4 July 2012 : Column 645W

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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Women and Equalities

Mental Health

John Pugh: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what steps she is taking to promote good mental health and well-being within her Department. [114679]

Damian Green: The Home Office is a signatory to the Charter of Employers which is part of the Mindful Employer initiative which is aimed at increasing awareness of mental health at work. In addition to this, the Home Office has a national programme of mental health training for managers which increases awareness of mental health and educates managers on understanding and managing mental health in the workplace.

The Home Office has introduced a Well-being Framework to promote the well-being of staff at work. Several initiatives are programmed throughout the year in support of well-being to improve employee's knowledge of health, fitness and lifestyle issues. Information on the Home Office policy and well-being framework, as well as supporting guidance and e-learning packages, are available to line managers and staff on the Home Office intranet.

The Home Office has in place an Employee Assistance Programme which provides a confidential 24 hour/365 days telephone line staffed by fully qualified counsellors, to staff and their dependents on a range of issues including mental health. Staff can also contact the Home Office Disability Support Network (HODS) for confidential advice. In addition the Department may also refer individual cases to its Occupational Health Service provider, where the line manager and the Department need independent medical advice.

Communities and Local Government

Empty Property: Bedfordshire

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate he has made of the number of empty houses in the Mid Bedfordshire area. [115005]

Andrew Stunell: Data on empty homes can be found in the Department for Communities and Local Government live tables on dwelling stock. Live table 615 shows empty homes by local authority district:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/stockincludingvacants/livetables/

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Government Procurement Card

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on which dates his Department has published Government procurement card spending over £500 since May 2010. [113357]

Robert Neill: This Department is at the forefront of transparency in Whitehall. Since August 2010 my Department has been publishing details of all transactions for goods and services of £500 or more, matching the level required of councils.

Spend on the Department's Government Procurement Cards was £70,835 in 2011-12, compared to £321,076 in 2009-10. The Department has taken a series of steps, including greater transparency, to improve financial controls on Government Procurement Card spending and I refer the hon. Member to the answers given on 12 January 2012, Official Report, columns 386-87W and 12 January 2012, Official Report, House of Lords, columns WA107-108.

The Department routinely publishes Government Procurement Card expenditure on the DCLG website. This data has been published on the following dates:

Date publishedPeriod

26 January 2012

1 April 2009 to 11 May 2010

28 February 2011

12 May 2010 to 31 January 2011

3 June 2011

February to April 2011

26 July 2011

Expenditure for May 2011

8 August 2011

Expenditure for June 2011

16 September 2011

Expenditure for July 2011

4 September 2011

Expenditure for August 2011

27 October 2011

Expenditure for September 2011

20 January 2012

Expenditure for October 2011

26 January 2012

Expenditure for November 2011

10 February 2012

Expenditure for December 2011

2 March 2012

Expenditure for January 2012

28 June 2012

Expenditure May 2012

There were no transactions of £500 or more on Government Procurement Cards between February 2012 and April 2012.

My Department has also published full details of our Government Procurement Card spend on the Freedom of Information disclosure log of our website:

Date publishedPeriod

11 July 2011

2006-11

31 May 2011

2008-11

20 May 2011

2010-11

Housing: Expenditure

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department has spent on (a) capital and (b) revenue expenditure on housing in each region in England in each of the last five years. [115018]

Andrew Stunell [holding answer 3 July 2012]: The Department does not currently collect actual spend data on a regional basis.

4 July 2012 : Column 647W

Departmental reports up to and including 2009's Annual Report and the Core Financial and Performance Tables for 2009-10 contain information on regional spending by function. These are available at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/corporate/about/howwework/corporatereports/reportsaccounts/annualreports/

Further analysis would be at disproportionate cost.

Public Expenditure

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding has been spent on (a) homes bonuses and (b) social impact bonds since their inception. [114776]

Grant Shapps: My Department has provided £333.5 million to date in New Homes Bonus grants to local authorities. This includes rewarding councils for an increase of nearly 137,000 homes between October 2010 and October 2011, and bringing a further 22,000 back into use. The total to be distributed in 2011-12 and 2012-13 will be £631.2 million.

The Ministry of Justice launched the world's first social impact bond in 2010, aiming to reduce reoffending among short-sentence prisoners released from Peterborough prison. The return for investors will depend on the degree of success in reducing reconvictions, up to an overall cap of around £8 million. The results for the first cohort will be known in 2014.

The Department for Work and Pensions is supporting further social impact bonds under its Innovation Fund, targeting disadvantaged young people and those at risk of disadvantage. Six social investment projects have so far been selected for support. The available funding is up to £30 million over three years from 2012.

Public Expenditure: Bedfordshire

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) homes bonuses and (b) social impact bonds have been issued in the Mid Bedfordshire area. [114777]

Grant Shapps: New Homes Bonus is paid to local authorities. The Mid Bedfordshire parliamentary constituency contains parts of both Bedford Unitary Authority and Central Bedfordshire Unitary Authority. Details for these are given in the following table. It is not possible to disaggregate New Homes Bonus funding by ward.

£
Authority2011-122012-13(1)

Bedford UA

1,087,251

820,482

Central Bedfordshire UA

1,120,673

902,250

Total

2,207,924

1,722,732

(1) To date

This represents payments to date. The total allocations to be received in 2012-13 are: £2,640,145 for Bedford Unitary Authority, and £2,903,284 for Central Bedfordshire Unitary Authority.

While none of the social impact bonds so far established by Government operate in the Mid Bedfordshire area, the Cabinet Office is promoting the development of more social impact bonds in central and local government.

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Wales

Business: Capital Investment

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate she has made of likely growth in business investment in Wales in 2012. [114939]

Mrs Gillan: Recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that business investment in the UK for the first quarter of 2012 rose by £0.6 billion to £30.5 billion (1.9%) when compared with the previous quarter and has increased by £3.9 billion (14.8%) when compared with the first quarter of 2011. These figures are not available on a sub-national level.

Capital Allowances

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if she will assess the effect of reductions in capital allowances on the Welsh economy. [114938]

Mrs Gillan: The capital allowances changes announced at Budget 2010 formed part of a wider package of reforms to the corporate tax system and contributed to financing the reductions in the main rate of corporation tax and small profits rate.

Construction

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment she has made of the effect of the recession on the construction industry in Wales. [114940]

Mrs Gillan: The Regional Labour Market Statistics released by the Office for National Statistics in June 2012 show an increase of 1,000 workforce jobs in the construction industry in Wales between March 2011 and March 2012.

The longer term trend for the index of production and construction for Wales in the quarter 4 2011 statistical release from the Welsh Government shows a rise in output of 5.8% when comparing the latest four quarters compared to the previous four quarters.

Disability Living Allowance

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if she will estimate the average change in the level of benefits for disability allowance claimants in Wales up to 2015. [114947]

Maria Miller: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Benefit expenditure forecasts, which include disability living allowance, are produced only at Great Britain level; these are published at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/index.php?page=expenditure

Disability living allowance is uprated by consumer prices index (CPI).

Hotels

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many times she has required overnight accommodation in Wales in her official role since May 2010. [114956]

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Mrs Gillan: I have required overnight accommodation in Wales around 50 times. This is often to attend early morning meetings or where it is more practical to travel the evening before because of the distances involved.

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much her Department has spent on hotel accommodation in Wales since May 2010. [114957]

Mr David Jones: The Wales Office has spent £17,322 on hotel accommodation in Wales since May 2010. The Department has offices in both London and Cardiff, and staff frequently have to travel to Wales and London for early morning meetings. In terms of overall spend on hotel accommodation, between 2010 and 2012 the Wales Office has made savings of over £27,000 compared to the previous two years.

Income Tax

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what proportion of workers in Wales will pay a reduced level of income tax as a result of the reduction in the additional rate; [114901]

(2) what discussions she has had with ministerial colleagues on the effect in Wales of the decision to reduce the additional rate of income tax; [114902]


(3) what assessment she has had made of the effect of reducing the additional rate of income tax on the Welsh economy. [114903]

Mrs Gillan: I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues on a range of issues affecting taxpayers in Wales including the decision to reduce the additional rate of income tax.

Projections of the number of higher and additional rate taxpayers for Wales up to 2012-13 are published on the HMRC website in table 2.2 at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/income_tax/menu.htm

These figures show that there are an estimated 5,000 additional rate income taxpayers in Wales in 2012-13.

Introducing the additional rate of income tax is estimated to have reduced the UK GDP by between 0.2 and 0.3%. No assessment has yet been made on a sub-national level.

Inflation: Standard of Living

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment she has made of the effect of inflation on the living standards of people in Wales in the last 18 months. [114953]

Mrs Gillan: Despite the difficult conditions inflation is falling. CPI inflation, as the hon. Gentleman will be aware, fell for the second month running to 2.8% from 3.0% in April. This will improve the living standards of the people of Wales.

Redundancy: Public Sector

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) how many public sector jobs she expects to be lost in Wales up to 2015; [114935]

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(2) if she will assess the effect on the Welsh economy of public sector job losses up to 2015. [114937]

Mrs Gillan: The Office for Budget Responsibility has made public sector employment predictions for the UK based on macro-economic data and at present there are no sub-national figures available.

Social Rented Housing

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many social housing tenants there are in Wales aged between 16 and 24 years. [114946]

Mrs Gillan: This is a matter for the Welsh Government.

Social Security Benefits

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people in Wales she estimates will be affected by the Government's proposals for welfare reform. [114944]

Mrs Gillan: Detailed information on the impact of specific reforms being taken forward through the Welfare Reform Act is available at the following link:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/welfare-reform/legislation-and-key-documents/welfare-reform-act-2012/impact-assessments-and-equality/

Strategic Defence and Security Review

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what recent assessment she has made of progress towards the objective in her Department's business plan to represent Welsh interests in the implementation of the Strategic Defence and Security Review; [114925]

(2) what assessment she has made of the potential effect on Wales of the implementation of the Strategic Defence and Security Review; [114926]


(3) how many meetings she has had with ministerial colleagues on the potential effects of the implementation of the Strategic Defence and Security Review on Wales. [114927]

Mrs Gillan: I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues about defence matters in Wales. The Strategic Defence and Security Review is part of a continuing process to deliver a sustainable defence programme for the future.

The Wales Office works on an ongoing basis to ensure Welsh interests are fully taken into account by the Ministry of Defence, for example in areas such as the decision that was taken confirming that 160 Brigade would remain in Brecon following last year's Defence estate and basing plans review.

Taxation

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment she has made of the effect on the average family in Wales of tax and spending changes taking effect from April 2012. [114954]

Mrs Gillan: We have given a commitment to make the first £10,000 of income free from income tax and announced a further increase to the personal allowance of £1,100 in

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April 2013 that will take 95,000 of the lowest paid workers in Wales out of tax altogether We are uprating child tax credits so that families see an increase of £135 per child this year, in addition to the £180 per child over inflation families received last year.

We have also cut fuel duty and scrapped the previous government's escalator meaning that average pump prices are approximately 10p per litre lower than they would be under the previous Government's plans.

All of these tax and spending changes will deliver real benefits to families across Wales.

Taxis

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much her Department has spent on taxis and hire cars since May 2010. [114958]

Mr David Jones: The Wales Office has spent £8,292.74 on taxis and hire cars since May 2010, of which £6,821.09 was for access to work for disabled staff members. The balance was for staff travelling very early in the morning or late in the evening when public transport was not available to or from the station.

Unemployment

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the change has been in the level of (a) unemployment, (b) youth unemployment and (c) long-term youth unemployment in Wales since May 2010. [114933]

Mrs Gillan: Claimant count unemployment in these categories has risen since May 2010. However, we have seen a welcome fall in the levels over recent months.

VAT

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations her Department has received from organisations in Wales on the changes contained in the VAT: Addressing Borderline Anomalies consultation document. [114906]

Mr David Jones: The Wales Office received representations from a number of individual caravan parks and park owners in Wales as well as the National Caravan Council, Mid Wales Tourism and the Wales Tourism Alliance in respect of the changes to VAT on the sale of static caravans proposed in the consultation. In addition, the proposed changes to VAT on improvements to listed buildings were also raised by one correspondent. I subsequently had a meeting with the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich North (Miss Smith), when I reflected those views expressed.

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment she has made of the effect on the Welsh economy of the increase in the standard rate of VAT. [114952]

Mrs Gillan: The increase in the standard rate of VAT was an important element in the deficit reduction strategy. No assessment of the effects of this increase have been made at a sub-national level.

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Welfare Tax Credits

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many households in Wales will no longer be eligible for tax credits as a result of changes proposed by the Government. [114955]

Mrs Gillan: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given by the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, my hon. Friend the Member for South West Hertfordshire (Mr Gauke), to the hon. Member for Wrexham (Ian Lucas), on 23 April 2012, Official Report, column 610W.

Home Department

Asylum

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she has taken to ensure that (a) failed asylum seekers and (b) refugees have access to adequate accommodation, food and other essential items whilst in the UK. [113575]

Damian Green: The support available to failed asylum seekers under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 includes the provision of accommodation and a weekly allowance to obtain food and other essential items. Refugees can access the mainstream benefits system on the same terms as British citizens and other permanent residents.

Asylum: Children

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to ensure that children do not become destitute as a result of having financial support withdrawn in the event of a failed application for asylum. [113574]

Damian Green: Support is not withdrawn in the circumstances described. Asylum seekers with children are supported by the UK Border Agency under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Eligibility to this support lasts until they leave the United Kingdom or they are granted leave to remain and can access the mainstream benefits system. Unaccompanied asylum seeking children are supported by local authorities irrespective of their immigration status.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether her Department monitors the numbers of all asylum-seeking and migrant children living in poverty. [113576]

Damian Green: There are no such monitoring arrangements. All asylum seeking children have access to support if they need it. The support is provided by the UK Border Agency if they are with their parents or by local authorities if they are unaccompanied. Other migrant children have to satisfy the immigration rules in order to enter the United Kingdom, including requirements that their families can support them without recourse to public funds. The Children Acts also act as a safeguard in circumstances where the child's welfare is at risk.

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Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the extent to which the UK is compliant with Article (a) 25 and (b) 38 of the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. [114768]

Lynne Featherstone [holding answer 2 July 2012]: As you will be aware, officials across a number of Government Departments are currently considering the steps that would be required to ratify and implement the Council of Europe Convention, including the extent to which the UK is compliant with all of the provisions in the convention, including Article (a) 25 and (b) 38.

Crime: Maps

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have used the CrimeMap website in each year for which figures are available. [115008]

Nick Herbert: Since its launch in January 2011, Police.uk has received more than 50 million visits.

Dispersal Orders

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many dispersal orders under section 30 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 were issued in (a) England and Wales, (b) Nottinghamshire and (c) Ashfield constituency in the last three years. [114787]

James Brokenshire: The Home Office does not hold this information.

Essex Police Authority

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanism exists for the public to complain about decisions taken by Essex Police; and if she will make a statement. [114764]

Nick Herbert: The public can complain about the decisions taken by the police either to the police force concerned or the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she has had with Essex police authority on (a) overspend and (b) underspend by the authority since July 2010; and if she will make a statement. [114765]

Nick Herbert: The Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), has not had discussions with Essex police authority concerning its budget. Management of budgets is a matter for each individual police authority or police and crime commissioner.

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Essex Police: Sick Leave

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many days sickness absence were recorded in Essex police force (a) in total and (b) per officer in each of the last three years for which information is available; and if she will make a statement. [114774]

Nick Herbert: The information collected by the Home Office is in terms of contracted hours lost to sickness. These data are provided within the table, together with hours per officer for Essex police officers, in the three years to 2010-11.

Number of contracted hours lost to sickness and contracted hours lost to sickness per officer, for Essex police officers, 2008-09 to 2010-11(1)(, 2)
 Number of contracted hours lost to sicknessNumber of police officersNumber of contracted hours lost to sickness per officer

2008-09

246,184

3,484

71

2009-10

234,760

3,606

65

2010-11

153,840

3,577

43

(1) Data are provisional and have not been verified by forces. 2. Short-term sick leave is any period of seven calendar days or less, medium-term is any period of between eight and 28 days, long-term sick leave is any period of more than 28 days.

EU Justice and Home Affairs

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which EU measures formerly under the third pillar have not yet been implemented by her Department; when such measures are expected to be implemented; and if she will make a statement. [114081]

James Brokenshire: The following third pillar measures have not been fully implemented:

Council Framework Decision 2003/577/JHA of 22 July 2003 on the execution in the European Union of orders freezing property or evidence.

Council Decision 2005/211/JHA of 24 February 2005 concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, including in the fight against terrorism.

Council Decision 2006/228/JHA of 9 March 2006 fixing the date of application of certain provisions of Decision 2005/211/JHA concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, including the fight against terrorism.

Council Decision 2006/229/JHA of 9 March 2006 fixing the date of application of certain provisions of Decision 2005/211/JHA concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, including the fight against terrorism.

Council Decision 2006/631/JHA of 9 March 2006 fixing the date of application of certain provisions of Decision 2005/211/JHA concerning the introduction of some new functions for the Schengen Information System, including the fight against terrorism.

Council Framework Decision 2006/783/JHA of 6 October 2006 on the application of the principle of mutual recognitions to confiscation orders Council Decision 2008/615/JHA of 23 June 2008 on stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime.

Council Decision 2008/616/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the implementation of Council Decision 2008/615/JHA on stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime.

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Council Framework Decision 2008/978/JHA of 18 December 2008 on the European evidence warrant for the purpose of obtaining objects, documents and data for use in proceedings in criminal matters.

Council Framework Decision 2009/905/JHA of 30 November 2009 on accreditation of forensic service providers carrying out laboratory activities.

Future implementation of these measures will be considered on a case by case basis.

Gating Orders

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many gating orders were issued by local authorities in (a) England and Wales, (b) Nottinghamshire and (c) Ashfield constituency in the last three years. [114789]

James Brokenshire: The Home Office does not hold the information requested.

Government Procurement Card

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many procurement card holders in (a) her Department and (b) the Government Equalities Office were (i) paid off-payroll, (ii) employed on a part-time basis and (iii) employed as a non-permanent employee in (A) 2009-10, (B) 2010-11 and (C) 2011-12. [113348]

Damian Green: The number of GPC cardholders who were paid off-payroll, employed on a part-time basis and employed as a non-permanent employee in the Home Office including its Executive agencies is as follows:

Financial yearNumber off GPC cardholders paid off-payrollNumber GPC cardholders employed on a part-time basisNumber of GPC cardholders employed as a non-permanent employee

2010-11

16

103

18

2011-12

4

88

11

Information on the number of GPC cardholders employed in the Home Office and its Executive agencies in 2009-10 is not held centrally and to obtain the information would incur disproportionate cost.

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) joined the Home Office under machinery of government changes in April 2011. Prior to that date no information on GPC cardholders was held.

In 2011-12 no procurement card holders in GEO were paid off-payroll, employed on a part-time basis or employed as a non-permanent employee.

Graffiti

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information her Department holds on the number of defacement removal notices issued by local authorities in (a) England and Wales, (b) Nottinghamshire and (c) Ashfield constituency in the last three years. [114786]

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James Brokenshire: The Home Office does not hold the information requested.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will introduce a requirement for the new Head of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary to have experience serving in a police force. [114782]

Nick Herbert: No. There has never been a requirement for the HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary to have been a serving police officer, and there are no plans to introduce this requirement.

Impact Assessments

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) directions to leave under section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, (b) premises closure orders, (c) crack house closure orders, (d) noisy premises closure orders and (e) closure orders under section 161 of the Licensing Act 2003 were issued in (i) England and Wales, (ii) Nottinghamshire and (iii) Ashfield in the last three years. [114775]

James Brokenshire: The Home Office does not hold the information requested.

Independent Police Complaints Commission

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many complaints lodged with the Independent Police Complaints Commission are outstanding (a) three to six months, (b) six months to one year and (c) in excess of one year after they were submitted; and if she will make a statement; [113643]

(2) what recent discussions she has with the Independent Police Complaints Commission on the time taken to deal with complaints lodged by members of the public; and if she will make a statement. [113644]

Nick Herbert: The Home Office does not hold this information. These matters are for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The IPCC has written to the Member about the information sought. A copy of the letter has been placed in the House Library.

The Home Office has regular discussions with the IPCC about its performance. The IPCC's annual report which provides detailed figures on their performance is due to be laid in Parliament in July.

Mephedrone

Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many formal reviews were carried out before her decision to ban mephedrone. [115089]

James Brokenshire: The previous Government formally consulted the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in late 2009 to consider the available evidence on mephedrone, and related cathinones. The ACMD advice is available at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/acmd1/acmdmephedrone

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A copy has also been placed in the Library of the House.

Following the ACMD advice, and parliamentary approval, mephedrone was brought under the control of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 in April 2010.

Press Releases

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many press releases her Department has issued in the last 12 months. [115495]

Damian Green: The Home Office has issued 470 press releases in the last 12 months (1 June 2011-1 June 2012).

UK Border Agency

Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average cost per full-time equivalent member of staff spent by UK Border Agency on staff allocated to detection and intelligence work was in (a) 2009-10 and (b) each subsequent year for which figures are available. [115076]

Damian Green: Average costs per full-time equivalent members of staff are not broken down on the central personnel system by allocated function in the way described. To determine which staff were involved in detection and intelligence work over time would not be possible except at a disproportionate cost.

Treasury

Aggregates Levy

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the judgment of the European General Court in case T-210/02 RENV of 7 March 2012, (1) what plans the Government have to enforce the payment of the Aggregates Levy on the exploitation of aggregates which have previously been outside the Levy; [115208]

(2) what plans the Government have to review the operation of the Aggregates Levy. [115209]

Miss Chloe Smith: The European General Court annulled the original decision by the European Commission in 2002 that a number of reliefs to the aggregates levy did not constitute State aid. The British Aggregates Association contended that the levy contained un-notified State aids in the form of materials which were relieved for environmental reasons when the tax was introduced in 2002.

It is for the European Commission to make a new decision of whether the levy contains State aid and, if so, whether it is approvable.

The Treasury keeps all taxes under review. Any potential change to the existing provisions within the levy will be determined through this ongoing review or by the Commission process.

In the meantime, the Government will continue to collect the levy within the terms of the current legislation.

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EU Budget

Priti Patel: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the UK contributed to the EU in the most recent month for which figures are available. [114656]

Mr Hoban: After taking account of the UK abatement, the UK's total contribution to the EU Budget in June was £577,749,731.10. This consisted of two payments the first on 1 June (VAT-based and GNI-based contributions less the UK abatement), the second on 20 June (Traditional Own Resources).

The Government are working hard, both in discussions on the annual EU Budget and elsewhere, to limit UK contributions from the increased levels the previous Government signed up to. We believe that it is only fair that the EU Budget plays its part in the difficult fiscal consolidation faced by many EU member states.

Income Tax and National Insurance

Anne Marie Morris: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to begin further consultation on options for the integration of the operation of income tax and national insurance contributions. [113674]

Mr Gauke: The Government remain committed to exploring the potential for the operational integration of income tax and national insurance contributions and will provide an update on this work in the autumn.

Further details are available on the Treasury's website:

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

Manchester Declaration

Stephen McPartland: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent contribution his Department has made to implementation of the 2005 Manchester Declaration. [114820]

Miss Chloe Smith: The Treasury works closely with the Cabinet Office on driving forward public service reform, including through the Open Public Services agenda, through which the Government will provide regular updates on our progress with the digitalisation of public services.

The 2005 Manchester Declaration ran until the end of 2010 and has been superseded at an e-Government level by the Malmo Declaration signed in November 2010 and its subsequent e-Government Action Plan (2011-15):

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/egovernment/action_plan_2011_2015/index_en.htm

Motor Vehicles: Insurance

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policies of the report from the Office of Fair Trading on the cost of car insurance; and if he will make a statement. [114800]

Mr Hoban: The Government welcome and support the OFT's work highlighting the lack of control over vehicle repair and replacement services in the motor

4 July 2012 : Column 659W

insurance market. This is another added pressure to increase motor insurance premiums faced by the insurance market. We expect the focus of competition between motor insurers to be on providing quality and value to customers; practices which drive up premiums without benefitting policyholders are unacceptable.

The Government are mindful of the impact of the current cost of this insurance and has set out measures to tackle this by addressing the compensation culture, reducing legal costs and cutting red tape. In February the Prime Minister met with representatives of the industry to discuss these issues; agreed measures include the following:

an industry commitment to pass savings onto customers resulting from a Government commitment to reduce the current £1,200 fee that lawyers can earn from small value personal injury claims;

industry commitment to adjust premiums to reflect any reductions in legal costs created through the Jackson reforms that will reform “no win, no fee” and ban referral fees; and extending the road traffic accident claims process to cover employers liability and public liability; and

the Government and insurance industry committed to work together to identify effective ways to reduce the number and cost of whiplash claims.

We hope that the outcomes of the OFT's review add to the ongoing efforts to reduce costs for motorists.

Timber

Neil Parish: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the economy if the wood panel industry were to be displaced by the biomass industry; and if he will make a statement. [114605]

Mr Prisk: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The wood panel industry makes a valuable contribution to the economy and to employment. The publication “Forestry Statistics 2011” shows that in 2009 the Gross Value Added (GVA) of the wood panel industry was £0.17 billion.

A full assessment of the use of biomass, including the potential implications for the wood panel industry, is contained in the document UK Bioenergy strategy published on 25 April 2012. The Government's policy is set out as follows;

“Support for bioenergy should aim to maximise the overall benefits and minimise costs (quantifiable and non-quantifiable) across the economy. Policy makers should consider the impacts and unintended consequences of policy interventions on the wider energy system and economy, including non-energy industries.”

The document also presents evidence that

“Optimal GHG (greenhouse gas) scenarios generally involve use of forest for the production of both material products and bioenergy, with re-use and recycling wherever possible.”

Culture, Media and Sport

Direct Selling

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps his Department is taking to tackle the problem of nuisance phone calls about (a) personal protection insurance and (b) other matters. [114993]

4 July 2012 : Column 660W

Mr Vaizey: While direct marketing is a legitimate business activity, unwanted and unsolicited calls about insurance or any other matter can be a nuisance. There are regulations in place that enable consumers to opt out of such calls by registering with the Telephone Preference Scheme (TPS). The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) 2003 provides the legislative underpinning for the scheme and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has enforcement responsibility and considers complaints about breaches.

In May of last year, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) increased the ICO's powers in relation to the regulations, enabling the ICO to issue a fine of up to £500,000 for the most serious breaches. While these measures are available we are aware of the rising number of complaints that the current protections are not working as best as they could and we are keen to improve them.

DCMS is discussing the effectiveness of the TPS with Ofcom, who are responsible for the contract, TPS and ICO. We are looking at measures to give consumers better protection and are seeking views on how the current consumer protections can be improved as part of the Communications Review.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Argentina

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to Argentina following its decision not to honour judgements on debt repayment by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes and other courts; and if he will make a statement. [114204]

Mr Lidington: The Government of Argentina has made no formal announcement that it will not honour judgments on debt repayment by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Therefore the British Government have made no representations to the Government of Argentina on this specific issue.

The Government believe that all countries should abide by the obligations to which they have signed up under international treaties, including Bilateral Investment Treaties. This includes payment of compensation awarded for breaches of bilateral investment treaties, awarded by international arbitration tribunals, including those constituted under ICSID.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), has publicly stated this Government's concerns at the nationalisation of Argentinean energy company Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales (YPF), reducing ownership by Spanish company Repsol substantially. This is the latest in a series of trade and investment related actions taken by Argentina which are damaging to business interests and will undermine Argentina's economy by reducing its attractiveness to international investors.

Burma

John Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of human rights abuses against the Rohingya people in Burma. [115006]

4 July 2012 : Column 661W

Mr Lidington: Despite the positive developments we have seen in Burma over the past year, the Rohingya continue to be denied citizenship and remain amongst the most discriminated against peoples in the world.

The recent inter-communal violence in Rakhine State in western Burma has highlighted both the fragility of the situation in Burma, and has drawn further and much needed attention to the plight of the Rohingya. The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the hon. Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne), issued a statement on 10 June, which expressed his deep concern about the ongoing violence. We remain concerned about the humanitarian situation in Rakhine state which the UK and international community will continue to monitor very closely.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), and the Prime Minister also raised this matter with senior members of the Burmese Government, and met with members of the Rohingya community to hear their concerns first hand, during their respective visits in January and April. Ministers also raised their concerns with Aung San Suu Kyi during her recent visit to the United Kingdom.

Our ambassador to Burma regularly raises the ongoing discrimination of the Rohingya with the Burmese Government, including most recently with the Home Minister. We regularly speak with Rohingya groups, and non-governmental organisations monitoring the situation, both inside and outside the country. At the Human Rights Council in March we secured a resolution which expressed the need to recognise the Rohingya's right to nationality, and the urgent need to respect their human rights. We will continue to raise this issue with the Burmese Government, with international partners and in international organisations, until the matter is resolved.

Colombia

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise attacks on trade unionists in Colombia with the Colombian Government. [114823]

Mr Lidington: The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the hon. Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne), discussed human rights with President Santos, Foreign Minister Holguin and Vice President Garzon during his visit to Colombia in March 2012.

Our embassy in Bogota continues to raise our concerns about the violence and intimidation suffered by human rights defenders, including trade unionists, with the Colombian Government. Our embassy also funded a study by UN Development Programme last year into violence against trade unionists and is following up its recommendations with the Ministry of Labour.

Human rights continue to be an integral part of our dialogue and relationship with Colombia. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's 2011 Human Rights and Democracy Report outlined the important steps that the Santos Administration has taken to improve the human rights situation in Colombia, but also that more remains to be done. We urge the Colombian Government to provide greater protection for human rights defenders and their families, to reduce the length of time taken to investigate murders and forced disappearances, and to work with unions and employee organisations to strengthen labour relations in Colombia.

4 July 2012 : Column 662W

Manchester Declaration

Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent contribution his Department has made to implementation of the 2005 Manchester Declaration. [114819]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office had no involvement in the implementation of the Manchester Declaration, which was led by the Cabinet Office.

The i2010 action plan launched by the Declaration has been superseded by the Malmo Declaration and eGovernment Action plan (2011 to 2015) and the broader Digital Agenda for Europe, for which the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is the lead Department.

Northern Ireland

Tourism

9. Jessica Lee: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive on providing support for tourism in Northern Ireland. [114378]

10. Mark Pawsey: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive on providing support for tourism in Northern Ireland. [114379]

Mr Swire: I regularly meet the Northern Ireland Minister responsible for tourism. We fully support the “NI2012: Our Time Our Place” initiative which is confidently putting Northern Ireland on the global tourism map.

Cross-border Trafficking

14. Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with the First Minister on people trafficked into Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland. [114384]

Mr Swire: Although issues relating to human trafficking are now a devolved matter I have discussed this subject with Mr David Ford, the Minister of Justice in Northern Ireland on a number of occasions. I have also facilitated a number of meetings on the issue between Mr Ford and other interested parties, including the Irish Government, which led to the establishment by the NI Executive of an All Party Group on human trafficking.

Health

Abortion

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many abortion forms returned to his Department (a) did not have the required two doctors' signatures and (b) were incomplete in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [114779]

4 July 2012 : Column 663W

Anne Milton: The abortion form (HSA1) which requires the signature of two certifying doctors prior to an abortion, agreeing that there are grounds under the 1967 Abortion Act, is not submitted to the chief medical officer (CMO).

The medical practitioner performing the abortion is required to sign form HSA4 and submit details of the termination to CMO. This includes the names and addresses of the practitioners who provided the certification on form HSA1. The following table shows the total of missing data items on HSA4 forms for the years 2007 to 2011:

 Patient informationCertifying and terminating doctor information

2007

105

325

2008

82

461

2009

29

310

2010

27

31

2011

40

449

4 July 2012 : Column 664W

Departmental officials make every effort to obtain missing data and information. Sometimes this is not possible for a number of reasons including illness, death or suspension of the terminating doctor or the doctor moving abroad.

Accident and Emergency Departments: Greater Manchester

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients waited longer than four hours in each accident and emergency ward in (a) Trafford, (b) Manchester and (c) Salford (i) in each of the last three years, (ii) between January and March 2012 and (iii) between January and March 2011. [114911]

Mr Simon Burns: The information requested is shown in the following table. All the trusts mentioned are currently achieving the four-hour accident and emergency (A&E) standard on a quarter to date basis.

Number of people waiting over four hours in A&E departments
 2009-102010-112011-122012-13(1)20112012

Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

3,686

7,476

9,403

2,279

2,071

3,344

Trafford Healthcare NHS Trust

1,132

1,770

1,574

n/a

413

356

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

1,638

2,242

3,499

883

743

962

University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust

2,137

3,640

4,467

1,286

1,043

1,255

Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

14,250

12,810

14,668

2,567

3,361

2,182

(1) Year to date (2) January to March Notes: 1. Year to date for 2012-13 is up to and including week ending 24 June 2012. 2. The QMAE quarterly return was not collected after September 2011; therefore, the more recent data has been drawn from the A&E weekly return (QSitAE). 3. ‘n/a’ represents figures that are not available. On 1 April 2012, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust completed the acquisition of Trafford Healthcare NHS Trust. Source: Department of Health QMAE quarterly return (2009-10 and 2010-11 data) Department of Health WSitAE weekly return (2011-13 data)

Cancer

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans his Department has to increase the range of publically available data on cancer that can be analysed by age. [115046]

(2) if he will publish data on cancer stage of diagnosis and routes to diagnosis by age and tumour type; [115047]

(3) if he will ensure that data collected on women with metastatic and recurrent breast cancer is made available by age. [115048]

Paul Burstow: In “Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer” published on 12 January 2011, we said that information was central to the drive for better outcomes. Through the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) we are providing commissioners, providers, clinicians, stakeholders and patients with data about cancer services and outcomes. Wherever possible, all NCIN reports are broken down by equality characteristic and all new datasets include analysis by gender, socio-economic deprivation and age.

The NCIN report, “Routes to Diagnosis”, published in November 2010, examines routes to diagnosis for a range of cancer types by age, sex and deprivation, to highlight differences in relative one-year survival rates. A copy of the report has been placed in the Library. The NCIN is undertaking an extension of the original “Routes to Diagnosis” report. This new analysis will cover three years of cases, allowing trends in the types of cancer and levels of routes to presentation to be understood and addressed.

All cancer registries are now implementing internal changes to achieve the staging performance of the best registry. Registries are on. track to deliver this by the end of 2012.

During 2011-12, we piloted the collection of metastatic and recurrent breast cancer data to identify what information could be collated from routine NHS data and cancer registries. In March 2012, the NCIN published report of the “Recurrent and Metastatic Breast Cancer Data Collection Project Pilot.” This set out the lessons learned and recommendations for routine collection of data, which is currently underway. A copy of the report has been placed in the Library.

4 July 2012 : Column 665W

As we progress with the collection of cancer staging data and data on metastatic and recurrent breast cancer data, we will consider how to present this information for routine publication. We would anticipate that this information would be made available by age in common with other registry based statistical publications.

Health: Rural Areas

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which officials in his Department exercise a leadership role in relation to rural health. [115169]

Anne Milton: Advice on rural health matters is provided by departmental officials to Ministers across the range of their responsibilities for the national health service, public health and social care. The permanent secretary (Una O'Brien) provides overall leadership for the Department and is responsible to Ministers for this advice. The Director-General for Social, Local Government and Care Partnerships (David Behan) has the lead role in co-ordinating advice on rural health issues, as part of his responsibility for providing support to Ministers on wider cross-Government health issues.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which Minister in his Department has responsibility for matters relating to rural health. [115170]

Anne Milton: Responsibility for rural health matters is shared by departmental Ministers across the range of their responsibilities for the national health service, public health and social care. I represent the Department in bi-laterals with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Ministers on rural health as part of my work on wider cross-Government health issues.

School Milk

Gordon Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department took to increase the uptake of the Nursery Milk Scheme in each of the last five years; and what his Department's target is for take up of the Nursery Milk Scheme in each of the next five years. [115177]

Anne Milton: The Nursery Milk scheme reimburses childcare providers the cost of a third of a pint of milk for children under five years old who attend for two or more hours a day. The scheme has been running since the 1940s and we believe that awareness of the scheme is high, with over 50,000 childcare providers currently registered with the Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit. The Department provides guidance on its website explaining the way in which the scheme is currently administered. Information about the scheme is also available on the Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit's website at:

www.nurserymilk.co.uk

The Department does not plan to set targets for the uptake of the Nursery Milk scheme. However, we are currently consulting on a range of options for modernising the operation of the scheme to improve its value for money while ensuring that all under fives who are entitled to it, in childcare continue to receive free milk. The consultation will further raise the profile of the

4 July 2012 : Column 666W

scheme and offer an opportunity for childcare providers to give their thoughts on improving the operation of the scheme.

Gordon Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children have received milk through the Nursery Milk Scheme in each of the last five years. [115196]

Anne Milton: The Department does not hold information centrally on the number of individual children who have received free nursery milk. The number of children attending each child care setting varies on a daily basis. However we can provide details regarding the number of milk portions (each a third of a pint) reimbursed. The following table shows the number of portions reimbursed in each of the last five years.

Financial yearNumber of milk portions (each a third of a pint) reimbursed

2011-12

271,246,523

2010-11

261,704,703

2009-10

217,382,567

2008-09

219,964,361

2007-08

206,107,289

Work and Pensions

Employment and Support Allowance

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the average time taken from receipt of an appeal until the date of the first appeal hearing for employment and support allowance appeals (a) nationally and (b) in East Lothian constituency. [114917]

Chris Grayling: The requested information is not available.

Employment and Support Allowance: East Lothian

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in East Lothian constituency are awaiting decisions on employment and support allowance appeals. [114918]

Chris Grayling: The requested information is not available.

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many appeals have been upheld on employment and support allowance decisions in East Lothian constituency since May 2010. [114919]

Chris Grayling: Constituency level data is not available.

Employment Schemes

Mr Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people from the work-related activity group of employment and support allowance have volunteered for support through Work Choice since October 2010. [114675]

4 July 2012 : Column 667W

Chris Grayling: Between 25 October 2010 and 31 March 2012, there have been 1,120 referrals to Work Choice from individuals who were claiming ESA four weeks prior to their Work Choice referral, who had been placed in the work-related activity group at their Work Capability Assessment.

Mr Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people from the support group of employment and support allowance have volunteered for support through Work Choice since October 2010. [114676]

Chris Grayling: Between 25 October 2010 and 31 March 2012, there have been 310 referrals to Work Choice from individuals who were claiming ESA four weeks prior to their Work Choice referral, who had been placed in the Support Group at their Work Capability Assessment.

Housing Benefit: Young People

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is on the removal of housing benefit for those under 25 years of age. [115204]

Steve Webb: Those under 25 years of age are subject to the same housing benefit qualifying conditions as those aged 25 and over. There are currently no plans to change this policy but, like all aspect of the welfare system, this remains under review.

Pensioners: British Nationals Abroad

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the cost of determining the number of pensioners returning to the UK over the last five years from countries where they are in receipt of frozen UK pensions. [115082]

Steve Webb [holding answer 3 July 2012]:We are unable to supply this information as these data are not collected. We are currently investigating whether the information would be available by examining our computer systems. However, our initial findings are that this would incur substantial cost and significant development time to produce.

Personal Independence Payment

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what arrangements will apply to those who receive support for mobility costs in the personal independence payment on reaching age 65. [114458]

Maria Miller: Personal independence payment will allow a claimant to continue to receive their existing award for as long as they satisfy the entitlement conditions, regardless of any upper age limit.

Personal Independence Payment: Autism

Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what representations he has received from (a) adults with autism and their families and (b) voluntary sector organisations about the assessment

4 July 2012 : Column 668W

process for the personal independence payment and its accessibility for people with autism; [113270]

(2) what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the assessment process for the personal independence payment will be accessible for people with autism and other development disabilities. [113272]

Maria Miller: The Department has received a wide range of representations from individuals with autism, their families and voluntary organisations representing them, both in writing and in meetings.

We recently consulted on the draft assessment criteria for personal independence payment (PIP) and received very helpful responses from the National Autistic Society (NAS), Act Now for Autism, ARChive and Autism Cymru, as well as from a number of individuals with autism and family members of such individuals. Meanwhile, officials have had several meetings with NAS to discuss the assessment and how it will work for people with autistic spectrum disorders. This included meeting with individuals with autism who had been assessed as part of our testing of the PIP assessment criteria, to learn from their experience.

This engagement is helping to inform our work to ensure that the claim and assessment process is tailored to the needs of people with autism. Key elements of this include ensuring that:

we gather the right information and evidence from individuals and professionals involved in their care to support the assessment process;

individuals can have a relative, friend, carer or advocate with them during any face-to-face consultations to reassure and support them;

the health professionals who assess individuals are sufficiently trained in autism and other mental and cognitive impairments and have access to more specialist support where needed;

claim forms and other materials being sent to individuals are clear and easily understandable; and

those organisations who deliver assessments for PIP work closely with disabled people and their organisations as they develop their detailed plans for the assessment process.

Remploy

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the oral answer to the hon. Member for Wansbeck of 25 June 2012, Official Report, column 12, on Remploy, whether the £10,000 funding available to support employee-led proposals is per factory or per employee. [115011]

Maria Miller: As announced on 23 April 2012, Remploy employees who submitted a successful expression of interest are able to apply for up to £10,000 worth of expert advice and support to help them further develop their proposal. This money can be used to get expert advice and support, including paying for legal and accountancy support and is available for each employee led bid.

When employees are notified that their expression of interest is successful they will be sent an application form and instructions on how to apply for the funding.

4 July 2012 : Column 669W

Social Security Benefits

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is on the introduction of regional variation in the benefits system. [115205]

Chris Grayling: The benefit system has always recognised regional variations through the mechanism of housing support.

House of Commons Commission

Times of Sittings

Graham Stringer: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what estimate the House of Commons Commission has made of the cost to the public purse of the House of Commons sitting in September 2012. [115068]

John Thurso: The marginal cost of September sittings is relatively low as most operating costs are fixed for the year as a whole and are unaffected by the number and distribution of sitting days. Marginal costs of a two week sitting in September are estimated to be around £200,000, mainly arising from the production of business papers and Hansard. If the September sitting is an alternative to sitting on more days at other times, the overall impact across the year will be less.

Major projects being undertaken this summer, notably the mechanical and electrical works in the Palace of Westminster including the corridor works on the Principal Floor, were planned around the known sitting dates. It is not possible, therefore, to accurately quantify any additional project costs arising from the House sitting in September 2012.

Transport

Atos

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 20 June 2012, Official Report, columns 1013-14W, on Atos, what the value was of each contract between her Department and Atos in (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011 and (d) 2012. [115117]

Norman Baker [holding answer 3 July 2012]:I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 20 June 2012, Official Report, columns 1012-14W, where estimated let value was given.

Aviation

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department is taking to promote the growth of the aviation industry in the UK. [114698]

Mrs Villiers: The UK has a strong and successful air transport sector, with an annual turnover of around £26 billion. Airports and airlines operate on a commercial

4 July 2012 : Column 670W

basis, but the Department for Transport is taking appropriate steps to promote the sustainable growth of the aviation industry in the UK, consistent with meeting our global and local environmental objectives.

Enterprise Zones around airports such as Manchester, Cardiff, Luton aim to generate new businesses and jobs through a combination of fiscal measures and simplified planning controls. Investments in road and rail access to airports—such as Regional Growth Fund awards of £19.5 million, £40 million and £18 million for improvements around Luton, Manston and Robin Hood airports respectively—will promote growth as well as improve the passenger experience.

We intend to publish a sustainable aviation policy framework for UK aviation in July, which will set out further details of the steps the Department is taking.

Energy

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether her Department has switched its (a) gas or (b) electricity supplier in any of the last 10 years; [113456]

(2) which energy supplier supplies her Department with (a) gas and (b) electricity; [113474]

(3) how much her Department has spent on its (a) gas and (b) electricity bills in each of the last 10 years. [113505]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport procures 95% of its gas and electricity from suppliers on the Government Procurement Services (GPS) Framework for Energy. The table below shows the GPS energy suppliers that supply the Department with its (a) gas, (b) electricity, and (c) utilities (where we are unable to identify if this is gas or electricity spend). In addition, the table shows spend on some legacy contracts not placed via the Framework for Energy (or its predecessors). The Department will switch from these legacy contracts to GPS suppliers) as soon as possible.

(a) Gas
 Corona EnergyLegacy ContractsTotal

2007/08

£374,112

£0

£374,112

2008/09

£612,907

£0

£612,907

2009/10

£288,328

£0

£288,328

2010/11

£493,214

£0

£493,214

2011/12

£501,929

£0

£501,929

(b) Electricity
 EDF EnergyBritish GasLegacy ContractsTotal

2007/08

£7,260,597

£916,572

£1,683,431

£9,860,600(1)

2008/09

£26,715,740

£2,248,497

£281,465

£29,245,702

2009/10

£20,590,389

£2,938,456

£673,287

£24,202,132

2010/11

£20,673,641

£2,342,832

£2,394,905

£25,411,378

2011/12

£20,524,183

£2,633,443

£0

£23,157,626

(c) Utilities
 EDF Energy/British GasCorona EnergyLegacy ContractTotal

2007/08

£0

£0

£0

£0

2008/09

£0

£0

£0

£0

4 July 2012 : Column 671W

2009/10

£0

£0

£2,959,476

£2,959,476

2010/11

£0

£0

£1,190,372

£1,190,372

The Department does not hold information prior to 2007.

(1) The figure for electricity spend in 2007/08 does not include Highways Agency expenditure for the Roads Programme, which is included in the answers for 2008/09-2010/11.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment she has made of the benefits of a high-speed rail network to the north of England. [112951]

Justine Greening: HS2 will transform journey times, capacity and connectivity between the major cities of the North, the Midlands and London, unlocking prosperity and enabling the north of England to fulfil its economic potential. In the autumn, I will publish my preferred route and station options for phase 2 of HS2, and I am determined to make progress on this second phase of the network as quickly as possible. This will extend the high speed network northwards along two legs, with stations in Manchester, Leeds, South Yorkshire and the East Midlands, as well as connecting other major conurbations in the North and in Scotland through seamless transition onto the existing network.

Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if she will estimate the potential journey time saving High Speed 2 will provide for passengers travelling between Northwich station and (a) London Euston, (b) Birmingham International and (c) Paris; [113024]

(2) if she will estimate the potential journey time saving High Speed 2 will provide for passengers travelling between (a) Lancaster, (b) Fordham and (c) Hoylake station and (i) London Euston, (ii) Birmingham International and (iii) Paris. [113048]

(3) if she will estimate the potential journey time saving High Speed 2 will provide for passengers travelling between (a) Warrington Bank Quay station, (b) Rowley Regis station, (c) Codsall station, (d) Wolverhampton station and (e) Guiseley station and (i) London Euston, (ii) Birmingham International and (iii) Paris. [113794]

(4) if she will estimate the potential journey time saving High Speed 2 will provide for passengers travelling between (a) New Pudsey, (b) Harrogate and (c) Knaresborough station and (i) London Euston, (ii) Birmingham International and (iii) Paris. [113853]

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.

4 July 2012 : Column 672W

It is too early to make decisions now about detailed service patterns and journey times to specific destinations beyond the high speed network in the 2020s and 2030s. I have 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.

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the potential benefits of HS2 for (a) North Wales and (b) other parts of Wales. [114077]

Justine Greening: HS2 will support economic growth and generate benefits across much of the UK, and these benefits will extend beyond the areas directly served by high speed rail. As soon as phase one of the network opens, HS2 will benefit passengers from Wales served by the Great Western main line, thanks to an additional stop at Old Oak Common providing increased connectivity through links to Crossrail and the Heathrow Express, as well as to HS2. Many passengers from north Wales could benefit from the released capacity HS2 will create on the existing network, although it is too early to make detailed decisions now about service specifications in the late 2020s and 2030s.

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what responses her Department received from Welsh respondants on the consultation on HS2; and what proportion of those respondants were in favour of the development going ahead. [114078]

Justine Greening: Over 400 responses from Welsh respondents were received, of which approximately two-thirds were in favour of High Speed 2.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she plans that the public consultation on compensation for people living near the proposed route of High Speed 2 will be held. [114644]

Justine Greening [holding answer 3 July 2012]: We will begin the consultation shortly.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration her Department has given to using a hardship-based scheme in determining compensation for people affected by High Speed 2. [114645]

Justine Greening [holding answer 3 July 2012]: As set out in the “Review of Property Issues” published in January 2012, I believe that there is a strong case for introducing a new hardship-based property purchase scheme to help individuals and families who through no fault of their own have an urgent need to move and cannot do so because of HS2. We will shortly publish our compensation proposals for consultation.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration her Department has given to using a property bond solution to determine compensation for people affected by High Speed 2. [114646]

4 July 2012 : Column 673W

Justine Greening [holding answer 3 July 2012]:I have looked at this originally and have given it further consideration. Compensation proposals will be published for consultation shortly.

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 between (a) Poulton-Le-Fylde, (b) West Kirby, (c) Brighouse, (d) Todmorden and (e) Preston station and (i) London Euston, (ii) Birmingham International and (iii) Paris. [113259]

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 the high speed network in the 2020s and 2030s. I have 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: Exhaust Emissions

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many low-carbon vehicles are registered (a) nationally and (b) in Swindon. [114994]

Mike Penning: The Department for Transport does not have a definition of ‘low-carbon’ vehicles. Most cars first registered after March 2001 have been taxed on the basis of CO2 emissions. Of the 28.58 million cars licensed in Great Britain on the 31 March 2012, 22.86 million of the registrations include CO2 emission data and of these, 162,802 were in the band A, the lowest band for emissions with emissions of 100 g CO2 per km or lower. This band includes pure electric cars with no tailpipe CO2 emissions. A table containing the complete breakdown of all licensed cars in Great Britain by the vehicle excise duty (VED) band at end of each year is available in table VEH0206 at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/statistics/tables/veh0206/

4 July 2012 : Column 674W

Information on the CO2 emissions for other vehicles is not held on the DVLA vehicle database. All pure electric vehicles will have zero tailpipe CO2 emissions so would also be classified as low-carbon.

The following table provides figures for the total number of band A cars (split into electric and non-electric) and other electric vehicles licensed in (a) Great Britain and (b) Swindon borough council on the 31 March 2012.

Body typeGreat BritainSwindon borough council

Cars—electric

2,899

67

Cars—non-electric Band A

159,903

2,166

Buses and coaches—electric

82

0

Heavy goods vehicles—electric

878

0

Light goods vehicles—electric

3,740

22

Motorcycles, scooters and mopeds—electric

1,377

5

Others(1)—electric

58,851

198

   

Cars - total electric and non-electric Band A

162,802

2,233

   

Total ‘low-carbon’ vehicles

227,730

2,458

(1) The ‘other’ vehicles are mostly registered mobility scooters and milk floats but the category does include some fork lifts, tractors and other commercial vehicles.

The Department has a definition of ‘ultra-low emission vehicles’ which is any vehicle with a pure electric powertrain or tailpipe emissions of 75 g/km of CO2 or under.

Statistics on the number of first registrations under this definition are published monthly in table VEH0170 at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/statistics/tables/veh0170/

Pay

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the current pay (a) minima and (b) maxima are for staff at each grade, from AA to Grade 6 or equivalent grades outside London, in each of her Department's bargaining units. [115172]

Norman Baker: The information requested is provided in the table below:

  DfT©MCADVLAHighwaysVOSADSAVCAGCDA

AA

Min

£16,169

£13,459

£14,000

£15,989

£14,619

£14,351

£14,460

-

 

Max

£16,169

£14,730

£15,200

£15,989

£16,019

£16,711

£16,775

-

AO

Min

£19,426

£15,171

£16,735

£17,260

£17,662

£16,385

£17,125

£21,096

 

Max

£20,355

£19,168

£18,000

£18,314

£19,953

£19,889

£20,135

£21,096

EO

Min

£22,838

£20,321

£20,235

£20,432

£22,066

£21,348

£21,525

£23,463

 

Max

£25,038

£25,676

£23,320

£22,779

£24,928

£24,687

£26,120

£23,463

HEO

Min

£27,653

£24,543

£25,880

£28,368

£27,580

£26,051

£26,780

-

 

Max

£31,694

£31,006

£29,255

£34,730

£31,070

£30,427

£35,315

-

SEO

Min

£33,516

£31,518

£32,230

£42,396

£34,346

£33,052

£35,520

-

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4 July 2012 : Column 676W

 

Max

£39,225

£44,574

£35,900

£48,688

£39,100

£38,400

£43,770

-

G7

Min

£42,643

£41,161

£43,125

£43,412

£43,960

£39,620

£44,500

-

 

Max

£51,781

£52,081

£52,357

£50,846

£50,670

£52,206

£58,170

-

G6

Min

£52,406

£49,472

£57,855

£56,979

£50,290

£51,305

£58,210

-

 

Max

£63,635

£62,595

£63,765

£67,747

£57,966

£63,335

£67,335

-

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when was the last full equal-pay audit conducted in each bargaining unit in her Department; and when the next such audit in each such unit is scheduled to be conducted. [115176]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport carries out an equality impact assessment on pay annually after the pay award is implemented. The next assessment will be undertaken following the pay award for 2012/13.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many full-time equivalent staff in her Department and the public bodies for which she is responsible outside London earn less than (a) £15,000, (b) £16,000, (c) £18,000, (d) £20,000 and (e) £25,000 excluding bonuses and performance related pay. [115191]

Norman Baker: The requested information is in the following table:

 Department for TransportPublic Bodies

<£15,000

167

15

£15,001 to £16,000

1623

16

£16,001 to £18,000

708

67

£18,001 to £20,000

3790

226

£20.001 to £25,000

5870

655

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in each departmental bargaining unit which grades have not seen an increase in pay maxima in (a) three, (b) four, (c) five and (d) six or more years. [115192]

Norman Baker: The following table shows when the pay maxima for each grade in the Department for Transport's bargaining units were last increased:

 Pay maxima increase

DfT(C)

Pay maxima for AA, EO, SEO, Grade 7 and Grade 6 increased 4 years ago (2008)

 

Pay maxima for AO and HEO increased 5 years ago (2007)

HA

All pay maxima increased in 2010 (3rd year of a 3 year pay deal agreed in 2007)

MCA

No pay maxima increase in last 3 years (2009, 2010 & 2011)

DVLA

No pay maxima increase in last 2 years (2010 & 2011)

DSA

No pay maxima increase in last 2 years (2010 & 2011)

VOSA

No pay maxima increase in last 3 years (2009, 2010 & 2011)

VCA

No pay maxima increase in last 2 years (2010 & 2011)

GCDA

No pay maxima increase in last 3 years (2009, 2010 & 2011)