Defence

16 Air Assault Brigade

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the authorised personnel strength was of 16 Air Assault Brigade on (a) 31 May 2010 and (b) 31 May 2012; and what it will be once those named in June 2012 as being made redundant have left HM Armed Forces. [113646]

Nick Harvey: The most recent data available shows that as at 1 April 2012 the authorised establishment for 16 Air Assault Brigade was 7,160 personnel.

Details of authorised unit personnel establishments are not maintained retrospectively and are not held in central records.

It is not possible to say what the future establishment of the Brigade will be as this is dependent on the outcome of the Army's study into its future structure which will be announced as soon as decisions have been made.

26 Jun 2012 : Column 187W

Afghanistan

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many attacks made by unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) have taken place in Afghanistan in the last three years; where each such UAV was made; and how many civilian casualties there were as a result of each attack. [113096]

Nick Harvey: In the last three years to 19 June 2012, 176 strikes have been carried out by UK Reaper unmanned air vehicles (UAV) in Afghanistan. Reaper is the only UK UAV which carries weapons. I cannot comment on UAVs or strikes by other nations. Reaper is acquired, supported and armed through the US government. The prime contractor to the US government for the construction of Reaper is General Atomics—Aeronautical Systems Inc., based in California. The UK takes every reasonable measure to avoid civilian casualties. I am aware of only one incident where individuals not classified as insurgents were killed by a UK Reaper UAV. The incident took place on 25 March 2011 and resulted in the death of four civilians in addition to two insurgents. An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) investigation was carried out and concluded that the actions of the Reaper crew had been in accordance with extant procedures and ISAF rules of engagement.

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish documents held by his Department relating to the investigation into a British drone strike that led to Afghan civilian fatalities on 25 March 2011; and if he will make a statement. [113128]

Nick Harvey: Any incident involving civilian casualties is a matter of deep regret and we take every possible measure to avoid such incidents. We have strict procedures, frequently updated in the light of experience, intended both to minimise the risk of casualties occurring and to investigate any alleged incidents. The incident of 25 March 2011 is the only one in which civilian fatalities are known to have resulted from a UK Reaper strike. A UK Reaper, operating in support of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces, was tasked to engage and destroy two pick-up trucks. The strike resulted in the deaths of two insurgents and the destruction of a significant quantity of explosives being carried on the trucks. Sadly, four Afghan civilians were also killed and a further two Afghan civilians were injured. A joint ISAF-Afghan investigation was conducted to establish if any lessons could be learned or if errors in operational procedures could be identified. The report concluded that the actions of the Reaper crew had been in accordance with ISAF procedures and rules of engagement. I am withholding the report as its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice, the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Aircraft Carriers

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect of the decision not to fit catapult and arrestor technology to Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers on the prospects for Joint Maritime Task Groups. [113304]

26 Jun 2012 : Column 188W

Mr Robathan [holding answer 25 June 2012]:I refer the right hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 10 May 2012, Official Report, columns 140-42. Announcing the decision to switch the planned order for Joint Strike Fighter aircraft from Carrier Varriant to Short-take-off and Vertical Landing, he made clear that a focus on joint maritime task groups ensuring carrier availability, rather than cross-deck operations is the appropriate route to optimising alliance capabilities.

Armed Forces: Complaints

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the time limits are for investigating a service redress of complaint at the first level of investigation. [113831]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 25 June 2012]: Service complaints are categorised in accordance with their complexity. The time limit for less complex complaints is set at 60 days for the first level, and for more complex complaints, it is set at 120 days.

Armed Forces: Discrimination

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions Ministers in his Department have had with insurers on tackling discrimination against veterans in the workplace; and what the outcome was of any such discussions. [113065]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 21 June 2012]: The Ministry of Defence encourages all employers to value the skills and experience which former service personnel can bring to the workplace.

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions Ministers in his Department have had with (a) mobile telephone suppliers and (b) mortgage lenders on tackling discrimination against service people; and what the outcome was of any such discussions. [113066]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 21 June 2012]: The Government have worked closely with credit reference agencies and other partners, including the Royal Mail, to help us to improve financial capability among service personnel and to address the difficulties faced by those with a history of rapidly changing or British Forces Post Office (BFPO) addresses. Through the Home Finance Forum, work has been undertaken to introduce a new system for handling credit rating assessments for those with a BFPO address.

We have agreement with The UK Cards Association, the British Bankers' Association, the Finance and Leasing Association the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies Association for them to take account of the circumstances of service personnel in order to avoid disadvantage.

Service personnel facing credit rating difficulties because of periods of time spent abroad should approach prospective mortgage lenders and/or prospective landlords or letting agents to instruct their credit reference checking agencies to undertake a manual check of the individual's circumstances, rather than an automated one.

26 Jun 2012 : Column 189W

A technical solution has been developed by the BFPO, in conjunction with Royal Mail, which will allow the allocation of a 'shadow postcode' against a BFPO address. As well as helping to overcome credit rating difficulties for those with periods of living abroad, this will better enable individuals to access online retail and other financial services and will allow the completion of Government online forms. The new BFPO shadow postcodes were released in April 2012.

Armed Forces: Harassment

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on fees for civilian harassment case officers investigating service redress of complaints in the latest period for which figures are available. [113824]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 25 June 2012]: For the FY 2011-12 the Ministry of Defence spent in the region of £82,000 for civilian harassment case officers investigating service complaints.

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Army's guidelines are on bullying and harassment in the workplace. [113825]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 25 June 2012]: The Army seeks to promote equality of opportunity for all personnel. It has a zero tolerance policy on bullying, harassment and discrimination and seeks to provide an inclusive environment for all and to ensure respect for others.

Clear policy and guidance is provided at all levels of the chain of command through the Army's equality and diversity (E&D) directives, E&D training and through briefings to personnel. Those who are found to fall short of the standards and behaviours expected are dealt with appropriately by their commanders by way of administrative or disciplinary action.

Individuals who feel they are experiencing any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination can seek assistance and support from their unit E&D adviser, the Army Welfare Service and the Chaplaincy Service including the provision of chaplaincy support for the five main non-Christian faiths. Alternatively they can contact the Army's bullying, harassment and discrimination helpline, which has been set up independently of the chain of command. If an individual wishes to make a formal complaint they may do so through the Service Complaints system or externally through the Service Complaints Commissioner's office.

Armed Forces: Personnel

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the current (a) established unit strength, (b) manning level, (c) number of personnel from the Commonwealth and (d) cost in the last financial year for which figures are available is of the (i) 1st Battalion, The Coldstream Guards, (ii) 2nd Battalion, the Tigers, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, (iii) The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, (iv) Public duties companies of Brigade of Guards, (v) 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, (vi) 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, (vii) Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion, The

26 Jun 2012 : Column 190W

Royal Regiment of Scotland, (viii) 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment, (ix) 2nd Battalion, The Royal Welsh, (x) 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, (xi) 4th Battalion, The Rifles Regiment, (xii) 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, (xiii) The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, (xiv) 1st Battalion, Scots Guards, (xv) 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, (xvi) Royal Dragoon Guards, (xvii) 1st Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, (xviii) Queen's Royal Lancers, (xix) 1st Battalion, (Vikings), The Royal Anglian Regiment, (xx) 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, (xxi) The Welsh Guards, (xxii) King's Royal Hussars, (xxiii) Light Dragoons, (xxiv) 1st Royal Tank Regiment, (xxv) 1st Battalion, The Grenadier Guards, (xxvi) 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh and (xxvii) Royal Welch Fusiliers; [109793]

(2) what the current (a) established unit strength, (b) manning level, (c) number of personnel from the Commonwealth and (d) cost in the last financial year for which figures are available is of the (i) 3rd Battalion, The Rifles Regiment, (ii) 2nd Battalion, The Rifles Regiment, (iii) 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, (iv) 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, (v) 3rd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, (vi) 4th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, (vii) Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, (viii) 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, (ix) 9th/12th Royal Lancers, (x) 5th Battalion, The Rifles Regiment, (xi) 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, (xii) Queen's Royal Hussars, (xiii) 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, (xiv) 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, (xv) 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, (xvi) 1st Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles, (xvii) 1st Battalion, The Rifles Regiment, (xviii) 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, (xix) 2nd Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles, (xx) 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, (xxi) Royal Scots Borders, 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, (xxii) Household Cavalry Regiment and (xxiii) Queen's Dragoon Guards. [109794]

Nick Harvey: The establishment and strength for the relevant units, as at April 2012, is provided in the following table:

 EstablishmentStrengthStrength of Commonwealth and other non-UK personnel

1 Grenadier Guards

536

520

70

1 Coldstream Guards

535

462

25

1 Scots Guards

603

545

45

1 Irish Guards

537

483

95

Welsh Guards

530

506

40

Public Duties element

300

306

30

1 Scots

535

517

55

2 Scots

528

448

65

3 Scots

537

520

75

4 Scots

608

460

90

5 Scots

556

465

80

1 Princess of Wales Royal Regiment

599

594

90

2 Princess of Wales Royal Regiment

535

541

65

26 Jun 2012 : Column 191W

1 Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

599

601

70

2 Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

532

523

65

1 Royal Anglian

571

565

35

2 Royal Anglian

538

528

25

1 Lancs

571

551

35

2 Lancs

523

489

35

1 Yorks

533

408

65

2 Yorks

532

487

60

3 Yorks

599

593

70

1 Mercian

533

494

35

2 Mercian

527

439

50

3 Mercian

604

507

75

1 Royal Welsh

527

501

45

2 Royal Welsh

575

529

50

1 RIFLES

532

504

70

2 RIFLES

528

506

85

3 RIFLES

527

511

60

4 RIFLES

571

551

65

5 RIFLES

599

575

90

1 Royal Irish

554

554

150

2 Para

553

463

25

3 Para

548

500

30

1 Royal Gurkha Rifles

552

608

608

2 Royal Gurkha Rifles

573

628

628

Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment

379

390

35

Household Cavalry Regiment

306

336

25

Queen's Dragoon Guards

295

281

15

Scots Dragoon Guards

415

337

65

Royal Dragoon Guards

396

340

15

Queen's Royal Hussars

411

354

15

9/12 Lancers

295

264

10

King's Royal Hussars

396

358

10

Light Dragoons

379

352

15

Queen's Royal Lancers

379

340

10

1 Royal Tank Regiment

358

340

30

2 Royal Tank Regiment

396

370

20

The establishment and strength figures comprise only those soldiers from that unit's specific Arm or Corps, and thus exclude any supporting personnel from other Corps.

Some units will have lower establishment levels than is required due to historic recruiting problems and therefore a more realistic recruiting target has been set.

The term “Commonwealth and other non-UK strength” comprises individuals from Commonwealth countries, the Republic of Ireland and Nepal. Numbers under this category have been rounded to the nearest five.

The corresponding financial information relating to the listed units would be a combination of personnel, training, infrastructures, and equipment. This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

26 Jun 2012 : Column 192W

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff regarded to be suitably qualified and experienced personnel for work at defence munitions sites have left such employment at each such site in each of the last two years. [112394]

Mr Robathan: The statistics held by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on staff who have left Defence Munitions sites do not provide sufficient detail to identify the skills of those individuals who have left. The following table therefore identifies all civilian staff who have left Defence Munitions sites, irrespective of their qualifications and experience. The statistics do not include military personnel who were, in most instances, posted to new appointments elsewhere in the MOD. Over the same periods, 130 civilian staff joined Defence Munitions (statistics gathered on the same basis as for those who have left).

Site2010-112011-12Totals

Beith

10

20

30

Crombie

2

18

20

Glen Douglas

6

9

15

Gosport

21

24

45

Kineton

19

14

33

Plymouth

13

23

36

Longtown

11

13

24

Wulfen

0

0

0

Other sites (including HQs)

3

7

10

Totals

85

128

213

Armed Forces: Pay

Simon Reevell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions his Department has sought to recover advance payments of salary from the families of service personnel killed on active service since 2000. [112648]

Mr Robathan: We never ask families of those killed in service to pay money back. Our aim is always to ensure families receive the right amount of money as quickly as possible and to conduct a reconciliation of their pay accounts as soon as all the information becomes available to us.

We do not collect any money from the families of deceased service personnel, but we do adjust future payments to ensure families are paid all monies to which they are entitled.

Armed Forces: Pensions

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether changes to public service pensions will affect only new entrants into the armed forces; and what his policy is on applying such changes to existing service personnel. [113718]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 25 June 2012]: Changes to public service pensions will affect all individuals who are actively serving in the armed forces when the new pension schemes are introduced in 2015, unless they are covered by transitional protection. This protection means that those individuals who were within 10 years of their scheme's normal pension age on 1 April 2012 will not have to join the new pension scheme and will be unaffected by the changes.

26 Jun 2012 : Column 193W

These changes are in accordance with the Government's acceptance of the recommendations of Lord Hutton's Independent Public Service Pensions Commission as a basis for consultation with public service workers.

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Government are planning to make any retrospective changes to public service pensions for serving armed forces personnel; and whether the consent of such personnel is required before they enter into new pension arrangements. [113857]

Mr Robathan: It has been the policy of successive Governments not to make retrospective changes to public sector pensions. The new Armed Forces Pension Scheme, currently under consultation, is no exception to this. There are no plans to make any retrospective changes to service pensions for serving armed forces personnel.

The consent of service personnel is not required before they enter into new pension arrangements because the Government will introduce a Public Services Pensions Bill, as soon as parliamentary time allows, which will replace existing schemes with new public service schemes to be in place from 2015.

Armed Forces: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Mrs Glindon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what steps he is taking to reduce the incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder amongst serving and former soldiers; [113087]

(2) how many soldiers who are on operational duties he estimates suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder; and what steps he has put in place to offer such soldiers assistance. [113088]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 25 June 2012]:I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 12 June 2012, Official Report, column 447W, to the hon. Member for Luton North (Kelvin Hopkins).

The Ministry of Defence takes the issue of mental health very seriously, and we recognise that operational deployments will inevitably expose personnel to stressful experiences. The psychological welfare of troops (which covers general wellbeing as well as mental health) is a fundamental chain of command responsibility, and personnel benefit greatly, in terms of mental health, by being within well led units with good support from their colleagues.

Measures are in place to increase awareness at all levels and to mitigate the development of operational stresses. Primary preventative measures include selection for fitness at recruitment, provision of good leadership, and robust training for all personnel. Secondary preventative measures include psycho-education, use of Trauma Risk Management (TRiM), and post-operational stress management, all of which aim at early detection of problems. Unit-based non-healthcare professionals such as chaplains, TRiM practitioners and welfare staff also have a vital role in supporting the chain of command in maintaining a good state of mental health among unit personnel and in signposting those in need of treatment to the Defence Medical Services. The families of returning personnel are also offered advice on the possible after-effects of an operational deployment.

26 Jun 2012 : Column 194W

Another key aim is to reduce the stigma that is sometimes attached to mental illness, which is an issue in the civilian world as well as the armed forces. This is being actively addressed through such programmes as the Army's 'Don't Bottle It Up' campaign, and in the deployment briefings provided to personnel and their families. By encouraging people to come forward as soon as they begin to feel ill, we can provide treatment at an early stage and hopefully prevent the illness developing further or recurring at a later date, including after they have left the armed forces.

Personnel leaving the armed forces are given advice on seeking help at an early stage if they have concerns about their mental health. The MOD and Department of Health are working together to improve the mental health care provided to ex-service personnel and veterans' mental health is an area which has received significant attention from this Government in the past two years. Following the publication of ‘Fighting Fit', the report by my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr. Murrison), the Government pledged £1.8 million per annum for the remainder of the spending review period to implement its recommendations. Much work has already been completed, such as the launch of a 24-hour veterans telephone helpline, a trial of the online wellbeing service 'Big White Wall' and an e-learning package for NHS general practitioners to familiarise themselves with veteran-specific health problems.

There has been an uplift in the number of mental health professionals conducting veterans outreach work, from 15 to 30. In addition, the number of professionals working for Combat Stress in partnership with the NHS takes this total to nearer 50. Plans are in place to establish a national veterans' mental health clinical network.

Furthermore, each of the 10 armed forces networks (based geographically in the old strategic health authority areas) has received £150,000 from the Department of Health with which to build up enhanced community veterans' mental health services in their areas. These services are now up and running in almost every region with the remainder planned to come on line by the end of this calendar year. These services were developed in conjunction with local groups, for the local population.

Armed Forces: Redundancy

Richard Drax: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any soldiers have been made redundant before qualifying for a full pension. [113214]

Mr Robathan: In order to ensure that the redundancy programme is fair to all involved, clear selection criteria have been published by each of the services. While rank and seniority are factors which are reflected in selection fields, length of reckonable service, which is closely associated with age, is not.

While we do not comment on specific personal cases, some soldiers will leave on redundancy before qualifying for a full pension. The Armed Forces Redundancy Schemes pay larger tax free redundancy compensation lump sums to those who narrowly miss out on immediate incomes than they do to those who qualify, and many of those who leave before qualifying are likely to have been applicants for redundancy.

Whereas the majority of other ranks normally have to serve for 22 years before receiving an immediate income, the Armed Forces Redundancy Schemes reduce

26 Jun 2012 : Column 195W

this requirement to 18 years. This concession of four years will enable many redundees to receive an immediate income for which they would otherwise not have qualified.

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on redundancy payments for armed forces personnel in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [113700]

Mr Robathan: The total amounts the Ministry of Defence has spent on redundancy payments for armed forces personnel in 2010, 2011 and 2012, are shown in the following table:

Financial yearTotal (£)

2010-11

0

2011-12

47,756,282

2012-13 as at 31 May 2012

20,146,174

Total

67,902,456

Armed Forces: Sexual Offences

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many allegations of rape made by members of the armed forces concluded with charges being (a) brought and (b) dropped in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [111993]

Mr Robathan: The following table details the number of allegations of rape referred to the service prosecuting authority by the service police, the number of cases where charges have been directed for trial (brought) and the number of cases not directed for trial since the start of 2010:

Number
 Allegations referredCases where charges are directed for trialCases not directed For trial

2010

21

9

11

2011

18

7

11

2012 (to 19 June)

7

3

0

Allegations referred in any one year are not necessarily tried, or directed for trial in the same year, hence the apparent mathematical irregularities in the table.

Defence: Cryptography

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many additional staff members have been recruited to work on the Cipher programme in the last 12 months; and at what cost. [109516]

Peter Luff: In the last 12 months, four additional Ministry of Defence personnel have been internally recruited to work on the Cipher programme at a total cost of approximately £141,000 per annum.

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]

26 Jun 2012 : Column 196W

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. Member as soon as these are available.

Substantive answer from Andrew Robathan to Roger Godsiff:

I undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Question about Diamond Jubilee costs on 19 June 2012, Official Report, column 933W, which were then being collated.

The costs associated with the Armed Forces Parade and Muster at Windsor, the Thames River Pageant and the Service of Thanksgiving are in the region of £880,000. This figure represents marginal costs incurred as the participation of the Armed Forces was deemed core business. It includes the costs of the flypasts.

Nuclear Submarines

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of whether a viable, continuous, at-sea deterrent is possible with only two operational nuclear-armed submarines. [113753]

Mr Philip Hammond: It is the assessment of the Ministry of Defence that a fleet of four Vanguard submarines is currently required to sustain a viable Continuous At Sea Deterrence (CASD) posture. Within a four boat fleet, CASD can be delivered by two operational boats for short periods of time while the other two boats are undergoing maintenance and upgrade periods, but this is not considered viable over the longer term.

Queen's Dragoon Guards

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future of the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards. [113547]

Nick Harvey: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 23 May 2012, Official Report, column 727W, to the hon. Member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr (Jonathan Edwards).

Territorial Army

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of Territorial Army personnel have civilian jobs (a) in self-employed roles and in businesses with up to 10 employees, (b) in businesses with 11 to 50 employees, (c) in businesses with 51 to 200 employees and (d) in businesses with over 201 employees; and what proportion are on benefits. [112840]

Mr Robathan: This information is not held. However, as part of our consideration of the Future Reserves 2020 report we are exploring how information of this type can be reliably captured in the future.

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the outflow was of territorial army personnel (a) including and (b) excluding the Officer Training Corps in each of the last five years. [113112]

26 Jun 2012 : Column 197W

Mr Robathan: The following table shows the number of Territorial Army (TA) personnel, including and excluding those in the Officer Training Corps (OTC), who left in each of the last four years.

 2008-092009-102010-112011-12

Total Territorial Army outflow (including Officer Training Corps)

9,160

10,510

8,210

7,890

Total Territorial Army outflow (excluding Officer Training Corps)

6,790

7,670

6,290

5,720

Data for outflow of TA personnel during the FY 2007-08 are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The outflow numbers include those individuals who left the TA to join other parts of the armed forces. If there is a period of one month or greater between an individual leaving the OTC and joining the TA they are included in the outflow statistics.

Members of the TA are employed under different terms and conditions to the regular Army and can leave at any time, unless they have been formally selected for mobilisation.

Cadets join the Officer Training Corps while at university and can resign at any time. There is no obligation for them to join the armed forces when they leave university.

Prime Minister

Abid Hussain

Michael Dugher: To ask the Prime Minister whether he has met Abid Hussain in an official capacity. [112960]

The Prime Minister: I have not had any official meetings with Abid Hussain. Abid Hussain was one of 150 guests invited to Downing street in November 2010 to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Adha.

Michael Dugher: To ask the Prime Minister (1) whether (a) he, (b) his special advisers and (c) his civil servants were aware that Abid Hussain would be accompanying the Minister without Portfolio on any official overseas visits; [112961]

(2) whether he cleared Abid Hussain to accompany the Minister without Portfolio on any of her official visits to Pakistan. [112962]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, on 25 June 2012, Official Report, column 115W.

Conservative Friends of Pakistan

Michael Dugher: To ask the Prime Minister whether (a) he and (b) his special advisers have had meetings with representatives of the Conservative Friends of Pakistan at No. 10 Downing Street since May 2010. [112968]

The Prime Minister: No.

26 Jun 2012 : Column 198W

Leveson Inquiry

Mr Watson: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will place in the Library copies of all documents, e-mails and text messages he submitted to the Leveson Inquiry; [R] [113729]

(2) how many times he has met Rebekah Brooks since May 2010; [R] [113728]

(3) with reference to his contribution to the Leveson Inquiry on 14 June 2012, afternoon hearing, lines 5 to 22, on what dates he has met (a) Rebekah Brooks, (b) Charlie Brooks, (c) Andy Coulson and (d) James Murdoch since May 2010. [R] [113730]

The Prime Minister: The information requested is publicly available on the Leveson Inquiry website:

http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/evidence/?witness=david-cameron-mp

Staffing Costs

Mr Winnick: To ask the Prime Minister what the full duties are of Stephen Gilbert, his political secretary; what proportion of his time is spent on matters relating to (a) Government and (b) Conservative Party business; and whether his salary is paid fully from public funds. [113929]

The Prime Minister: The staffing costs for my political office are a matter for the Conservative party.

Visits Abroad

Michael Dugher: To ask the Prime Minister whether he plans to review the rules on non-governmental aides attending foreign trips with Ministers. [112964]

The Prime Minister: Ministers' visits overseas are subject to the Ministerial Code.

Michael Dugher: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he directed the Minister without Portfolio to attend any of the official overseas trips she has participated in since May 2010; [112965]

(2) whether the Minister without Portfolio has been allocated any specific foreign policy role in regard to the Government's relations with Pakistan. [112967]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, on 25 June 2012, Official Report, column 124W.

Michael Dugher: To ask the Prime Minister (1) whether his officials have approved the official overseas travel undertaken by the Minister without Portfolio since May 2010; [112966]

(2) what his policy is on foreign Governments paying for UK Ministers to go on official overseas trips. [112963]

The Prime Minister: The Ministerial Code sets out the requirements for overseas travel.

26 Jun 2012 : Column 199W

International Development

Consultants

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much was remitted by his Department to (a) PricewaterhouseCoopers, (b) KPMG, (c) Deloitte, (d) Ernst and Young and (e) the Adam Smith Institute in each of the last five financial years for which figures are available. [113911]

Mr Duncan: DFID's central finance records show the following expenditure (in GBP pounds sterling) against the UK and overseas entities of the requested suppliers:

Supplier2009-102010-112011-12

PricewaterhouseCoopers

6,492,601.38

12,356,644.52

24,287,934.54

KPMG

29,204,351.09

37,573,146.58

39,439,394.62

Deloitte

1,109,572.08

934,226.03

1,122,022

Ernst and Young

130,760.40

248,235

2,922,172.92

Adam Smith

31,181,433.40

37,083,997.43

44,914,334.60

These remittances comprise payment for services provided directly to DFID but also include remittances where they retain a fee and disburse a much larger amount to others. Such amounts are included within the totals in the table above.

The Department's central procurement records do not hold details of contracts let below the EU threshold, which fall within the delegated authority of spending Departments, including country offices. To provide this level of detail would incur disproportionate cost. Those contracts which exceed the EU threshold are subject to the Department’s competitive tender process, in line with EU regulations.

Government Procurement Card

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many procurement card holders in his Department were (a) paid off-payroll, (b) employed on a part-time basis and (c) employed as a non-permanent employee in (i) 2009-10, (ii) 2010-11 and (iii) 2011-12. [113336]

Mr Duncan: In 2011-12, DFID had 76 procurement card holders of which (a) all are on DFID payroll, (b) four are part-time and (c) seven are people currently on secondment into DFID from other Government Departments.

We have insufficient historical data to provide answers for 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development on which dates his Department has published Government procurement card spending over £500 since May 2010. [113354]

Mr Duncan: DFID procurement card transactions over £500 are published on the DFID website

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/About-us/How-we-measure-progress/DFID-Government-Procurement-Card-transactions-over-500/

This includes all expenditure over £500 dating back to April 2010. This information has been published on the DFID website since July 2011 with earlier information published in February 2012.

26 Jun 2012 : Column 200W

Nigeria

Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department plans to provide further support to civil society organisations in Nigeria to provide oversight on public expenditure in the education sector through accountability and transparency initiatives. [113256]

Mr O'Brien: The UK is providing support to monitor and track financial expenditure through the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria. This programme supports civil society and school based management committees to hold local governments and schools accountable for funds. The UK is currently in discussion with key civil society organisations as to what further support might be needed.

Sahel

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to prevent famine in the Sahel; and whether he will provide additional funding if he deems it necessary to prevent a worsening of the situation. [113379]

Mr O'Brien: The United Nations currently estimates that the food crisis in the Sahel region of west Africa has left over 18 million people at risk of food shortage over the next few months. Of these, 8 million people require urgent assistance.

Having been in the region earlier this month, I can confirm that the scale of the needs are great, but the UK's early assistance is already achieving results and helping to avert the worst of the crisis, which nonetheless continues.

In response to the unfolding crisis, the UK provided two contributions of £5 million each in January and March 2012.

I confirm that we have announced over the past two weeks a further package of assistance. Worth an additional £15.4 million, this more than doubles UK assistance to the region in 2012, to a total of £25.4 million.

Through this assistance, British aid this year will support 1.6 million people at risk of hunger across Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso, to achieve the following results:

Improved nutrition for 185,000 children and women (including therapeutic treatment to save the lives of over 110,000 severely malnourished children under five years old);

Food and cash vouchers for over 250,000 men, women and children;

Livelihoods support to over 980,000 people through:

1. The provision of seeds and tools for families to enable them to feed themselves for the next year; and

2. Animal feed and vaccinations to keep farmers' livestock alive.

These direct funds are in addition to £27 million of UK contributions also being provided in 2012 to the Sahel region through multilateral agencies such as the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

26 Jun 2012 : Column 201W

I and my officials will continue to monitor the situation closely and liaise with our opposite numbers in other Governments to urge that other countries also take their fair share of the response.

Syria

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what reports he has received on the humanitarian situation of Syrian refugees at the Turkish, Lebanese, Jordanian and Iraqi borders. [113799]

Mr Duncan: The UN estimates there are over 93,000 Syrian refugees in need of assistance in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, and numbers are steadily increasing. Priority humanitarian needs among Syrian refugees continue to be food and basic supplies, shelter and assistance with rent, access to safe water and sanitation, as well as support for host communities. Many Syrians fleeing the violence require emergency medical assistance as well as basic health care and psychological support. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is co-ordinating with other humanitarian agencies to provide assistance for people fleeing Syria, in addition to the support and services the Governments of neighbouring countries are providing. I recently visited the Jordan-Syria border where I met families who had fled some of the worst affected parts of Syria. I also saw the tremendous efforts the UN and Governments of neighbouring countries are making to support those fleeing the violence.

The UK has so far provided £2 million to UNHCR to provide accommodation, food, and other essential support to meet the needs of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. This is in addition to substantial core funding which the Department provides to UNHCR for its global operations. The UK is also funding the UN and humanitarian agencies working to provide much needed food, water and sanitation, and medical assistance in Syria and the region. Our total funding to date now stands at £8.5 million to meet humanitarian needs. We speak regularly to our humanitarian partners to assess what further help may be needed.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Abid Hussain

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department were aware that Abid Hussain would be accompanying the Minister without Portfolio on official visits abroad. [112971]

Alistair Burt: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General on 25 June 2012, Official Report, column 115W.

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) senior officials in his Department have met Abid Hussain. [112972]

Alistair Burt: Details of Ministers' meetings with external organisations are available in the Library of the House.

26 Jun 2012 : Column 202W

On a few occasions Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have met with Mr Hussain to discuss issues relating to overseas Pakistanis and British Nationals.

Air Displays: Farnborough

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the statement of 11 June 2012, Official Report, column 45, on Syria, if he will make representations to the organisers of the July 2012 Farnborough Air Show that they should withdraw their invitation to Rosoboronexport to exhibit at that show. [113846]

Alistair Burt: Farnborough International Air Show is a commercial event, run by Farnborough International Ltd. The British Government plays no part in determining which companies-are invited to exhibit.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has made clear to Foreign Minister Lavrov on several occasions his deep concerns about continued Russian arms transfers to the Syrian Regime.

Armed Conflict: Children

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the UN Report on Children and Armed Conflict published in April 2012; and if he will make a statement. [113800]

Mr Bellingham: We welcome this report, covering the period January to December 2011, which gives a useful overview of the situation of girls and boys in conflict zones and measures taken for their protection, covering the period January to December 2011. It is welcome that the information gathered is vetted and verified for accuracy.

We commend the pragmatic approach taken by the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) for Children and Armed Conflict, who has emphasised the humanitarian aspects to this issue, with the aim of ensuring broad and effective protection for children exposed to and affected by conflict in situations of concern. The SRSG has rightly reminded all parties of their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and in particular the principles of distinction and proportionality and the duty to protect children and prevent violations, taking all necessary precautions to avoid civilian casualties.

We are encouraged to see the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1998 (2011). which called for the SRSG to list parties who used children to launch attacks on schools and hospitals. It is also good that the report lists parties who recruit and use children, kill and maim them and commit sexual violence against them.

Azerbaijan

Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Azerbaijan on refugees and internally displaced persons in that country. [113525]

26 Jun 2012 : Column 203W

Mr Lidington: Hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis and Armenians are displaced as a direct result of the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, over Nagorno Karabakh. The fundamental problem can only be resolved through a negotiated peaceful settlement.

In meetings with relevant Armenian and Azerbaijani interlocutors, including with both Foreign Ministers and Presidents, the British Government urges both sides to use all available diplomatic means, in particular the Minsk Group process, to achieve such a settlement. The Prime Minister raised the issue with the Azerbaijani President on 21 May 2012 at the NATO Chicago summit and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs raised this with the Armenian Foreign Minister on 13 July 2011 in London.

The British Government fund a number of peace building initiatives, in support of dialogue and reconciliation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and support the UN Refugee Agency's work on strengthening the asylum system and assisting refugees to become self-reliant.

In recent weeks, tension has escalated along the northern border and the line of contact around Nagorno Karabakh itself. Together with other EU member states, we have called on both countries to show restraint and to refrain from further violence.

Belarus

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the EU High Representative on sending election monitoring missions to Belarus to oversee the recently-announced parliamentary elections. [113776]

Mr Lidington: The Government have had no discussions with the EU High Representative on this issue. The state of democracy and human rights in Belarus remains poor, making effective monitoring of the 23 September parliamentary elections particularly important. Along with our EU partners, the Government will encourage Belarus to invite a monitoring mission from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for the parliamentary elections. The UK would offer strong support to any such mission.

Complaints

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many complaints about the work of his Department and each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies were received in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [108946]

Mr Lidington: Records of complaints received by our network of diplomatic posts around the world are not held centrally and cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost. Information on complaints raised with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) by the parliamentary ombudsman are recorded on page 29 of the FCO’s annual departmental report:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/publications/annual-reports/annual-report-accounts-2010-11

26 Jun 2012 : Column 204W

For the period April 2010-March 2011, 1,061 complaints relating to the FCO’s consular services were received by consular staff based in the UK. For the period April 2011-March 2012, 191 complaints relating to the FCO’s consular services were received by consular staff based in the UK. There was a change in reporting method for the 2011-12 figures, which do not include complaints regarding passports and visas following the transfer of responsibility to the Overseas Passport Management Unit/Identity and Passport Service and the UK Border Agency respectively.

FCO Services is an Executive agency and trading fund of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which operates commercially and competes with private sector suppliers for the provision of secure logistics, project and information communication technology services. As an organisation it supplies products and services to the UK Government and other international institutions and Governments with which the UK has close links. FCO Services has a formal complaints procedure to enable its government customers to resolve issues as they arise. Eight cases were logged through this procedure in 2010-11 and six in 2011-12. Complaints received outside of this formal procedure are not recorded.

The British Council is an Executive non-departmental body of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It is also a registered charity, and is incorporated by Royal Charter. The British Council does not hold a central log of complaints received across its global network. Offices overseas each have a designated complaints manager and deal with any complaints which arise locally. The British Council has recently begun to collect feedback which includes complaints on its UK operations. In 2011-12 383 such enquiries were received using this mechanism.

Wilton Park is an Executive agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which organises conferences on international topics. Wilton Park does not hold central records of complaints received, and it did not receive any complaints about its service in 2010-11 or 2011-12. Feedback from conference delegates indicate that the conferences are well received.

The Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission is a non-departmental body of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It administers the Marshall Scholarship programme, which provides scholarships to students from the USA to pursue postgraduate study in the UK. The Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission has a formal complaints procedure. It did not receive any complaints about its work in 2010-11 or 2011-12.

The Great Britain China Centre does not hold central records of complaints received.

Egypt

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the conduct of the recent elections in Egypt. [113802]

Alistair Burt: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs issued a statement on 19 June in which he welcomed the peaceful conduct of the second round of Egypt's presidential elections. Following the announcement of the results on 24 June, he congratulated the Egyptian people for their

26 Jun 2012 : Column 205W

commitment to the democratic process and wished the new President of Egypt, Dr Mohammed Mursi, success in the challenging task ahead.

The election monitoring missions of the Carter Center and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), both of which were partly funded by the Arab Partnership, concluded that while the uncertain political environment in which the elections were held was of concern, the conduct on polling days was largely orderly and free from major and systematic flaws that unfairly advantaged either candidate. This assessment was shared by embassy staff in Cairo who visited over 100 polling stations throughout Egypt during the first and second rounds of the presidential elections.

Energy

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how much his Department spent on (a) gas and (b) electricity bills in each of the last 10 years; [113494]

(2) which energy supplier supplies his Department with (a) gas and (b) electricity; [113485]

(3) whether his Department switched its (a) gas or (b) electricity supplier in any of the last 10 years. [113467]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has spent the following amounts on gas and electricity in the UK in the past eight years. Figures prior to 2003-04 are not available on a comparable basis.

£
 GasElectricity

2011-12

13,868

2,530,841

2010-11

37,959

2,539,432

2009-10

46,513

3,030,620

2008-09

44,078

3,216,694

2007-08

26,323

1,892,457

2006-07

25,740

1,596,434

2005-06

36,610

1,282,301

2004-05

16,600

870,899

Energy usage increased significantly with the opening of Data Centres for storing electronic records in 2008-09. Cost reductions from 2010 onwards reflect FCO actions to meet sustainability targets, such as installation of low energy lighting and improved efficiency of other electrical equipment. As a result of estimated gas readings in 2010-11 the FCO was charged more than actual usage; 2011-12 costs were therefore significantly lower as this figure reflects a credit.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office uses the following suppliers across the UK Estate:

Gas—Corona Energy and E-ON

Electricity—EDF

Corona Energy supply gas to Lancaster House and 1 Carlton Gardens as domestic users and E-ON to King Charles Street on a commercial tariff. The Old Admiralty Building and Hanslope Park are not supplied with Gas.

In 2008 The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK changed its gas supplier from British Gas to Corona Energy and its electricity supplier from London Energy to EDF.

26 Jun 2012 : Column 206W

All supplies are purchased through Government Procurement Service suppliers to achieve best value through Government-wide framework contracts.

The detail of energy suppliers and costs for our overseas network is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost

EU Enlargement

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met the President of the Council of Ministers to discuss EU enlargement; and if he will make a statement. [113121]

Mr Lidington: The Government are a strong supporter of EU enlargement for all of the countries of the Western Balkans, Iceland and Turkey when conditions are met. We hope that each country will continue to make progress against the conditions, and progress along the path to their EU future. I frequently discuss the question of EU enlargement, in these terms, with a wide range of EU interlocutors. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs most recently discussed these issues with EU Enlargement Commissioner, Stefan Füle, on 29 May 2012. Ministers also discuss the progress of countries throughout the year in the Council. For example we discussed at the 29 May General Affairs Council the European Commission's Interim Monitoring Report on Croatia, assessing Croatia's continued progress towards fully meeting the conditions for membership ahead of its expected accession to the EU on 1 July 2013. And we hope to be able to open accession negotiations with Montenegro in June. We look forward to further substantive discussion in December of all countries and their progress towards the EU on the basis of the European Commission's Annual Enlargement Package, published in the autumn.

Israel

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Oxford East of 11 June 2012, Official Report, columns 230-31W, on Israel, whether his Department may specify the exclusion of settlement products in purchasing goods and services under existing UK and EU procurement guidelines. [113621]

Alistair Burt: The grounds for rejection of a supplier under UK and EU procurement law are set out in the relevant legislation. It would have to be considered whether, on the facts of a particular case, any of these grounds applied.

Libya

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance his Department is giving to Libya for its transition to parliamentary democracy. [113529]

Alistair Burt: In response to Libyan requests, we have contributed £1.5 million to the UN Libyan Electoral Assistance Programme, which is providing practical and logistical assistance for the elections, including security, education and media planning. We are also

26 Jun 2012 : Column 207W

funding the training of local electoral observers, projects to help women's groups advocate their views, electoral education projects focusing on women and youth and police advisers and training to assist effective election security co-ordination.

Minister without Portfolio

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Minister without Portfolio has been given official responsibilities by his Department. [112973]

Mr Lidington: As a Cabinet Minister, the Minister without Portfolio represents the UK Government when on official visits abroad as part of the Government's work to enhance bilateral relations and support foreign policy objectives.

Politics and Government: Indonesia

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he raised the matter of human rights in West Papua with the Government of Indonesia during his visit there in April 2012. [113689]

Mr Jeremy Browne: During my meeting with the Indonesian President we discussed a full range of issues including the importance of maintaining progress on human rights and the challenges of handling regional autonomy issues.

Sudan: South Sudan

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to support the political negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan in Addis Ababa and ensure their successful completion. [113711]

Mr Bellingham: We continue to make clear to both countries that they must comply with the African Union (AU) roadmap and negotiate substantively on a comprehensive settlement. We are fully supporting President Mbeki and the AU High Level Implementation Panel in their mediation efforts. The UK Special Representative for Sudan and South Sudan is also attending the latest round of talks which started on 21 June. We will continue to provide practical and political support to the process where needed, in close co-ordination with other interested partners.

Thailand

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons the advert for a locally engaged correspondence and customer services manager at the British Embassy in Thailand in June 2011 was re-advertised in August 2011. [113417]

Damian Green: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Home Department.

26 Jun 2012 : Column 208W

The position of correspondence and customer services manager in Bangkok was re-advertised in August 2011 as none of the candidates who applied for the job in June 2011 was found to be suitable for the position.

Visits Abroad

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many official overseas trips by Government Ministers have been paid for by foreign Governments since May 2010. [112959]

Mr Lidington: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers are regularly hosted by foreign Governments as part of their official duties. This can include covering some of the costs of accommodation, travel and security support.

The FCO does not hold records on the funding of overseas trips undertaken by non-FCO Ministers. The Government publishes on a quarterly basis information about Ministers' visits overseas. Information for the period May 2010 to December 2011 is in the Library of the House.

World Refugee Day

Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to mark World Refugee Day 2012. [113139]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office did not mark World Refugee Day on 20 June 2012. The UK is very proud to be a signatory to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and of its ongoing commitment to provide sanctuary to those in genuine need of protection. The Convention remains as relevant and important today as it has ever been. The UK's Department for International Development provides substantial long-term care funding to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which provides protection and assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons all around the word. In 2010 UNHCR helped over 25 million people which is 58% of all people displaced worldwide.

Justice

Contempt of Court

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people were (a) prosecuted, (b) convicted and (c) received custodial sentences for contempt of court in a county court in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [113919]

Mr Blunt: Information held centrally by the Ministry of Justice on the Court Proceedings Database does not include the circumstances behind each case beyond the description provided in the statute. It is therefore not possible to separately identify offences of contempt of court arising from a county court ruling or judgment from offences of contempt of court arising from a ruling or judgment in other courts.

For the available statistical information on contempt of court I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 14 June 2012, Official Report, column 610W.

26 Jun 2012 : Column 209W

Curfews

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proportion of offenders who committed a more serious breach of a curfew under a community order or suspended sentence were brought back to court by (a) offender managers as the responsible officer where the curfew was part of a multi-requirement order and (b) electronic monitoring companies as the responsible officer where the curfew was a single-requirement order in the latest period for which figures are available. [113271]

Mr Blunt: It is not possible to provide the number of breaches that were brought to court by offender managers where the curfew was part of a multi-requirement order except at disproportionate cost. The electronic monitoring service providers are not advised of the outcomes of witness statements provided. Information would only be available through a manual trawl of court or police records.

Where the curfew was a single-requirement order, in financial year 2011-12 all offenders in England and Wales who committed a more serious breach of a curfew under a community order or suspended sentence were brought back to court by the electronic monitoring companies as required.

Cycling: Roads

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) with reference to the letter from British Cycling of 1 June 2012, what assessment he has made of British Cycling's recommendation for a review of the criminal justice system to better protect road users; [111511]

(2) if he will meet hon. Members and representatives of British Cycling to discuss issues raised in its letter of 1 June 2012; [111512]

(3) when he plans to reply to the letter from British Cycling of 1 June 2012 regarding a review of the criminal justice system to better protect road users; and if he will place in the Library a copy of his reply. [111513]

Mr Blunt: The Ministry of Justice has received a letter from British Cycling of 1 June 2012 relating to a review of the criminal justice system to better protect road users. We are consulting with colleagues across Government on the issues raised in the letter before we respond.

26 Jun 2012 : Column 210W

Dangerous Dogs

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many convictions for offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 following an attack on a health worker making a home visit there have been in each of the last three years. [113614]

Mr Blunt: Information held centrally by the Ministry of Justice on the Court Proceedings Database does not include the circumstances behind each case beyond the description provided in the statute. From proceedings at the magistrates courts for offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, it is not possible to identify a victim's professional status or specific location at which an offence occurred. This detailed information may be held by the courts on individual case files which due to their size and complexity are not reported to Justice Statistics Analytical Services.

The number of defendants found guilty at all courts under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 in England and Wales, from 2009 to 2011, can be viewed in the table as follows.

Number of defendants found guilty at all courts for offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, England and Wales, 2009 to 2011(1, 2)
 Number

2009

884

2010

1,237

2011

1,128

(1) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice.

Demonstrations: Prosecutions

Louise Mensch: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prosecutions have been brought in each region under section 42 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 in the last 12 months. [113680]

Mr Blunt: The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates court, by region for offences under section 42 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 in England and Wales for 2011 can be viewed in the table as follows:

Defendants proceeded against at magistrates court for offences under Section 42 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, by region, England and Wales, 2011(1, 2)
StatuteOffence descriptionRegionProceeded against

Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 S42A

Harassment etc. of a person in his home

North East

0

  

North West

1

  

Yorkshire and Humberside

1

  

East Midlands

1

  

West Midlands

1

  

East of England

1

  

London

2

  

South East

0

  

South West

0

26 Jun 2012 : Column 211W

26 Jun 2012 : Column 212W

  

Wales

1

    

Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, S.42 (7A) and (7B)

Failing to comply with a direction to leave the vicinity and not to return within a specified period for the purposes of representing to or persuading the resident that he should do something or not do something. Knowingly contravening a direction or conditions given by constable under this section

North East

6

  

North West

31

  

Yorkshire and Humberside

14

  

East Midlands

10

  

West Midlands

0

  

East of England

3

  

London

0

  

South East

12

  

South West

2

  

Wales

1

(1) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice.

Driving Offences: Insurance

Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost was of court proceedings arising from the trial of drivers accused of making fraudulent insurance claims in (a) 1997, (b) 2002 and (c) 2011. [111048]

Mr Blunt: The offence of ‘making fraudulent insurance claims’ is likely to be proceeded against under section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006. This includes offenders who dishonestly make false representations to make gains for themselves or cause losses to another person.

The Ministry of Justice does not collate all details of proceedings. As a result it is not possible to specifically identify and cost proceedings that relate to drivers accused of making fraudulent insurance claims under section 1 of the Act. This information could be obtained only by examining all relevant court records of Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service and would incur disproportionate cost.

Energy

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) whether his Department has switched its (a) gas or (b) electricity supplier in any of the last 10 years; [113450]

(2) which energy supplier supplies his Department with (a) gas and (b) electricity; [113483]

(3) how much his Department has spent on its (a) gas and (b) electricity bills in each of the last 10 years. [113496]

Mr Djanogly: The Ministry of Justice started transferring its gas and energy supplies to the Government Procurement Service energy framework from March 2005. Contracts are transferred to the framework as they expire.

The Department's energy suppliers are (a) Corona for gas and (b) EDF Energy and British Gas for electricity.

The Ministry of Justice was established on 7 May 2007. The combined spending of the core Department and its Executive agencies (HM Courts and Tribunals Service and its precursors, the National Offender Management Service, the Office of the Public Guardian and its precursor) on (a) gas and (b) electricity in each year since its inception was:

£ million
 (a) Gas(b) Electricity

2007-08

29.2

34.5

2008-09

44.4

53.6

2009-10

40.3

48.5

2010-11

34.2

31.8

2011-12

39.8

43.6

The spike in heating costs in 2008-09 is attributed to the extremely cold winter of that year, which at that point was the 10th coldest since Meteorological Office records began.

Probation

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many individuals subject to supervision measures imposed in the UK have had their supervision measures supervised by the authorities of another EU member state under the terms of EU Council Framework Decision 2009/829/JHA in each year since 2009; and how many individuals subject to supervision measures in other EU member states have had their supervision measures supervised by the UK authorities in each year since 2009. [113326]

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Mr Kenneth Clarke: None: the EU Council Framework decision 2009/829/JHA on

“the application between member states of the European Union of the principle of mutual recognition to decisions on supervision measures as an alternative to provisional detention”,

known as the European Supervision Order, is not due to be implemented until 1 December 2012.

Social Security Benefits: Appeals

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he plans to announce whether legal aid will be extended to welfare benefit cases involving points of law in the lower tribunal. [113921]

Mr Djanogly: We are giving serious thought to this issue and are considering the exact scope of the concession as well as how such work will be delivered in the future. Once we have considered in full we will make an announcement.

Young Offenders

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what strategies he will employ to cut crime among those who have (a) persistently run away from home, (b) been taken into care as a child, (c) regularly truanted from school, (d) been excluded from school and (e) acquired no qualifications. [112272]

Mr Blunt: We recognise that there are a range of risk factors for criminal and offending behaviour.

Police forces need to tackle crime in line with local priorities, and from November 2012, the election of police and crime commissioners will drive down crime by making policing more accountable and responsive to local needs and concerns. Police.uk now provides the public with street-level information about crime to enable them hold local policing teams to account, and the Government have swept away central targets and are cutting bureaucracy to help free police officers to cut crime.

At a national level, the Department for Education has set in motion a number of far-reaching reforms to address the entrenched educational and social failures that can drive problems like youth crime and violence. The education reforms will drive up pupil performance and increase participation in further study and employment.

We are revising the statutory guidance on 'children who run away or go missing from home or care' to give local authorities a clearer understanding of their duties so that they understand the importance of intervening early with this vulnerable group.

Improving all aspects of the lives of children in care-placement stability, education, health, the daily experience of being in care, the successful transition to adulthood, and strengthening the adoption system are priorities for the Government. We are giving additional financial support at every level of these children's education; and encouraging LAs to provide intensive support for the most vulnerable, especially those who have the most entrenched difficulties and are on the edge of offending.

We know that regular absence from school leads to low levels of attainment so we have reduced the threshold where a pupil is defined as persistently absent from 20% to 15% so that those children who demonstrate a pattern of missing too much schooling can be picked up early,

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and the problem addressed. The Government are also implementing all the recommendations in the Taylor report on improving school attendance with exception of the recommendation to deduct unpaid penalty notices from parents' child benefit. The Government are still considering how best to implement the enforcement of unpaid penalty notices.

The Government have also introduced behaviour reforms in schools to help tackle key root causes of disengagement, lack of attainment, and antisocial behaviour. For example, Government are currently trialling a new approach to exclusion in almost 300 schools. This approach sees schools commissioning preventative services for their most challenging pupils using local authority resources previously dedicated to educating excluded pupils. By addressing poor behaviour earlier we can reduce the need for exclusion and improve the education of vulnerable pupils.

These reforms will ensure that pupils achieve better outcomes, are motivated to remain in education, and remain on a path to a fulfilling life.

We are driving up participation in education and training as we prepare to raise the age of compulsory participation to 17 in 2013 and 18 in 2015. We are providing additional support for disadvantaged young people through the Pupil Premium; investing a record £7.5 billion in education and training places for 16 to 18-year-olds; providing targeted financial support through the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund and investing £126 million support disengaged 16 to 17-year-olds through the Youth Contract. Giving every young person the opportunity to gain the skills and qualifications they need will reduce the risks of unemployment and associated negative outcomes for young people.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agricultural Wages Board

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will publish the risk assessment on her Department's decision to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board; [113808]

(2) when she plans to bring forward secondary legislation to enable the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board. [113809]

Mr Paice: An impact assessment in respect of abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board will be published as part of the necessary legislative process. As I indicated in the Westminster Hall debate on agricultural employment on 20 June, the timing for bringing forward legislation on the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board is not yet determined.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she proposes that those under 16 who work on farms will receive the national minimum wage or above after the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board. [113810]

Mr Paice: The National Minimum Wage Act 1998 does not apply to children of compulsory school age, in any industry; therefore if the Agricultural Wages Board

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were abolished, no minimum rate would be set for workers on farms in this age group as is the case elsewhere.

Agriculture: Food

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department has made an assessment of the effect of the situation in the Eurozone on (a) farmers and (b) food manufacturers in the UK. [111978]

Mr Paice: As part of our normal business DEFRA monitors market developments and stays in touch with stakeholders regarding the implications for their sectors. At the moment, we are actively listening to any particular concerns they raise in light of the current market uncertainty.

In terms of the outlook, the Government have contingency plans in place to cover a range of eventualities and risks.

Agriculture: Industrial Health and Safety

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Health and Safety Executive on efforts to improve health and safety standards in the agricultural sector. [113814]

Mr Paice: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has had no recent discussions with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on the health and safety of agricultural workers. Health and Safety in the agriculture industry is a matter for HSE.

However, I promised the hon. Gentleman that I would speak with the Health and Safety Executive following the recent debate on agricultural employment. My officials are in the process of arranging a meeting.

Animal Welfare: Circuses

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will set a deadline for the implementation of the ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. [113055]

Mr Paice: I refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statement on 1 March 2012, Official Report, columns 41-42WS. A ban will be implemented as soon as parliamentary time allows. As stated on 11 June 2012, Official Report, column 312W.

Common Agricultural Policy

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether farmers will be able to receive payment for ecosystem services under the Common Agricultural Policy Scheme. [113544]

Mr Paice: Pillar two of the common agricultural policy provides funding for environmental outcomes through environmental stewardship. Environmental stewardship, as a mechanism for paying those who deliver a wide range of environmental outcomes from the farmed environment, can be considered a Payment for Ecosystem Services scheme, with Government effectively purchasing public benefits on behalf of a large number of beneficiaries, for example, relating to landscape and

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biodiversity. The Government are committed to encouraging Payments for Ecosystem Services pilots across a broad spectrum of nature's services and beneficiaries. The Government are in favour of a greener CAP, with a greater proportion spent on public goods, including improved environmental outcomes such as supporting biodiversity and climate mitigation, and will be seeking to secure this in the CAP Reform negotiations.

Dairy Farming

Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the dairy milk trade and its effect on dairy farmers; if she will consider introducing a code of practice in the dairy supply chain; and if she will make a statement. [113375]

Mr Paice: I can appreciate the difficulties for farmers as a result of recent cuts in milk prices. However, income for all operators in the supply chain will vary as a result of price changes on global agricultural markets. World, EU and UK market prices have all dropped in recent months.

Industry representatives are currently well engaged in the process of establishing a voluntary Code of Practice for the dairy industry and I fully support these efforts. This has the potential to improve the position of farmers and it could be up and running far more quickly than any legislation. It would also leave the industry in control.

Hazardous Substances

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will take steps to require the addition of a bittering agent to ethylene glycol-based antifreeze to prevent small children and pets from ingesting the product. [113665]

Mr Paice: DEFRA is keen to see improved standards of animal welfare. However, consumer product safety is the remit of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. In addition, the classification and labelling of such products is governed by the CLP/GHS Regulations which are the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive. I will alert the Ministers responsible to your concerns about the well being of both children and animals.

Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of ending the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme in 2013 on the agricultural workforce. [113813]

Mr Paice: As I said in the Westminster Hall debate on agricultural employment on 20 June 2012, the Home Office has indicated that it intends to consult the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on the impact of closing SAWS and the case for a future scheme. It is expected that stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide evidence to the MAC. DEFRA officials are in close contact with both Home Office colleagues and industry representatives on these matters.

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Sheep: Tagging

Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with (a) the National Farmers Union and (b) others on her Department's policy on sheep electronic identification movements and the requirement to read tags all of the time; and if she will make a statement. [113374]

Mr Paice: The National Farmers Union and other industry representative bodies are consulted regularly on sheep identification issues.

DEFRA is aware of concerns that incomplete individual animal data in on farm movement records will result in reductions to single farm payments if found during cross compliance inspections. Such inspections take place on 3% of sheep holdings annually.

Applying a record keeping tolerance risks an EU disallowance fine of several millions of pounds and doing so in 2011 would have saved only five keepers in England an estimated total of £2,680 in reductions, although DEFRA continues to keep the situation under review.