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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Energy and Climate Change

Carbon Emissions

Laura Sandys: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether the target to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by 2010 was met. [115880]

Gregory Barker: The goal set by the previous Administration was for the UK to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide to 20% below 1990 levels by 2010. This related to emissions from the UK and our Crown Dependencies only, which represents a slightly different geographical coverage to both our current international (Kyoto Protocol) and domestic (carbon budgets) targets.

We reported progress towards this goal in our annual National Statistics publications up to and including the February 2010 statistical release, which set out the results from our emissions inventory for 2008. This statistical release is still available on the DECC website at the following link:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/statistics/climate_change/1_20100202091108_e_@@_020210ghgnationalstatisticsrelease08f inalresults.pdf

Since the 20% goal was a manifesto commitment set by the previous Administration, we no longer report progress against this under the current Administration. However, using the same basis as was used when we reported in February 2010, UK emissions of carbon dioxide in 2010 (net of removals from land use, land use change and forestry) were only 14.7% lower in 2010 than in 1990, significantly below the previous 20% target (down from 590.3 to 503.4 million tonnes). This includes an allowance for emissions trading and so is consistent with the approach used when reporting progress towards our existing targets.

The introduction of carbon budgets under the Climate Change Act 2008 introduced a new domestic target for emissions reductions within the UK which effectively superseded the 2010 goal, and we have been reporting progress towards our carbon budgets since our February 2010 National Statistics publication. Carbon budgets cover emissions of all greenhouse gases, not just carbon dioxide, and have a geographical coverage which extends to just the UK, so not including our Crown Dependencies or Overseas Territories.

On a carbon budgets basis, UK greenhouse gas emissions were 23.0% lower in 2010 than in the base year, down from 770.8 to 593.9 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent. The first carbon budget requires that total UK greenhouse gas emissions do not exceed 3,018 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over the five-year period 2008-12, which is approximately 22% below the base year level on average over the period.

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Further details can be found in the February 2012 National Statistics release, which can be found on the DECC website at the following link:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/climate_stats/gg_emissions/uk_emissions/uk_emissions.aspx

Energy: Meters

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he expects to publish the conclusions on the proposed framework for smart metering data access and privacy. [116395]

Charles Hendry: The Government are considering responses received to our recent consultation. Subject to responses received and ongoing engagement with a range of stakeholders, the Government intend to publish a response to the consultation this autumn.

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to ensure that consumers in rural and remote areas are able to participate in the smart meter roll-out. [116396]

Charles Hendry: The Government will place regulatory obligations on energy suppliers that will require them to take all reasonable steps to install smart meters for all their domestic and smaller non-domestic customers by the completion date in 2019. This obligation will apply equally to customers in rural areas as to others. A key part of the process of procuring the communications services that will support the smart metering roll-out is evaluation of the ability to provide communications coverage to a variety of geographical locations and building types.

Environmental Protection: Employment

Laura Sandys: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many jobs he estimates (a) the Green Deal, (b) the Renewable Heat Incentive, (c) feed-in tariffs for micro-renewable and (d) the Green Investment Bank will generate. [115943]

Gregory Barker: The Government are committed to maximising the business and job opportunities that a move to a low-carbon economy will create. In 2010-11 the UK low-carbon and environmental goods and services (LCEGS) sector employed an estimated 940,000 people (up 2.8% on the previous year)(1). While an estimate of the net impact of polices on jobs across the economy has not been made and is very uncertain, some estimates have been made for the number of (gross) jobs policies will create in particular sectors:

(1) Note:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/business-sectors/docs/l/12-p143-low-carbon-environmental-goods-and-services-2010-11.pdf

(a) The estimated jobs impact for the Green Deal has been calculated alongside the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). External estimates by Innovas suggest that around 4.700 installers were employed in the insulation market in 2007-08, which covers loft and wall insulation, and another 22,000 were employed in the wider supply chain(2). Under the Green Deal and ECO this total is expected to rise to between 39,000 to 60,000 (full-time equivalent) jobs by 2015 supported by installation of the main household insulation measures (solid wall, cavity wall, loft and floor)(3). There

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are other measures that will be taken up as a result of the Green Deal and ECO but these have not been quantified for their employment impacts.

(2) Note:

Low Carbon and Environmental Goods and Services; an Industry Analysis; Innovas; 2009

(3) Note:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/green-deal/5533-final-stage-impact-assessment-for-the-green-deal-a.pdf

(b) DECC has not made any estimate of jobs related to the roll out of renewable heat. A heating industry exists already in the UK and it is likely that some jobs in that will gradually be converted to provide renewable heating.

(c) The Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme has already created business and job opportunities in green sectors of the economy. Estimates of the scale of the impact are very uncertain but DECC has published an estimate of the jobs associated with solar PV technologies supported under the FITs scheme(4)—there are currently no published estimates of the job impacts of non-solar PV eligible technologies. Table 1 gives the estimated range of new solar PV installations over the three-year period starting 1 April 2012 with estimates of associated jobs.

(4) Note:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/meeting-energy-demand/renewable-energy/5391-impact-assessment-government-response-to-consulta.pdf

Table 1: Estimated full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs associated with solar PV for new installations projected between 2012-13 and 2014-15(1)
 2012-132013-142014-152012-14

New solar PV installations between 2012-14

140,000 to 250,000

170,000 to 340,000

170,000 to 330,000

480,000 to 920,000

FTE jobs for all installations between 2012-14

10,000 to 20,000

10,000 to 30,000

10,000 to 30,000

30,000 to 80,000

(1) The lower range of installations is based on a low-cost reduction assumption, and the higher range is based on a higher cost reduction assumption. The range of associated FTE jobs was estimated by apply a low estimate of FTE jobs per solar PV installation to the low estimate of installations. The high end of the range applies a high FTE jobs per installation estimate to the high uptake scenario.

(d) The creation of jobs is not one of the UKGIB's (Green Investment Bank) direct policy objectives. Therefore, no projections of job creation have been made. However, once fully operational, the Bank will be required to monitor the number of jobs its portfolio of investments generates and report such data to the Government on a regular basis.

Environmental Protection: South East

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to encourage green investment in the south-east. [115801]

Gregory Barker [holding answer 6 July 2012]: The Department for Business. Innovation and Skills (BIS) leads on UK green growth, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change works with BIS to encourage green investment.

Government initiatives, such as the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain (AMSC) fund and the work of UK Green Investment Bank plc are able to encourage investment across sectors and regions, including green or low carbon sectors in the south-east.

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The RGF supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment creating economic growth and sustainable employment. It aims particularly to help those areas and communities currently dependent on the public sector to make the transition to sustainable private sector-led growth and prosperity.

An additional £l billion has been allocated for a further round of the RGF; this takes the fund total to £2.4 billion.

There have been several successful bids for the RGF in the south-east and the east of England, of which some include green projects.

Furthermore, the Government announced in March that up to £3.5 million would be made available to train up to 1,000 advisors and installers in readiness for the Green Deal. Funding will be allocated across Great Britain, including in the south-east.

Green Deal Scheme

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he plans to take to ensure that Green Deal assessors provide impartial advice. [116308]

Gregory Barker: It is important that the advice provided by Green Deal advisers is completely impartial, no matter how they are being employed. All advisers will be bound by the Green Deal code of practice and standards in the specifications, which set out the expectations on all Green Deal advisers in terms of quality and impartiality of advice.

Organisations providing a Green Deal advice service will have to ensure that all their contracted Green Deal advisers produce impartial assessments. In addition, the adviser certification bodies will verify that the Green Deal advisers certified by them, either directly or via an employer, have acted with impartiality as part of their ongoing surveillance function.

Pay

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the lowest hourly rate is paid to staff by his Department; how many members of staff based outside London are paid less than £7.20 per hour; and how many members of staff based in London are paid less than £8.30 per hour. [116378]

Gregory Barker: The lowest hourly rate of pay currently paid to a member of staff of the Department of Energy and Climate Change is £9.08 at 30 June 2012. The lowest amount that may be payable is £7.54 outside of London and £9.88 within London.

Wind Power

Nigel Adams: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, with reference to the report by Renewable UK entitled Onshore wind: Direct and Wider Economic Impacts, what assessment he has made of the finding that 10.9 GW of additional wind capacity is required to meet the Government's target for onshore wind. [R] [115758]

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Charles Hendry: The joint DECC/RenewableUK report by BiGGAR Economics(1) does not draw conclusions about how much onshore wind might be needed to contribute to the UK's renewable energy target. It sets out four potential deployment scenarios(2) for 2020, ranging between 10 GW and 19 GW, and considers the impact that each of these would have on UK jobs and investment.

In last year's Renewables Roadmap, the Government set out a central scenario of up to 13 GW onshore wind deployment in our energy mix by 2020 to maintain our energy security and to help meet our 2020 renewable targets.

(1) The findings of the report are based on 18 case studies of experience on the ground and set out the gross impacts of commercial onshore wind development. A copy of the report is available at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/meeting-energy-demand/wind/5229-onshore-wind-direct--wider-economic-impacts.pdf

(2) The scenarios were taken from the 2010 National Renewable Energy Action Plan, see:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/what%20we%20do/uk%20energy%20supply/energy%20mix/renewable%20energy/ored/25-nat-ren-energy-action-plan.pdf

and the 2011 UK Renewable Energy Roadmap, see:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/meeting-energy-demand/renewable-energy/2167-uk-renewable-energy-roadmap.pdf

Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much he has paid in compensation for non-production to wind farms in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12. [116360]

Charles Hendry: The Government have made no payments to wind farms in compensation for non-production.

In order to ensure the secure operation of the electricity system, National Grid takes over a thousand actions each day to balance electricity supply and demand, including paying generators of all types to alter their output. The vast majority of these payments are made to fossil fuel generators, rather than wind farms. National Grid has advised that details of all Balancing Mechanism payments are published at:

www.elexon.co.uk

and

www.bmreports.com

The Renewables Obligation (RO) is currently the Government's main financial incentive for large-scale renewable electricity, including wind power. This requires supply companies to source a specified and annually increasing proportion of their electricity sales from eligible sources of renewable energy or pay a penalty. The RO is a generation-based subsidy, meaning support is granted for each MWh of electricity actually generated. A wind farm will therefore receive support only when it generates.

Northern Ireland

Enterprise Zones

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had on the introduction of enterprise zones in Northern Ireland; what the geographical size and nature of such zones will be; and if he will make a statement. [115695]

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Mr Paterson: I have discussed enterprise zones with colleagues within Government and have urged the Northern Ireland Executive to consider the merits of establishing such zones. Enterprise zones are designed to promote growth and create jobs in designated areas, including by offering enhanced capital allowances to businesses in those enterprise zones which are in assisted areas.

The Government have announced the creation of 24 enterprise zones in England. The Scottish Government have created four enterprise areas, and the Welsh Government have announced seven locations for their own enterprise zones, reflecting the priorities of those Administrations. The Northern Ireland Executive have not so far indicated that they intend to pursue an enterprise zone policy in Northern Ireland.

Lost Working Days

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average number of working days lost was per person in his Department in each of the last three years. [116097]

Mr Paterson: Comparable figures for the Department as it is now configured are not available for the years preceding the completion of devolution of policing and justice functions on 12 April 2010. During 2010-11 and 2011-12, the average number of working days lost per person was 12.1 and 10.3 respectively.

Omagh Support and Self-Help Group

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the recent report commissioned by the Omagh Support and Self-Help Group; and if he will make a statement. [116343]

Mr Paterson: I received the report from the Omagh Support and Self-Help Group on 18 June 2012 and I am currently considering its contents.

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions he has had with the Minister for Justice in Northern Ireland about the recent report commissioned by the Omagh Support and Self-Help Group by the Omagh families; and if he will make a statement. [116344]

Mr Paterson: I have not yet discussed the contents of the report with the Justice Minister, David Ford. When I received a copy of the report from the Omagh Support and Self-Help Group, they made clear their desire to present a copy of the report to David Ford in person and discuss its contents with him prior to my own discussion with him, and I respect their wishes.

RTE

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent meetings he has had with his Irish counterpart to discuss the London bureau of Raidió Teilifís Éireann. [115930]

Mr Paterson: I have not been asked to participate in such a meeting. This is a matter for Radió Telefís Éireann.

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Wales

Buildings

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, with reference to the answer of 6 February 2012, Official Report, column 40W, on departmental buildings, how much her Department spent on the Discovery House office in Cardiff Bay in each year since 2003. [116332]

Mr David Jones: Although the Wales Office has leased space in Discovery House since March 2003, figures are available only from 2005-06 and are set out in the following table. Prior to this, the costs of the Cardiff office were not disaggregated.

£
 RentRatesRunning costs

2005-06

150,278

37,890

16,031

2006-07

166,020

38,880

16,560

2007-08

181,180

40,320

17,229

2008-09

188,465

41,940

20,751

2009-10

177.731

44,010

21.592

2010-11

179,096

40,368

22,075

2011-12

181,801

42,244

16,753

The rent paid includes service charges for utilities, security and waste disposal.

Public Sector: Pay

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what estimate she has made of whether the pay of public sector workers in Wales would be likely to (a) increase, (b) decrease or (c) remain the same if proposals on regional pay are introduced; [116002]

(2) what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office on the potential effect of regional pay on public sector workers in Wales; [116003]

(3) what assessment she has made on the potential effect of regional pay on public sector workers in Wales. [116004]

Mrs Gillan: Independent pay review bodies have been asked to consider how public sector pay can be more responsive to local labour markets and are expected to report shortly. It will then be for individual Departments, and the Welsh Government where pay arrangements are devolved, to introduce reforms if they choose to. Until formal proposals have been made it is not possible to assess the impact on particular areas.

It is worth noting that the Ministry of Justice introduced localised pay under the previous Government.

Third Sector

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to the answer of 3 July 2012, Official Report, column 533W, on Third Sector, what the times, dates and attendees were of meetings that her Department has held on achieving that objective; if she will estimate the cost to the public purse of holding such meetings; what the outcomes of the meetings were; and if she will publish the agenda and attendees of the meeting of the Wales Office Big Society Advisory Forum on 12 July 2012. [116337]

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Mr David Jones: The big society has been raised with me on various occasions by a number of bodies and individuals, but meetings on that specific topic have been held with:

DateOrganisations

2011

 

1 November

Wales Council for Voluntary Action

7 November

Charity Bank

  

2012

 

16 January

Rhondda Life, the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, Charity Bank, Chwarae Teg, the Community Foundation in Wales, Jobcentre Plus, The Princes Trust, Newport City Homes, CREST Co-operative, Business in the Community, the Church in Wales, and the Reserve Forces and Cadet Association Wales.

31 January

ABCD Cymru

7 February

Social Business Trust

30 April

Cardiff Metropolitan University

1 May

Urdd

Such meetings fall within the usual duties of a Government Minister and are cost neutral to the public purse. The meetings were very helpful in informing the Government's vision of how the big society might be adopted in Wales and bringing together a network committed to embedding the principles underpinning that vision.

With regards to the Wales Office Big Society Forum on 12 July, a communiqué will be issued following the meeting.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Arms Trade: Treaties

Alec Shelbrooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what priority he attaches to human rights criteria during UN negotiations on an arms trade treaty; and if he will take steps to ensure that criteria are included to prevent arms being supplied to a country if there is a substantial risk that those arms will contribute to serious human rights abuses. [115361]

Alistair Burt: The UK fully supports the inclusion of criteria on human rights in an arms trade treaty (ATT). In our national statement at the start of the negotiations in New York, we have called for the treaty to

“help maintain international peace and security, whilst encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

The UK already operates a robust national export licensing system that requires mandatory refusal where we assess there is a clear risk that the equipment might be used for internal repression and we will be pressing for similar provisions in the ATT.

Burundi

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Burundi Government on the arrest of Hassan Ruvakiki, a journalist with Bonesha Radio. [116095]

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Mr Bellingham: We share concerns about the length of the sentence given to Hassan Ruvakiki and, with EU partners, are seeking an early opportunity to raise this and the conduct of his trial with the Burundi Government.

Chambers of Commerce

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the British Chambers of Commerce on doubling exports by 2020. [116224]

Mr Bellingham: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and UK Trade and Investment regularly meet with individual businesses and business organisations to discuss a wide range of topics, including our ambition to double UK exports by 2020, as well as the support we can provide to UK exporters. FCO officials most recently met with the British Chambers of Commerce on 9 July 2012.

Egypt

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the new Government of Egypt. [115693]

Alistair Burt: The Prime Minister wrote to President Mursi on 24 June to congratulate him on his election success. He also stressed the need for a credible, free and fair process towards civilian rule.

Throughout the transition we have been in regular contact with the political forces in Egypt, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

We understand that consultations are under way to select members of the new Government, but we continue to plan ongoing contact with the Egyptian authorities.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of prospects for the protection of women's rights in Egypt. [115759]

Alistair Burt: I visited Cairo between 11 and 13 March 2012. In my meetings with the Egyptian Foreign Minister and contacts with political parties I emphasised that women's participation is a key part of supporting effective transitions and building stability.

We were concerned by reports of assault and intimidation of women protesters, who were demanding an end to sexual harassment, as they demonstrated in Tahrir Square on 8 June 2012. We believe that women must be free to exercise their rights of freedom of expression and assembly in full equality.

We continue to urge the Egyptian authorities to establish the conditions for inclusive politics and for the rights of women and minorities to be enshrined in the new constitution and in law.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of prospects for (a) democratic progress and (b) political stability in Egypt. [115761]

Alistair Burt: We welcome the peaceful conduct of the presidential elections and handover of power to President Mursi in Egypt. The next steps of the transition will be critical in moving towards full democratic governance. It is important that all political forces are

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allowed to participate freely and legitimately in the political process and that the new President and Government are bestowed full authority.

The UK remains fully committed to supporting Egypt on its path to democracy and to promoting our common interests in security, stability and prosperity.

Egypt: Israel

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Egyptian counterpart on the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. [115984]

Alistair Burt: Throughout the period of transition we have pressed the Egyptian authorities to respect Egypt's existing international obligations.

We want Egypt to continue to act as a force for regional peace and stability, including by maintaining a productive relationship with Israel. We were encouraged by Dr Muhammed Mursi's first speech as the new President of Egypt on 24 June 2012 in which he stated that Egypt would respect all international treaties and conventions already agreed by Egypt. We will continue to follow closely the development of the new Egyptian Government's foreign policy, including relations between Egypt and Israel.

Immigration

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on immigration to the UK. [115505]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right hon. Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), has regular discussions with his Cabinet colleagues on the full range of immigration issues, including UK visa policy and illegal migration.

Indonesia

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what funding and assistance his Department provided to the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation in the last year for which figures are available. [115263]

Mr Jeremy Browne: In the financial year 2011-12, the UK's Counter Terrorism Programme provided in the region of £400,000 to support the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation to deliver a package of six different classroom-based training programmes. The training programmes share with the Indonesian National Police the UK experience in managing counter-terrorism investigations, preventing terrorist attacks and tracking down and prosecuting those who are responsible in a way that is compliant with international human rights law. We also deliver a regional course, bringing together senior law enforcement officers from around south-east Asia to focus on the co-ordination and management of multi-jurisdictional investigations aimed at disrupting terrorism and transnational crime.

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Israel

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has made any representations to the Government of Israel on the confiscation of UK-funded tents for villagers of Khirbet ar-Rahawa displaced by house demolitions. [115591]

Alistair Burt: We are aware of recent incidents where humanitarian goods, including those funded by the UN Humanitarian Response Fund (which the UK contributes to), have been confiscated by the Israeli authorities. This is unacceptable.

The UK is working closely with the UN, humanitarian agencies and other donors in Jerusalem on this. We are collectively lobbing the Israeli authorities for the release of the confiscated goods.

Israel: Palestinians

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Palestinian Authority on rejoining direct peace talks with Israel without preconditions. [115983]

Alistair Burt: We and our EU partners have welcomed the recent efforts by the Palestinian and Israeli leadership to renew direct contacts. We have urged both sides to focus on dialogue, to avoid steps that could undermine the prospects for peace and to work towards the resumption of direct negotiations without pre conditions. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), conveyed this message when he met President Abbas on 6 July 2012.

Lost Working Days

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the average number of working days lost per person was in (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies in each of the last three years. [115668]

Mr Bellingham: The statistics for the average number of working days lost are included in the departmental reports produced by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and FCO Services Trading Fund. These can be found online at:

www.fco.gov.uk/en/publications-and-documents/publications1/annual-reports/departmental-report/

and

www.fcoservices.gov.uk/eng/ourorganisation/news.asp

respectively.

The departmental reports, for 2011-12, for the FCO and FCO Services Trading Fund will be laid before Parliament this month.

Middle East

Mr Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the President of the Palestinian Authority on (a) accepting the Quartet statement and (b) returning to direct peace negotiations. [115604]

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Alistair Burt: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), met President Abbas on 6 July. He urged President Abbas to return to direct peace negotiations in line with the Quartet statements of September 2011 and April 2012. We continue to encourage both sides to show flexibility and restart negotiations as the best way to achieve a lasting solution to the middle east peace process.

Gordon Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of reports linking the Muslim Brotherhood to recent rocket fire from the Sinai Peninsula into Israel. [115607]

Alistair Burt: We have not received any credible reports linking the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to rocket fire from Sinai into Israel.

Gordon Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the recent terror attack on the Israel-Egypt border. [115609]

Alistair Burt: The British Government remain concerned about the security situation in the Sinai, which we continue to raise with the Egyptian authorities. On 18 June several terrorists crossed into southern Israel from the Sinai. They reportedly set off an explosion and opened fire with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms at Israeli construction workers building the border fence. One construction worker was killed and another injured. We condemn all acts of terrorism.

Paul Maynard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of where responsibility for recent rocket fire into Israel lies. [115654]

Alistair Burt: It is our assessment that recent rocket fire has been from a number of militant Palestinian groups. On 20 June the Al-Qassam Brigade, the military wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility for firing rockets for the first time in over a year. They said that the attacks were in response to the death of one of their members in an Israeli air strike. We have condemned indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel and urged all sides to exercise restraint and prevent civilian casualties and loss of life. We believe it is in no one's interest to see further violence in Gaza.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Palestinian Authority's commitment to end incitement against Israel in accordance with the Quartet principles. [115677]

Alistair Burt: The British Government oppose the advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence in all circumstances. In response to allegations of anti-Israeli incitement on Palestinian state television, officials from the British Consulate General in Jerusalem have raised concerns with the Head of the News Department at Palestine TV, who stressed that they have strict instructions from the highest Palestinian

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authorities to prevent the broadcasting of any material that promotes incitement or hatred. We are not aware of any other credible recent evidence of anti-Israeli incitement by the Palestinian Authority.

Pay

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the lowest hourly rate paid to staff by his Department is; how many members of staff based outside London are paid less than £7.20 per hour; and how many members of staff based in London are paid less than £8.30 per hour. [116385]

Mr Bellingham: The hourly rate for Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff based outside of London is £7.85 per hour and within London £9.69 per hour.

Public Expenditure

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1), with reference to the speech by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury of 23 April 2012 at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, what progress his Department has made on identifying a proportion of its resource budget which can be re-prioritised; what steps he has taken to identify such funds; and which parts of his Department's resource budget he has identified as suitable for re-prioritisation; [115742]

(2) what discussions he has had with his Department's agencies and the non-departmental bodies for which he is responsible on the contribution they will make to identifying resource budget for possible re-prioritisation; [115743]

(3) when he will make public the areas of his Department's resource budget he has identified for possible re-prioritisation; and when he plans to report to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on the outcome of this exercise. [115744]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is determined to deliver the best possible service to the UK taxpayer at the lowest possible cost while contributing to the Government's goal of reducing the budget deficit. We are committed to improving financial management across the FCO and to meeting all of our obligations in respect of the recent announcement by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on improving spending control across the public sector. One of these commitments is to identify around 5% of our departmental expenditure limit that could be reprioritised within year to fund unforeseen pressures on our budget and to share these plans with the Treasury. We are working with the Treasury on this in accordance with ‘Improving Spending Control’:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/improving_spending_control.pdf

Our contingency plans will not be published and will be reassessed and updated on an ongoing basis.

Sargasso Sea

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the establishment of a marine protected area in the Sargasso (High) Sea. [115876]

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Mr Bellingham: Members of the Sargasso Sea Alliance have met officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Transport (DFT) to discuss the scientific case, and the appropriate international forum under which measures to conserve the area, which lies in an Area Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), could be taken. As a result of this meeting officials of the DFT and its Maritime and Coastguard Agency are engaged in discussions with the Sargasso Sea Alliance with a view to identifying a measure or measures which it would be appropriate to take forward in the International Maritime Organisation. In addition, the Government support the work of the OSPAR Commission, under which seven marine protected areas in ABNJ have been identified, in assisting the Alliance with its proposals. The Government of Bermuda support the proposal to provide appropriate protection for the Sargasso Sea. The British Government, the Sargasso Sea Alliance and the Government of Bermuda are working together to this end through the appropriate forums.

The British Government recognise that the current system for the identification of marine protected areas in ABNJ is piecemeal and can lack global legitimacy. We continue to press, in line with the commitment in the Natural Environment White Paper, for a new Implementing Agreement consistent with the UN Law of the Sea to address these concerns.

Syria

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the outcome was of his recent discussions with the Syria Action Group. [115760]

Alistair Burt: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the written statement from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), on 4 July 2012, Official Report, columns 56-7WS.

Home Department

Alcoholic Drinks: Females

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Government's alcohol strategy in relation to the behaviour of (a) young and (b) middle-aged women. [115762]

James Brokenshire: The Government's alcohol strategy, published on 23 March, sets out a wide range of actions to tackle the harms caused by excessive alcohol consumption. The Government will produce an impact assessment and consult on a range of measures in the alcohol strategy in the coming months.

Aviation: Security

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what technology she plans to use to replace IRIS scanners at UK airports. [115584]

10 July 2012 : Column 121W

Damian Green: The UK Border Agency is currently assessing the next generation of automated clearance gates, ensuring that the design will accommodate the greatest number of passengers and improve reliability. The Border Automation Strategy will be produced in October 2012. This includes examining ways of extending availability to non-EU/EEA passengers.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what timetable she has set for the removal of IRIS scanners at UK airports. [115585]

Damian Green: IRIS barriers have already been closed and barriers removed at Gatwick South (March 2011), Birmingham (March 2012) and Manchester (April 2012) airports.

Arrangements have been made to keep IRIS at Heathrow and Gatwick North airports open for registered passengers until after both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. There is no formal date arranged as yet to remove the barriers at these ports.

British Nationals Abroad: Homicide

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she has received any information from the Serious Organised Crime Agency on when it will sign the Memorandum of Understanding for support services for families of UK nationals murdered overseas; and when she expects the Memorandum of Understanding to come into effect. [115914]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 9 July 2012]: “Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide of British Nationals Abroad” is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Coroner's Society of England and Wales.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency is not a signatory to the MOU.

The Memorandum took immediate effect on 21 June 2012 and a communications plan is being put in place to ensure an effective launch by all parties.

Castes

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects to introduce regulations (1) on discrimination by caste and descent under her powers under the Equality Act 2010; [116020]

(2) under the Equality Act 2010 to prohibit caste discrimination. [116066]

Lynne Featherstone: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given on 22 May 2012, Official Report, column 593W.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will publish all the advice she has received on the implementation of the NIESR report on caste discrimination in the UK. [116067]

Lynne Featherstone: The National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) report was published in

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December 2010. Consideration of this issue is continuing. There are no current plans to publish any advice that Ministers have received on the implementation of the NIESR report.

Claims Management Services

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the cost to the public purse of investigating cases of fraudulent claims initiated on behalf of consumers by claims management companies. [114530]

James Brokenshire: I have made no such assessment.

Claims management companies are subject to regulation by the Ministry of Justice's Claims Management Regulation Unit. The Unit works with partner agencies such as the Insurance Fraud Bureau, police forces, other regulators and trade organisations to tackle businesses involved in bad practice and suspected crime, including allegations of fraudulent claims.

Credit Cards: Fraud

Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to tackle credit card fraud. [115660]

James Brokenshire: Figures published by the banking and card payments industry show that in 2011 card fraud on UK-issued debit and credit cards fell by 7% to £341 million. Levels have fallen for the third year in a row and the 2011 figure is the lowest level of loss since 2000.

The Government work closely with enforcement and industry bodies on fraud issues and are determined to improve the response to all economic crime through the development of the National Crime Agency and, within that, the Economic Crime Command. We are engaging with both the payments industry and law enforcement agencies on the development of the Economic Crime Command. The Economic Crime Command will co-ordinate and direct effective action to tackle serious and organised economic crime and will support better use of resources across all national economic crime fighting agencies. It will also drive development of a stronger intelligence picture to better tackle and prevent economic crime.

Drugs: Misuse

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research her Department has (a) produced, (b) commissioned and (c) evaluated on the (i) legislation and regulation and (ii) decriminalisation of controlled substances. [115826]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 9 July 2012]:The Home Office has not (a) produced, (b) commissioned or (c) evaluated any research on the (i) legislation and regulation and (ii) decriminalisation of controlled substances. The Home Office regularly receives expert advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs on current provisions under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

10 July 2012 : Column 123W

Entry Clearances

Conor Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for family visitor visas there were in each year from 1997 to 2011; how many of those were granted; how many times appeals were made against refusal of such applications; how many of those appeals were upheld in each such year; and what her most recent estimate is of the average cost to her Department of such an appeal in the latest period for which figures are available. [115724]

Damian Green [holding answer 6 July 2012]:The information requested for each calendar year since 2004 is shown in the following table. The information is not available for previous years as this data was not recorded centrally for all of the visa sections prior to 2004 and to collate it would incur disproportionate costs.

Family visit visas
 Applications received(1)Visas issued(1)Appeals received(2)Appeals decided(2)Appeals allowed(2, 3)

2004

354,029

247,987

28,803

22,707

10,889

2005

456,985

330,638

55,813

25,556

10,733

2006

501,565

375,940

47,672

65,507

24,349

2007

473,470

354,061

61,028

57,608

20,297

2008

414,656

313,377

65,283

59,881

23,180

2009

426,789

332,781

63,449

64,860

26,312

2010

423,042

350,311

51,702

64,237

25,630

2011

443,948

370,105

44,809

50,137

16,783

(1 )These data are based on internal UKBA Management Information. They are provisional and subject to change. (2) These are data are provided/published by HM Courts and Tribunals Service. Appeals received is a discrete data set and not restricted to appeals arising from refusals in each year. (3) This is the number of appeals decided in each year that were allowed.

Entry Clearances: Overseas Students

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many non-EU students had their leave to remain curtailed because of a breach of their visa conditions in 2011. [114866]

Damian Green [holding answer 2 July 2012]: The UK Border Agency does not keep records of those students whose leave under Tier 4 of the points-based system was curtailed specifically on the grounds that they had breached their conditions of stay.

Up to 30 June 2012, the UK Border Agency had curtailed the leave of over 29,000 students who had leave to remain under Tier 4 of the points-based system. This figure includes all curtailments under Tier 4 and is not limited to those students who had leave curtailed due to a breach of visa conditions.

The figure provided above has been derived from local management information and has not been subject to national statistical protocols.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many non-EU students

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were found to be in breach of their visa conditions in 2011. [114867]

Damian Green [holding answer 2 July 2012]: The UK Border Agency does not keep records of those students whose leave under Tier 4 of the points-based system was curtailed specifically on the grounds that they had breached their conditions of stay.

Up to 30 June 2012, the UK Border Agency had curtailed the leave of over 29,000 students who had leave to remain under Tier 4 of the points-based system. This figure includes all curtailments under Tier 4 and is not limited to those students who had leave curtailed due to a breach of visa conditions.

The figure provided above has been derived from local management information and has not been subject to national statistical protocols.

Extradition Review

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Government plan to announce their response to Lord Justice Baker's review of extradition arrangements. [115659]

Damian Green: The UK-US extradition treaty was only one area considered by the independent review of the UK's extradition arrangements chaired by Sir Scott Baker. The report was published on 18 October 2011. The Government are currently considering how to respond to what is a very detailed and complex review of nearly 500 pages and will report our conclusions to Parliament when this has been completed.

Licensing Laws

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what reports she has received of any instances of licences for off licences or public houses being passed on to a family member when the licensee has had their licence revoked or withdrawn. [116012]

James Brokenshire: Licensing is devolved locally to licensing authorities. The Home Office, which has responsibility for alcohol licensing, does not request or hold such data nationally.

Lost Working Days

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average number of working days lost was per person in (a) her Department and (b) each of its agencies in each of the last three years. [116098]

Damian Green: Table 1 shows the average working days lost per staff year to sickness absence in the Home Office and its agencies in the financial years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12.

Table 1: Average working days lost (per staff year), 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12(1)
 2009-102010-112011-12

Home Office Total

8.80

7.83

7.88

Home Office Headquarters

5.57

5.39

(3)7.00

United Kingdom Border Agency

9.16

(2)8.00

8.49

Criminal Records Bureau

11.14

11.55

11.13

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10 July 2012 : Column 126W

Identity and Passport Service

9.25

8.03

8.08

National Fraud Authority

(4)2.5

(1) Permanent Secretaries Management Group Cabinet Office returns for 31 March 2010, 2011, 2012. (2)Workforce changes in 2010-11: 4,603 (full-time equivalent) (FTE)) HM Revenue and Customs detection staff joined United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) on 1 April 2010 in a machinery of government change. (3)Workforce changes in 2011-12: 88 (FTE) Government Equalities Office employees transferred to Home Office Headquarters on 1 April 2011 in a machinery of government change. 7,466 (FTE) Border Force staff moved from UKBA to Home Office Headquarters on 1 March 2012 in an internal restructure. (4)Workforce changes in 2011-12: 42 (FTE) National Fraud Authority (NFA) employees transferred to the Home Office on 1 April 2011, when NFA became an Executive agency of the Department in a machinery of government change. Extract date: 1 April of each year (figures based on period from 1 April to 31 March in each year). Methodology: Reported figures comply with Cabinet Office cross-Government reporting standards (using “per-staff year”, not “per-person” data) and are rolling year figures, including all paid civil servants (current employees and those who left during the financial year).

Pay

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the lowest hourly rate paid to staff by her Department is; how many members of staff based outside London are paid less than £7.20 per hour; and how many members of staff based in London are paid less than £8.30 per hour. [116382]

Lynne Featherstone: The lowest hourly rate paid to any member of staff in the Home Office is £7.27. No member of staff based outside London is paid less than £7.20 per hour. No member of staff based in London is paid less than £8.30 per hour.

Public Expenditure

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to reduce expenditure by her Department. [115516]

Damian Green: The Home Office agreed a set of expenditure reductions at the spending review and is implementing these by managing its budget tightly and in accordance with Treasury guidance on Managing Public Money.

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the speech by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury of 23 April 2012 at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, what progress her Department has made on identifying a proportion of its resource budget which can be re-prioritised; what steps she has taken to identify such funds; and which parts of her Department's resource budget she has identified as suitable for re-prioritisation. [115739]

Damian Green: The Department is working with the Treasury to agree contingency plans as set out in ‘Improving Spending Control’ at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/improving_spending_control.pdf

Plans and options for re-prioritisation will not be published. They will be “live” plans that are reassessed and updated on an ongoing basis.

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the speech by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury of 23 April 2012 at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, what discussions she has had with her Department's agencies and the non-departmental bodies for which she is responsible on the contribution they will make to identifying resource budget for possible re-prioritisation. [115740]

Damian Green: The Department is working with the Treasury to agree contingency plans as set out in ‘Improving Spending Control’ at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/improving_spending_control.pdf

Plans and options for re-prioritisation will not be published. They will be “live” plans that are reassessed and updated on an ongoing basis.

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the speech by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury of 23 April 2012 at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, when she will make public the areas of her Department's resource budget she has identified for possible re-prioritisation; and when she plans to report to the Home Affairs Select Committee on the outcome of this exercise. [115741]

Damian Green: The Department is working with the Treasury to agree contingency plans as set out in ‘Improving Spending Control’ at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/improving_spending_control.pdf

Plans and options for re-prioritisation will not be published. They will be “live” plans that are reassessed and updated on an ongoing basis.

Schengen Agreement

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment her Department has made of the effect on the UK of EU Council Decision 2004/849/EC; [115965]

(2) what assessment she has made of the consequences for the UK of its decision to participate in EU Council Decision 2000/586/JHA. [115912]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 9 July 2012]: Both of these measures, Council Decision 2004/849/EC and Council Decision 2000/586/JHA, are on the list of 133 notified to Parliament on 21 December 2011 as part of the decision to be made on whether we accept

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European Court of Justice jurisdiction for pre-Lisbon police and criminal justice measures in 2014. These measures will be reviewed accordingly.

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many alerts under the second generation Schengen Information System for (a) persons wanted for arrest for surrender purposes on the basis of a European Arrest Warrant, (b) missing persons, (c) persons sought to assist with a judicial procedure and (d) objects for seizure or use as evidence in criminal proceedings were (i) issued and (ii) received by the UK authorities in each year since 2008. [116284]

Damian Green: None. The second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) is not yet operational.

Vetting: British Nationals Abroad

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will give (a) international schools, (b) orphanages and (c) other such organisations based abroad the ability to access UK criminal records checking procedures to ensure that British sex offenders who apply for work with them cannot gain access to children. [115281]

Lynne Featherstone: Any British resident is able to obtain their own basic certificate by applying to either Disclosure Scotland or Access Northern Ireland. Such certificates will provide individuals' unspent convictions, including conditional cautions. For organisations that are based outside the United Kingdom but have sponsor schools, associate schools or UK offices (such as Save the Children and UNICEF) which are able to ask the question relating to convictions in the UK and show that eligibility exists under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA) (Exceptions) Order 1975, applications may be made to the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) for standard or enhanced certificates.

In phase 2 of her review of the criminal record regime in England and Wales (“A Common Sense Approach”), Mrs Sunita Mason, the Independent Advisor for Criminality Information Management, made a recommendation that would allow

“British residents to obtain a standard CRB certificate when applying for a post abroad that would be excepted from the ROA if it was in the UK, and providing for a check of the barred list to be made where it would have amounted to regulated activity”.

We have asked Mrs Mason to consider this issue further and provide us with more detailed advice before we decide how to respond to this recommendation.

Victim Support Schemes

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what budget she plans to allocate to police and crime commissioners in each area to cover the costs of commissioning support services for victims. [115681]

Mr Blunt: On 2 July 2012 the Government announced in our response to the consultation “Getting it Right for Victims and Witnesses” that by 2015, police and crime commissioners will be responsible for commissioning the bulk of victims' services. There is more work to be done before we can say how much will be allocated to each area.

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Women and Equalities

Homosexuality: Marriage

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what assurances she has given to faith groups and religious organisations that there is no risk of successful legal challenge for refusing to conduct a same-sex religious marriage. [116232]

Lynne Featherstone: The consultation on enabling same-sex couples to have a civil marriage ceremony closed on 14 June 2012.

We recognise the vital role religious organisations have in our society and the role that religious organisations have in marriage. No faith group or religious organisation will be forced to hold marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples as a result of our proposals.

As part of the consultation, both Ministers and officials engaged with a variety of organisations to understand their views, and these will be reflected in the Government response, which will be published by the end of the year

Culture, Media and Sport

BBC

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will take steps to ascertain how much money the BBC has spent on (a) personal development and (b) anger management courses for staff from 2008 to date; and what the title and content of each such course was. [116135]

Mr Vaizey: The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt), will not be seeking this information from the BBC. This is a matter for the BBC, and my hon. Friend may wish to consider writing directly to the BBC to seek the information he requires. Under the terms of the BBC Charter, the BBC is independent of Government and there is no provision for Government to intervene in the BBC's day-to-day editorial and operational matters.

The BBC Trust has a duty to ensure the BBC achieves the highest standards of value for money for its licence fee funding.

BBC: Pay

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with the BBC Trust on reducing the salary of the Director-General. [115953]

Mr Vaizey: I have had no such discussions. The appointment of the Director-General is a matter for the BBC Trust and the Government would not seek to intervene.

The BBC Trust has a duty to achieve the highest standards of value for money for its licence fee funding.

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Lost Working Days

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what the average number of working days lost per person was in his Department in each of the last three years. [115294]

John Penrose: The average number of working days lost per person through paid and unpaid absence in each of the last three years can be found in the following table.

 Average Number of Days Lost

2009-10

6.1

2010-11

5.2

2011-12

6

Olympic Games 2012

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many official Olympic and Paralympic pre-games training camp agreements have been made in Scotland; and how the host areas will benefit from such agreements. [115989]

Hugh Robertson: Four pre-games training camp (PGTC) agreements have been confirmed. Scotland will be welcoming teams from Zambia (Glasgow), Cameroon (Aberdeen), the US Virgin Isles (Stirling) and Cuba (Glasgow) as they prepare for the Olympics and, in the case of the Cubans, the Paralympic games.

PGTCs will provide an opportunity to promote local areas, creating economic benefits, including inward investment, through the international attention that will follow. In addition, local communities will benefit from establishing or strengthening cultural links with the countries whose athletes are training nearby, including through organising events during “Host a Nation Week” (16 to 22 July 2012).

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many Scottish businesses have won contracts to provide products or services for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics; and what the total value is of those contracts. [116110]

Hugh Robertson: The Olympic Delivery Authority publishes regular updates on the London 2012 Olympic games. Its latest figures show that over £33 million worth of contracts have been awarded to 30 businesses in Scotland. These figures include Barr Construction in Paisley and Euro Pools in Glasgow. This is in addition to a vast number of business opportunities within the supply chain.

Television: Licensing

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, with reference to the answer of 5 March 2012, Official Report, column 496W, on television: licensing, if he will make it his policy that his Department should oversee the BBC's arrangements for collecting the licence fee in regards to (a) the number of employees of TV Licensing, (b) the cost of employing such workers (i)

10 July 2012 : Column 130W

at TV Licence centres and (ii) in total and (iii) the location and number of TV Licence centres. [116134]

Mr Vaizey: The Government have no intention of overseeing the BBC's arrangements. Under the terms of the BBC Charter, the BBC Trust is responsible for ensuring that the arrangements for the collection of the licence fee are efficient, appropriate and proportionate. The BBC is independent of Government and there is no provision for the Government to intervene.

Tourism

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what the value was to the (a) UK and (b) Scottish economy of revenues generated by visitors from Japan holding tourist visas during the (i) period May 1997 to May 2010 and (ii) latest period for which figures are available. [116401]

John Penrose: The Department does not record this information. However, VisitBritain advises that the International Passenger Survey, conducted by the Office for National Statistics, provides the following data about the value to the UK economy of Japanese tourists. Due to the way in which statistics are recorded, we are unable to provide the information in the exact format requested.

(a) (i) From 1997 to 2010 (year from January) total spend by Japanese holiday visitors was £1,663 million,

(ii) In 2011, total spend by Japanese holiday visitors was £86 million.

(b) (i) Data from 1997 to 2002 are not available. From 2002 to 2010 total spend by Japanese holiday visitors in Scotland was £61 million,

(ii) In 2011, total spend by Japanese holiday visitors in Scotland was £7 million.

We have defined Japanese tourists as Japanese residents visiting the UK on holiday. This does not include Japanese residents visiting friends/relatives, on business or studying.

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the number of jobs within the (a) UK and (b) Scottish visitor economy which were supported by revenue generated by Japanese tourist visas in the latest period for which figures are available. [116402]

John Penrose: VisitBritain estimates that the revenue generated by Japanese holiday visitors in 2011 supported 2,150 jobs throughout the UK, of which 175 were in Scotland.

We have defined Japanese tourists as Japanese residents visiting the UK on holiday. This does not include Japanese residents visiting friends/relatives, on business or studying.

Work Experience

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many interns work in his Department's press office. [115939]

John Penrose: No interns work in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's press office.

10 July 2012 : Column 131W

Treasury

Air Passenger Duty

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department plans to introduce a two-tier rate of air passenger duty; and if he will make a statement. [116054]

Miss Chloe Smith: Changes to the structure of air passenger duty were considered as part of last year's APD consultation, launched at Budget 2011. The Government's response, published on 6 December 2011, can be found online here:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/2011budget_airpassenger.htm

Bank Services

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) representations he has received from and (b) discussions he has had with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance in the Scottish Government on the IT systems failure in (i) Royal Bank of Scotland, (ii) NatWest and (iii) Ulster Bank. [116322]

Mr Hoban: The Chancellor of the Exchequer and I have spoken to a variety of people about the IT systems failure in (i) Royal Bank of Scotland, (ii) NatWest and (iii) Ulster Bank. The Royal Bank of Scotland has committed to carrying out a full and detailed investigation into the causes of the problem, overseen by independent experts, and to publish the findings.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people in Scotland who have been affected by the recent bank system errors in (i) Royal Bank of Scotland, (ii) NatWest and (iii) Ulster Bank. [116323]

Mr Hoban: The Government have no estimate of how many people in Scotland have been affected by the recent bank system errors in (i) Royal Bank of Scotland, (ii) NatWest and (iii) Ulster Bank. The Royal Bank of Scotland has committed to carrying out a full and detailed investigation into the causes of the problem, overseen by independent experts, and to publish the findings.

It is a condition of a bank's licence that it has adequate internal control mechanisms and effective procedures to identify, manage and report on any risks to which it might be exposed.

The application of the rules is a matter for the regulator, the Financial Services Authority. The regulator has set out specific requirements in its handbook for regulated firms relating to internal systems and controls. The handbook has statutory force.

Child Care Tax Credit

Elizabeth Truss: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the cost to the Exchequer of (a) fraud and (b) error relating to the child care element of the working tax credit in the most recent year for which figures are available; what steps his Department is taking to address such fraud; and if he will make a statement. [112995]

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Mr Gauke: The amount of error and fraud relating to the child care element of working tax credits is found in table 9 of HMRC's publication “Child and Working Tax Credits Error and Fraud Statistics” available here:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtcredits-error1011.pdf

In 2010-11, the estimated amount of error and fraud favouring the claimant in misreporting child care costs was £265 million.

Of this, approximately £5 million was fraud and £260 million was error. The personal tax credits error and fraud strategy was introduced in April 2009, based on the principle of “Check first, Then Pay”. In 2011-12 156,000 cases were reviewed as part of HMRC's prevent, maintain and cleanse activity.

Estimates published on 20 June 2012 indicate that HMRC has reduced the personal tax credits child care risk from £390 million in 2008-09 to £265 million in 2010-11.

Experian

Jessica Morden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax credit recipients (a) are appealing and (b) have (i) successfully and (ii) unsuccessfully appealed decisions which were made based on data supplied by Experian since this system was introduced. [112776]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 19 June 2012]: Since HMRC has made use of Experian, the Tax Credit Office has looked at 24,299 awards and received 2,013 appeals against decisions which were made using this additional data.

Of those appeals, 248 decisions have been made to date, of which:

80 were revisions in favour of the appellant;

83 were not changed; and

85 have been passed to the first-tier tribunal.

Financial Services Authority

Sandra Osborne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider (a) publishing, (b) requiring the Financial Services Authority to publish and (c) requiring the successor bodies to the Financial Services Authority to publish details of meetings with external stakeholders within one working day of the meeting having taken place. [116302]

Mr Hoban: Details of meetings that Ministers have with external stakeholders are published on a quarterly basis on the Treasury's website under the Government's transparency agenda.

The Government have no plans to require the Financial Services Authority and its successor bodies to publish details of meetings with external stakeholders within one working day. There are sound public policy reasons for this: those who provide information to a regulator must be able to feel confident that the confidentiality of the information will be respected. Requiring the regulators to make details of all stakeholder meetings public may mean stakeholders become less willing to come forward with information.

10 July 2012 : Column 133W

Infrastructure

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward the timing of public low-carbon infrastructure investment in order to encourage economic growth. [116233]

Miss Chloe Smith: The Government are already investing in infrastructure, providing £2.4 billion for the regional growth fund, £770 million for the Growing Places fund and £570 million for the Get Britain Building fund. We have provided £3 billion allocated for the Green Investment Bank and allocated £200 million at the 2011 autumn statement to provide incentives for early take-up of the Green Deal.

LIBOR

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has had discussions with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in Scotland on LIBOR; and when he was made aware that COPFS was investigating complaints regarding the activities of banks in relation to LIBOR. [116321]

Mr Hoban: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings and discussions with a wide variety of authorities as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings and discussions. Furthermore, the Government will not say or do anything that might prejudge or pre-empt the outcome of investigations into the attempted manipulation of LIBOR and other benchmarks.

National Infrastructure Plan

Gordon Banks: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many of the projects identified in the National Infrastructure Plan had commenced by 1 July 2012. [115831]

Danny Alexander [holding answer 9 July 2012]: The National Infrastructure Plan 2011 identified a substantial pipeline of planned investment in UK infrastructure, including over 500 projects and programmes worth in excess of £250 billion. Almost two thirds of the expected investment to 2015 will be privately funded, so this is quite rightly not a centrally managed process.

The Government are ensuring that all Departments play their part in tackling delays and addressing key commercial and policy issues associated with the priority infrastructure investments identified in the National Infrastructure Plan. I chair a Cabinet Sub-Committee on infrastructure to provide a focus to this work.

An update on the progress made on these infrastructure investments was published alongside this year's Budget and the Treasury will be publishing a further progress update around the time of the autumn statement.

Public Expenditure

John Healey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the speech by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury of 23 April 2012 at the

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Institute for Fiscal Studies, when he will make public the areas of his Department's resource budget he has identified for possible re-prioritisation; and when he plans to report to the Education Select Committee on the outcome of this exercise. [115108]

Miss Chloe Smith: The Department is working with the Treasury to agree contingency plans as set out in “Improving Spending Control”:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/improving_spending_control.pdf

Plans and options for re-prioritisation will not be published. They should be “live” plans that are reassessed and updated on an on going basis.

Staff: Scotland

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people employed in Scotland by each public body for which his Department is responsible. [115416]

Miss Chloe Smith: As at 31 March 2012, the following staff were employed in Scotland by bodies responsible to the Chancellor of the Exchequer;

DepartmentStaff employed in Scotland

HMRC

9,839 (8,631.23(1))

NS&I

5 (4.6(1))

(1 )full time equivalent

There are no other staff employed in Scotland by HM Treasury, its agencies or other public bodies.

Swap Loan Agreements

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with banks over the marketing of swap loan agreements. [115921]

Mr Hoban [holding answer 9 July 2012]:Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings and discussions with a wide variety of authorities as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings and discussions. Furthermore, the Government will not say or do anything that might prejudge or pre-empt the outcome of investigations into the attempted manipulation of LIBOR and other benchmarks.

VAT

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy not to increase the five per cent VAT rate for insulation, solar panels and other energy saving and renewable energy technologies installed on domestic properties; what recent discussions he has had with (a) the European Commission on energy saving goods and Annex III of the VAT Directive and (b) the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on the effect of an increased VAT rate on energy saving materials for the success of the Green Deal policy; and if he will make a statement. [R] [115577]

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Mr Gauke: The UK believes that the reduced rate on energy saving materials is allowed under the principal VAT directive. The European Commission has, however, launched infraction proceedings against the reduced rate. We will study the Commission's arguments carefully and respond in due course.

I have had no recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the right hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr Davey), about this matter.

Welfare Tax Credits: Scotland

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the total number of people in Scotland in receipt of (a) working tax credit and (b) child tax credit; [115417]

(2) what estimate he has made of the total monetary value of tax credit spending in Scotland. [115418]

Mr Gauke: The HMRC snapshot publication “Personal Tax Credits: Provisional Statistics—Geographical Statistics” contains data on the number of families in receipt of tax credits and the April 2012 publication can be found here:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-geog-stats.htm

Table 2 has this information by country.

Transport

Driving Under Influence: Drugs

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration the expert panel on drug driving plans to give to the position of people taking stable doses of legitimately prescribed opioid- based medicines for long-term pain relief in the event that the detection device shows a positive test; and if she will make a statement. [116109]

Mike Penning: The expert panel is considering opioids as a family of controlled drugs, because some of the scientific issues are common to this family of drugs, which includes both heroin and medicinally used drugs. The Government's prime policy deliberation in considering opioids is to reduce the risk to public safety on the roads posed by drivers who have taken illicit substances such as heroin.

However, medically supplied opioids may be proposed for inclusion in the new offence if they pose a major road safety problem. Alternatively, it may be that the evidence indicates that it would be more appropriate to continue to rely on the driving impairment offence.

Fishing Vessels: Radio

Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the proportion of fishing vessels and small crafts in each constituent part of the UK using digital selective calling. [116324]

Mike Penning: My Department has not made any estimate of digital selective calling (DSC) usage by

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fishing vessels and small craft because the move to emergency alerting arrangements using DSC is required under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

It is the personal responsibility of all those that go to sea to ensure that they have the appropriate communications facilities available to contact Her Majesty's Coastguard in the event of an emergency, taking account of where they are.

There are around 5,600 UK vessels licensed for fishing, of which 680 are over 15 metres in overall length and therefore required to carry DSC radio. The others are required to carry a fixed (DSC) VHF radio or handheld. When operating over 30 miles from land, carrying additional DSC equipment is strongly recommended.

Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) independent and (b) internal assessments of risk her Department has commissioned on the ban on using 2182 kHz as the medium frequency distress, alerting and calling frequency. [116325]

Mike Penning: My Department has not carried out any independent or internal assessment of risks because the move to emergency alerting arrangements using digital selective calling (DSC) is required under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

The United Kingdom adopted the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) in 1999. At that time 2182 kHz ceased to be the medium for the initial transmission of Distress Urgency and Safety (DUS) alerts, although ships and shore stations were obliged to continue a listening watch on 2182 kHz until 1 January 2002. There is no ban on the use of radio telephony on 2182 kHz when used for communications subsequent to the initial DUS alert using the DSC system on 2187.5 kHz.

Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) independent and (b) internal assessments of risk her Department has commissioned on the ability of small craft and fishing vessel fleets in each constituent part of the UK to exclusively use the digital selective calling system for emergency calls rather than using the 2182 kHz frequency. [116326]

Mike Penning: My Department has not carried out any independent or internal assessment of risks because the move to emergency alerting arrangements using digital selective calling (DSC) is required under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

With the introduction of Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) in 1999, 2182 kHz ceased to be the medium for the initial transmission of Distress Urgency and Safety (DUS) alerts. To allow the fishing industry to acquire the appropriate equipment, Her Majesty's Coastguard advised mariners that Maritime and Rescue Co-ordination Centres would continue to provide a 2182 kHz loud speaker listening watch until 31 May 2002.

With the introduction of updated radio technology, Her Majesty's Coastguard's ability to maintain a listening watch on 2182 kHz was finally removed in December

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2011. It is the personal responsibility of all those who go to sea to ensure that they have the appropriate communications facilities available to contact Her Majesty's Coastguard in the event of an emergency, taking account of where they are.

Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much (a) her Department and (b) HM Coastguard have spent on updating medium frequency radio equipment. [116327]

Mike Penning: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has spent £1.46 million on updating medium frequency radio equipment.

Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether her Department carried out any consultations with the devolved Administrations on shifting emergency calls from distress, alerting and calling frequency 2182 kHz to the digital select calling system. [116328]

Mike Penning: Maritime search and rescue is not a devolved matter. Communications with mariners, whether professional or recreational, are carried out using recognised national and international procedures.

Government Car and Despatch Agency

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many drivers are (a) retained for the Government Car Service and (b) forecast to be retained for 2013 and onwards. [114996]

Mike Penning [holding answer 5 July 2012]: The information is as follows:

(a) The Government Car Service currently has 75 drivers as at the end of June 2012.

(b) The number of drivers retained by 31 March 2013 is expected to decrease but exact numbers are dependent on finalising customer requirements for the new Government Car Service.

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the budget is for the Government Car Service in each year to 2015. [114997]

Mike Penning [holding answer 5 July 2012]: The budget for the Government Car Service for the current financial year is an expenditure of £4.309 million. By way of comparison, the budget for 2009-10 was expenditure of £10.680 million. Budget information for 2013-14 and 2014-15 is not available.

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many cars the Government Car Service will retain in each year from 2012 to 2014. [114998]

Mike Penning [holding answer 5 July 2012]: By the end of March 2013 the Government Car Service will have reduced the number of cars in the fleet to 90 cars, a reduction of 136 vehicles from the 226 cars at May 2010. It is expected that this number will remain constant through 2013-14.

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High Speed 2 Railway Line

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by what date she anticipates that all the recommendations in the Major Project Authority's report into High Speed 2 will be delivered; and if she will make a statement. [115466]

Justine Greening [holding answer 6 July 2012]: The recommendations provided by the MPA in its review of November 2011 have either been met or are on track to be met by the time the hybrid Bill is deposited.

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the red-amber warning given in the Major Project Authority's report into High Speed 2 will delay the agreed delivery timescale for the HS2 project; and if she will make a statement. [115467]

Justine Greening: [holding answer 6 July 2012]: No.

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the red-amber warning given in the Major Project Authority's report on High Speed 2 will lead to an increase in overall HS2 project costs; and if she will make a statement. [115468]

Justine Greening [holding answer 6 July 2012]: No.

London Airports

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment she has made of the collective international aviation connectivity of the five main London airports. [115879]

Mrs Villiers: London is currently one of the best connected cities in the world. In December last year, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published “Aviation policy for the consumer”. It contains an assessment of the current aviation connectivity of London and the UK. For example, Figure 6 of the document shows that, taken together, the five main London airports serve more routes than any other European city.

We intend to publish a call for evidence on maintaining the UK's international aviation connectivity, which will be informed by statistics on the international aviation connectivity of UK airports, including the CAA's assessment.

“Aviation policy for the consumer” can be found on the CAA website, here:

http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/589/CAA_InsightNote1_Aviation_Policy_For_The_Consumer.pdf

Railways: Concessions

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many members of the armed forces are eligible for the HM armed forces railcard. [116217]

Mrs Villiers: All HM forces personnel, spouses and dependent children aged 16 or 17 are eligible for a HM forces railcard.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average annual cost to her Department is of a HM armed forces railcard; and how much she estimates the HM armed forces railcard scheme will cost in each year of the comprehensive spending review period. [116218]

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Mrs Villiers: There is no cost to the Department in relation to the HM forces railcard as this is a commercial matter between the train operators and the Ministry of Defence.

Roads: Accidents

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information her Department holds on the number of road traffic accidents where the cause of the accident was attributed to the driver having a hypoglycaemic attack in each of the last five years. [116252]

Mike Penning: Information on the number of road traffic accidents where the cause of the accident was attributed to the driver having had a hypoglycaemic attack is not recorded.

Roads: Safety

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road safety management teams have been (a) disbanded and (b) reduced in staff numbers in the last two years. [116193]

Mike Penning: The Department for Transport does not collect information about the numbers and sizes of local authorities' road safety management teams. Local authorities have statutory duties related to road safety, but the decisions about how many staff are necessary and whether staff are employed directly or not are for local authorities.

The Government recognise that local communities have a central role in making roads as safe as they can be. We have therefore changed the way funding support is provided to give local authorities more freedom to assess and act on their own priorities. We have also provided a new local sustainable transport fund and from April 2013 there will be more funding associated with the transfer of responsibilities for public health to local authorities.

Rolling Stock: Procurement

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason her Department moved the commitment to complete the commercial arrangements for the delivery of the Intercity Express Programme from being an action in the main Structural Reform Plan in its May 2011 Business Plan to being an additional departmental action in Annex B of its May 2012 Business Plan. [116213]

Mrs Villiers: In line with Cabinet Office guidance, the main Structural Reform Plan is now more strongly focussed on the actions we will undertake to implement our major structural reforms. In light of that guidance, we have consolidated some initiatives into higher level actions, retaining the lower level milestones in the annexes.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what date she expects all the rolling stock and infrastructure for the Intercity Express Programme on the East Coast Main line to have been delivered; and for what reason the May 2012 update to her

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Department's Business Plan removed the reference to this being completed by the end of 2018. [116214]

Mrs Villiers: The Department is planning for all the rolling stock and infrastructure for IEP services on the East Coast Main Line to be delivered by May 2019.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what date she expects all the rolling stock and infrastructure for the Intercity Express Programme on the Great Western Main line to have been delivered; and for what reason the May 2012 update to her Department's business plan removed the reference to this being completed by the end of 2017. [116215]

Mrs Villiers: The Department is planning for all the rolling stock and infrastructure for IEP services on the Great Western Main Line to be delivered by July 2018.