31 March 2012, and can be found at:

www.dasa.mod.uk

This found that there was no statistically significant difference in the total number of deaths between Gulf veterans and service personnel who had not served in the first Gulf war; and the number of disease related deaths was significantly lower among Gulf veterans than among those who had not served in the first Gulf war. Finally, both groups of veterans were at a lower risk of dying than the general UK population.

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he consulted his French counterpart prior to cancelling the order for F35 aeroplanes using catapult machinery on future UK aircraft carriers. [107859]

Mr Philip Hammond: Discussions on the Carrier project between the UK and France have been held at both ministerial and official level. The decision to procure the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the F35 does not affect our continued close co-operation with France. It has been our intention since the Lancaster House treaty to co-ordinate carrier movement with the French Navy to ensure that at least one European carrier group is available to support international operations, and this has not changed.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects sea trials of the F35B aircraft to commence. [109074]

Peter Luff: F35B sea trials have already commenced and are well advanced in the United States.

As stated in the Secretary of State for Defence’s statement to the House on 10 May 2012, Official Report, columns 140-53, we expect flying from the Queen Elizabeth to commence in 2018, but no exact date in that year has been set for when the UK sea trials will commence.

Departmental Staff

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many full-time equivalent employees his Department employed in May 2010; and how many it employed in the latest period for which figures are available. [108158]

Mr Robathan: Information on the number of employees in the Ministry of Defence and its trading funds is compiled on 1 April each year. As at 1 April 2010 there were 85,850 full-time equivalent civilian employees. This has steadily reduced to 70,940 as at 1 April 2012.

23 May 2012 : Column 724W

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many full-time equivalent employees have (a) left and (b) been recruited to his Department in the last two years. [108175]

Mr Robathan: The following table provides information on the total number of civil servants joining and leaving the Ministry of Defence, and its trading funds, in the last two financial years:

  2010-11 2011-12

Inflow

1,940

1,330

Outflow

4,980

11,690

Military Aircraft: Training

John Glen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many trainee pilots are being held over and not on flying training in the (a) Navy, (b) RAF and (c) Army; when he expects all such recruits will complete or resume their training; and if he will estimate the total cost to the taxpayer of holding over such recruits in each of the next three years. [108701]

Mr Robathan: A trainee pilot is considered on hold when they are between flying training courses. As of 18 April 2012 the number of trainee pilots on hold in the flying training pipeline was as follows:

Royal Navy: 80

Army: 41

Royal Air Force: 214

Trainee pilots are expected to recommence training between June 2012 and August 2014. Depending on individual stages in the training pipeline, we expect these trainees to start emerging combat ready between 2014 and 2018.

There is no extra cost of holding trainees in the pipeline, as they are part of the funded strength of their service and are redeployed to other duties.

Military Decorations

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make it his policy to award the Accumulated Campaign Service Medal 2011 to all members of HM Armed Forces who served for two years in combat operations, regardless of when they left HM Armed Forces; [107454]

(2) whether he plans to extend the award criteria for the Accumulated Campaign Service Medal 2011 to military personnel who have left HM Armed Forces before 1 January 2008; and if he will make a statement; [107455]

(3) for what reasons the award criteria for the Accumulated Campaign Service Medal 2011 have been restricted to only those members of HM Armed Forces who served on or after before 1 January 2008; and if he will make a statement. [107456]

Mr Robathan: The qualifying period for the new Accumulated Campaign Service Medal 2011 was set at 720 days instead of the 1,080 days required for the original Accumulated Campaign Service Medal. This was because, despite an increase in operational

23 May 2012 : Column 725W

commitments and tempo in recent years, harmony guidelines meant that it was taking longer for individuals to earn this recognition for repeat tours of duty.

The need for change was underlined by the end of residential tours in Northern Ireland when Operation Banner ended in July 2007. Lengthy operational tours there had contributed significantly to the 1,080 days required to earn the original Accumulated Campaign Service Medal. The date of 1 January 2008 was chosen as the start date for the new medal following the final awards of the General Service Medal 1962 with clasp (Northern Ireland) in 2007.

I recognise that whenever a change to medal qualifying requirements is made there will be some who will not benefit from the change. I am satisfied that the arrangements now adopted represent the right approach to the changing demands on our servicemen and women over time.

Military Police

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Ministry of Defence police officers are employed (a) at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Devonport and (b) within Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport constituency. [108007]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence keeps security at all sites under constant review to ensure that civil policing resources are used in an effective and proportional manner. The number of Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) officers deployed at Devonport, and within the Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport constituency, are commensurate with the current tasking levels.

I am withholding the number of officers deployed at and around HMNB Devonport, as the disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces. It would also be likely to prejudice law enforcement at those locations.

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the potential for Ministry of Defence Police Officers to take a greater role in delivering security at Ministry of Defence sites in Plymouth. [108026]

Mr Robathan: I refer my hon. Friend to the written statement I made on 27 March 2012, Official Report columns 116-19WS. We will be taking a flexible approach to the implementation of the changes to our future civil policing requirement including those in the Devonport area. This will ensure that the best possible use will be made of MOD police at those defence sites where there is a clear requirement for constabulary powers as part of the overall protective security arrangements.

Safeguarding Defence sites, people and assets remain of paramount importance to the MOD and we would never contemplate changes that would place these in jeopardy.

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has assessed the potential effects of reducing the number of Defence Community Police Officers on the delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant. [108361]

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Mr Robathan: I refer my hon. Friend to my written statement of 27 March 2012, Official Report, columns 116-19WS, in which I explained that the future requirement for Defence Community Police Officers has been carefully reviewed against other competing priorities. Community support activity on a number of Defence families' estates is already successfully provided by local police forces, and we have concluded, subject to consultation with the Defence Police Federation, that we should adopt this model more widely, allowing the withdrawal of most MOD Police Defence Community Police Officers in Great Britain. We do not believe this change would affect the delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant.

Nimrod Aircraft

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has assessed any implications arising from the Haddon-Cave report on the loss of the Nimrod Xv230 for the safety management of Royal Navy (a) Vanguard class and (b) other submarines. [109009]

Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has encouraged all those involved in the submarine programme to consider the implications of Haddon-Cave's findings and recommendations for their own safety management arrangements. In common with Defence as a whole, the submarine programme is adopting a more rigorous approach to the recognition of safety duty holders. In another significant development, there has been an improvement in MOD regulation of safety through the creation of the Defence Safety and Environment Authority, within which the Defence Maritime Regulator and the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator have specific remits for the submarine programme. This is consistent with the creation of the Military Aviation Authority as directly recommended by Haddon-Cave.

Queen’s Dragoon Guards

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards. [108564]

Nick Harvey: The Army is undertaking a study into its future size and structure, the outcome of which we expect to announce when decisions have been taken. Until then it is not possible to comment on which specific units may be affected.

Redundancy

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of his Department's employees have been made redundant in the last two years. [108067]

Mr Robathan: In respect of Ministry of Defence (MOD) civil servants, paid release is used as part of normal work force management. Voluntary terms are offered in order to reduce surplus staffing levels and, ultimately, as a means of avoiding or minimising compulsory redundancies. The numbers of MOD civil servants leaving over the last two years reflect the MOD's need to reduce civilian headcount in response to the strategic defence and security review and other work to balance the Defence budget. The following table shows

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the total numbers of paid releases (both voluntary release and redundancy) over the last two financial years within the Ministry of Defence and its trading funds.

  Number

FY 2010-11

520

FY 2011-12

6,870

Veterans: Prisoners

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Justice on the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen in prison. [109129]

Mr Robathan: Ministry of Defence officials work closely with officials in the Ministry of Justice with regards to the issue of ex-service personnel in the criminal justice system.

Work and Pensions

Atos Healthcare

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 1 May 2012, to the hon. Member for Cardiff West, Official Report, column 1407W, on Atos, when each contract between his Department and Atos was most recently renewed or extended. [107220]

Chris Grayling: Regarding the five DWP contracts with Atos, the dates for the most recent contract renewals or extensions are as follows;

Policy area Most recent contract re-let or extension

Medical Services

This contract was most recently extended in November 2010

Tell Us Once—Tell Us Once Release A

This contract was most recently extended in August 2011

enGage (Government Gateway)

This contract was most recently extended in March 2011

Occupational Health

This contract has not been renewed or extended since its original award

Community Action Programme

This contract was most recently extended in January 2012

Carbon Emissions

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department took to reduce its carbon emissions in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [108578]

Chris Grayling: The key measures DWP introduced to reduce carbon emissions in 2010, 2011 and 2012 are as follows:

2010

Installed a large Combined Heat and Power unit in DWP's largest building

New staff awareness campaign on energy and travel reduction (ongoing)

Continued installation of 'spend-to-save' investment measures across estate

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Relocated large data centre to new low-carbon facility

Installed improved and additional video conferencing facilities

Implemented lower-carbon fleet

2011

Replaced printers, scanners and copiers with fewer multi-function devices

Launched estate rationalisation programme (ongoing)

Lifted server/comms room minimum cooling temperatures

Revised policy on office heating and cooling times and temperatures

Challenged and removed excess office equipment (fridges, fans etc.)

Expanded installation of Automatic Meter Readers to improve monitoring, using data to challenge excess consumption and address adverse trends

Consolidated IT servers

Increased number of local energy champions (now 800 across estate)

2012 to date

Embedded sustainability within DWP policy and project development

Reviewed estate plant end-of-life replacement programmes re energy opportunities

Revised methodology for investment in new low-carbon technologies

Launched improved energy database to improve reporting and transparency

Reviewed opportunities to reduce standby timings on printers

DWP Executive Team signed up to a number of sustainability pledges

Further details of the Department's vision and proposals on carbon reduction are outlined in its Carbon Management Plan, available on the Department's website. A refreshed Plan will be published later this year.

Child Maintenance

Mr Bacon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 1 May 2012, Official Report, column 1411W, on the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, what the substance was of each change to the contract between Tata Consulting Services and the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission since 2009. [108283]

Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to my hon. Friend with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Noel Shanahan:

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

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 1 May 2012, Official Report, column 1411W, on the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, what the substance was of each change to the contract between Tata Consulting Services and the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission since 2009.(108283]

The five key contract changes made to the contract between Tata Consulting Services (TCS) and the Commission since 2009 are:

CCN001—The introduction of contractual clauses relating to fraud management with no impact to contract value.

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CCN002—Amendments to the procedure for managing contract changes, an agreement to a number of change requests and a revised implementation plan.

CCN003—Amendment to reflect transition from time and materials terms to a fixed price term to complete supplier testing and consequential changes to the services to be provided. New governance and change management arrangements were created.

CCN004—An amendment to reflect changes to the duration of the maintenance agreement for the TCS banking software package with no impact to contract value.

CCN005—Amendments to the criteria used by the Commission for accepting the conclusion of certain phases of testing and an agreement that TCS will support three months of testing at no additional cost.

Employment Schemes

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employers have (a) applied for and (b) secured funding from his Department to recruit people who have been unemployed for six months or more in (i) Birmingham and (ii) England in the last 12 months. [108499]

Chris Grayling: No payments have been secured by employers as part of DWP-funded employment schemes in the last 12 months to recruit people, including wage incentives for which the earliest eligibility would be eight weeks after the launch of the Youth Contract on 2 April.