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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 16 July 2012

Work and Pensions

Employment and Support Allowance

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average waiting time is for examination of claimants of employment support allowance in (a) Wrexham, (b) Wales and (c) the UK. [109782]

Chris Grayling: Information on the duration of the assessment phase for claimants of employment and support allowance in the UK is already published and can be found at:

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/index.php?page=adhoc_analysis_2011_q4

Regional and local authority breakdowns of the information are not readily available and have not previously been published as official statistics. We will consider whether it is feasible to produce the statistics requested within the disproportionate cost limit and, if so, will issue them in an official statistics release in accordance with he code of practice for official statistics.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will ensure that employment and support allowance claim forms make clear to claimants that they are able to request a recording of their work capability assessment. [117419]

Chris Grayling: We currently have no plans to include this information in the ESA50 form.

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 been (a) referred to the Work programme and (b) attached to the Work programme since June 2011. [114673]

Chris Grayling: The number of Work programme referrals and attachments from the work-related activity group of employment and support allowance from 1 June 2011 to 31 January 2012 is shown in the following table:

Customer groupReferralsAttachments

ESA work related activity group

47,880

40,120

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Notes: 1. Figures are cumulative and rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Referrals shown are ‘net’ referrals which do not include rejections, cancellations or referrals to ESA information sessions. 3. Attachments: The date of the first engagement activity between the provider and the participant as recorded on the payment administrative system. 4. Customer groups are assigned by Jobcentre Plus, on the basis of a claimant's circumstances, and benefit they receive. A small number of claimants appear in an incorrect group caused by the way information is recorded on the administrative system. More detailed information can be found at: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wp-pg-chapter-2.pdf Source: DWP Information, Governance and Security Directorate (IGS)

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 employment support and been (a) referred to the Work programme and (b) attached to the Work programme since June 2011. [114674]

Chris Grayling: The number of Work programme referrals and attachments from the support group of employment and support allowance from 1 June 2011 to 31 January 2012 is shown in the following table:

Customer groupReferralsAttachments

ESA support group

320

260

Notes: 1. Figures are cumulative and rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Referrals shown are 'net' referrals which do not include rejections, cancellations or referrals to ESA information sessions. 3. Attachments: The date of the first engagement activity between the provider and the participant as recorded on the payment administrative system. 4. Customer groups are assigned by Jobcentre Plus, on the basis of a claimant's circumstances, and benefit they receive. A small number of claimants appear in an incorrect group caused by the way information is recorded on the administrative system. 5. More detailed information can be found at: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wp-pg-chapter-2.pdf 6. ESA support group customers will have volunteered to enter the Work programme. Source: DWP Information, Governance and Security Directorate (IGS)

Housing Benefit

Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total cost of (a) housing benefit and (b) local housing allowance payments for the (i) social rented sector and (ii) private sector was in the most recent period for which figures are available. [117516]

Steve Webb: The total cost of (a) housing benefit for 2010-11 split into social sector expenditure and private rented sector expenditure is published at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/budget_2012_2205.xls#' Housing_Benefit'!A1

Figures for 2011-12 will be added in September 2012.

The total cost of (b) local housing allowance payments in 2010-11 was £6,358 million; this is all private rented sector expenditure. Figures for 2011-12 will be published on 20( )July 2012 in the benefit expenditure outturn tables at:

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

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to include foster children in the allocation of bedrooms to families that are claiming housing benefit. [117613]

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Steve Webb: There are no plans to include foster children in the allocation of bedrooms within housing benefit for private or social rented sector properties: We announced during passage of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 an additional £30 million to the Discretionary Housing Payment fund from 2013-14, which includes £5 million aimed specifically at foster carers where they have difficulty meeting any shortfall, in their housing benefit because of the introduction of size criteria into the social rented sector.

Housing Benefit: Monmouthshire

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people aged under 25 receive housing benefit in (a) Newport and (b) Monmouthshire. [117467]

Steve Webb: The requested information is provided in the following table.

Housing benefit recipients aged under 25 in the Newport and Monmouthshire localauthorities, March 2012
Local authorityNumber of recipients

Newport

1,340

Monmouthshire

340

Notes: 1. The data refers to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple. 2. Recipients are as at the second Thursday of the month. 3. This data incorporates the local authority changes from 1 April 2009. 4. SHBE is a monthly electronic scan of claimant level data direct from local authority computer systems. It replaces quarterly aggregate clerical returns. The data are available monthly from November 2008, and March 2012 is the most recent available. 5. Caseloads are rounded to the nearest 10. 6. Age groups are based on the age on the count date (second Thursday in the month), of either: (a) the recipient if they are single, or (b) the elder of the recipient or partner if claiming as a couple. Source: Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE).

National Insurance Contributions

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of people of working age have 10 qualifying years for contributory benefits out of the last 14 years. [117418]

Chris Grayling: The information requested is not available.

Pensioners: Poverty

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of pensioners living in poverty in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland, (c) England, (d) Wales, (e) Northern Ireland and (f) South Lanarkshire. [117440]

Steve Webb: Estimates of pensioner poverty are published in the Households Below Average Income series. The most commonly used measure of pensioner poverty relates to those people with income below 60% of contemporary median income, After Housing Costs. This is often referred to as relative poverty.

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The smallest geographical breakdown available for the overall numbers in poverty is at Government Office Region level. Therefore, information is not available for (f) South Lanarkshire, but is available for the other parts of the question.

Three-year averages are used to report regional statistics as single-year estimates are subject to volatility.

The information is already published and can be found in Table 6.11ts (on page 238) of the Households Below Average Income series published at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/hbai/hbai2011/index.php? page=contents

(ISBN 978-1-78153-046-7)

Single year figures for the United Kingdom can be found in Table 6.3tr (on page 208).

Social Security Benefits

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate his Department has made of the amount of (a) tax credits that housing benefit claimants are eligible for but do not take up and (b) housing benefit that tax credit claimants are eligible for but do not take up; and if he will make a statement. [117045]

Steve Webb: No estimate has been made of the amount of tax credits that housing benefit claimants are eligible for but do not take up and housing benefit that tax credit claimants are eligible for but do not take up.

The Income Related Benefits: Estimates of Take-up report covers Great Britain for the financial year 2009-10. It provides case load and expenditure estimates of take-up for income support and employment and support allowance (income-related), pension credit, housing benefit (including local housing allowance), council tax benefit and jobseeker's allowance (income-based). The latest release updates the statistics previously released on 10 June 2010. The figures are available online and can be found here:

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

Estimates of take-up for tax credits are produced by HMRC, the latest estimates cover the period 2009-10 and are available online, they can be found here:

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

Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many assessments have been conducted at the Exeter Assessment centre by Atos by (a) home local authority area of the assessed, (b) total number of working-age adults in each such area and (c) proportion of the total number of working-age adults assessed in each such area in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [116830]

Chris Grayling: The following table shows the number of people assessed for ESA (both initial and repeat assessments) at the Exeter assessment centre between December 2010 and November 2011, the latest 12 month period available, by their home local authority area.

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Initial and repeat ESA assessments at Exeter assessment centre between December 2010 and November 2011 by home local authority area
Home local authority areaNumber of assessments

Torbay

830

Cornwall

20

East Devon

400

Exeter

570

Mid Devon

250

North Devon

10

South Hams

10

Teignbridge

510

West Devon

70

West Dorset

10

Other

90

Total

2,770

Notes: 1. The figures are derived from administrative data held by the Department for Work and Pensions and assessment data provided by Atos Healthcare. 2. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Hence totals may not sum exactly. 3. The figures cover initial and repeat ESA assessments. IB reassessment figures are excluded. 4. The ‘other’ figure includes those cases where the home local authority is not known and cases where the claimant is from a local authority with less than 5 cases processed at this centre.

The information for parts (b) and (c) is already published and can be found at

http://www.nomisweb.co.uk/

Universal Credit

Yvonne Fovargue: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether credit unions will retain the ability to recover a delinquent loan before a benefit is paid to a claimant under his proposals for universal credit; and whether a credit union will be able to recover a delinquent loan in the name of a partner of the member of the household who is paid universal credit. [116991]

Steve Webb: It is proposed that the current rules which provide a facility for eligible lenders to apply to the Department for Work and Pensions for deductions to be made from a claimant's benefit, to repay an eligible loan, will continue in universal credit.

Universal credit will be claimed jointly by a couple. Therefore in a joint claim a deduction may be made for arrears of an eligible loan where either member of that couple is responsible for repaying the loan.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether (a) in-work credit, (b) return to work credit, (c) housing benefit run-on and (d) job grants will be factored into the amounts protected under transitional protection on implementation of universal credit. [117417]

Chris Grayling: As announced by the Minister with responsibility for disabled people, my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Maria Miller), in her written statement of 12 July 2012, Official Report, columns 65-66WS, on in-work credit, return to work credit and job grant will start to be phased out for new benefit claimants from October 2012.

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Transitional protection in universal credit will apply to claimants where there has been no change of circumstances and the Department chooses to transfer a household from legacy benefits to universal credit. We expect this process to commence from autumn 2014. The majority of payments of in-work credit, return to work credit and job grant, should have come to an end before this point.

Housing benefit run-on will continue to be available for as long as housing benefit remains in payment in the transition to universal credit.

Further details on the provision of transitional protection in universal credit, including how it will be affected by a receipt of in-work credit, return to work credit, job grant or housing benefit run-on, will be provided in the autumn.

Work Capability Assessment

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 20 February 2012, Official Report, column 666-7W, on work capability assessment, how many people waited longer than 13 weeks to undergo the work capability assessment in 2011, by month. [107229]

Chris Grayling: The information is not readily available and has not previously been published as official statistics. We will consider whether it is feasible to produce the statistics requested within the disproportionate cost limit, and if so, will issue them in an official statistics release in accordance with the code of practice for official statistics.

Mark Reckless: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of Atos work capability assessments for employment and support allowance were appealed against in each region in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of those appeals were successful. [108745]

Chris Grayling: The Department only holds information on appeals once they have been heard by HM Courts and Tribunals Service. A regional breakdown of the information is not readily available and has not previously been published as official statistics. We will consider whether it is feasible to produce the statistics requested within the disproportionate cost limit and, if so, will issue them in an official statistics release in accordance with the code of practice for official statistics.

Culture, Media and Sport

Broadband: Kent

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 9 July 2012, Official Report, column 2W, on broadband: Kent, whether the £9.87 million allocated to north Kent for the delivery of superfast broadband is for the whole of the county of Kent or only for north Kent. [117257]

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Mr Vaizey: I can confirm that £9.87 million was allocated to the whole of Kent for the delivery of superfast broadband. It was agreed that this amount would be matched by Kent county council.

Mobile Phones: Fees and Charges

Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) if he will assess the financial effect of harmonising mobile roaming charges on the domestic mobile phone industry; [117346]

(2) if his Department will assess the feasibility of setting up an all-Ireland tariff for mobile and land line telephone calls. [117347]

Mr Vaizey: Mobile roaming charges are subject to European regulation and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport has no powers in regard to these; therefore, there are no plans to conduct an assessment of the financial effect of harmonising or the feasibility of setting up an all-Ireland tariff for mobile and land line telephone calls. Monitoring and enforcement of the roaming regulations is carried out by national regulatory authorities (in this case Ofcom and ComReg).

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is aware that certain operators have taken measures to reduce the impact on consumers of roaming charges, and particularly charges associated with inadvertent roaming along the Irish border by (for example) introducing an “all Ireland” tariff for consumers south of the border.

Roaming charges will continue to reduce significantly as the downward glide path of the price caps contained in the new European Roaming III Regulation, (which came into effect on 1 July 2012) bring roaming charges much closer to those incurred when using mobile networks at home. In addition we expect that the new measures on structural solutions contained in the regulation that are designed to encourage increased and sport competition in the mobile roaming market will bring about mobile roaming costs significantly below the price caps contained in the regulation.

Ofcom

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what the full-time equivalent headcount of Ofcom was, by department, in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11, (c) 2011-12 and (d) 2012-13. [117606]

Mr Vaizey: The information requested has been provided by Ofcom and is set out in the following tables:

FTE per groups/departments—2009
Groups/departmentsPermanent staffExternal staffTotal

Content, International and Regulatory

73

1

74

CEO

3

3

Competition Policy

125

4

129

Communications and Public Affairs

17

17

Legal, International, Nations, Regions and Secretariat

108

108

Operations Group

323

25

348

Panel and Boards

83

83

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Strategy and Market Developments

109

109

Spectrum Policy Group

124

5

129

Technology

6

6

Grand total FTE

888

118

1,006

FTE per groups/departments—2010
Groups/departmentsPermanent staffExternal staffTotal

Communications and Public Affairs

19

19

Competition Policy

124

3

127

Content, International and Regulatory

87

1

88

Legal, International, Nations, Regions and Secretariat

86

2

88

Operations Group

312

28

340

Panel and Boards

72

72

Spectrum Policy Group

123

4

127

Strategy and Market Developments

102

4

106

Strategy Chief Economist and Technology

6

4

10

Grand total FTE

859

118

977

FTE per groups/departments—2011
Groups/departmentsPermanent staffExternal staffTotal

Competition Policy

111

3

114

Consumer Group

67

4

71

Content, International and Regulatory

132

1

133

Lawyers

43

43

Operations Group

281

45

326

Panel and Boards

61

61

Spectrum Clearance and Award Programme

2

2

Spectrum Policy Group

99

7

106

Strategy Chief Economist and Technology

32

4

36

Grand total FTE

767

125

892

FTE per groups/departments—2012
Groups/departmentsPermanent staffExternal staffTotal

Competition Group

125

3

128

Consumer Group

71

6

77

Content, international and Regulatory

138

5

143

Lawyers

40

40

Operations Group

295

56

351

Panel and Boards

62

62

Spectrum Clearance and Award Programme

14

14

Spectrum Policy Group

94

8

102

Strategy Chief Economist and Technology

40

4

44

Grand total FTE

817

144

961

Olympic Games 2012

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many Olympic contracts at Tier 1 level have been awarded to companies in (a) Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, (b) England, by region and (c) foreign countries; and what the value is of the contracts in each category. [117506]

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Hugh Robertson: The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has awarded more than £6.9 billion worth of Tier 1 contracts to 1,605 suppliers. 98% of these contracts were awarded to suppliers based in the UK, generating thousands more sub-contracts throughout the supply chain.

ODA Tier 1 contracts split by region are listed in the following table, as of 3 July 2012.

RegionTotal contracts (£)Number of suppliers

West Midlands

463,506,357

64

East of England

915,654,643

145

East Midlands

274,667,022

44

London

3,836,279,773

799

Northern Ireland

20,896,676

5

North East

20,001,500

25

North West

117,660,093

64

Scotland

33,067,704

30

South East

1,066,524,980

258

South West

18,268,531

69

Wales

4,555,736

(1)18

Yorkshire and Humber

89,769,652

47

Overseas

57,786,966

37

Total

6,918,639,634

1,605

(1) The figure for Wales is boosted due to several large contracts with Government Departments who have carried out work on the ODA’s behalf, and who process payments through service centres in Wales. ODA data reflect the address to which remittances are paid.

The valuable contribution Welsh companies have made to the games can be seen through contracts such as that awarded for the external cladding of the Olympic stadium and the building of the aquatics centre roof. In addition, the Royal Mint will produce around 4,700 victory medals at their headquarters in Llantrisant. It is estimated that around £38 million worth of games-related contracts have been won by businesses based in Wales.

Olympic Games 2012: Kent

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many athletes from (a) Dartford constituency and (b) Kent have been selected to represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics. [117228]

Hugh Robertson: The responsibility for the selection of athletes for the London 2012 Olympic games, that comprise Team GB, rests with the British Olympic Association (BOA), which is independent of Government.

Team GB in London 2012 will consist of 542 athletes, of which 435 are receiving public funding support from UK Sport, the Department’s strategic lead body for performance sport in the UK. Of the 435 publicly funded athletes, UK Sport has advised that seven athletes currently reside in Kent, four of which are in the Dartford constituency.

Sports: VAT

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the introduction of VAT on income from the hire of all-weather sports facilities; and if he will make a statement. [117500]

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Hugh Robertson: No specific discussions have taken place between my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the introduction of VAT on income from the hire of all-weather sports facilities. However, I have written to my hon. Friend the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury about the VAT treatment of commercially operated sports leagues, which would include the operation of all-weather sports facilities.

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the potential effects on his Department's targets for sports participation of the introduction of VAT on hire charges for all-weather sports facilities; and if he will make a statement. [117522]

Hugh Robertson: Neither the Department, nor Sport England, have made a specific assessment of the potential effects on levels of participation in sport by the introduction of VAT on hire charges for all-weather sports facilities. However, we do record participation levels in sport via the Taking Part Survey and Active People Survey. Further information can be found at:

http://www.dcms.gov.uk/what_we_do/research_and_statistics/4828.aspx

and

http://www.sportengland.org/research/active_people_ survey.aspx


Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what information his Department holds on which public bodies have contributed funding to the installation of the all-weather sports facilities that will be required to pay VAT on income from lettings; and if he will make a statement. [117523]

Hugh Robertson: Sport England invest in organisations and projects that will get more people participating in sport and create opportunities for people to excel at their chosen sport. As part of this they would fund all-weather sports facilities. Full details of Sport England funding can be found at the following link:

http://www.sportengland.org/funding/local_spending_data.aspx

Local authorities, schools and other commercial organisations would also fund these types of surfaces.

Subtitling

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent assessment he has made of the compliance of (a) the BBC, (b) ITV and (c) Channel 4 with their requirements in respect of the subtitling of programmes. [117007]

Mr Vaizey: The BBC, Channel 3 licensees and Channel 4 must comply with Ofcom's code relating to the provision of services for the deaf and visually impaired, known as the Code on Television Access Services.

Ofcom monitors compliance with the code. In 2011, Ofcom reported that the provision of access services (subtitling, sighing, and audio description) by broadcasters under the Code on Television Access Services, shows

16 July 2012 : Column 463W

that the BBC had six channels which narrowly missed their 100% subtitling quota by less than 0.2% due to technical and operational outages. Channel 3 licensees and Channel 4 exceeded their quota targets of 90% by broadcasting 98.7% and 99.95% respectively of their programmes with subtitling.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport has made no recent assessment of compliance. However, the broader communications review process, and the ongoing e-Accessibility forum being run by his Department, are opportunities for any issues in this important area to be raised and, where appropriate, addressed.

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment has been made of the effect of the time taken to publish the Communications Green Paper on subtitling for the deaf. [117387]

Mr Vaizey: The Government are considering a range of issues as part of our Communications Review and where necessary it is our intention to legislate in this Parliament. The decision not to publish a Green Paper does not affect this timetable. There are existing statutory requirements on broadcasters to provide subtitling and we are inviting views as to whether and how the current arrangements on subtitling, and wider accessibility measures, can be improved.

VisitEngland

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many staff VisitEngland employs in (a) Yorkshire and Humber, (b) London and the South East and (c) total. [117424]

John Penrose: The Department does not collate this information. Accordingly, I have asked the chief executive of VisitEngland to write directly to my hon. Friend with this information.

Copies of the responses will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what guidance VisitEngland provides to tourist attractions on developing their business. [117425]

John Penrose: VisitEngland is working closely with local areas and destinations, in line with Government's localism agenda, to grow the value of local tourism economies. This is co-ordinated through the National Strategic Framework for Tourism, which includes an action programme developed in consultation with the tourism sector. VisitEngland is currently working with local areas on a campaign to deliver economic growth from the domestic market, and to support employment and job creation.

VisitEngland's Accreditation and Assessment Schemes, including the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS) and the National Accessible Scheme (NAS), help tourism businesses improve and promote their quality, as well as their accessibility and sustainability. Information on these schemes can be found on VisitEngland's website:

16 July 2012 : Column 464W

http://www.visitengland.org/busdev/accreditation/index.aspx

VAQAS uses a network of regional assessors to help to instigate, modify and shape change to the customer experience at visitor attractions across England. NAS is the only scheme that rates the accessibility of visitor accommodation throughout England. The NAS helps accommodation operators improve and promote their true level of accessibility.

VisitEngland also offers an extensive range of business support tools and resources, including the Accommodation Know How website, Quality Edge magazine, and Access Statement and Green Start tools, which provide advice on best practice and developing business.

Attorney-General

Banks

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Attorney-General (1) when he was first advised that the Crown Office and Prosecution Service was conducting investigations into banking conduct in Scotland; [117240]

(2) what discussions he has had with the Crown Office and Prosecution Service in Scotland on its investigation into banking in Scotland; [117241]

(3) whether (a) he and (b) his officials have met the Crown Office and Prosecution Service to discuss its investigation into banking conduct; [117242]

(4) what discussions he and his officials have had with the US Department of Justice and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission on inquiries into banking in Scotland; [117243]

(5) what discussions he has had with (a) the Director of Public Prosecutions and (b) the Attorney-General for England and Wales on inquiries into banking conduct; [117244]

(6) what discussions he and his officials have had with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice in the Scottish Government on the inquiry into banking conduct; [117245]

(7) what discussions he has had with the Lord Advocate on the investigations by the Crown Office and Prosecution Service into banking conduct in Scotland. [117246]

The Attorney-General: The Law Officers and their officials have regular contact with a wide range of authorities including criminal justice partners in Scotland, and discuss a range of issues of mutual interest. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings and discussions.

The Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced on 6 July that the SFO has opened an investigation into allegations of criminal conduct relating to LIBOR and will provide further information in due course.

Crimes of Violence: Females

Stella Creasy: To ask the Attorney-General what categories of data are recorded in the Crown Prosecution Service Case Management System and associated

16 July 2012 : Column 465W

Management Information System on monitoring the management of offences involving violence against women and girls. [117616]

The Attorney-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains a central record, through its Case Management System, of defendant proceedings involving offences of Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) by way of a series of monitoring flags. These include flags for domestic violence, rape, sexual offences, human trafficking, child abuse, so-called 'honour crime' and forced marriage. It is important to note that the monitoring flags are used for victim care and case management purposes. They are therefore entered at the outset of proceedings and remain on the system for the life of the case regardless of any changes made to the charge or indictment. All Official Statistics for the Criminal Justice System are provided by the Ministry of Justice

In addition, the CPS monitors the volume of offences charged and reaching a first hearing in magistrates courts for offences of harassment, prostitution, female genital mutilation, pornography and obscenity. These data are published annually in the CPS VAWG Crime Report available on the CPS website at

http://www.cps.gov.uk/data/violence_against_women/vaw_2010_11_report.html

Police: Surveillance

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Attorney-General pursuant to the answer of 9 July 2012, Official Report, column 12W, on police: surveillance, if at his next discussion with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), he will ask the DPP to provide an estimate of the number of cases where there may have been a miscarriage of justice due to the involvement of undercover police officers; if he will publish any such figure provided to him by the DPP; and if he will make a statement. [117437]

The Solicitor-General: There is nothing further I can add to the response I gave on 9 July 2012, Official Report, column 12W, and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Press Release of 3 July 2012. The CPS will publish any further information in due course.

Home Department

Animal Experiments: Botulinum Toxin

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration she has given to replacing batch tests on botulinum toxin involving animals with validated alternatives used in other countries. [116962]

Lynne Featherstone: The Home Office is aware that a proprietary, cell-based potency assay as an alternative to the LD50 assay has recently been validated and approved outside the United Kingdom for a specific manufacturer’s botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) products in the USA, Canada, Switzerland and the EU. The approval of this alternative potency assay is limited to that manufacturer’s products and does not apply to BoNT products of other manufacturers.

16 July 2012 : Column 466W

BoNT potency assays are product-specific and cannot be directly transferred to BoNT products of other manufacturers without additional validation. An alternative assay for the mouse LD50 assay has to be suitable for the intended purpose (validated) and equivalent to the LD50 assay (cross validated). An alternative assay will also have to comprise relevant BoNT functions and has to be stability indicating.

We are actively encouraging BoNT manufacturers who have expressed a wish to test their products in the UK to develop and validate assays that will reduce the number of animals used, or refine or replace the test procedure with the goal of promoting animal welfare.

Antisocial Behaviour: Young People

David Tredinnick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government is taking to tackle youth antisocial behaviour. [117054]

James Brokenshire: The majority of our young people are law-abiding members of their communities, but a minority engage in antisocial and criminal behaviour that makes victims' lives a misery. The Government's recent White Paper, 'Putting victims first', sets out our plans to support the police and their local partners to protect victims and communities, including by introducing faster, more effective powers to deal with the problem and taking action to deal with underlying drivers such as problem drinking and illicit drug use.

Assaults on Police

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers were assaulted and the offender charged with (a) the offence of assault on a police constable in the execution of their duty and (b) another offence where the victim was a police officer in each of the last three years. [116551]

Nick Herbert: Information collected by the Home Office is on the number of assaults on police officers (headcount). These figures are provided within Table 1, for the last three years. It should be recognised that it may not be appropriate, given the circumstances of a case, to charge a person who has assaulted a police officer with the specific offence of assault on a constable.

Figures are also collected for numbers of defendants proceeded against at magistrates' courts for assault on a constable in England and Wales and they are also contained in Table 2. It is not possible to determine from available figures for prosecutions for other offences whether the victim was a police officer.

Table 1: Number of assaults on police officers, financial years 2008-09 to 2010-11 (headcount)(1, 2)
 Number

2008-09

10,146

2009-10

8,175

2010-11

7,904

(1) Figures are provisional and have not been verified by forces, (2)Source—Home Office using data received from police forces via the Annual Data Requirement.

16 July 2012 : Column 467W

Table 2: Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for assault on a constable(1), England and Wales, calendar years 2009 to 2011(2, 3, 4)
 Number

2009

10,681

2010

10,351

2011

10,845

(1) Includes offences under the Police Act 1996, section 89(1). (2) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is Imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. (4)Sourc—Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice.

Crime: USA

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many crimes were committed by (a) US nationals in the UK and (b) UK nationals in the US in the most recent year for which figures are available. [117235]

Nick Herbert [holding answer 13 July 2012]: The information requested is not available from the police recorded crime statistics collected by the Home Office.

Customs Officers: North East

Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many customs officers have been operating in the North West in each of the last three years. [117171]

Damian Green [holding answer 13 July 2012]: Customs Functions are carried out by Border Force officers. For security reasons Border Force does not provide a detailed breakdown of how many officers perform specific activities.

Border Force North regional staffing figures in June for the last three years are as follows:

June 2012—total staff in post 1,082 (full-time equivalent 1,032)

June 2011—total staff in post 1,078 (full-time equivalent 1,029.03)

June 2010—total staff in post 1,020 (full-time equivalent 1,159.28)

Domestic Violence: West Midlands

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to reduce levels of domestic violence in (a) Coventry and (b) the West Midlands; and what assistance her Department offers to victims of domestic violence. [117365]

Lynne Featherstone: We have funded one independent domestic violence adviser (IDVA) in Coventry, and 15 IDVAs and four Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference co-ordinators (MARACs) across the West Midlands as a whole.

The Government's updated action plan to progress our strategy to End Violence Against Women and Girls was published on 8 March. The action plan has been

16 July 2012 : Column 468W

supported by the Government ring-fencing nearly £40 million of stable funding for specialist local domestic and sexual violence support services until 2015.

Domestic Violence: Young People

Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will have discussions with the Secretary of State for Education on training teachers to (a) teach on issues relating to and (b) identify young people who may be affected by domestic violence. [117340]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government are committed to tackling domestic violence and we will always consider what more can be done to identify and safeguard victims. Discussions at a ministerial level are ongoing via the Inter-Ministerial Group on Violence Against Women and Girls.

Driving Offences: Nottinghamshire

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many motorists were caught speeding in (a) Ashfield constituency and (b) Nottinghamshire in each of the last three years for which figures are available. [117391]

Nick Herbert: Available data held by the Home Office are at police force area level and relate to the number of persons who were issued with fixed penalty notices for speeding in Nottinghamshire police force area. Relevant data are given in the table. Information relating to Ashfield constituency is not collected centrally.

Issuing written warnings is another option for police forces for dealing with those accused of speeding; however Nottinghamshire police do not issue these for motoring offences.

Data for 2011 are scheduled to be published next spring.

The data provided do not cover all instances where people are caught speeding. Data on persons offered speed awareness courses after being caught speeding (introduced in Nottinghamshire in 2010) are not collected centrally. Additionally, data on persons proceeded against at court for speeding are a matter for the Ministry of Justice (who will respond separately). Additionally, some individuals may have been caught speeding more than once during the reporting period, so may appear more than once in the data provided.

Number of fixed penalty notices issued for speeding, Nottinghamshire police force area, 2008-10
Type of disposal200820092010

Fixed penalty notices issued

32,975

30,906

17,795

Drugs: Decriminalisation

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether her Department has made a recent assessment of the effects of drug decriminalisation in Portugal; and what recent discussions (a) she and (b) Ministers in her Department have had with their Portuguese counterparts on drug policy; [116989]

16 July 2012 : Column 469W

(2) what recent discussions she has had with her international counterparts on the (a) legalisation and regulation governing and (b) decriminalisation of controlled substances. [117031]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 13 July 2012]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department has not discussed the legalisation, regulation governing or decriminalisation of controlled substances with international counterparts. The Home Office has not assessed the effects of drug decriminalisation in Portugal, nor have Home Office Ministers discussed drug policy with Portuguese counterparts.

Gender Recognition

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what date her Department issued its call for evidence on the actions included in its transgender equality action plan; if she will place in the Library a copy of each of the items of evidence submitted; what steps the Government proposes to take in response to those submissions; and if she will make a statement. [117081]

Lynne Featherstone [holding answer 13 July 2012]: In 'Advancing Transgender Equality: A Plan for Action', the first Government action plan for transgender equality, the Government committed to launching a Call for Evidence on the commitments detailed within the action plan. This will allow anyone with an interest in transgender equality to let the Government know their views and insights on the progress that is being made to deliver the actions, how they might be implemented differently, or more effectively. This will help inform future Government policy on transgender equality.

The Call for Evidence has not yet been launched, as Government Departments continue to implement their commitments in the action plan. The Government will publish the Call for Evidence in due course, together with an update on progress on the delivery of the commitments included. Copies of these documents will be placed in the House Library once available.

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when the Government intend to bring forward legislative proposals to address the issues identified in its transgender equality plan for action; [117082]

(2) what information her Department holds on initiatives taken to date by public bodies, businesses, practitioners and the voluntary sector to implement the commitments set out in the Government's transgender equality plan for action. [117083]

Lynne Featherstone [holding answer 13 July 2012]: “Advancing Transgender Equality: A Plan for Action”, the first action plan for transgender equality was published in December 2011 and placed in the House Library. It includes a range of largely non-legislative measures to improve the lives of transgender people in a number of areas of public policy, including hate crime, health, education and employment.

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A number of those commitments have already been delivered, including the publication on 14 March 2012 of “Challenge It, Report It, Stop It”, the cross-Government action plan to tackle all forms of hate crime; active engagement with representatives from the transgender community during the Government's consultation on equal civil marriage, which closed on 14 June 2012; and a landmark conference which I hosted on combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity as part of the UK Chairmanship of the Council of Europe.

The action plan made one commitment to introduce legislation, namely to amend section 146 and schedule 21 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. This amendment, included in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, which received Royal Assent on 1 May 2012, provides for sentences to be aggravated for any offence motivated by hostility towards the victim on the grounds of being transgender, and for a 30-year starting point for murders motivated by hostility towards the victim on the grounds of being transgender. The Government expects to commence these provisions by the end of the year.

Licensed Premises: Closures

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many closure notices were issued in the Metropolitan police area under the Policing and Crime Act 2009 during 2011; [117503]

(2) how many closure notices were issued by the courts in the Metropolitan police area during 2011. [117504]

Nick Herbert: This information is not held centrally.

National Crime Agency

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Metropolitan Police Service’s Operation Jigsaw (a) at Heathrow airport and (b) elsewhere will be brought into the National Crime Agency; and if she will make a statement. [117468]

Nick Herbert: The National Crime Agency (NCA) Programme is actively engaging with a number of law enforcement partners involved in tackling serious, organised or complex crime. However, no decisions have been made on the NCA’s role in relation to Operation Jigsaw.

The National Crime Agency will work to ensure that the full range of its law enforcement partners benefit from the agency’s co-ordination, tasking and intelligence arrangements, as well as being able to access its specialist capabilities where appropriate.

National Police Memorial Day

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps (a) she, (b) her Department and (c) the police are taking to mark National Police Memorial Day on 30 September 2012. [116552]

Nick Herbert: Ministers and senior officials will be attending the National Police Memorial Day service at York Minister on 30 September 2012. The Home Office does not hold information on what steps the police are taking to mark the day.

16 July 2012 : Column 471W

Offences Against Children: Internet

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will place in the Library copies of all correspondence between her Department and stakeholders on the protection of children online. [116698]

Lynne Featherstone: Home Office Ministers and officials have regular and ongoing contact with a wide range of stakeholders regarding online child protection. The information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions (a) she and (b) Ministers in her Department have had with ministerial colleagues on the protection of children online. [116699]

Lynne Featherstone: The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (James Brokenshire), who has responsibility for crime and security, met the Under-Secretary of State for Education, the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton), who has responsibility for children and families, at least quarterly during 2010 and until autumn 2011 to discuss online child protection issues as they co-chaired the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) executive board. When the former’s child internet safety responsibilities, including co-chairing UKCCIS, transferred to me, I continued to meet the latter at UKCCIS executive board meetings.

The Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, the hon. Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey), who has responsibility for culture, communications and creative industries, is also a member of the UKCCIS executive board and I met him when he attended the board in February 2012.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department, the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), has had regular meetings with Home Office ministerial colleagues to discuss online child protection, particularly with regard to ensuring that the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre is able to continue its excellent work to protect children as it moves to the new National Crime Agency.

Police and Crime Commissioners

Mrs Glindon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason police and crime panels have a two-thirds veto in respect of the budgets of police commissioners' budgets. [116486]

Nick Herbert [holding answer 11 July 2012]: The police service in England and Wales gets around a quarter of its funding from the police precept component of council tax. As council tax is raised locally, it was considered appropriate for Police and Crime Panels to have a clear role in scrutinising and, if necessary, vetoing, the precept level proposed by the police and crime commissioner (PCC).

George Freeman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what steps she has taken to ensure police and crime commissioners take account of rural policing needs in (a) police plans and (b) police budgets; [117057]

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(2) what guidance she plans to issue to newly-elected police and crime commissioners on (a) policing rural communities and (b) preventing rural crimes; [117058]

(3) what support police and crime commissioners will receive from her Department to help tackle rural crime. [117205]

Nick Herbert: The Government fully recognise the vulnerabilities of rural communities to particular crimes. The election of police and crime commissioners (PCCs) will ensure that rural communities are given a stronger voice in determining local policing plans. We will not be issuing prescriptive guidance to PCCs in policing rural communities or preventing rural crimes.

The vast majority of Government funding to the police is allocated using the police allocation formula (PAF). The PAF distributes funding based on relative workload in an area, and a portion according to population sparsity, to address the specific needs of rural forces.

George Freeman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance she plans to issue to newly-elected police and crime commissioners on engagement with (a) community safety partnerships and (b) criminal justice boards. [117059]

Nick Herbert: The Home Office will not be issuing prescriptive guidance to police and crime commissioners (PCCs). However, briefing on how PCCs can engage with community safety partnerships and the criminal justice system is being made available to PCC candidates via the Home Office website.

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 puts in place a flexible framework for partnership working between the PCC and their community safety and criminal justice partners. This includes two interrelated, reciprocal duties to co-operate. The recent White Paper “Swift and Sure Justice” also set out the ways in which PCCs will interact with criminal justice bodies.

Police Community Support Officers

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police community support officers there were in (a) Coventry, (b) Coventry North East constituency, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each of the last five years. [117464]

Nick Herbert: The latest available information shows the number of police community support officers in Coventry basic command unit, west midlands police force and west midlands region and England in each of the five years up to 31 March 2011 (full-time equivalents). Figures for the number of police community support officers within Coventry and Coventry North East constituencies are not collected centrally by the Home Office.

Number of police community support officers in Coventry, West Midlands and England for the past five years as at 31 March(1)
 Coventry basic command unitWest midlands police forceWest midlands region(2)England

2006-07(3)

80

644

1,191

12,856

2007-08(3)

108

748

1,362

15,108

2008-09(3)

107

812

1,463

15,802

2009-10(3)

106

811

1,466

16,200

16 July 2012 : Column 473W

2010-11

100

758

1,395

15,134

(1 )These figures are based on full-time equivalents that have been rounded to the nearest whole number. Figures include those officers on career breaks or maternity/paternity leave. (2 )West midlands region includes the following police forces: Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Mercia and west midlands. (3) Figures for Coventry basic command unit for 2006-07 to 2009-10 are the sum of West Midlands M1, West Midlands M2 and West Midlands M3 basic command units.

Police: Birth Certificates

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information her Department holds on the number of police officers in police forces in England and Wales who have a registered place of birth in Scotland. [116558]

Nick Herbert: The requested information is not held centrally by the Home Office.

Police: Computers

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether the procurement of tablet computers for police forces is undertaken by her Department's centre of excellence procurement team; [115583]

(2) whether her Department plans to put the procurement of tablet computers for police forces to competitive tender. [116122]

Nick Herbert: As a result of the Police Act 1996 (Equipment Regulations) 2011, the police service contracts for the provision of commoditised IT hardware through a single IT reseller supplier. This has already reduced unit pricing by acting as a single point of purchase for the police service. The IT reseller and the Government Procurement Service are exploring ways to reduce the range of sub-suppliers who provide tablet computers and other hardware products. This is expected to provide further opportunities for greater price reductions while maintaining an element of product choice.

Police: Finance

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the findings of the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary report Policing in austerity: one year on, published on 2 July 2012; for what reasons Sussex police authority is expected to lose 15 per cent of frontline officers by 2015 compared to the national average loss of 10 per cent; what assessment she has made of the effect of reductions in police funding on the ability of Sussex Police Force to provide an efficient and effective service in the future; what recent discussions she has had on police funding reductions with (a) the Police Federation and (b) representatives of Sussex police force; if she will make it her policy to reassess the level of budget reductions; and if she will make a statement. [116306]

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Nick Herbert: It is for chief officers, in conjunction with their police authorities or police and crime commissioners to ensure that they have plans which will deliver their required budget reductions while continuing to provide efficient and effective policing services for the public. Reductions in Government funding to the police over the spending review period are challenging but manageable, and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary's (HMIC) report supports our view that the vast majority of forces have risen to this necessary challenge.

The number of officers in Sussex police and how they are deployed is a matter for the chief constable.

I note that HMIC's specific report on Sussex found that there was

“sound planning and assumptions by the force, which make the projected savings realistic and achievable,”

and that the force

“has also considered the impact of losing officers and staff, particularly those with specialist skills, and has plans in place to minimise the impact of those losses.”

We expect that forces will pay close attention to HMIC's findings as they continue to refine their plans for the future. I regularly discuss these issues with Sussex police, as I and my ministerial colleagues do with all police forces and representatives of the Police Federation.

Police: Horses

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police horses were in service in each of the last five years; and what the cost was of maintaining these horses in each of those years. [117200]

Nick Herbert: The Government allocates funding to police authorities or police and crime commissioners (PCCs). The allocation of resources within each force is a matter for the chief officer and the police authority or PCC. We do not hold information centrally on resources for mounted police sections.

Police: Job Satisfaction

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the current state of police morale; and if she will make a statement. [115778]

Nick Herbert [holding answer 6 July 2012]: I take a keen interest in police morale and, along with other Ministers, meet police officers of all ranks from forces across England and Wales on a regular basis.

Riot Control Weapons

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what reviews have been undertaken into the long-term medical effects of the use of plastic bullets in Northern Ireland; and what information her Department holds on the effects of their use in other jurisdictions; [116426]

(2) what advice she has given to police authorities on their stocks of plastic bullets, water cannon and crowd-controlling anti-riot gases; [116427]

16 July 2012 : Column 475W

(3) what advice she has given to police authorities on the use of plastic bullets, water cannon and gas in the event of civil disturbances; [116428]

(4) what stocks of (a) plastic bullets, (b) water cannon and (c) crowd control gas is held by (i) police authorities and (ii) the armed forces. [116430]

Nick Herbert [holding answer 12 July 2012]:There have not been any reviews by the Home Office into the long-term medical effects of the use of plastic bullets, more accurately known as Attenuating Energy Projectile (AEP), in Northern Ireland or in other jurisdictions. The deployment and storage of AEP is the responsibility of individual Chief Officers. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department has not provided any advice to police authorities on the storage or use of AEP. The Home Office does not hold information on stocks held by police authorities or the armed forces. Neither water cannon nor ‘crowd control gases' are approved for use in England and Wales.

Schengen Agreement: ICT

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the UK adopted the technical specifications to support the second generation Schengen Information System set out in EU Council Decision 2007/171/EC. [117001]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 13 July 2012]: EU Commission Decision 2007/171/EC has no practical impact on the United Kingdom’s national second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) implementation programme although it is in our interest to ensure that the capacity and performance of the SIS II network is adequate for operational requirements. We have therefore participated in the regulatory committee which debated and agreed the network requirements set out in the Commission Decision.

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evaluation her Department (a) made and (b) published regarding the effects in the UK of EU Council Decision 2005/211/JHA. [117002]

16 July 2012 : Column 476W

James Brokenshire [holding answer 13 July 2012]: EU Council Decision 2005/211/JHA applies only to the current Schengen Information System (SIS 1). The United Kingdom has not connected to SIS 1 and has no plans to do so.

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Government has fully enacted the provisions of EU Council Decisions (a) 2006/228/JHA, (b) 2006/229/JHA and (c) 2006/631/JHA relating to the Schengen Information System. [117003]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 13 July 2012]: These instruments only apply to the current Schengen Information System (SIS 1). The United Kingdom has not implemented SIS 1 and has no plans to do so.

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to EU Council Decision 2008/173/EC, whether the tests of the second generation Schengen Information System the decision provides for were successfully completed by the UK authorities. [117004]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 13 July 2012]: EU Council Decision 2008/173/EC only applies directly to member states already participating in the current Schengen Information System (SIS 1) and migrating to SIS II. The United Kingdom therefore does not have to participate in these tests.

Stop and Search: Birmingham

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people in each ethnic group were subject to stop and search by police in Birmingham, Ladywood constituency in the latest period for which figures are available. [116947]

Nick Herbert: The level of information requested is not collected centrally. Available data are at police force area level and were published in the recent “Police Powers and Procedures 2010-11” statistical release’s tables, which are available on the Home Office website. Stop and search figures relating to the West Midlands police force area are shown as follows. Data for 2011-12 are scheduled to be published next spring.

Number of persons stopped and searched by self-defined ethnicity: West Midlands police force area, 2010-11
Self-defined ethnicitySection 1(1)Section 60(2)Section 44(3)Total

White

10,116

62

(4)

10,178

Black (or Black British)

2.619

101

(4)

2,720

Asian (or Asian British)

4,953

93

(4)

5,046

Chinese or Other

226

3

(4)

229

Mixed

868

18

(4)

886

Not stated

1,367

42

(4)

1,409

Total

20,149

319

(4)

20,468

(1 )Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). (2 )Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. (3 )Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. (4 )Denotes nil.

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) women and (b) men were subject to stop and search by police in Birmingham, Ladywood constituency in the latest period for which figures are available. [116948]

Nick Herbert: The information requested is not collected centrally by the Home Office.

16 July 2012 : Column 477W

Victim Support Schemes

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much funding her Department has provided to each organisation or group providing help and support to victims of discrimination and human rights abuses in the last year for which figures are available. [116996]

Lynne Featherstone [holding answer 13 July 2012]: The Home Office has provided funding to a range of organisations and groups in support of its priorities and objectives. The Equality and Human Rights Commission, an arm's length body of the Home Office, has provided funding to organisations and groups providing help and support to victims of discrimination and human rights abuses. It has done this from within its overall budget which is funded by the Home Office, through the Government Equalities Office. The Government Equalities Office itself has not provided funding directly to organisations or groups for this purpose.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Circuses

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what inspections her Department undertook at the Great British Circus in 2009. [116531]

Mr Paice: Animal Health (now the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA)—an executive agency of DEFRA) carried out two welfare related visits to the Great British Circus for DEFRA in 2009. However, other individual AHVLA offices may also have undertaken inspections that year for which no central record is kept.

Dogs

Dr Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she plans to publish her Department's response to its consultation on tackling irresponsible dog ownership. [117319]

Mr Paice: The responses to the consultation on irresponsible dog ownership are currently being analysed in DEFRA. The findings of the consultation will be published as soon as this process is complete.

Food: Charitable Donations

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 1 May 2012, Official Report, column 1385W, on food: charitable donations, what the outcome was of her Department's (a) examination of barriers to food redistribution and (b) discussions with Lord Young of Graffham on removing civil and criminal liability from good faith food donors; [115973]

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will take steps to encourage large supermarkets to donate unwanted food to FareShare and similar organisations. [116419]

16 July 2012 : Column 478W

Mr Paice [holding answer 9 July 2012]: On 3 July, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Under-Secretary of State, my noble Friend Lord Taylor of Holbeach, hosted a roundtable discussion with major retailers and food redistribution charities. This explored the barriers to redistribution and considered an outline proposal from FareShare and FoodCycle that seeks to make redistribution easier for both charities and retailers. This proposal would build upon the partnerships most major retailers already have with redistribution charities.

DEFRA officials are working with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to provide clarity on the existing legal situation for food donors. The FSA, which is responsible for food safety, advises that food passed on or supplied in this way must meet EU food safety requirements in order to protect consumers and safeguard public health.

Food: Labelling

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will take steps to ensure food products labelled as produce of Morocco are not from Western Sahara. [117222]

Mr Paice: General advice has been given to the British Retail Consortium about the consumer sensitivities surrounding the labelling of produce imported into the United Kingdom which is of Western Sahara provenance.

Under EU law, information on food labels must not mislead consumers, and failing to give particulars of the place of origin or provenance of a food when consumers may otherwise be misled to a material degree as to the food's true origin or provenance is an offence.

DEFRA officials have discussed origin labelling with the British Retail Consortium, indicating the desirability of giving “Produce of Western Sahara” as the origin on the labels of such goods.

However, in the case of produce packaged in the region of production, DEFRA recognises that it may not be practical or economic for an importer or a retailer to label goods of Western Sahara origin in that way, in view of the fact that such a declaration of origin cannot be made when the goods are imported into the EU if they are to qualify for the preferential tariff treatment provided for by the EU-Morocco Agreement.

Food: Waste

Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what she is doing to encourage the reduction of food waste by food suppliers. [116965]

Mr Paice: The Government are working to reduce food and packaging waste through the Courtauld Commitment, our responsibility deal with grocery retailers and manufacturers.

On 27 June, we launched the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement, our new voluntary agreement with restaurants, hotels, pubs and canteens. This aims to reduce food and packaging waste and to manage the waste that does arise more sustainably.

16 July 2012 : Column 479W

On 3 July, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and my noble Friend, Lord Taylor of Holbeach hosted a roundtable discussion with major retailers and food redistribution charities. This explored the barriers to redistribution and considered an outline proposal from FareShare and FoodCycle that seeks to make redistribution easier for both charities and retailers. This proposal would build upon the partnerships most major retailers already have with redistribution charities.

Horses: Transport

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many horses were exported for slaughter in each of the last five years. [116455]

Mr Paice: While EU and domestic legislation permit the export of horses for slaughter, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has not received any applications for health certificates or export licences for horses declared as intended for slaughter in 2012, or for any of the preceding four years. Domestic legislation prohibits the export of ponies intended for slaughter.

Publications

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many publications her Department has issued since May 2010; and what the title was of each (a) publication and (b) consultation document issued by her Department since May 2010. [114163]

Richard Benyon: The information requested is as follows:

(a) Core DEFRA records indicate that 381 serial numbers were allocated between 1 May 2010 and 31 May 2012. All currently available DEFRA publications can be found at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/

(b) All of DEFRA's consultation listings can be accessed online via the departmental website:

www.defra.gov.uk/consultations

where the Department retains material for one year. Older information is available on the National Archives website:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Wales

Manchester Declaration

Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what progress her Department has made in implementing the Manchester Declaration of 2005. [116689]

Mrs Gillan: The Manchester Declaration of 2005 has been superseded by the Malmo Declaration and eGovernment Action Plan (2011-15) and the broader

16 July 2012 : Column 480W

Digital Agenda for Europe. The UK contribution to the eGovernment Action Plan continues to be led by the Cabinet Office.

Publications

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales pursuant to the answer of 2 July 2012, Official Report, column 420W, on publications, how much her Department has spent on (a) circulars, (b) consultation documents and (c) publications since May 2010. [117829]

Mr David Jones: The Wales Office spent £3,038 to publish our consultation document on the boundaries of the National Assembly constituencies.

Public Sector Staff

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff in her Department were in the Civil Service redeployment pool on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many such staff had been in the redeployment pool for more than six months at that date. [116797]

Mr David Jones: There are currently no Wales Office staff members in the civil service redeployment pool.

Unemployment

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales pursuant to the answer of 4 July 2012, Official Report, column 651W, on unemployment, by how much claimant count in these categories has risen since May 2010. [117564]

Mrs Gillan: Since May 2010 in Wales unemployment has risen by 6,045 (8.3%), youth unemployment has risen by 2,070 (8.7%) and long-term youth unemployment has risen by 2,765 (37.1%).

It is worth noting that during the last Parliament of the previous Government unemployment in Wales rose by 32,060 (79.4%), youth unemployment rose by 10,105 (73.5%) and long-term youth unemployment rose by 5,085 (215%).

Scotland

Post Offices

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on the future of post offices in Scotland. [117055]

David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland and I have had regular discussions with the Minister with responsibility for postal affairs, the hon. Member for North Norfolk (Norman Lamb), and other ministerial colleagues about the future of post office services in Scotland. The Government have made clear our commitment to maintaining the Post Office network across the UK, which is supported by £1.34 billion of Government funding.

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Publications

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland pursuant to the answer of 2 July 2012, Official Report, column 420W, on publications, how much his Department has spent on (a) circulars, (b) consultation documents and (c) publications since May 2010. [117830]

David Mundell: The cost of the publications listed in my answer of 2 July 2012, Official Report, column 420W, was £14,711.21.

Prime Minister

Official Visits

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Prime Minister (1) how many times he has visited (a) Northern Ireland, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland since May 2010; [117603]

(2) when he last visited (a) Northern Ireland, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland. [117604]

The Prime Minister: A list of my UK visits will be published shortly.

House of Commons Commission

Data Security

Alun Cairns: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many thefts of tablet and mobile phones from the Commons part of the parliamentary estate have been reported since May 2010; and whether any such thefts led to data on these devices being accessed illegally. [117005]

John Thurso: Between 1 May 2010 and 11 July 2012, 10 tablets and 13 mobile phones were reported to the Metropolitan Police Service of the Palace of Westminster as stolen from the Commons part of the Parliamentary Estate. These totals include items reported stolen by members of the public and other visitors.

There is no evidence of illegal access to data arising from the theft of a tablet or mobile phone belonging to Members, their staff or staff of either House during this period. The devices in such cases were wiped remotely (excluding older mobex phones), and all SIMs suspended, once reported as lost/presumed stolen.

Northern Ireland

Corporation Tax

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of proposals to devolve power to set the rate of corporation tax in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Assembly. [117384]

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Mr Paterson: Arrangements under which such devolution might take place, with the agreement of the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, are under consideration in the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Rebalancing the Northern Ireland Economy.

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent progress has been made by the Joint Ministerial Working Group on corporation tax. [117605]

Mr Paterson: Ministers from the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive attended the Ministerial Working Group on Rebalancing the Northern Ireland Economy in Belfast on 25 June.

Good progress has been made on some aspects of the group's work, including the potential shape of a devolved corporation tax regime, but there remain some crucial areas where significant differences of opinion still exist, including on the potential costs to the Northern Ireland block grant.

Officials will continue to work over the summer to seek to resolve these differences and the Ministerial Working Group has agreed to meet again in September.

Communities and Local Government

Absenteeism

John Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the absentee rate for civil servants in his Department was in each of the last three years. [116359]

Robert Neill [holding answer 13 July 2012]: The average number of working days lost due to sickness absence were reported to Cabinet Office for the last three calendar years for the Department for Communities and Local Government as follows:

 DCLG

2009

4.6

2010

6.3

2011

6.5

Average sickness rates in the Department are below the civil service average. The Department is currently looking at streamlining its policies on sick absence and is taking a proactive role in working with line managers to tackle sick absence.

Assets

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assets his Department has sold and leased back over the last 12 months; what the sale price was of each asset so sold; and what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of leasing back each such asset over the period of the lease. [116774]

Robert Neill: The Department for Communities and Local Government has not sold and then leased back any assets over the last 12 months.

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Homelessness and Repossession Orders

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will assess the contribution of manipulation on the LIBOR rate to the level of (a) repossessions and (b) homelessness. [116548]

Grant Shapps: Further to my answer of 2 July 2012, Official Report, column 581, I can note that only a very small minority of mortgages, primarily subprime and buy-to-let from specialist lenders, are directly linked to LIBOR. Most of these were lent before the banking crisis. Very few (if any) of the large banks/building societies provide mortgage products which have a direct link to LIBOR. Therefore only a small minority of mortgages will have been directly affected by the attempted manipulation.

It may be possible that there was some indirect impact on the pricing of mortgages. This is due to the links between LIBOR and the cost of wholesale funding. However, wholesale funding makes up only a part of the funding mix used by banks to lend to the real economy, and the cost of funding is one of a number of factors used by banks when considering how to price their mortgages. Therefore while the attempted manipulation may have had some indirect effects, these are likely to have been small. It is also important to remember that where the aim was to attempt to manipulate LIBOR downwards, the effect may have been positive, as it would have reduced the costs of bank funding.

The Government has established an independent review into the structure and governance of LIBOR and the corresponding criminal sanctions regime. This will be headed by Martin Wheatley (Chief Executive Officer designate of the Financial Conduct Authority) and it is envisaged that it will report by the end of summer.

Homelessness: Greater London

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether (a) he and (b) his officials have had any contact with the London boroughs of Richmond, Kingston, Sutton and Croydon to discuss their proposal to house homeless families outside their boroughs. [116546]

Grant Shapps: The Department has not made contact with the London boroughs of Richmond, Kingston, Sutton or Croydon to discuss specifically their proposal to house families outside their boroughs. However, officials within the Department's Homelessness and Support Division regularly make contact with local authorities to discuss homelessness issues including their use of housing stock to accommodate homeless families.

The law makes it clear that local authorities must secure accommodation within their own borough so far as reasonably practicable. The Government want to go further on this and are currently consulting on how best to strengthen requirements in relation to location and suitability when local authorities secure accommodation for the use of households owed duties under the homelessness legislation.