Regional Pay

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff in her Department 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 she expects to be assigned in each case in (A) 2013-14 and (B) 2014-15. [113142]

Damian Green [holding answer 21 June 2012]: There are no Home Office staff assigned to the Reward, Efficiency and Reform Group, which is a directorate of the Cabinet Office.

The Home Office has no one specifically assigned to regional pay issues now or in the period specified. Consideration of regional pay will be undertaken by the Home Office reward team as part of the normal course of their duties.

Offences Against Children: British Nationals Abroad

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures are in place to ensure that the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre continues to provide a centralised operational and tactical lead for the policing of offences of sexual abuse of children by British sex offenders abroad after it becomes part of the National Crime Agency in 2013. [112810]

Lynne Featherstone: The National Crime Agency (NCA) will be a UK-wide crime-fighting agency, which will have a highly visible, national profile committed to protecting the public. It will lead the UK's fight against serious and organised crime.

Subject to the passage of the Crime and Courts Bill, the National Crime Agency will be established by the end of 2013, at the centre of the reformed law enforcement landscape. It will build on the strengths of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), including the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).

The National Crime Agency will therefore play a vital role in countering the threat to children and ensuring they are better protected. As well as building on CEOP's existing role as the national centre dedicated to working with others to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse, the NCA will also be subject to a new statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children across all its functions and activities.

To support this work, the NCA will have four distinct operational Commands, each led by a senior experienced individual, which will set the priorities for the threats it is responsible for. CEOP will be one of these four Commands, reflecting the importance of child protection within the agency's work.

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions her Department has had on the merits of setting up an operational

25 Jun 2012 : Column 35W

police unit responsible for disrupting crimes of child sexual abuse by British sex offenders abroad and returning these offenders to the UK. [112812]

Lynne Featherstone: The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre has responsibility for operational activity to disrupt offences of child sexual abuse and for returning offenders to the UK.

Subject to the passage of the Crime and Courts Bill, the National Crime Agency (NCA) will be established by the end of 2013. It will build on the strengths of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), including the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).

There will be many areas where the NCA will help to protect children through the effective use of its specialist resources, including the ability for information on various criminal activities to be compared, in order to identify links and networks and provide for a wider range of responses to be considered. It will also improve the response at our borders, which will help to disrupt the activities of child sex offenders who travel from/into the UK, support efforts to identify, locate and safely recover abducted children, and better coordinate activity to tackle the trafficking of children into the UK.

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she has had with her counterparts in the US, Sweden and Australia on the work these countries' police forces have undertaken to target effectively their nationals who travel abroad to sexually abuse children. [112813]

Lynne Featherstone: The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) works closely with its counterparts in the US, Sweden and Australia. The UK is a dedicated member of the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), which brings together law enforcement agencies including the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Sweden, which is represented by Europol.

One of VGT's aims is to deter and prevent individuals from travelling abroad to commit child abuse through a range of crime prevention and crime reduction initiatives. It is through these close partnerships that UK police forces and other UK agencies can share information with these countries relating to those suspected to be travelling abroad to sexually abuse children.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if she will review the effectiveness of legislation governing the prosecution of British nationals who commit sexual offences against children overseas; [112926]


(2) how many British child sex offenders have been (a) investigated, (b) charged and (c) convicted under section 72 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in (i) the last five years and (ii) since the Act came into force. [112927]

Lynne Featherstone [holding answer 20 June 2012]: Section 72 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes clear that a person who commits certain sexual offence overseas is liable to be subject to the same circumstances as a person who committed those offences in England or Wales. As such, there are no specific offences set out under section 72.

25 Jun 2012 : Column 36W

A person who commits an offence overseas to which section 72 applies will be charged with the appropriate offence under Part 1 of the 2003 Act.

Prisoners: Repatriation

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice of 18 June 2012, Official Report, columns 677-8W, on prisoners: repatriation, whether any restrictions were placed on any of the repatriated prisoners relating to re-entering the UK; and whether any of the repatriated prisoners have returned to the UK. [113310]

Damian Green: Before a repatriation takes place, a deportation order needs to have been signed and served on the individual. A deportation order prevents an individual returning to the UK for as long as it is in force. If a deportation order could not be put in place prior to the repatriation the UK Border Agency ensures that the offender is excluded from the UK. An exclusion order has the same effect as a deportation order in terms of preventing a foreign national offender's re-entry into the UK.

Seized Articles

Gemma Doyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total estimated value was of the goods seized by HM Revenue and Customs officials at UK borders on (a) 10 May 2011 and (b) 10 May 2012. [112541]

Damian Green: The data requested are not published by the Home Office. While Border Force holds central records on goods seized at the border, we would need to examine individual case records to apply an estimated value to each commodity seizure and this could be done only at disproportionate cost.

The Home Office does publish drug seizure statistics, which includes those seized by Border Force. A copy of the latest statistics has been placed in the Library of the House, and they can also be accessed via the following link:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/

Data are also published by the UK Border Agency on seizures of tobacco, the latest statistics for these seizures have also been placed in the Library of the House, or are available here:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk//sitecontent/documents/aboutus/annual-level-of-tax/

Gemma Doyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will list the goods seized by HM Revenue and Customs officials at UK borders on 10 May (a) 2011 and (b) 2012. [112549]

Damian Green: The data requested are not published by the Home Office.

Border Force holds central records on goods seized at the border but, in order to answer this question, we would need to examine individual case records to list all seizures and this could be done only at disproportionate cost.

25 Jun 2012 : Column 37W

The Home Office does publish drug seizure statistics, which include those seized by Border Force. A copy of the latest statistics has been placed in the Library of the House, and they can also be accessed via the following link:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/

Data are also published by the UK Border Agency on seizures of tobacco. The latest statistics for these seizures have also been placed in the Library of the House, or are available here:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk//sitecontent/documents/aboutus/annual-level-of-tax/

Vetting

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent progress she has made in considering the recommendations of the Independent Adviser for Criminality Information Management that minor and old convictions should, where appropriate, be removed from Criminal Records Bureau certificates. [112727]

Lynne Featherstone: Linked to her review of the criminal records regime in England and Wales, entitled “A Common Sense Approach”, the Independent Advisor for Criminality Information Management, Mrs Sunita Mason, established and chaired an Independent Advisory Panel for the Disclosure of Criminal Records. The panel comprised expert representation from the Information Commissioner's Office, NACRO, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Social Services, Association of Chief Police Officers, Liberty, UNLOCK, the legal profession, the judiciary, academia and others. While continuing to advocate that old and minor convictions should be filtered out from the Criminal Records Bureau disclosures, the report of the panel, which is currently being carefully considered by the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, highlights the complexities and difficulties in devising and implementing an effective and appropriate filtering mechanism. The Government continue to keep this issue under review.

Transport

Empty Property

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will list the empty or largely empty buildings owned by her Department; and if she will make a statement. [110849]

Norman Baker: The requested information is provided as follows:

Organisational UnitEmpty

Highways Agency

34 residential buildings

 

19 agriculture/commercial buildings

  

Vehicle Operator Services Agency

Former goods vehicle test station (Birmingham)

 

Former goods vehicle test station (Gloucester)

25 Jun 2012 : Column 38W

The Department for Transport aims to hold only core property (i.e. which is needed for the delivery of its business). All non-core property will be disposed or re-allocated at the earliest opportunity in a way which is both consistent with official guidance and achieves value for money, unless it is held pending transport scheme use. On behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport, the right hon. Member for Putney (Justine Greening), the Highways Agency holds property that may be required for the improvement, management or operation of the Trunk Road and Motorway Network in England.

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many buildings owned by her Department and the bodies for which she is responsible have been empty for more than two years; and if she will make a statement. [110868]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport aims to hold only core property. All non-core property (unless it is held pending transport scheme use) will be disposed or re-allocated at the earliest opportunity in a way which is both consistent with official guidance and achieves value for money.

The following buildings have been empty for a period of more than two years:

Executive AgenciesSites

Highways Agency

34 residential buildings

 

13 Agriculture/commercial buildings

Executive NDPBsSites

Trinity House Lighthouse Service (THLS)

1 site (Harwich)

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she has made an assessment of the Cabinet Office's Major Projects Authority report on High Speed 2. [109251]

Justine Greening: All major projects are reviewed at every stage of their development to ensure that they are delivered as efficiently as possible and provide the best possible value for taxpayers' money. The Major Projects Authority's input therefore provides valuable assistance in enabling the Department successfully to deliver High Speed 2.

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by what date she anticipates that High Speed 2 will reach Leeds and Manchester. [111370]

Justine Greening: HS2 services will run to Manchester as part of Phase 1, opening in 2026. Dedicated high speed lines will be built to Leeds and Manchester during Phase 2, opening in 2032-33.

Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will estimate the potential journey time saving High Speed 2 will provide for passengers travelling

25 Jun 2012 : Column 39W

between

(a)

Eaglescliffe,

(b)

Thornaby,

(c)

Scunthorpe,

(d)

Goole and

(e)

Long Eaton station and (i) London Euston, (ii) Birmingham International and (iii) Paris. [112594]

Justine Greening: High Speed 2 (HS2) will provide high capacity, high speed rail links between the North, the Midlands and London, including a direct link to the continent via the High Speed 1 line to the channel tunnel. The new network will also provide the opportunity to run the existing rail network in a different way, meaning that stations not on the HS2 network itself will benefit in terms of having more, faster or less crowded services.

It is too early to make decisions now about detailed service patterns and journey times to specific destinations, beyond those on the high speed network itself, because HS2 will not be fully operational until the 2030s. I have only recently received advice from HS2 Ltd on route options for the second phase of the Y network. I am currently considering this advice and I intend to publish it in the autumn, together with a Government response setting out the initial preferred route and station options.

Motor Vehicles: Registration

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she has any plans to review legislation on the long-term use of foreign registered vehicles on UK roads. [113301]

Mike Penning: In order to allow freedom of movement between member states legislation is in place to allow vehicles to circulate without the need to register or pay duties in the host country. This limits visits to six months in any 12 month period. There are no plans to review this.

Parking

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she plans to change the existing guidelines on the size of on-street parking bays. [113386]

Norman Baker: The Department is considering changing the current regulatory requirements in respect of parking bays - including their prescribed size - within the proposed updates to the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002, expected in 2014. No decisions have yet been taken.

Railways: East of England

Ben Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total revenue from ticket sales was in the Greater Anglia franchise in each year since 2004-05. [112953]

Mrs Villiers: The total revenue from tickets sales, rounded to the nearest million, was as follows:

 £ million

2004-05

383

2005-06

392

2006-07

429

2007-08

477

25 Jun 2012 : Column 40W

2008-09

502

2009-10

491

2010-11

516

2011-12

548

Regulation

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what regulations her Department introduced between 1 February 2012 and 31 May 2012; and at what cost to the public purse. [113398]

Norman Baker: The number of statutory instruments (Regulations and Orders) made between the 1 February 2012 and 31 May 2012 by the Department for Transport was 636. The instruments are, or will shortly be, available on the legislation.gov website alongside Impact Assessments where produced.

Of the 636 instruments, 597 were temporary in application and restricted to specific geographical areas. Most of these related to temporary road works, the rest to temporary flying restrictions, for instance in connection with the State Opening of Parliament.

The remaining 39 are listed below:

The Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/304)

The Goods Vehicles (Plating and Testing) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/305)

The Public Service Vehicles (Operators' Licences) (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/306)

The Motor Vehicles (Tests) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/307)

The Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) ( Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/308)

The Dover Harbour Revision Order 2012 (SI 2012/416)

The Street Works (Charges for Occupation of the Highway) (England) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/425)

The Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/443)

The Portsmouth City Council Access to Portsmouth (1)—Tipner Interchange, M275 Motorway Slip Roads Scheme 2009 Confirmation Instrument 2012 (SI 2012/463)

The London Cable Car Order 2012 (SI 2012/472)

The Humber Bridge (Debts) Order 2012 (SI 2012/716)

The Merchant Shipping (Ship-to-Ship Transfers) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/742)

The Traffic Management (St Helens Borough Council) Permit Scheme Order 2012 (SI 2012/785)

The Policing of Aerodromes (Belfast International Airport) Order 2012 (SI 2012/837)

The A1 Trunk Road (Elkesley Junctions Improvement) Order 2012 (SI 2012/839)

The Bus Lane Contraventions (Approved Local Authorities) (England) (Amendment) and Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions Designation Order 2012 (SI 2012/846)

The Dunham Bridge (Revision of Tolls) Order 2012 (SI 2012/852)

The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/977)

The Transport for Greater Manchester (Light Rapid Transit System) (Oldham, Mumps Modification) Order 2012 (SI 2012/981)

The M1 Motorway (Junctions 10 to 13) (Actively Managed Hard Shoulder and Variable Speed Limits) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/985)

25 Jun 2012 : Column 41W

The Road Transport (Working Time) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/991)

The Civil Aviation (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/1017)

The Civil Aviation (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/1134)

The Milford Haven Port Authority (Constitution) Harbour Revision Order 2012 (SI 2012/1154)

The A453 Birmingham to Nottingham Trunk Road (M1 Junction 24 to A52 Nottingham Improvement) (Detrunking) Order 2012 (SI 2012/1218)

The A453 Birmingham to Nottingham Trunk Road (M1 Junction 24 to A52 Nottingham Improvement and Slip Roads) Order 2012 (SI 2012/1219)

The Road Vehicles (Individual Approval) (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/1271)

The Traffic Management (Doncaster Borough Council) Permit Scheme Order 2012 (SI 2012/1282)

The Traffic Management (Rotherham Borough Council) Permit Scheme Order 2012 (SI 2012/1284)

The Traffic Management (The Council of the Borough of Kirklees) Permit Scheme Order 2012 (SI 2012/1286)

The Traffic Management (Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council) Permit Scheme Order 2012 (SI 2012/1289)

The Traffic Management (Sheffield City Council) Permit Scheme Order (SI 2012/1294)

The Traffic Management (Leeds City Council) Permit Scheme Order 2012 (SI 2012/1295)

The Street Works (Charges for Occupation of the Highway) (Transport for London) Order 2012 (SI 2012/1322)

The Driving Instruction (Suspension and Exemption Powers) Act 2009 (Commencement No.1) Order 2012 (SI 2012/1356)

The M54 Motorway (Junction 2 Improvements i 54 Strategic Employment Area) (Trunk Roads) Order 2012 (SI 2012/1384)

The M54 Motorway (Junction 2 Improvements i54 Strategic Employment Area) (Connecting Roads) Scheme 2012 (SI 2012/1385)

The Humber Bridge Board (Membership) Order 2012 (SI 2012/1392)

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/1404)

Government policy does not require an Impact Assessment to be prepared for an instrument where the cost to the public purse is less than £5 million per year, unless there are also costs or savings to businesses or civil society organisations.

Information about costs to the public purse where there is no Impact Assessment, or there is but it does not quantify any costs to the public purse, could only be

25 Jun 2012 : Column 42W

provided at disproportionate cost. This is because of the level of analysis that would be required to answer the question.

Impact assessments which identify estimated costs to the public purse were prepared for the following instruments:

1. the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/443):

Training staff from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency = £1,000;

reduction in Government revenue (reduced vehicle excise duty rates) to vehicles with a Reduced Pollution Certificate = £5 to £500 per vehicle.

2. Merchant Shipping (Ship-to-Ship Transfers) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/742):

In 5.3.3 of the Impact Assessment (available at:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/742/pdfs/uksifia_20120742_en.pdf)

it states that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)

“could potentially incur additional costs due to the need to process notifications of the intention to carry out a STS (ship to ship) transfer outside of the UK territorial sea but within the UK's counter pollution zone. It has not been possible to monetise this potential cost in this impact assessment as it is not possible to estimate the number of notifications that would be made.”

3. M1 Motorway (Junctions 10 to 13) (Actively Managed Hard Shoulder and Variable Speed Limits) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/985):

£0.1 million annual cost of enforcement;

Other costs on the Highways Agency of installing, operating and maintaining and renewing the managed motorway system that the Regulations relate to are referred to in the Impact Assessment (at:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/985/pdfs/uksifia_20120985_en.pdf)

but these are costs associated with introducing the system as a whole, not specifically with the Regulations.

Rolling Stock

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) full train length equivalent diagrams and (b) carriages will form the fleet for the Intercity Express Programme. [110692]

Mrs Villiers [holding answer 11 June 2012]: The information is as follows:

(a) The number of full length train equivalent diagrams is shown in the following table:

PackagePower sourceLengthNumber of weekday diagramsNumber of weekday diagrammed vehicles

IEP core routes

    

GWML phase 1

Bi-mode

5 car

26

130

 

Electric

8 car

11

88

 

Bi-mode

8 car

12

96

     

ECML phase 1

Electric

5 car

10

50

 

Bi-mode

5 car

8

40

 

Bi-mode

9 car

10

90

Sub Total

77

494

     

IEP option routes

    

ECML phase 2

Electric

9 car

26

234

25 Jun 2012 : Column 43W

25 Jun 2012 : Column 44W

ECML Cambs

Electric

5 car

10

50

WCML

Electric

5 car

22

110

GWML phase 2

Bi-mode

8 car

13

104

Sub total

71

498

     

Total IEP core and option routes

148

992

(b) The precise number of carriages that will form the fleet for the weekday diagrams on the IEP core routes shown above is a matter for Agility Trains and is expected to be between 500 and 600.

Note:

The figures above may be subject to change in the future.

Deputy Prime Minister

Constituencies

Tom Brake: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the effect on local and community ties of the decision by the Boundary Commission for England not to split wards as part of the proposals for new parliamentary constituencies. [113213]

Mr Harper: It is for the independent Boundary Commissions to interpret the Rules set out in legislation. However, I understand that the Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has set out a policy whereby it will consider dividing wards in exceptional and compelling circumstances, having regard to the statutory factors in the Rules, including local ties. It will be for the BCE to determine, having considered the representations made during the consultation periods, whether such exceptional and compelling circumstances exist.

Leveson Inquiry

Helen Goodman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much it cost to provide him with legal advice in relation to his appearance at the Leveson Inquiry. [112771]

The Deputy Prime Minister [holding answer 19 June 2012]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, the right hon. Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt), on 21 June 2012, Official Report, column 1088W.

Work and Pensions

Carer’s Allowance

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is on the withdrawal of carers' allowance from those who have received a bonus from their company. [113311]

Maria Miller: Carer's allowance is an income-replacement benefit designed to provide some financial support for people who are unable to work full-time because of their caring responsibilities.

We are keen to encourage carers to combine some paid work with their caring duties wherever possible. Accordingly, the earnings limit in carer's allowance, currently £100 a week net of tax, national insurance and other allowable expenses, enables carers to maintain some contact with the employment market and achieve greater financial independence. An earnings limit is set to ensure that the benefit functions to replace income, rather than to supplement it.

When carer's allowance is disallowed on the basis of earnings, where the earnings are over the earnings limit for a ‘closed period’, such as because of the award of a bonus, entitlement to carer's allowance will continue after the disallowance period is over, so a claimant will not be required to start a new claim although they would need to continue to appraise the Department of their circumstances.

Employment and Support Allowance

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reason his Department did not publish the research report Decision-making in employment and support allowance claims on the date originally scheduled, 23 January 2012; and when he expects to publish that report. [113317]

Chris Grayling: We are currently completing the quality assurance process for this report and expect to be able to publish it in due course.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many decisions on appeals relating to employment and support allowance his Department has challenged at a higher court. [113319]

Chris Grayling: DWP has made 13 appeals against First-tier Tribunal decisions on ESA to the Upper Tribunal (UT) since ESA was introduced in 2008 up to 20 June 2012.

DWP have taken no appeals to the Court of Appeal from UT decisions on ESA.

Employment Schemes

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total cost of settlements with flexible new deal providers whose contracts were cancelled has been; and how many settlements remain to be concluded. [113316]

25 Jun 2012 : Column 45W

Chris Grayling: We have now concluded our negotiations with all flexible new deal contractors whose contracts were cancelled. Total compensation paid for cancellation of contracts was £89 million. In addition, payments of £63 million were made to providers to cover interim support for the transition period in summer 2010.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether a Work programme provider can claim payment in respect of a jobseeker who is referred to the programme who starts a job before being attached to a provider. [113318]

Chris Grayling: Work programme providers cannot claim an attachment fee or any job outcome or sustainment payments in respect of a claimant who is not attached to the programme before they start work.

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) shortest, (b) longest and (c) average period of time taken was for (i) blind and partially sighted people and (ii) other jobseekers between being referred to work programme providers and beginning to receive targeted support in the latest period for which figures are available. [113329]

Chris Grayling: These statistics have not previously been published as official statistics. We will consider whether to include the statistics requested in part of an upcoming statistics release in line with the Code of Practice on Official Statistics.

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) blind and partially sighted people and (b) other jobseekers were referred to a work programme or work choice provider after being declared fit for work following a work capability assessment in each month since June 2011. [113388]

Chris Grayling: This information is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department collects data on job starts achieved by Work programme prime providers. [113762]

Chris Grayling: The Department does not routinely collect job start data. Official job outcome statistics will be available from autumn 2012 online at:

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

Housing Benefit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what support his Department is providing to social rented sector tenants to help them enter employment in order to avoid rent arrears arising from the application of the under occupancy provisions of the Welfare Reform Act 2012. [113315]

Steve Webb: We are currently working on guidance and a toolkit of products to support the introduction of the under-occupation measure and this will be published alongside the regulations. These will signpost the support provided by Jobcentre Plus to assist people into work. Guidance to landlords, “Making it Fit(1)”, published by

25 Jun 2012 : Column 46W

the Chartered Institute of Housing on 13 June also provides advice and good practice examples to support tenants affected by these changes, including moving into work.

Jobcentre Plus personal advisers offer a comprehensive menu of help that includes jobsearch support and skills provision. Advisers have the flexibility to tailor support to the individual at the most appropriate point in their claim. Get Britain Working measures offer additional support, including work clubs, work experience, new enterprise allowance, enterprise clubs and sector based work academies.

The Work programme provides tailored support to those claimants furthest from the labour market. Young claimants are referred to a provider after nine months and those with more challenging barriers to work can be referred at three months. Providers are paid on the results they achieve, and are paid more for supporting the harder to help into work.

(1) http://www.cih.org/resources/PDF/Policy%20free%20 download%20pdfs/Making%20it%20fit.pdf

Incapacity Benefit

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to migration trials in Burnley and Aberdeen, how many and what proportion of incapacity benefit claimants were found fit for work; how many and what proportion of such findings were appealed; and how many and what proportion of such appeals were successful. [113766]

Chris Grayling: On 15 March 2012, the Department for Work and Pensions published information on the reassessment of incapacity benefits claimants for employment and support allowance (ESA) on a national level for the first time. The report can be found at the following link:

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

Table 1 in the report shows the outcomes of initial functional assessments of existing incapacity benefits claimants being reassessed for ESA, both in terms of the quantity and proportion allocated to each group, adjusted to account for completed appeal outcomes. This table specifically highlights the statistics for the autumn 2010 trial and also shows the national statistics from March to July 2011 by month of referral.

Specific information on appeals made and whether they were successful or not is currently not available.

EU State Aid

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff employed by his Department were specialists in EU state aid issues between (a) May 2009 and May 2010 and (b) May 2010 and March 2011. [113312]

Chris Grayling: The Department for Work and Pensions employed no specialists in EU state aid issues between (a) May 2009 and May 2010 and (b) May 2010 and March 2011. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills lead on EU state aid issues across Whitehall.

25 Jun 2012 : Column 47W

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people formerly employed by his Department as specialists on state aid have been rehired by his Department as a consultant since May 2010. [113313]

Chris Grayling: The Department for Work and Pensions does not specialise in state aid, (on which the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills lead across Whitehall). Therefore, the Department for Work and Pensions has not re-hired any people formerly employed by the Department as specialists on state aid as consultants since May 2010.

Motability

Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the total cost to the public purse was in each region of assistance provided for insuring vehicles acquired under the Motability scheme in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; [113561]

(2) how many leased cars have been acquired in each region via (a) the higher rate of the mobility component of disability living allowance and (b) the War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; and what makes and models of car were acquired in each region in each year. [113562]

Maria Miller: Anyone in receipt of the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance or war pensioners mobility supplement can choose to exchange some or all of their benefit for a Motability vehicle. The provision of Motability scheme vehicles, including insurance costs is therefore largely self-financed through the transfer of benefits, which would be payable whether or not a person participates in the scheme. Consequently, the cost of insuring Motability vehicles is not an additional expense which is borne by the taxpayer.

Information on how many leased cars have been acquired in each region is not held by the Government as Motability is an independent charitable organisation, wholly responsible for the administration of the Motability scheme. Motability have advised that they will write to the hon. Member with such information as they have. Any further detailed questions about the operation of the scheme can be directed at Motability and can be sent to:

Declan O'Mahony

Director

Motability

Warwick House

Roydon Road

Harlow

Essex

CM19 5PX.

Personal Independence Payment

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much time will be given to parliamentarians for pre-legislative scrutiny of the final version of the assessment criteria for personal independence payment before the regulations are laid before the House. [113390]

25 Jun 2012 : Column 48W

Maria Miller: The Department’s consultation on the assessment criteria closed on 30 April. We are now analysing over 1,000 responses received, considering the changes we may wish to make to the assessment criteria to take account of those responses and to ensure the criteria allow effective assessment of the needs of disabled people. We intend to publish a response to the consultation and a final draft of the assessment criteria later this year, with regulations laid before Parliament thereafter.

The regulations will be made available to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments for their scrutiny and will be laid under an affirmative resolution, providing both Houses with the opportunity to debate and approve them before they can be made.

Regulation

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what regulations his Department introduced between 1 February 2012 and 31 May 2012; and at what cost to the public purse. [113396]

Chris Grayling: In response to the first part of the question, namely which regulations the Department for Work and Pensions introduced between 1 February 2012 and 31 May 2012, these are as follows:

The six instruments listed are ones that have been laid on an annual basis for, at least, the last two years:

SI numberTitle

923

Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers' Compensation) (Payment of Claims) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

918

Mesothelioma Lump Sum Payments (Conditions and Amounts) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

819

Social Security Benefits Up-rating Regulations 2012

757

Social Security (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2012

647

Social Security (Industrial Injuries) (Prescribed Diseases) Amendment Regulations 2012

644

Social Security (Claims and Payments) Amendment Regulations 2012

The following regulations are not generally laid on an annual basis but have been laid to amend, replace or simplify existing regulations:

SI numberTitle

1267

Social Security and Child Support (Supersession of Appeal Decisions) Regulations 2012

1257

Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Automatic Enrolment) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

1135

Jobseeker's Allowance (Amendment) Regulations 2012

919

Employment and Support Allowance (Amendment of Linking Rules) Regulations 2012

913

Employment and Support Allowance (Duration of Contributory Allowance) (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2012

874

Social Security (Lone Parents and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2012

853

Jobseeker's Allowance (Domestic Violence) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

824

Social Security (Suspension of Payment of Benefits and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2012

766

Social Security (Credits) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

25 Jun 2012 : Column 49W

712

Child Support (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2012

692

Pensions (Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and Consultation by Employers - Amendment) Regulations 2012

645

Social Security (Recovery) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

638

Identification and Traceability of Explosives (Amendment) Regulations 2012

632

Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012

542

Occupational Pension Schemes (Contracting-out and Modification of Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

539

Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Levies -Amendment) Regulations 2012

I am unable to provide an answer to the second part of the question on the basis that obtaining this information would incur a disproportionate cost to the Department.

Parents: Separation

Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to help separated parents resolve maintenance and contact problems. [113182]

Maria Miller: It is unacceptable that only around 50% of children in separated families benefit from an effective child maintenance arrangement.

That is why we are fundamentally reforming the child maintenance system.

That is also why the Government recently launched its consultation on shared parenting.

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many investigators worked in his Department's risk assurance division in each financial year since 2006-07; [112425]

(2) what the budget was for his Department's risk assurance division in each financial year since 2006-07; [112426]


(3) how many investigations were carried out by his Department's risk assurance division investigators involving (a) his Department's staff and (b) external contractors or providers in each financial year since 2006-07. [112427]

Chris Grayling: Risk Assurance Division comprised of four business functions: Risk Management (identifying risks and countermeasures), Performance Measurement (providing estimates of levels of benefit fraud and error), Internal Audit (providing independent, objective assurance) and Internal Investigations (investigating allegations of fraud and other serious wrongdoing by the Department's staff and contractors). In October 2011, the Internal Audit and Internal Investigations functions became a separate directorate.

Allegations of potential fraud or irregularities are investigated by professionally trained staff, who refer the matter to the police where sufficient evidence of

25 Jun 2012 : Column 50W

criminal offences is discovered. The whole number of full-time equivalent staff employed by Internal Investigations in each year since 2006-07 was:

As at March each yearNumber of full-time equivalent staff

2007

87

2008

81

2009

71

2010

69

2011

58

2012

49

Increased use of automated tools to support audit trail analysis has improved the efficient identification and appropriate investigation of cases involving the Department's staff, with professionally trained investigators only involved in more serious or criminal cases. This has supported the reduction in investigation staff. There has been no reduction in the capacity to carry out investigations of allegations of external contractor or provider fraud or irregularities. All allegations of suspected staff or contractor fraud continue to be investigated professionally and thoroughly, and, where appropriate, these are referred to the police.

The budget for Risk Assurance Division (and latterly Internal Audit and Investigations) for each financial year since 2006-07 was:

£ million
 Risk Assurance DivisionInternal Investigations

2006-07

28.1

3.7

2007-08

27.4

3.5

2008-09

25.2

3.2

2009-10

23.5

3.0

2010-11

23.4

2.7

£ million
 Internal Audit & InvestigationsInternal Investigations

2011-12

7.7

2.2

The number of investigations(1) carried out which involved (a) the Department's staff and (b) external contractors or providers in each year since 2006-07 was:

 (a)Staff Investigations(b) Contracted Employment Provision Investigations(b) Other Contractor Investigations(2)

2006-07

702

8

1

2007-08

687

27

3

2008-09

856

29

2

2009-10

961

16

0

2010-11

1,146

25

0

2011-12

537

16.

0

(1 )Data are for the number of investigations closed in each year. (2 )Allegations of procurement fraud or financial irregularities in other contracted services.

25 Jun 2012 : Column 51W


Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of mystery shopper checks that his Department is carrying out at Atos medical assessment centres; and if he will make a statement. [113765]

Chris Grayling: As part of their contract obligations Atos Healthcare are required to carry out a mystery shopper visit at each Medical Examination Centre (MEC) each contract year. Atos Healthcare is required under contract compliance to confirm in writing that this has been completed.

The mystery shopping exercise is concerned with the standard of accommodation, health and safety, provision of information at the MEC and presentation of the administration staff at the MEC; for example, are they wearing name badges.

A report is produced following each site visit and passed to the MEC site manager to initiate any identified action required.

Copies of the individual visits are provided to the DWP Medical Services Commercial Contracts Team (MSCCT), and if there are any areas of concern identified, these will be raised with Atos Healthcare for any appropriate action.

Unemployment: Lancashire

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many qualified mechanics are registered with jobcentres in east Lancashire. [113654]

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

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated June 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how many qualified mechanics are registered with Jobcentres in East Lancashire. (113654)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has interpreted the number of people registered with Jobcentres as those who are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance which is compiled from the Jobcentre Plus Administrative system.

We have defined East Lancashire as Ribble Valley, Hynburn, Rossendale, Burnley, Pendle and Blackburn with Darwen; and qualified mechanics people reporting their sought occupation as Standard Occupation Classification (2000) 5231—Motor mechanics and auto engineers.

The number of people seeking jobs as motor mechanics or auto engineers in East Lancashire who were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in May 2012 was 115.

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

http://www.nomisweb.co.uk

Universal Credit

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether council tax benefit will be included in the universal credit pathfinder schemes. [113667]

25 Jun 2012 : Column 52W

Steve Webb: Council tax benefit is being abolished in April 2013 and replaced with a new scheme of localised council tax support.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is taking the Local Government Finance Bill through Parliament which paves the way for the implementation of localised council tax support schemes in England in April 2013.

This will require local councils to design their own schemes to administer council tax support, working within a framework set out in legislation. The Government has been clear that vulnerable pensioners should be protected, and that the changes should support incentives for people to find and stay in work.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether universal credit will include provision for the costs of temporary and emergency accommodation for (a) homeless families and (b) families awaiting a decision on their homelessness case from their local authority. [113763]

Steve Webb: The draft regulations published by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), on 15 June provide for a housing element in the calculation of universal credit, including in cases where rent liability arises from temporary or emergency accommodation.

Universal Credit: Free School Meals

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he plans to announce how free school meals will be included in universal credit. [113192]

Chris Grayling: The administration of free school meals is a matter for the Department for Education (DFE). My Department is working closely with colleagues in DFE and other Government Departments and devolved Administrations with responsibility for passported benefits as we tackle the opportunities and challenges in reforming the eligibility criteria for all passported benefits in light of the introduction of universal credit. Our immediate priority is to introduce universal credit in a way that works smoothly with free school meals and other passported benefits.

Universal Credit: Warrington

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what training will be provided for staff in Warrington who will be dealing with claims for universal credit under the pathfinder scheme; and how much he has allocated to fund such training in each of the next three years. [113418]

Steve Webb: We are currently finalising the detailed design of universal credit including job roles for our staff in the pathfinder. On completion of this work we will have a full understanding of the training needs for our staff. Sufficient funding has been set aside to meet all of the training needs for staff in the pathfinder.

25 Jun 2012 : Column 53W

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) face-to-face support, (b) telephone support and (c) other resources will be made available to those claiming universal credit under the pilot scheme who do not have access to the internet or who are unable to use a computer in Warrington. [113420]

Steve Webb: The main route to access universal credit will be through online channels. This will free up more adviser time to deliver valuable face-to-face back-to-work support.

We realise that not everyone is a confident or capable digital user. We are therefore exploring how we could assist people to use digital technology and will be consulting with partner and representative groups as part of this work.

We also recognise that there will continue to be a minority of claimants who cannot use online services. For those claimants who really need it we will offer alternative access routes.

Those claiming universal credit in the Pathfinder area will be able to use the following facilities to support their claim:

(a) Jobcentre support for face to face contact;

(b) telephony channels; and

(c) assistance from Pathfinder partner organisations, specifically local authorities.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much funding he has allocated to publicise the universal credit pathfinder scheme in Warrington. [113668]

Steve Webb: We are currently working to finalise the Communication Strategy with all universal credit pathfinder locations. Once this strategy is agreed we will then allocate specific funding to publicise the pathfinder scheme.

Work Capability Assessment

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to conclude his gold standard review of work capability assessments. [113314]

Chris Grayling: We are currently working closely with disability organisations to determine how to build an evidence base for their proposed changes to the descriptors used in the WCA.

Both the mental, intellectual and cognitive descriptors, and those dealing with fluctuating conditions, will be considered during the review.

We hope to publish a report of the evidence-based review in the spring of 2013.

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many appeals there have been against work capability assessment decisions for each impairment category since April 2011; what proportion of work capability assessment decisions this represents for each impairment category; and how many of the appeals in each impairment category were successful; [113328]

25 Jun 2012 : Column 54W

(2) how many (a) blind and partially sighted people and (b) other jobseekers were declared fit for work following a work capability assessment in each month since June 2011. [113389]

Chris Grayling: These statistics have not previously been published as official statistics. We will consider whether to include the statistics requested in part of an upcoming statistics release in line with the Code of Practice on Official Statistics.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress he has made in initiating the Gold Standard reviews of proposed new descriptors in the work capability assessment for (a) fluctuating conditions and (b) mental health problems; and if he will make a statement. [113764]

Chris Grayling: Since the Government's response to Professor Harrington's second independent review was published in November 2011, we have been carefully considering how to build an appropriate evidence base around the proposed new descriptors.

Regular meetings with representatives from both groups of charities are being held to develop this work. Terms of reference have been agreed and we aim to publish a report of the Evidence Based Review in the spring of 2013.

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of work capability assessment fit-for-work decisions were changed at the reconsideration stage to the (a) work-related activity group and (b) support group in the latest period for which figures are available. [113767]

Chris Grayling: The requested information is not available.

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of Atos work capability assessment fit-for-work recommendations were overturned by decision makers to the (a) work-related activity group and (b) support group in the latest period for which figures are available. [113768]

Chris Grayling: These statistics have not previously been published as official statistics. We will consider whether to include the statistics requested in part of an upcoming statistics release in line with the Code of Practice on Official Statistics.

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many medical assessments have been undertaken by Atos healthcare as part of a work capability assessment in the last (a) year, (b) six months and (c) month; and how many people (i) failed the work capability assessment, (ii) appealed the decision and (iii) had the decision overturned on appeal in each such period. [113769]

Chris Grayling: The Department regularly publishes official statistics on employment and support allowance (ESA) and the work capability assessment (WCA). The latest report was published in April 2012 and can be found on the internet at the following link:

25 Jun 2012 : Column 55W

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

In the tables Excel file that goes with the report, table 1a shows the outcomes of initial functional assessments for new ESA claims by month of claim start, both in terms of the quantity and proportion allocated to each group, for claims starting between October 2008 and August 2011, the latest data available. Table 1b shows the same information but for repeat assessments.

Table 3 shows the outcome of appeals heard on Fit for Work decisions in initial functional assessments by month of claim start for claims starting between October 2008 and February 2011, the latest data available. Please note that only information on completed appeals is available.

In addition, on 15 March 2012, the Department published information on the reassessment of incapacity benefits claimants for employment and support allowance (ESA) on a national level for the first time. The report can be found at the following link:

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

Table 1 in this report shows the outcomes of initial functional assessments of existing incapacity benefits claimants being reassessed for ESA, both in terms of the quantity and proportion allocated to each group, adjusted to account for completed appeal outcomes, both for the autumn 2010 trial and, nationally, from March to July 2011, the latest data available, by month of referral. It only gives figures adjusted for completed appeal outcomes. Information on initial decisions and appeal outcomes is currently not available.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his written answer of 24 May 2012, Official Report, column 793W on work and pensions, if his Department will, in its consideration of future requirements and strategy in relation to contracts for conducting work capability assessments, consider an arrangement that allows for competition between work capability assessment providers through the switching of market share. [113820]

Chris Grayling: The recently let Health and Disability Assessment Framework provides a mechanism for introducing competition into delivery by having contracts let from a list of suppliers in geographic lots; it also provides an option for a single national contract. My Department will look at all appropriate commercial options when considering the future work capability assessment requirement and the contracting strategy to deliver it.

Work Capability Assessment: Mental Health

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the suitability of the work capability assessment to establish the capability to work of a person with a mental health condition. [113300]

Chris Grayling: We recognise that particular concerns have been raised about the way the WCA works for people with mental health conditions.

25 Jun 2012 : Column 56W

As part of his second independent review, Professor Harrington asked leading charities to make recommendations to refine the mental, intellectual and cognitive descriptors used in the WCA.

As part of the Evidence Based Review project, we are currently working with the charities to investigate how to build an evidence base to establish whether the proposed changes would make the assessment more accurate.

Justice

Bail

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many breaches of bail occurred when the defendant breached a curfew condition in the latest period for which figures are available; and how many such breaches were brought to court for bail to be reconsidered. [113022]

Mr Blunt: In financial year 2011-12, 16,579 defendants breached a bail curfew condition in England and Wales.

The data are from the electronic monitoring service providers. The information held refers to breaches reported to the courts or to the relevant authority such as Probation Service, Prison Service, Youth Offending Service, or police, and does not necessarily relate to breach action taken.

It is not possible to provide the number of breaches that were brought to court for bail to be reconsidered except at disproportionate cost. The electronic monitoring service providers are not advised of the outcomes of witness statements provided. Information would be available only through a manual trawl of court or police records.

Channel Islands: Dietary Supplements

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) when Ministers in his Department next plan to discuss the implementation of the Food Supplements Directive and the Nutrition and Health Claims regulation with the (a) Chief Minister of Guernsey and (b) Chief Minister of Jersey; [113785]

(2) what his policy is on the desirability of Crown Dependencies implementing EU legislation that applies to the rest of the UK. [113786]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: The Minister of State (Lord McNally) and officials are in regular contact with the Jersey and Guernsey authorities on a range of matters, including the implementation of EU legislation in general and this directive and regulation in particular. Both Crown Dependencies have confirmed they are taking steps to implement these specific measures at the earliest opportunity.

The Crown Dependencies' relationship with the EU is governed by Protocol 3 of the UK's Treaty of Accession to the European Community. The Crown Dependencies use their domestic legislation to implement EU legislation falling within the parameters of this Protocol. Under Protocol 3, the Islands are part of the customs territory of the Community and the common customs tariff, levies and agricultural import measures apply to trade between the Islands and non-member countries.

25 Jun 2012 : Column 57W

However, other EU legislation does not generally apply. The Crown Dependencies are not part of the UK and it is for their own Governments to decide whether they wish to introduce such measures within their jurisdictions.

Child Protection

Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will consider reviewing section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 in relation to the definition of child neglect. [109904]

Mr Blunt: There are no present plans to amend the law in this area.

Civil Proceedings: Legal Aid Scheme

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what arrangements are in place to ensure the Legal Services Commission tendering process for face to face civil legal aid services from April 2013 will be undertaken in such a way as to ensure that claimants in receipt of legal aid can receive expert support from welfare benefit specialists. [113111]

Mr Djanogly: The current tender exercise for face-to-face contracts for 2013 contracts does not include welfare benefits work. Further to the passing of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, the Legal Services Commission (LSC) is considering the position on welfare benefits work that remains in scope and how best to secure access to this advice. The LSC will be publishing further details on its website as soon as it is able to confirm arrangements for this work from April 2013.

Community Orders

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he plans to require probation trusts to compete for the provision of community supervision services. [113119]

Mr Blunt: On 27 March we published proposals to deliver more effective and efficient probation services, alongside proposals for reforming community sentences. The Government is seeking to extend competition in probation services and give probation trusts a stronger role as commissioners of competed services, in order to better punish and reform offenders and protect the public.

The consultation closed on 22 June. We intend to publish the Government response to the consultation in the autumn.

Freedom of Information

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to discuss legislative proposals to extend freedom of information legislation to (a) charities, (b) private companies and (c) not-for-profit organisations undertaking duties assigned to them by a public authority. [112950]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is subject to post-legislative scrutiny by the Justice Select Committee to see how it is working in

25 Jun 2012 : Column 58W

practice. The Government's "Open Data Consultation" also sought views on the types of organisations to which an Open Data policy would apply. A summary of the responses has been published at:

www.data.gov.uk

The Government will consider the recommendations of the Justice Committee, including any in relation to the scope of the FOIA, along with the evidence of the Open Data consultation, before bringing forward any proposals for future policy on Freedom of Information.

Legal Aid Scheme

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proportion of his Department's total procurement expenditure was spent on legal aid providers who are by his Department's definition small and medium-sized enterprises in the (a) fourth quarter of 2010-11, (b) first quarter of 2011-12, (c) second quarter of 2011-12 and (d) third quarter of 2011-12. [112980]

Mr Djanogly: The information requested is in the following table.

PeriodPercentage of Legal Aid Spend with SMEs as a proportion of total procurement expenditure (%)

Q1 2011-12

22

Q2 2011-12

38

Q3 2011-12

36

Legal Aid providers have been included in the Ministry of Justice figures for procurement expenditure with Small and Medium Enterprises since April 2011. Therefore, the proportion of procurement expenditure with Small and Medium Enterprises for the fourth quarter of 2010-11 is not immediately available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Prisoners: Repatriation

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2012, Official Report, columns 677-8W, on prisoners: repatriation, what the (a) offences committed and (b) nationalities were of each of the prisoners repatriated in (i) 2011, (ii) 2010, (iii) 2009, (iv) 2008 and (v) 2007. [113307]

Mr Blunt: The information requested has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2012, Official Report, columns 677-8W, on prisoners: repatriation, whether any of the repatriated prisoners were released from custody in the administering state at a date earlier than they would have been if they remained in a UK prison. [113308]

Mr Blunt: The administration of a prisoner's sentence following repatriation is a matter for the laws of the administering state. As a consequence, release from custody may take place earlier or later than would have been the case had they remained in the United Kingdom.

25 Jun 2012 : Column 59W

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2012, Official Report, columns 677-8W, on prisoners: repatriation, what the average cost was to the public purse of repatriating each foreign national prisoner. [113309]

Mr Blunt: Costs associated with the transfer of a prisoner i.e. flights, and escort costs, are met by the receiving state unless otherwise agreed. Since 2007, NOMS has met the cost of transferring eight foreign national prisoners to their country of origin at an average cost of £3,804.48. Costs associated with the transfer of all other foreign national prisoners during this period were met by the receiving state. Costs associated with the detention of the prisoner following transfer fall to the receiving state.

Prisoners: Veterans

Mrs Glindon: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will take steps to ensure that former military personnel disclose their military service on reception into prison. [113295]

Mr Blunt: I refer the hon. Member to my reply of 11 June 2012, Official Report, column 358W, in response to a similar question raised by the hon. Member for Luton North (Kelvin Hopkins).

Prison reception staff are not specifically required to ask newly-arrived prisoners whether they have served in the armed forces. However, prisoners do discuss aspects of their background, including their previous employment, with staff during the induction and assessment process and if this information is disclosed it will be recorded on the prisoner central database and can be shared with other Government Departments and Agencies, both internal and external.

There are no current plans to introduce amendments to the existing procedures.

Prisons: Mobile Phones

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisons (a) have adopted mobile telephone blocking technology and (b) plan to adopt mobile telephone blocking technology to prevent the use of mobile telephones by prisoners. [113043]

Mr Blunt: NOMS has trialled a range of mobile signal denial technology in a small number of prisons. It would be inappropriate for operational reasons to provide details of those prisons.

These trials have demonstrated that equipment can be capable of denying signals to illicit mobile phones within the prison perimeter as required by law and Ofcom regulations, but that this is not a quick, simple or cheap solution.

NOMS has recently procured a number of short range portable mobile phone blocking devices which prisons can use to complement their wider mobile phone strategies of minimising the number of mobile phones entering prisons, finding phones which do get in and disrupting those which cannot be found. This equipment will be provided shortly.

25 Jun 2012 : Column 60W

In addition, the Prisons (Interference with Wireless Telegraphy) Bill was introduced to Parliament as a Government sponsored Private Members Bill on 20 June 2012 by Sir Paul Beresford.

Probation

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what savings have accrued from the merger (1) of (a) West Midlands and Staffordshire, (b) Durham and Teesside and (c) Norfolk and Suffolk probation trusts in 2012-13; [113117]

(2) of the separate probation areas of Wales into one Wales probation trust in 2012-13. [113118]

Mr Blunt: The mergers led to a reduction in level of resources needed to support the running of back-office functions and this allowed a higher proportion of allocated funding to be utilised on the delivery of front-line services to offenders, victims and the courts.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what plans he has to pilot biometric reporting machines for offenders in any probation area in England and Wales; [113838]

(2) what assessment he has made of the role of biometric reporting machines reducing the risk from offenders. [113839]

Mr Blunt: London Probation Trust is developing a research project to explore the potential use of biometric technology within probation.

The purpose of the research is to see whether biometric technology can assist probation staff in their work of rehabilitating offenders, which in turn helps to protect the public.

Robbery: Sentencing

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 15 May 2012, Official Report, column 87W, on robbery, which courts did not send the defendants listed for 2008, 2009 and 2010 to prison. [112923]

Mr Djanogly: For the year 2008 Lewes crown court did not send the defendant listed to prison for robbery. Due to incomplete data held on the police's administrative IT system the Ministry of Justice is unable to supply the names of the courts which did not send the defendants listed for the years 2009 and 2010 to prison.

This information has been drawn from the police's administrative IT system, the police national computer, which, as with any large scale recording system, is subject to possible errors with data entry and processing. The information is provisional and subject to change as more information is recorded by the police.

Social Security Benefits: Appeals

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people were employed by the Tribunals Service to deal with appeal cases received by the First-tier Tribunal-Social Security and Child Support in (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011 and (d) on the most recent date for which figures are available. [113663]

25 Jun 2012 : Column 61W

Mr Djanogly: The following table shows the number of administrative staff employed by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to deal with appeals received by the First-tier Tribunal—Social Security and Child Support on 31 March of each year between 2009 and 2012 (the latest date for which figures have been published).

Social security and child support tribunal staff numbers
 Fixed term contract staffPermanent staffTotal number of staff

2009

59

652

711

2010

92

696

788

2011

245

739

984

2012

178

832

1,010

Note: The above data are taken from management information. The figures quoted are for the total number of staff employed and include those who work part-time or on a full-time basis. Some of the staff included may work in multi-jurisdictional centres dealing with other work as well as Social Security and Child Support appeals.

The Social Security and Child Support Tribunal disposed of 380,200 appeals in 2010-11. This is an increase of 36% compared to 2009-10 (279,300) and a 55% increase on 2008-09 (245,500). The Tribunal disposed of 322,700 appeals in the period between April and December 2011 (the latest date for which data have been published).

Young Offender Institutions and Prisons

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what the cost was of (a) each visit made by independent adjudicators to young offenders institutions and prisons and (b) all such visits in each of the last five years; [113044]

(2) how visits made by independent adjudicators to young offender institutions and prisons are funded. [113045]

Mr Blunt: The following table shows the standard cost charges to establishments in respect of visits made by independent adjudicators to young offenders institutions and prisons for the last five years from 2007-08 to 2011-12.

Adjudication charges
Financial yearsStandard cost per visit charged to establishments

2007-08

£305 per visit

2008-09

Varied between £305.00-£335.00 per visit

2009-10

Varied between £333.00-£380.00 per visit

2010-11

Varied between £307.00-£360.00 per visit

2011-12

Varied between £345.00-£353.00 per visit

Notes: 1. Charges are on the basis of a standard cost range per visit. 2. The cost per visit can vary due to several factors, eg distance travelled, necessity for an overnight stay and the number of establishments in close proximity visited on a particular journey. It also includes administration charges. 3. For 2007-08, the majority of the figures are derived from our manual system and therefore it has not been possible to provide the range of cost per visit only the standard cost per visit.

25 Jun 2012 : Column 62W

Financial yearsTotal adjudication costs charged by HM Courts Service/HM Courts and Tribunals Service to NOMS (£)

2007-08(1)

(2)

2008-09

606,081

2009-10

641,712

2010-11

606,945

2011-12(3)

467,309

(1) Manual records in operation. (2) Full year costs not available. (3) Relates to nine months charges: final three months outstanding from HMCTS.

Costs for visits of independent adjudicators to young offender institutions and prisons are a local cost funded from individual establishments' annual budget allocation.

Energy and Climate Change

Carbon Emissions

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce the UK's carbon footprint. [113526]

Gregory Barker: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made a pledge to make this the greenest Government ever and the UK leads the world in its ambition for a 50% reduction in emissions through the fourth carbon budget (2023 to 2027).

Significant steps have been taken to cut emissions. In just one year, carbon emissions within central Government offices were cut by nearly 14% and the Prime Minister has committed Government to go further by reducing emissions by 25% by 2015.

Emissions projections, published on 13 October 2011, show the UK is on track to meet our first three carbon budgets and our 2020 target to reduce emissions by at least 34%, against the 1990 baseline. The net UK carbon account (emissions allowing for trading) in 2010 was 23% below 1990 levels.

The Government has demonstrated its determination to support greater energy efficiency across the economy through its work on the Green Deal and the new energy company obligation which will help the poorest and most vulnerable households, and supporting a move to low carbon alternatives to traditional heating through the Renewable Heat Incentive—the first of its kind in the world.

The Electricity Market Reform programme represents the biggest change to the energy market since privatisation and will transform the UK's electricity sector. Already, the Government has set out a package of reforms (published in a White Paper, July 2011) to deliver secure, low carbon and affordable electricity. These proposals have since been followed up by a ‘technical update' and the publication of a draft Energy Bill which is currently undergoing pre-legislative scrutiny.

In December 2011, the Government published its Carbon Plan, a comprehensive strategy which set out proposals for achieving emissions reductions committed to in the first four carbon budgets, on a pathway consistent with meeting the 2050 target. The Carbon Plan brought

25 Jun 2012 : Column 63W

together the Government's strategy to curb greenhouse gas emissions and set out our plans for achieving a 50% reduction in the UK's emissions relative to 1990 by the fourth carbon budget period over 2023 to 2027.

Carbon Emissions: International Co-operation

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to include the issue of low carbon growth on the agenda of the G8 under the UK's forthcoming presidency of the G8 in 2013. [113543]

Gregory Barker: The UK will assume the presidency of the G8 on 1 January 2013. The G8 is a forum for the leaders of eight of the world's most industrialized nations, aimed at finding common ground on key topics and solutions to global issues. We are currently developing a programme of work for the G8 for 2013, across Government Departments and in consultation with our G8 partners, civil society and business leaders.

Carbon Reduction Commitment

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the operation of legislation on the carbon reduction commitment; and what steps he is taking to reduce the administrative costs for industry of the scheme. [112941]

Gregory Barker: The CRC energy efficiency scheme, covering large energy users in the public and private sector, started on 1 April 2010. We have reviewed both the legislation and operation of the scheme in its first years and having listened to the views of participants proposed, on 27 March 2012, a comprehensive simplification package for consultation. Our proposals will ensure the scheme stays true to its intent in changing organisations' behaviour to improve energy efficiency while making compliance easier for participants and significantly less burdensome. We estimate that our proposals will reduce the administrative cost of participants by almost two-thirds. This equates to £330 million savings for CRC participants up to 2030. The consultation closed on 18 June 2012 and we are currently reviewing the responses received.

Energy

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department has switched its (a) gas or (b) electricity supplier in any of the last 10 years. [113460]

Gregory Barker: DECC was formed in October 2008 and switched suppliers of both gas and electricity with effect from 1 April 2012.

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which energy supplier supplies his Department with (a) gas and (b) electricity. [113478]

Gregory Barker: With effect from 1 April 2012 DECC's energy suppliers are:

(a) Gas—Corona;

(b) Electricity—EDF.

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Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much his Department has spent on its (a) gas and (b) electricity bills in each of the last 10 years. [113501]

Gregory Barker: DECC was formed in October 2008. Spend on gas and electricity in the DECC estate for financial years 2009-10 to 2011-12 are as follows:

£
 GasElectricity

2009-10

47,771

176,156

2010-11

19,029

187,606

2011-12

13,709

137,014

Energy Supply

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what measures he has put in place to ensure transparency during Contracts for Difference strike price administrative price setting prior to progressing the draft Energy Bill. [111349]

Charles Hendry: There will be full transparency over the terms of any investment instruments or Contracts for Difference offered to developers of low carbon electricity generating projects ahead of the Energy Bill receiving Royal Assent.

The draft Energy Bill includes provisions stating that, for an investment instrument to be issued, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change must have laid a draft of the instrument before Parliament, and must have consulted each person who is a holder of a licence to supply electricity under section 6(1)(d) of the Electricity Act 1989 Act before the instrument was laid in Parliament.

Energy: Billing

Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate his Department has made of the likely cost to the bill payer of a unit of each form of renewable energy in (a) 2012, (b) 2015 and (c) 2020. [111629]

Charles Hendry: There are three forms of renewable energy: heat, transport and electricity. The cost of renewable heat technologies is classified as Government spending, which is not passed onto consumers in energy bills, but paid for through taxation. The cost of renewables in transport is determined by the renewable transport fuel obligation (RTFO), which obligates road transport fuel suppliers to ensure a percentage of fuels they supply in the UK comes from renewable sources. Suppliers pass on the costs of the RTFO to petrol consumers. The cost of renewable electricity support is funded by electricity suppliers through their obligation to pay incentives to renewable generators. Suppliers pass on those charges to electricity customers ie bill-payers.

The renewable electricity incentives in question are the level of the renewables obligation, the value of levy exemption certificates, and the value of total payments under the feed-in tariffs scheme. Adding these amounts together gives the total net subsidy cost that is assumed to pass through to consumers' bills. The impact on actual bills depends on the level of electricity sales, the number of customers and the average bill size.

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The subsidy cost of renewable electricity per unit generated supported through the renewables obligation in 2012 is estimated to be the value of the levy exemption certificate (around £5/MWh) plus the ROC band multiplied by the value of a ROC (around £45 in 2012-13 prices). These values are uprated in line with the retail prices index each year. Current ROC bands for each individual technology, and proposals for future bands are set out in Table 2 of the RO banding review consultation:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/ro-banding/3235-consultation-ro-banding.pdf

Under the Electricity Market Reform, the renewables obligation will be closed to new capacity from 1 April 2017 and large scale renewable electricity will be supported through the new FIT with Contract for Difference scheme, which is currently being developed.

The net subsidy cost for technologies supported through the feed-in tariffs scheme is determined by the level of generation tariffs under the scheme. Future levels of the generation tariff for solar PV from August 2012, and the methodology for setting future levels are set out in the Government response to consultation on Phase 2A of the FITs comprehensive review:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/fits_rev_ph2a/fits_rev_ph2a.aspx

Proposals for other technologies are set out in the Phase 2B consultation:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/fits_rev_ph2b/fits_rev_ph2b.aspx

Final decisions on phase 2B are due to be announced in the summer.

Energy: Conservation

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what agreements were made on negawatts at the EU Energy Council meeting to discuss the energy efficiency directive on 15 June 2012. [113542]

Charles Hendry: At Energy Council on 15 June, the Presidency reported to Ministers that, subject to a plenary vote in the European Parliament, a first reading agreement on the energy efficiency directive had been achieved between the Council and the Parliament earlier in the week. The directive contains a wide range of provisions including, for the first time, binding energy-saving targets for member states to be delivered through deployment of supplier obligation or equivalent policy measures.

Fuel Poverty

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the written ministerial statement of 15 March 2012, Official Report, column 37WS, on fuel poverty, (1) when he plans to publish the public consultation on improving the framework for tackling fuel poverty; and if he will make a statement; [113279]

(2) what steps his Department plans to take to implement the recommendations in the final report of the Fuel Poverty Review on the long-term sick and fuel poverty; and if he will make a statement; [113280]

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(3) whether implementation of the recommendations made in the final report of the Fuel Poverty Review will be part of the public consultation; and if he will make a statement. [113281]

Gregory Barker: Professor Hills's review of fuel poverty looked in detail at the issue of measurement and made a number of recommendations relating to how the current measurement framework could be improved. Following the publication of Professor Hills's final report on fuel poverty the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the right hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr Davey), announced his intention to adopt a revised approach to measuring fuel poverty and to consulting on that approach. We are planning to publish the consultation in September. This is later than originally anticipated due to the need to undertake analysis to understand the impact of changing the definition.