Syria

18. Bob Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of UN personnel monitoring ceasefire compliance in Syria. [112358]

Mr Hague: I commend the brave men and women working as part of the UN mission to monitor the Annan Plan. They are operating in extremely difficult circumstances, and have faced improvised explosive device attacks and regular small arms fire. As Kofi Annan has made clear on many occasions, the onus is on the Assad regime to call off its military assault, to adhere to a ceasefire and to allow a process of political reform.

19 Jun 2012 : Column 904W

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent financial support his Department has provided to opposition groups in Syria. [111499]

Alistair Burt: As the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) noted in his statement to the House on 11 June 2012, we are providing £1.5 million of project based assistance this financial year to Syrian opposition and civil society groups. These funds will help to provide human rights monitoring, media training for activists and other non-lethal support, such as communication equipment. This support is part of our wider strategy to secure an end to violence and political transition to a new accountable, open and inclusive Syria, founded on respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps he has taken to secure international agreement on a draft UN Security Council Resolution on Syria. [111500]

Alistair Burt: We continue to support the Joint UN-Arab League Special Envoy on Syria, Kofi Annan's six-point plan as the best hope to achieve an end to violence and genuine political transition.

As the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) said in his statement to the House on 11 June 2012, the Annan Plan is not an open-ended commitment. It cannot be used indefinitely by the regime to play for time. If the Annan Plan is not implemented, we will argue for a new and robust UN Security Council Resolution aimed at compelling the regime to meet its commitments under the plan. We are in close contact with key international partners on what more we can do to support the Annan Plan, including in the UN.

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with its international counterparts on the likely steps to be taken in the event that Kofi Annan's peace plan for Syria is not implemented. [111501]

Alistair Burt: We are putting our energies into supporting the Joint UN-Arab League Special Envoy, Kofi Annan's six-point plan for Syria as the best hope to achieve an end to violence and genuine political transition.

As the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) said in his statement to the House on 11 June 2012, the Annan Plan is not an open-ended commitment. If the Annan Plan is not implemented, we will argue for a new and robust UN Security Council Resolution aimed at compelling the regime to meet its commitments under the plan.

The Foreign Secretary during discussions with the Russian Foreign Minister on 28 May 2012 made the case for Russia to use its crucial leverage with the Assad regime to ensure the full implementation of the Annan Plan. When the Foreign Secretary met Foreign Minister Lavrov on 14 June 2012 in Kabul, he welcomed in

19 Jun 2012 : Column 905W

principle the Russian suggestion of an international conference on Syria which should set out the principles of a political process in Syria, including a plan for political transition in Syria and full implementation of the Annan Plan.

Afghanistan

20. David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the willingness of the Government of Pakistan to support efforts to secure peace and stability in Afghanistan. [112360]

Mr Hague: I discussed Afghanistan with the Pakistani Government during my visit to Islamabad last week. Pakistan recognises that a stable Afghanistan is crucial to its own long-term prosperity and security. We welcome Prime Minister Gillani’s public support for an Afghan-led political process.

Colombia

21. Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of violence and death threats against civil society leaders in Colombia. [112361]

Mr Jeremy Browne: We meet regularly with Colombian civil society leaders to hear their concerns, including about violence and death threats affecting human rights defenders and community leaders. We also provided a forum, which I hosted, for these concerns to be shared with President Santos when he visited London in November. We make high-level representations on these cases to the Colombian authorities and included this issue in our 2011 Human Rights Report.

Shanghai Co-operation Organisation

22. Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on recent developments within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. [112362]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The EU is working with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation through its Central Asia Strategy. The June SCO summit demonstrated the expansion in both the range of issues the body aims to address and the interest in it from non-member countries.

School Textbooks: Palestine

23. Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Palestinian authorities on the content of school textbooks. [112363]

Alistair Burt: The UK takes very seriously any reports of textbooks which promote anti-Semitism or any other form of incitement to hatred. UK officials made this position clear to the Palestinian Authority in March.

Previous investigations have found no evidence to support claims of incitement or anti-Semitism in Palestinian textbooks, though we are aware of a current US State Department investigation due to report this year, the findings of which we will study closely.

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Africa

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advisory groups he has on Africa; who the members of each such group are; and what their remuneration is. [112861]

Mr Bellingham: Following the visit by the Prime Minister to South Africa and Nigeria in July last year, a sub-Saharan Africa business taskforce was established under the chairmanship of my noble Friend, Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint. It consists of around 30 key companies, both large and small and medium-sized enterprises, with business interests in Africa. The taskforce meets twice a year; the members are unpaid. Ministers and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials, including UK Trade and Investment, regularly consult relevant business stakeholders including country specific business councils. In addition, FCO officials and Ministers periodically consult members of the African Diaspora community on a range of issues.

Armenia: Azerbaijan

Mr Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on recent hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the contact line with Nagorno-Karabakh; and if he will make a statement. [111610]

Mr Lidington: I have noted with concern the escalation of incidents on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Tragically this has resulted in the deaths of at least eight soldiers. Together with other EU member states we have called upon both Armenia and Azerbaijan to exercise restraint and to refrain from further retaliatory measures.

We continue to urge all sides to use diplomatic channels, in particular the Minsk Group process, to achieve a peaceful negotiated settlement, which remains the only way to secure a lasting, peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

Brunei

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last visited Brunei; what recent steps he has taken to strengthen the UK's economic, commercial, cultural and educational links with Brunei; and if he will make a statement. [112025]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs visited Brunei on 26-27 April 2012. The Secretary of State discussed a range of issues, including the UK's close partnership with Brunei across the energy, defence and finance sectors. The Secretary of State found the relationship to be thriving and delivering substantial benefits for both countries, notably in the fields of energy, defence, education and finance, subsequently underlined by a visit to London by His Majesty the Sultan. In a separate event with Brunei's Minister of Education, the Secretary of State launched the initiative of the British Universities' Brunei Association to strengthen still further the educational and research links between Britain and Brunei. The text of the Secretary of State's statement following the visit is at:

www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=News&id=758821382

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Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the state of the UK's relations with Brunei; and if he will make a statement. [112026]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs had an opportunity to assess the state of the UK's relations with Brunei during his visit to that country on 26-27 April 2012. He had discussions with Brunei's Foreign Minister, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed, with Brunei's Minister of Education, Pehin Abu Bakar, with online social network users and with the team at our high commission. The Secretary of State found the relationship to be thriving and delivering substantial benefits for both countries, notably in the fields of energy, defence, education and finance, subsequently underlined by a visit to London by His Majesty the Sultan. The Secretary of State observed that the many ties between Britain and Brunei today—including Brunei's uniquely successful experience of the English language as a medium of learning—make the UK a natural partner for the Sultanate as it moves to diversify within the energy sector and build a knowledge-based economy. The text of the Secretary of State's statement following the visit is at:

www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=News&id=758821382

Diplomatic Service: Human Trafficking

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the role played by the UK's overseas missions in tackling the problem of human trafficking. [112517]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Our embassies and high commissions provide a platform for departments including the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), the Department for International Development (DFID) and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to implement the Government's Human Trafficking Strategy overseas. Work is primarily focused on the nine top source countries for potentially trafficked victims in the UK and some work is carried out in transit countries.

Our embassies and high commissions make a valuable contribution to tackling human trafficking including through:

working with foreign Governments and other organisations to build their capacity to disrupt human trafficking, for example by working with investigators and prosecutors to increase prosecutions for human trafficking offences;

addressing the root causes of human trafficking through DFID's work to alleviate poverty overseas, for example the four-year DFID-led South Asia Project covering India, Nepal and Bangladesh which aims to reduce the number of women and girls being trafficked and to protect the rights of women and girls who migrate for work from Asia;

encouraging Governments in source and transit countries to take the lead to protect potential victims and reintegrate victims; and

contributing to the UK's and international efforts to combat trafficking by ensuring that UK interests are effectively represented bilaterally and in multilateral fora, including the EU and the UN.

Euro 2012

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are

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being taken to ensure the safety of

(a)

black and Asian and

(b)

other England supporters attending the Euro 2012 Championships. [112269]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Security is the responsibility of the Governments of Poland and Ukraine as the hosts of Euro 2012, working with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). We have maintained a dialogue with the two host Governments through our embassies, our respective police services and expert-level contacts to share information and best practice on security at major events, including bespoke training on policing football matches.

In addition, we have put in place arrangements to provide British nationals with consular services during the tournament, drawing on lessons learned from previous European championships and world cups. We have reinforced our consular teams in both countries, including through a mobile team of consular specialists who will be present in cities whenever England play. We have also worked closely with our partners in the Football Association, the Football Supporters Federation, the England Band and other Government Departments to ensure that England fans have access to the best possible information on personal safety.

Under the authority of the Home Secretary, a delegation of UK police officers has been deployed to both Ukraine and Poland during the tournament to support and advise the host police in venue cities on how best to police England supporters; these officers also provide a reassuring presence for the supporters.

Israel: Palestinians

Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the likelihood of Israel-Palestine negotiations resuming. [111385]

Alistair Burt: A solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is needed urgently to give the Palestinian people the state that they need and deserve, and the Israeli people the security and peace that have eluded them for so long.

We and our EU partners have welcomed the recent efforts by the Palestinian and Israeli leadership to renew direct contacts. We have urged both sides to focus on dialogue, to avoid steps that could undermine the prospects for peace and to work towards the resumption of direct negotiations without pre-conditions.

Kenya

Mr Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has undertaken an assessment of the effectiveness of the Kenyan police investigation into the death of Alexander Monson; and if he will make a statement. [112432]

Mr Bellingham: As the investigation is ongoing it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time but the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has made

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clear to the Kenyan authorities that we expect this to be full and transparent and for the findings to be shared with the family, and us, as soon as possible.

Mr Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to support the investigation into the death of Alexander Monson in Kenya; and what steps it is taking to assist his family. [112433]

Mr Bellingham: An investigation into Alexander's tragic death is being conducted by the Kenyan authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has made a forma] request for the findings to be shared with the family and us as soon as they are available. I have personally raised the matter with Foreign Minister Ongeri on 31 May. We will continue to follow the progress of the investigation and stay in close contact with the family to ensure they are informed of any developments.

Libya

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had on the desecration of British Military Cemetery graves in Benghazi in Libya; and when the graves and cemetery will be restored or replaced. [112221]

Alistair Burt: The British Government was appalled at the desecration of Commonwealth war graves. I raised the issue with the Deputy Foreign Minister Abdul Aziz and stressed the importance of a thorough investigation. He gave assurances that the Libyan Government shared our views on the attacks and would continue to investigate these crimes. Our ambassador in Libya also raised our concerns with the Minister of Interior and the offices of National Transitional Council Chairman Abdul Jalil and Prime Minister al-Kib. Foreign Minister Khayyal and Chairman Abdul-Jalil made statements condemning the attacks.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has begun work to replace the damaged headstones and hopes to have completed this work this autumn. The Libyan authorities are in contact with the CWGC and have confirmed that they will fund these works.

Middle East and North Africa

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he plans to take to ensure that the UK meets its commitment to consult women's organisations on the ground in the development of the Middle East and North Africa section of the SCR 1325 National Action Plan Initiative. [112484]

Mr Bellingham: We are already in contact with a range of organisations in the region, including women's organisations. We also consult women individually, as part of our dialogue with civil society and human rights defenders. We remain sensitive to the extent of these organisations' and individuals' desire for dialogue, in order to manage the risk that contact might entail in any given political context. In the UK, we will look to take expert advice on this from Gender Action for Peace and Security, an umbrella grouping dedicated to

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women, peace and security issues, made up of peace and development non-governmental organisations, academics and grassroots peace builders.

Montenegro

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent assessment is of Montenegro's readiness to join the EU. [111550]

Mr Lidington: The UK supports eventual EU membership for Montenegro, as for all countries of the Western Balkans. We look forward to the upcoming decision on whether to open EU accession negotiations with Montenegro this year based on the European Commission's recommendation that Montenegro has made good progress across the range of pre-accession criteria. However, the opening of accession negotiations is only the beginning. There is still much progress needed to bring Montenegro in line with the EU standards required for membership, and the UK remains clear that Montenegro will need to meet the required conditionality before being accepted into the EU. The EU accession process is a rigorous conditions-based process that is designed to ensure this. Particular areas of concern regarding rule of law and organised crime and corruption will be addressed early under the new approach of opening negotiation on Chapters 23 (Judiciary and fundamental rights) and 24 (Justice, freedom and security) as early as possible in the process, which we fully support.

Occupied Territories

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to prevent produce originating from Israel's illegal settlements in the west bank and east Jerusalem being imported into the UK; and if he will make a statement. [112844]

Alistair Burt: The issue of produce from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which are illegal under international law, is a subject of active discussion with our EU partners.

At the Foreign Affairs Council meeting on 14 May, EU Foreign Ministers issued conclusions stating that:

“the EU and its member states reaffirm 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”.

This ongoing work includes measures to ensure that settlement produce does not enter the EU duty-free, under the EU-Israel Association Agreement, and steps to ensure that EU-wide guidelines are issued to make sure that settlement products are not incorrectly labelled as Israeli produce, in violation of EU consumer protection regulations. There are, however, currently no plans for EU or domestic legislation on this specific issue.

We understand the concerns of people who do not wish to purchase goods exported from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It was in order to enable consumers to make a more fully informed decision concerning the products they buy that, in December 2009, the UK introduced voluntary guidelines

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to enable produce from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to be specifically labelled as such. At other partners' request, we have shared our experience of operating this voluntary labelling scheme with interested countries.

Official Visits: Israel

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions and meetings he and his Ministers have had with the Israeli Prime Minister on threats from Iran; and what exchange of intelligence there has been between the UK and Israel on the possible threats from Iran. [112220]

Alistair Burt: We keep in close and regular touch with Israeli counterparts on the threat posed by Iran. Most recently the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) discussed Iran with the Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on 22 May 2012, where he reiterated our commitment to a peaceful diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue. The Foreign Secretary also discussed Iran with the Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz on 11 May and with the Israeli National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror on 1 May.

Regional Pay

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to introduce regional pay since 20 March 2012; and if he will make a statement. [111540]

Mr Bellingham: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) exits the pay freeze in 2013 and will at that point look to move to more local, market facing pay. We are awaiting further data and guidance from the Efficiency and Reform Group in the Cabinet Office that will allow my officials to look at how the FCO's pay structures compare with local market data. Once this is published we will work with Cabinet Office and Her Majesty's Treasury colleagues to produce a three year pay strategy.

Spain

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance his Department gave to British nationals affected by recent delays at the Spanish border in Gibraltar. [112099]

Mr Lidington: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice includes advice for travellers crossing the Spain-Gibraltar border.

Should we receive any calls we would provide assistance appropriate to the particular circumstances in line with consular policy.

The FCO has not received any calls from British nationals regarding recent delays at the border.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether border queue delays were discussed at his meeting with his Spanish counterpart in London on 29 May 2012; [112102]

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(2) what issues were discussed and conclusions reached at his meeting with his Spanish counterpart in London on 29 May 2012; and if he will make a statement. [112103]

Mr Lidington: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) made the following statement after his meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo in London on 29 May 2012:

“It was a great pleasure to welcome Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo to the United Kingdom today. We maintain a strong bilateral relationship. We spoke about the challenges faced by the Eurozone and the critical need for the EU to agree measures to deal with the economic crisis and encourage growth. We also discussed wider foreign policy issues including co-operation on Syria, Iran and Latin America.

We reiterated our joint support for a local solution to the current fishing dispute in Gibraltar. Clearly our views on this differ, but we both recognise the importance of establishing a dialogue between all parties. I look forward to working closely with the Minister in the future.”

International Development

Africa

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he has taken to ensure that UK and European development policy in Africa is aligned. [112850]

Mr Duncan: The UK is committed to working to align EU-UK development policy including in Africa, and to ensure EU aid is increasingly focused on demonstrating clear results and value for money.

The UK Multilateral Aid Review (MAR) provided a comprehensive analysis of multilateral performance. The European development fund (EDF) was among the top performers for delivering effective, transparent aid and inclusive partnerships. It is less effective in demonstrating results and communicating impact. These issues continue to be addressed by discussions in Brussels and regular MAR reporting from DFID country offices.

The UK has provided significant inputs into the EU's new Development Policy: ‘An Agenda for Change'. Consequently this reflects a large number of UK priorities, including greater focus on results and impact, and more emphasis on monitoring and evaluation.

I am strongly supportive of the EU's focus of regional economic integration in Africa as a driver of growth. My Department is seeking alignment on policies on regional integration and infrastructure, and has made the largest financial contribution to the EU Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund of all member states.

Given the significance of Budget Support in Africa, I have been particularly keen to align our position with the EU. The Commission's policy paper on Budget Support entitled ‘The Future Approach to EU Budget Support to Third Countries' strongly reflects our own position and demonstrates the results and value for money expected of future EU budget support programmes.

DFID has extensively collaborated on the EU Horn of Africa strategy. I have led discussions specifically on Somalia with the Commission and other member states to align our positions. The Commission attended the recent UK Conference on Somalia where we agreed goals and objectives.

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Developing Countries: Polio

Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to close the financing gap affecting implementation of the World Health Organisation's plans for polio eradication in 2012-13. [112169]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) works closely with the global polio eradication initiative (GPEI) spearheading partners, other bilateral donors and foundations backing polio eradication to generate additional financial support by broadening the donor base, for example focussing on the G8, the G20 our European partners and the private sector.

DFID has pledged £20 million to the GPEI in 2012-13. A further £20 million resulting from the Prime Minister's January 2011 announcement, doubling UK support for 2011 and 2012 each year, will be released once others match the challenge which he set. Last year the UK's £40 million helped fully immunise over 45 million children. DFID is considering its support for 2013.

Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to engage with the leaders of the remaining polio-endemic countries to ensure full implementation of their national polio emergency action plans. [112170]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The UK works collaboratively with our partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and other supporters to ensure that the three endemic country governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria have the resources necessary to undertake their action plans. This includes encouraging them to increase the share of their own resources devoted to polio eradication and to strengthen routine immunisation, following the best practice example set by India.

Sahel

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the situation in the Sahel region of West Africa; and if he will make a statement. [112282]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: According to latest reports by the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), over 18 million men, women and children across the Sahel region of West Africa are at risk of food shortages in the coming months. This includes over 1.5 million children under the age of five, who are at risk of becoming severely malnourished.

I have recently announced a further package of UK support to help mitigate the crisis. Through this assistance, British aid will support over 1.4 million people at risk of hunger across Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso in 2012.

UK officials continue to monitor the situation closely and liaise with their opposite numbers in other Governments to ensure that other countries take their fair share of the response.

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what consideration his

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Department has given to providing financial resources to the Sahel region of West Africa to alleviate the famine situation. [112283]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: In direct response to severe food shortages in the Sahel region of West Africa, I have announced three packages of UK support to help mitigate the crisis, one in January, one in March and one earlier this month.

Through this assistance, British aid will support over 1.4 million people at risk of hunger across Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. More than 100,000 children at risk of starvation across the region will receive immediate lifesaving treatment.

As well as responding to the current crisis, the UK is supporting efforts to promote resilience in the Sahel. We believe that helping communities to become more resistant to climatic and economic shocks must be a priority, to prevent future food insecurity in the region.

UK officials continue to monitor the situation closely and liaise with their opposite numbers in other Governments to ensure that other countries take their fair share of the response.

Deputy Prime Minister

Absent Voting: Fraud

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to reduce the incidence of (a) postal vote fraud, (b) personation and (c) electoral malpractice; and if he will make a statement. [112268]

Mr Harper: The Government are committed to tackling electoral fraud and have announced that they will legislate to bring Individual Electoral Registration (IER) into force in 2014, ahead of the next general election. Under IER individuals applying to register to vote will have to provide personal information such as their date of birth and national insurance number. This information will be checked against the Department for Work and Pensions customer information system database before a person is added to the register. At the end of the 2015 canvass every entry on the register, except for service voters, will have been individually verified. This will make the electoral register more accurate and more secure, and this should give greater protection to the integrity of the voting process at elections. The Government will also bring forward legislation to make it mandatory for returning officers to check 100% of postal vote identifiers (PVIs) on returned postal vote statements.

Whilst there is no evidence that electoral malpractice is widespread on a national level, any instance of electoral fraud is serious and we will continue to work with the Electoral Commission, police, political parties and returning officers to raise awareness and strengthen systems, to ensure that fraud is detected and prosecuted and to draw attention to existing best practice.

Justice

Civil Disorder

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many people have appeared before Camberwell Green magistrates court charged with an offence related to the public disorder of August 2011; [112398]

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(2) what charges related to the public disorder of August 2011 were brought in cases heard at Camberwell Green magistrates court; [112399]

(3) what the age was of the (a) youngest and (b) oldest person who appeared before Camberwell Green magistrates court charged with an offence related to the public disorder of August 2011. [112400]

Mr Blunt: The number of defendants appearing before Camberwell Green magistrates court for offences relating to the public disorder between 6 to 9 August 2011, by offence type, can be viewed in the table. Data given are as of midday on l February 2012.

The youngest person proceeded against at Camberwell Green magistrates court as of 1 February 2012, for offences relating to the public disorder of August 2011 was aged 12 years. The oldest was aged 69 years.

Defendants appearing at Camberwell Green magistrates court for offences relating to the public disorder between 6 and 9 August 2011—data as of February 2012(1), (2)
Offence typeDefendants

Burglary

333

Criminal damage

2

Other

39

Robbery

7

Theft

128

Violent disorder

56

Total

565

(1) Violent disorder (includes following offences: violent disorder, riot, affray, summary causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress, summary harassment, alarm or distress, assault with intent to resist apprehension or assaulting a person assisting a constable, common assault offences, assaulting a constable and offences under Public Order Act and Justice of the Peace Act). (2) Other offence type (includes following offences: having an article with a blade or point in public place, possession of offensive weapons without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, having possession of a controlled drug (Cannabis). Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice.

Closed Material Procedures

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many closed material procedures were used in each of the last 10 years, broken down by type of case. [111064]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: Closed Material Procedures (CMPs) have been made available since 1994 in 14 different contexts in legislation, (referred to in written evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights on the Justice and Security Green Paper and published by that Committee). They have also been held at the order of the court and with the consent of parties to proceedings (though that is no longer possible in civil damages cases following the Supreme Court judgment in Al Rawi and Others in July 2011). Figures are not held centrally on the number of CMPs used in each of those contexts, or the different types of cases that can be brought, and it has not been possible to compile these in the time available.

Community Orders

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he plans to take to identify offenders with learning difficulties who will be exempt from intensive community orders. [112417]

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Mr Blunt: The Government's consultation paper “Punishment and Reform: Effective Community Sentences” seeks views on the offenders for whom intensive community punishment might be suitable. The equality impact assessment for the consultation identified that offenders with a disability, including learning difficulties, may have specific needs in terms of community orders, and that these needs differ from those without these protected characteristics. We will consider this issue carefully when developing final proposals for intensive community punishment, and will set out our intentions in due course after the consultation closes.

Cycling

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to the letter from British Cycling of 1 June 2012, what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Department for Transport and (b) the Home Office on holding a review of the criminal justice system to better protect road users. [112149]

Mr Blunt: To date no discussions have been held with the Department for Transport on holding a review of the criminal justice system to better protect road users with reference to the letter from British Cycling of 1 June 2012.

Efficiency and Reform Group

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many staff were assigned to (a) the Reward, Efficiency and Reform Group and (b) regional pay issues in (i) 2010-11 and (ii) 2011-12; and how many he expects to be assigned for such purposes in each of the next three years. [112623]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: The information is as follows:

(a) There is not a Reward, Efficiency and Reform Group in the Ministry of Justice or its agencies. The Cabinet Office formed an Efficiency and Reform Group in May 2010. In October 2011 one Ministry of Justice employee was loaned to the Cabinet Office to work within this group specifically on reward issues including regional pay. It is currently expected that the loan period for this employee will end in April 2013.

(b) Within the Ministry of Justice and its agencies there are two reward policy teams, one in the Ministry of Justice and one in the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), which have responsibility for a wide range of reward and related policy issues including regional pay matters. There is however no member of staff assigned specifically to regional pay issues. The staff numbers requested for the two reward policy teams are as follows:

Ministry of Justice (excluding NOMS)

(i) 2010-11: 11

(ii) 2011-12: 15 (team increased to incorporate a programme team working on future reward strategy) but has since reduced to 12. The team is expected to further reduce to five in 2012-13 with no further changes expected within the next three years

National Offender Management Service (NOMS)

(i) 2010-11: 11

(ii) 2011-12: Nine further reduced to seven in April 2012. There are no plans to further vary the size of the team.

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European Court of Human Rights

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) who the members are of the panel which considered applications to be the next UK judge on the European Court of Human Rights; [112468]

(2) if he will publish details of (a) the presentation and (b) the legal problem candidates were asked to analyse at the interview stage of the process to appoint the next UK judge on the European Court of Human Rights; [112469]

(3) if he will publish the list of questions asked of the candidates interviewed by the panel recommending the short-list of candidates to be the next UK judge on the European Court of Human Rights. [112470]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: The members of the selection panel for the next UK judge to the European Court of Human Rights were:

Chair: The Right Hon The Lord Dyson, Justice of the Supreme Court

The Right Hon Lord Reed, Senator of the College of Justice

Professor Nichola Rooney, Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission

Iain Macleod, Legal Adviser, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Rosemary Davies, Legal Director, Ministry of Justice

The interviews were designed to test the candidates' suitability in relation to the advertised eligibility criteria. It would not be appropriate to publish the specific questions asked by the interview panel.

No selection panel for candidates to any appointment could function sensibly if it were publicly accountable for each of the questions it asked to each of the candidates.

Human Trafficking: Convictions

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many convictions there were for offences related to human trafficking in 2011. [112431]

Mr Blunt: The number of defendants found guilty at all courts in England and Wales in 2011 for human trafficking offences, on a principal offence basis, is eight.

Juries

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he has any plans to exempt doctors and other key professionals from jury service. [112740]

Mr Djanogly: The Government has no plans to exempt doctors or other key professionals from jury service. In some circumstances, people may request that their jury service be either delayed or deferred. The reason for the request must be stated on the jury summons form and the person must state when they are available for jury service during the next 12 months.

Where an individual cannot do jury service at any time during the next 12 months, they must state the reason on the jury summons form, and will be required to provide evidence.

Deferral and excusal applications are considered by summoning officers at the Jury Central Summoning Bureau. Each application is carefully and sympathetically considered, paying due regard to individual circumstances.

19 Jun 2012 : Column 918W

Regional Pay

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department has taken to introduce regional pay since 20 March 2012; and if he will make a statement. [111544]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: The Ministry of Justice is currently in the second year of the public sector pay freeze having entered the freeze in 2011.

Pay for some staff in HM Courts and Tribunal Service is already based on regional market rates.

Plans to move to more local market influced pay structures are being considered as part of proposals for pay reform within the Ministry and its Executive Agencies. The first stages of implementation are scheduled for summer 2013 as the Department exits the pay freeze.

Prisoners' Release

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what is the shortest amount of time served in prison before release by an offender who is sentenced to (a) two weeks, (b) four weeks, (c) three months, (d) six months, (e) 12 months, (f) two years and (g) four years imprisonment in the latest period for which figures are available. [112397]

Mr Blunt: Prisoners serving a standard determinate custodial sentence must be released automatically at the halfway point of their sentence. Prisoners serving between three months and just less than four years, who meet the eligibility criteria and are risk assessed as suitable, may be released on Home Detention Curfew (HDC) between 14 and 135 days before the halfway point of their sentence, depending on their sentence length. Prisoners must serve a minimum of one quarter of their sentence (subject to a minimum of 30 days in custody) before they can be released on HDC.

Any relevant time spent in custody on remand may, and generally will, count as time served towards the sentence. The sentencing court may also direct that relevant time spent remanded on bail subject to electronic monitoring (“tagged bail”) counts towards the sentence, provided that the offender was curfewed for at least nine hours per day and complied with the curfew on each day to count. Each day on tagged bail counts as half a day.

The following table indicates the shortest period that could be served in prison by someone sentenced to the various terms of imprisonment if they are eligible, suitable and were released at the earliest possible date under the Home Detention Curfew (HDC) scheme. In an individual case, this period would be reduced by any relevant tagged bail time directed to count by the court.

Sentence lengthMinimum period in prisonMaximum period on HDC

2 weeks

1 week

0

4 weeks

2 weeks

0

3 months

30 days

2 weeks

6 months

6 weeks

6 weeks

12 months

3 months

3 months

2 years

7.5 months

4.5 months

4 years

2 years

0

19 Jun 2012 : Column 919W

Prisoners: Repatriation

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he plans to allocate any funding from the public purse to improve standards in prisons in other countries as part of his Department's strategy to reduce the foreign national offender population. [112128]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: The Returns and Reintegration Fund, administered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development, UK Border Agency and the Ministry of Justice, already funds the provision of practical assistance to help improve prison conditions overseas. Funding is also used to help reduce reoffending in a number of countries with high foreign national offender populations in prisons in England and Wales.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many foreign national offenders received cautions in each of the last five years. [112129]

Mr Blunt: The Ministry of Justice receives information on offenders cautioned from the 43 police forces across England and Wales, via the police national computer (PNC). The nationality of an offender receiving a caution is not routinely collected on PNC unless it pertains to the particulars of the case. Therefore it is not possible to provide with any degree of accuracy the number of foreign national offenders who received cautions in each of the last five years.

Road Traffic Offences

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what representations he has received from (a) individuals and (b) organisations seeking a review of the criminal justice system to better protect road users. [111510]

Mr Blunt: We have received a letter from British Cycling of I June 2012 relating to a review of the criminal justice system to better protect road users.

Social Security Benefits: Appeals

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department is taking to increase capacity within the Tribunals Service to deal with appeal cases received by the First-tier Tribunal—Social Security and Child Support. [112714]

Mr Djanogly: Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has continued to respond strongly to the significant increase in appeal cases received by the First-tier Tribunal—Social Security and Child Support (SSCS). It is working hard to increase the capacity of the SSCS tribunal and reduce waiting times. It has implemented a range of measures which include recruiting more judges and medical panel members; increasing administrative resources and streamlining processes; securing additional hearing venues across the country; increasing the number of cases listed in each tribunal session; running double shifts in its largest processing centre; running Saturday sittings in some of the busiest venues; reviewing all information for appellants to ensure that it is as clear and comprehensive as possible, and setting up a customer contact centre to deal with telephone enquiries.

19 Jun 2012 : Column 920W

All of this is having a positive effect. The total number of disposals has increased significantly from 279,000 in 2009-10 to 380,000 in 2010-11 and the tribunal expects to have disposed of around 435,000 appeals in 2011-12, with the capacity for half a million disposals in 2012-13. Disposals outstripped receipts for the 12 months between January 2011 and December 2011, and the number of cases waiting to be heard reduced by over 44,000 between April and December 2011. The average waiting time has stabilised nationally, and is beginning to fall across many venues.

Work is ongoing to increase the tribunal's capacity further, including the recruitment of additional judges and medical members; review and continuous improvement of administrative processes both internally and between HMCTS and the Department for Work and Pensions; including implementation of section 102 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 which creates the opportunity for additional improvements to business processes.

Trade Union Officials

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many days were used by trade union representatives in his Department for facility time in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and what estimate he has made of the total cost to the public purse of the associated salary costs. [112146]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: Facility time data for local representatives are not recorded centrally, and it would therefore incur disproportionate cost to provide information for the number of days used. However, trade unions in the department were allocated facility time equivalent to a maximum 166.5 FTE in 2010-11 and 169 FTE in 2011-12.

Cabinet Office

Average Earnings

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the average wage was of (a) males, (b) females and (c) all people employed (i) full-time and (ii) part-time (A) on the latest date for which figures are available, (B) in 2010, (C) in 1997 and (D) in 1992 in the areas covered in 2012 by (1) York travel to work area, (2) City of York Council and (3) York Central constituency (x) in cash terms and (y) at 2012 prices. [111429]

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated June 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what the average wage was of (a) males, (b) females and (c) all people employed (i) full-time and (ii) part-time (A) at the latest date for which figures are available, (B) in 2010, (C) in 1997 and (D) in 1992 in the areas covered in 2012 by (1) York travel to work area, (2) City of York Council and (3) York Central constituency (x) in cash terms and (y) at 2012 prices. (111429)

Average levels of earnings are estimated from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), carried out in April each year, and are provided for all employees on adult rates of pay whose pay for the survey period was not affected by absence.

19 Jun 2012 : Column 921W

The following tables show available information covering the items requested. 2011 is the latest date for which figures are available. Figures have been revalued at 2012 prices by use of the All Items RPI.

19 Jun 2012 : Column 922W

Median gross weekly earnings for all full-time, full-time male, full-time female, all part-time, part-time male and part-time female employee jobs(1): (i) York travel to work area, (ii) York Unitary Authority 1997, 2010 and 2011; (iii) City of York constituency 1997; and (iv) York Central constituency 2010 and 2011
£ (figures shown are at current prices (cash terms))
 AllMaleFemale
 Full-timePart-timeFull-timePart-timeFull-timePart-time

York travel to work area

      

1997

*296.9

*86.5

*357.0

x

*236.0

*87.8

2010

482.4

*151.4

517.9

**121.3

*436.9

*157.4

2011

477.5

*147.6

512.2

**140.3

*408.2

*148.2

       

York Unitary Authority(2)

      

1997

*297.1

**86.8

*363.3

x

*235.1

*89.3

2010

477.2

**156.1

*504.4

x

*446.8

**163.9

2011

478.2

*154.8

513.4

**149.7

*410.5

*155.3

       

City of York constituency 1997

      

1997

*306.5

**86.7

*385.8

x

*240.7

**87.4

       

York Central constituency 2010 and 2011

      

2010

*461.8

**172.8

*484.1

x

*437.4

**176.9

2011

*468.6

*171.8

*497.4

x

*429.5

**179.1

Median gross weekly earnings for all full-time, full-time male, full-time female, all part-time, part-time male and part-time female employee jobs(1): (i) York travel to work area, (ii) York Unitary Authority 1997, 2010 and 2011; (iii) City of York constituency 1997; and (iv) York Central constituency 2010 and 2011
£ (figures shown are at 2012 prices)
 AllMaleFemale
 Full-timePart-timeFull-timePart-timeFull-timePart-time

York travel to work area

      

1997

460.6

134.2

553.9

x

366.2

136.2

2010

525.1

164.8

563.7

132.0

475.5

171.3

2011

494.0

152.7

529.9

145.1

422.3

153.3

       

York Unitary Authority(2)

      

1997

461.0

134.7

563.7

x

364.8

138.5

2010

519.4

169.9

549.0

x

486.3

178.4

2011

494.7

160.1

531.1

154.9

424.7

160.7

       

City of York constituency 1997

      

1997

475.5

134.5

598.6

x

373.4

135.6

       

York Central constituency 2010 and 2011

      

2010

502.6

188.1

526.9

x

476.1

192.5

2011

484.8

177.7

514.6

x

444.3

185.3

(1) Employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey pay-period was not affected by absence. (2) City of York council ceased to exist as a local authority in 1996. It was replaced by York Unitary Authority. Until the 2008 ASHE results most of York was covered by the City of York constituency, while the outer parts of the city and local authority area fell within the Selby, Vale of York and Ryedale constituencies. In 2009 two new constituencies, York Central and York Outer, were created. Guide to quality: The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of a figure, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV—for example, for an average of 200 with a CV of 5%, we would expect the population average to be within the range 180 to 220. Key: CV <= 5% * CV > 5% and <= 10% ** CV > 10% and <=20% x unreliable Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), Office for National Statistics

Charities

Gordon Banks: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what responsibilities lie with charities in ensuring that data provided to third parties is retrieved by the charity in the event that relationships between the charity and supplier break down; [112491]

19 Jun 2012 : Column 923W

(2) what arrangements are in place to ensure that data provided to sub-contractors and suppliers of charities is protected during the installation of new IT processes. [112493]

Mr Hurd [holding answer 18 June 2012]: Charities are subject to the requirements of the Data Protection Act. The Cabinet Office has no plans to issue specific guidance to charities on the handling of data.

Correspondence

Mr Thomas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many letters to Ministers in his Department were (a) not answered, (b) not answered within six months and (c) not answered within three months in (i) 2010-11 and (ii) 2011-12; how many such letters were from hon. Members; and if he will make a statement. [109432]

Mr Maude: The information is not available in the form requested.

The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of all Departments in replying to Members' correspondence. Reports are available in the Library of the House.

Electoral Register: Fraud

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many successful prosecutions for electoral registration fraud there were in each region in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [110529]

Mr Harper: Electoral Commission figures show that the number of convictions for electoral registration fraud across the United Kingdom over the last four years was as follows:

 Convictions

2008

1

2009

1

2010

2011

The Government do not collect or hold these data, but these statistics can be found in the Electoral Commission's ‘Analysis of cases of alleged electoral malpractice’ accessible through the following internet links:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/109012/Integrity-report-FINAL-no-embargo.pdf

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/83702/063-Allegations-Report-final.pdf

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/74588/Allegations-of-Electoral-Malpractice-Web-Final.pdf

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/147161/Analysis-of-alleged-cases-of-electoral-malpractice-in-2011.pdf

The data have only been collected in this format since 2008.

19 Jun 2012 : Column 924W

Population

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate he has made of the population of the UK in 2050. [112724]

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated June 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Minister for the Cabinet Office, asking what he estimates the population of the United Kingdom will be in 2050.

The most recent national population projections, based on the resident population at the middle of 2010, were published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 26 October 2011. The projected total population for the UK in 2050 is 78.4 million people.

Assumptions of future mortality, fertility and migration underlying national population projections are demographic trend based. The projections become increasingly uncertain the further they are carried forward. To help understand the uncertainty, a number of variant projections based on alternative assumptions are also produced. National population projections are not forecasts and do not attempt to predict the impact that factors such as future government policies or changing economic circumstances might have on the population.

Third Sector: Finance

Ann McKechin: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what discussions and correspondence he has had with the Scottish Government on the Big Society Capital and the formation of the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund. [112651]

Mr Hurd: As part of the consultation process on the establishment of Big Society Capital, I visited each of the devolved Administrations and met with sector representatives to discuss a range of measures to grow the social investment market in the UK, including the. Investment and Contract Readiness Fund.

The Investment and Contract Readiness Fund itself is an England only fund. As such, key stakeholders representing the sector in England were consulted on how it could best provide support to social ventures based in England. The provision of support to improve the investment and contract readiness of the sector in Scotland is a devolved matter.

Work and Pensions

Carer’s Allowance

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reason the carer's allowance ends when the carer reaches pensionable age; and if he will make a statement. [112720]

Maria Miller: There is no upper age limit for receipt of carer's allowance; therefore it does not automatically end at a carer's pension age.

However, it is a principle of the social security system that two income-replacement benefits, such as carer's allowance and state pension, cannot normally be paid together. Carer's allowance replaces income where the carer has given up the opportunity of full-time employment in order to care for a severely disabled person, while state pension replaces income in retirement.

19 Jun 2012 : Column 925W

Carer's allowance and state pension serve the same purpose, so the rules operate to prevent them being paid together. To pay both benefits together would result in duplicate provision for the same need.

However, if a carer's state pension is less than carer's allowance, state pension is paid and topped up with carer's allowance to the basic weekly rate of carer's allowance.

Employment Schemes: Disability

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in receipt of disability benefits were referred to (a) the Work programme and (b) Work Choice since their inception; and how many people in receipt of disability benefits were referred to previous Government welfare to work schemes in each of the three years prior to the introduction of the Work programme. [112784]

Chris Grayling: Official statistics on Work programme referrals and attachments up to the end of January 2012 were published on 9 May 2012. The information requested on Work programme and previous welfare to work schemes referrals for people in receipt of disability benefits can be found via the Tabulation Tool which is published on the Department's website:

http://83.244.183.180/WorkProg/tabtool.html

The information on Work Choice referrals will be published on the Department's website on 20 June 2012.

Employment Schemes: Dyslexia

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to support dyslexic jobseekers. [109504]

Maria Miller: Jobcentre Plus is committed to helping people to find a suitable job through its network of advisers.

Where customers with dyslexia need extra support to find or retain work the local Jobcentre Plus office can refer them to a disability employment adviser, who can provide support and advice in finding or staying in employment, including sourcing suitable job opportunities, advocating on their behalf with employers, and using the professional expertise of occupational psychologists specialising in working with disabled people. They will also be able to advise them about specialised support available for disabled people.

In addition they can refer individuals to appropriate employment provision including:

Work programme

The Government recognises that many customers have complex disability-related barriers to work and may require specialist support. We know a significant proportion of people with dyslexia have marginal or no specialist support needs. Therefore, in practice the majority of people with dyslexia will be served through our mainstream employment provision.

The Work programme was launched on 10 June 2011, and is the biggest single welfare to work programme. It provides more personalised back-to-work support for unemployed people, including those with disabilities.

19 Jun 2012 : Column 926W

Work Choice

Provides tailored support to help disabled people who face the most complex barriers to employment find and stay in work and ultimately help them progress into unsupported employment, where it is appropriate for the individual. Work Choice is voluntary and available regardless of any benefits being claimed. Work Choice can provide an indefinite period of support once the customer is in work, unlike mainstream employment provision. This is in recognition of the fact that some Work Choice participants may need ongoing support to overcome barriers in work that cannot be met through normal workplace adjustments.

Access to Work

Provides additional support for individuals whose health or disability affects the way they do their job. It provides individuals and their employers with advice and support with extra costs which may arise because of an individual's needs. The type of support Access to Work provides can include support workers, awareness training for colleagues and counselling.

Foreign Workers

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 24 April 2012, Official Report, column 789W and pursuant to the answer of 15 May 2012, Official Report, column 102W, on foreign workers, for how many contracts the five suppliers named in his answer have submitted offshoring proposals; what the (a) nature and (b) value was of each of those contracts; and what the value was of the offshored portion in each case. [112788]

Chris Grayling: Instances of offshoring proposals—nearly all of the instances submitted by the five suppliers— are in the form of individual work orders from a number of IT related contract vehicles.

The contract values for the five suppliers are (2011 to 2013 inclusive) HP Enterprise Services £113.4 million; Accenture £105.3 million; IBM £46.6 million. Also Enterprise Car Hire £3.0 million; Yammer £16,360.

The Department does not centrally record the value of each of the individual work orders or indeed the portion that would be offshored. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Housing Benefit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of social rented sector tenants who will move as a result of the under-occupancy measures in the Welfare Reform Act 2012. [112786]

Steve Webb: One of the aims of the social sector size criteria is to help increase mobility within the social rented sector. Figures from the English Housing Survey for 2010-11 suggest that less than 4% of tenants living in the social rented sector moved within the sector during the year.

Housing benefit claimants affected by the size criteria are likely to have a number of choices. This could include moving into work, increasing working hours or taking in a lodger. It could also involve claimants

19 Jun 2012 : Column 927W

moving to alternative accommodation in the social rented sector, or possibly downsizing into smaller accommodation in the private rented sector. We are unable to accurately estimate the numbers moving as different claimants are likely to have different options available to them, and will respond in a variety of ways to the introduction of the size criteria.

Some details of the sensitivity analysis the Department has carried out on the possible behavioural responses to the under-occupancy measures will be included in the updated impact assessment of the measures to be published alongside the regulations, which we aim to lay later this month.

The behavioural responses of claimants and landlords affected by the size criteria will be included in the planned independent monitoring and evaluation to assess the impact of the introduction of size criteria in the social rented sector.

Child Poverty

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of children living in poverty in (a) Coventry, (b) Coventry North East constituency, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each of the last five years; and what recent steps his Department has taken to tackle child poverty. [112717]

Maria Miller: The Child Poverty Act 2010 sets four income-based UK-wide targets to be met by 2020. The targets are based on the proportion of children living in households with relative low income, combined low income and material deprivation, absolute low income and persistent poverty (all before housing costs have been taken into account). Relative low income (below 60% of contemporary median) is used for international comparisons and is used in this answer.

Estimates of the number and proportion of children living in households with relative low income, combined low income and material deprivation, and absolute low income are published in the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) series. HBAI uses household income adjusted (or ‘equivalised') for household size and composition, to provide a proxy for standard of living.

The sample size of this survey is not sufficient to provide estimates at local authority or constituency level. Therefore we are unable to provide data for Coventry or for the Coventry North East constituency. However, figures at a regional level for the West Midlands and England are available for the past five years.

Three survey years have been combined because single year estimates are not considered to be sufficiently reliable. Statistics covering 2008-09 to 2010-11 are the most recent available.

The following table shows the proportion and number of children living in relative low income, Before Housing Costs (BHC), for 2006-07 to 2008-09 to 2008-09 to 2010-11 in the West Midlands and England.

Number of children in relative low income Before Housing Costs, in the West Midlands and England from 2006-07—2008-09 to 2008-09—2010-11
Million
 West MidlandsEngland

2006-07 to 2008-09

0.3

2.4

2007-08 to 2009-10

0.3

2.3

19 Jun 2012 : Column 928W

2008-09 to 2010-11

0.3

2.1

Notes: 1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data sourced from the 2010-11 Family Resources Survey (FRS). This uses disposable household income, adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living and is available at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=hbai_arc 2. These figures have been presented on a Before Housing Costs basis. That means housing costs (such as rent, water rates, mortgage interest payments, buildings insurance payments and ground rent and service charges) are not deducted from income. 3. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to a degree of uncertainty. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response. 4. The reference period for HBAI figures is the financial year. Three survey years have been combined because single year estimates are not considered to be sufficiently reliable. 5. Numbers of children have been rounded to the nearest 100,000. 6. Relative poverty captures children who live in a household with an equivalised income below 60% of median income, Before Housing Costs. 7. The Child Poverty Act 2010 sets four income-based UK-wide targets to be met by 2020. The targets are based on the proportion of children living in households with relative low income, combined low income and material deprivation, absolute low income and persistent poverty, Before Housing Costs.

The Government published its first strategy to tackle child poverty in April 2011. The strategy draws together the Government's radical programme of welfare and education reform. It underpins the Government's ambition for every child to realise their potential and reflects its belief that reducing poverty is about more than lifting families' incomes above an arbitrary line. It demonstrates that the Government is making a sustained, long-term attempt to lift people out of not only income poverty, but poverty of aspiration and poverty of outcomes. The child poverty strategy sets out how the Government will tackle the root causes of poverty such as worklessness, educational failure, debt, poor health and family breakdown, thereby raising the life chances of poorer children and breaking the cycle of entrenched intergenerational poverty.

On 14 June, the Government published its report on whether the last Government's target to halve child poverty by 2010 was met, and announced that it would be consulting on better measurements of child poverty in the autumn.

Social Security Benefits

Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the maximum possible amount per year in benefits within the scope of the total household benefit cap is that a household can receive under the current system. [112802]

Chris Grayling: Currently there is no limit on the amount of benefits households can receive. The Government is introducing a cap on benefits so that households on out of work benefits can no longer receive more in benefits than the average working household receives in pay.

On its introduction in 2013, the cap will be set at £500 per week for couple and single parent households, which would allow a maximum total of benefits for a year of £26,000, the equivalent of £35,000 a year gross earnings. For single adults without dependent children the cap will be set at £350 per week.

19 Jun 2012 : Column 929W

There will be a number of exclusions from the cap. The cap is intended to increase the incentives to move into work and therefore those on working tax credit will be exempt from the cap. Also, in recognition of their additional needs, all households which include somebody who is receiving disability living allowance, personal independence payment, attendance allowance, industrial injuries disablement benefit (and those receiving war disablement pension and the equivalent payments from the Armed Forces Compensation Payments Scheme), or the support component of employment support allowance will be exempt from the cap. War widows and widowers will also be exempt.

Social Security Benefits: Visual Impairment

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what arrangements he has made for sight-impaired clients of his Department to receive basic information including claims forms in a larger font appropriate to their disability. [108207]

Maria Miller: The information is as follows:

1. Provision for sign-impaired claimants

1.1 Large Print formats

The Department continues to provide Large Print formats at a standard 16 point. Individual requests for larger fonts are considered on a case by case basis.

Since June 2011, the Department has received 41 requests for larger than 16 point and these were all fulfilled.

1.2 Braille

DWP provides English and Welsh Braille formats for leaflets and forms on a ‘Print on Demand' (POD) basis and within standard agreed timings in both languages, agreed with the claimant in advance.

1.3 Reasonable Adjustment for Sight-impaired Claimants

‘Reasonable adjustments' are put in place as a replacement where it could better serve claimants' needs (and balances the cost to the Department), for example face-to-face meetings, working through external partners or by telephone.

Similarly, the online version of Large Print is deliberately designed in A5, black and white format. This can be copied and scaled to A4, increasing the font size to well over 16 point where needed.

All current online information provision, eg on Directgov is compatible with industry standard screen reader software for sight impaired users.

DWP continues to consult with stakeholder representative groups and to consider feedback about the effectiveness of departmental products.

Note:

Welsh provision across all materials is a statutory requirement and not an alternative format.

Work Capability Assessment: Recordings

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will ensure that all Atos medical assessment centres are equipped with recording devices so that people can have their assessment recorded on demand. [112785]

19 Jun 2012 : Column 930W

Chris Grayling: Based on the results of a trial during 2011, we have not implemented universal recording for claimants going through the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). We have asked Atos Healthcare to accommodate requests for audio recording, where a claimant makes a request in advance of their assessment. This approach began in late 2011 and we will monitor take up during 2012 before making a decision on the requirement for recording assessments, taking into account factors such as value for money and the value it adds to the WCA process.

As part of this process we are also reviewing Atos capacity to provide recordings for those claimants who currently request one.

Defence

AgustaWestland

Richard Drax: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussion he has had with representatives of AgustaWestland on the contract to build Apache helicopters. [111885]

Peter Luff: No requirement currently exists to add to the Army Air Corp's fleet of Apache attack helicopters. The Ministry of Defence is engaged in the concept phase of a Capability Sustainment Programme to address our future attack helicopter capability requirement and how it will be sustained to 2040.

As part of the concept phase, informal discussions are taking place with potential contractors to inform the range of options which will be taken forward into the assessment phase. The project team have had initial meetings with representatives of AgustaWestland, who have been encouraged to continue to work with the MOD to help develop our analysis.

Aircraft Carriers

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the cost of coating the decks of the Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales aircraft carriers to allow for short take-off and landing of the Joint Strike Fighter B variant. [111568]

Peter Luff: A cost estimate for deck coating for the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers was part of the Final Target Cost agreement in 2010. We are, however, withholding this estimate as it is part of an ongoing contract and its release could jeopardise commercial discussions between BAE Systems and the supply chain.

Armed Forces: Suicide

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many former members of the (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force (i) committed and (ii) attempted suicide within (A) three, (B) five and (C) 10 years of discharge since 1992. [112048]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 18 June 2012]:The Ministry of Defence (MOD) does not hold information on attempted suicides of armed forces personnel once they have left service. However, the MOD does hold some data on former members of the armed forces who have committed suicide. This is currently published by Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA) and details causes of mortality (including suicides and open

19 Jun 2012 : Column 931W

verdict deaths) of veterans of the 1990-91 operation in the Gulf, together with comparative data for a matched cohort of personnel who did not deploy.

Between 1 April 1991 and 31 December 2011 there were 265 suicide and open verdict deaths among Gulf War 1 Veterans and the comparison cohort who had left service.

The following table provides a breakdown by service, overall and for those who died within three, five and 10 years of discharge. Please note there were five records where the exit date was not available and therefore it is not possible to determine how long after discharge the death occurred:

ServiceAllWithin three years of dischargeWithin five years of dischargeWithin 10 years of dischargeExit date not available

All

265

68

93

183

5

Royal Navy

16

1

5

12

0

Army

208

42

60

135

4

RAF

41

25

28

36

1

The MOD is currently undertaking research into the causes of death (including suicide) among those who served in the Falklands campaign. The study will obtain death notifications to date for the cohort and will assist us in continuing to develop our support for former personnel and those leaving the services. The MOD is also undertaking a similar study on veterans of Operations Telic and Herrick. This will monitor the causes of death (including suicide) of all serving members of the armed forces from 2003 until the end of Operations in Afghanistan. The intention is to run the study for the lifetime of the cohort; therefore, the population will include both serving and discharged personnel. The MOD hopes to publish initial results in 2014.

AWE

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the written statement of 14 May 2012, Official Report, column 20WS, on the Atomic Weapons Establishment, what the revenue and capital expenditure of the atomic weapons establishment was in each year from 2007-08 to 2011-12; and what the revenue and capital expenditure is projected to be in each of the years from 2012-13 to 2017-18. [109345]

Peter Luff: The following table shows the breakdown of capital and revenue (resource) costs of the atomic weapons establishment for the period 2007-08 through to 2017-18.

The question asked for revenue and capital expenditure. However, the Ministry of Defence uses the accounting terms capital departmental expenditure and resource departmental expenditure.

£ million at outturn prices
Financial yearCapital costsResource costsTotal costs

2007-08

409

485

894

2008-09

395

405

800

2009-10

420

450

870

2010-11

409

535

944

2011-12(1)

349

592

941

2012-13(1)

466

506

972

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2013-14(1)

473

512

985

2014-15(1)

534

533

1,067

2015-16(1)

483

535

1,018

2016-17(1)

419

543

962

2017-18(1)

426

562

988

(1 )Figures for years 2011-12 and 2012-13 are provisional, while those for 2013-14 up to 2012 to 2018 are planned. Notes: 1. CDEL—Capital Departmental Expenditure Limit This covers costs required to bring an asset into working condition for its intended use. Costs include direct purchase price, direct support required to bring the asset to working condition, delivery/handling and installation, Capital spares are also included in CDEL. These are what are required to support the asset and are defined as repairable items with more than one year of life which are retained for the purpose of replacing elements of an asset as it undergoes repair, maintenance, servicing. Additionally CDEL covers any upgrade costs that change/improve the capability of the asset or extends its life. 2. RDEL—Resource Departmental Expenditure Limit These are the costs required to support an asset that is in-service—i.e. we are getting beneficial use from it. These costs include associated running costs and maintaining the asset (i.e. contractor support) that does not alter the capability/life of the asset.

Defence Equipment

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his oral statement of 14 May 2012, Official Report, columns 261-64, when his Department plans to publish a specific equipment programme. [111693]

Peter Luff: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the relevant section of the statement made by the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), to the House on 14 May 2012, Official Report, column 264.

Defence Equipment: Scotland

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) SA90 self-propelled guns, (b) multi-rocket armoured vehicles, (c) Bates communication systems, (d) SA and IS mortars, (e) man portable surveillance and target acquisition radar systems and (f) Rapier field standard missiles of each equipment type are permanently based at each location in Scotland. [111558]

Peter Luff: The UK's Defence footprint is organised, resourced and managed on a UK-wide basis to meet operational needs.

The only equipments listed in the question that are permanently based in Scotland are the mortars, of which there are a total of 39.

The locations of these mortars are provided in the following table:

 Number

Arbroath

9

Inverness

6

Edinburgh

21

Glasgow

3

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Bowman communication systems, (b) Clansman communication systems, (c)

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aviation computer systems and

(d)

A&I weapons systems of each equipment type are permanently based at each location in Scotland. [111559]

Peter Luff: The UK's defence footprint is organised, resourced and managed on a UK-wide basis to meet operational needs.

There are no Clansman communication systems or aviation computer systems permanently based in Scotland. Information relating to the precise locations of the Bowman Communication Systems is being withheld for the purpose of safeguarding national security. However, it is estimated that there are around 2,100 across Scotland.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many (a) Challenger 2 combat tanks, (b) combat engineer tractors, (c) combat personnel vehicles and (d) multi-rocket armoured vehicles are permanently based in Scotland in respect of each (i) equipment type and (ii) location; [112614]

(2) how many Jetstream (a) T2 aircraft and (b) T3 aircraft are permanently based in Scotland in respect of each (i) equipment type and (ii) location. [112615]

Peter Luff: The UK's defence footprint is organised, resourced and managed on a UK-wide basis to meet operational needs.

No equipment of the types listed are permanently based in Scotland at this time.

Defence: Procurement

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he proposes that his Department's committed core equipment programme will include the Trident successor programme. [109232]

Peter Luff [holding answer 24 May 2012)]: As previously announced, the successor nuclear deterrent is included within the core programme.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his oral statement of 14 May 2012, Official Report, columns 261-64, what the status is of the Seaseeker programme. [111692]

Peter Luff: Project Seaseeker is part of the core equipment programme. The intention is to take the investment decision in 2013 in order to bring the capability into service around 2017.

Diamond Jubilee 2012

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of activities undertaken in connection with the Diamond Jubilee celebration. [112072]

Mr Robathan: Members of the armed forces have been fully involved in marking the 60(th) anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen's accession to the throne. The costs associated with this activity are currently being collated. I will write to the hon. Gentleman as soon as these are available.

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Electronic Warfare

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the potential threat to national security of electromagnetic pulses. [110943]

Nick Harvey: The threat from electromagnetic pulse (EMP) has been assessed by the Government, with full engagement from the MOD. EMP from nuclear devices falls within the broader category of a risk of nuclear attack. Such an attack constitutes a tier-2 risk to national security. The Government are keeping the risk of acquisition or use of non-nuclear EMP by state or non-state actors under review.

As stated previously in evidence provided by Defence officials to the House of Commons Defence Committee (HCDC) inquiry into electromagnetic pulses (EMP), state development of nuclear EMP devices tends to require advanced engineering. It would require a combination of warhead and missile capabilities that is restricted at present to a few states, none of which, we judge, currently have the intent to conduct a HEMP (High-Altitude EMP) attack, and all of which would understand the severe consequences of such aggression. While the Government monitors and assesses whether existing open-source information could be used to create a viable non-nuclear EMP device, this information is being withheld for the purposes of safeguarding national security.

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to defend the UK from electromagnetic pulses. [110944]

Nick Harvey: A nuclear detonation in the UK or its overseas territories is assessed as a tier-2 risk in the 2010 national security strategy. Tier-2 risks are those judged to be low likelihood but high impact. One of the effects of such an event would be an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Mitigating action to counter the threat from this type of EMP is therefore focused principally on preventing the threat of nuclear attack through a number of co-ordinated cross-Government activities.

These activities include the maintenance of a credible nuclear deterrent by the Ministry of Defence and our broader support to Foreign and Commonwealth Office-led cross-Government work on counter-proliferation. We also take steps to protect key defence systems and capabilities against the threat from EMP.

As the Secretary of State for Defence, the right hon. Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), indicated in his speech to the Electric Infrastructure Security summit (EISS) on 14 May 2012, the consequences for the perpetrator of a nuclear weapon being used as a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) device would be severe and any potential aggressor should be aware that we will respond proportionately against any state that launches or enables such an attack.

Future Large Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the A400M aircraft's ability to land on rough airstrips. [111565]

19 Jun 2012 : Column 935W

Peter Luff: As part of the ongoing multinational trials programme being undertaken by Airbus Military (the A400M prime contractor) into the capabilities of this new aircraft, a series of complex tests into its ability to operate on a range of surfaces, including rough landing strips has recently started. As these trials are not yet complete, no results have been collected, nor has any assessment been made.

Once the trials are complete and have been evaluated, the outcome will be presented to A400M nations who will collectively make an assessment of this information and whether the aircraft's performance meets the agreed requirement.